Preparing For Winter

Crystal Miller

 

Proverbs 31:21  She is not afraid of snow for her  household, for all her household is clothed with scarlet.

 

With thoughts of the winter months coming I have turned my attention to making sure that we are ready for the winter ahead.  I am going through my childrenís clothing and looking at my supplies and working to make lists of needed items for my pantry, freezer and of bedding and clothing and making note of tasks to do.  I believe as homemakers it is our job to make sure our household is ready for the months ahead.  How much each of us does may depend on where we live.  Those with lots of winter storms and snow to deal with may have more of a challenge than the ladies who live in warmer climates.  But even the warmer climates can have reasons to evaluate their households, as the hurricanes of Florida have shown us.  This may not be winter preparedness but it certainly points out reasons for all of us to be prepared.

 

For me I live in a somewhat cold but rather mild area, as far as winter conditions go.  We can get snow and or it can be just windy, wet and cold.  At best the winters are unpredictable.  So when I begin to get ready for the winter I think the worst case (more snow and winter conditions than I care for!) and plan for that.  That way even if it is mild, I am well prepared. 

 

Usually the first thing I think about is clothing.  I start by going through the winter clothing totes.  These are Rubbermaid totes that I store all of the clothing my children are not currently wearing.  I check for coats, jeans, sweat shirts, t-shirts, sweaters, winter jammies, etc.  I like to have clothing that can be layered to keep warm.  This makes dressing more flexible; many layers for cold days and fewer for not so cold days.  Then I check our supply of hats, mittens, gloves and boots, making notes of what is needed. 

 

After the clothing is dealt with I turn my attention to bedding.   I examine our supplies of flannel sheets, blankets, quilts, comforters, and sleeping bags.  In our drafty farm house on cold, windy winter nights I have been known to pile a nice heavy sleeping bag on top of all the rest of the bedding to give plenty of warmth to my children for sleeping. 

The next area I plan for is food.  I like to stock up on staples.  I am not talking about lots of extra food, but enough so I am not running out of basics during the winter.  Here is a list of things that I have come up with:

 

Flour or wheat (If you grind your own wheat, donít forget to keep some already ground flour in your freezer in case of power outages and you can not grind your wheat.  You can always make quick breads or pancakes in a dutch oven on a camping stove!)

Rice

Oats

Cornmeal

Pasta

Beans, dried and canned (this can be home canned)

Sugar or preferred type of sweetener (Sucanat, fructose, honey, etcÖ)

Powdered milk

Oil

Salt

Baking powder and soda

Tomato products: sauce, paste, diced tomatoes

Tuna fish

Salmon

Canned ham

Canned chicken

If you have babies: baby food and formula, if needed

 

Check your supply of non-food items as well..

Shampoo

Soap

Deodorant

Feminine hygiene products

Diapers

Wipes

Non-prescription drugs like ibuprofen and acetaminophen

 

One of the most important things to remember when creating a list of food items is to only buy the things that you normally eat.  You donít want to end up with foods that you have no idea how to prepare or what to do with them.  This would not be the best time for experimenting.  :)

Of course having items in the freezer is important too.  I like to have meats that can be stretched in case I am not able to get out.  Things like hamburger, ham, chicken.  These are all meats that can be used in soups and stews easily.  Also you can freeze already prepared meals.  Such as casseroles, spaghetti sauce, bean soups, etc.. 

 

The next thing I think of in winter preparation is power outages.  We have had snow and ice storms that took out the power for a few days at a time.  So I want to make sure a few things are done in case this would happen again.  What kind of things need to be considered if you were to loose power?  The first that comes to my mind is all that frozen food!!  I have read that a full freezer not only saves you money, because it does not cycle on and off as often, but it is suppose to keep your foods frozen up to 3 days in the event of a power outage.  If your freezer is not full then you can begin saving milk jugs and fill them with water to put in your freezer to take up space.  This will help keep things frozen in the event that you loose power for a prolonged time. 

 

Water would be another consideration.  If you live in the country and you have a well and the power goes out, you will be in trouble.  Make sure you have a supply of water.  I donít think we can really appreciate water until we run out!  And I speak from experience on this!  ~smile~  Even though I have a gravity fed water system that comes from a spring, it is not without problems and we have dealt with many water issues since moving to the country.  I now know that when I lived in the city I took turning on my kitchen faucet and water flowing out way to much for granted! ~smile~  But back to water storage,  I believe the amount needed is about 2 gallons per person, per day.  You can use milk jugs for water storage for short periods of time, say less than 6 months.  I use them for my extra water supply and have been incredibly thankful for the foresight to save water! 

 

Other miscellaneous, but important items to gather together in case of power outages are, flashlights and batteries, candles and lanterns, a battery operated radio, a supply of batteries, clothes line and pins, paper and plastic products such as paper towels, cups, plates, plastic silverware.  Have an alternate cooking source such as a camping stove or outdoor grill and plenty of fuel for them. 

 

There are plenty other areas that I have not touched on that in my home my husband handles, car preparations, wood gathered, split and stacked, chimney clean out, wood stove maintenance, windows covered in plastic, outdoor items such as hoses put away, faucets turned off, etc..   My list is mostly a focus of where we as homemakers can work to be prepared and so that the things that encompass our domain are taken care of and our family will have no fear of snow for we have done our jobs! 

 

 

 

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