Frugal Hound enjoying a springtime stroll
Frugal Hound enjoying a springtime stroll

The first hesitant tendrils of spring are taking hold in our formerly snow-encased northeastern landscape. Frugal Hound senses the warmer temperatures on our walks and exudes a certain doggy friskiness in response. Much as Mr. Frugalwoods and I genuinely enjoy the frozen wintertime, we’re equally pleased to welcome the balmy New England spring.

We find that the turning of the seasons lends a reassuring rhythm to life. Indeed, it seems like the most natural progression of a year. Each season has unique attributes that distinguish it from the last, and this marked change causes us to appreciate our region with a sort of wonder at the novelty of varied climates. We feel differently with each season, we eat differently, and we do different activities. The seasonal shifts remind us that we’re not really in control of our lives–no matter how much our modern world tries to fabricate interior spaces that are completely immune from and out of sync with the earth’s natural, annual metamorphoses.

Mr. FW and I prefer to live in tune with the seasons and follow their leads in how we structure our lives. While we’re fairly limited in those expressions of seasonality here in the city, we look forward to the intensely seasonal work and adjustments that homestead life will entail. To us it feels intrinsically right, deeply historical, and even comforting to live a life that doesn’t dismiss nature or try to climate control it away.

Oh the things you see on walks about town! Like SQUIRRELS!
Oh the things you see on walks about town! Like SQUIRRELS!

We look forward to the time when our daily pursuits are guided by what the weather, the woods, and the farm need us to do. That type of responsive, holistic living appeals to us at a base, elemental level. The fact that we currently do the same work in the same offices every day, every season, with no regard whatsoever for nature’s permutations is disheartening and uninspiring. We’d rather be outside and at the whims of the weather.

There’s no small amount of challenge and difficulty involved in homesteading and living in accordance with the seasons, but it’s a challenge we crave and want to meet with our full ingenuity and creativity. I think this desire also stems from the fact that neither Mr. Frugalwoods nor I likes, or reacts well, to being told what to do. We’re a bit self-deterministic (in case you hadn’t guessed…) and so the fact that our employers dictate we be in our offices from 9-5, regardless of any other circumstances, chafes at our very mode of existence. Conversely, we’re OK with being told what to do by nature and the seasons.

Snountain at its zenith
Snountain at its zenith

But back to the present… This isn’t to say we don’t have any seasonal alterations here in the city–we surely do, they’re just on a much more minute scale. Spring for the Frugalwoods entails a general cleaning and freshening of the house and a re-opening of various home improvement projects that often lie dormant in the wintertime. It’s tough, for example, to patch concrete when it’s buried under a Snountain. So, we’ll restart repair and improvement projects and I’ll give the house a deep clean.

We also look forward to the days where we can get by without the use of heat or air conditioning. Plenty of folks jump straight from heat to A/C, but there’s no need here. It’ll be temperate for several months, during which time we’ll open window and doors and take advantage of fresh (though urban) air. Saves money, feels great, and makes the house smell so fresh and so clean! Last year we made it to early July before we switched on the A/C–and even then it was only for occasional use. Hopefully we’ll have a similarly lengthy climate control-free stretch.

An uptick in walks and hikes are on the horizon for our spring as are BBQs and general outdoors lounging. We find free entertainment year-round, but the warmer months are especially easy targets for $0 fun.

Our neighbor's gorgeous flowers peeking over the fence
Our neighbor’s gorgeous flowers peeking over the fence


For the record, I'd prefer not to be bathed
For the record, I’d prefer not to be bathed

Frugal Hound, aggrieved member of the Frugalwoods family, reporting in for this week’s Grumble. Something Mrs. FW conveniently neglected to mention in her rather long-winded Woot is the fact that springtime = Frugal Hound bath time. I am bathed but twice a year, in spring and fall, but that is still far too often. I’m not a stinky* hound and I don’t do doggy things like roll in mud or eat poop. Therefore, I feel I should be granted the decency of a bath-free existence.

