When it comes to the winter season, homesteading and off-grid living become a challenge that only few people are equipped to handle.
From preparing throughout the summer and fall months to living from the work of your own hands, winter can be a brutal time if you are not well-prepared, both physically and mentally. Knowing what to keep in stock and how to stay alive should you find yourself snowed in or stuck outside can mean the difference between enjoying the season and struggling to survive.
If you are considering spending your winter with the bare necessities and sticking it out with only a few essential commodities, here are some ideas to help you make it through the cold winter months.
1. Shut off rooms you don’t use. And cover the spaces between the bottom of the door and the floor with old blankets if you feel any cold air forcing its way through. After checking the caulking around each opening and sealing any areas that have become weak, use standard plastic wrap and tape or shrink wrap plastic from your local supply store to cover up windows. By taking a lighter and tracing the seals of doors and windows, you can see the flame flicker near compromised seals. Also, cover any exposed and accessible pipes with insulated foam to keep them from bursting. The winter season is a great time to take care of these chores, since they are not only necessary but they give you tasks to accomplish when you start feeling the blues.
2. Stockpile a month’s supply of food for each member of the family. You could get snowed in – and the situation will grow only worse if the power goes out. You can easily make soups, spaghetti sauces and individual, freezable meals for storage in quart-sized Ziplocs to quickly heat and eat throughout the winter. Ensure that the foods you purchase are high in vitamins and proteins to keep you healthy and give you a boost, should you find yourself sick or becoming depressed.
3. Store enough wood for at least two winters. More is better, and there’s nothing wrong with being prepared for extra-long winters. Even if you have an established method of heating, having a wood stove available in the garage in case of long-term power outages or unforeseen circumstances is a great idea and a valuable back-up plan.