It's Time To Prepare For Winter
Something Told the Wild Geese..
When I was in elementary school this poem by Rachel Field was one that was read every autumn. Although days are still warm and harvesting is still in progress winter cold is on it's way. Animals are beginning to prepare for what lies ahead, geese are flying south...as it says in the poem, something told the wild geese, and we need to be paying close attention to that same clarion call so we are not caught unaware. Cold weather is coming and right now is the time to start preparing your home for winter!
Keep Your Family Warm Efficiently
- Getting the heating unit checked by a licensed technician should be a yearly activity. A checkup can uncover small problems before they turn into big ones, or ward off uncomfortable surprises like turning your heater on in the middle of the first really cold night to find that it is not working! Make sure you have a clean filter in place, and several to switch out, and make sure the pilot light is lit if you have a gas heater.
- If you have propane tanks have them filled and ready to go. By getting your fuel early you will usually pay less for it and it is a worry off your mind. Don't put it off.
- If you use wood for all or part of your heat, stock up! We had several big trees come down this year and we are set for wood. Need wood? Check out the neighborhoods on trash day to see if people have taken out or trimmed trees. It is a great, free source for wood and it keeps it out of the landfill where is doesn't help anyone! Before you light your first fire of the season consider getting your chimney checked and cleaned.
- Buy (or knit) some wool socks! There is nothing that will keep your feet warm like wool, and if your feet are warm then the rest of you will be as well.
- Check the weather stripping around the doors, and the caulk around the windows.
- If you are on pier and beam check the ductwork under the house for tears and holes. One small tear can keep alot of heat out of yor home. You can also have your house tested for duct leaks by a proffesional
- Get out those quilts and afghans. To me there is nothing more relaxing that reading a good book in front of a crackling fire wrapped in a quilt and drinking coffee.
- Think about installing a thermostat that has different setting capabilites for day/night.
Fall Equipment Care
Winter Preparations for Outside the House
It isn't just inside the house that you need to prepare. Gardens need to be put to bed to await the first warm, spring days.
Now is the time to plant many bushes and trees, as well as pring flowering bulbs like iris and tulip. Be sure to continue to water your plants as needed. Being hydrated will help them make it through winter healthy!
- Unhook and roll up hoses.
- Cover outside faucets with insulated faucet covers.
- Mulch gardens with a thick layer of compost followed by shredded leaves.
- Run the gas out of the lawn mower and have the blades sharpened.
- Oil your tools; shovels, rakes, etc. This keeps them from rusting.
- Clean leaves and debris out of rain gutters.
- Store patio furniture.
- Do any winter maintenence you have to do on a pool or hot tub.
- Consider getting a chiminia to extend the time you can spend an evening on the patio.
- Mow yard and fertilize with a winter fertilizer.
- Spread winter rye over your pasture.
- Considering using a winter- hardy, green mulch on your vegetable garden.
- Bring in any plants that you want to winter over.
- Turn off sprinkling systems and fountains.
- Consider building a cold frame to grow lettuce and spinach all winter long.
Pets and Livestock Need to be Prepared
Animals get cold too. It is important to be attentive to the needs of your animals during the cold months so that they don't suffer needlessly.
- Check dog house if you have outside pets. Fill with warm straw.
- Be sure dog house opening is facing south.
- Bring in hay for your livestock. They need a steady supply to provide warmth.
- Spread straw in the stalls. You can lay down a layer of diatamaceous earth before the straw to help control mites and lice, and other bugs.
- Get a water tank heater if necessary, to keep the water in the horse tank from freezing up.
- Check fences. It is much nicer to stretch fence on a 70 degree October day than a -10 degree day in January.
- Will you need to install a heat light in the chicken coop?
- If you have a fish pond the fish should be fine as long as the pond does not freeze solid.
What will you do in case of a power outage? What if it lasts several days?
It is just wise to keep several days supplies of food and water and other necessary things on hand, just in case. If you were without electricy for several days how would you cook? How would you stay warm?
We have a large, Rubbermade, tub that is filled with things we can use in case of an outtage. There are MRE's, canned foods, peanut butter, toilet paper, and cleaning supplies along with water. It is good to have a similar tub somewhere where you can get it easily when you need it.
If you have a propane grill keep extra tanks of propane - you'll be able to cook no matter what happens!
On this same note, be sure and keep extra food on hand for pets, and don't let your hay and feed supplies dwindle.
If you live in an area where there is often ice, stock up on salt for your steps and sidewalks.
Planning ahead saves time and money! When you are prepared you can respond to a probelm rather than react to it. By following as many of these suggestions as you can you will be on your way to a nearly effortless winter, and be prepared for whatever weather happens.
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