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.

The snow will be flying before we know it! In fact - the forecast now calls for a few inches on Monday!
Winter is coming – in fact – it’s already here!

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.

Cleaning and prepping your power equipment for winter storage is a must for long term durability
Cleaning and prepping your power equipment for winter storage is a huge key to extending their lifespan.

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.

Hand Tools:

A little vegetable oil or WD-40 on the metal portions of your hand tools will keep them from rusting over the winter
A little vegetable oil or WD-40 on the metal portions of your hand tools will keep them from rusting over the winter

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.

When snow like this starts to fall - you want your winter supplies at the ready!
When snow like this starts to fall – you want your winter supplies at the ready!

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.

keeping all of that outdoor furniture inside during the winter months can extend its life!
keeping all of that outdoor furniture inside during the winter months can extend its life!

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

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