Spring Clean: Our Homestead Walkabout & DIY Projects

spring clean plans
View from the South
Wendie and I already feel the seasonal change as our snow melts away on the homestead. Brown seems to be the prevalent color peeking through the white, though some green and red buds are beginning to appear. A walk across our property, with stops at the garden and lake shore, offers plenty of suggestions on prioritizing our spring clean plans.

The first thing we've noticed is where the snow is struggling to fully melt. Areas where the snow thrower built up some hefty banks, and under shade three and along shade-casting structures. 

We've taken note and will plan accordingly next season. The idea being that if we throw snow in areas that has strong sun in March, we'll see a faster melt.

To keep us company we have Bailey Dog and a cacophony of spring birds. Their songs are gorgeous, as if today is the the day they decided spring begins. Woodpeckers, finches and ducks are all settling back into place after a long winter away.

So, how about a grand tour of the homestead exterior?

Our Homestead Spring Clean Plans

homestead plans
There's a Story Here
Our first real walk of the homestead exterior after winter accomplishes a few things. The first is it reminds us of why we live out here where we do. Deep woods, lakefront and a pleasant opening between the two for the home, garden, garage and workshop present an environment where we are free. 

Being off the grid doesn't mean distancing ourselves from the community, but it does mean we are free and clear of the trappings of the social economy. We do what we can on our own.

Secondly, our walkabout is a reconnection with the land after a long winter. We see what needs cleaning up, what needs repair and what can be improved upon. It all starts along the headway of our drive and private road access. 

There's some snow melt wash across the upper road that needs to be addressed when the water level drops a bit, and a few old trees that tumbled during the winter. Nothing is blocking our stream at the head of the wetland, but some leaves and such will need to be mucked out near the culvert to ensure we don't having a blockage later on.

Between the Road & Garden

A portion of the Wetland
This pretty little ecosphere contains our wetland, a stretch that includes the stream and cattail marsh leading up to the garden on a slight grade. 

The previous owner used it as a scrap wood dump, and though we did a solid job hauling some out last summer and fall, there's still more to deal with. There are only a few DIY projects here, including collecting a burn pile, chainsawing down some larger logs, whacking some swamp maples and maybe grading the upper end with loam to add in some fruit trees later this spring.

Our walkabout has already gifted us a small collection of wind-blown debris, some of which we recognize and some we don't. It's an odd feeling having a connection with trash, but we figure it goes hand in hand with sustainable living and what we find important. Anyways, with the ground of the marsh is still firm with frost, so it's the best time to gather these odds and ends before the thaw sets in fully and we'll be needing our waders.

DIY Projects for the Garden

diy projects
Chickens, Solar Panels and Mud
Here is certainly where we will be spending most of our prep energy this year. Though the deer fence is up and the gate is in place, we still need to build and fill the remaining raised square foot garden beds in order to plant. 

Our plans call for five new beds to add to the one we put in last fall for the garlic, and that means compost, vermiculite, sphagnum peat moss and good loam. Speaking of the garlic, the leaf mulch needs to be removed after the last frost, which we believe is this Thursday.

We also have plans on running a separating fence along one side of the garden to segregate the coop from the planting beds. Though we do have what we call the summer coop down by the garage, the larger coop is easier to access for us and more comfortable for the ladies. I suppose the jury is still out on this one, but some form of expansion will be undertaken this spring either with the garden coop or the summer one.

Lastly, well, not lastly but at least for this spring clean walkabout, we will be putting a coat of polyurethane on the coop in a couple of weeks to help it weather a few more seasons. Repairs are simple when they arrive, but a poly coat will help make them fewer and father between.

Spring Clean: House Exterior Plans

homestead spring clean plans
East Side Slope
Directly around the house we have four different zones to contend with. On the west side is our front door, and the plans are to build out the deck to make it seem more inviting. This is something on Wendie's plate. 

This section of the property is also where the wood shop is. One thing that will be happening is an addition of a roof over our cord wood pile. 

If I get around to it this season, I'd also like to run a conduit pipe from the house out there so I'm not plugging and unplugging an extension cord every time I want to use my table saw. If not, no big deal. It will happen eventually.

On the east side of the homestead is our dry well and the access slope to the back yard, lake front and portage. The spring clean plans for this area are pretty straight forward, with some pine branch pick ups and a bit of wind blown trash and such. 

It's a funny space, and maybe the perfect location for a shade garden, as the kitchen window overlooks this stretch and could benefit from something pretty other than old pine trees. There used to be a ramshackle rabbit hutch here, but as we're not rabbit folk, we tore it down in the fall.

The south consists of our septic tank and leech field, leading to the coop and garden.

Homestead Lake Front DIY Projects

homestead garden projects
Lake is Drained 4 Ft for Winter
Last but not least, our spring clean up walkabout has led us to the lake front. On the north side of the house, we have a 30-40 foot sloped area the culminates in 80 feet of prime lake frontage. 

There's so much room with potential that this part of the property will have DIY projects for years to come focusing on it's potential. 

Terraced planting beds, slate steps, an improved boat launch and dock expansion as well as a writer's She-Shed and boat house when all the dust of the move has settled. 

The slope and shore are scattered with wild blueberry bushes that I spared during my bush-whacking frenzy last fall, and these will get organic fertilizer treatments in a few weeks. We have deer and turkey runs passing throughout the property, and though we've no plans to block these, we might want to invest in some natural deterents even if it's coyote urine.

Homestead Spring Clean & Beyond

diy projects plans
Looking Up from the Lake Shore
By no means is this a complete list, or even a firm schedule for when things need to be done. For us, it's one foot in front of the other, with priorities lying in the garden. There might seem like a lot to accomplish, but for the most part each is a little afternoon project. 

The larger DIY projects may take a bit longer, but by steadily working at them, our improvements will come together.

From the front road and wetland to the lake in the back, we're in our own paradise. Honestly, when we dreamed this would be our perfect homestead, we never figured we would find it so close to our support network of friends. It has been a blessing.

We love sharing our homesteading adventure with you all, and enjoy when you join the conversation. How are your spring clean plans coming together? Is your garden prepped and ready? What DIY projects do you have on tap? Let us know below, and don't forget to subscribe!