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Preparing for Winter and What It Can Teach Us About Prepping, by Erik

Ready or not, winter is on its way. As my family is working through finishing our items to get the homestead ready for winter, I couldn’t help but think of the parallels to prepping in general.

For our winter “turndown service” of the homestead, we work from a list that has been refined over the last several years so that nothing is overlooked or ignored. The list is prioritized so bigger jobs don’t get put off to the end and critical items get the attention they deserve.

This is also the similar approach we take to prepping in general, and I wanted to share a couple of examples of the similarities as I see it.


We have a variety of equipment and machines that require fuel. Some of these are seasonal, and some fuel is stored long term. So, storage requires some effort.

Lawn Tractor/Mower and Summer Machines

I like nothing more than to be able to put the lawn tractor/mower away for the winter. There should be a national holiday to celebrate this great day!

As we northerners put away the lawn mower and other gas operated summer machines, there are of course different ways people go about doing this. A few that I know of are:

With the above choices you can see there are different ways to get the lawnmower put away. While there may be more than one “right” answer, the choices usually have an array ranging from poor to best.

The Right Choice in Prepping

Prepping is no different than our lawnmower example in that there are many choices and paths to follow. However, the right (or better) choice often isn’t all that difficult, nor does it require an advanced degree from the MacGyver school for adults.

Fuel For the Prepper

Fuel for the prepper can mean the difference between getting home to your family or not and having crucial power for the first days to conclude your preps or not. Here are some different choices a prepper could make on fuel, as an example:


Who doesn’t like a cold winter day at home to finally get to that Expatriots [2] book you have been wanting to read but haven’t had time or to binge watch a Jaws marathon on the TV! Grab some venison summer sausage [3], some cheese, and crackers, and life couldn’t get much better. That is as long as your house isn’t 30 degrees inside.

Heating systems need winter preparation. Not taking care of it can yank the remote control right from your hand and replace it with a receipt for the emergency heating service. Here are some different approaches to getting your heater (in this case a forced air furnace) ready:

Examples of Heating Preps

Similarly with how you approach fuel storage, how you prepare for heating your home in a SHTF situation can make the difference between life and death. Here are a couple options as an example of heating preps:

McGyver Tricks In Comments Section

Now, I know there are some holes in the examples above, and I used some creative license to make my point. With that acknowledgment, hopefully I can save you some time in correcting the examples and pointing out the many McGyver tricks you know on how to get a furnace or carburetor working in the comments section. 🙂

What I hope the examples above will show is we can use many things in our lives, like winter being right around the corner, to set up discipline and a thought process in us that will also be applicable and helpful in guiding how we go about being ready, should the worst happen.

One Last To Think About

I’ll conclude this with one last simple one to think about. Are we learning from our normal life chores and building upon them a good practice and applying that to help your emergency preps, or are we just going through some motions to check things off our list? Here are some things to ask yourself:

SurvivalBlog Writing Contest

This has been another entry for Round 79 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest [5]. The nearly $11,000 worth of prizes for this round include:

First Prize:

  1. A $3000 gift certificate towards a Sol-Ark Solar Generator from Veteran owned Portable Solar LLC. The only EMP Hardened Solar Generator System available to the public.
  2. A Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate. This can be used for any one, two, or three day course (a $1,095 value),
  3. A course certificate from onPoint Tactical for the prize winner’s choice of three-day civilian courses [6], excluding those restricted for military or government teams. Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795,
  4. DRD Tactical is providing a 5.56 NATO QD Billet upper [7]. These have hammer forged, chrome-lined barrels and a hard case, to go with your own AR lower. It will allow any standard AR-type rifle to have a quick change barrel. This can be assembled in less than one minute without the use of any tools. It also provides a compact carry capability in a hard case or in 3-day pack (an $1,100 value),
  5. Two cases of Mountain House freeze-dried assorted entrees [8] in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
  6. A $250 gift certificate good for any product [9] from Sunflower Ammo,
  7. American Gunsmithing Institute (AGI) is providing a $300 certificate good towards any of their DVD training courses [10].

Second Prize:

  1. A Model 175 Series Solar Generator provided by Quantum Harvest LLC (a $439 value),
  2. A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 [11] Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training, which have a combined retail value of $589,
  3. A gift certificate for any two or three-day class from Max Velocity Tactical (a $600 value),
  4. A Three-Day Deluxe Emergency Kit from Emergency Essentials (a $190 value),
  5. RepackBox is providing a $300 gift certificate to their site, and
  6. Two 1,000-foot spools of full mil-spec U.S.-made 750 paracord [12] (in-stock colors only) from www.TOUGHGRID.com (a $240 value).

Third Prize:

  1. A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of [13] Directive 21 (a $275 value),
  2. A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard, and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206,
  3. Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy (a $185 retail value),
  4. Two Super Survival Pack seed collections [14], a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security, LLC,
  5. Mayflower Trading is donating a $200 gift certificate for homesteading appliances.

Round 79 ends on November 30th, so get busy writing and e-mail [15] us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical “how to” skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.

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#1 Comment By john On October 21, 2018 @ 2:43 pm


#2 Comment By Joe On October 21, 2018 @ 2:57 pm

Good article as well as a great place to add to JWR’s lists of lists . I find spring, summer, fall and winter preparation lists to be most helpful as they keep me focused and it is quite rewarding to have all the basics done. I have noticed that one is almost never done as stuff keeps cropping up, but getting the basics behind you allows time for a more leisurely approach to new things. The more you have taken care of the more time you have to stop and smell the roses.

