Recycling Winter Debris

What to do with winter clean up

Our Winter is in full swing and the temperatures are all over the place.  Especially this week but it was good because I was able to head outdoors a couple of times to begin cleaning up after the last few heavy rainfalls.

It was pretty overcast with temperatures of 55 which was perfect because I worked almost all day with a few breaks in between.

The debris was overwhelming so this year I’m putting all that rubbish to work by recycling it.

Debris for the walk path

A Hay Walk Path

Everything right now is dull in comparison to the other seasons and our rain activity has been continuous since September.

The good news is my feet no longer sink inches in the ground in most areas and I’m still counting the days to spring.  Get the free clock counter here. 

You’ll notice I made myself a hay walk path on the way to the chicken coop.  This was a temporary solution to keep from slipping after it rains, and it works great but my original goal called for a mulch walk path.

This hasn’t happened yet because it’s been too wet or cold to really work outdoors for long periods of time.

Gathering Debris

Recycling Winter Debris for Good

After the last rain I noticed another layer of natural waste washed up against the fence and in other areas the buildup has been enormous because guess what?  Water runs downhill and debris follows.

I put off cleaning up because it’s been so wet, I wasn’t sure what to do with all of it.  Plus, I don’t like to get stuck in the mud, that’s no fun!

In the past I’ve been pretty creative when it comes to using natural material and here’s just a few of those tips:

  • Establishing raised beds, it’s makes a great base before adding soil.
  • I’ve also used leaf debris as mulch for my beds.  Learn more here.
  • If dry burn for garden ashes.
  • Use to fill in low spots and later cover with dirt.
  • If you compost it can be added to bins.

If you have additional recycling suggestions please share because with all these trees the debris is enormous around here.

Line walk path with tree trunks

Now I’m Using Debris in a Walk Path

I settled on using all the natural matter I gathered for my walk path in the bird park.  This path takes me to the quail and chicken coops.

I’m lining the edges with tree trunks and filling in between with all that rubbish. This has been a messy project but the chickens seem to love it because they can sift on their way home in the evening.  Boy, do they love to sift…

Eventually once I get this filled then I’ll cover that path with homemade mulch which will leave me with a nice cushy walk path.

Because things are all natural all the time out here.  Learn how to make mulch here. 

Making progress with winter debris

If you can get outdoors for just a little then begin cleaning things up now.  Don’t wait for spring when you have a new list of things to be doing in the garden.

Cleaning up is pretty simple all you really need is a shovel, rake, wheelbarrow and some energy.  Remember to bundle up and any amount of progress now will keep you hoping towards Spring.

Winter debris can build up so use it on your homestead to improve weak areas. Get more ideas here. #Wintercleanup, #Homestead


  1. Patti says:

    You make it all look so nice and neat. There’s just something amazing about nature that always looks beautiful to me.

    1. Carole says:

      I agree with you – lots of possibilities when nature is involved and thanks – Robert says neat and tidy is my thing…

  2. daisy says:

    It looks great. No doubt the debris will be adding nutrients to the soil, a win-win!
    I use dried leaves, leftover straw and small twigs as the foundation for our raised row beds. Another idea is to create a hugelkultur bed. I did one of my raised beds this way. Just pile in logs, twigs, and leaves up in a pile and then add soil. The “debris” takes up most of the space in a raised bed, so you can use less soil. Saves money and enriches the soil underneath as well.

    Hope you are drying out there. We have more rain on the way, but it makes for cozy time inside.
    Have a fantastic weekend!

    1. Carole says:

      I did one of those beds at our farm and it was a lot of fun. Just experiencing the process inspired so many ideas. We are slowly drying out, very slowly and I think rain is in the forecast this evening. Moving all this debris though is an opportunity to help things dry out because some of it was a foot tall. When I get all this clean up done then Robert can go through and finally remove some of these trees which should slow down the debris for next year. Enjoy your time inside and hope your weekend is fantastic too.

  3. Karen says:

    Great tips, Carole. We did something similar a few months ago after hurricane cleanup. While cleaning up the tree limbs and sticks, we discovered a large layer of leaf mold beautifully decomposing, so we hauled it over to the raised beds and piled it on. I’m excited about how much stronger the beds will be this spring!

    Now I’m inspired to get out there and do some more. It’s cloudy and dreary here, but has warmed up a bit so it’s at least pleasant. We have a big dip and our first freeze predicted for Sunday, so I’d better hop right on it while I can!

    1. Carole says:

      Get out there because it does wonders for the soul… I’m headed back out there for a few hours because last I checked rain is in the forecast for tonight.
      Have a great weekend and glad to hear you’re taking advantage of all the awesome debris. In away it’s like a gift for the garden.

  4. Christine says:

    Great tips and what an awesome way to both clean up your land and re use materials to improve your soil and make life happier for the birds!! We are expecting six inches of snow today so I won’t be doing any clearing but I do think I’ll go for a walk and get some fresh air!! Have a fab weekend!!

    1. Carole says:

      Thank you seems the clean up never ends. Finding a use for it is good because it’s taking forever for things to dry out. Enjoy a great weekend and stay warm or go out and make a snow angel, that actually sounds like fun.

  5. mickie mclaughlin says:

    Love your encouraging post today to “do a little now” in preparation for spring. Only 58 days–I think. Will be checking your count down post. I always count down as it seems to help get thru the cold. I want to comment on your bridge….it looks good and I am sure you are so glad you built it. And look there is water UNDER the bridge. Smiles for you

    1. Carole says:

      So glad you liked this. I’m learning that a little now prior to spring makes all the difference when the temperatures begin to warm up again. That countdown link is the best and really has helped me get through these cooler temperatures. Can’t complain to much though because we rarely see snow here. Robert’s bridge is awesome, I wish you could hear the chickens when they run across, sounds like duck feet…

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