A few weeks ago I shared with you how I had completely blown it as far as taking care of our yard/property/whatever you want to call it over the Summer. At that time, I started a system of 15 minute daily yard work sessions, hoping to be a little more disciplined in getting things taken care of that were bugging me. I was also really trying not to overwhelm myself and run screaming for the (non-existent) hills.
So far so good! Little things that bug me are getting taken care of and I don’t find myself putting things off until that magical time in the future when I have a whole day that I can/want to spend working outside on yard clean up.
The idea behind this system is to find something, anything, to do each day for around 15 minutes on whatever project (the yard in this case). It’s about seeing how much you can get done in 15 minutes, but also how much you can get done when you develop a habit and use it 365 days a year. So that means gardening isn’t just for Spring and Summer, it’s for taking care of a lot of the clean up in the Fall and Winter too, so that when the warm weather hits, you don’t just throw in the towel because you think you’re so far behind.
I wanted to share with you some of the kinds of things I’m finding to take care of right now that make me feel a whole lot more capable when it comes to dealing with all this space we have out here.
First of all, leaves are almost always a big part of Fall clean up. If we really had to rake all of our leaves, we’d be doomed. I was worried about this last year, but we soon discovered that they all blow out into the fields, so we just enjoy them while they’re here.
So what I’ve really been doing are just little things, but often things that I would just not get to until Spring because they didn’t seem big enough to warrant a whole trip outside on their own. Things like:
-Cutting back dying perennials (just 15 minutes worth at a time!)
-Putting away some of the stuff off the back deck. Side tables, chairs, plant pots.
-Rounding up a few balls or sandbox toys that are still outside.
-Bringing in the tomato cages.
-Sweeping down spider webs around doorways.
-Sweeping the front steps.
-Planting a handful of Spring bulbs.
-Putting down a few sheets of newspaper and some mulch to prevent weeds in flower beds (just a little at a time again!)
Individually, all these little jobs are pretty insignificant, but if I pick seven of them to do in a week, then I find I’ve actually made some pretty good progress!
Getting outside a bit more is helping me enjoy my surroundings more too. Can you spot the tiny purple flowers whose name I forget, but who I planted this Spring and who decided to bloom again in the Fall for some reason?
I love knowing that this whole area is going to be just full of daffodils in March and April and I didn’t agonize over trying to plants hundreds of bulbs like last year and then just not get around to it. 15 minutes was all it took! If I decide to, I may even do one more 15 minute bulb planting session, but no 3 hour planting marathons for me.
So there you go. That’s what’s working for me right now. I have to say though, I’m interested to see if I can actually come up with enough things to get done out here in the Winter! Tune in next time…
Courtenay Hartford is the author of creeklinehouse.com, a blog based on her adventures renovating a 120-year-old farmhouse in rural Ontario, Canada. On her blog, Courtenay shares interior design tips based on her own farmhouse and her work as founder and stylist of the interior photography firm Art & Spaces. She also writes about her farmhouse garden, plant-based recipes, family travel, and homekeeping best practices. Courtenay is the author of the book The Cleaning Ninja and has been featured in numerous magazines including Country Sampler Farmhouse Style, Better Homes and Gardens, Parents Magazine, Real Simple, and Our Homes.