After a freakishly warm and wet Christmas, winter finally feels like it’s arrived in my neck of the woods. First comes the cold, then comes the giant wall of ice and snow. In the face of weather like this, it’s important to make sure you have everything you’d need to hunker down for a few days. It’s a pop-culture truism to stock up on milk, bread and toilet paper before the storm. If the power goes out —the milk can still be drunk, the bread can make no-cook meals like sandwiches, and the toilet paper has a dozens of applications (besides the intended usage). But that’s not all you’ll need. As the flakes start to fall, or well before then, it’s smart to set up your home for an easier “dig out”.

1. Strategize Your Snow Removal
Place your snow shovels (yes, you should have more than one) by your doors for easy access, and so you could dig yourself out if needed. Keep gloves, boots, coats and other gear near the door for the shoveler, and shovel often to keep up with the storm.

2. Prepare Your Pets and Livestock
Bring in your pets. Blizzards are as dangerous to most companion animals as they are to humans who might get caught outside. If you have livestock, shut them into their shelters. Also lay out extra food for livestock and make a plan to get them liquid water–even if the power fails, the troughs freeze, and the snow gets deep.

3. Test Start the Snow Blower
If you are fortunate enough to own one of these snow-throwing wonders, ensure it is operational before you actually need it. Make sure it has plenty of fuel and oil, that the engine starts, and that the auger works.

4. Line Up a Professional
Don’t want to shovel or plow your homestead by yourself? Get on the books to receive service from a professional before the storm.

Are you “blizzard-ready”? Please share your plans and preps by leaving a comment.