Although winter is expected to start out relatively mild over most parts of the USA, homesteaders in certain parts may be in for a chilly surprise come January according to The Weather Channel. Depending on where you live, your winter prep may be as simple as packing away your patio furniture and taking a few extra blankets out of the cupboard, or as laborious as preparing to keep your family and your animals out of harmâ€™s way should the weather become exceedingly inclement. Preparing your homestead for the colder months ahead does not, however, have to be a vexing task. By following a few basic guidelines, such as the following, you can easily complete all the preparations required before the first heavy frost settles on the ground.
Prepare your garden for a well-deserved rest
You should take advantage of the changing weather and take care of your garden, pulling out all your plants that are spent and looking diseased. If you leave your infected plants to rot away during winter, chances are your soil will be reinfected, causing extensive harm to the following yearâ€™s crop. Remove all the weeds that have managed to survive through summer, moving them to the compost heap. Alternatively, you can add fertilizer to your compostable garden (and food waste), and turn it into your garden, allowing it to compost for the entire winter.
Prepare your home
Keeping your family warm during an icy winter is of utmost importance. There are various ways to heat your home. If you donâ€™t have an electric heat source, ensure that your fireplace or wood-burning stove is in good working condition and gather enough wood that will last you until the weather clears up. Ensure that your chimney is cleaned, clean out your gutters and double-check all your seals on the roof around the chimney as well as your vents. It might be a good idea to stock up on some non-perishable food and replenish your first-aid kit, just in case you get snowed in and canâ€™t get to the nearest town for supplies.
Ensure your animals will have enough food and adequate shelter
Unlike us, animals canâ€™t put on an extra layer of clothing or snuggle under a blanket when it gets cold out. Regardless of how your animals are housed, it is important to make sure that they have adequate shelter from the elements. Give your stalls and coops a good clean before winter and fill them with enough straw or other bedding materials to last for a good couple of weeks.
Stock up on hay well in advance
Watering your animals may be the toughest winter-time chore, especially if you donâ€™t have a submersible stock tank heater. There are luckily other ways to keep your animals well-hydrated. Apart from boiling the kettle countless times a day to defrost frozen water, you can also build a solar tank heater or make use of spring water, where possible. Start calculating your hay and other food requirements at the beginning of summer to give yourself enough time to make alternate arrangements if your regular supplier is unable to assist you.
If you havenâ€™t yet started preparing your homestead for the coming winter, now is as good a time as any. With the weather already changing, you donâ€™t want to risk being unprepared, especially not if it can compromise the well-being of both your family and your animals.
This is another Cassie Steele article.Â Â