Over the last few weeks I’ve spent time swinging an axe, using a wedge, and wielding a hatchet while chopping wood.

Firewood

The reason is simple, I wanted to have enough firewood and kindling for the winter.  After all, having an ample supply of wood on hand is a good practice for anyone with a fireplace.  So I spent two out of the past three weekends splitting, hauling, and stacking the wood I need.

Besides the aesthetics of using a fireplace, there are some practical uses for it during an emergency.  If electricity or natural gas supplies are interrupted, the fireplace can keep your house warm.  It can also serve as a means to prepare food when the power is out.  Plus, it is a good central gathering place for when the lights are out during a winter storm.  That’s why for centuries the fireplace has occupied a central position in the home.

There is also a practical reason to spend time getting firewood.  I spend several hours outside in the fresh air getting the wood ready.  Not only is this good exercise but its a good connection between work and result.  One appreciates the work that goes into a good fire more when your own sweat helped make it happen.  Its a primal activity that remains a valuable skill today.

According to the Farmer’s Almanac, the coming winter could be a cold one.

Credit: Farmer’s Almanac

If the predictions are correct, most of the US will experience a cold and snow-filled winter this year.  As you can see on the map, some areas are projected to receive less snow than others but the overall prediction stands.

Now whether the weather predictions come true or not is secondary to a key preparation principal.  One must be prepared for all weather conditions, especially as winter draws near.  Having extra firewood, fuel, blankets, food, and other supplies is a matter of survival for most of the country.  Its always better to have more supplies on-hand and not need them than not have enough.  Winters can be cruel, especially for those who aren’t prepared.

Keep another thing in mind too.  Even if you live in the Southwest or West Coast, you can still be impacted by severe cold.  During extreme cold, energy demand can spike as heating demand increases.  This will impact the price of fuel and other goods in areas not affected by winter weather.  Also, manufacturing and agricultural production could be affected by interruptions in the supply chain when bad weather hits.  As I’m fond of saying, plan accordingly.

Regardless of what this winter’s weather will be, take steps now to prepare for it.