Winter Storm - The Rest of the Story

I read one report that stated 17,000 homes were affected by the outage in Colorado, but the power company said 190,000 homes, which made more sense. Hardest hit were Denver, Boulder and Greeley. There are a lot of smaller towns around, so the number couldn't have been just 17,000.

I was without power from sometime Wednesday morning until after 5 PM Thursday afternoon. The weather was the coldest we had so far this year, with the temperature as low as 13 degrees overnight.

To set the stage, the only source of heat I have is a gas furnace with a blower and thermostat. No electricity, no thermostat and no blower. Even if they would work, the almost new furnace is electronically ignited and wouldn't work. So I was without heat and lights for about 37 hours.

I could have gone to a motel and I could have stayed with my son and daughter-in-law and I could have stayed with my daughter, but I was comfortable enough and rather enjoyed the challenge.

I stayed warm (around 62 to 64 degrees) in the kitchen (electric stove, so no heat there!) with three kerosene lamps and a few two liter bottles of hot water. Thank heavens that I have a gas water heater! The hot water was a God-send. I filled the bottles and put them on the floor where they radiated heat, much like old fashioned radiators do.

The kerosene lamps gave out quite a bit of heat, too, and I used them to warm my hands after being in the cold part of the house for this and that. I used candles for light when I went into the rest of the house.

Of course, I wore my warmest clothes and layered them, but I didn't need a jacket or anything special to wear.

Cooking was done over a candle stove at first, then over a homemade "buddy burner" which was quite efficient. I made hot tea and warmed up canned soup, but otherwise ate cheese, apples, peanut butter and the like.

Three of the two liter bottles were put into service keeping me warm while I slept. Since I keep my bedroom cold anyway, it wasn't much of a stretch to put on an extra blanket and slip the hot bottles into bed. They warmed up the flannel sheets and I was snuggly warm. To me, it felt better than sleeping in a warm room, I can tell you that!

The only things that concerned me was the refrigerator, the freezer and my cell phone. I have a charger for the car, but didn't have a lot of gas so I didn't want to run it unless absolutely necessary. It kind of made me mad at myself because I'm usually pretty good at keeping gas in the car, in case of...

All in all, I read a lot and knitted. Otherwise, time was spent keeping the water in the jugs warm and taking care of the lamps. I washed my hair in the kitchen sink Thursday morning because I just couldn't wait any longer. The bathroom was too cold to shower in; however, I could have warmed it up using the same methods as used in the kitchen. I kept thinking the electricity would soon be on.

And that's the rest of the story!


Snow Storm!

Fall came overnight on September 1 and winter came overnight on October 26.

The view across my front lawn yesterday morning...

I measured 12 inches of wet, heavy snow earlier before it quit snowing, so I don't know exactly how much we got. Reports had it at a little below to a little over one foot. It was enough, however much it was. It was beautiful, too.

Looking the other way... Yep. It looks like a foot of snow!

I had a hard time just walking around it. I didn't have to go anywhere.

Looking out from my front step.

Nope, it's not a monster, even though it could be dressed up for Halloween. It's a 16 foot elm tree. Or it was, anyway.

Ready for winter?


The End of the Harvest

Summer is over. And now autumn seems to be on the way out. Yesterday, we drove into the country to absorb the amazing colors of trees and bushes and bounty still in the fields.

In the back yard, glorious fall colors hover over frozen gray-brown and black tomato plant skeletons.A winter storm warning is set for tonight and tomorrow the high is supposed to be just above freezing. Yesterday the high was 77; tomorrow it's predicted to be 34.

Yesterday we pulled the last of the radishes and cut the lettuce back. Today I will cut what's left of the broccoli and peel the stems to freeze for soup later on. There are tomatoes ripening in a box on the kitchen floor and I need to sort through them today. If there is time, I'll do another canner load of tomato sauce. I found two big cucumbers when I pulled the frost bitten vines, so I'll make a jar of refrigerator pickles with onions and whatever else I can find.

I'm not through yet. There is horseradish to dig after this storm. Dandelion roots yet to dig and roast for "coffee," and the Jerusalem artichokes need cut back and mulched.

It won't be long, though, until activity out doors will be limited to shoveling snow and a walk on the sidewalks.


My Knitted Blanket and How it Grew (and is Growing)

Have you ever started a project that you couldn't seem to find an end to? About three or maybe four years ago, I decided to use up some yarn I'd had forever and knit a blanket (which is very easily said, isn't it?)

I used a ripple pattern and did actually make it big enough to cover up with, at least if I kind of hunched up and didn't move around much. A year or two later, I added two side pieces so it was wide enough to fit the bed from side to side. Now... well, it would be nice to have just a little overhang, so I wouldn't have to move to the middle of the bed to stay warm.

So... here I go again. I don't know if you can see it, but part of it's done in two shades of purple and white, a part of it's done in purple/white/turquoise and another part is done in white. These are not chosen color schemes, they're just what I had an abundance of. Now I don't have an abundance of any one color, so I don't know what colors to use. I have just about everything, from yellow, green, blue, red, pink, brown, black, white... well, you get the idea. What color would you use?


Farewell to the season

In our town, there is a seasonal farmer's market that's quite popular. Every Saturday from the middle of June to the middle or end of October, fresh vegetables, fruits, breads, fresh spices and herbs, roasted peppers, crocheted aprons, wooden toys and more beckon to buyers from the parking lot of the old train depot, now a city museum.

Vendors come from miles around, bringing local raw honey, naturally raised beef, pork and chicken and hand made soap. Sometimes there is music as youngsters play instruments for charity or clubs.

It's a hustle and bustle kind of morning, with people coming and going, waving good-byes and hellos and weaving through the crowd with baby strollers, wheel chairs and running shoes. It's a fun place to be, even if one isn't in the market for bushels of tomatoes and wooden roosters.

Maybe I enjoy it so much because it's short lived. June to October is a short four months and sometimes the weather shortens it even more.

The last market of the season is a sad affair. Both vendors and customers begin to dwindle as cooler weather takes its toll on crops and enthusiasm until at last, there are only a handful of vendors showing up. Pumpkins, gourds, late lettuce, radishes, broccoli and cauliflower are in the spotlight now. Tomatoes and cucumbers are delicious memories, but potatoes and carrots promise rich winter dishes.

The last market of the season is here yet again. All good things must come to an end, I know, and I guess that's what makes them "good." If there was always a farmer's market, always a bushel of tomatoes, always fresh picked lettuce, always bright and beautiful pumpkins, we probably wouldn't appreciate them.


Finishing up the season

I washed dishes, mopped the kitchen, washed and hung out three loads of laundry, caught up on email and started thawing six 3-pint containers of pureed tomatoes to make sauce, since it was a little cool. Then I looked at the weather and it said the temperature could fall to the mid thirties tomorrow night with a spell of cold weather over the next few days. There are tomatoes on the vine, squash and pumpkins and beans yet to pick. Radishes, lettuce and broccoli will be fine, but tomorrow is going to be a busy day.

I should also have quite a bit of meat to process by the weekend... weekend? That's day after tomorrow!

The tomatoes will cook down for sauce and go back in the freezer for another "slow" day. It's a good thing I don't have to cut wood, too!