Showing posts with label ice storm. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ice storm. Show all posts

Monday, December 3, 2012

Does It Have to Be Doomsday?



How many people have snickered up their sleeve at 'Doomsday Preppers' on National Geographic Channel? Thousands? Millions? Most likely this highly rated show gives it's audience a fit of giggles at the 'deluded rednecks' and their arsenal of weapons.

Sure, it's entertainment, another realty TV show - and the East Coast could NEVER be hit by a storm that leaves the power out for days...weeks...or even months. There isn't a storm that could wash away houses and flood a major city like, say, New York City.

Never, ever, you say. It JUST couldn't happen here.

Except it did already.

Oops!

If you'd like to take a look at my back list of posts, you will see where I suffered through 8 days without heat or electricity. Ice Storm Musings is the first of a series of stories about how I coped. I think it also talks about when I got so cold that I snapped - I literally couldn't take it any more.

After that gawdawful experience, I put up a few supplies. Not a year's worth of canned goods or anything extreme like an underground bunker - but I kept my coffee can stove and a dozen cans of Sterno. I'm MUCH more careful about what I buy - my kitchen is stocked a bit better.

I have a lot of respect for Survivalists. My father was one, and I've always appreciated the time and effort he took to make me better able to survive, come what may.

Let's just say that you've seen enough natural disasters to wonder if IT COULD HAPPEN to you? Not the end of the world, but a week or more without power. How would a modern person survive? Where would you get water, heat and hot food?

It's the little things that are going to count.

  • Do you have a can opener that doesn't require electricity?
  • Do you know how to flush a toilet when there isn't any running water?
  • Do you have something to put drinking water in?
  • Can you cook without using your electric stove?
  • Do you have some way to make light, besides a couple of candles?
I have three oil lamps and two bottles of oil, a can opener, several buckets clean enough for drinking water and a grill with a burner. I know from experience that I can hold out in the middle of January for at least a week. I've got a propane heater and a fireplace to keep us warm, there is also a rick of wood at the side of the house.

Does this make me a Doomsday Prepper?

Not by a long shot. But it is common sense to keep simple things like this on hand. After all, wouldn't you feel stupid if you had a pantry full of canned food and no way to open the cans?

Think about it.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Still Cleaning Up

Yes, I'm still working on getting life back to normal. There is still lots of clean up work, inside and outside. Fencing to repair, stalls to clean, ice to break, the daily stuff to do.

Yet, as I sip my morning coffee, my mind wanders to the entry in ABNA. March, until I hear something back. One more effort to get that story out into the world. It must be weary of rejection, I know that I am.

Will I make the first cut? Just one cut, that would be greater success than I've had so far. Checked the Firebrand twitter page. They are extending requests for 1 more week. I think there 3.7k

The new story has taken back seat to the weather, I need to re-read the last print out, and finish up my time line. Added a little something for the Feb challenge, a 'first dance' scene between Eric and June.

Interestingly enough it took place at the old Iroquois Club, with Pranxter playing. I recalled Mickey singing "Lights" and "Faithfully" with Penny and her late husband dancing to both songs alone on the dance floor. I cried at the memory. He was dying, everyone knew it. It was such a perfect moment, the two of them up there dancing. He was six-four and she was barely five foot, but they looked so perfect together.

It was a moment worth stealing.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Ice Storm Part VII

Icicles hang from the porch.


It was bitterly cold last night. The outside temp is below zero. The den is still 60, we woke up warm today. The dogs are playful, as pleased to be warm as I am.

There is no way to heat the rest of the house with this heater. It would burn up all the fuel and leave us back at square one. I'm tempted to start another fire, to augment the heat in the house. But my throat and sinuses are irritated and I'm still coughing. I think I need to heal up, more than the rest of the house needs heat.

This has been exhausting.

For some reason, I can't eat, when I need to eat more now than ever. But my stomach roils at the thought of food, and I have no energy to cook. I suspect that I have been exposed to more carbon monoxide than is good for me. All that smoldering wood and thick smoke can't be healthy.

The master bathroom is frozen solid, we have icicles from the taps to the bottom of the sinks. The need for clean clothing is critical. I will put the propane heater on the lowest setting and trust that it will keep the den warm while I'm gone. I'll stop by hubby's office and catch a couple of minutes on the internet.

