While on grid the seasonal checklist was rotate clothes and make sure the shovel is handy.
After our first year off grid we have concluded that we need to create a check list and have everything in order before the season changes. Especially fall into winter. Why? In the past year, we have found ourselves in different situations that could have ended better than they did. Especially with proper planning, some of our experiences would have been less traumatic for us.
One example is when our truck battery finally died on us. We had the telltale signs all fall. One day I was charging the phone and working on line using the truck plug ins. We ended up draining the battery and having to flag down someone to give us a jump. Of course, our jumper cables were at home at the time! Luckily the person we flagged down had a pair in their van. Do you think we took the hint? A week later the same thing happened. Once again, we forgot to put the jumper cables in the back of the truck. Duhhh! Now we have a permanent box in the truck for our safety gear. Life kept us busy and next thing we knew it was winter and the coldest night of the year. We walked out to start the truck and it didn’t turn over. Long story short we ended up replacing a battery when it was 10 degrees below zero instead of replacing the battery when it was 60 degrees outside. In my mind that was basic stupidity on our part. Lesson learned!
Six “Must Haves” on our winter list:
- Truck: emergency equipment. Jumper cables (smiley face), blanket and extra winter gear if we get stuck in a snow storm. Shovel, snow scrapper, extra windshield washer fluid, and chains for the tires.
- Access to the house. Now, we are hauling and walking to our house. We have had a few people come in to see if they could plow us out, yet they have all said that the driveway would be a pain because there wouldn’t be a spot for the extra snow. So, we are at this moment saving to purchase a tractor with a snow blower attachment. For the time being we still need to have bring in propane, water, and groceries to the house. In the winter, we pull a large black sled. Amazingly enough this has helped. You barely feel the weight as you are pulling the sled. Who needs the gym right? On our check list for the winter is to make sure we wax the bottom of the sled so that it glides much smoother on the snow. It isn’t fun when the sled sticks!
- All construction is completed before the first snow fall. We try to make sure we finish the major construction while we can still drive in. This past fall we had just completed the bedroom addition, then that night we had our first heavy snow fall. That was cutting it close! I told my husband that I would not be pulling drywall down the driveway on a sled. Not happening! We take a break on the construction projects during the winter. By the time spring comes around our construction list has grown.
- Cleaning up the grounds before the snow falls. Our area is in a constant state of flux. We have a construction pile here, small storage unit there, a tarp covering outdoor furniture, outside gardening equipment, etc. Last fall we must have taken at least two truckloads of construction debris to the land fill. Once the snow falls, all bets are off if you misplace a tool.
- Crampons. We learned the first year that when the spring arrives this usually means ice on the road. I call them crampons, they are probably named something else. But we used to use them when we hiked the high peaks as kids. The crampons usually have metal teeth on a strap that you attach to your boots. What a life saver! There are many times I had walked on the road and came close to wiping out. Since my ankle injury last year, I am a little leery.
- Backpack. This useful tool is handy all year round. We call it our electric go bag. All our chargers, ipads, computer, and cell phone fit neatly into the bag and this helps when you need to go. Everything is in place.
We are now heading into February and I am already starting our list for spring. If I continue to pour over the seed catalogs, my list is going to be longer than I intend. I am already planning a second bed and a new projects once warm weather comes around.