Whether you’re a self-sustained homesteader or new to the lifestyle, there are several steps you should take to get your home and your family ready for summer. Now is the best time to get outside and make adjustments for the warmer weather, from checking for roof damage to tuning up your lawnmower.
1. Look for Damage
Get outside and look at your home. Do you see any noticeable damage from winter? Check your siding to look for any missing or damaged pieces, which can result from heavy winds. Check the state of insulation around your windows and doors, as leaks can cause increased energy bills and allow bugs and mice to enter your home. Preparing your home for summer means assessing the damage and giving yourself ample time to make repairs.
2. Clear the Gutters
While you’re outside, get out a ladder and check your gutters and downspouts. During the winter, gutters can easily get clogged with debris like twigs, pine needles, dead leaves and more. When it begins to rain more in summer, these clogs can lead to water overflowing, allowing water to get into your basement or crawl space and cause damage.
3. Check Your Roof
Like many parts of your house, the roof can show its age after time. Temperature fluctuations cause shingles to expand and contract, which can lead to cracking. Check for flaws that can allow water to enter your home and cause damage. You should also take a careful look at the chimney, which can begin to crumble over time. If you notice a leak in your chimney, inspect the joints where it meets the roof. If you find a crack, you can usually repair it with a patch.
4. Test the Temperature
When you work outside on the homestead, you want a cool place during the summer where you can escape and relax. That’s why it’s important to test the temperature controls in your home. To prepare for summer, examine your air conditioning units to make sure they work. If you’re having an issue with a window or HVAC unit, call a professional who can complete necessary repairs.
5. Clean Your Windows
Before summer, when temperatures are still mild, is the best time to clean your windows. To get crystal-clear glass, spray both sides with a window cleaning solution and use a squeegee or piece of newspaper to wipe it down, leaving it streak-free. While you may be tempted to save time and pressure-wash your windows, remember the force of the spray can easily cause damage.
6. Collect the Rain
Find or purchase a barrel to collect rain during the warmer months. This time of year experiences more rainfall than winter, making it the perfect time to set a barrel outside. The collected water has plenty of uses on a homestead, including watering your garden, washing your car, washing your pets and refilling a pool.
7. Transfer Your Seedlings
If you want to plant any new seedlings, you should start them indoors. But once the weather begins to warm, you should prepare for summer by finding the perfect spot outside for planting. Choose a place that’s not too shady and won’t get inundated with rainfall. As the temperatures rise, your plants will be able to soak in the sun’s rays and grow steadily.
8. Start to Compost
If you haven’t started a compost pile, now is the time to do so. Not only will you cut down on the waste you throw away, but you’ll also have a trusty source of fertilizer which will work great on crops. Food scraps like eggshells, coffee grounds, fruit and vegetable peels and more can all skip the trash can and make their way outside. Items you shouldn't try to compost include meat and dairy products, plastic utensils, grease, plastic wrap and foil.
9. Maintain Lawn Equipment
The key to keeping your homestead looking picturesque is the lawn equipment you regularly use, like lawnmowers, weed whackers, hedge trimmers and more. Check your tools before you need to use them to make sure everything is in proper running order. If you forgot to empty gas from last season, clean out and refresh the equipment. Refill your weed whacker with fresh oil and check to see if you need to replace the string.
10. Look at Irrigation
If you’re a homesteader who relies on an irrigation or outdoor spout system, it’s essential to ensure everything made it through the winter season intact. Remove the freeze caps from faucets and turn on the water. If you only get a trickle, not a full stream, there may be an issue with your pipes, such as a crack causing water to leak. If you’re experiencing issues with an in-ground irrigation system, you might have to call a professional for a tune-up.
How to Prepare Your Homestead for Summer
It’s not hard to prepare your homestead for summer. The trick is to start early, create a list of all the tasks you need to do and set goals for getting them accomplished. Once you’ve finished your projects and are ready for the warm temps, sit in the yard and enjoy the new season's sun.