The Winter Solstice was yesterday, and the temperatures are finally dropping into winter territory.
We may see snow in the lowlands of Western Washington this coming weekend – but we will definitely see cold temperatures.
This is your chance now to take care of homesteading chores to ensure you can prevent or mitigate damages.
Today will be rainy, but nearly 50* where we live. So at least it won’t be cold while you run around. What do you need to do?
- Clean out animal coops/shelters and put in new hay/straw/wood chips, and do it thickly.
- Do any of your shelters have a leaky roof? Go buy a cheap blue tarp and use zip ties to get it on.
- Do the chickens have a dry area to get into to do dust baths?
- Clean out water devices and pails. Fill them fully.
- Ensure you have a rubber drinking bowl/pail in each area that you can kick to break the ice, not just plastic or metal. Plastic can break in deep freezes.
- For chickens make sure their feed containers are well filled.
- Check the birds daily for eggs, so you get them before they potentially freeze.
- Feed your animals treats every day that are high in calories and fat. We feed our birds sunflower seeds, they are cheap and keep them fueled.
- Be wary with using electric heat in coops/shelters. The last thing you want is a fire in it.
- Drain your hoses.
- Most field hydrants are frost safe, but remove all hoses from them and turn off.
- Put insulators on your bib faucets and remove all hoses.
- Drain anything that has collected rain water over the fall rainy season.
- If you have winter crops going such as lettuce, spinach and chard, cover with frost fabric.
- If you have plants in your greenhouse, and it isn’t heated, cover the plants with frost fabric (we have Aloe Vera plants in ours). Consider bringing into the greenhouse (if you have one) any small pots you have over wintering that you are concerned about.
- If you have plants outside that cannot go below 20*, such as citrus, this is the time to get inside (greenhouse or garage) or get it wrapped with frost fabric.
- If it snows, do clear the roofs of your coops/shelters often, as they are not built to handle the weight – and our snow is often heavy with water.
And then you can hide inside, out of the cold, and wait for it to blow out. Stay safe everyone! Stay home and be safe off the roads if you can.