Offgrid Winter

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Standing By

Winter on an offgrid homestead is a time for repairs, maintenance, reflection, and planning.
The many repairs I couldn’t get to in the summer get done at this time. Handles get replaced as needed. Hoes, rakes, shovels, axes, and mauls, all can get cracked or broken handles.
Equipment needs to be maintained and repaired. Tractors, tillers, mowers, vehicles, and generators need to be tuned up, greased, and oil changed. Any worn out parts need to be changed out.
Fences are always needing constant attention. Wires get loose and need to be re-stretched, posts need replacing, and this is a time for building new fences if you need them.
Winter is a time of reflection while sitting around the fire with a cup of coffee. Time to reflect on the past season, what worked well, what didn’t work so well, and how can you improve on it for the coming year. You may want to abandon some projects as not being worthwhile or start new ones with hopes they will work out well.
It is also a time for planning. What changes do you want to make? What improvements? How are you going to lay out your garden this coming season and what are you going to plant? It is time to order your seeds so you will have them by planting time.
Much goes into having a successful season. A well thought out plan will give you a much greater chance of success than if you just blunder into the season with no plan at all. Having your equipment and tools maintained and ready to go will go a long way towards getting things done with a minimum of aggravation and delays.
Remember that dog that followed you around last summer and laid patiently waiting for your days work to be done so he could follow you back to the house at the end of the day? Now is the time to give him a scratch and throw the stick or ball for him for being such a faithful companion. Don’t forget to take some time for yourself, too.
Yes, there is work to be done in all seasons and an offgrid winter is no different.
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Preparing For Winter


Fall has finally found us here on the “Ridge” and it is time to switch gears and think about the winter ahead. Along with the cooling relief from the hot days of summer, the fall season brings with it more than a change in the weather. It is time to think about finishing up the summer activities and prepare for the cold weather that is surely coming in a few weeks.

Fall is a busy season here as it is time to harvest and store the summer vegetables from the garden as well as prepare the cold tolerant plants by mulching heavily. We also mulch our fruit and nut trees to give them some protection from the cold. Now is the time when we collect seed from our healthiest plants to dry and save for planting next year. It is also a time to reflect upon the results of the summers activities and begin to plan for the next spring when the cycle will begin all over again. We will consider improvements to the garden areas, and buildings. We will plan and start repairs to our equipment and tools.

We heat exclusively with wood so it’s time to get some firewood cut and stored away. Winters are relatively mild here so we don’t have to get in an entire winters supply all at once. We can cut wood throughout the winter but we want to start out with a good supply to avoid having to get out and cut wood in the rain or snow. The wood stove gets checked out as well as the stove pipes cleaned and any that need it get replaced.

It’s time to take the A/C unit out of the window and store it away until next summer and check the house for air leaks and seal them up. It’s time to put the warm rugs back on the floor and dig out the winter blankets for the bed as well as winter clothing for ourselves.

We do not keep livestock anymore but we do have dogs, cats, and chickens, so we need to prepare for their comfort as well. The dog’s houses need fresh straw to keep them warm during the cold winter nights. The chicken yard and house and the nesting boxes are cleaned of chicken litter and old straw it is piled to age until spring when it is used in the garden. The chickens get fresh straw in their nesting boxes which we change about once a month year around.

Yes, fall is a busy time here on the “Ridge”. There is plenty to do for everyone. Fall is the time when the leaves change so we always make it a point to find time to ride around our area and enjoy the beauty of our mountain environment. The colors can be brilliant if you catch them at the right time and the hillsides are a beautiful sight. The deer, wild turkeys, and squirrels are also busy making their own preparations for the cold winter ahead so we see them on almost a daily basis.

That is why we live back here offgrid in the woods. We have post card views out of all our doors and windows without even leaving the house.

Y’all have a good winter and stay warm and dry.