So, it’s late October. I don’t know about where you live, but around me, the weather has turned cold, and the winds are blowing. It probably won’t be too long before we see our first snow of the season. Are you prepared for it?
I’m pulling this particular list from the Food Storage Made Easy blog‘s newsletter from a few days ago. Frankly, I couldn’t have come up with a better list, so I won’t–I’ll just give you their list, worded my way, in slightly different order (made more sense to me), and with my typical added commentary.
First, finish up your garden. Harvest the last veggies, pull all the plants. Prune the trees and shrubs. Add mulch and/or compost. This is also a great time for planting, if you’re planting the right things–garlic, for instance. Most of the brassicas will do pretty well, as will some lettuces, particularly if you can give them a light cover from the worst of the weather.
Second, it’s time to take a serious look at your 72-hour kit(s). Are they good for winter? Rotate the clothes out to your cold-weather ones, if you haven’t already. It might be a good idea to rotate through the food you have there, just to make sure what you’ve got is “fresh”. (If you use MRE’s, you’re probably okay for a year or two… If you put together your own, as we do, probably best to rotate.) Think about whether any kids have outgrown things. Replace batteries in things that need them. Check the expiration dates on any medicine that you might have stashed. Do you have a USB stick with scans of important documents? Have any of them changed? How about pictures of the family?
Third, while we’re thinking about our kits, double-check your car kit/Get-Home Bag. All the same stuff applies from your 72-hour kit. Make sure you’re set for if you break down or get stuck in the snow and/or ice… Tire chains. Blankets. An extra coat or sweater. Gloves.
Fourth, think about your water supply. If you’re storing it, you could do worse than rotating it–the stuff will go stagnant, after all. (If you just can’t bear to “waste” it down the drain, use it to flush your toilets. Or use it to water indoor plants–it’s a slow way to go, but at least it’s still being put to use…)
Fifth, go through your food storage. I’m certain you’ve got stuff stowed in your pantry that you meant to use, but never quite got around to it… Make note of it, adjust your storage plan for next year, and go ahead and use it now.
Sixth, double-check your home heating situation. (The original list suggests giving the furnace a tune-up; my furnace is the stack of wood I’ve got outside, and the two woodstove inserts inside…) How is your house doing for drafts? Now is a good time to get them sealed up.
Seventh, make sure your “outside” water systems (hoses, sprinklers, animal water, etc.) are secure for the winter, particularly if you live where you get hard freezes. We’ve got heaters for the chicken waterer that I need to get set up in the not-too-distant future…
Lastly, go over your clothes inside. Bring out the winter stuff, put away the summer stuff. Have you worn anything out? Have you or your kids outgrown anything? Think about replacements. (If the old stuff is still serviceable, I recommend donating it–there are donation boxes all over my area for clothing and shoes; there’s no reason the clothes can’t go to help someone else, when you’re done with them.)
There; that was easy. I’m certain there are millions of things I’ve missed… What do you suggest?