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Getting your home ready for winter is super important. In places with harsh winter weather, winterizing your homestead can be a make or break period of time that determines how well you’ll do in the coming years. Make a list and organize it by the level of importance and which area of the homestead each item is a part of. Work through it steadily and you’ll be ready in just a couple of weeks for the harshest of winters.
Winterizing Your Homestead Exterior
Check Seals on Windows and Doors
Weatherstripping helps to reduce the chance that you’ll lose heat through cracks and holes around your windows and doors. It wears out over time and may need to be replaced annually depending on how quickly it degrades. You may also want to seal your windows closed for the winter with caulking.
Overstock Your Accessible Firewood
Stack firewood outside your home and very near it. Decide how long you want the pile near your door to last, then add more wood than that just in case the weather turns and becomes rougher before you have a chance to stock back up.
Inspect Your Barn
Check for cracks in the walls, siding, and foundation that need to be filled before ice causes them to weaken further. Replace weather stripping on windows and doors.
Repair Fencing and Stalls
Fencing and stalls in livestock areas often need repairs. Check them over and make any necessary repairs so that you don’t have to worry that your livestock will escape your fields during the winter.
Change the Oil in Farm Equipment like Tractors
Switch out the oil in your farm equipment to a winter blend oil that is less likely to solidify and gum up your engines.
Check Hydraulic Lines on Equipment
Check the hydraulic lines on your equipment for leaks and repair any damaged lines.
Change the antifreeze in farm vehicles as a part of your winter prep service.
Put vehicles in the barn as much as possible and plug in diesel equipment to ensure it will properly start in the cold. Plan to start it once a month during the winter months.
Check out our other checklists for Winterizing Your Barn and our Ultimate Fall Chores Checklist
Snow Removal Equipment
Move any snowplows to an easily accessible area for rapid attachment. Bring out snow shovels, scoops, ice scrapers, and roof rakes and keep them somewhere convenient to access.
Have Healthy Animals
Make sure livestock are healthy, up to date on immunizations, and have no problems with hooves and feet. Winter can be rough on your livestock. You want them healthy going into the barn, with strong hooves that won’t be as susceptible to painful hoof rot in all the moisture.
Store Outdoor Equipment
Bring in outdoor equipment such as chicken tractors and inspect them for damage. Repair and store for the winter. Remove any irrigation equipment from the garden, coil hoses, and roll drip tubing. Takedown equipment such as stakes or trellising. Clean and store garden tools.
Handle Bees and Hives
Wrap bee-hives using local beekeeping practices and ensure they are protected from cold winds
Finish Up Gardening Chores
Process any remaining produce; either can, dehydrate, cold store, or eat. Sow winter crops and any cover crops before the Persephone Period. Do a soil test and add any needed amendments
Regular Vehicle Maintenance.
Do routine maintenance on cars, trucks, and items like snow blowers. Change antifreeze and oil, replace hoses, plugs, etc. Check and/ or change your vehicle tires to winter tires
Protect any exposed pipes and hoses. Cover outdoor spigots for the winter. Turn off underground irrigation systems.
Getting Your Homestead Interior Ready for Winter
Winterize your Homestead Heating Unit, Chimney, and Furnace
Inspect, service, repair, or replace an old furnace. Having it serviced annually reduces waste which increases both efficiency and savings, as well as ensures it is safer for your family to use. Deep clean the inside of your house and vacuum out vents, ducts, and registers to make sure they’re free of dust, hair, and lint. Vacuum out vents, ducts, and registers to make sure they’re free of dust, hair, and lint. Inspect and clean any chimneys and flues. Make sure that you clean the fireplace before its first use.
Create Emergency Winter Supplies
Create an emergency weather supply with food, water, medical supplies, and blankets. Make sure you have a way to heat food with no electricity. In addition, create a ‘bad weather’ location for yourself or families members in the barn where they can comfortably wait out dangerous weather
Ready the Interior of the Barn
Clean your barn from top to bottom. Stock up on supplies such as feed, hay, bedding, and supplements. Mend livestock blankets and coats or purchase replacements before the weather turns. Service and inspect water tank heaters to ensure they work and will not shock or electrocute animals.
Change out spring and summer clothing for winter clothing; stock up on any missing items like long johns, leggings, heavy socks, jackets, or boots
Give your home a thorough deep cleaning to help reduce the chance of illness and to keep you from going stir-crazy.