Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Fill Yer Hands Pilgrims!

You thought John Wayne was tough?  Well take a gander at how I've been LIVING for the past several days.

Bad Weather? -- (see previous post)  HA, no!  It was ten gazillion times WORSE.  First our power went out at 9:30 pm on Sunday.  And wasn't restored until 3 pm on Monday.  Know what happens when your power goes out on a frigid minus 13 below zero night?  EVERY BLOOMIN' THING YOU OWN FREEZES AND STAYS FROZE! Including the darn generator.

So we lost the use of our propane furnace (electronics need electricity to run!), no water as the well pump was down (no dripping/running faucets to keep the house from freezing up), no tank heaters for the livestock so all their water froze too.  The one thing we DID have?  The backup battery for the pellet stove.  The goals the first night? No. 1 -Stretch the battery as long as possible so no one had to recharge it during the middle of night (grumpy bear aka Hubby who KNEW the next day at work was not going to be a 'skate in the park' type of day)  and No. 2 - to retain a reasonable level of warmth in the house aka between 55 and 60 degrees.  Managed 58 the first night and six hours on the battery.

Morning of Day 2 - what to wear?  Layering is your Friend, your BEST Friend, two pairs of socks, long underwear, blue jeans, t-shirt, shirt, sweatshirt.

No water -- all lines are frozen and this will remain the status quo until warmer days.  No bath, limited tooth brushing.  Wet Wipes are your new cosmetic aid - ie Odor Control.

Coffee - you NEED Coffee.  YOU HAVE TO HAVE COFFEE.  With Sinking Feeling you realize stove top coffeemaker is at (gulp) mountain lot.  Exhausted from staying up all previous night cycling pellet stove on and off to preserve battery.  Discover the old touch of sleeping and waking at slight sound of baby (now pellet stove refilling burn pot) still with you.  Chair is NOT comfortable sleeping......YOU HAVE TO HAVE COFFEE.

Make coffee in saucepan.  Drink cup, gulp big mouthful of coffeegrounds.  Darn!! Swear first purchase as soon as you get to town after weather breaks is ANOTHER stove top coffeepot.  Need 2nd cup - try wrapping grounds in coffee filter and clamping shut with binder clip, soaking like tea bag.  WORKS!  Congratulate oneself on resourcefulness.  Make breakfast. 

 Pile dishes in sinks, resort to paper plates to lessen sink load.   Try to find recipes that do not begin take a clean pan......  Limit water intake (we haul our drinking water in 5 gallon bottles so have about 15 gallons on hand) as water = bathroom use.  Bathroom is dysfunctional cousin of outhouse with crapper but no flusher.  No. 2 takes on new (permanent stink) meaning.

Afternoon of Day 2 - Grumpy Bear recharged battery (using pickup) for pellet stove before leaving for work.  Goal for the day, stretch the battery till he gets home.  Twenty minutes on, forty minutes off.  Constant eye on thermometer.  Close off all extra rooms keeping heat in living, kitchen areas.  No TV, No internet, No Radio, NO NOTHING.  Learn to knit with supplies bought Months ago - have two million one hundred and three squares done by end of day.................watch fingers to make sure they don't freeze to knitting needles, balmy 56 degrees in domicile.  High temp for the day - a balmy 3 degrees below zero.  Dogs do not even want to go outside for duties.  Shitmire MacGuire doesn't, of COURSE! Clean with spray cleaner and paper towels.

Day 3 - Minus 30 degrees at 6 a.m. but blessed tank heater in horse tank is working;  tank is semi-thawed.  Water under thin layer of ice.  Hubby brings in blessed 15 gallons of horse tank water.  Flush both the crappers.

Check weather on internet - dang nothing is going to thaw out for two more days. High for today, seven degrees.  Low tonight? -10.  ENOUGH ALREADY. Crappy Weatherman!!!  Bad Man! Bad Man!  Check out beach vacations and dream of warmer days......Plan heavenly bath in horse tank water.  Hey - that's do-able!!!  See ya guys.  I'm heating water now!

I LOVE country living.........


  1. Sounds like you need a generator..it would charge that battery and make you some coffee..and you could melt snow for water to flush the toilet. We have never had to use our generator..but it is at the ready just in case..the longest we have been without power is about 6 hours. Country living sometimes sucks..one more night of cold weather we are supposed to be -30 F tonight..stay warm:)

  2. Life without power is tough. While you weren't comfortable, I am glad that you were able to stay somewhat warm. It is probably going to be bitter cold until the end of the week, so if you get to town, buy that coffee pot and maybe some hand warmers.

  3. Far Side - we DO have a generator - actually several. They would not start except for the very old one that is on the welder so it's use was very very limited as we did not want it to crater thus rendering the welder useless. It was just tooooo cold for anything I guess.

  4. Wow! Been there done that,though not in below freezing temps. Sounds like misery! We lost our power for two 1/2 weeks after a May snow storm. The snow melted, but the ice and wind broke all the poles in the county. SO....we ran the generator in spurts to keep the deep freeze frozen but not use up our fuel, learned how to cook on a coleman burner, and lugged creek water in for the toilet. Learned that I had romanticized Little House on the Praire far too much, and I am in fact a "modern girl," at least more so than I thought. Hope you thaw out soon. In the mean time, I'm commiserating with you!

  5. I know you have had several days of misery, but the way you shared it with us did show the humor to it. (I guess from the readers' point of view, not yours!)
    Why is it we never realize how much water we use until we have well problems or no power for the pump? In the last three years a rural water pipeline was run way,way out in the boonies where we live. Awesome, even when our REA power goes out, we can still flush! As expensive as it was to acquire, we only ran a line to our house.
    We have a piece of leased land that the owners ran the pipeline to in the pasture. It is way to expensive to water cattle with!
    We have had minus 38 degrees one morning up here and the rest of the week in the minus 20's.....except for today, it was 22 above when I got up! Supposed to be in the lower 30's today, hurray! Just wish the wind wasn't blowing!
    Hope your power stays on and the cold is done down there for you!