Home Improvement | 7 December 20163 Helpful Hints to Prep for the Winter Share article facebook twitter google pinterest Winter is on the horizon, which for many of us means snow, ice, and wind. These helpful tips from the The Mother Earth News Almanac will help you stay prepared through the long winter months. WOOD ASHES DE-SKID DRIVEWAY Here it is already, the first ice storm of the winter, and you never did get around to filling yourself a box of sand with which to de-skid your paths and driveway. Naturally, you don’t want anyone breaking his neck on the back steps. But you know that the same rock salt that does such a fine job on the slippery places now will still be lying in wait on the ground next spring when you want to plant morning glories by the porch. Well, who needs rock salt, anyway? There are other materials that won’t melt the ice for you but will provide excellent traction underfoot and be kind to your soil too. Wood ashes, for instance. Or plain old garden earth, if it isn’t already frozen too hard to dig up. Or—if you’re reduced to using a store-bought product—try cat litter. It has the advantage of not tracking into the house as much as some of the other nonskid substances, and you’ll find that most of it will still be lying around on the walk after the ice is gone (where you can sweep it up and save it for the next storm). While you’re sprinkling your footpaths, you’ll want to fill a container of whatever material you use and put it in the back of your car or truck along with the extra snow shovel. Then, when your wheels spin on ice, you can provide enough purchase to get going. And, since you’re not using salt, you won’t have corroded car bodies or yellowed roadside flowers on your conscience. AN OLD COLD REMEDY A traditional remedy for colds or flu is a tea made from equal parts of cinnamon, sage, and bay leaves with a little lemon juice added before drinking. THE WIND CHILL FACTOR Even if a thermometer tells you the temperature right down to a fraction of a degree, the information still doesn’t mean much until you learn to interpret it properly. And that takes some experience. For instance: The instrument may register 60°F on a winter day, but if that thermometer is in the sun and out of the wind, it’s not telling you the true state of affairs. On the unprotected shady side of the house on the same day, it may be cold enough to freeze a scared dog fast to the sidewalk. Even when you’re sure a thermometer is accurate, you must make allowances for the velocity of the wind. If the temperature is 20°F and there’s a twenty-mile-per-hour breeze blowing, for example, the “chill factor” of that air movement is equivalent to minus 10°F under calm conditions. Likewise, if the indicated temperature is 5°F and the wind is twenty miles per hour, the true comfort (or discomfort) index on the seat of a tractor as you drive out to feed the cattle their hay, is a minus 30°F. Repeat, 30°F below zero. And if you’ve ever been there, you know it. That’s why lots of ranchers grow beards in the winter. At 30°F below zero, an unprotected face can freeze in two minutes. Buy from an Online Retailer US: UK: Mother Earth News Almanac is back–refreshed and ready for the next generation of self-sufficient makers and DIYers. Mother Earth News Almanac: A Guide Through the Seasons returns! The 1970s classic has been out of print for years. Now, updated for today’s readers and back in print, its information is as useful as ever. It contains instructions and illustrations for everything from harnessing solar energy to cultivating a sustainable garden to learning how to keep bees. Simply put, Mother Earth News Almanac is designed to empower readers to be self-sufficient. Mother Earth News team has updated the essentials, but left the core of the guide intact, with all the charm of the original–from the writing style to the signature line drawings. This is a must-have for any fan of Mother Earth News, as a budget-friendly guide for a new generation of homesteaders. Mother Earth News Almanacis a seasonal guide with subject matter that every passionate DIYer, homesteader, or environmentally aware reader can appreciate. You’ll find recipes, money-saving tips, and homesteading techniques such as illustrated directions for tying a timber hitch, cat’s-paw, sheepshank, and other knots; folk medicine treatments and preventatives; tips on raising chickens and keeping bees; plans for building three kinds of kites; complete instructions for fast and easy compost; and much, much more! The simple life doesn’t have to be hard–not when you have this timeless almanac. Share article facebook twitter google pinterest If you have any comments on this article please contact us or get in touch via social media.