Do you know what seasonal living is?
This is a topic I have been discussing with several different friends recently. With the end of winter dragging on, most everyone is longing for spring, and hating the snow and ice that hangs around.
I get it. Snow is a pain, and being cold can be very unpleasant. The days are shorter, lounging outside is no longer an option, and you are cooped up inside all day. Right?
Even I have been getting a bit impatient with the weather because we have so much work we need to do outside, and it just keeps on snowing! It’s a week into March, and we just got ANOTHER bout of snowfall. Seriously messing up our fence building mojo!
However, seasonal living is all about EMBRACING each season, and living in harmony with the different weather and seasonal patterns.
I think living in a more connected way to the land and our food supply really makes you obtain a better appreciation for each season, so this is something I have really been concentrating on over the last year or so.
Here are a few strategies to help you embrace seasonal living all year long:
Set your thermostat only slightly cooler (summer) or warmer (winter) than the outdoor temperatures.
This will greatly help to acclimate your body to the outside temperature, and it will be less of a shock to your system. In the winter time anywhere from 58-62 degrees Fahrenheit is a great range. Who says we need to be able to go around the house in short sleeves during the winter? Or, turn the thermostat off entirely, and rely on wood heat instead. The rooms closest to the wood stove will be toasty, but the rest of the house usually remains seasonally cool.
The modern habit of huddling inside with our thermostat set up high and toasty while bemoaning the snow and cold doesn’t do our bodies or minds much good!
In the summer, keep the thermostat just a bit cooler than it is outside, or consider turning it off altogether. We turn our air conditioning on just a little during the heat of the summer, but we make sure it never goes too low. This is mostly to combat mold from the high humidity, and less about the actual temperature. We find that we are much more likely to spend time outdoors and only come into the house during the hottest parts of the day when we keep the temperature only slightly lower than it is outside.
Spring and fall are the perfect time to open all the windows, and just let the mild air from outside control the house temperature. This also assists in the bi-annual spring and fall cleaning we do on the homestead.
Get outside as much as possible. No matter what the temperature.
You can easily ward off the “winter blues” with fresh air, sunshine, and a bit of exercise. Just bundle up and keep moving!
Spring and fall are exhilarating, and relaxing in the summer shade with a cup of cool water kefir or lemon water is just completely awesome!
Eat foods that are in season in your general area of the world.
Why pay twice as much for out of season food that barely even has flavor? During cold weather, you can eat foods that are easy to store during the winter. Potatoes, winter squashes, and other root vegetables are great examples. Make richer, heartier fare, and include lots of soups. Find a “compromise food” that is your winter treat, and indulge yourself! Ours is citrus. Citrus is not actually local to us, but we can easily buy it in bulk from Florida, and have fresh fruit that is perfect for the current season! We also enjoy a few apples from the late fall that store well, and all of our applesauce, fruit leather, and frozen fruit from last summer. Greens are also a great, seasonally appropriate food for winter. We love to add them to soups and eggs, or eat them sauteed by themselves.
Spring is full of fresh greens, new life, and warming temperatures. Consuming large amounts of greens is a great “cleanse” of sorts that helps to balance the richer diet of winter time. As summer approaches, the different berries begin to ripen and are another delicious way to enjoy the season (and detox at the same time!).
A side benefit of eating only seasonal food, is that you appreciate different foods MUCH much more when they do become ripe!
Summer brings a complete bounty of vegetables and fruits galore! There is lots of work to be done in the great outdoors during late spring and early summer, and it’s the perfect balance for all the amazing food that is ripening.
The arrival of fall brings the heartier fruits and root vegetables, and its own list of amazing seasonal food indulgences. This is one area the general population is still in touch with seasonally. Bring on the pumpkin everything! 🙂
Here is my detailed guide to eating seasonally, and how to easily plan your menu!
Follow the general pace and rhythm of each season.
On a farm or homestead, spring is a rush of planting and animal birthing and hatching. Late spring and early summer are full of garden tending and early harvesting.
Midsummer brings lots of heat, and life slows down a bit. This is a great time to go swimming, rest in the shade, and eat lots of ice cold watermelon!
Late summer and early fall are a complete rush of harvesting and preserving, and planting fall and winter crops. Late fall is full of winter preparations and butchering.
Finally, about Thanksgiving time, everything slows down again, and it’s time for the slower tasks of sewing, knitting, spinning, woodwork, etc. There is more time for Holiday planning and parties, and instead of growing and preserving food all the time, you get to enjoy the food you have already produced! The nights are longer, and you may find that sleeping in a bit later feels pretty amazing.
Lastly, try to find the beauty in whatever season you are experiencing.
Thankfully, I live in an incredibly beautiful area of the world, so this one is not too hard for me to do!