At 4:15 p.m. we have heat, light and water!

It took 2 hours to put the house back together from all the makeshift changes. Well worth it, it feels so good to be warm again!

This was exhausting. I'm sure this ordeal will find it's way into a story or two.

Lessons learned and greatest hits:

Wind up flashlights and solar lanterns are hits.

Amazon.com was a sleeper hit. We finally found the heaters we needed online, while not a single brick and mortar store had them in stock. If we would have ordered the day the lights went out, we would have had the heater in the house by Saturday.

Buying green and/or wet wood was a lesson learned. We are lucky that I just got sick from the carbon monoxide. It made me paranoid, so we had the propane heater on the coldest night of our ordeal. It could have killed both of us as we slept.

Baking food on the gas grill was a hit. I made a great pot roast in an hour and a half on medium heat. Light one side of the grill and put the pot on the other side. The heat will cook the food, not the flames. The meat loaf was the same way. I used a meat thermometer to make sure that everything was cooked completely.

Chafing dish fuel was a hit. I could heat water to wash dishes, me, or even make coffee. I used an old metal coffee can with holes punched in the bottom for a stove. Make lots of holes in the bottom and a few on the top. I used a wok rack for a stove top. One can will boil one quart of water, or cook scrambled eggs.

We will have a propane fireplace installed this summer. Every person I spoke with who had one stayed warm through this ordeal. (Well, except the lady who didn't get her tank refilled this summer. She ran out of propane the 3rd day.) With a small propane heater from Amazon.com, we should be snug and warm no matter what the weather throws at us.

I'm going to put the horses to bed, then I'm going to take a hot bath.

Ice Storm Musings

Ice Storm Part III

Ice Storm Part V

Ice Storm Part VI

Ice Storm Part VI

Truck and trailer, frozen to the ground.
The constant cold is demoralizing. I am thoroughly depressed by the constant pain in my joints. I can't get the fire going long enough or hot enough to make a difference and the temps outside have plunged from the 50's to the teens. I've piled on the wood, put in fire logs, built the smoldering shit as large as I dare, it makes no damn difference. Horse shit would burn better than this wet green crap.

The driveway is still a sheet of ice in front of the barn. I still can't move the truck. Grain is low. We have hay and water. I need to make a trip to the feed store tomorrow. I will need to make a road trip to Sonora for hay soon. I tossed ashes on the driveway and salt on sidewalk. The poultry has the run of the barn, which should keep them happy.

Got a call from my folks further south. They have electric and are willing to loan us their propane heater. I'm out of here, taking all 3 dogs with me.

Later.

Warm, clean, and well fed, I returned from McDaniels after a couple of hours in civilization. They have dsl and all my email is up to date. Wish I'd had a couple of hours to blog-hop.

Hubby has been huddled over the fire for hours and it is barely 50 in the den. We hooked up the heater and in 30 minutes it was 60. Of course since every object is nearly frozen it will all have to heat up before the temperature in the room feels warm.

The problem will be letting the fire die, and getting the flue closed so we don't lose all this glorious heat up the chimney. I'll stay up a couple of hours to keep fire watch. This room isn't bad; the pipes aren't frozen. I have to stay focused on the positive or I will lose my mind.

The local news said there were still 500 electric poles that needed to be replaced. CNN says there is a quarter million homes without power all over Kentucky. I can hear generators at the horse farm down the street. I'll bet they have a slew of new borne foals they are keeping under lights. I can't imagine foaling in this kind of weather.

God help us all tonight, the temperatures are falling below zero.

Ice Storm Musings

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Ice Storm Part V

The view off the back porch. Ice as far as the eye can see.


Day six without power, or heat, but the water is back to 'drinkable' status. The horses are safe in the round pen with a round bale of hay. We got the stalls clean yesterday while it was nice. The roosters were crowing under the window this morning. I was up at dawn, hungry, cold and miserable.

Still having problems with green wood that won't burn. Last night was damn cold because the fire kept going out. There are propane heaters around but not the right kind. Either too large to too small, none safe for inside a house. Kerosene and kerosene heaters are not to be found. Propane cook stoves are around, but our grill is on the porch with a burner, and I can bake on the grill if I'm careful.

