Winter, at least for those in colder climates, is one season that very few people relish. For starters, snow can be a real pain to deal with. Frozen pipes can be another issue. All in all, if you aren’t prepared, then winter will be far more of a hassle than it has to be.
Don’t forget that even though things might be cold and your property isn’t looking green and lush, winter is an amazing time to simply relax and recharge before spring starts.
Getting through winter is all about preparation. If you’re worried about the impending snow fall, take a look at the following tips.
Preparing Your Garden:
1. Rake up leaves and either add them to your compost pile or shred them to layer on your lawn or garden beds.
2. Set up barriers around shrubs or young trees that need protection from heavy snow.
3. Remove all dead plants from beds and compost.
4. Cut any perennials back, weed and add a fertilizer.
5. Generally clean up beds and the garden in general. Move tools into a shed or other storage area. Remember that when snow falls everything will be covered in white, so if you need to find something in winter, move it now.
Preparing Your Livestock:
6. Consider buying a water trough heater or small heated buckets.
7. Ensure you have enough hay for all animals, and look into whether you’ll need to buy grain or other diet supplements.
8. Clean out your barn, shed, run-ins, coops, etc. You’ll want their winter quarters to be dust-free and clean since livestock will likely be spending more time indoors.
9. Buy bedding and determine if you’ll be cleaning weekly or doing a deep-litter system.
10. Clip hooves, vaccinate, deworm and do anything else to prepare livestock health-wise.
Preparing Your House:
11. Consider making or buying thermal curtains and using 3M plastic film over windows to keep out cold.
12. If you use an alternative heat source like a wood or pellet stove, make sure you have more than enough wood or pellets to get you through a long winter.
13. Clean (particularly dust removal) and do any maintenance on other heaters.
14. Take a look at your roof to ensure it will be sound for the impending wet weather and heavy snow.
15. If you use a fireplace, clean out the fireplace and call out a chimney sweep to clean out the chimney.
16. Take steps to prevent frozen pipes by insulating exposed pipes and turning off exterior water lines when not in use.
17. Replace any brittle or missing weatherstripping around doors.
18. Empty your gutters and ensure they will stand up to any weather you experience in your climate, including heavy snow.
Preparing Your Car:
19. Buy studded tires if you need them and ensure you put them on before you need them (but still within the legal timeframe for your area).
20. Take your car into a mechanic – or perform some DIY work — to ensure your car is working well, particularly the brakes.
21. Flush out oil and replace with a winter weight suitable for your car and your region.
22. Flush out antifreeze and put in new (50/50) solution if you haven’t in the past 2 years.
23. Check tire pressure after putting on winter tires and be sure to check regularly throughout winter.
24. If you haven’t replaced windshield wipers in the past 6 months, do so.
25. Switch your windshield washer fluid to one suitable for winter if needed.
26. Ensure your heater and all lights are working properly.
27. If you have any doubts about your car or have any issues, get them taken care of ASAP, as winter will only exacerbate problems.
A lot of the preparation for winter is simple, especially if you take the time to sit down and create a to-do list. Winter prep can seem like a real chore, but it can save you some major headaches – and in the end it saves time come spring when your homestead is once more alive and kicking.
What are your tips for homestead winter preparation? Share them in the section below: