On the 22nd of December rain pellets started coming down. As the day turned into night it turned into sleet and ice. We thought it would move out of our area in Down East Maine but that was not the case. It hung on. By the morning of the 23rd we woke up to about 1/4 to 1/2 inch of ice. Trees started bending into the driveway. We were going to try to snow blow as much as we could only to realize it was too thick and so we de ~ iced the car and drove it up and down the driveway breaking up the ice. By the afternoon it started to come down hard pellets so we took shelter in the house. We lost power right around 12:15pm. Got our wood stove going in the house. Went back out to try to release some of the ice on the trees to help them lift up off the driveway.
By that night we realized that it was not going to let up. By now we had no power and no phone. Can’t check the weather, even our NOAA radio station was out, which meant we were in for a long hall. Heat was not a problem since we have wood and a wood stove going at the time. We just had to keep feeding it wood every 15 to 20 minutes.
Problem one: Living in a rural area we have a well pump not city water. We have to have 240 volts of electricity for that to work. We have a 5,000 watt generator and a 1,000 watt back up that we take when we go camping. At 8 pm when it was time to start our generator , it wouldn’t work. (We have to run it every three hours to keep the frig cool and to get water to flush toilets).
If you step outside to start the generator everything is pitch black. We have head lamps that we use for hiking that work great to see in front of you. Standing outside you could hear large branches and trees cracking and dropping all around in the forest. I can’t even describe how disturbing that sound is. You can’t see what is happening around you. You want to stay safe but you really need the generator to run! We gave up until day light–no running water or frig.
Solution: for the refrigerator ~ put your food outside your door in the cold so you don’t loose it all. Stuff in the freezer will stay frozen, stuff like eggs won’t survive! Oh well win some lose some–and I just filled the freezer and refrigerator for the holidays!
Problem two: Day light ~ The town is 25 minutes away on a summer day with no traffic. Did I mention we live in a rural area. We called ahead using our Tracphone not a cell phone per say because there are very few cell towers in the area and it is spotty at best. We got thru and found a place open to try to replace the spark plug on the generator–hoping that would fix it. Thank goodness we have four wheel drive. My job–keep the fires going. Spark plug not the problem! Oh no Mr Bill!
So now we have two bathrooms in the house. One is a pressure toilet that you can’t add water to the tank to flush. I know, I know not what I wanted to hear when I went to use it. The downstair one was a standard toilet. OK!! Just need a lot of water to fill the tank to get it to flush. Need water, where to get water?
Solution: Take buckets of snow haul them in and heat them on the stove till it melts.
We have a propane stove so you can use the top burners during an outage but not the oven. Yay! One problem solved. Do you know how much snow you need to haul and melt to get one gallon of water. LOTS!
We each took turns staying up late at night to watch the fire. By now lack of sleep is setting in. Another solution came to mind. What if we take the small generator, which only puts out 120 volts, and run a plug and set it up so at least the refrigerator would work. My handy husband wired something up so now I can have the food inside the house. Lots of animals showing up looking for food so having it outside is not a great idea right now. So back to every three hours running the generator to make sure the refrigerator temp is OK.
By Christmas both of us were really tired, between generator runs, wood runs, and cutting down trees to clear the power lines and driveway. Christmas came. I was running out of things to make on top of the stove. I had a freezer full of food but how to cook on top of the stove. Had some frozen beef stew we went thru then some canned stuff. Well Christmas dinner was Peanut Butter sandwiches. At least I had some bread!
Power came on Christmas night and we went to bed happy to have taken a bath, clean dishes and flushed toilets. In the middle of the night we lost power again but it came back on later. We are getting snow right now and not sure how long the power will last but we can hope. I made it into town to stock up on supplies. My husband is still trying to get the generator to work. No new ones to be found anywhere. With all this I am grateful that my house is still standing, my car didn’t get hit by a tree, and we are all well. Last but not least the generator is now working!!