Winter-is-coming-Archie's Homesteading- Adventure

Green Living On A Homestead In The Winter

Most homesteading families committed to green living set up their homes far away from congested areas. Living green promotes a healthy environment by producing as little waste as possible and proper disposal of that waste. Disposing of your garbage and septic properly will help you avoid pollution and achieve the sole objective of green living: to preserve and improve the planet’s health. Plant trees around your homestead to provide fresh air.

Winter on a homestead can provide a break from the hectic summer months of harvesting. But to enjoy nature’s downtime, it’s best to be prepared for winter’s challenges.

Preparing for Winter Power Outages on a Homestead

No one likes to lose power during a winter storm, but for homesteaders, who often live far from essential services, it can be particularly challenging and in some cases even life-threatening. Preparedness is key.

Here are a few suggestions on how to get prepared for Old Man Winter on the homestead:

How to Prepare for Winter on the Homestead

Weather

Stay informed and ahead of weather trends in your area. Information is power and being informed will help you stay in power when your power goes out. If you have internet access on your homestead, make it a habit to check in daily with resources like the National Weather Service.

It’s also a good idea to have a battery-powered or hand-cranked radio to hear about upcoming storms. Even better, get a weather radio. These machines are dedicated to connecting you with weather updates from NOAA and alerts for hazards in your area.

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Equipment

Make sure essential equipment is fueled and in working order. Chainsaws (for clearing downed trees,) generators and snowmobiles are necessary to keep you and your loved ones safe if a heavy snow cuts you off from outside resources.

Fuel

 Lay in firewood, diesel, gas, and kerosene. Make sure you are familiar with how liquid fuels like diesel which will begin to gel at 15 degrees Fahrenheit, react to the cold weather.

Water & Food

It’s always a smart idea to make sure you have enough water in reserve for everyone in your household, including pets. FEMA suggests considering storing a 2-week supply of 1 gallon per person per day for each family member.

Always keep a minimum of a 3-day supply of canned, non-perishable food like protein cookies in your house. If you have a gas cookstove, it will work if it is fueled and you can light the stove manually. You may also consider a woodburning cookstove.

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Indoor warmth

Wear plenty of layers, warm yourselves by the fireplace or stove and bundle up in a winter down sleeping bag.

Tips for Choosing the Right Generator

When choosing a generator take the specific needs of your homestead into account. Calculate the total wattage of your home appliances. If you don’t, you could end up buying a generator that is entirely too powerful, or not powerful enough for your home’s needs. Consider a standby power generator if you live in a place with frequent interrupted power supply.

Tips for Storing Emergency Food

Food can be grouped into three classes which have different storage needs. Perishable foods like vegetables, fruits, and cooked food need to be refrigerated or frozen and consumed within seven days. If the doors to the refrigerator and freezer are kept shut, it is usually safe to store food for up to 48 hours after the power has gone off.

While it may seem tempting to use your snow-covered yard as a giant walk-in freezer, storing food outside is not recommended as temperatures vary, courting the growth of bacteria. And you leave yourself open to predators who are looking for food of their own.

Store semi-perishable foods like grains, dried fruits, and flour in tins or vacuum-sealed bags. Handling foods like this can increase their shelf-life up to 6 months.

Non-perishable foods like dried cereals can be stored in dry places for a longer period. As a homesteader you may choose to learn the arts of canning and curing to preserve what you grow.

Growing Winter Vegetables

Your vegetable garden doesn’t need to sit idle in the winter months. There are a lot of cold-tolerant vegetables that can be grown form the fall into the winter. Hearty greens such as kale, spinach, Brussels sprouts, and root vegetables like carrots and parsnips can survive several frosts with temperatures lower than 20 degrees Fahrenheit.

If growing vegetables is an income generating part of your homestead life, consider building a Deep Winter Greenhouse, a solar-powered structure built in an east-west position. The sun heats the inside and fans push the warm air down to a rock bed in the base that becomes a thermal mass that stores heat necessary to heat the structure at night.

RELATED: 5 Great Vegetables to Grow in Containers on Your Patio or Balcony

Winter Fishing Tips

 

Fishing can be one of the most fun and relaxing parts of homesteading. While many homesteaders fish as a hobby, some do count on it as part of their survival. Fishing may be a bit trickier in the winter, but there is still good catch to be had.

Here are some important guidelines to keep in mind when you are fishing:

Safety first: Never fish alone in the winter, even if you’re a seasoned pro. A fall overboard into icy waters can shock the system and hypothermia can set in quickly. Have life jackets for everyone onboard and make sure you sustain yourself with food and drink, like high-energy protein bars and hot coffee.

Location: If you’re fishing on your property, you’ll obviously be familiar with the type of fish to be found, and where and when you’ll best find them. If you are fishing off property, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with local fish and gaming laws as well as seasonal licensing.

Weather: Fish may be less active in the winter months but that doesn’t mean they can’t be caught. In fact, it is the nature of fish to feed just before the cold front hits, so keep an eye on the weather forecasts. Hitting the lake just before a cold snap can net you a big haul.

Gear: Rods and reels must be maintained well as old oil or grease used on the gears will thicken and stiffen up bearings essential to reeling in your catch. Make sure you’re watching out for yourself as well. Frostbite can occur quickly so be sure to use heated fishing gloves and hats.

Bait vs lures: Because fish move more slowly in the winter it’s best to use live bait when trying to attract your catch.

Happy Homesteading!

This is the third of a three part series by Archie Adams on the beauty and benefits of Homesteading.  In case you missed them, here are Parts 1 & 2 of Archie’s Homesteading Adventures.
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Archie Adams, insidewink guest writer

By Archie Adams

Archie was a builder for more than 40 years. Mainly, after his retirement, the enthusiastic electrician works on his homestead and writes for blogs to keep himself occupied. His many years of experience can get you the right tool reviews whether it is a drill or a welding machine. An impressive fact to note about him is that almost everything in his house is a representation of his skills made by his hands.

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