Cleaned out the freezer and fed it all to the chickens. We should be swimming in eggs, there was an entire dishpan of frozen vegetables and meat. Everything else is frozen in coolers on the porch.

I made pot roast on the grill, in a pot. It was great. The veggies could have been a little more cooked, but the meat was well done, not medium. The solar lights have been wonderful. Amazing how long they run off a single charge, much safer than candles, though not bright enough to read by.

The chaffing dish rack has been a star player. I use it to heat water for washing dishes. The gel fuel tins are impressive for heating water or frying eggs.

Hot food and drink is imperative to keep up the spirits. I can feel my attitude lighten as I eat something hot. Remember Granny saying "get a hot meal in you, you'll be all right" back when you were a kid? She was onto something. "Going to bed with the chickens," is a saying that I thought was idiocy. Try again. No electric, no light, no tv, guess what? Sleep comes on quick.

Survival has taken over the day. I get the early chores done, heat water for dishes. Check the food in the house. Empty out the fireplace and spread the ashes on the ice. Lead the horses out to the round pen, made sure they have water.

Tomorrow I will search for a place to do the laundry. Everything stinks of smoke. I get these coughing fits that are painful. Without propane heat, we are stuck with wood, and it is choking me. Most of E'town has power, water is a bit harder to find. They were talking about shutting down the 62 main drag of restaurants and hotels if they didn't conserve water.

The smoke alarms went off yesterday for about 10 minutes. I would guess, since they aren't battery back up, that meant the electric power was on briefly.

It's going to be a long haul. They are still saying a week to 10 days for full restoration.

I'm not thrilled about this, but I can go another day or so.

PS. Got entered into ABNA just fine. I'm taking the laptop to people's houses, charging the battery and using dial up if nothing else is available.

Ice Storm Musings

Ice Storm Part II

Ice Storm Part III

Ice Storm Part VI

Monday, February 2, 2009

Ice Storm Part IV

Play keeps us warm.
 Rumor has it that we are two weeks from power restoration. If there was a place to run and hide, I would. Even clean hair isn't enough to restore my spirits. (Got that all-important shower, thanks to a visit to a friend's house. They didn't have power, but they have a gas water heater and running water.)

The third night on the floor.

The pipes haven't frozen yet, but I'm wearing thermal underwear under my pj's. We have 4 cases of fake logs and some green wood that doesn't want to burn. Even with a fire the room is frigid. I got it up to 50 once today, but I had to leave and run errands. Now it's impossible to raise the temp over 40.

There are exploding sounds that shake the house. I think they are trees exploding under the weight of the ice. The sun came out for a couple of hours, which would have made the ice soften. Most surfaces are covered with ½ to 2 inches of ice. My truck is frozen to the ground. The roads are fine, once you get to them, but our long driveway is one sheet of ice from the house to the barn.

We got the round bale of hay delivered today. We rolled it to the round pen, because the electric fence is down in places. We walked the horses to the pen for a couple hours of exercise. They went nuts at first, but settled down to eat. We brought them back in tonight, a bit calmer for the dusting off.

PS. Doesn't look like I'll be able to enter ABNA after all.

Ice Storm Musings

Ice Storm Part II

 Ice Storm Part III

Ice Storm Part V



Ice Storm Part VI

Ice Storm Part III

There are three dogs under the blankets. Smart dogs!


Second night without electricity, it is colder tonight. We can see our breath in the living room; the den is around 40 degrees. I was gone all day, had to let the fire go out.

Bad move.

I didn't get back until late, and the dogs were shivering in their jackets. I had some things to fax, and got internet at hubby's office. Of course I had to chase down the various items that have become impossible to get because of the weather. Batteries, candles, any type of fuel, it is all go.

I was able to get some chafing dish fuel so we have hot water for tea and washing. I have a traditional chaffing dish rack, with two burners. It took an hour to heat soup, not good. I created a camp stove out of a large coffee can and a 'church key' opener. That worked a whole lot better.

