Getting ready for winter….

Here in the southeast the winters are not so harsh that MAJOR tasks need to be done to get ready. I really do not have to worry about massive snow or ice storms. Seems every decade or so we get dumped on – but it’s pretty rare and doesn’t last long. The weather is starting to cool and I can just smell Fall in the air. So – time to pick up a few things.

I have two Mr. Heater Buddy portable propane heaters. I have a decent stockpile of the small propane canisters the Heater Buddy’s use – but want to add to my reserves. We have plenty of blankets and comforters. I want to add one or two kerosene heaters along with several 2 and 5 gallon containers for fuel.


The fuel-based heaters are great but still looking to add something else. That something is an old military tent stove – or something like it. I want to be able to heat an area in the bottom floor of my house with wood. No – I do not have a wood burning stove however looking for something expedient in nature and a tent stove would work.

What kind of winter preps do you do?




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  1. Get the generator squared away finally and get the 4 wheel drive ready for bad weather, just in case. Rourke, I’d stay away from kerosene heaters, the cost of fuel and storing it are negatives, plus the smell and they are more dangerous than propane heaters, IMHO.

  2. We use kerosene in addition to our furnace. I am going to store more kerosene this year. We have discussed adding a woodburner, but we rent, so IDK that we want to go that far just yet…but its on the radar. We also have propane for grill, and have the adapter for a heating element. This is an area we need to work on, as we do get snow, lose electric frequently, and can get some doozy snow/ice storms.I miss having a gas stove, because that was always a good backup if electric went out.

  3. John, I understand the negatives of kerosene, since we use it regularly. DH maintains heaters regularly, we store extra wicks, and our house is so old, it is NOT airtight! That said, we are aware of dangers of kerosene and monitor regularly. We use the scented additives, so it isn’t so smelly. I actually worry more about using portable propane heater in the house, but we have done so safely in the past. Since we live in town, we have natural gas/electric access and nowhere to put a large propane or fuel oil tank. So we make do with what we have! We also have the gene ready, and could potentially use that to power up small electric heaters, but that’s secondary for us.

  4. Several years ago when we were in a bind and could not afford to replace the furnace, we heated the house for a winter with a Kerosene heater. The really bad thing about them is the soot they release. I never noticed it while burning, but over time I noticed that the ceiling and a lot of the household items were accumulating an oily sooty surface. I always wondered what breathing that stuff did to my lungs. We later installed a Harmon coal stove that would burn coal or wood and heated the entire house with that. That was when we lived in Maine. We have since moved to Florida and the winters are extremely mild. My choice now is a Buddy Heater with lots of propane cylinders. We also have a refill adapter for the cylinders, as well as a conversion hose to run off bulk tanks.

  5. Winter Preparation:
    1. Update flu and pneumonia (and TdaP – and any others you, and your family, may be out of coverage dates).
    TO: those who have necessary medications – including insulins.
    a. Call or see your provider and kindly ask for written prescriptions – separately for each medication – enough for one YEAR – ( as you are planning for an extended “vacation”) Likely the pharmacy will only fill it for 90 days – however many medications can be written for TWICE a day or Three times a day.
    Obtin your medications locally, or from Canada. THEN – most important –
    refrigerate them.
    Then obtain a 12 volt refrigerator and SOLAR power/battery backup. Of course this is for your medications during a more lengthy power outage.
    Your medications – especially insulins – will have very extended potency – after the so-called expiration date. (Read “One Second After” by William R. Forstchen)

    2. Solar/wind power kits. Take online basics courses and obtain the parts all at once or piecemeal.
    3. Practice now (dry run scenario applicable for your area) for the disaster.
    4. Locate and obtain the supplies and equipment – asap – for the diaster. Especially medical supplies/water sources.
    5. Be careful who you make aware of your disaster plans. Our children and relatives are our blood – but the brain does NOT alert all the body parts of all it knows.
    6. Locate the CERT (County Emergency Response Team) coordinator for your county and get the training.
    7. Locate and EMT, trauma nurse, ER physician or ER PA, who might be willing to give you some basic trauma training – for disasters.

  6. Go to the local animal shelter an adopt a couple of fat cats. Stick ’em under the covers with you. Worked for me in our last BIG Ice storm.

  7. make sure the firewood pile is ready-but that needs to be done by April, at the latest, start the generator every month, keep 20-30 gallons of gas handy, keep an extra tank of propane for the grill, make sure there is kerosene for the heaters- as a backup. . . . keep water/food close (like always) , make sure there is a spare chain or 2 for the saw, etc. . . . . and I live in SC too. . . . often it seems I have to bail out family or friends who either didn’t prepare, or did and had major troubles. . . Ice storms are the killer here. . . been without power for up to a week, more than once, so I expect the worst.

