The winter months can be a harder time for self-sufficiency minded individuals. The colder air encourages people to turn on the heating and the ground is cold, unyielding with nothing growing very well – not to mention the perpetual threat of frost and snow. However, it is also the best test of someone who truly wants to build a more sustainable lifestyle. When heat and food is scarce, now is the time when proper planning and preparation make a real difference.
Here’s a couple of things to consider if you are looking to become more self-sufficient over the winter. Naturally, the thing about self-sufficiency is preparation so this might not come in too handy immediately. The key is to get ready for the future.
Growing Your Own Firewood
People have been relying on firewood to heat their homes for thousands of years. Even today, wood burners and fireplaces remain ideal ways to heat a cold house. As the financial cost of electricity and gas continues to rise, many people are increasingly finding traditional wood burning to once again be a viable way to warm their homes.
Ofcourse, firewood is a longer term prospect – wood may grow in trees but not overnight! Even for faster growing trees it can take 4-5 years before the pants are ready for harvesting. Likewise the choice of wood is important as not all logs burn the same. Recommended varities include Beech, Ash and Willow.
Preserving Foods for Winter
Back in the day there were no fridges or freezers and people had to rely on preserving methods to keep foods available throughout the winter. Old methods like pickling, smoking and salting were used to keep vegetables and meats edible through the cold, dark months.
Many vegetables can be pickled. You’ll need some jars and a good amount of vinegar for the process which involves creating a pickling liquid with vinegar as its base and then boiling the contents of the jar in hot water to kill off undesired microbes prior to sealing. Pickled foods can keep for months ready to be eaten when the time is right.
Salting and smoking are two historic ways to preserve meat. If you keep and slaughter your own animals, then this is an excellent way to keep the meat edible without resorting to refrigeration. Many people indeed prefer the taste of these smoked and cured meats.
Better Home Insulation
Winter months often mean turning up the heat to ward of the chill of the outside. Far too often though, people end up having to compensate for lost warmth by turning the thermostat up to a higher setting due to faulty insulation.
Various steps are available through which can go a huge way to reducing heating costs even for homes with try to avoid conventional heating. These include:
- Double glazing on windows
- Cavity wall insulation
- Covering exposed floors with carpets
- Draught excluders around doors
- Insulation in the Loft or Ceiling.
Overall, living a self-sufficient lifestyle is all about preparation ahead of time. It’s just not possible to thrive while relying on quick fixes, you have to work by