It’s time to get your homestead in order before winter weather arrives! Here are a few homestead preparation tips to take care of this month…
Night falls earlier these days, a chill is in the air, and there’s no question that winter is on the way! Whether you raise animals for meat or other purposes, or just grow a garden or some fruit trees, there are a few things you need to do to prepare your home and farm for the winter months. The homestead preparation tips below from the Pioneering Today podcast will help you get your homestead in shape for winter:
- Assess Your Feed Supply. Because we raise our cattle all on grass and hay, we have to make sure we have enough hay to feed them through the winter months. Usually, the beginning of summer is the best time to line up your hay purchases (we purchase from a few local fields and farmers). Because we had a very dry summer, we were forced to feed our cattle some of the winter hay. Which meant we needed to purchase an extra 5 bales of hay to ensure we had enough for the winter. If you’re going to run short you’ll need to look at selling or butchering an extra animal. Fall is the time to make these decisions.
- Shelter. We don’t have a barn for any of our animals. We don’t want to put anything else on debt or on loan and you can definitely raise your own animals without having a barn. There are ways to do it. Use the natural advantages of your property. We’ve got some different shelter areas around our property. We have a fairly heavily wooded area where we’ve got the evergreen trees, so they can get under that when it’s really heavy snow or a lot of rain coming out.
Pig care and shelter needs: We have a shed for the pigs in the pigpen that they can go in to get out of the weather. We are not butchering for another four to five weeks, and pigs do not have fur, right? They’ve got some hair on them, but they don’t have a lot of fur. They are not meant for really cold weather. They’ll get cold. Part of the problem, if they start to get cold they can get sick very easily…..Once we start to get those really cold days where it’s not warming up with the sun coming out, and those really cold night temperatures and hard freezes, we will have to put a heat lamp in with our pigs up until it’s time to butcher.
Chicken care and winter needs: We do not use heat lamps for the chickens. They have got a nice, insulated coop. They’ve got all their feathers, and we prefer to let our chickens follow more of way God intended or nature intended when He created them, their life cycle, and that’s to give them a break in the wintertime from laying eggs, because as they get those shorter daylight hours, they will naturally stop producing eggs. It gives their body a rest from doing the egg production.
Use nature to your advantage with the heat. Our coop is moveable, and we make sure that it is facing the sun, a natural way to keep them warm. We also make sure that the coop door is arranged away from the direction that our winter winds come in, so that it’s not sneaking in through the door…
- Water in Freezing Temps. This is important – water is just important, if not more, during the cold temps, as it is in the hot months. I can supply the chickens (they don’t drink as much) with water easily with water from the house or our frost free pump. I can’t pack enough water to keep our cattle herd supplied when it’s frozen. We use an electric stock tank heater during the winter. Make sure it’s in working order, no frayed cords (or mice chewing on the electric components over the summer), and in a spot ready to go when the cold hits.
- Put your garden to rest with a clean up. We go through the garden this time of year and pull up everything that’s spent and that is done, all of the warm weather vegetables, your beans, your tomatoes, all of those things. This is important, especially if you had anything that was diseased. You do not want to those diseased vines or produce left to rot in your garden and to reinfect your soil for next year’s crop, so it’s important if you had anything that was diseased, that you yank that out of your garden area. Don’t put it in with your compost. Put it in the garbage if you’re not able to burn it. It depends on everybody’s situation, but make sure you dispose of that so it’s not sitting and reinfecting your soil for next year’s crops.
- Plant your garlic. …Garlic is great because you plant it in the fall, and then you harvest it again the next summer, so you get it in the ground, and it just does its thing, and then you get to harvest it next July. As long as your ground is not frozen solid, you can go ahead and plant your garlic. You just want to make sure and put a layer of straw over it, to help with drainage, and give it a little bit of insulation.
This is also a great time of year for you to assess how much harvest you got off of your fruit crops, so think fruit trees, bushes like blueberries, raspberries, that type of thing because this is the perfect time of year in the fall to put in some of those.
Fall can be a great time to plant because they’ll have time for their roots to go down before they get to the stress of summertime, and usually a little bit drier, more drought conditions. As trees and bushes start to move into their dormancy, that can be a good time to put them in.
Read More Homestead Preparation Tips + Listen to the Podcast at MelissaKNorris.com…