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Working in the winter rain or snow isn’t fun by any means, but it’s a necessary part of your job. Wearing the right winter gear makes ALL the difference.

If you can swing it, it’s well worth it to spend the money on high-quality winter gear that’ll last you for multiple seasons. It’s worth the investment – it’s better to have just one or two coats that serve you well for multiple seasons than several coats that aren’t totally reliable.

No matter what your budget, though, you can find a winter coat that works for you. Here are a few tips to keep in mind during your search.

Size up.

Surviving the cold is all about layers, which means you need to make sure your coat will still fit over all of that bulk. Buying one size larger than you normally would should do the trick, but if you can, try on the coat with some layers underneath to see how it fits.

Look for waterproofing.

If you expect to encounter snow and rain this winter, make sure that you own at least one layer that’s completely waterproof. Some examples of high-quality waterproof materials include GORE-TEX or a DWR coating.

Pick your insulation.

You have two insulation options for warmth: down filling or synthetic insulation. If you live in a snowy or rainy area, consider opting for synthetic insulation rather than down, because down filling doesn’t insulate as well when it’s damp. On the other hand, down filling is more lightweight and compact than synthetic.

…But look for a slim fit.

Winter gear is bulky enough as it is. You need your coat to be well-insulated, which means it will be pretty thick, but look for something that’s not unreasonably bulky or heavy. Waddling around like a marshmallow isn’t exactly practical.

Tear-resistant material.

Some shiny fabrics are very easily torn, so if you work with fencing or other sharp pointy objects on the farm, that can definitely get frustrating. Instead, look for a thick and tear-resistant material that will hold up.

Lots of pockets.

Can you ever really have enough pockets? I don’t think so! Look for a coat with big pockets and plenty of ’em. The pockets should be secure enough to hold items without letting them fall out.

Opt for a hood.

Hoods help protect you from the rain and snow, and they also keep your head warm. There’s really no downside to having the option there, even if you tend to wear a hat and scarf. Look for a coat with an adjustable hood – a drawstring or snaps.

Buy secondhand.

High-quality work coats are almost always a bit pricey, but you can save a lot of money by buying secondhand. Look for a coat that’s still in good shape – a season or two old is your best bet, and believe it or not, people do get rid of their winter coats after a couple years if they’re no longer “in fashion.” Luckily for you, fashion is the least of your worries when it comes to working in the cold! You might even end up with a fancier, cuter coat than you expected this way.

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Oh, we are all about…

Growing Your Own Medicine

We know there’s no replacement for modern medicine, but natural remedies also have a place in our lives, especially on the homestead. Stings, scrapes, mild headaches, and sniffles are daily annoyances that over the counter medicines don’t always treat quickly. Fortunately, homesteaders can grow their own medicine to ward off minor maladies. Check out these common medicinal herbs that will keep you (and even your animals!) in tip-top shape.

Aloe vera

This plant is a must-have in every home. Use it topically to treat burns from the beach or your kitchen. People also swear by aloe vera’s benefits when consumed as a juice, helping with digestion and acne. It’s also a fantastic makeup remover! (more ways to use aloe vera)


Horseradish is more than a sandwich condiment. Use horseradish root to open up congested sinuses in a flash. The best part? You don’t need to eat a huge chunk of the root. Simply include it in your meals for quick and easy congestion relief, with no pill bottles required.


In addition to making tasty treats in the kitchen, peppermint can also be used to soothe stomach troubles and headaches. Gather a fistful of leaves and brew them in a tea for quick relief. If you have a ton of peppermint growing, consider drying the leaves to preserve the harvest for year-round use.


If you’re looking for the plant kingdom’s equivalent of Tylenol, look no further than echinacea. This complex herb contains compounds that improve immune function, relieve pain, and reduce inflammation, both in humans and animals (but consult with a vet before giving herbs to your livestock). To use echinacea, you can make a tea with its dried leaves or roots.


Having trouble sleeping? A soothing tea made of chamomile flowers will set you right again. Chamomile tea also provides quick relief for stress and anxiety. (see how it helps with depression)

The bottom line

There’s no replacement for a doctor’s advice, so remember to consult with your physician before consuming homemade medicines. If you want quick relief for minor ailments without a trip to the pharmacy, consider growing your own medicine.

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