Hibernation Station: Get Ready for Winter

Proper preparation beforehand will make hunkering down on the homestead less expensive and more comfortable all winter long.

Photo by Getty Images/Bluberries

Folks say spring is right around the corner in March in my neck of the northeastern United States, but you’d be hard-pressed to prove it to me. Around here, winter can last well into April. You just have to go with it.

The pellet stove will keep our home at a comfortable 70 degrees Fahrenheit, but in late winter, the pellet stores can get pretty low. Heat isn’t my only concern, though. My food supply gets low around this time of year as well. I know my family won’t starve and we’ll have enough to last another month or so, but we’ll be cutting it pretty close. The once-stocked freezer often looks a tad bare as I pull a couple of trout out for dinner in March.

There’s good news in all of this. Despite long and cold winters, my family survives. The days get longer and the sun gets higher in the sky every day. Any storms are just minor setbacks, bumps in the road to the warmer weather that’s sure to come. Over the years, I’ve been asked, “How can you live in those conditions?” My answer is that if you live out in the country, you have to prepare for anything that may come your way.

Winter is one of those things we can’t control. Surviving winter is all about being prepared, and not about last-minute thoughts as a storm is bearing down on you. If you don’t have your act together when the first arctic blast arrives, or when the first snowflakes fall, then it may already be too late. For me, the preparation process begins the previous spring, long before the last snow disappears.


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