Ah…..Autumn…it’s here….yay! Truth be told, Winter is fast on its heels in my neck of the woods!
So is your homestead prepped for Winter?
To keep on top of all the chores that need to get accomplished, I love to use this “Basic Household Cleaning List” from DonnaYoung.org, (to find it, scroll about a 1/4 to 1/2 way down the page and look for the title of “Basic Household Cleaning List” and you can click and download a copy for yourself 🙂 it helps me look at the seasonal things that we need to do to keep our homestead running somewhat smoothly…and remind me of those ‘once a year chores’ that I may otherwise forget! 😉 I also love the weekly section that lists areas that I can fill in with those monthly/weekly chores that will, and do, slip my mind without this great chart to keep us on track! Things like flipping the matresses and cleaning the coffee pot…things I ‘intend’ to get done, but without my reminder chart….tend to get forgotten!
I was looking over my chart today, as I stood in the kitchen, tanking down that first cup o’ coffee and noted we had really got a lot done and are pretty much ready if the snow that is being predicted does fly, starting this evening. My husband is really the one who does the bulk of the outdoor prepping, but all in all the whole family participates in one fashion or another 🙂
This year we needed to really get our wood stocked back up, and thanks to much hard work by my husband, it is done! Kindling and all!!
The faucet covers are on to help protect our water system from freezing up, the hoses have been drained and put up (ah…back to hauling water to the animals!) & we needed a bit of weather stripping around a particular door, and that is done as well.
Tools that won’t be used over winter are stored (great to store with a coat of WD40 on them , or in a bucket of sand and olive oil, to keep them from rusting) tools that will be used, such as the snow rake, snow blower, snowshovels, wheelbarrow (for hauling wood from the main wood pile to the racks we have on the deck to hold a few days worth at a time), etc are ready to roll! Machines that won’t be used are cleaned up and made ready for winter (riding mower and such).
Gutters are cleaned and ready for the snow and ice–as ready as they can be.
All the childrens outdoor toys and such are put up, covered up or otherwise tended to… all their ‘treasures’ from down at the creek are picked up and put up til next year (if you don’t pick them up the creek WILL take them far, far away downstream during the annual flooding we tend to get! The creek goes from peaceful babbling brook in summer to raging river in late fall/early winter! If the creek doesn’t get ’em the annual windstorms will!).
We have the stove cleaned and it’s already keeping us warm and fed! Using a real stove/chimney brush, I say ‘real’ because I’ve heard of folks using other ‘things’ to do this job (they are easily used and saves on having a chimneysweep come out and do this for you) keeps creosote down and ensures a great draw! I love to keep pots of soups or chilis going on the stove during the cold months, we also keep kettles of water on the stove–that we can keep moisture in the air with, and add essential oils, such as Eucalyptus, Lavender, Peppermint, etc for colds, sniffles, or just ‘cleaning the air’.
Fuel! We have our propane tanks and smaller fuel tanks full, we’re holding out on filling up larger fuel tanks, hoping prices will DROP! 🙂 When winter hits with a vengence–it’s nice to have propane for using our outdoor heaters / cookstoves if need be, and gas for snowblowers, chainsaws, etc. or even filling a vehicle if caught in some sort of longer than a few days, winter event.
If you use rock salt, get it now–have it at the ready. Cat litter is another help (although messy to clean back up) to get traction for feet or tires!
Vehicles are ready, with the exception of snowtires, which legally, here, we can’t put on til November 1st–antifreeze, ice scrapers, tire chains, jumper cables, and emergency bags are all taken care of in both rigs. Althought I DO need to get my G.O.O.D bags (‘get out of dodge’) repacked with extra clothing and blankets, couple candles, etc., etc. (etc = whatever you think your family will need in a “Get outta dodge” situation–I’ll leave that to your imagination) back in the vehicle–I took them out to got thru the clothing and wash it, etc. Need to get that on the list of immediate TO DO’s!
Now is also a great time to put extra straw in the goat barns and dog houses (or whatever critters you have on your homestead!) for the animals to stay snug and warm during winter! Also to get a rubber hammer out break ice up, in animals water containers.
I also try to have the pantry totally stocked by this time of year, so all I need to do is keep up on things, rotate and can soups, stews, chilis–meals, as I make big batches 🙂 I also make sure all blankets (extras included) get a good washing and are ready for tossing an extra on the beds in cold weather, the camper has a few extras, and for using as indoor window coverings in extreme cold.
Another thing we do each Fall, is ‘inventory’! Does each person have a good pair of snowboots that still FIT them? What about snowpants? Coat? Gloves? Hats? What can we toss or donate, and what can be passed down to the next person? What about our emergency medical supplies? Do you have a family member that needs certain medications? NOW is the time to be sure those things are on hand, rather than get hit by a freak ice storm or something and not be able to get them (and that is a good plan for the entire year, emergencies don’t just happen in winter–man made disasters can happen at any time, we’ve all been witness to that!)
Last but certainly not least…just for fun–make sure you have a few decks of cards, and games (with all the pieces) handy, some hot cocoa mix, coffee and teas and OF COURSE candles–so when your power goes out or you have a winter weather event, etc.– you have some comforts that make things more pleasant than they would be without them 🙂
Let the snow fly…