Life on a farm is very different from most lifestyles in the outside world. All farming operations require basic daily chores that must be done every day of the year, including weekends and legal holidays. Even illness is not a reason to defer the basic daily chores. On Peeper Pond Farm, these routine daily chores include feeding the livestock and milking the goats (twice daily). Other chores are periodic and may vary with the season. To make it a little easier to plan a visit to Peeper Pond Farm or to anticipate what you might expect to see at different times of the year, we have prepared this simple monthly listing of typical activities on the farm throughout the year. Also please view our Attractions & Events page (under the “Our Community” header) for additional information on seasonal attractions and events throughout our region. While the time frames listed are based on long-term averages, actual timing can vary by a few weeks depending on seasonal weather conditions. The additional links below provide more detailed current and historical meteorological data for Upper Tract and/or Petersburg, WV (as is available).
Click here for Sunrise & Sunset Times For Upper Tract, WV
Click here for a detailed Upper Tract, WV 10 -day Weather Forecast and Weather Advisories
Click here for a Regional Weather Radar Loop
Click here for Historical Weather Averages for Upper Tract, WV or Petersburg, WV (Graphic – Tabular) IMPORTANT NOTE: Regardless of casual speech, there is no such thing as “normal” weather conditions for any location–only long-term weather averages for a specific historical period (typically 30-year averages).
Click here for the West Virginia Plant Hardiness Zone map
January – Winter’s fury month.
- Advance preparations for “kidding season” are undertaken in early January–seriously.
- Check bee hives on the first warm day when temperatures exceed 50º–install pollen patties & fondant.
- Final wine fermenting (from grapes harvested last September) begins in January.
- Prior year farm financial records must be closed out & reconciled for tax season.
- Dave may be found in the workshop on warm days making farm equipment repairs or other farm improvements.
- Barb may begin work on a new quilting project.
February – The month to begin early spring preparations.
- On February 2, groundhogs try to fool us into thinking we’ll get an early spring.
- “Kidding season” begins when goats bred in late August or early September give birth (about 5 months after conception). Kidding season can last into May.
- Seeds for the spring planting season can be purchased after February 1.
- Begin indoor planting of frost-sensitive annual plants requiring a long growing season.
- Maple sugaring season begins when the sap begins to run during the first warm days in February.
- Fruit trees and grapevines must be pruned around the middle of the month.
- Ski season typically reaches its peak around President’s Day weekend.
- Routine farm equipment maintenance & repairs should be underway by the end of February.
- The first flowers (crocuses and daffodils) begin to bloom sometime in late February.
March – When the peepers sing, it must be time for spring.
- Daylight savings time begins on the 2nd Sunday offering later daylight working hours for spring preparations.
- Inspect bee hives on the first day when temperatures exceed 50º–provide sugar water nectar if necessary.
- Peeper Pond awakens to the chorus of spring peepers around the beginning of the month–lasting into April.
- Spring cleaning & exterior building repairs are usually initiated during the month.
- Routine farm equipment maintenance work is completed during the month.
- Shrubs and hardy weeds begin turning green. Lawn grass turns green just before the summer drought.
- Bradford pear trees bloom around or after St. Patrick’s Day.
- Ramps (wild leeks) are usually harvested throughout the month–like it or not.
- Fencing repairs are undertaken on warm days throughout the month. It’s no fun, but it’s better than picking rocks.
- The vernal equinox occurs around March 22.
- Spring farm pest control measures are usually completed in the 2nd half of March.
- The bee hives must be inspected and outfitted for the new season by the end of the month.
- The year’s first major cleaning of the goat barn (winter bedding replacement) is done by the end of the month.
- The Highland County Maple Festival occurs during the 2nd & 3rd weeks of March.
- Maple sugaring season ends sometime in the later part of the month–remaining sap is boiled.
- The region’s ski resorts shut down operations throughout the month. The Virginia ski areas usually close early in the month, while Snowshoe can remain in operation through the end of the month.
- When the ground bares and begins to dry out in late March or early April, the garden must be tilled for planting. Compost loam is added as needed to amend the soil.
April – April heralds the “greening” season.
- Bug season begins early in the month.
- Goat milk production peaks in April & May – begin making other goat milk products (soap, lotion, cheese, yogurt, etc.).
- Rotate bee hive supers to place active brood box with queen on the bottom of the hive.
- The first cold-weather tolerant vegetables can be planted around early April.
- The spring peepers become tired of singing sometime in April.
- The Highway Department begins road construction work in April, but never seems to finish.
- The hot water tank must be flushed out on a warm day in April.
- Raucous migrating summer birds begin returning to the Potomac highlands around early April. No one sleeps late until the end of May.
- Forsythia bushes sport golden leaves around mid-April.
- Our fruit trees and lilacs blossom in mid-to-late April.
- Early blooming red bud trees, plum trees, & dogwoods can blossom by the end of April & peak in May.
- Tax filings are finalized and mailed by mid-April.
- Fishing season reaches a peak in late April, as area fishermen try to catch enough fish to recoup their taxes.
- Fencing repairs are completed by the end of the month. Always try to finish on the outside.
- Hummingbird feeders are filled & put out during the 4th week of April.
