Friday, December 9, 2011

maybe jumped the gun a little...

oh man! the shaking, rattling and rolling...and raining began again about a half hour after i posted my last message. by 11:30pm - the power was out again! dang nabbit! but as the power had been on for several hours and the fridge, freezer, sump-pump, etc. were all fine - we weren't too worried. however, when we called NS Power and they told us that the power wouldn't be back on until 2pm today (it is 12pm right now) - jambaloney went out and got the generator set up, brought up our kerosene heater and lamps, i quickly grabbed some food out of the fridge and we set up the hotplate. we were going to wait and see how long the power would really be out before worrying about the fridge/freezer.

so there we were huddled together on the couch with blankets wearing 3 layers of clothes, talking and laughing together in the middle of the night. he had a rhum and coke, i had a glass of red wine. and then we started talking about all of our preparations for the storm and how we could handle them better next time.

jambaloney has several different sized Ryobi battery-powered flashlights and several batteries which we always keep charged. we keep a drawer filled with emergency candles, lighters and matches. we have a triple-tap RV generator extension cord that we can plug any 120v appliance into, if need be. we have our hotplate for cooking, as well as our propane bbq - the bbq also has a single burner that can be used for cooking. we always have 4 18l jugs of water on hand...and with 2 Berkey Filtration Systems and two rainbarrels - water is never an issue. we have a 2300btu kerosene heater and two oil lamps - although i don't like the kerosene heater nor the oil lamps - both put out an amazing amount of heat very quickly. last but not least - we have about 15 different places that we can go to between our two villages in the event of the power outage lasting longer than just a few days. Fourchu is on a different grid line than our town so if it came down to it we could go there, or people there could come here. and if it ever got really bad - we have friends in several other places on the island - some about an hour away - some almost 2 hours away.

some things that we thought of and talked about to better prepare us were mostly related to food. as we knew about the weather bomb ahead of time, and when a storm hits its hard not to notice - one of the things that we will do in the future is take 2-3 days worth of food out of the refrigerator and put that food in a cooler down in the basement. as well, we will be sure to put frozen freezer packs in the fridge and freezer before a storm for just in case measures. yesterday and last night all i wanted was fresh veggies because we could not open the fridge/freezer - isn't that always the way? we always keep a bowl of fruit on top of the fridge so we had fruit but of course - i wanted what i couldn't have! we have tons of canned food and whatnot but it just wasn't what i wanted.

another thing that we thought of was when we think we can potentially lose power, jack the heat up in every room so that the ambient heat lasts longer. we certainly didn't freeze or anything but we were chilled and that is not fun. the ambient heat of the house lasted for several hours last night but started to cool quickly by early morning. that's when we got our blankets out and cuddled - cuddling helps!

we always have seasonal BOBs in the house and a large bin in the back of the truck that stores additional stuff like extra coats and mitts, socks, blankets, first aid kit, food, candles, etc - the usual stuff. if it came right down to it - we could have gone out in the truck and started it and gotten warm. and there is always the Vandura (we really need to stop using it as a shed!). when not full of crap - the Vandura has it's own propane furnace and stove, as well as a sink, a fridge and a composting toilet. it is currently filled with crap but also contains blankets, food, first aid kit, etc.

all in all - the storm wasn't too bad. Craig and Stephen joked about the winds not being as bad as in hurricane country, but they were the worst winds we have experienced so far! add to that that we are right on top of a hill, with a 1000ft road for the wind to come barreling up and belt this little cottage and we sure are glad that we don't live in hurricane country!

anyway - we stayed up all night because neither of us could sleep, talked, laughed, joked, had some serious discussions, checked back with NS Power several times and did the dance of the sugar plum faeries when the power came back on at 7:42am. the crying started at 7:44am when the power went back out again! i called NS Power and the automated message said that power had been restored to our area. i transferred to a live person and as they called up our address, they could see that our power had not been restored. they said that in their best estimate we would get our power back at 2pm today. again, true to form, our power was back on at 9:45am.

back in the city, we had solar-powered hot water and rarely pulled from the city's water. we have planned since we got here to get a full solar/wind-powered set up here. we have planned to implement the first stage of that set-up this spring. there is a company here in cape breton that does free estimates and has several different payment options. being that we are on a cleared hill, we get beautiful sun most days but always have wind. we are looking very much forward to getting a full solar/wind set-up and will provide all of the details as it happens.

then we won't have to worry about power outages ever again!


  1. I'm glad you are fine and doing well, and that you now have power! Yay! Welcome back. . .

  2. Sometimes things like this make for good memories and good couch cuddling. Being prepared makes all the difference, and you obviously are very set in that area.
    Good conversation, laughing, hanging out. Maybe I'll go throw the breaker switch next time all my friends are over for dinner and fight night.

