Country living can be joyous, simple, and calming. However, you need to depend on yourself and your family to survive. To make sure that you and yours are well protected this winter, refer to the tips below to help you plan.
Checking the Water Supply
Make sure that your well pump is protected from freezing. This means inspecting the well hole to determine that the underground pump is safely sheltered. If you have a well house, now is the time to check around the base and make sure the heat source is working to reduce the risk of a frozen pump. You’ll need to winterize any above-ground pipes to reduce the risk of them freezing and bursting. Finally, if you have pipes that freeze no matter what you do, you may need to let them drip or trickle during the coldest times. Remember, if your power is out, your well pump will be too.
Preparing for Winter Storms
Carefully inspect both your outbuildings and your house for air leaks. Review the roof to make sure that shingles are in good shape and lying flat. Any curling shingles could be at risk for wind damage or ice buildup underneath, which could cause leaks. Before the cold winds and snows start up, take care of any roof repairs that need to be done. Working in the cold is unpleasant and exhausting, and repairing an icy or snowy roof can be dangerous. Storm damage and broken shingles can lead to leaks that could mean replacement in the future. Be sure to also check around the base of your buildings to seal up any cracks in the foundation to avoid water or pests getting into the structure.
Keeping Out Critters
In addition to protecting and sheltering your livestock and pets, you’re probably going to wind up sheltering rodents. If the cats, dogs, ponies and chickens are cold, the mice are too. Start in the fall. During your final mowing, make sure to cut down any tall grass along the foundations or bases of your buildings. Spend some time inside the building with the lights off and look for light gaps. Fill these with steel wool or spray foam to keep mice out of the structure. Keep an eye out for common signs of rodents. Finally, use helpful animals such as “mouser” cats and terrier dogs to help manage any mice that get in.
Every season will require you to plan ahead for the next. Before winter hits, keep water moving by protecting your pipes, and do your best to keep out the cold air and pests. Homesteading isn’t easy, but the rewards are worth it.
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