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3 weeks ago, I was literally handed my dream on a silver platter. I moved 2 states away and settled into a 2 bedroom house on an acre of land. :banana:

Right now this land seems huge, but we are looking at another 1 1/4 acre purchase in the spring as well. We are in Elkhart, Indiana; about 2 hours from the tip of Lake Michigan. I have the basic winter prep on a list--back up heat and light source, board games, well stocked pantry, wool blankets, tons of yarn and books. Each of these things is a work in progress.

Tell me about how winter here really works. What kinds of things should I prepare for? We have no livestock as of yet, and no garden to winterize. Are there things I should do for the trees? Preparations I should make before the snow falls for where the garden will eventually be? My focus right now is on the very basics, but not being fond of outdoors in the cold, I want to be sure Ive covered as many bases as possible. Thank you!
 

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Welcome to the Hoosier state! If you can get your garden tilled up, put all the leaves from this fall on it, to start composting down. You can probably get manure from the Amish nearby to add to your garden pile. If you have a woodstove for backup heat, get your wood (seasoned, dry) bought and stacked not too far from the door you'll use to bring it in, or have a wood box that can be refilled on your porch. If you came from NY then winter won't be a surprise here, but maybe more wind depending on where your place is located, so driveways drift over at times. Be sure your plumbing pipes are protected from freezing, with heat tape or some other way, and if it is going to get very cold with wind, leave a light bulb burning near the under-the-sink pipes to keep them warm. (our kitchen sink faces the north wall, so we put a little lamp under the cabinet when the wind chill is going to be fierce).
If you've got plenty of yarn, you're set :)
 

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My kitchen sink does back up on the north wall, so that will need wrapping and a piece of fiberboard insulation fitted into the back of the cabinet. I have not yet been down into what passes for a basement here. The hole in the floor isnt much bigger than I am and the ladder looks like one good breeze would shatter ir. (ok its not THAT bad, but you get my point.) Guess Ill be sending hubs down there today to check that out. The region is pretty flat but with some low rolling hills along the horizon. (ive been told that might be iowa...lol). We have a good windbread on the western perimeter but not much along the other 3 sides yet.

Ill be renting the tiller (or a boy with a tiller) sometime in the next couple of weeks to get the garden spots dug up. I was seriously considering raised beds but the soil here....my grass has literally grown 4 inches over the last week. Miss Marge's garden has gone insane. So in the ground it goes!

Do you suppose the amish farmers would deliver manure? I get the feeling if I load it into the back of the roommates Blazer, he will probably skin me alive...lol
 

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If the place you bought went through last winter with few problems, inside and outside, then you have little to worry about. It will treat the new owners (you) just as well as the last ones. You may want to buy a roof rake of your own, though.

geo--a former Hoosier, with relatives in/near Elkhart.
 

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Household Six
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Do you have snow shovels? I am *just* old enough to remember the blizzard of '78 ... my mom brought my newborn baby brother home the day it started snowing, and they used the blizzard as their excuse why we couldn't take him back and exchange him for the sister I asked for. LOL Being so flat, you will get drifting. Don't forget snow tires, either. Hope you have plenty of warm wool yarn! Oh, lots of stew and soup recipes that can sit and simmer on the stove most of the day (extra heat). A bit of salt if you have paved areas around your house/yard.

Hm, that's all I can think of at the moment. I escaped NE Indiana over 15 years ago. I think I am finally far enough south now! :)
 

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No snow shovels yet, but they are on the shopping list for October, along with some smaller garden tools. Nothing paved, but a well gravelled driveway, which means shovels, not snowblowers, unfortunately.

I too recall the blizzard of 78. It was Christmas!! We were trapped indoors with huge numbers of visiting family. We ate like kings (or so i thought, cuz my mother and aunts and gramma were brilliant) , played board games and sang and read to each other and generally had a great time.

Good point-asking the previous owners how they fared last year when they come by for their dogwood trees!
 

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We live just south of Dunlap and live relatively close to you.

Northern Indiana has what is called "lake effect". It can be lake effect snow, lake effect rain. This means snow/rain can vary considerable from location to location. The west side of Elkhart could get 5" of snow while the east side only gets 1/2".

Use common sense, have plenty of food on hand, including water. If they are calling for snow, make sure you have milk, eggs & any medications on hand ahead of time.

If the county declares a snow emergency, that means stay at home. I can't believe the stupidity of people who think they have to drive somewhere, then they get stuck in the snow & complain the roads aren't plowed. DUH! Snow emergency means the snow is so bad, the snow plows have been pulled off the roads to wait until the winds dies down.

We also lived through the blizzard of '78 and last winter was not as bad as '78. The electricity never even flickered, but do you have a source of electricity if it does? If you have a generator, make sure you have a supply of gasoline on hand.

You never know what kind of winter we're going to have. Some people are saying this winter is supposed to be worse than last winter. I don't know what is will be like. Do everything you can to be prepared, then just take it in stride.
 

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No generator yet. no back up power source at all. back up heat will be a kerosene heater. was thinking oil lamps for lighting. I will have to store a lot more water than i planned since there will be no power for the pump. Not entirely sure where to put it though. Working that out too. So much to think about, now that I have the opportunity.
 

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3 weeks ago, I was literally handed my dream on a silver platter. I moved 2 states away and settled into a 2 bedroom house on an acre of land. :banana:

Right now this land seems huge, but we are looking at another 1 1/4 acre purchase in the spring as well. We are in Elkhart, Indiana; about 2 hours from the tip of Lake Michigan. I have the basic winter prep on a list--back up heat and light source, board games, well stocked pantry, wool blankets, tons of yarn and books. Each of these things is a work in progress.

