Winterizing, or how not to eat the bread of idleness

I don’t know if people realize, but this summer has been the coolest for the US if not the world since we started keeping records. Don’t believe the media hype about “climate change” and hot summers. Those folks are getting paid to lie to you about everything.
This winter is expected to be pretty brutal, and 2015 looks to be REALLY interesting.

My suspicion is the nice inter-glacial we’ve been in called the Holocene has ended and our world will be reverting shortly into its native, cooler state. That being said, our family is starting to prep for winter. Regardless of whether it is cold or mild, our goal is to remain comfortable. It’s possible to do these things with a bit of foresight and a little cash if you have a long enough lead time. We are incredibly rich and blessed, yet cash poor, so our family has to be careful about where we put that cash to use.

I am not trying to prep for the end of civilization, merely for the inevitable irritating occurrences that can be mitigated with a bit of planning. A good example: we went to the beach this last weekend, and took our travel drink kit that has a little propane burner, cups and thinks to make hot coffee, tea, etc. I’ve not looked at it for some time, at least since our flight from the park. One really important item was missing: A LIGHTER. We had nary a match between us either. And of course, we did not discover this until we had already dragged all of our equipment out on the beach, down from the long trail to the parking lot. *le sigh*. I really dislike that, and a bit of checking before we left might have avoided the nuisance.

In light of our preparation failure from the beach, I’ve tried to work out covering all the basics to stay comfortable for the winter. The plan is to keep our eye on the fact that there could be power outages after storms and other unexpected occurrences that are potentially disruptive. This last winter the area saw quite a bit of unexpected snow, up to a couple of feet that paralyzed the local infrastructure. We were used to that in the mountain area of California we left behind, but have grown soft living on the coast where very little changes 
So the basics: heat, water, food, in no particular order.

We are getting a cord of wood delivered this weekend. It’s going to cost around $175 a cord to have it delivered here. Daniel will stack it himself with a bit of *mostly useless* assistance from me and the dogs.
The plan is, Lord willing, to buy one a month until we get 3 or 4 to burn in the fireplace. We have a nice covered spot to put it in, but it’s at the far back end of the storage and will have to be humped up one truckload at a time *then up the stairs* to burn. The exercise possibilities are endless! The owners suggested getting a fireplace insert, but unless I find one that is really cheap I don’t think that will happen. At least I will get the chance to use some of my awesome cast iron cooking in the fireplace this winter 
We also have a small propane heater, and the house has central heating if we absolutely need it. Since we don’t pay the electrical bill we try to use as little as possible. We’ll be filling up the propane bottles one at a time over the next two months as well. The idea is to have multiple vectors of preparations, so if one fails there’s at least one backup.

We’ve been picking up bottled water and canned food, a bit at a time at the store to rebuild our stock. I’ll be canning up everything we don’t eat immediately from the garden, plus more that we’ll be gleaning from trees and bushes in the field next to the facility here. I have a large stock of canning items that I have collected over the years, but still need to add more Tattler reusable lids and jars. I still have not purchased a freezer, and may not get to it this year. I can find one for around $100 but I want to spend that money elsewhere this month, so I don’t think it will happen soon. If I do find some really good meat or vegetable buys, I will can or dehydrate them for now. The freezer is not a true necessity, but more like a giant luxury 

The water is on a well, but we won’t be able to get a hand pump for it due to the design and lack of information about the well itself. The old owners did not give the new owners any info in the sale, and I personally do not want to spend money on getting it inspected.
There is a lake across the street if we were really hard put to get water. We have some Berkey filters, and the plans to make a home made one using the filters and two plastic buckets put together if necessary. I have a back up water filtration system that is primitive but works: one micron cloth filters to run the water through that I picked up on eBay years ago, then boiling it to kill anything not filtered out. A one micron filter will actually come close to cleaning the water completely, but why take chances?
We have two sports bottles that filter water in our travel bags as well.
I wish we had not left our rain barrels behind, but we had no place to put them. I need to find at least two new ones. They seem to be a scarce and expensive commodity in the area. Again, multiple vectors for redundancy.

Thrift store shopping is our friend. We’ve been buying nice old quilts and other warm items in need of mending or cleaning from the thrift stores, and will keep looking for more. We also have been stocking up on yarn finds and sales to make some items both for ourselves and for gifts for friends.
I’ve been trying to sell off unneeded clothing items and oddities from around the house to raise cash to buy more suitable winter items. I’ve done a bit of trading too.
We are still on the lookout for good bags to use as containers for car kits for road emergencies. I have a giant bag that we can *but currently don’t* stick in the ‘Hoe that holds water, a change of clothes, first aid supplies and a drink kit including filtered water bottles but need to break it down to something more manageable that can stay in the vehicle.
We also need to finish collecting medical supplies. We have a bit, but they are currently scattered from Hell to breakfast in various spots around the house and garage.
Daniel hung up my big dry erase board so I could write a checklist to keep track of where we are in the process, along with a weekly Bible verse to memorize.
It’s more than a good start, methinks. If we can keep the momentum up we will be in a good position come winter to stay comfortable without expending a huge amount of effort. This in turn will give us time this winter to start working our way through the big stack of books, sermons, podcasts and assorted sundry items to get closer to our Creator as He has commanded us, so our “saved” time will be put to good use rather than eating the bread of idleness. (Pr 31:27)

What are you doing to get ready for winter?