* Mrs. Frugalwoods in response: Frugal Hound is correct, she’s not exactly ‘stinky’ but she is a bit musky-smelling and is shedding her winter fur, a process we can hasten by scrubbing her down. I believe she’s on the docket for the tub tomorrow morning, so we’ll be sure to give her extra treats tonight. Washing one’s own large, heavy, awkwardly-shaped dog is an amusing, furry, wet experience that everyone should have. Think of all the hilarity you’re missing if you outsource this (not to mention the fact that you’ll need to pay for it… the horror!). 

How does your life change with the seasons?

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  1. We have a few weeks here where it is nice between the cold and scorching hot. These lovely days are filled with open windows, Texas BBQ, and lately evening thunderstorms – which I consider a free car wash and free watering of the lawn.

    With spring also comes the task of cleaning up the yard from winter and the massive amounts of oak tree pollen – it’s bad. Like one of the worst places in the country for allergies. Even dogs are affected.

    Make sure to take lots of pictures of the semiannual washing of the hound!

      1. Oh man, I can’t say I envy your hot Texas summers! And, that pollen sounds intense. Fear not, the hound shall be duly photoed 🙂

  2. I’m with you on wanting MORE seasonality. Because I have space to have a garden (a garden that some family are already according “urban farm” status), there’s more seasonality than most urbanites. Gardening cuts into my reading and writing time, but I wouldn’t trade that for anything. Even when it fails abysmally, the work is good.

    Recipes vary seasonally, and I try to avoid buying grossly out of season produce. Apples are a big exception. For my youngest, apples are an essential life food. I will make a go at making our own apple chips this year, however, and see if that works.

    Hiking is kicking into gear. About to go on our second hike this week already. Biking is also infinitely more enjoyable once the temperature notches 50F.

    Btw, been on a Ben Hewitt kick since your recommendation. Just started his newest book, but the library had his book “Home Grown”, which was interesting, if largely a collection of things I haven’t and won’t ever be able to do with my goblins.

    1. That’s so awesome that your garden is such an integral part of your life. Sounds ideal to me! Believe it or not, I’m still reading ”The Nourishing Homestead” since we had to return it to the library and wait for it to be available again :). I haven’t read “Home Grown” yet–I’ll have to check that one out next. And, looking forward to hiking myself!

  3. I share your enthusiasm for the change of seasons 100% – though not your enthusiasm for winter. (Although without it, spring just wouldn’t be so wonderful for me.) I lived in the SF Bay area for a little over a year – many moons ago – and one of my biggest complaints about the area was the lack of seasonal change. Sure, there are some variations, but most of the leaves stay on the trees and there’s not really any winter weather (or spring awakening) to speak of. I really, really missed being able to make the passage of time with in that way.

    1. I do love the seasonal shifts, I must say. I enjoy San Francisco (and CA) so much, but it would pain me to live there without any seasons. There’s just something so right about different temperatures throughout the year.

  4. Ah the spring time! I can’t agree more about Heat/A/C transition. I turned mine off about a week ago (we’re south of you) and our basement and 1st floor are super cool (hardwood helps so much) but our upstairs is a little annoying. I think the transition is the hardest part. We just sleep with a light comforter now so that’s helping. Soon the window will be open and the fans will be on.

    1. That’s great that you’ve already got the heat off! Hoping ours can go off soon, but, it’s still getting pretty cold at night here. I agree, hardwood definitely helps keep things cool.

  5. Spring and fall are my favorites. Times when you can open he windows and enjoy the fresh air and not be concerned with he heat or A/C. Enjoy meals on our deck in the evenings.There is definitely a shift for us in meal prep, activities etc during the different seasons. On and the there’s yard work too!

  6. As a transplant from a large city to country Vermont, I’ve found that I enjoy the seasons so much more. I never really noticed them before because, like you, was so busy working in artificial lights at a desk. Here in the country and in Vermont, seasons are exceptionally important. I love watching the farmers get their fields ready in spring, harvest time in the fall, farmers markets, etc. And winter is so much more enjoyable because “you have places to put the snow.” There are open fields and tremendous open space and houses aren’t stacked together. And the colder it is, the prettier it is, the sunrises, ice crystals on the trees….on and on. You both are so right for homesteading. I love your writing, too. You must publish on your homesteading adventure……the new Helen and Scott Nearing!!

