Since we basically caught up on most major projects over the summer, and we knew more about what to expect over winter this go around, we have really taken advantage of some beautiful weather to winterize a bit.  In our case, it’s a bit trickier than simple winterization, though.  We are putting our house on the market in March, and as a general rule, we are under a blanket of snow between November and April.  So, in addition to preparing for winter, we have been preparing for selling the house and moving.  So, in case you were wondering what winterizing on a farm might involve, here’s a few things we did….

  • Installed windows, insulation, and a light with timer in the chicken coop (to keep egg supply up), and got new electric netting to try to prevent losses to the hungry fox over winter.
  • Built a straw bale wall over part of the open side of the goat shed to give them more shelter.  This year, S made it more sturdy and less edible by wrapping it in fence wire and really wiring it to the shelter.
  • Filled the donkey shelter with shavings this year instead of straw like last year (IMPOSSIBLE to clean donkey poop out of straw!)
  • Purchased almost a year’s worth of hay (we hope) to get us through the winter.
  • Built a hay shelter to protect the hay.
  • Prepped the milk room.
  • Harvested the last of the garden, turned the chickens loose to glean it, and then left the remaining vegetation as a fertile mulch.
  • JR cleaned up his rabbit pen, bedded all the nest boxes with lots of warm straw, got his spare water bottles ready (for switching out the frozen ones), and generally ensured everything was ready for snow.
  • S chopped lots of firewood, and the kids helped stack it all.  We have enough for at least a couple months, we think, and he continues to work on it if he has time.  The 4 good stacks we have now, though, are far better than the pitiful half stack we had going into winter last year!
  • Removed the excess honey frames from the hives, and took off the extra hive bodies to help maintain the heat.  We didn’t have enough honey to make it worth harvesting this year (probably up to 25 lbs.), so we decided to store them in the freezer to use to feed the girls with in the spring if their supplies run low.  That should hopefully give them a better start on the season next year.
  • Dumped the pasture water trough (since it just freezes and collects pine needles over winter), and set up a smaller, portable water bucket and a shelter in the pasture.
  • Installed a tank heater in the pen water trough to keep it from freezing.

And that is all in addition to getting the decks repainted, the playground repaired, the yard cleaned up, more curtains hung (for inside insulation, the path mulched, the driveway graded and graveled (to prevent the ice we had last year), the chimney pipe cleaned, and so on.

Yup, I think we are ready for winter this year.  That is, of course, until the next snow, at which time we suddenly realize what we forgot to do!