Things have been busy around the homestead of late; hubby was called up by the reserves at the first of the month to spend another year on active duty (stateside, thankfully) ~ we’re in the middle of processing our fall cattle for our beef customers ~ we’re winterizing our bees ~ planning for the holidays – the list of things that have kept me quite busy for several days goes on and on.
In all of that, I’ve also been reviewing our winter preps. At the first little cold nibble, I start to run everything through my mind to make sure I’m as prepared as I can be for the coming winter season. This is something we work on throughout the year, but I always do a check as winter approaches to make sure everything is in good order.
Granted, in West Tennessee we don’t have a terribly severe winter season – no real snow to concern ourselves with most years; occasionally an ice storm will visit us – but since we never know exactly what’s on the agenda for Mother Nature any given year, it’s nice to be prepared for what might come our way.
I start by making sure my food preps are in order. We keep long term, intermediate, short term and current use food preps. My current use food preps for the most part are always the one being used plus 2 in the pantry. For example, if I have an open peanut butter – there should be 2 more unopened ones in the pantry (or fridge or freezer, depending on what it is). We work it this way for our most commonly used items – things like butter, oats, sugar, peanut butter, ketchup, spices, cooking oils, etc.
I know that if we have an ice storm, for example, I’m well set with my pantry and other storage foods to make it through for many weeks if necessary. Along with food preps I make sure I have cooking fuel, something to open my canned goods with that isn’t electric, things to cook with over a fire if necessary, things like that.
I make sure we have plenty of stored water. We keep some 55 gallon barrels of water stored outside, as well as juice containers of water inside. We also have some Water Bobs on hand that we could use in the bathtubs to store an additional 100 gallons of water if necessary.
Next I think about heat. One reason I live in the South is because I really don’t like to be cold. And I’m cold once it drops below 75 degrees! So I tend to think a LOT about heat and ways to stay warm. Several years ago we had the gas line to our fireplace capped and had it lined with firebricks so we could use it to burn wood instead. This has been nice, but this year we’re going to step it up and put in a wood stove insert so that if necessary, we could heat our entire home from the fireplace.
We have a little over 3 cords of wood put up, another cord to split and access to plenty more wood should the need arise. I anticipate we’ll have our wood stove in place in the next month. We’re looking at a couple of models that also have a cook-top option, which would be another cooking alternative should the power be out for any reason.
Those are my big 3 areas that I try to make sure are in good order. There are tons of other little things too – like making sure the furnace is in good order and the filter is new before we switch over to the heat, making sure our outdoor faucets have covers to keep them from freezing, making sure our vehicles are appropriately winterized and have winter emergency gear in them, getting our winter bed coverings out and refreshed, switching out the fall and winter clothes for the children and adults, and other things specific to our family and our homestead.
Are you ready for this winter season? Is there anything special you do to prepare? Let us know if you’ve found a particular tip or trick that helps you along!