    1. Ahhh, bev, you’ve painted the precise picture of the life we hope to have in Vermont! That truly sounds ideal to me. I only hope we can live up to half of what the Nearings did during their adventures. Never fear, I definitely plan to continue writing throughout our homesteading journey. Thank you so much for sharing your experience of Vermont with us!

  7. Did Frugalhound just complain about a bath that hasn’t happened yet? These baths must be really traumatic!

    I’m with you on Seasons. The best! No matter how horrible the winters get here in the midwest, it’s hard for me to complain because every freezing moment makes spring that much sweeter. That first sunny 50F+ degree day. Mmmm perfection.

    1. Frugal Hound definitely pre-complained for tomorrow’s bath. Good thing she can’t actually dread it, otherwise we’d be in for a whiny greyhound ;). There really is something rather magical about the first warm days!

  8. It’s finally starting to warm up here in NYC. I think Saturday is projected to be 70 and sunny! You can bet your bottom dollar that I’ll be taking a stroll through the park.

  9. I love the seasons! That is one motivation we have to save, save, save – we need to get out of Houston!!!! I just went up to DC a efw weeks ago, and it was so glorious – spring was just arriving!

    Tell Frugalhound to be happy with two baths a year – I am allergic to dogs, so my furball has to endure almost monthly baths! Side note – Mr SSC was just telling me last night that he was thinking we should adopt a greyhound…

    1. I love that the seasons are an early retirement motivation for you–that’s awesome! I find them to lend such an ideal rhythm to life. Monthly baths! Oh no ;)!! And, you should definitely adopt a greyhound! Though I might be a bit biased…

  10. While fall is my favorite time of year, spring is a close second. I just love seeing everything come back to life again and do things outside as a family. I also love when it starts staying lighter later as it just feels like there is so much time in the day to get things done. The only problem with all of this is the Omaha weather can be horribly unpredictable – but that’s a first world problem I guess. 😉 But, thankfully, it’s supposed to be 70 here this weekend which means I’ll be spreading a crapload of mulch!

    1. Mulch time! Have fun with that! We’ve got a slew of outdoor projects on the horizon too. Now that we can see the ground again, we’ve got work to do :). Enjoy your warm weekend!

  11. The bath is coming for my dog too this weekend. I walked in the spare bedroom where her crate is and the musky smell was overpowering yesterday!

  12. We’re heading more into Summer than Spring here in AZ but yesterday our highs were only in the 70s and we’re enjoying every minute of it knowing whats to come. It is definitely that time of year. Both of our pups will be getting their baths this weekend. We’re even attempting to groom our poodle ourselves on Sunday. Should be an …. interesting time had by all. They definitely sympathize with Frugalhound.

  13. We don’t seem to really get traditional seasons. I once heard our weather described as winter, still winter and construction. Ha ha. We are in the “still winter” stage right now with a -12 Celsius windchill and the possibility of snow Sunday night in to Monday. But at least the sun is out. So I’ve changed a little. I’ve been getting up earlier and going out more with friends. I’ve also been testing out the patio furniture at Walmart and dreaming of summer BBQs. I even picked up a six pack of my favourite beer the other day. The only time I usually drink beer is in the summer and not very often. Perhaps it’s fitting that I’m drinking Iceberg beer while it’s soo cold. 🙂

    1. Oh wow, sounds like you have a seriously cold climate! But I’m glad that at least the sun is out for you. And, beer definitely portends summer 🙂

  14. She looks super happy to be in the tub. hee!!! Well of course you know we don’t get much of a change in season and I’m perfectly happy with that. You guys do get the balmy summer nights, which I do miss a little, but I’ll live. 🙂 Still, I love to do a big spring cleaning with all the doors and windows open. I don’t have AC at all so that’s how it kind of stays through the summer. I guess the one disadvantage of that is hearing all your neighbor’s business since the buildings are all so close here. We all have our pluses and minuses. Enjoy the warmer days!

