Preparing for winter is always on a homesteader’s mind. Summer is officially over for me on the Labor Day holiday. It already felt like fall here in upstate New York anyway. The trees surrounding our homestead have been steadily falling and turning color. Fall always means a time to set goals and get to work. Must be my brain associates it with the back to school time period from my youth. Normally, I’d be canning up a storm right now, but our garden didn’t produce as much as it normally does. The weather was the culprit, not I! Does that mean I do not have much food in my pantry this year? No! It doesn’t. Every year, I can as much as I possibly can. The years my garden has produced a lot of vegetables, I did not give them away or throw them out. I canned them. Even when I had summer squash coming out of my ears. I saw it in my sleep……I swear, I did.
If you took a look at my cupboard of home canned vegetables, you would see quite a variety. Right now the one thing I am low on is meat and fruit. Soon I will be at my local markets to pick up some to can and that will round out our food supply in no time. Fall is the best time for those delicious NY apples, grapes and pears. Fall is also the best time to purchase local meat from farmers. This is the time they send livestock to market so they don’t have to feed it over the winter. Having a cupboard full of fast food, which is what I call it, makes winter easier, so when preparing for winter, keep that in mind. Especially if you have power outages where you live. I am fortunate not to have any, but that is another story.
My list for preparing for winter this year includes:
- Firewood – a good size pile to start with. We get more all winter.
- Kindling – we still have a supply of that, but will get more anyway.
- Wood Stove – cleaning out the wood stove, if it needs it and the chimney. The chimney my husband cleans all winter long as needed.
- Gasoline – for our generator and chainsaw.
- Fuel Mix & Extra Chains – for chainsaw.
- Windows – they are not energy efficient, still have wavy glass. Cover them with clear plastic for extra protection.
- Wood Cook Stove – take the whole stove apart, piece by piece and thoroughly clean it. The chimney on this stove never needs cleaning.
- Vehicles – they have been worked on a lot this summer, so should be good to go, unless something else happens to them.
- Horses – no worry there! Winter is their season………..they live for it!
- Food & Supplies – always adding more and replenishing what we have used. Lots of home canned foods.
- Griswold Bolo Oven – Bring it downstairs near the wood stove. We will be baking and roasting in it all winter.
- Warm Clothing – this is what we need this year. Both of us are lacking in the shoe department. So new boots, shoes, slippers (for me), gloves, jacket and socks and jeans for my husband.
This is about it for us. Preparing for winter gets easier the more years you have done it. It seems to be easier for homesteaders living off the grid. Whatever you do, plan for it and work on it during the summer. Winter will arrive no matter what. In NY, winter is hard so we do what we must.
Copyright © 2015 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2015 Kathleen G. Lupole