Tell me about how winter here really works. What kinds of things should I prepare for? We have no livestock as of yet, and no garden to winterize. Are there things I should do for the trees? Preparations I should make before the snow falls for where the garden will eventually be? My focus right now is on the very basics, but not being fond of outdoors in the cold, I want to be sure Ive covered as many bases as possible. Thank you!
I spent the winter of 76/77 in South Bend. Thats why I now live in Ky. The winters up there are cold and long, and I dont care if they call it "lake affect" snow or not.... it still piled up just like regular snow, only a lot deeper... 8' roughly most of the winter. When I rolled out of there in late march of 77 there was still at least 6' of snow covering the fields and drifts as high as 15 to 20 feet! If memory serves the temp never got above zero for over thirty days, mid jan to end of feb. Be sure you are on a "snow route"... those few roads and streets that actually get plowed by the road crews, otherwise you can be stuck at home for the winter. Enjoy your new home. :)
 

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No generator yet. no back up power source at all. back up heat will be a kerosene heater. was thinking oil lamps for lighting. I will have to store a lot more water than i planned since there will be no power for the pump. Not entirely sure where to put it though. Working that out too. So much to think about, now that I have the opportunity.
Water shouldnt be too much problem if you can warm it up enough in the house to get snow to melt. You should have plenty of that delivered to your doorstep regularly and its free!
 

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We're on the opposite side of Indiana, at the very southern border along the Ohio river valley. We rarely get a lot of accumulation here (although it's not unheard of to have at least one snow that gets 5-6" deep but melts fast). Winters are bitter cold, but aside from last year, we don't normally have too many days below the 20s. Wind chills can be lower.

If you're living in a rural area, watch your road conditions. Back roads are rarely treated so it is good to plan a safe way out through a main road if you are able to. Stock up, check your pipes, insulate your house, and take your time when winter does get here!

And be glad you aren't down here. We sit in a flood zone and when all of the ice and snow does melt in February, it crests the Ohio and floods us out. We get marooned for a few days each year. :)
 

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The four seasons in Indiana are: almost-winter, winter, still-winter, and road construction.
Now, you're selling us short. We also like to have a random 2 day heat wave in January and the occasional July winter. It's always fun when it snows on Monday, you can wear shorts on Tuesday, floods on Wednesday, hails on Thursday, and then you get a tornado on Friday to start the weekend off.

One year we even had the remnants of a hurricane make it to us!
 

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We also like to have a random 2 day heat wave in January and the occasional July winter. It's always fun when it snows on Monday, you can wear shorts on Tuesday, floods on Wednesday, hails on Thursday, and then you get a tornado on Friday to start the weekend off.
I did forget the annual tornadoes. I also omitted the bit about changing the CHA unit from heat to AC then back to heat in roughly twelve hours. And the flood of '82 (in Ft Wayne, made national news even). I don't remember snow in July, but there was the April 1st when it snowed to kick off spring break for us kids. Oh, and shoveling snow. Lots of shoveling snow when we weren't raking leaves or mowing lawns. Or trying to deliver newspapers in knee-deep snow while it was still coming down. My parents refusing to let me sled out of an upstairs window after the blizzard of '78 like the (older) neighbor kids were doing a couple houses over. For that matter, how about that freak ice storm a few years back? Knocked out power in town (little sis was so glad to have her fireplace!), the ice did not melt (temps below 20F) then I was woken up early and told I need to hustle down the highway or be stranded because there was snowing coming in on top of the 3-4 inches of ice. That was the last year I went up there when snow was likely.

I'll take my 90F humid day today over all that! LOL :sing:
 

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I live just 30 miles or so north of you. Get snow shovels. Maybe some salt for thawing paths. I have a gravel drive and we use a snow blower. Even with last year's snow fall of over 120total inches, we were never blocked in, or unable to get to town. A couple of times, we didn't WANT to try to go to town, but we could always have made it. Ask neighbors how often they lose power, that will give you an idea of what to expect. You might also ask how often your road is plowed if at all.

As already mentioned- lake effect is hit or miss. You never know where it's going to hit the heaviest. Driving in those conditions can be a challenge. You can drive into and out of bands of heavy snow from one mile to the next. A smart phone with a good weather app has helped DH avoid a lot of trouble driving to and from work. His commute is only 14 miles, but there's a lot of different between here and there.

If you cooking stove isn't gas, get a camp stove with propane. Then at least, you can heat up your cans of soup.
 

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oh! good point Callie! ~adds to the ever growing list~ heat is gas but stove is electric. i tried like hell to get a gas one but....the switchover is at least 2 years out.
 

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Once you're settled in, take a short road trip to Shipshewana. There's a hardware store there called Yoder's Hardware that caters to those who live closer to the land, mainly (but not exclusively) the Amish. You'll find more things there that you never knew you needed. It's wonderful. Across the way they have loads of fabric, if you're the sewing kind. The flea markets used to be fun, but I haven't been there since my mother passed away.

I was born and raised in Elkhart, and my father still lives there. I loved it, but life has a way of taking you elsewhere. At least I got to keep my fond memories.

Congratulations on your new home! I hope you enjoy the area as much as I did. :)

(And yes, I remember years there where I hid Easter eggs for my little brother in snowdrifts. There can be a lot of snow, but the winds aren't bad. I'm on the prairie, and sometimes I long for the winters in Indiana. Here we alternate between bald ground and four foot drifts thirty feet across, and deep winter cold that slides down the empty cropland without impediment.)
 
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