Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Happy New Year

Yes, the title isn't very original but it is another year, though if you think about it, whomever came up with this particular calendar the Greeks or Egyptians, I don't remember which, it's all arbitrary. Why can't the first of the year be on the winter solstice, or summer? or an equinox? But as it stands we are now into the evening (maybe it was Gregorian?) of the sixth day of the new year and baby, it's cold outside. At the moment it's 23.9 F but 2 nights ago it dropped to -5.3, yes winter is upon us, and has been for about a week.

We had a green Christmas, the temperatures all December had been in the mid 30's to low 40's. Snow didn't really show up till several days later and that brought an unexpected 8 inches with rain on top which turned everything icy as the temperatures finally dropped into the 20s. The forecasters couldn't make up their minds whether we were getting 1-4 inches, 2-5, or 8-12. And the winds were so crazy we really had no idea what we were getting till it was all over the next day.

Speaking of winds though, the night before Christmas Eve the winds really picked up within a rainstorm we were getting while the southern part of the country was getting hit with deadly tornadoes. While we didn't get hit by tornadoes, the winds gusted up to 60 mph all over the state and at 3:10 am Christmas Eve morning, our power went out. As the day went on more and more power outages occurred, trees were down all over the northern part of the state. Estimated restoration of power was Monday night the 28th at 11:30 pm. Yikes. More than 100,000 were without power and all but 2 crews were sent home for the long holiday weekend. Consumer's Energy had to hire crews from out of state.

But unlike the majority of people around here, we had a generator.
the generator that saved Christmas
We bought it one summer when a longer than a day outage happened before. With my sister and her boyfriend (BF) visiting, it wasn't the best time for this to happen, and on a holiday weekend! But Hal and BF went out and got 10 gallons of gas, borrowed his parent's old small generator to set up at Mrs J's next door and we just rolled with it. Ours was big enough that we only had to trip some breakers when it came to using the shower (which ran the well pump). If the chest freezers came on at the same time, the whole house would shut off. Unfortunately, for Mrs J, the small generator meant she could have either heat and a few lights, or the well pump and running water. I went over a couple times a day to flip breakers for her to flush toilets, get drinking water to make coffee, etc. It is definitely a Christmas we will remember.

The power was actually restored about 3 pm on Sunday, the 27th. We were running on generator a total of 3 days, 11 hours, and 55 minutes. The numbers are courtesy of the power company.

I will post more photos over the next few days. We didn't take a lot being as we were running about with generators, etc, but there are a few. But for now, I am off to bed to read.

Monday, December 28, 2015

The Power is Back On

Around 3:40 pm yesterday a neighbor called to say Mrs J's was on (he is her son-in-law and was over there because she at least had heat from the small generator Hal had brought over. He still hadn't. So Hal flipped the breakers and indeed there it was, enough electricity to power everything at once, very, very nice. Hot showers ensued shortly after.

The power company, Consumer's Energy informed us that our domicile and surrounding homes endured 3 days 11 hours and 55 minutes without the benefit of their power. I am just so thankful we bought that Westinghouse generator a few years ago after that summer outage.

One of my neighbors had called me at 7:30 am Saturday that the Alpena Home Depot was getting a shipment in of forty 6000 watt generators and was up there waiting for them. As this outage was so widespread to leave nearly 140,000 powerless I suspect they sold out very quickly. He was most happy when I saw him later that day sitting his living room, still in his jacket and hat, with his dog, Oz, while this house slowly warmed up from the 44 degrees it had dropped down to.

Tonight we are under a storm warning. One to three inches of snow, up to 1/10th an inch of ice and winds around 23 mph. Winds like that with gusts of 55-60 mph dropped trees all over the power lines. Hopefully, there won't be big gusts, though maybe most of the risky trees have already come down.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

The Power is Out

Went out at approximately 3:10 am. Hal got up about 6:30 and started the generator. After much messing around we determined that we cannot run the shower while the freezers are running (there are 3 of those and 3 old refrigerators, most holding venison). So if I want to take a shower we have to flip some breakers. Still, we have it better than a lot of people around here who don't have or can't afford a generator. The other fun news is the power company, Consumer's Energy, has now estimated power restoration for 11:30 pm Monday night. This is Thursday. Oh Joy.

After Hal got us set up he went to check his parent's house and found that they have power, as does the farm, his hunting camp does not. The temperature outside has been much higher than normal, 57.3 last night. Records are being smashed thanks to El Nino this year. Unfortunately, the high winds that caused this mayhem are bringing in temps that are more normal, as in cold, and many do not have heat. However, as his parent's do not need their old generator he borrowed it and he, and I, and little sister's BF spent 3 hours this afternoon trying to set it up to run Mrs J's house next door. Her house wiring is very screwed up, in the end he got her wood pellet stove, a few lights and her refrigerator and freezer running. Can't run her well pump without flipping those breakers off. But at least she has heat. Now I have to bring her over some hot dinner as her stove cannot run, being electric. At least mine can being propane.

Merry Christmas.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Up Too Early

Woke up before 5 am, couldn't get back to sleep so tried reading the novel on my nook, Bleak House, by Charles Dickens. Read for about 40 minutes, tried sleeping again, got up at 6 and washed dishes and emptied the kitchen trash. Still awake, I am yawning but I know it's useless to try again so I'm sitting here wondering what to do next and figured what the heck, I'll update my blog as I've been very negligent these past couple of months.

It's December, which is probably obvious from the date on this post. There is no snow on the ground. We had a couple inches a week before Thanksgiving while I was downstate visiting Hal's sister but it went away quickly as the temperatures warmed back up into the 40s.

Just came back in from feeding the chickens, let the old rooster out by himself so he has a few hours unmolested by rooster the younger. I saved Mr Chicken (which I am now calling him) from some sort of listless death last month, by isolating him in the warmer garage and feeding him boiled eggs, treating his legs for scaly leg mites, and massaging his crop as he smelled as though it had gone "sour". He now follows me around, allows me to pick him up, and practically begs for handouts. Yes, I seem to have created a pet chicken. To think I was going to have Hal butcher him and the old ladies. The old ladies can still go, when we have the time and freezer space, as they have turned on him as well, The only other dark cornish hen I have, same breed as him, likes to beat him to a pulp. Well, I do believe they are descended from dinosaurs, what can one expect?

Speaking of freezer space, it is full from 2 deer which we mostly finished processing the other day. I still have to package the "dog meat" the scraps we grind that are full of unpleasant tasting bits that the dogs love. I add a little to their dry kibble after boiling it.

I went hunting on Thanksgiving evening with Hal. We did not see anything. I hunted the next night and bagged an old doe. Seven or 8 according to the DNR. We'll know for sure when we get the TB test results back.

On Thanksgiving which we spent with Hal's parents, oldest brother and his son (whom I picked up at Detroit Metro Tuesday night, we had smoked venison rump roast courtesy of Hal, instead of turkey. It was very tasty but I did so miss my turkey.

It is after 9 am now, and I've been up 4.5 hours. I should eat breakfast now and walk the pups. They will like that.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

A Very Few Photos

Had our first snow fall the other day. It lasted about 5 minutes.
I finished the shawl for Hal's sister. The Entwife's Marching Cloak.
And Ziggy is still having a hard time climbing onto the bean bag without help. But he makes do.