    1. Ahhh yes, hearing the neighbors is a downside here at well, but, worth it for the fresh air :). I love that you can get by all summer without AC–that’s so nice!

  15. For us spring means chickens! We are excited to get the adorable baby chicks next week. (We raise them for meat.) And the end of winter means tapping our maple trees. We are fortunate to be able to do all this in our small suburban yard. We also love hiking, gardening, biking, taking the kids to the playground, and all the other free entertainment that comes with warmer weather.

    1. That’s wonderful you’re able to raise chickens and have a sugar bush in your backyard! How fabulous!

  16. When we lived in the country on acreage the only thing spring meant to me was more work. Garden and orchard work, lawn work, tree trimming work. I hated the thought of ending my nice hibernation during the winter. And then after spring comes the typical hot and humid Midwest summer. Now that we’ve moved into town, we don’t have all that extra work and it is much easier to enjoy the nicer weather and longer days. Still hate the summer though, so give me autumn any day. Fall is my favorite time of year.

  17. Forgot to mention, I love that Frugalhound’s ears aren’t docked as are many greyhound’s. Gives her that extra bit of personality.

  18. Our country is so varied. My parents live in Wyoming and said they just got a skiff of snow last week, whilst down here in Texas we were enjoying temps in the mid 80’s. My parents always laugh that Wyoming does indeed have 4 seasons. Winter, Winter, Winter, and Road Construction. 😉

    Have a good weekend!


    1. Oh wow, that’s a lot of winter! Much as I enjoy the colder months, I love the balance that the four seasons bring. Can’t believe you’re in the 80s already–wow!

  19. I was just thinking the other day that I felt like I officially “survived” the winter and the thought of spring, followed by summer and then fall just made the whole dreary winter experience completely worth it. I love living in a changing season environment because I love what each season brings and how they make me feel, especially as I transfer from one to the other. Enjoy your Boston spring, Lord knows you guys deserve it!!

    1. Perfectly said about the change of seasons–that’s exactly how I feel. We are already so thankful for this spring!

  20. Minnesota is probably one of the best States to experience all the seasons. We have snowy winters and warm Summers, as well as distinct Fall and Spring seasons. Life totally changes with the seasons here. People are out and about a ton in the Summer but typically hibernate in the Winter.

  21. Definitely one of the best things about living the northeast is the seasons. You can’t appreciate the summer without the winter.

    Finally this week I’ve been able to get back outside and back to work on our outdoor projects. This weekend will be a cleaning weekend, too. Windows, floors, but Maeby will probably get out of it because she just had a bath a month or two ago.

    1. I agree–I think the winter really makes you appreciate the warmer months in a way that its absence can’t! Lucky Maeby 🙂

  22. Spring and summer are beautiful here in the Pacific Northwest! When spring hits, we are out for more walks and playing in the garden. Yard work keeps us busy as well. Our seasons are on the mild side with the occasional snowy day but plenty of rain;0)

  23. Aaaah we here in the Southern Hemisphere are now beginning the throes of Autumn ( fall) . It is not yet cold though it is dipping slowly though this year I am encouraging more layers less heating the house to see if we can get our heating bills to a minimum. Today for instance I am sitting in my PJ’s in bed with the computer and a book ( The Moneyless Man by Mark Boyle….highly recommend it) and a cup of coffee. It is raining outside and all the chores in our small, minimal house are completed. Have fun during your spring beginning and think of us down here in reverse because despite what many may think Australia does get cold!

    1. Ahhhh PJs, a good book, and coffee is delightful in any season. I like your plan of more layers and less heat–such a great way to save energy and money. Enjoy your fall and thank you for the book recommendation!

  24. Season changes and so do we in a positive way. Mood, clothes, fun, activities, food, and a lot more change. So we’d just try to enjoy each season, embracing it the fullest. But, my favorite is Spring! It just feels so good and the weather is really awesome!

