Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Power Outage

We are finally getting electricity again after three and one half days.  An extremely heavy snowstorm (heavy as in wet and clingy snow)  caused hundreds of trees to fall in the area.  Living without the power company wasn't too bad, but this was combined with fighting to clear snow with a blower and shovels for five days.  We did better than many in town because we have wood heat with a hot water loop in the stove.  Our old RV has a propane cooking stove, and I even ran a couple of lights with a 400 watt inverter on the car battery.  That was expensive power.  Anyone know how much gas a Camry burns if you idle it for one hour?   The city water here is basically gravity flow so that wasn't a problem.  However, our neighbors are still on a well, and had to fill jugs from our hydrant near their house.  We are expecting another major storm Monday.   I am definitely feeling my age.  Size D batteries are hardly used for anything except heavy duty flashlights and lanterns now.  Guess which size the stores run out of in an outage?  The alarm clocks with the digital readout and the 9 volt battery backups are battery hogs.  They went from new battery to low battery and didn't even tell us the time during the outage.  They just kept track so they could show the right time 80 hours later when we got juice. back.  The kind that just runs on two AA batteries with no cord would probably be better, especiallly for a place with frequent outages like Mount Shasta.  You need an alarm because there are only 10 hours of daylight this time of year, and lots of work to do. 
Why didn't I get my snowblower tuned up before the storm?  It has an idling problem and goes dead frequently.  Plus I broke the starter cord two hours before we got power back to use the electric starter.   And I didn't get the winter tires on the pickup in time.  The chains won't fit the summer tires.   One of this summer's projects has got to be widening the driveway at the street for a level parking spot.  We can't always count on keeping our 400 foot driveway clear of snow. 
We have about 10 down trees on our acre to clear out, including oaks and introduced Leyland Cypress.  Fortunately, nothing hit the house, garage, or greenhouse.  Lost half of the black walnut tree.  Actuallly, there are plenty of walnuts in town to scavenge.  I'm going to have to rebuild the animal canopy over my tiny garden.  The PVC framing over the chicken wire was crushed.  I will have a lot of firewood right in my yard this year. 

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