Guarding Preps From Cold

We are under our first frost warning of the season. That’s always my signal to square some of the preps away, getting them ready to face the cold.

Wood – I straighten the wood pile, and get the cover re-tied securely.  Wood is my back up cooking and heating fuel, it’s used more in summer for camping, but I like to have it squared away and available during the winter in case it’s needed.

Water – I have a rain water capture barrel.  Tonight’s frost of 29 degrees won’t bother the barrel full of water, but it is a reminder to me to decide what I want to do  with that water. I usually choose to use it on the last of the garden. If there was ever a time when I thought I might need that 50 gallons of rain water over the winter, I would siphon it down into the basement. We get far too cold to leave the water outside, it would freeze solid and bust the barrel.

Food – Gardens need to be covered against the chill.  Tomatoes and basil and peppers all need protection from frost.  I use a combination of floating row cover and old comforters to cover what I want to save.  I also try to harvest as much as I can before the frost.   The basil for instance, I just harvested everything else I want to dry/eat and I’ll let the rest of it fend for itself, that seems easier to me.  The tomatoes with pounds and pounds of green fruit, deserve a shot at some more ripening time, so I spend the time to cover them, and I hope for a few more sunny days.  Frost also means I need to start watching the soil temp.  I need soil temp of 60  to plant garlic. Here in Iowa, the agriculture focused university (ISU) keeps track of soil temp and kindly posts it online.   Right before frost is an excellent time to glean.   If you have the ability to preserve it, you can stock up  on storage food quite cheaply by pre-frost gleaning.

Cold Cellar – Now’s the time to start funneling some of the nice chilly air down into the cold cellar.  I have apples and potatoes needing some cooler temps in order to store well. If you’re having trouble getting the cold air down to the cellar, make sure you have allowed a place for the warm air to escape to.

BoB/BoV – Different scenarios become more likely as we head into the cold weather. First frost is a convenient marker to make sure that the blankets get in the car and that the BoBs have sufficient numbers of hand warmers.

House – It’ll be another month or so before we relent and turn on the heater, but now’s the time to think about insulation.  If you’re in a new place this winter, you need to start thinking/making now if you know that gap at the bottom of the side door is going to draft, (for instance.)  I’ve made some easy and awesome winterizing gear for our house, I’ll post a how-to soon.

Busy day here, so I’ll leave you with that to mull on.  Anybody got any great tips for winterizing preps?

– Calamity Jane