Winter Storm Preparation
Is it Spring yet? If your like me your pretty tired of winter weather and some years here in Indiana it can be brutal. This year has been what I would call a semi bad winter even though when we got snow it didn’t stay more than a week or two. I did see geese flying overhead yesterday coming back from Florida so that’s a good sign spring is on its way. And what’s with these lady bugs, they are all over my house lately. I normally don’t see them until the fall. Guess they know that spring is coming.
One thing that is very important is to be prepared for winter weather BEFORE it gets here. Easier said than done, I know first hand. But your life can depend on you being somewhat prepared for it before it hits. Or you might find yourself in a pickle that you can’t get out of. And that’s not just in winter, you need to be prepared for, summer storms are just as bad, when the electric can go out for more than a week from downed power lines, if there would happen to be a severe storm.
I’ve seen a bad weather storm hit home in winter and summer. We were out of electricity for a whole week, with the temps are in the low teens that can be a really big problem for you and your livestock. That’s really bad when you have three barns full of tiny bugs that are worth a small fortune. But we planned ahead for just that scenario and had the propper plans set in place just for that disaster.
Like I said before it’s happened to me several times. One year power outage happened after a severe summer storm. hubby and my Son were going to go to Alaska it was my Sons first time up there. A storm hit the night before, knocking out the power. At that time we only had two barns full of live crickets that needed the temps to be 90 degrees all the time and fans running in the buildings.
We had our back up plan in place and the guys got to go on the trip. For me it was a week of torture. But with the help from my dad, he drove down everyday and helped me get the generators going and carried water to the barns. That was our only downfall was our water was from a spring feed well and it had a pump on it to get the water out. When the electric went out so did my water supply. Bummer! I used a lot of water everyday raising crickets.
But it all worked out and my Son had a very nice time that he will remember for his entire life. Here is a list of things you should think about when your starting your homestead and preparing for a Winter Storm.
How To Prepare For Winter Weather
- Heat, how are you going to heat the house when the electricity is out? We had a woodstove and the cricket barn was run on propane gas. I highly recommend a wood stove in the house or at least a line run to the house for propane. We also have a vent free small gas heater in the basement of the house. If the power is out the heater will still heat the house. I also have a gas stove. Which is great when you have no power in the house.
- Refrigerator, how are you going to keep your refrigerator running? What if the electric is out for a week? We had a generator that ran our Refrigerator and all the fans out in the barns. You will also need heavy extension cords that will reach and test out what you want to run, if you plug in too many things the generator won’t run. Also you have to run the generator OUTSIDE and it might be raining. We put ours in the doorway of our old tool shed.
- Water and food. How are you going to cook for a week? That week when the guys were gone I stayed in my camper. At the time I had a big camper that had its own generator. That’s what I needed Dad for, so he could get my rig set up for the day. I would spend a couple glorious hours in my camper with the lights and the tv on, I would take a shower, cook my food. Then lights out and I was back to reality. Having that camper really kept me from crying each night to sleep. 🙂
- Livestock, most of you won’t have barns full of bugs but you’ll still need to feed and water each day your livestock. Just make sure you have steps in place to take care of them if the electric goes out in the winter, when you might have heat buckets plugged in or lights in the barn. And plenty of hay and feed to last a couple weeks. Don’t let yourself run out of those during bad weather time.
- Generator and test it out each year. Make sure the battery is working and you have a supply of gas, if there is snow and ice then you’re not going out for gas or anything else.
If your just skimming this article this checklist is for you.
Before the storm gets here, here’s a to-do checklist:
* Prepare your emergency kit. Have rock salt, sand, shovels, heating fuel, extra food, feed for the animals and water.
* In your car you should have ice scrapers, snow brush, a shovel, blanket, snacks, water, flares, and a flashlight.
* Have flashlights and candles plus plenty of extra batteries in case you’re without power.
* Bottled water and non-perishable food items are good to have plenty of on hand, especially if you’re in an area that loses power a lot and stays without it for a long time.
* If at all possible, wait out a storm or try to travel before a storm is expected. You don’t want to be out when it hits.
* Bring in pets Or at least make sure they have plenty of hay, food and water. Water is vital even if you have to go to the barn 4 or 5 times to give them fresh unfrozen water. Will you need to bring in any livestock, like we did with Ms. Clucky Chicken and her chicks? Where are you going to put them? We put them in the garage which is not attached to the house and needs wood stove heat.
* Have a radio or something you can get emergency updates on. Even a smartphone is great for this. Just make sure to charge that battery thoroughly before the storm hits and have a way to charge it up when the electricity goes out. Those portable chargers are great and last a very long time. I can charge my phone up for a whole week on my charger and my kindle too! I bought this one.
* Check on those board games. There’s nothing worse than being stuck with no power and hearing, “I’m bored!” from the kids.
During the storm or in extreme cold, make sure you…
* Stay inside. As much as possible, you want to remain sheltered.
* Be careful on icy walkways and stairs. Hubby broke his toe stepping outside in his house shoes after we got our first ice storm last week. Even seasoned homesteaders have accidents.
* Take it easy when shoveling, especially if you have heart problems. You do not want to overdo it and take many breaks. Make sure to stretch before you shovel. Better yet hire a kid to do it. 🙂
* Change wet clothing as soon as you can. You will lose all of that precious body heat through the wet clothing and it could cause frostbite and hypothermia.
* If you must travel, then make sure someone knows the route you plan on traveling and when you’re leaving and when you expect to arrive.
* If pipes freeze, remove insulation and wrap them in rags. Open all of the faucets and pour hot water over the pipes.
* If using a Kerosene heater, remember to maintain ventilation.
* Conserve fuel; keep the thermostat a little lower than you would normally keep it and keep warm with blankets and extra clothing instead.
* If you’ll be away from home during the winter months, leave the heat on, no lower than 55 degrees F or you will need to flush out the pipes. Open up the cabinet doors in the cold rooms to keep water from freezing. Or you can let the faucet drip just a little bit to keep the water running in the pipe.
*Unhook all hoses on the outside of house each time you use them in the winter or they will freeze up and then you will need to replace the whole thing which means you’ll need to knock a hole in the house to get to the busted hose fitting. Yep we have one of those now that needs fixing. Learn from my mistake. I blame the goats! Lol! Not my stupidity. 🙂
Living on the homestead is wonderful and if you take time to plan things out for an emergency then when it happens, you’ll be so happy you had thought it through and tested things out so you are prepared for winter weather on your homestead. It can be a true lifesaver. January and February are our worse months for winter weather in our neck of the woods, so I make sure we always have on hand, extra gas, food, feed for the animals and water. I would say I stack a big pile of wood next to the barn, but nope. Lol! Hubs likes to get just enough for a couple days. That’s how he rolls. Oh Well see you don’t have to be perfect, just roll with it.