Wednesday, December 3, 2008

It was a dark and quiet evening......

With the seasons change and school engaging high gear, it seems I see so little of daylight these days. I drive to work in the dark, only seeing the sunrise should I leave late, never an easy task. In the afternoon, I seldom leave work before dark, especially as the sun is well fallen by 5pm.

Today was just another one of those days. At work by O’dark thirty, and leaving at seemingly the same hour, judging by the light. This evening, a mile or so from the house, I found this sight ahead of me……

Not good…. the fire company with all their toys out, and no accident in view. A second look at the image reveals why, as there’s no traffic light and not a lit window in sight. Pulling out of my reverie I looked down the road and across the valley, only to see the occasional farm house lit by dim lantern light. The entire valley was dark for miles.

Shades of another era…. I could almost hear the Amish smiling, except many of the volunteer firemen are Amish, and were on duty at every deceased traffic light guiding the poor dumb English on their travels.

As I made the last dark mile to the house, I gave thanks for the wood stove I would find, along with a few cords of wood. Dipping well below freezing this night, I’m sure many will not be as comfortable. As I lit a few candles in safety lanterns, the lights flashed on for a few moments and then died again. This remained a pattern as I stocked the stove and filled some vessels with water. A dozen times of promise, then steadfast darkness resumed.

By lantern light I cooked bacon and eggs for supper on the gas range, and then retired to music courtesy of this babble box. That, and a few minutes noting the adventure…. A techno geek typing away by candlelight… 18th century clashing with 21st… and lending suggestion of possible future joys.

Away in the distance I can hear big rigs on the highway, blowing an occasional blast from an air horn to warn of 80,000 pounds bearing down on dead traffic lights, at the end of a long grade.

Sitting in the dark and listening to parlor music of an age lit by candle light, I am lost in thoughts of future times. What should this world be like if the power did not return?

How long would it take before darkness lasted long after sunrise?

Perhaps tomorrow I’ll pick up a few hundred weight of coal, just to stash away
Perhaps this weekend, I’ll build a bin and get a few tons delivered.

While I can.


The nose knows trouble.... stove trouble that is. The smell of smoke where none should be drew me from bed and had me stumbling to the garage by the glare of LED flashlight. There to find the stove had a stuck automatic damper, and it's front face was glowing. Several moments of impact therapy with a 2x4 encouraged proper operation, and I babysat the bloody thing for another hour after that. Sleep came, but was light, as roasting in my bed is far down my list of favored ways to die.

Power did return late in the night, and this mornings coffee tastes all the sweeter for it.


Old NFO said...

Excellent points and good ideas. Your sitting in the dark comment reminded me of being half way between Florida and Bermunda on a sailboat at 0300 and thinking how truly insignificant we really are in the big scope of things...

Farmer Frank said...

What I've done is break the power line to our well pump with a male/female electrical socket. The pump is 220 volt, but I have two electrical generators each capable of 220 volt operation as well as the standard 110 volt. When the power goes out I run a long extension cord to the basement to plug in the well pump, flush toilets and fill whatever vessels I need for water, then I shut it off. (I had a special pigtail made that allows me to use an ordinary heavy duty extension cord with the 220 outlet.)

Because we use propane and have a hot water heating system I can also heat the house off one of the generators by simply plugging the boiler water pump to the generator, but for some reason which no one can figure out why we always wind up blowing one of the thermostats off the wall due to a back-feed. therefore I don't do it until the house starts to really chill or we are out of power for more than a little while.

We cook on the outdoor gas grill for which I always maintain three cylinders. As for food, well, the freezer is always full, especially so now that our son is gone.

All The Best,
Frank W. James

Crucis said...

I grew up on a farm in coal country. Dad was a miner and we had a coal furnace in our basement. Dad never trusted auto-loaders for the furnace preferring to shovel and bank the coal himself each night.

As an aside, he installed an anvil in our basement and often used the furnace as a forge to make repairs on some of his farm equipment. I remember holding a plowshare on the anvil while Dad repaired a crack.

A coal furnace has many uses beyond providing heat during Winter.

Crucis said...

Frank, I've been known to grill steaks on a charcoal grill while it's snowing. For a number of years when my daughter was smaller, we would forgo the usual Turkey and Ham for Christmas T-bones.

Yum! And, no leftovers.

Pat Houseworth said...

Another reason to dislike the early stages of far as supplies. Guns, Ammo, Food, and a generator, are at the top of the page for whatever comes our way.