Fall Prepping: Time to Button Up Your Homestead

Fall Prepping

If you’re in the northern hemisphere, it’s time to button up your home before winter. Depending on your latitude that could mean anything from cleaning gutters to raking leaves.

For us, we don’t rake leaves until December or January depending on how cold it is, but there’s plenty for us to do in the meantime. Fall prepping is our biggest and longest lasting chore. Not only does it stay warmer through the later months, but we have six acres to put to bed.

These are the things I try to cross off my list every year.

• Clean the gutters. We have a guard on our gutters, but I noticed we’re missing a couple of them, so I guess we’ll have to go up there and see what needs to be cleaned.

• Reseed your lawn. I am going lawn-less this year. My plan is to make my entire front yard nothing but plants and ground cover. Anything but grass.

• If you must have a lawn, now is the time to fertilize.

• Check the roof for any damage. We try to do this after any major storm anyway.

• Check your doors for good sweeps to make sure no drafts are getting through.

• Walk around your house looking for weatherstripping that needs to be repaired or replaced.

• Check the weep holes around the house exterior and stuff them with steel or copper wool to keep scorpions and other critters from getting in.

This copper wool is similar to what I use.


• Insulate any outdoor pipes.

• If you have sprinklers and your area gets below freezing at any time, you’ll need to blow out your sprinklers. We generally get light freezes, but last year we got hard freezes, so we kept all the outside lines empty and hauled water to the animals by hand. Great fun it was not.

• The same goes for water hoses. Roll them up and bring them indoors.

• If you have a portable generator, check it now. We used to do this before every hurricane season, but now that we live further inland, we do it later in the year. Generator–Check!

• Change your filters. This actually has to be done several times a year, but Fall is the one time of year we actually remember.

• Clean your dryer vents. We try to do this once a year. You wouldn’t believe the stuff we got out of the vent leading to outside the house. We are fastidious about emptying the lint trap, but lint still gets past it. Leave it long enough and your entire line can get clogged. You’ll notice it when you find your clothes are taking longer to dry. There are simple little devices you can buy so you can span the long distance of the vent line. Consider yourself lucky if your dryer vents directly to the outside like my old house did. I miss that!

• Store outdoor furniture and gas grills.

• Drain the gas from lawn mowers. tillers, and any other gas powered garden tool. I’ve learned this the hard way. If you leave gas in your machines too long without running them, the gas will varnish the innards and gum up the works.

• Feed the birds. Hummingbirds leave us in the winter, but we still have plenty of other birds that stay behind. We stock two big feeders. I plan to add one more this winter.


• If you have outside animals, get their pens cleaned and prepped for any additional winter protection.

This is just my outside list. I have a whole other list for holiday prepping inside the home, which happily coincides with winter prepping.

What’s on your to do-list for the fall? Do you feed the birds?

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  1. Ugh. It’s going to be in the 80s again today and I am so not ready to think about winterizing anything. Hubs does all the major junk anyway and he’s always really good about staying on top of it. But I am going to remind him that the dryer vent needed to be snaked. (Awesome tool and not expensive.) What I really need to do is address the gardens and do all the bulb maintenance I need to do so they’re ready for winter and will be happier when spring comes.

    Thanks for the great post and the awesome reminders, even if I’m not ready for them yet. ;o)

    • BE: i know! Every time I think we’re done with hot weather, it spikes again. Soon though. I hope.

      I was shocked the first time we snaked the dryer vent. I had no idea lint could start a city in the line going outside.

      PS Thank you for sharing this post! 🙂

  2. Mike keyton

    Ours is a more simple business- covering garden furniture, raking leaves, pruning roses, and of course gutters. Then it’s hunkering down in pullovers until November when we put the heating on

  3. I’m tired just reading your list! 🙂 It still doesn’t feel much like Fall here, but I know it will get here eventually. I opened the windows the other day because even though it was warm, it wasn’t terrible, and the wind was wild so it blew fresh air all through the house.

  4. it’s so hard to think about winter when it’s still pretty warm outside. I’m not even sure where this last year went because time is moving so quickly around here.

    Great tips and I really like that copper mesh idea.

    Our chickens are finally out free ranging and loving life so this week I need to make some adjustments to their coop because they decided to roost on their nesting boxes instead of the roosting bar. I’ve been enjoying them which kind of surprised me, they’re serious bug hunters and now I’m trying to decide if I should wait for spring to get quail.

    I’m kind of curious as to what kind of winter we’ll have this year, it’s my least favorite season but decided this year it’s going to be a productive one.

    Thanks for the tips!

    • Carole: Being a gardener I keep pretty good track of the weather. When someone starts talking about climate change I have to shake my head. For as long as I’ve been keeping track, the weather is never the same year after year. Last year we had hard freezes. Two years ago it was so mild we never even had a frost. Maybe there is climate activity in the polar regions but by me there is no definitive turn one way or another.

      re: mesh
      I used regular steel wool a few years back but it finally wore out so it’s time to replace it with something sturdier. That’s why we got the good stuff.

  5. Jenny Schwartz

    Scorpions! ugh. We actually have them here as well, but I’ve been lucky enough to have never seen them in the house or yard. I’d be stuffing copper wool like crazy.

  6. You didn’t mention the gardens, especially flower gardens. Do you cut back this year’s dead plants and and remove dead leaves before winter sets in or wait till spring? I’m never sure which is better. The dead stalks and leaves are unsightly but do provide protection for spring plants that get tricked into coming up early by a February thaw.

  7. Linda: I cut back everything in late fall. I also try to add compost around the plants to keep them warm during the winter.

    Not much you can do about plants emerging early when Mother Nature pulls a fast one. You can always force plants to start early, but you can’t hold them back.

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