Winter is not very patient this year. In fact – it arrived a little too early this week with freezing temperatures, a little snow, and a rude awakening to what lies ahead in the coming months.
Last winter was simply brutal – and with perhaps another one just like it on the way – it was time to get summer’s equipment and tools cleaned up and stored – and get the winter ones ready for action.
Although it sounds so simple – it’s always good to remember that a little preparation on the front end can pay huge dividends later! Especially when it comes to keeping tools, mowers and more in good working order year after year. A little preventative maintenance can go a long way in extending the life of your tools – which can go a long way in keeping the budget in check!
Power Equipment Maintenance…
We start with a thorough cleaning of our mowers, string trimmers, and other power equipment to remove grass, dirt and oil.
Next, we perform the necessary oil changes and greasing chores to make sure they are ready to roll next spring. It usually takes a few hours – but its far easier to perform in the slower pace of Fall as opposed to Spring – when so much time is needed for planting, growing and mowing!
For all of the equipment we use with gas or gas/oil mixture engines – we simply run them dry during their last use and park them in the barn or garage. It seems to work better for us than trying to use fuel additives in the existing gas – not to mention a whole lot less expensive.
Since our entire garden is virtually worked with hand tools – keeping them sharp and well cared for is a key to longevity.
Before hanging them up in the barn for the winter – we clean and sharpen the blades on all of our shovels, rakes, hoes, clippers, etc.
We then apply a thin coat of oil on all of the metal blades and tips to prevent any rust through the winter months. A quick mist spray of WD-40 or 3-in-1 oil is all it takes to keep them rust free. Or if you prefer – you can wipe down the metal surfaces with a little vegetable oil for the same protection.
Don’t forget to prepare now for what’s coming.
While you are putting away, storing and prepping all of those summer “tools” – don’t forget to make sure your cold weather tools are ready to go! For us, that means making sure the generator is clean and fired up – the snow shovels are ready – and a fresh can of gas is stored and ready for use.
It can be a sinking feeling when you head to your garage after that first snowstorm and see that your snowblower or shovels are buried behind a mountain of summer storage items. Worse yet – they won’t work when you go to fire them up.
Putting Away The Rest.
Last but not least, if at all possible and if space allows – put away all outdoor tables, chairs, grill, garden markers pots and more. Keeping these items out of the winter is a huge plus in extending their useful life. If you can’t put indoors – then at the very least cover securely. For us – this is where having the barn is a big plus!.
It usually only takes a few hours to complete everything, but with most of our equipment on the farm serving it’s second or third life – it pays huge dividends in saving money on having to replace things due to needless winter wear.
Happy Winterizing! Jim and Mary
If you would like to receive our posts each week on Gardening, Cooking, Canning and a DIY Approach to Living – be sure to sign up to follow the blog via email in the right hand column, “like” us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.