By Jennifer Woolwine

Winter prep on the homestead


baghdad to barnyard

November 14, 2021

It’s a busy time of the year on the homestead, and we are finishing last-minute preparations before old man winter arrives. Thankfully, we’re having a mild fall and taking advantage of the warmer temperatures to check off items on our to-do list. There’s a lot to do to prep for winter, and you don’t want to be caught off-guard by a freak snow or ice storm. If you’re feeling overwhelmed and aren’t sure where to start, don’t worry. This blog post will cover tasks that need to be done to prepare for winter on your farm or homestead.

winter garden prep

Winter prep- Garden

Fall is also the time to remove invasive weeds and amend your soil before planting spring bulbs. You can amend your soil by adding compost, manure, bone meal, kelp, or other organic fertilizers. Once you sprinkle your amendments, you can plant your spring bulbs or cover crops. Secondly, winterize your garden by adding a thick layer of mulch or straw.

Finally, clean up and store your lawn and garden tools. Empty outdoor containers and keep them upside down to prevent cracking during the winter. Open and drain your hoses and pack them away in a covered container. Drain the fuel tanks on your lawn mower and any other gas-powered equipment and keep them in your garage or shed until spring.

winter prep on the homestead

Winter prep- homestead

With cold weather moving in, it’s time to clean, sanitize and check your heated buckets and tank heaters and make any necessary repairs. This includes fixing any leaky water spigots too. Trust me, the last thing you want to deal with on a brutal winter day is breaking the ice or repairing a busted water line in the middle of a snowstorm.

Prepping your livestock for winter takes considerable work, but it’s well worth it. Take the time to stock up on your animals’ feed, bedding, and first aid. Set aside a weekend to deep clean your coops and barns and winterize all your animal shelters.

Lastly, keep your animals nice and warm during the winter months by offering a nutritious diet higher in fat and lock your animals in a stall at night, especially during freezing temperatures and rough winter weather.

winter home prep on the homestead

Thanksgiving is approaching soon and the winter holidays will be here before we know it. There are so many things to look forward to, and winter prep is essential on a homestead. Thankfully, most of these chores are quick and easy and can be completed on the weekend. Remember, the sooner you knock out your home maintenance to-do list, the quicker you can sit back and enjoy that pumpkin spice latte.

  • Change furnace filters and service your home’s heating and air conditioning system.

  • Paint, caulk, and seal exterior wood.

  • Seal your masonry and hard surfaces

  • Clean debris from your gutters and downspouts

  • Clean your chimney and order firewood- don’t forget to check with local lumberyards. They will often sell firewood that you can buy very cheaply by a dump truckload.

  • Clean dryer vent

  • Insulate pipes to keep them from freezing

  • Test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors

Emergency Kit

If you live in an area subject to winter storms, power outages, and school or road closures, you’ll want to be prepared should the worst happen. Here’s everything you need to have on hand in case of an emergency:

Emergency Essentials

  • Food (at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food)

  • Water (at least a three-day supply)

  • Baby and pet supplies

  • Coats, gloves, hats, boots, and extra blankets and clothing

  • First aid kit

  • Medications (seven-day supply)

  • Personal hygiene items

  • Cell phone with chargers

  • Flashlight

  • Battery-powered radio

  • Extra batteries

  • Multi-purpose tool

  • Copies of personal documents (medication list/medical information, birth certificates, insurance policies)

  • Extra cash

  • Snow shovels and other snow removal equipment

  • Sufficient heating fuel

  • Vehicle emergency kit

Final thoughts

Once you’ve finished preparing your home and homestead for the coming winter, take some time to enjoy what’s left of autumn. Take a drive to see the fall colors, enjoy pumpkin bread and spend a night around the fire. Winter will be here soon, and we’ll be dreaming of warm, sunny spring days before we know it.

What about you? I’d love to hear about how you prep for winter on your homestead- share with us in the comments below. Stay organized by downloading our free Homestead Winter Prep Checklist so you can be sure that your livestock, home, and farm will be safe and snug for the winter.

xo, Jen

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Jen Woolwine       Author

Jen is a combat veteran and wife who is passionate about animal rescue, homesteading, and mental health advocacy. Jen's amazing journey of transitioning from military service to homesteading can be followed on her blog and social media platforms @baghdadtobarnyard.

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