  8. We went through hurricane Hugo while living in Charlotte. I am so much better prepared today and living in the foothills. I have enough firewood to get me through the next ice age and my Jotul stove heats my great room. I also have living space in the finished basement with a Procom gas heater and a 500 gallon underground tank. Popular Mechanics just reviewed five generators and picked the Ridgid 7125/5700 as a best buy so I went and bought one this morning.
    If you are prepared for “THE BIG ONE” you should be able to weather most anything mother nature can throw at you.
    I like the idea of getting your flu shot which may not be on most preppers list.
    Being a transplant, if I get to missing the snow too bad I will just rent the video.

  9. Lots of warm clothes and good sleeping bags have been our answer in the past. A propane heater would be nice, been meaning to get one for awhile also a couple 5 gallon bottles to keep it fed. Also need to order a cord or two of wood for the fireplace.

  10. I like to keep bubble wrap on hand for covering windows. It acts as a barrier and insulator on the glass but still lets in light. I used to use the shrink wrap but it doesn’t allow you to open windows if needed and tears easily. We went thru an ice storm a few years back and fashioned a vestible area inside our door, using blankets as curtains. That way when the door was opened our warm air didn’t escape out the door. That along with a wood burning fireplace, and a kerosene heater kept us toasty. JUST AS A REMINDER – if you haven’t had your wood burning fireplace chimney cleaned for several years please consider it. Look for GROUPONs, I just got mine done for $40. A good investment, I think.

  11. Along the same lines… sort-of, I know that Rourke lives in SC, I live in Georgia and it has been a most unusual summer here. In place of the endless weeks of mid to upper 90 degree temps and oppressive humidity (which has been the norm since “hope first sprang eternal”)we enjoyed mid 80’s, low humidity, steady breezes and lots of rain. It has been down-right Hawaii-ish. We saw only 7 sporadic days above 90 degrees. If this is a result of global warming I’m now a big fan. Naturally this has encouraged a lot of hand-wringing around here over the possible severity of the approaching winter. I grew up in the north spending winters skiing, I’ve walked many a trail using snow shoes and as a child learned how to built igloos in the back yard by trial and error. I have missed the frigid temperatures and heavy snowfalls of my youth. I can’t help thinking how wonderful it would be to have real winters here. I realize I’m being a bit selfish in hoping for it, Hard winters would cause a lot of problems for the folks here. Though many have 4×4’s, the municipalities and utilities aren’t equipped to deal with repeatedly deep snowfalls, but I suspect they could struggle through. Everyone here is expecting a bad winter, I’m hoping for it and for this past summer to be the new normal and for lots of snow each winter. I admit I’ve got it bad. I’ve already been looking at snowmobiles on the web and I’m sure that I could convince my better half of it’s value as a vital survival tool, and besides, she’s into close-up seating.

  12. Rourke- kersosene is very smelly and the fumes can be dangerous. Be careful of those little buddies in enclosed spaces.
    How about a wood stove for your basement -first floor area?We have our firewood in for this winter.
    John- come and visit this winter . We love the snow but the ice is a hassle .We wear grippers on out boots.
    Apple Butter-anyone have a good recipe ??? Arlene

  13. “We wear grippers on our boots.” That’s what I’m talking about! When you have to strap steel to your boots to get around… you know your living large.. it’s official.. I’m envious!

  14. John G- We get very excited every winter and then by late Feb we are yearning for spring !(and lighter coats !!) Yes we love the snowshoeing, ice skating on our pond and sledding-but
    the plowing and shoveling and scraping ice from the vehicles is a chore-still I love that crisp air with blue skies that fills your lungs up rapidly !!!
    Ice storms are awful though . Tell us some good things about Georgia- besides the yummy peaches .
    PSWe heat with wood and oil and wow those oil bills are outrageous.

  15. Prepping for winter here means lubricating machinery and outside water pumps-stuffing insulation in this very old cellar-stone walls crack and move every year a bit-preserving apples and pears – sauce, dehydrating
    (first time) apple pies and apple butter .
    piling firewood on porch – tucking in the bee hives –
    putting storm windows down- planting bulbs-
    enjoying the beautiful leaves-piling them into a compost heap –
    This year I am recovering from knee surgery -so I will be delegating more … Happy Autumn everyone-Arlene

  16. Bunker Billy=- yes we also got our flu shots a few weeks ago as soon as they came out as it takes 2 weks for our bodies to build anti bodies. Here in upstate NY the flu is already hitting people. Arlene

  17. Arlene, Oh how I envy your excitement of winters approach. Here we get nothing but cloudy skies, drizzle and on sunny days, winter’s low sun casting long shadows. Many here look foreword to it because of hunting season, I will hunt this year, but it will be a chore, a grizzly and unpleasant duty of which I dread. I will tell you some good things about Georgia, there are many (currently it’s all about the BULLDOGS, who’s stadium is 15 miles from our farm as the crow flies) but I will wait till springs approach, when we all should tell the rest about the promise of what a new year means to us and where we live. Sounds like a good guest post contest ‘ROURKE’. There are some benefits here, we do a lot of planning for next years crops which is exciting. There’s more time for writing and reflecting on what we are trying to do which generates some ‘high-fives’ here and there. But in all honesty, a snowmobile would help pass the time 😉

