Winter is coming and on the first day of fall it is important to start checking off these to-dos before the snow begins to swirl.
1. Prepare your garden, shrubs and trees for winter weather. Prune, insulate, plant cover crops and check for fungus or insect damage.
2. Rake leaves. Use dead leaves as mulch or dry out leaves for livestock bedding.
3. Clean your gutters. In most areas of our country, fall is a rainy season. Check for clogged gutters before temperatures freeze and swell, damaging your gutters or roof.
4. Prepare your windows and doors. The onslaught of rain, snow, ice and wind will soon be smacking against them. Check the chalking, put on the storm windows, clean their glass and secure insulation film and weatherstripping to conserve warm home temperatures.
5. Stock wood. Ensure you have enough wood stocked for the fireplace or wood burning stove. Check with your neighbors if you do not know the right number of cords of wood. Store the wood properly to keep it dry. Select seasoned wood whenever possible in the fall as it can take 6 months to a year to properly season; otherwise gather wood in spring.
6. Stock up on winter supplies. Check your snow shovels and ice scrapers, stock up on ice melt (if needed), restock emergency kits for your home, emergency radio, emergency food and water enough for at least several weeks, emergency car kits and livestock and pet kits. Check all equipment used for snow/ice removal, service it and purchase fuel.
7. Prepare your livestock for the weather. Store enough bedding and feed to last a long winter. Ensure a source of fresh water in the worst possible weather. Herd your livestock to a safe location with appropriate shelter. Set up an emergency plan in case of blizzard, fire or other such disaster. Boost livestock’s immune system using herbal remedies.
8. Prepare exterior faucets and hoses. Prepare your pipes from freezing temperatures by shutting off water to exterior faucets. Blow out your sprinkler and irrigation systems and drain hoses and store them.
9. Check safety devices. Test your smoke detectors, radon detector, carbon monoxide detectors and replace batteries. Check fire extinguishers to ensure they haven’t expired.
10. Clean chimney, heating systems and dryer vents.