Winter is coming. For some it is already here it seems. Everyone is talking about preparing your homestead for winter outside. But what about winter homestead preparations on the inside.
We prepare our gardens and land for winter but we also should prepare other areas like the barns, equipment sheds, animal stalls, and even our own homes too. Knowing what to check and plan for can help. In this post, I will address some of the more common areas you should prepare for winter and I have included a downloadable checklist you can print out to help you stay on track.
Winter Homestead Preparations: Heating/Plumbing
Don’t wait until it is freezing cold and the snow is falling to check those wood stoves and chimneys! Things like cleaning the flue or sweeping the chimney, are things that should be done way before you light that first fire. If you have central heat make sure those vents are clean as well as the ducts. And while you’re at it, keep a clear path in front of them.
Having a heating unit serviced can be expensive, especially if you wait until winter at the last minute but it is money worth spending in the long run. It can catch a problem before it happens.
Don’t forget about those windows and doors. Check for missing or damaged weatherstripping and check the caulking around the windows. These are simple fixes you can do yourself that can save hundreds on your heating bills in the long run. Are your windows old or drafty? Try plastic over the windows. There are kits available that aren’t expensive and they are easy to install yourself, again saving money.
While you’re at it, check those pipes too. A leaky pipe is never fun. Inspect those pipes before the cold sets in. A small leak or crack can turn major in freezing weather. Also, check for pipes that may be exposed to freezing temperatures. If you think they may freeze you can wrap those pipes with insulation piping to protect them. Do It Yourself has a pretty detailed article on protecting your pipes in winter here.
Winter Homestead Preparations: Barn/Coop/Pens
Your animals need preparations for winter also. In the chicken coop check for drafty areas especially around doors and windows and seal them as needed. While you are there, check their bedding. Making sure they have fresh bedding and plenty of it to help keep them warm. Do the same for the barn and any animal pens that require bedding. Making sure you have enough hay stocked is important too.
Have you considered their water? If it drops below freezing do you have a way to keep their water from freezing? There are many ways to do so. The Chicken Chick has a great post all about care for chickens in the winter that you can read here.
Another consideration for the animals is their food. Do you have enough stockpiled and protected for the winter months? There is nothing worse than being snowed in with no way out for a few days and running out of feed.
Make sure your animals are healthy and that their immunizations are up to date too. Starting the winter with healthy animals is far better than having to treat a sick animal when the weather is blustery and cold.
Winter Homestead Preparations: Garden Shed/Greenhouse
Having a greenhouse is a wonderful addition to the homestead. But come winter if you plan on keeping plants alive during those hard freezes you need some sort of a heat source to protect those plants. The hoses and sprinkler systems both inside and outside need to be protected also from freezing. Again a heat source should help.
In the garden shed, there are also preparations that can be done. Tools should be oiled and cleaned so they are ready to go in the spring. Now is a good time to replace rusty blades, replace spark plugs, change oil and do maintenance on any tools you may need in the spring. Mother Earth News has a short post about how to prep your tools for winter here.
Winter Homestead Preparations: Garage/Equipment Storage
Now is a good time to perform yearly maintenance on any farm equipment on the homestead. This includes oil changes, belt replacements, gas drained or added as needed, and antifreeze filled. It is also the time to get those tires ready for winter. You may need to switch to snow tires or add chains. Now is also the time to add the snowplow if you use one. You are better off putting it on before the need arises to use that plow.
You may also want to get those snow shovels ready and take stock in some salt at this time. Many people keep heavy gloves, hats, and scarves in the same area as their snow removal equipment so it is handy when they need it.
Tractor Supply offers a short prep guide for winterizing farm equipment here.
Winter is coming. These winter homestead preparations will help you have a less stressful situation when the heavy snow and freezing temperatures hit. Don’t forget to get that freezer stockpiled before winter too. For tips on how to get started with filling the freezer before winter sets in, read this post.
I have included a downloadable checklist for you with extra lines so you can add other chores you may have when preparing for winter on your homestead. I hope you find good use from the checklist.
Click below to download your free checklist.
In case you missed it, you can see what my fall homesteading chores are here.
Are there any chores I missed? Let me know in the comments below.