We are winding up our growing season here on the homestead. Fall is upon us and it won't be long before cold weather will be here again. We moved to the place last November and winter was the first thing we experienced here. It's not that winter is dreadful. It has it's pretty moments. But a lot of it is rather bleak and we don't have a whole lot going on around here after New Years and before it's time to get the little seeds planted for spring. We're on the Cumberland Plateau of north-central Tennessee. I don't remember there being a lot of time below zero around here but there are usually a few weeks when it never gets up to freezing. Weather varies from year to year so it could be really nasty or could be fairly mild, we just don't know. So, my wife and I would very much like to take a couple of months, January and February, and travel 2500 miles across the country and spend some time with our son and his wife in sunny Phoenix, Arizona. We don't get to see them a whole lot but we've had similar visits in past years that have been really good. They've bought a new house since we were there and son has some remodeling projects he wants help with. I think it could be a good thing for all of us. The worrisome part of that, though, is our homestead. At this point, we have no animals so that's not an issue. The garage and barn aren't heated and won't be a problem. But the house... what do we do with the house? I hate spending a bunch of money to heat it during the coldest part of the year if we're not even going to be here. But it would be a royal pain in the posterior to try to winterize the place to the point where temps could drop to below freezing inside and not have plumbing damage or loss of home canned produce. (We don't have a root cellar.) So I'm guessing it's probably best to have at least minimal heat running while we're away. How low do you think the thermostat could be set and still avoid problems? There are a couple of rooms we could shut off from the house that would help, a large sunroom, two bedrooms and the master closet, nothing in any of those that would suffer much from being cold. I could also put some small space heaters set on low in strategic places in the crawl space. I did that during the coldest part of last year anyway. Of course, I'll need someone to come by every couple of days or so to make sure all is OK. I have a friend that could probably fix just about anything anyway so it's not like no one could keep an eye. I do plan to put things like the lawn mower in a place that won't be convenient to just walk off with should someone get the idea to do so. Placed in a particular part of the garage and a vehicle (maybe two of them) we're leaving here strategically parked in the way would make it a pain to steal the mower and similar equipment. I doubt anyone would but that at least lessens the richness of the target environment. Honestly, the house doesn't have a lot worth messing with. Guns are almost non-existent. Money... yeah, right, if we had any, it wouldn't be laying around. Drugs, nope. A few vitamins, maybe, we don't take any prescriptions and don't use any "recreational" stuff beyond the coffee, and if they want the jug of Folgers that badly, they can have it. Alcohol, nope, none of that either, other than perhaps a tiny bit in that bottle of vanilla and a little in the mouthwash. Electronics, not much of that either. Our "big" TV is an old 29" flatscreen. Our computers are old laptops we'll be taking with us. Seriously, there's just not a lot here. And we rather like not having a lot of "stuff" to own us. Anyway, I still don't quite know if there might be some things I should do that might be fairly easy that might be prudent to be away for that long over the winter. Anyone have any thoughts or ideas they'd like to share? I'm definitely interested. Thanks!