This afternoon has been warm and almost summer like. But it won’t last. Fall has been here and this coming weekend it will feel more like winter with low temperatures and blustery winds. Now is the time to plan on how to prepare the home and farm for winter.
This is one of the last days of the year where the children can play and run around the yard in normal clothes. No need to bundle up in coats and winter gear. While they played, I sat on the deck with a homemade latte in between all of the yard prep and clean up.
And I went over our winter prep and to-do list again.
How to Prepare the Home and Farm for Winter
When we first moved into this old farmhouse, we had so much to learn about ways to survive in the winter. Rural, country living was a huge culture shock for me. Over the past few years, most of that prep and care has become routine. These are just a few of the lessons and tasks we’ve learned to complete to make the winters a little easier.
Yard Clean Up
Before I start on most of the other projects, I begin with a general yard clean up. That means anything from children’s toys, dog toys, summer items, lawn chairs and tables.
We disconnect and roll up our garden hoses also and make sure all garden tools are put into the shed for winter storage.
Garden Clean Up
Since we are expanding our garden even more next year, I’ve decided to move some goats into our current garden to save me some clean up time. I have some trees, plants and things that I want them to help clear up so it’ll make my garden time a breeze next spring.
Here’s where we will also clear up any tomato cages, trellises, pots, or other accessories we have in our garden. I have moved some of our herbs and potted plants to the greenhouse already.
This will be followed by a little pruning around the yard and mulching.
Gather and Split Wood
This is mostly a project for my husband. But he has his own wood splitter which saves him a ton of time and energy. We have a good pile of wood that has been drying out for quite some time, but it still needs to be split and stacked.
Looking for a good workout? This is it!
And if you use a wood stove or fireplace, now is a great time to check the condition and give it a good clean out, including the chimney. Make sure it’s safe before you need to use it.
We have a very drafty house. Despite having many updates, this old farmhouse is still very drafty. So we take some care to weatherize the house. This includes things like:
- Adding plastic to windows
- Using energy efficient drapes
- Adding weather stripping around all exterior doors
- Wrapping all exterior pipes
And we’ve had to add a heat lamp to our well house during the really frigid winter days.
Prevent Frozen Pipes
In addition to wrapping exterior pipes, we take care inside the house to keep the pipes from freezing. Have you ever had frozen pipes? If not, I’ll spare you the horrid details, but it’s just the worst.
Some things that we do to prevent this from happening is to open all under the sink cabinets. The interior warmth helps keep those pipes from freezing up.
We will also leave the water running super low, almost like a drizzle. This helps keep the pipes flowing and prevents them from freezing up outside. We usually do this for overnights or on days when the temps fall well below zero.
Maintenance Checks on Barns, Pens, and Fencing
It’s so important for us to do regular maintenance checks on our fencing and animal housing. Not only for their comfort and safety from predators, but also to save us time from having to repair something in the middle of the blustery cold of winter.
Take Inventory of Winter Supplies and Stock Up
This is the time where I pull out all winter gear and check for proper sizing, quality, etc. I always purchase coats and winter gear at the end of the previous season when items have been marked down because for a family, those expenses can build up fast!
Ideally, I like to fill our propane tank (what we use for our hot water) over the summer, when it’s less expensive. But if we haven’t needed a fill, now is the time to top it off while prices are low.
Before the cold and snow hits, I like to do a huge grocery haul and make sure our pantry and freezer are stocked up with staple items.
Stocking up on emergency supplies is also crucial since we have gone without power due to the wild Nebraska winters and I was a naive city girl at the time. Lesson learned!
So, theres just a few of the things on our winter prep to-do list. There really never seems to be much down time around the farm and homestead! What ways do you prep for the winter weather?