  25. Spring has finally sprung around here, even if was a bit long in coming. But it rains ever other damn day! Tomorrow, however, it is supposed to be 80 ans sunny. We are going to a National Park on free entrance weekend.
    I have bathed many a dog in my day. Some were as large or larger and much hairier and more funky than Ms. Frugal Hound. I once helped bathe a funky Keeshound who had jumped into a polluted creek to retrieve a soggy, rotten squirrel carcass,. That was fun. NOT!
    And Frugal Hound, don’t feel too bad: our neighbor dog, Dudley, just got a bath AND a haircut! At least you don’t have to get shaved!

    1. Enjoy the free National Park! That sounds like a fabulous way to spend a spring day!

      We are pretty lucky with Frugal Hound, she’s not too hairy or funky. And, it’s really nice not to have to cut her hair!

  26. My large hairy dog has never had a bath. An occasional dry bath of equal parts corn starch and baking soda take care of any smells and it is much easier on both of us.

    It is shedding season so I am brushing him more but I am still surrounded by dog hair.

    1. I think Frugal Hound would prefer the dry bath too if given the option! But, it’s the tub for her today 🙂

  27. Since January when we moved to Florida, it’s pretty much been summer, and then summer, and summer still. I’m not really a fan of summer. I love spring. Hopefully, next year we’ll move on to somewhere a bit more mild. My vote is for Eureka, California! 🙂 As for Frugal Hound, seriously, F.H., only twice a year??? You need to suck it up! The rest of us have to do it daily. 😛

    1. That’s a lot of summer! Frugal Hound replies that she still feels persecuted by her baths and will not “suck it up” 😉

  28. I am trying to find a way to segue from your post into a question. How is this? With spring our minds also switch to new things, like planning a wedding (very subtle). I have a friend (really I do, it isn’t me) who is trying to plan her wedding but whenever the halls and caterers see a bride the prices double (or seem to). She has a small budget. Only 50 guests but wants an elegant wedding. I thought the Frugalwoods community might have some suggestions. Where we live all the nice halls for rent usually have contracts with specific caterers and there is no negotiating room. The wedding is planned for first week of September. It should still be somewhat warm here. Thanks.

    1. The tactic my frugal sister used when planning her wedding was to tell vendors that she was planning a “family reunion” instead of a wedding since she too experienced the apparent wedding surcharge. It really wasn’t a lie either as she had all of our family at the wedding, so it certainly was a reunion of sorts!

      I wonder if your friend has considered getting married outside? Perhaps renting a park or nature center might be less expensive? I’d say, anything she can do to think outside of the box of traditional wedding venues might yield better results. I have friends who’ve gotten married in a coffee shop, a brewery, a bar, a nature preserve, a campground–I think you can have a wedding just about anywhere you want! Those locations are often cheaper and more interesting that the traditional catering hall.

      I hope that other readers will have more suggestions too. Best of luck to your friend!

  29. I’m definitely glad to see the winter go. With Spring comes all the outdoor activities and adventures the MF family loves.

    Winter tends to be a bit of a dreadful time with lots of time spent indoors. The irony of it is we live in the Denver area, the same area much of the country is eager to get to during the winter.

    1. Spring is certainly our favorite time for outdoor activities too! It’s just so pleasant to be out in nature when everything’s in bloom and the temperature is on the rise. Thanks for stopping by and saying hi!

  30. I also love the natural rhythm seasons brings into our lives, from the foods we eat to what we do. Winter=more cozy indoor time, spring=parks, picnics, hikes, travel. Oh, and large dog-bathing is fun for the ENTIRE FAMILY. why would we outsource that!!!

    1. Haha, large dog bathing really is entertainment for everyone ;)! We did indeed wash Frugal Hound last weekend and it was honestly hilarious. So glad we’re not the only ones clued into this fabulous method of humor 😉

  31. I live in Atlanta. Biking in the hot humid weather in Atlanta summers is not going to be all that much fun. Conversely, I virtually never have to decide whether to bike int eh snow or not.
    RIght now though, with highs in the 70s, it is pleasant biking weather.

    1. Ahhh, the 70s sound pretty good right about now. Mr. FW does indeed bike all winter long in the snow and ice and there are certainly some unpleasant commutes!

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