Skills and Gear for Self Reliance and Homesteading

Fall! Time to check the winter preps.


So we find ourselves just about to swing into winter and some have already had their first taste. But ARE YOU READY? Our move from CA to NV has added things that we would not deal with in CA. Since we are at 5,800ft alt, this has us looking and prepping for these new challenges of cold, snow and loss of services.

Some of us find ourselves in areas that don’t change much, other than some lower temps and some rain. Some it’s very cold and snow, road closures and just times that you should not be out and about. The threats we find during this time of year will be in addition to those during the warmer months where a local or global event of some type will have less of an impact, in winter this can push us much farther into our preps. Some of those are:

  • Power outages
  • Water Freezes
  • Heat
  • Wind
  • Roads Closed
  • Grocery Store Shortages
  • Driving Challenges

We just changed cars for my wife and we added chains to that car. Since she travels for work, we also added to her 72 hour kit which we both keep in our vehicles. So added more water, blankets and road flares in addition to the BOB. Cars should be checked for winter ready. Things such as Coolant effectiveness, wiper blade wear and tire issues should be checked. You can do this yourself or have it done at your local service station, I generally do it at an oil change service, it’s a free service with the change.

Your BOB’s should also go a transformation. I rotate items twice a year, once in spring and once in fall. Getting the summer clothes out and winter clothes in. Adding more “calorie rich” foods for winter since we naturally burn more when exerting ourselves. Replacing items such as foods that are beyond their useful life, batteries should be changed and old ones used around the house and check it water is still in good condition.

Your home should also have the winter check on:

  • Generator and fuel (these should be exercised every month)
  • Batteries and flashlights operable
  • Emergency heaters are operable
  • Fireplace and fuel is in working order and good supply on hand
  • Black out bag ready for service (see 3/12 post)
  • Animals food stocked up
  • Fences and animal pens in good repair
  • Roadways and driveways in good repair
  • Winter clothes and boots ready to go
  • Gasoline and Diesel (with sta-bil)
  • Spare propane tanks

Making a move always brings new items to review and get accomplished before ol man winter arrives. Our’s is no different. I found when insulating and bringing the garage up to par is the original building construction had no neutral for power. This is a code violation and now a larger problem. So along with adding year round water to 3 locations, I added new wiring and panel as well. Now this especially noteworthy since my generator will power from the garage, the neutral is an absolute requirement. These are things found and had to be reworked in order for my winter preps to even work at all! So double checking these is paramount.

Our gen-set will power part of the house. Since our hot water is an electric demand water heater, there is not enough power to run that, so no hot water but what we make on the stove. But that’s fine in a short term emergency. We have propane, which is expensive for cooking and heating and that should serve us well. One way to check to see where you are deficient, short of going through something in real time is to shut off the power and see how things work. Short term solutions may be in order and permanent fixes will have to wait for spring and summer, but find those areas where you are venerable asap.

So if you want to make the winter after this one, without a major incident, take note of everything that did and did not work this winter. One item found often leads to finding another, which makes you more self sufficient. I say one thing in closing: Do not depend on others to save you, EVER. We prep so we don’t have to rely on the big things, Food, Shelter, Heat and Safety.

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