Even though things slow down on the homestead during winter, there is still work that needs to be done! Having some winter chores prepped will keep you ahead of the game so you can stay inside more. Below are some winter chores to keep in mind when tending to a homestead.
It’s easy to decide to create a homestead, however, the ways in which we go about it can be difficult. But here are a few tips to help you as winter approaches if you want to live on a homestead or improve your self-reliance.
1.Have Backup Heat – A wood-burning stove is a great option especially if you live near a wooded area with a lot of dead trees ready to be harvested. Back up heat will come in handy if the power is knocked out and the heat is incredibly soothing. It also offers that added security of being more self-reliant.
2. Store Enough Water for Animals – You will need to take into account all of your animals when storing water. Plan at least a gallon per day per person, and dog. Cats need less but should be counted too. Make sure you plan for your ducks, chickens, goats, horses, rabbits, etc. Be sure to plan enough water storage for livestock, cooking and cleanliness, house pets, and your family’s daily consumption. Also, prepare for your worst-case water outage scenario.
3. Plan and Get Ready to “Unfreeze” Water – If the power goes out, our ducks won’t have access to water. Their pool will be frozen and their water they drink in their duck house will freeze as well as their heat lamp goes off. Be ready to make sure they have water. We plan to switch out bowls should this happen. We will keep one indoors by the wood-burning stove while one is outside. As the one inside thaws and the one outside melts, a swap can be made. This is just an idea, however, because we haven’t had to do this yet. However, I encourage you to make this effort, because animals, such as ducks, must have standing unfrozen water in order to clean their beaks as eyes as they eat.
4. Keep Your Clothes Clean – This takes extra work too, but during winter, I like to keep as many clothing items clean at one time as possible. If the power goes out right now, what do you have to wear that’s warm that won’t need to be washed by hand? This is just something that I personally have thought of. With two kids, laundry can get out of hand quickly, but we usually have enough in baskets for a full load.
5. Have Sand Handy – Sand can be used to gain traction for any vehicle on ice and snow. You could even put some sand in milk cartons and keep it in your car in case you get stuck. The extra weight in the back of a car can be helpful in gaining traction too.
6. Do Any Routine Maintenance Before It Snows – Do anything necessary to your car or vehicle before it snows. It’ll be much easier than repairing a car that breaks down during a snowstorm. You should also do everything possible outside that needs fixing before that first snow too. If you know a section of your fence is down, fix it in the late summer or early fall before the temperatures dip.
5. Fill Your Propane Tank & Buy Other Fuel – Have some gas and/or diesel available to use with a generator or equipment. You should also make sure your propane tank is full.
Once you complete all of the outside tasks, you can take the time indoors to cozy up with some hot tea and watch the ducks play in the snow. Ok, maybe not if you don’t have ducks. But it’s comforting to know that things are taken care of and plans are in place to ensure a smooth transition if you lose power. Peace of mind is something you cannot buy.