Alive, Alive O!

OK, THAT was a winter storm.   We were without line power from Sunday afternoon/evening, but had stored solar power that lasted until early Tuesday morning with careful use.  We were (are) low on propane because the propane company called up to say they’d scheduled us for Thursday (before the storm really got going) but couldn’t come. City water quit when the raised tanks emptied after the power went off.  Power going off killed our landline phones (because modern handsets all require electricity in addition to phone line power!) and the cellphones died utterly when the cellphone tower a block away ran of out fuel for its backup generator.

Line power came back at 7:15 this morning.    We’re now trying to heat the house up from 39F.  Last night was not comfortable.  All three of us are OK, horses are OK.  Luckily we dug that pond years ago, so we have (untreated) water for horses, flushing toilets, and cooking things that boil a long time.  Like the soup we’ve been living on, one of those big winter soups I started last Saturday and augmented from supplies as time went on.  I ran out of fresh stuff to add (still have a few carrots, but the onions and celery are gone, and my last can of tomato sauce is in there…though there’s more Ro-tel in the pantry.  Most difficult is water to drink and to add to the soup.

Can’t type long–hands cold & clumsy still.


37 thoughts on “Alive, Alive O!

  1. Glad to see you are still alive and with us. Also for your family and critters. Up here in New Hampshire – no power loss but more snow and cold. But things will get better come June or July and there will be complaints about the heat.

    Jonathan up here in cold and snowing New Hampshire

  2. I’m glad you’re safe. I am surprised that you do not have a well, but I know little about the area of Texas where you live. However, a hand-dug well can provide potable water in emergencies.

    1. It wouldn’t provide any water here. We have a hand dug well and a machine dug well and they are mostly bone-dry. Even in traditional aquifer layers around here, the water table has dropped precipitously since we moved here (most in the past 25 years) due to excessive well drilling and extraction and quarrying that’s disturbed subsurface transport of water within aquifer layers.

      When we bought the 80 acres we considered having a deeper well drilled, but talking to locals who were having to pull pipe, drill deeper, add pipe every few years, decided to go with rainwater capture.

  3. Warms my heart ( so to speak) to see your pixels again. Over on Facebook many were relieved and delighted to see S’s report of having heard from you and a basic update. Hope the replenish and restore project proceeds apace. (Speaking of gaits, I’m glad it didn’t get so cold that you had to bring the Horses into the living room to share animal heat in the manner of medieval peasants.)

      1. I was getting really sick&tired of it by then, the house getting colder every day. But you can’t run off and leave animals w/o water or food, and so…we hung in and the next day at 7:15 am, the power came on. (Propane for the heat is still an issue but the solar came right back on, the last snow on it melted away and it started generating like crazy. We were getting line power and recharging the Walls, so after today (second day of sunshine) the Walls should be ready for the next outage, hopefully a shorter one. Though most of the past week & a half has been cloudy, the panels produced all but three days, the days they were loaded with snow & ice AND it was cloudy. We have been very lucky. We do, of course, have a list of what we want to do better on next time.

  4. Glad to hear you have coped with the awful storm and it’s aftermath. I hope your line power stays on, it sounds as if the solar power and storage was a really wise investment, although I don’t suppse you had this sort of situation in mind when you invested in it! I also hope that the house warms up properly in time for tonight, trying to sleep when you are cold is pretty miserable. Also that the propane can be delivered jolly soon, and that you are able to get some fresh food soon too.

  5. Glad to hear from you! With Tigger being such a flipping idiot about blankets, wasn’t sure how he was gonna do.
    More storage batteries needed for solar system?

  6. So glad you are all okay. Here in Britain we had a very cold (for us) spell, but with utilities being underground, in the cities at least, we were fine. Over now, and it’s back to being dreary and dreich – we are sick and tired of being locked down, and longing for spring. Have you been vaccinated yet? More and more people here have had their first dose, including my mother, my husband, and me – but we are STILL not allowed to go and see her, which is miserable. And stupid.

  7. Glad to hear this! I was periodically checking here and on Twitter and hoping all was okay. I have family scattered across the state and a remote work colleague and have been hearing some of their struggles. Continued prayers to all impacted by this.

    1. Typical the GOPpers would blame renewable power sources when it’s really the failure of utilities to winterize their infrastructure that’s the fault. Solar probably saved our lives by giving us 36 hours of power more than the line power did, over the critical coldest nights.

    1. I hope so. We’re still chilly because our propane tank gauge is stuck (so we don’t know when we’ll run out) and Suburban Propane keeps losing us off their list. Water is now on, but maybe only temporarily because the city had an 8 inch main break on Main Street. With the power off for 144 hours of below freezing weather, I’m sure there are more breaks to find.