#3 Comment By Anonymous On October 21, 2018 @ 6:41 pm

Grand Solar Minimum Update 10/20/18 – Winter Blast Early – Asteroid Close Encounter – Space Debris
(YouTube Video)
Oppenheimer Ranch Project
Published on Oct 20, 2018
Duration – 17:05

Warning: The presenter can be a bit irritating…

This channel was mentioned previously in this SB article, [18]

I’m thinking about one of these as a non-electric backup heating resource,
Mr. Heater Buddy Indoor-Safe Portable Propane Radiant Heater,

#4 Comment By JimW On October 22, 2018 @ 4:21 pm

I have one Anon and it has served me well. However there is a glitch with using an adapter hose from cheap propane tanks like under barbecues to the heater. This can contaminate them with bits of rubber or something. So it would seem to me it would be better to refill the little ones like the paintballers do to get out of overpaying for greengas. That would be a concept though; not something I’ve hiked up and over the learning curve on.

I have 3 wet seasons with moss damage likely on the roof and about 100 day drought. So near the end of the dry season I get up on the roof sweep the chimney and apply a moss killer product. If I were a little richer living in this climate I would have a metal roof with some copper zinc and/or lead flashing up high for a low labor anti-moss effect.

#5 Comment By Professor Wagstaff On October 22, 2018 @ 4:52 am

I’m in the process of building a house… in the mean time my wife and I have been living in a 35 foot trailer. We have propane heat, and a water heater (and refrigerator) that can run on either propane or electric. We do have electric service to the property, so if we had to (and we have) we could run electric heaters. The water is supplied by a well, which has a hose coming off the frost free hydrant. The hose has to be fully drained each time its used in freezing conditions.
The trailer is not a four season type, with additional insulation underneath. When the outside temperature reaches about 24 degrees we run a small electric heater underneath to keep the pipes unfrozen.
This experience has vividly illustrated how tenuous simple things like heat and power are. We have experienced electric blackouts in the middle of the winter. The coldest we have experienced was 2 degrees in January, although the last winter was relatively mild. The necessity for back up systems, and back ups to the back ups are essential if you don’t want to huddle in a freezing dark igloo. The heating system and 12 volt lights can run for a very limited time on a 12 volt battery, but we have resorted to a “little buddy” propane heater a few times.
Getting a large propane tank and a generator to run the heater in the house (and the well pump) will be big improvement. I plan on getting a propane fueled generator too. I’ve thought about getting a wood fired water heater as a back up. Of course a wood stove is a must. One of these days it would be nice to have a solar array with a bank of nickel-iron batteries to run a few lights and a computer or radio. I think I need an underground cistern.

In any case, I have looked at this experience as a mini-course in preparedness… I often ask myself “what if” questions… what if the car stopped working and I couldn’t repair it… what if the power was off for a week or a month or 6 months… what if I couldn’t get water from the well… what if there was a raging wildfire and no operating fire department… what if we had to depend primarily on rice and beans, would we have to fall back on the old adage of “hunger makes the best sauce” or can we do better… how long would those wild rabbits and quail and doves last once the neighbors started hunting them… how terrible is the taste of a coyote or a crow… what if I couldn’t get propane AND electric power…- what if we couldn’t get to doctor in an emergency… what if the hospitals were either non-functional, or overwhelmed with the injured or a mass epidemic… how would we contact our kids and relatives who live in other states if phone and internet systems went down? … ad infinitum.

#6 Comment By Ol’ Granny On October 22, 2018 @ 9:35 am

Try to use bales of hay stacked about three rows high to enclose your underneath of the trailer. It will keep you nice and toasty. It will separate the outside cold air from the warmer underneath air. We do it all the time.

#7 Comment By GWH On October 22, 2018 @ 1:30 pm

Here, life is in three stages; preparing for winter, in winter, recovering from winter.

#8 Comment By Tom B in Oklahoma On October 22, 2018 @ 3:11 pm

Professor Wagstaff – Actually crow and coyote are quite good. Crow taste like dove and coyote tastes like squirrel, at least to me.

#9 Comment By 2bob On October 25, 2018 @ 6:41 pm

I can attest to the straw bales insulation process. We use them around our camp trailer too. Only thing I do now different is to put a tarp under them and cover them with a tarp. Once spring is here they will now weigh more than twice original weight. If you wait for them to dry out rot has set in and get broken down unusable for the coming year. Also the buddy heaters worked well for us too. Except we have a dog who’s hair gets up into the grill in front and clogs the air sensor. It starts to flutter, and not stay lit. Take a straw and blow into the grate below the pilot light and around. Usually does the trick. If not disassemble to do a through cleaning. We just got a 1000 gallon used propane tank delivered. We’ll use it to fire the cook range, genset, and incenerator toilet system. We use wood heat now in the cabin we built just the two of us. No septic because the well is to close , which we just drilled at 100 ft and is a mild artesian running 2.5 gallons a minute over the top of the casing. What a blessing that is after 4 years of hauling water from the neighbor 1.5 miles away. With every task I too ask, what if? And try to build it to work assuming no modern facilities are available.