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Archive for November, 2011

Snowtober

Freak snow storm the weekend before Halloween.  It was an actual Nor’easter in October.  We’ve had our fair share of Nor’easters since we moved to New Hampshire, but not in October, and not with the leaves still on the trees.  (It’s been a beautiful autumn, actually.  Until the snow started.)  The snow came down in big, wet, fluffy flakes that delighted Milo for the first few hours.  It was the kind of snow that makes great snowballs and snowmen.  It was also the kind of snow that sticks to tree limbs and weighs them down to the point of breaking.  Add to that, the fact that leaves were still on those limbs and you have a lot of broken limbs and falling trees.  Trees that fall over power lines.

We knew the storm was coming, of course, and we ran out to get some supplies.  (Most of our stash we had left over from preparing for Hurricane Irene in August.)  We expected to lose power.  Past storms we lost power for less than 24 hours. (Our house is right off a major road, so when the area loses power, we’re typically one of the first to have power restored.)  We don’t own a generator.  Call us optimistic or cocky, but we lived in a cabin in the woods without electricity or running water for a year.  We figured we could stand a few days without electricity.

Typically, when the lights flicker, we fill the bathtub with water.  The reason we fill the bathtub is that when the power is out, our water pump for our well doesn’t work.  There is about 5 or 6 gallons of water left in a reserve tank, but that’s all.  This means we can’t flush the toilet, so we try to fill up the bathtub to have excess water on hand to flush the toilet.  Typically, after the lights flicker, it is likely the power will go out in a few minutes.  But typically, we have enough time to fill the bathtub.  This time, we did not.  Around 6 pm Saturday night, the lights flickered and everything went black.  Power was out.

This is what we typically do when the power goes out: Blake hooks up our car battery to his inverter and gets us power to run enough lights, computers, and internet.  We just need to charge the car battery every 3 or 4 hours to make sure it doesn’t go dead.  We dump bags of ice in the refrigerator. We put on extra layers of clothes and pull out extra blankets.  This time, we did all this, but we did not have a full bathtub, so we could not flush the toilets.  Yellow, yellow, let it mellow!

When we checked the utility website, it said power was expected to be restored at 2:00am.  So we went to bed and expected to have power in the morning.  It was a cold night and we huddled together in our family bed with extra blankets and listened to the hum of our neighbors’ generators.  In the middle of the night, we were awakened by a loud crash.  It freaked me out.  Blake said it was a tree branch breaking and I should go back to sleep.  In the morning, there was still no power and the house was cold.

The damage the storm caused during the night was remarkable.  Trees bent all the way over, as if bowing down in child’s pose.  The loud crash was the top of a tree that had snapped off and scraped the side our house.  Broken trees and limbs everywhere.  There was a tree down at the end of our driveway that blocked the road.  Blake plowed the driveway and, along with our neighbors, moved the tree blocking the road.  I decided to remedy the fact that we had no water to flush our toilets.  I filled up our bathtub with snow.  I put a pot of snow on the propane stove to heat up and wash dishes.  Nothing like being resourceful.

Twenty-four hours came and went and still no power.  We spent a second chilly night huddled together under the bed.  The next day, the utility website suggested we may not get power for another three days!  Not looking good.  We got some wood from our neighbor and started up a fire in the fireplace.  Plenty of melted snow in the bathtub, so we could now flush the toilets.  We could hunker down for a few more days, right?

Thankfully, our power came back on that night, before midnight.  We lost power for a total of 52 hours.  Not pleasant, but not bad in the relative scheme of things.  We later heard from friends who lost power for a full six days.  Six days!  Maybe it’s time to invest in a generator?

The view from our backyard, Oct. 30, 2011.

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