Thursday, September 01, 2011


After Irene - road is littered with debris but no downed trees
Ah, to be back in the 21st Century again. My power is restored, though I can’t say my life is back to normal just yet.
During the power outage I gathered up many of the items I use regularly and put them in plain sight on my kitchen table so I could find them easily. Battery-powered lanterns don’t give off nearly as much light as the electric lights. So now I am faced with putting everything away again.

I lost many of the items in my refrigerator, though I saved the condiments in an ice chest and took the frozen items to sister’s house. Tonight, I’ll likely head down there again to retrieve them. The restocking of the other items will have to wait until I shop for groceries this weekend.

Our modern houses simply aren’t geared for long periods without electricity. Back before electricity, people used cook stoves fueled with wood. They used iceboxes for chilling items. They had outhouses. They had hand pumps on their wells. My well pump needs electricity. Naturally, I store water for me and the animals, but when power is out for more than a few days, I start to run low. If I didn’t work away from the cabin during the day (where naturally they had power), I could have pulled water from the nearby ponds, built a fire or run a camp stove and then boiled it to make sure it was safe. Try doing that during a work day.

I’d love to go solar, but for me to do that, I’d have to cut down a lot of trees so the cabin could get enough sunlight for it. I’m just not willing to do that, though if I experience many more windstorms such as came with Hurricane Irene, that option might begin to look more attractive.

One thing I noticed is that with so many people, literally for miles around the mountain, out of power the night skies were gorgeous. Here on Roundtop, I have a far better view of the night sky than virtually everyone else and even I noticed more stars. I hadn’t realized just how much light pollution from nearby developments and villages impacts my own view of the sky up here where there are few lights.

So now my life here on the mountain is returning to normal again. This morning the dogs startled two deer that were inexplicably right next to the cabin, scattering them up the hill, crashing through the underbrush. Some things never change, whether there’s electricity or no.


Woodswalker said...

I'm glad to hear that your power outage was your only loss. We were lucky to suffer no damage at all at my home in Saratoga, while up in the Adirondacks, whole towns were devastated by flood.

Carolyn H said...

Woodwalker: Here, the damage was from the wind. The rain was bad but not terrible. We had 50+ mph wind sustained over roughly 4-5 hours. And a couple of hours on either side of the 50+ mph wind was in the 40 mph range. It was plenty nasty here, though of course nothing like the flooding others are still experiencing.

Scott said...

Carolyn, though I'm in the heart of the Philly 'burbs, when I lose power (all too frequently) I, too, am without light, water, refrigeration and, in the winter, heat (except for one fireplace that heats only a few rooms). I appreciate and understand your plight. Glad you're back and safe.

Cathy said...

Ah I just got my internet back today! I tried leaving you a message on Thursday but it was just plain crazy at work! Just posted what I went through, needless to say, Parents want to get a generator now.

Glad to see you made it. The water part is the tough one.

We landed up going to firehouse on Wednesday to stock up on more water because at the times, they were predicting that power wasn't coming back until Friday at teh latest. It came back on that afternoon!

Carolyn H said...

Cathy: Funny, but literally one hour after I was told it would be another 3-5 days before my power would be restored, it came back on! I'm glad to hear you're back among the connected again.