Thursday, January 23, 2020

Yes, it's Winter

It's snowing here, which means the temperature finally got warm enough that it could snow. Below-zero temperatures and six inches of snow make it hard to do much outside that isn't absolutely necessary, so most of my time has been spent indoors this month. What's a prepper to do when it's too early to garden, too late to harvest, and too cold to go outside?

Check Your Supplies
  • I've gone through some of my stored goods and cold-weather supplies. Rotating food supplies is an on-going process, not an event, but I found some jars and cans that had been lost in the shadows of the pantry. Soups and stews got a little extra added to them to make use of the odd ingredients that weren't useful alone.
  • I have oil lamps as back-up lighting, so I check the stored lamp oil this time of year. Several of the plastic bottles have gotten brittle after mumble years of storage in a dark corner of the basement, so the contents got transferred to metal storage containers like these.
  • We went shopping for cold-weather clothing a week ago, as this is the time of year when stores are getting ready for their spring clothing to arrive and the winter clothing is going on sale. Some of my thermal underwear is aging out and got replaced, and I'm still looking for a few more pair of wool socks. I dress in layers, so adding a few long-sleeved T-shirts and some new flannel shirts to the closet was a good investment.

Check Your Gear
  • I pulled out the sleeping bags and made sure they were still in good shape. With cold weather we get extremely low humidity, so now is a good time to air them out and know that they will be put away dry.
  • Extra blankets have been breeding in my closet for some time. I'm not even sure where some of these came from, but I have plenty stored. A quick check to make sure the vermin are leaving them alone and then running a few through the laundry before putting them back in storage. I like to leave a scented dryer sheet folded in with the blankets; it helps repel rodents and adds a pleasant fragrance.
  • My GHB got reorganized back in October before the cold set in, and switching to my spring/summer gear will happen around April. Cleaning and checking that warm-weather gear in its storage tote doesn't take much time or effort and gives me a chance to consider upgrades/changes.
  • The winter boots are ready for their mid-season water-proofing. I use Sno-Seal on my leather boots, and it does wear off eventually. Follow the instructions on the can for best result, but the basics are to apply it to clean, dry boots and then place them in a warm spot to allow it to soak in. Getting things clean and dry can take some time in this weather, which is why I have more than one pair of boots.

Check Your Weapons
  • The hunting seasons are mostly done around here, so it's time to put some of the toys back in storage. I'm stocked well enough that I can have dedicated defense guns and others for hunting. Putting the hunting guns in the back of the safe means giving them a thorough cleaning and making sure they're properly lubed and rust-proofed.
  • Some of the toys haven't been out of the safe for a while, so the cold nights are a good time to scrub the barrels clean of dust and give them a good inspection. The saying is that weapons only have two enemies, rust and politicians, and cleaning and oiling will take care of the rust.
  • Several of my rifles shoot corrosive ammo, so I make sure the barrels get cleaned even when I'm not using them. That surplus Russian ammo was cheap when I laid in a lifetime supply, but it requires extra cleaning. The corrosive salts are hard to get completely cleaned out, and running a brush/oiled patch down the bore doesn't take much time.
  • My wife thinks I'm just “playing with my toys”, but I'm doing preventative maintenance. Really, I am. This isn't just an excuse to f̵o̵n̵d̵l̵e̵ handle my collection of tools and toys.

Check on Your Tribe
  • Winter is a good time to gather with friends and talk. Sitting around a campfire in the fall is ideal, but sharing a meal and some time with fellow preppers is a good way to reconnect and offer/receive aid.
  • Winter can be hard on the older and less-well prepared members of your tribe, so take the time to check up on them and make sure they're healthy and doing well. Living up north, we get significantly less daylight during the winter and that can have an effect on people (Seasonal Affective Disorder), so watch for symptoms of increased depression.
  • Cabin fever is real and can be an issue. If you have tribe members that are susceptible, find ways to get them out of the house once in a while. Being cooped up with a cranky, hyperactive, and morose roommate is not good for your mental health, so find ways to get them some fresh air.
  • If your tribe is scattered like mine, stay in contact as best you can. I've been falling short in this area for a while and am trying to make changes.

Living in the frozen wastes of the northern tier of states isn't ideal, but it's something I've grown up doing. I'll trade the snow and cold for alligators and snakes any day, and I don't have to worry about insects for at least another two months. Spring is coming; we just have to get through the last of winter and it'll be planting season before we know it.


  1. Wowsa. Spend $20 on a lamp oil container???

    Not here. I got empty glass booze bottles with screw on lids for free.

    1. I've used Sigg and MSR bottles for years. Glass breaks and the Aluminum bottles double as fuel tanks for some hiking stoves. Shop around and you can find better prices, I just use Amazon as an easy reference.


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