Homesteading can be a lot of work. Fall is no exception. Sometimes fall can be even busier than spring and summer because it's a great time to get projects done.
I am up at dawn, busy all day long, with never a dull moment in between. Yet, I choose this because even a crazy day on the homestead has its moments of bliss and beauty.
Like watching the multi-colored leaves dancing in the winds and along the various thermoclines until they finally settle on the dark, cool earth and begin their progression towards compost. If we slow down enough to see the magic of fall and enjoy its many splendors, our workloads are lightened and our days have new meaning.
Simple Fall Homestead Activities to Welcome Autumn
Fall offers so many opportunities to reconnect with a simple living mindset and embrace our connectedness with nature. We only have to open ourselves up to the experiences and make the time.
1. Enjoy a Fire
Fire is such a primal thing. Whether it is burning in the fire pit in our outdoor living area, in the fireplace in our living room, or warming up our wood-fired hot tub, its warmth and vitality are undeniable. Fall is the perfect time for enjoying a fire.
Hanger-cooked hot dogs, burnt marshmallows, or even foil-wrapped oysters or chestnuts over an open flame are great ways to add a little luxury to an everyday fire. These are traditions for a reason because they are simple and satisfying.
Burning a sage smudge, or another dried herb bunch, is another way to start and savor a fire even if you don't have a fire pit or a fireplace of your own.
(Remember to keep a bucket of water nearby just in case.)
2. Drink More Hot Beverages
Many of us are already in the habit of drinking a hot coffee or tea for breakfast. In the fall, though, as your body adjusts to the colder temperatures, instead of turning up the heat in your house, opt for more warm beverages.
Cool air, coupled with warm drinks, is one of the most pleasurable experiences. It's like drinking cool water on a hot day, except the exact opposite!
Fresh apple cider, warmed and spiced with cinnamon, makes a great no-caffeine afternoon treat. A glass of vin chaud, gluehwein, mulled wine, or whatever else you want to call it, is a perfect evening addition to enjoy in front of the fire as mentioned earlier.
A hot toddy, a decaf Irish Coffee, or a schnapps spiked hot cocoa are also good go-tos to warm up your weekends! You can even make cordials and add them to your hot beverages for an extra treat.
3. Corn Mazes and Homestead Labyrinths
Corn mazes are made by growing corn through summer, then cutting pathways through the dried stalks in fall. It takes a fair amount of planning… and of course a large corn field. Farmers often make them open to the public in fall.
Even if there's no corn maze near you, you can create something like a maze on your own homestead using whatever materials you have available. Labyrinths are used for meditation and as a kind of rite of passage.
They don't need to be 8 feet tall and impossibly complex. They need to be created with the right intentions and used as part of a mindful meditation practice. Planning, placement, and use of the labyrinth all contribute to mental well-being.
Stones, garden debris, left over lumber, really anything you've got to work with can mark the paths and set the stage to create your own mental escape at home. This is a perfect thing to do in fall too as nature quiets and the landscape loses some of its green colors.
A labyrinth can add beauty and purpose to your sleeping landscape. If you use compostable materials to mark your paths, then nature will simply take them back come spring. No clean up necessary!
4. Homestead Soup
Fall root vegetables, cold-weather leafy greens, long-storing onions, and more all make for great winter soup ingredients. If you process your own livestock too, then the bones and grisly bits make for a great stock to add minerals and flavor to your hearty stews.
Enjoy the meditative process of harvesting, cleaning, and preparing vegetables to cook. Inhale the delicious scents as they mix and mingle turning water into a broth. Add dried and fresh herbs and spices to enhance the natural flavors.
Soups and stews only require a bowl and spoon to eat. So, curl up with homemade soup in front of a fire or while watching your favorite movie. Or, pack it up in a thermos, take a blanket, and go enjoy your soup while basking in the sun on a sublime, cool fall day.
5. Hot Soaks
One of the first things we built on our homestead was a wood-fired hot tub. With all the physical work we do, we knew we'd need the healing power of heat to rejuvenate our weary muscles. And we've certainly gotten our money's worth on that project.
You don't have to have a wood-fired hot tub to enjoy the healing benefits of heat. Hot showers, hot soaks in your bath, saunas, or even steaming facials can all conjure the power of heat to heal and relax.
Lingering in the heat is what gives you the benefit. So, pencil in a few extra minutes to let the hot water soak into your pores and recharge your body.
6. Inventory Your Pantry
I know this doesn't sound relaxing on the surface. But, most of us homesteaders have some level of concern about our ability to provide for our families during times of unexpected hardship. By organizing and taking inventory of your pantry, you get multiple benefits.
You can identify and stock up on anything you might be missing, so you are ready for whatever winter brings. You can celebrate your successes by acknowledging exactly how much work and good food you grew and processed for your family. Plus, you can start planning your holiday meals knowing what you've got on the shelf, so you don't end up spending a fortune buying ingredients you don't need.
Pantry inventory brings peace of mind, appreciation, and pre-planning that makes for less stress later.
7. Perfect Time for Pie
There's a reason we eat pie for Thanksgiving. So many of our fall harvest fruits and vegetables are perfect to use as pie fillers. Sweet potatoes, pumpkin, apples, and pears can all be used to make divine fall pies.
Making pie used to seem like a big undertaking. Then, I discovered the “Southern way” of doing it. When you harvest your fruits and veggies, you make a large batch of pie filling to can. Then, whenever you want to make a fresh pie, all you do is roll out a crust, pour in a can of filling, and bake.
Now that's what I call an easy bake pie!
8. Make Potpourri
Let's face it, just a short while from now, many of us are going to be spending most of our time indoors hiding from the cold.
Now, while the weather is still good, dry your herbs, apple slices, and orange peels. Pick the last lavender buds off your plants as you cut them back for winter. And otherwise, gather the materials you need to make your potpourri to your own tastes.
Put your blends in pouches to tuck under pillows to release calming fragrances as you sleep. Put it in a canister with holes to shake and release those aromas in the restroom. Set some aside to simmer on frigid days.
Making your own potpourri is almost as pleasurable as using it!
9. Make Leaf Crafts
I know you've been eyeing all those fall leaf craft ideas in magazines and online. Most of them only take a few minutes. They are an excellent way to bring the outdoors in and enhance the beauty of your homestead.
We have a lot of fall birthdays in my family. Making leaf print cards using craft paint and inexpensive card stock is an easy way to celebrate without breaking the bank!
10. Make Paper
Most people don't know how simple it is to make your own paper using organic matter scavenged from around the homestead. Surprising things like dryer lint, crushed leaves, dried flowers, and more can all add beauty and texture to help you upcycle all that junk mail that invades your homestead.
You can then use this paper to mount your leaf art, make your holiday cards, or decorate your fall dinner table. Or, you can use it to make biodegradable seed trays to save money on your winter seed starts.
Homemade paper is an incredibly simple way to turn trash into treasure on the homestead.
Fall is a beautiful time to focus on the cycles of nature. Connecting with natural elements like fire and water can help ground you.
Getting back to the basics like enjoying hot beverages and freshly baked pies invites you back in time when the pace of life was slower. Giving your creative side freedom to use the vibrant colors of fall and the natural process of decay and recycling to make beauty adds meaning.
Having the confidence to try new experiences, providing your family with nourishing homemade food, and embracing change make you a resilient homesteader. These ten fall homestead activities aren't just pleasurable; they're soul-nourishing.
Take time to enjoy fall and embrace the changing seasons!