I can't, in good conscience, leave the farm without at least taking the dogs. So we can't go to a shelter, and taking this road show to a friend's house sounds like torture. We have a 50/50 chance of getting electric back tomorrow.

I will pray for electricity, or a small propane heater.

The feed store will deliver a round bale of hay, so I can let the horses out. They were kicking in the stalls tonight. They like the cold. The barn was warmer than the house, which figures with three hay burners.

Yesterday I wrote about the meatloaf on the grill. It was wonderful! I cooked it over the lowest flame setting, covered with foil. It was incredible. Okay, I was starving.

Night time temps dipped into the teens. Trouble woke me up every time the fire died. Yeah, really, it was weird. I had to stuff him back under the quilt a couple of times, because I wasn't going to get up and get cold.

We have wood and it must be green because the logs won't burn. When July comes we are going to get a propane fireplace. Wood is for the freaking birds. We have the technology for proper back up heat, no sense in suffering a second time.

The need for a shower has become critical. Beyond my comfort zone, though technically it is only my hair that needs to be washed. It's the IDEA of being 3 days without a shower that is driving me nuts.

 Ice Storm Musings

Ice Storm Part III

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Ice Storm Part II

Walking sticks sort of help. I still had to crawl in places.

 The storm hit yesterday. I stayed home. I crawled across the driveway to the barn because I couldn't stay on the slick wet ice. It was either chop a path or crawl back to the house.

Today we lost the electricity. Amazing what an attitude adjustment that is. I had to put on my thinking cap to figure the best way to make do. First thing was put a blanket over the tropical fish. They may survive a cold snap better if the water cools slowly.

All the food from the freezer and fridge went outside in coolers since there is no chance of a thaw in the foreseeable future. Hubby bought water and canned food. (Tuna and soup?) There is wood in the barn and piled outside, not a problem. We have a few days of grace.

For cooking we have a burner on the grill. (Love that.) I've been told that you can bake a meat loaf in a pot on the grill. We'll try that tomorrow.

There is a fire in the fireplace. I've got all the other rooms closed off. The house stayed in the fifties until the sun went down. Then we battened down the windows. The rest of the house is chilly, but the den is just fine. Hubby, the three dogs and I are bedded on the floor in the den.

The big discovery for the night was the solar lanterns. They run on AA rechargable batteries. I bought four into the house. They have switches that turn them off. So we have one lighting the room and three in reserve. My mp3 player takes AA batteries, so we have music.

There are also three warm dogs to keep away the chills.

Good thing we are snug, the electric will be off for several days. This stupid front is rumored to have moved in for seven to ten days. Crap.

Ice Storm Musings

Ice Storm Part III

Ice Storm Part IV

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Ice Storm Musings

Trouble warms himself by the fire.


We get at least one ice storm every year. I've seen some bad ones, and this one is gearing up to take the prize. The sun on ice is gorgeous, but this is white on white weather. Damp air, slick and nasty roads, a thick sheet of ice over 2 days of snow. I'm holed up in the house with the dogs and a quilt.

I skated on the way to the barn. The porches are iced over as is the driveway and the stuff is still coming down as drizzle. There was a half-inch of ice on the car this morning. It took an hour to break it up enough to get in the car to start it.

I'm not going to let the horses out of their stalls until this is over. We have hay, grain and water. They are fine in their nice dry stalls. But I have opened the barn doors a crack to let the chickens & ducks out. I doubt the poultry will wander far. They can all fly so a tumble on the ice won't hurt them. A bad fall could kill a horse.

Went out this evening, the back yard is a lake of ice. I slipped twice and finally crawled across the driveway. There is no more horrible feeling than sliding uncontrollably sideways. Getting back I used a ten-pound tamper to smash the ice so I could use a stick as a pick to make a step for my feet. My husband laughed at me, but I got back without falling.

I wish I had ice cleats or knew how to make them. Maybe I could wrap my feet in chicken wire.

Now the electricity is flickering, I have the laptop unplugged so it will stay on while I need it.

The rain coming down is going to freeze solid by morning. This is going to be a nightmare. Hopefully I will not have to leave the house until Thursday. They should have the roads clear by then.

Thank God I'm not working in Louisville anymore.

Ice Storm Part II

Ice Storm Part III

Ice Storm Part V