- Install a honey super on bee hives to store home use honey by the end of April/early May.
- “Kidding season” ends in the final days of the month or in early May.
- Firewood & wood pellet orders for next season are placed by the end of the month.
May –The planting month.
- Our mountains and hills are awash in “40 shades of green,” as most deciduous trees leaf out.
- Wine can be bottled in late April or early May for final aging.
- All newborn goat kids must be tagged, tested, & dehorned by early May.
- The herb and vegetable gardens are fully planted by mid-May. Weeding work begins.
- The last frost of the season usually occurs before May 15.
- All firewood and pellets for the coming winter should be received and stacked before the end of May.
- The pellet stove and wood stoves are shut down for the season by mid-May and the flues are cleaned.
- The Whip-Poor-Wills begin their nightly mating calls from the surrounding forest around mid-May.
- Strawberries become ready for harvest in early May.
- Routine growing season outdoor chores are fully underway.
- Summer tourist season begins on Memorial Day weekend.
- The Del Fest Bluegrass Music event occurs during Memorial Day Weekend at the Allegany County (MD) Fairgrounds.
- Newborn goat kid sales should be completed by Memorial Day.
June – Summer begins.
- Summer feeders may be installed in the bee hives during the month of June.
- Blueberries become ready for harvest around mid-June (earlier, if the deer or bears find them).
- The summer solstice occurs around June 22.
- Fireflies first appear in late June.
July – The season of plenty.
- Petersburg hosts our area’s largest Fourth of July fireworks display.
- Almost anything can happen on Peeper Pond Farm in July.
- Remove honey supers when full in July and extract honey for home consumption.
- Early vegetables begin to be harvested from the garden in late June/early July.
- Late vegetables begin to be harvested from the garden in late July.
- The Allegany County (MD) Fair opens during the third week in July.
- The Tri-County fair opens in late July.
August – The dog days of summer.
- Summer bugs feverishly harvest human blood in preparation for winter.
- Arrangements are made by mid-August to acquire fall and winter hay.
- Goat breeding season begins in August & runs into December. CAE testing and/or prevention measures begin.
- The State Fair of West Virginia & the Rockingham County Fair open around mid-August.
- Sunflowers begin blooming during the month.
- Begin harvesting peaches from the orchard in early-to-mid August.
- The Highland County Fair opens around the last week in August.
September – The harvest month.
- Summer tourist season ends after Labor Day weekend.
- Inspect bee hives around Labor Day and install supplemental fall feeder if necessary.
- Begin harvesting apples from the orchard throughout the month.
- Fruit harvest begins in early-to-mid September (apples, grapes, and other berries).
- Wine and jelly processing begins after the fruit harvest.
- Canning work is well underway in September.
- The autumnal equinox occurs around September 22.
- Final vegetables are harvested from the garden by the autumnal equinox.
- Late summer/early fall flowers (goldenrod, joe pye weed, and wingstem) are in full bloom during September.
- Hummingbirds migrate south during the last week of September and the hummingbird feeders are removed.
- Bow hunting season for deer begins around the end September.
- By the end of September, most biting insects have flown south for the Florida tourist feeding season.
- Fall farm pest control measures are completed by the end of September.
October – The fall foliage and canning month.
- Fall Foliage season begins in early October.
- The growing season ends with the first frost–sometime in early-to-mid October.
- The wood and pellet stoves are first lit around the first week of October.
- The hot water tank must be flushed out on a warm day in October.
- Canning work is usually completed by mid-October.
- Standing plant refuse is cleared from the garden by the end of the month in preparation for winter.
- Fall Foliage begins to peak around the 2nd or 3rd week of October.
- The first winter snowfall can occur anytime between Halloween and Thanksgiving–usually when it is most inconvenient.
November – Hunting Season.
- Inspect bee hives on the first warm day–Remove fall feeders and install sugar patties.
- Daylight Savings Time ends on the first Sunday in November.
- Fall Foliage season ends around the 2nd week in November.
- The goat barn is cleaned and a winter bedding is added during the month.
- Winter preparations are undertaken on Peeper Pond Farm during November.
- The Christmas lighting display in Petersburg’s Welton Park begins at Thanksgiving. It lasts through New Year’s day.
- Buck firearm hunting season begins the week of Thanksgiving.
- Ski season at Snowshoe can begin around Thanksgiving.
- Wine bottled in May can be first served for Thanksgiving.
December – Winter begins when the cold sets in.
- December is typically the slow month (such as it may be) on Peeper Pond Farm.
- Goat breeding season concludes by early December.
- Dave comprehensively reviews and updates the farm web site during the month.
- The Petersburg Christmas Parade occurs around the 2nd Saturday in December.
- Our first “snow cover” (one inch or more of snow) usually falls in late December. Subsequent snow covers come & go throughout winter.
- Area ski resorts typically begin operation before or around Christmas.
- Buck firearm hunting season ends around the 1st weekend in December.
- Deer Muzzleloader hunting season begins around the 1st weekend in December.
- Peeper Pond Farm is decorated for Christmas around mid-December.
- The Winter Solstice occurs around December 22. We begin hoping for a white Christmas.
- Deer hunting season concludes by the end of the month.