  18. Here in the upstate of SC near Six Mile, we get a few days a little cooler than the Midlands. This year, with the rebuild of my wood shed, I’m in the process of filling it with seasoned wood. I cut a large oak last winter and have had it waiting for me to get thru with other projects to split. I’ll have the splitter out within a week to start on that project. Already have enough wood to carry us thru for at least 2 months. Have to clean and make ready the soapstone wood stove in the great room and also get the old Majestic wood burning cook stove ready for the winter. We cook on the Majestic as well as generate our hot water supply. We have a 42 gallon thermo syphon tank tied in to the household system from the stove. Gotta finish refurbishing the Aladdin oil lamps I found at the flea market. Found a double wick which Aladdin states is equal to a 60 watt bulb. Still have to clean and check out the two gas powered generators and fill the 5 gallon gas containers I keep in reserve. I also keep diesel. All this plus just put in the winter garden with collards, turnips, carrots and cabbage. I’ll try storing the carrots and cabbage in pits this year to see how it goes. Last but not least, I have to finish insulating the chicken house. I don’t want to have to listen tot the hens fussing at me about the cold. Is that what is meant by being hen pecked?

  19. Great post! I’m actually taking a welding class right now and one of the projects I’m picking is a wood stove made from 55 gallon drums.

    Psyched to learn practical skills!

  20. John G and everyone. Those of you in the south have a long growing season -we wish ours was longer.
    Maybe you can exchange a week vacation where there is snow for a milder week for a winter weary northerner.
    I like your idea of a post challenge re our areas and the pros and cons. How about that Rourke?
    We once camped in Georgia and the “thunder boomers” were intense !! Arlene

  21. Arlene, I currently have family in Mass. A daughter, a sister and some others, they complained considerably about the high temps and high humidity of this past summer, completely understandable. My wife picked peppers from the garden again today, yes the growing season is long, though it was effected this year negatively by all the rain. If you find yourself down this way, I have a guest house you and yours can stay at for less than a pittance. The furnishings are sparse but there’s clean and updated bathrooms, heat and AC and our area is zombie free. Today we cut grass, cooked pork chops on the grill, had a spectacular sunset, and the Bulldogs beat LSU, it was a fine Saturday indeed.

  22. I have 4 cords of wood in place. Insulated the shop this year. Installed a woodstove in the shop, too. A neighbor had a few trees he cut down – bringing the lengths to my place – after the coming spring it will be time to cut / split and stack that.

    We have wool blankets for every bed – two for some. If we have to we are prepared to cover every window and wall off a room using blankets to use that area to keep warm. Or use the woodstove in the shop that has a cooktop surface on it.

    We put up / canned apples into sauce and pie filling, plus dehydrated apples. We have 20 pumpkins – some will become our own pie filling base. Harvested Blue Hubbard squash – they keep well in the basement, as well as the Butternut squash. We also canned some squash as soup. We have several BIG Banana squash in the basement – we have to use that first since it doesn’t store as long.

    Canned raspberries as Jelly this year, as well as Gooseberrys – the plants really produced well this year. Tomato’s that weren’t eaten fresh became canned as a base for spaghetti sauce.

    About 40 quarts of peaches were canned.

    After all of this, we ended up giving almost as much to friends and neighbors for them to do pretty much the same as we did. We have had a good year.

    Incubated and hatched some of our chickens eggs – adding to the flock. We will do more next year. We had too many Roosters last spring – so we took 9 out in a day – they became pot pies.

    But there is still more I want to do to make winters more comfortable if the SHTF. It all takes time, but we continue to work on things that need to be done.

  23. CM -WOW you are sure busy and productive.
    John G thanks. we appreciate your offer. Doubt we will ever get down that way. It would be great to meet another prepping family. We have a large old farmhouse and our guest room is open to you and yours also. Happy you do not have any zombies- smile !!! Arlene

  24. Just stumbled across this site today (9/28)around 5:00pm. I am still here and it 11:14 now. What we did for our winter prep;
    Canned 14 pints of peaches, 14 pints of green beans, 7 pints of chicken, 8 quarts of turkey stock, 21 pints of diced tomatoes, 3 quarts of deer, 3 quarts of beef, 7 pints of chicken rice soup. Still have to can beans tomato sauce and salsa.
    Storage 4 acorn squash, 1 basket each of russet, red and yellow potatoes. A basket of onions and a few garlic. 50# of wheat, 25# of raw sugar and a bunch of other stuff…
    4 cords of firewood and kerosene for the lamps.
    20 bales of hay
    That is all we have done so far and we are behind because of the weather. Here in Washington State it has done nothing but rain this year. Bad year for gardens… but we’ll make it.

  25. great reading all the preps by folks everywhere- makes me realize I am not alone-encouraging!!! Oren- I live in Greenville, so we are almost neighbors. . .. I wonder what % of folks in SC prep ( per capita) as opposed to other states?

  26. Kathy, WELCOME! , Like many here we “can” every year, Like in your area too much rain was an issue, usually we are begging/praying for it. A rain dance or 2 are never beyond consideration. But this year… wow, I never thought we could get to much rain… apparently I thought wrong.

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