Winter is almost here. The fall weather is slowly creeping in and for those in the lower elevations (especially on the coastal side), fog is starting to creep in on the early mornings.
Whether we want to admit it or not, winter is coming. The dog days of summer make it easy to forget that right around the corner, the weather will be changing and a little preparation now can save you a lot of trouble later.
So where do you start? It depends on you and your property. You might want to create a Household Journal/Reference Book. In it, you can create a to do list to help you prepare for winter (and to keep track of all of your recurring household tasks). But if you don’t have one of those or something similar, then start with these basics:
Check your car before the winter rains hit. Are the tires okay? Check your oil and other fluids. Apply RainX, replace wiper blades, make sure heaters and seat heaters are working. Toss some good walking shoes into your car, add a blanket (or two if you travel with children), jumper cables, perhaps emergency rain gear and a flare or two. Create an ICE entry in your cell phone by identifying someone you want called by first responders if you are taken to a hospital. Simply put ICE in front of the contacts name and first responders will know that this is the person you want called “In Case of Emergency”.
Everything Outside that Should Be Inside:
Police your property and find everything that is currently outside that will be ruined by the rain. Move it to a more protected location where the rains won’t ruin it.
If you have frequently used pathways that may get muddy in the rain, consider putting something down to keep the path clean. A layer of gravel, wood chips, bricks, or other covering will make it easier to use the path during the rain.
No matter where you live, cleaning your gutters, performing weather proofing tasks, and covering pipes that could freeze are normal winter tasks. Same goes for here. You might also include changing batteries in your smoke detectors and making sure you have a carbon monoxide detector in several places in your home.
If you haven’t already stocked your wood pile, add that to the list. Either order it or start chopping and stacking. It’s time.
While you are at it, walk your property and look for likely down trees. If it looks like it might come down in a storm, take it down now. It’s much more enjoyable to cut up a tree in the sunshine as opposed to gearing up and cutting it up in the rain. Sharpen your chain saw and perhaps add an extra chain to your supplies.
During the first rain of the season, you should make an effort to walk your property and watch where the water is flowing. If it is flowing across a road or path, divert it so it doesn’t cause further erosion. If you have a slide, it will divert the water until it is cleared or a new path for the water is created. It’s tough to do unless you move the slide first.
Investigate ways to capture the water as it flows across your property. Capturing the water and storing it can help you reduce water costs and provide a back up source of irrigation water or fire suppression water stores.
Preparing for Power Loss:
We all wish we didn’t have to worry about this, but everyone has to worry about it. During wide-spread outages, we may not have our power restored as quickly as we’d like. It’s best to be prepared. Stock up on gasoline as well as propane for the winter. Have your generator serviced at least once a year. Move portable generators (used to keep a fridge, light and tv running) close to the house and place an extension cord near it if needed. Buy oil and filters for whole house generators. Investigate a space heather that is appropriate for home use that you can use during a power outage.
While we are talking about equipment, take a look at everything you own that is currently holding gasoline. Either use it up or add gasoline stabilizer. You can find it at any hardware store. It keeps the gasoline from oxidizing and gumming up the works.