'Be prepared to see snow before winter's end'

Edith Lovett

Pulaski County Extension Agent for Family and Consumer Sciences

Let's get ready for winter. Even though the weather has been without snow and ice, we know that the "snow" will be coming soon. During extremely cold weather or winter storms, staying warm and safe can be a challenge for many. Winter storms can bring cold temperatures, power failure, loss of commutation services, and icy sidewalks and roads. To keep yourself and your loved ones safe, you should know how to prepare your home and your car before a winter storm hits.

You can help to weather proof your home by insulating those water lines that run along exterior walls so your water supply will be less likely to freeze. Caulk and weather strip those doors and windows to keep the coldness out. Keep your curtains closed to help keep the cold wind outside. Insulate your walls and attic to save money on heat bills and make your home warmer. Install storm or thermal pane windows, or cover the windows with plastic from the inside. If you have a leak in your roof, be sure to repair the roof; check for tree branches that could fall on your home, your car, or other structure during a storm.

If you use a fireplace or wood stove for heating or emergency, have your chimney or flue inspected. Ask your local fire department to recommend an inspector or get information from a friend. Help keep your family safe by installing a smoke detector and a battery operated carbon monoxide detector. If you will be using a fireplace, wood stove or kerosene heater, install a smoke detector, and a battery operated carbon monoxide detector near the heating area. Be sure to test and replace batteries at least twice a year. Keep a multipurpose dry chemical fire extinguisher nearby. All fuel burning equipment should be vented to the outside. Each winter season have your furnace system and vent checked by a qualified technician to ensure they are functioning properly.

For older adults keep an easy to read thermometer inside your home. If you are over 65 years of age, place an easy to read thermometer in an indoor location where you will see it frequently. Our ability to feel a change in temperature decreases with age. Older adults are more susceptible to health problems caused by cold. Check the temperature of your home often during the winter months.

If you have pets, bring them in doors on cold winter days and nights. If you cannot bring them inside, provide adequate shelter to keep them warm and make sure they have access to unfrozen water.

Don't forget your car. Keep your car in good working order. Be sure to check the heater, defroster, brakes, brake fluid, ignition, emergency flashers, exhaust, oil and battery. Keep the gas tank near full to help avoid ice in the tank and fuel lines. Make sure the tires on your car have adequate tread and air pressure. Replace any worn tires and fill low tires with air to the proper pressure recommended for your car, typically between 30-35 psi. Have maintenance services on your vehicle as often as the manufacturer recommends. Be sure to have the radiator system serviced or check the antifreeze level yourself with an antifreeze tester. Add antifreeze as needed. Most of these services are provided when you have your oil changed, but make it a point to have them checked out.

Educational programs of the Cooperative Extension Service serve all people regardless of economic or social status and will not discriminate on the basis of race, color, ethnic origin, national origin, creed, religion, political belief, sex, sexual orientation, gender, identity, gender expressions, pregnancy, marital status, genetic information, age, veteran status or physical or mental disability.

This is an easy Potato Soup that your family will enjoy

Easy Potato Soup

1-32 ounce size Frozen Hash Brown Potatoes

1 bag frozen Chopped Onions

2 cups water

1 - 14.5 ounce size Chicken Broth

1-14 ¾ ounce can Cream of Celery Soup

1-14 ¾ ounce can Mushroom Soup

1 can Evaporated Milk

Combine hash brown potatoes, frozen chopped onions, water and chicken broth. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat. Simmer for 30 minutes. Add soups and evaporated milk.

Salt and Pepper to taste. Heat until all items are well blended. Serve with bacon bits and shredded cheese.

Events at the Extension Office

Our Card Making Class will be held Monday, January 27, starting at 10:00 o'clock. This is a free class and you learn a new card making technique each month. Join Denise Salter on Monday, January 27 at 10:00 in the basement of the Extension Office for this fun class.

The Pulaski County Extension Homemakers Council will meet on Monday, January 27, at 11:30 for their by-monthly meeting.

Sugar in its many forms has become a headliner in recent years. We know the over indulgence of foods high in calories and low in nutrition can lead to chronic health problems. Many of these foods are high in added sugar. Join us on Monday, January 27, at 1:00 o'clock to find out how much sugar we should consume, and the differences in nutritive and non- nutritive sugars. This class will be held in the basement of the Extension Office.

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