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PHOTO: Daniel Johnson
Spring officially began in the United States on March 19, its earliest arrival in more than a century. Unfortunately, spring’s annual debut has coincided with the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus around the globe, with the pandemic understandably dominating headlines while disrupting daily life and routine.
Hobby farmers might be better equipped than most to handle working from home, social distancing and self-isolation. If you’re going to eliminate non-essential travel and stay put as much as possible, having some open land and fresh air to enjoy makes the process a bit easier.
But even if you’re prepared and ready for anything, you might still be feeling stressed out from the constant stream of COVID-19 news. And if staying home is leaving you with extra time on your hands, it can be tempting to spend that time catching up on the latest news, further fueling a sense of worry and uncertainty.
Instead, we suggest putting your extra time to happier, more productive use. There’s never a shortage of activities to tackle on a farm, so here are four fun ideas to occupy your attention:
Plan a Garden or Orchard
Planning for pleasant times in the future is a good way to give your mind a break from the bombardment of COVID-19 news and developments.
Turn away from social media, turn off the news, sit down with seed and plant catalogs, and take an hour to plan out your garden or orchard.
Draw scale maps of the areas you’ll be planting and see how much you can pack into the available space. Debate the merits of tomato varieties, and ponder how much the appearance of your front yard would change if you planted another apple tree.
Live in a cold region? You can still have fruit and nut orchards.
Prepare Your Equipment for Spring
Isn’t it about time you got your tractors up and running for the year? Before you know it the grass will be six inches long, and it’s certainly not going to cut itself.
Pull out the instruction manuals for your lawn mower, utility tractor, ATV, etc., and start tackling annual spring maintenance tasks.
Follow guidelines for changing oil and checking fluid levels. Replace filters and spark plugs as needed. Give batteries a charge if they’ve grown weak over winter.
Spring maintenance is necessary but time-consuming, so why not get a head start? You’ll feel good preparing your equipment for another busy year of farming. For more information, check out our 13 Steps to a Tractor Checkup for Spring.
Start Social Media Channels for Your Farm
In these challenging times, why not try to spread a little joy? If you’re savvy with social media, fire up an account or two specifically for your farm.
Share scenic images on Instagram. Post funny (barn) cat videos on Twitter or Facebook. Give people a little sense of normalcy with a steady trickle of fun and inspiring updates from life on your farm.
Sharing these moments might increase your own appreciation of them, too.
Learn how to build your farm’s brand through social media!
Take Up Woodworking
Hobbies are a good way to pass the time, and if your hobby involves a productive farm project, all the better.
Consider taking up woodworking, and try your hand at building outdoor furniture, garden gates, fancy trellises, and more. Just be sure to have a jigsaw and a sander on hand, since they’re two of the most valuable power tools for woodworking.
The world might be running out of toilet paper (I’m still not sure why?), but so far I haven’t heard of any power tool shortages.
Have fun and stay healthy!