Getting Ready for Winter on Our Urban Farm

| 11/12/2015 9:42:00 AM

Pantry shelf canned goods 

Our farmers market was put to bed the last Saturday of September, and we got busy getting ready for winter. The Old Farmer's Almanac predicts for our area “Winter will be cooler and rainier than normal, with above-normal snowfall." To quote a popular television show, “Winter is coming."

After a long, unusually hot, dry summer our Pacific Northwest, weather tried to make up for it in one weekend. On Halloween night, In six hours, our area received more than 2 inches of rain. In the city center, light rail, street cars and buses were delayed. One local Twitter user recorded video of a light rail car with water rushing through the inside. We weathered the storm in comfort in our little 800-square-foot concrete block house (built in 1950 with very little improvement or maintenance since) thanks to a snug new roof (raccoon damage on Thanksgiving day 2013) and a rebuilt chimney.

Starting with a Home Energy Audit

Soon after we moved in on Halloween of 2013, we signed up through our local public utility for a home energy audit (it took two years to make our way to the top of the of the list). Technicians came and evaluated our house and made recommendations of how to make it more energy-efficient. On this plan, we were able to get several things updated or installed for the first time for a small percentage of the cost. I strongly recommend looking into the energy audit program in your area.

This week, the adventure with contractors began. (Our very social dog loves this – yes, I keep him on a leash will they are working.) On one day, they were seriously challenged, several times, by the concert block/lath and plaster construction, mostly wearing out drill bits and saw blades. They have installed vent fans and an attic fan and rewired the hot water heater to bring it up to code. Next will be insulation in the attic and under the floors, wrapping pipes and door sweeps to keep the winter wind on the outside.

11/12/2015 3:55:09 PM

Here are a few more winterization chores: 1) winterize internal combustion engine yard equipment 2) clean out gutters 3) protect vulnerable plants from being eaten by deer, rabbits, etc. 4) rodent-proof garage, basement, barn, etc. 5) protect exposed faucets, irrigation systems, etc. 6) drain, coil and store garden hoses.

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