7 Wintertime Tips for the Practical Farmer
Winter may not be on your mind at the moment with temperatures still well above freezing, but it’s never too early to start thinking about those colder months. It’s all about the little things we do to make winter more enjoyable and less work. Here’s a list of tips to prepare for old man winter’s arrival.
Drip the Faucet
This probably isn’t new information for anyone who lives where it freezes, but it’s this is still one of the most important tasks to remember in the winter. You should drip both the hot and cold water anytime a hard freeze is expected (25 degrees or lower) on any sink that is on an exterior wall. This will prevent your pipes from freezing, which can be costly to fix.
Prepare for a Storm
Winter storms, particularly ice storms, can knock power out for days or even weeks. And if you live in northern locations, it’s not a matter of if, but when. Have a survival kit ready with bottled water, canned food, batteries, first-aid kit and power banks to charge phones with. It’s also a good idea to stock up on firewood as well as extra blankets and coats to use until the power is restored.
Trim Tree Limbs
Winter is the best time to trim trees on your property since they are dormant. Most of the diseases have been killed off by the cold weather, but it’s still a good idea to spray the nub of each limb you trim with spray paint. This will “seal the wound” and prevent any diseases from spreading.
Store Seasonal Tools
Store rakes, garden shovels and any other seasonal tools in a garage or shed. Worried that your tools or farm equipment such as tractors will rust? Use a light coating of vegetable oil on them to prevent rusting.
Purchase Salt or Sand
Busting your butt while walking to take care of the animals is a winter tradition for some. Trying to keep your feet from slipping on concrete after a snowfall is an extreme sport and sometimes causes injuries that result in medical attention. Purchase salt or sand before the first snowfall. This will give you more traction and less risk of injury when it’s time to do the morning chores or shovel the driveway.
Buy a Crock Pot
Crock Pots (slow cookers) are a lifesaver for many. If you’re planning on having a busy day outside, simply throw all the ingredients in the crockpot in the morning and set the timer. Once you’re done working hours later you will have a hot meal waiting on you. Plus, they use very little electricity!
Clear the Gutters
When the air starts to turn cold, it’s time to clean out the gutters. Remove all leaves, pine cones and any other debris that can prevent melted snow from properly draining. Point the downspout away from your home’s foundation to prevent basement flooding and leaks.