I know, I know, it’s not even labor day yet, but it’s never too early to think about preparing the homestead for winter. The key to a safe winter is planning, preparation and foresight. If you’d like to homestead one day or get more off-grid eventually, here are a few basic tips for winter prep you can start considering now, for this year or the next. Even if you’re not a homesteader at all, these are useful tips for disaster preparedness through the winter.
This is probably what comes to mind first when you think of preparing for winter, and it is of course vital. Fireplaces and wood stoves can be lifesaving, and even if you have gas stoves, you may want to consider a wood-burning backup for heating and cooking, in case gas lines get shut down or roads get blocked and you can’t drive to purchase more propane.
You can purchase truckloads of firewood, sometimes find people selling it or giving it away on websites like Craigslist or other local listings, and of course cut your own. The most important factor is dryness: storing the wood while dry and keeping it dry.
As summer wanes away, take advantage of your garden harvest and also whatever harvest is going on in your community and start preserving food. Canning, drying, fermenting and packing in oil are all great options for refrigeration-free food storage in your cellar. Also if you are a hunter or know some, you’ll want to start preserving meat too. Meat can also be canned, made into jerky, and you can also render tallow too.
Even if you are happy with your emergency supply of canned goods, preserving fresh produce through the winter is a very good idea for nutritional reasons. Throughout the winter, finding fresh, local produce can be very difficult, so preserves offer a nice alternative to irradiated Ecuadorian produce.
Before the weather gets cold is the ideal time to check your house for any repairs that might need to be done before winter. You wouldn’t want to find out in the middle of a winter storm that you’ve got a leak in your roof or poor insulation on one of your windows. Get your regular maintenance done on your vehicles, too.
Other ways to prepare for winter are to make sure you’ve got flashlights and/or oil lamps with spare batteries and/or oil, plenty of winter clothes and blankets for your family, and-something often overlooked-a way to dry clothes indoors. With the right considerations and foresight, you can have a very safe and prepared homestead winter.
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