  8. So glad to hear you and yours are okay. Every storm that came through here missed the valley, so I got nothing more than a few flakes and one wet snow that melted quickly. Take care of yourselves.

  9. ThankYouThankYouThankYou for the news. I hope Things Warm Up there in a big hurry.

    Things are a bit less bad here, and I wish they were so there, too. from me and Melody!

    1. I want reliable running water again (though we had a good day, with pressure up in the afternoon, and quickly did two loads of laundry, badly needed!) And I want Suburban Propane to get its act together and bring us the propane that was supposed to arrive on the 11th, didn’t, and has left us short. But I can’t praise Wells Solar (who installed our system) and the two Tesla Walls that are our backup enough. We’d have been SOL without Walls getting us through the two coldest nights after line power went off.

  10. I’ve been lurking here, not commenting, but I am very relieved to see that you and your family and the horses are okay. I was hoping the solar panels had helped – so glad! Enjoy your thawing!

  11. Impressive that you were so well prepared. I still remember a winter storm in NJ where the power was out for a week. Luckily, my father ran a generator and we had well water. The men with the snow plow got stuck in a drift. They slept in our living room. Eventually, the road department had to send a bulldozer to get the snowplow out.

    In retrospect, I remember superstorm Sandy when no one had enough canned food. The power went out in many parts of NJ for no reason other than badly maintained equipment. Young parents lacked the coping capacity that I remember in my parents. At one point, I begged my neighbor who was also out of town for the festivities to have his daughter break into my house where there were plenty of canned goods…

    I find myself reflecting on consequences. We as a society have become so short-sighted.

    1. Badly maintained equipment on systems everybody needs (roads, bridges, power, phones) is the responsibility of the utilities…it is cheaper to cut corners, lengthen time between maintenance/inspections, etc. Modern business schools *teach* short-sightedness, with a “profit is everything” and “investtors are more important than customers/users* mentality. Also the “lower taxes, less regulation” thing. (Yes, I’m on my political rant mood tonight.)

      Another problem is that static wages and rising housing (and other costs) have meant many people do not have the resources for serious preparedness. If all you can afford is a small one-bedroom apartment, you can’t stuff enough water, food, other supplies in it for a serious emergency. If you already can’t afford to feed your family adequately, you can’t afford to buy and store the extra food and water, either. Generator? You can’t run a generator inside an apartment (kills you) or on the balcony or fire escape if you’ve got one. And so on. Most of our population is so stripped down, economically, that they *cannot* be fully prepared. Being rural is a huge help…we burned wood we’d trimmed off trees and stored in brush piles…we have *space* for piles of tree limbs and such (wildlife habitat, too, in our case.) We have space to store a barbecue set (and had money to buy it); we have resources, acquired over the years, that we could and did use. And still we didn’t have some things that would’ve been very helpful: better outdoor clothing (including “oops, this no longer fits…” and “oops, this has worn so thin it’s not really warm anymore.”) I had not been able to shop in person for the past year (old enough, and enough medical conditions to make shopping in person dangerous) so could not try on heavy outdoor clothes.

  12. She died you know. The woman in the song. “And that was the end of sweet Molly Malone.” It is a ghost story (in a good way). “Alive, alive, oh!”

    I’ll have fragments of the melody running through my head all morning. Thank you.

  13. Glad to hear the power came back on and that you were able to make the time to check in with us. I had been wondering/worrying if you were stuck in the cold without electricity like my personal friends in Texas, and imagined you chalking it up to first-hand research on Miksland living conditions 🙂

  14. Glad to hear you got through it – wonder which book that experience will turn up in … ;). We had real cold in the UK but back to mild again now and the spring flowers starting to come out. Snowdrops been out for ages, Crocus a few Iris and the first few daffodils. At least we have a wood burning stove that would keep us warm if we need it to. Just use it to supplement normally but they do an amazing job of heating a room.

  15. Glad to hear you made it through. We were running a warming station at the Copperas Cove Public Library but I’m not sure you could have gotten here from there during the storm. We had several dogs staying with us but horses might have stretched our hospitality a bit!

    1. We couldn’t get two blocks up to 195, let alone to Copperas Cove. Turns out there was a warming station in Florence, but nobody told us. We couldn’t have gotten that far, either (a mile + away at the middle school) unless we’d caught a ride with someone with a 4WD. Police supposedly went around picking people up but they never came anywhere near us until the Friday after. However…we made it.

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