  3. I always savor power outages here, which only happen rarely, because they provide me time to read all that I can handle without the normal distractions.

  4. Glad you two are still alive and well. I see you had wind gusts up to 60 mph and overnight temps as low as 25.

    On the other coast we are still sitting under a dome of high pressure and waiting for winter to begin. It is cold enough...also 25 overnight...but where is the rain??

    Being you own power company usually means no worries about power, but not always. One time I was gone from home too long, a very cold night resulted in a ruptured water pipe which unkindly sprayed water right into my inverter. OOPS! NO POWER.

    You are right! Be ready! Murphy was an optimist.


  5. Kathi:

    thanks - it's a little unnerving, even when you are prepared!


    you are dead right - we spent some good time talking about how much less of a worry it was than a year ago when we surely weren't as prepared - it makes for a nice chat.

    if you do that, be sure to break out some parkas, spears and snowshoes... tell your friends it's time to re-connect with the past and get your own dinner... make sure it's nightfall and hand out torches!! oh, and let me know how that goes ;-)


    i hear you - we did some reading too, it was awesome. i haven't read fiction in a year now and was it ever nice to get immersed in a story again!


    thanks for the well wishes, our little home took a pounding, but all is well.

    not sure why you want rain with temps that low, i would rather snow over chilled rain any day!! but i guess that is taboo in the west ;-)

    thanks for the tip, i was pretty sure i was going to build a separate little home for our power station, you have cemented that plan!!

    nice to hear from you!

  6. Kathi - thanks for that! we are well and just waiting for the roast and gravey - i can't wait!

    Max - you are soo right - a little couch-cuddling every now and again during a massive storm is fun - bahahahah! oh if you really throw the breaker at your next dinner - you have to post about it! i love the idea!

    Ed - i agree! like jambaloney said, for the past year we have been reading mostly reference materials and it was nice to break out some fiction. we really had a nice afternoon reading with our flashlights!

    Winston - yep - many, many gusts of 60mph that went on for hours - it was pretty scarey! sorry to hear about your ruptured pipes - that must have sucked! and being your own power company means you are responsible for fixing it!!! we would love to learn more about your set-up, your experiences and what you would advise, suggest and recommend....

    thanks for stopping in everyone!

  7. My gosh! So sorry for all the offs and ons. Yes, I want desperately whatever is behind the refrigerator door! Do you keep empty jugs in the freezer to help keep it cold during and outage? If I were in your position, the last thing I would want would be to go into an unanchored truck or roly poly Vandura. At least the house is anchored. How would rolling down hill work?

    Cuddling on the couch take two! Hens don't like to cuddle or I could have a three chicken night.

  8. Hey Guys,

    I just heard ... so glad you're okay and the Manor stills stands. There's a video on the Yahoo home page titled, " Storm Wreaks Havoc Through Atlantic Canada ". I saw the damage which these monster winds did ... scary stuff ! Let's hope it's the end now . Sending CALMNESS your way.

    Take Care and get a good sleep tonight ... Helga

  9. Sorry for all this, but you two seem to have your lives under control. I know of people that panic, with nothing at all to help them, when the power just flickers....

    As an old boy down here once done good.

  10. Sometimes we collect really great memories from situations like these, and you made the best of it to boot. Its like the black-out of 1977 in New York city, it was not a very pleasant experience but yet i remember it well. It still makes for a good conversation after all these years, and like what has just happened to you folks it is etched in my mind forever. I was a little too young back in 1977 to have a drink, but man i sure could have used one! Richard from Amish Stories

  11. I love it when the power goes out (doesn't happen too often, grrrr....). Oil lamps and warm fires are my kinda thing. Or sitting out on the porch on a warm, QUIET summer night, watching the thunderstorm that knocked out the juice. Yep, being prepared makes these things no big deal, while the unprepared grumble or panic. To them, I say "Nya nya! PFFFFFTTTHHHHH!!!!!" : ) And thanks for the linkage!

  12. Good planning on your part. A suggestion, take gallon jugs of water fill 80% and put in freezer. When power goes out put some in the fridge. It will keep fridge cool and give you some cold drinking water.

    My parents do this all the time. When they travel to their cabin in Northern MN. They bring food with and it keeps cold. They use 2 gallons per cooler.

  13. It's always wise to be as prepared as possible, as long as you don't break the bank doing it.

  14. I forgot to add that i sometimes wish for a black-out especially when watching most of the new TV shows that are on the air now,lol. Keep warm guys. Richard from Amish Stories

  15. Oh wow! Such is made for great stories when you complete the solar etc. out there. We build far better character in situations we have to endure than in situations that are so filled with ease.

    I am glad all is well that ends well...and remember because of this situation you both will be far better prepared for more in the future!!

    Trust me