Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Epic Snow Storm

DAY 1The news had predicted about 8 inches the day before the storm. I knew that meant much more would fall, but I had no idea I would spend the next 5 days without any phone, internet, electric or an easy way out! It came down so fast, so blury, flurry and wet that it was leaving a tall coating of snow on everything. A specific kind of pile up, that weighs down trees and power lines. But it was sooooo pretty I was super happy and excited to see such a unique snow storm.
I noticed within the first few hours that trees and bamboo were leaning, cracking, and falling down to the ground. It had a creepy crushing feeling, just to watch everything be pushed, their tops now at their roots.When i hiked through the snow to check on the pig, we was happily eating some fluffy white to keep the entrance of his door clear. Sometime soon after the power in the house began to flicker and I rushed to prepare every flashlight, lantern, the one candle, cook food, fill pots with water, wash dishes, set up blankets, keep the wood stove fire going, crank up an electric heater...make a few calls, till everything went dark and the phone went to static in the middle of a conversation.
I woke up to the pure silence of no electricity. As quiet as my environment already is, this was something to adjust to - no running fridge, no internet, no IM blinging away, or typing keys, no radio (no music!), no ringing phone, no low hum of all that is electric. The ice castles that formed on every branch of every tree were something out of nature's magical imagination - like nothing I ever saw before. So sculptural and majestic, so cold and foreboding.
The snow was up to 18 inches in some spots - varying from my knee to mid thigh. Pushing through the wet snow took strength I did not realize- especially uphill! My muscles got very sore very quick! People in regions used to this much snow might think this is no big deal, but we don't usually get large amounts of snow, especially the kind that takes down so many power lines and fills up so many roads that people lost all contact with the world for days... some still don't have it. I spied an old phone line in the bamboo and it was so tangled in fallen stalks it looked like the heartbeat on a heart monitor! When I saw that, i knew it would be a while before things went back to normal.
The beauty was astounding. In the pic below, you can see the tiny brown spot under the roof of white snow - that is the house i live in!
I trudged my way all the way up into the orchard to see the stormy view....the snow was still coming down.

By the end of day 2 I decided the fridge and freezer food would need to be moved on ice - so I took an old washtub and filled it with snow. I placed it in the bathroom which was as cold as outside, but protected from animals. My idea ended up working great for storing fish, eggs, tofu and leftovers that i was cooking on the wood stove.
The drabness started to get to me, no sun, no way to call friends or family, the other person in the house with me was endlessly moody and stressing out --- i concentrated on cooking food on the woodstove, tending to the fire to stay warm, and began two activities : Reading books and hand writing a journal of the power outage. (Look forward to seeing it online in it's hand written form maybe tomorrow!)
This picture below is the driveway/road to the house. Bamboo had created an elaborate maze to jump under and over. No way in by vehicle and ya had to crawl out...until someone came with a chainsaw... then you just had to duck on your way out.
There still was no power or phone, but the sun came up and somehow that warmed my heart just enough! When I walked to the end of the road to use someone's cell phone plugged into a car charger, i knew things were gonna get better cause the FIRST SNOW PLOW came down the road and was clearing the snow and ice!!!
YAY for the snow plow man!!!!!!!!! This meant it was only a matter of time before the workers would come to Big Sandy Mush Valley and clear some of the mess... trees had been hanging off power lines and the area had been virtually untouched since the storm.
PLUS music played in the car, music was like magic to my ears. Pink Floyd no less..."we don't need no education"... so i got excited for a little while and took the dare to jump into the snow. (Did you know wet snow sticks to wool, then melts and makes your warmers wet?!!! it does!)
But this poor opossum on the road just broke my heart looking at him ( killed by the neighbor's dog most likely) pretty much sums up this week of snow hell. It's amazing what takes place when we lose our protection, whatever illusion or physical protection it is we have. Being vulnerable in a dependent modern world is no joke...I learned alot of good and hard lessons. The biggest of all lessons ***What Doesnt Bend Breaks***.
on DAY 5 during yesterday evening the power came back on!!! It turned off once after, but has been on ever since. Let's hope it stays on (in spite of the warnings from the radio it may go back off and they predicted snow on X-mas!!!) NO more snow pLEASe!

  • hand cranked LED lantern + No battery flashlight
  • wood + woodstove (heat and cooking)
  • snow 'cooler' for food
  • humanure toilet system
  • water stored in pots + water stored in hot water heater
  • books and writing
  • help from others



Wild Canary said...

I really enjoyed how you shared the storm with us! I loved your face plant in the snow! You showed resourcefulness. I love the quiet when the power goes out.
My hw heater was out all weekend and I made it thru with heating water and sponging...brrr! I was glad to have heat and electric, though..And the same time the barn electric was water for the I hauled for a few days until I figured out how to reset the stuff.
The first bath I had after the hw was fixed was heaven and I slept from 5pm til 8:30 the next morning.
So, glad you are okay and you are a survivor!

Leslie wears organic clothing and plays in dirt said...

Hey Wild Canary!!!

So glad you survived the storm too!
Can i have some of your hot water... i could use a bath too. :)
I think all that hauling somehow makes us much stronger and healthier. but through freezing snow and temperature, it downright sucks!

Susie Collins said...

Aloha Leslie, it's a relief to know you are safe. I knew your survival skills would see you through, but what an ordeal! Preparation is everything and it looks like you did good on that front, too. You are one smart, tough cookie! Take care, ok? Hugs, Susie xoxo

Leslie wears organic clothing and plays in dirt said...

Hey Susie!
I certainly have alot of practice in being minimalist... but never do like being cold.
I think one of the best ideas was the one Bort remembered, and that was the water stored in the hot water heater - it was like a giant holding tank! Alot of people, including myself forget about that and think we are out of water!
HUgs to you too xoxo

Gretta said...

Awesome pictures from the orchard, absolutely beautiful.

Leslie's Gone Oko said...

Thanks Gretta! Looks like we were in a frozen european country-side!