Prepping for Polar Vortex this weekend

It will be cooling down this week  and we might catch the edge of the storm coming out of Alaska/Canada.  Snow is in the forecast Wednesday evening and the temp will be dropping below 20 degrees F. by the end of the week.  I got busy on getting the leaves up today. Both of my compost piles are full of a grass and leaf mix and I got the big raised bed covered in a leaf and grass mulch mix. Several of my trees  still have leaves so I will need to do the leaf cleanup again but at least I have a good start on the job.  My little leaf blower/vacuum makes the job a little easier and the vacuum mulches the leaves nicely for adding to the pile or the garden beds. I drained the last two garden hoses and will run the soaker hoses Monday on the front beds then drain them and the rain barrels 1/2 – 3/4  for the winter.

I got the front porch loaded up with wood. The wood rack is topped off and then some with more elm and all five of my big party buckets are full of the mill ends for the wood stove.  I can now walk all the way to the back of my wood pile and it should not take to much longer to have all the wood properly stacked for the winter. The wood stove is clean and ready for any storm. I was looking at the area under the carport where I stacked the mill ends and measured it out this area  looks to be the best place for the shed Mom wants for her chicken coop.  The shop has power for any lamps or heaters  if it gets cold and carport cover will provide extra protection from the weather. Plus it will close to the compost pile for easy cleaning and I don’t lose any yard space, if  Mom needs to stay a bit longer than planned. We will need to do some cleanup and re-stack the mill ends but it should work better in the long run.

Mom dropped a few more things this weekend and I got her TV set up in her room.  I was darned surprised by how many channels her little antenna pulled in as that room seems to be the best in my house for reception.  I set up her mini-greenhouse on the patio and I think it will do better than I had anticipated because it catches the early morning sun more than I had imagined because of of the angle of the patio cover and the angle of the winter sun.  I have lived here for 10 years and have I found out this year that some of my general assumptions about how the sun hits were not completely accurate.

I dropped off a bucket of tomatoes to my sister today along with the step ladder and a infrared quartz space heater Mom and I got her for a birthday/Xmas present.  My sister had a room mate had one of those heaters and my sis really liked it. Plus it saved her on energy costs compared to the whole house heater.  It is an early present, but it was pure serendipity that we were able to get the heater on sale and deliver it to her before the snow started flying.  We would love for my sister to have an off grid heat source but with her health and income level getting her as electrically efficient as possible is about all we can afford to do. Overall this year my sister is making out “like a bandit” as she got a nice little toaster oven earlier this year when I upgraded to a larger toaster/rotisserie/convection oven.  While my wood stove gives me a good off-grid backup for heating and cooking.  I like the idea of having electrical appliances that can replace an oven if you have to use a smaller gas generator short term.  My electric oven requires 220 voltage and neither my portable solar or gas generators can support that voltage. But I can use a 110 volt hot plate or toaster oven with my gas generator!

So how are you preparing for the “Polar Vortex”?  Even if you are not hit with any cold weather you can use the storm as a test to run through your basic storm preparation steps. Little things like checking backup lights and radio battery power, matches, candles and staying warm. Are you prepared to cleanup tree limbs that get blown down and have the tools needed for clearing those limbs?  Do you have salt or sand on hand for your sidewalks and where is your snow shovel?  If you use a snow blower does it have gas, oil and when was the last time you ran it or did basic maintenance so you know it will run? Have you charged up any cell phones and radios?  If you are using a propane or kerosene stove for your backup heat source do you have fuel and how is the wick on your kerosene stove and your lamps?  You did change out the batteries on your smoke detectors and installed a carbon monoxide alarm. While the storm is a bit early in the year you can do a test of your preps and write down any areas that need some attention.

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8 Responses to Prepping for Polar Vortex this weekend

  1. Just stocking up the wood and I did start up the gas generator today and run it a while to make sure it was ready. So far the National news seems to think this storm is a big deal but the forecast says only int he 20’s here. 20’s are nothing it’s those single digits that get me.

    • Jamie says:

      Pioneer: I agree mostly but snow takes a bit more work. I try get ahead of any cold or snow fall because it it is a lot easier. Of course the Media want to portray every storm as the end of humanity in order to get folks to tune in and for ratings. SW Idaho had an incredibly late frost in November rather than the average around 10 October. I remember back in the early 1980’s of -20 to -30 degrees for a couple of months as well as all the doomsayers about a new Ice Age in the late 1970’s because blizzards hit New York City in 78′ and 79′. I’m not scared by a bit of cold weather, as I am well prepared. Some folks are new and need a little extra help on the whole self-sufficient preparedness game.

      Tossing a bit of salt on the sidewalk ahead of any snowfall makes shoveling snow a lot easier. I’m trying to stock up on sand in the backyard as I don’t want to clean my critter’s feet of salt and I’m trying to build my soil. Sand is okay, salt/ice melt chemicals not so much!

      I never tried to prep my garden beds before winter. I always had an attitude that those sort of things are done in Spring. I will see how it works out next spring.

      I don’t think the polar vortex is really a big thing as long as you are ready for it. It’s a bit of snow and cold in November not a big deal if you are prepped and ready for it.

  2. Spud says:

    I have the bed sheets ready, to cover up the tomatoe plants. Doubt that I’ll need them tho….

    • Jamie says:

      Spud, I hear Florida should be okay. I hope you are doing better and recovering since the crash!

      • Spud says:

        Walking now, with the aid of a cane. However the wound is still very troublesome . Doctors say it’ll be another month or two until it finally heals and closes completely. Seems that cuts to the bone can take a long time to heal !

      • Jamie says:

        I’m glad you can get around some even if it with a cane. I didn’t think it would take so long for a wound to close up even one that deep. It seemed like it took Mom’s knee took a long time to heal up completely, but not months.

  3. S.Lynn says:

    Last time I was in Wilder I turned off water, drained lines and did the RV antifreeze in the drains, opening cabinet doors to the plumbing and set the heat at 45 degrees. I’ll be back up Saturday to see what else I need to do. Since I’ve never lived in snow country I’ll need to find some pet-safe salt. Does sand work, too?

    • Jamie says:

      S.Lynn: I don’t know of a pet safe salt. I use the salt on the sidewalks in the front yard and my dog stays in the backyard.

      Sand works okay on the sidewalks in the backyard though it won’t melt the snow like salt but the sand helps a lot with traction if the walks gets icy.

      At least you will miss the rash of accidents that always happen with the first snowfall. People relearn every year that snow and ice are slick!

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