For most of us, winter usually brings the threat of snow and ice. Preparing for the white stuff is one thing, but complications such as a loss of power means making sure you have certain items around the house. And then there are the visitors who seem to swing by each winter. Fortunately, loading up the cupboard with a few essentials can make those times much easier, too.
Preparing for Winter Weather
It’s important to set aside a time to winterize the car and your home. Now’s the time to dig out your snow shovel, winter coat and boots.
If your area commonly gets an ice storm each winter, then stocking up on ice-melting products to cover sidewalks and driveways is a good idea. Just remember, some products can be harmful to wood decks and some brickwork. If the ice is thick or it is too cold to melt, sand is a good alternative for providing some traction for feet and tires. In a pinch, you can even use cat litter.
Ice storms can easily break large branches, if not whole trees. Keep a chainsaw oiled and gassed up should the worst happen. Having a pruning cutter ready is also helpful, especially if you see iced-down branches leaning on phone and power lines. Just be careful around electrical lines. If the branch problem is outside your property line, inform your local utility immediately.
Loss of Power
In case an ice storm does knock out power in your area, stocking up on the essentials will make your life easier. Be sure to keep all items in a specific area that can be easily accessed in the dark; the basement is not the place to store them.
A weather radio is essential to get weather updates should power be lost; some models even include built-in flashlights and a hand crank to recharge the batteries if they run low. The National Weather Service also suggests keeping some essentials handy, such as batteries, a flashlight, first aid supplies and extra medication. Extra high-energy food (e.g., granola bars) and water are also needed. A wood stove or space heater is important to keep everyone warm, but be sure the area is ventilated, and have a fire extinguisher nearby.
Many of these items are good to keep in a car, too, in case you are stranded on the road. Extra clothing, blankets, a windshield scraper and a full tool kit should be in your trunk as well.
Preparing for Guests
Snow and ice may keep guests away for a while, but when they do show up, a well-prepared man can be ready to offer more than dry cereal and beer as refreshments.
Keep a supply of cocoa mix on hand (don’t forget marshmallows), a variety of flavored teas, or flavored coffee sweeteners to spice up some java for your guests. Keep a Christmas tray or serving dish and a supply of Christmas cookies in the pantry and you may just change your image from social caveman to something close to Martha Stewart.