It really is Little House on the Prairie


It’s the Wednesday to take more feral cats into be fixed.  We are going to take in six this time.  I talked to one of the other Barn Cat Ladies Society members and if the weather looks good it will be a go.  I wake up at 4:00 am and look outside.  No sign of bad weather so it will happen.  This time my neighbor will drop them off in Greeley on her way to work and I will go pick them up about 4:00 pm.  I go back to bed and at 6:00 am I get up and it’s starting to snow.  The wind is blowing like crazy.  I see my neighbor at the back door and she says if this keeps up she will not make it into work.  She plans to call and say she will be late.  We decide it’s not a feral cat taking day.  The lights are flickering on and off and I think we may lose power.  I think I should fix breakfast in case the power does go out.

I sit down at the computer and I have the radio on and I’m listening to how much snow has fallen in Denver and areas south.  A lot more than here.  They are really getting the snow.  All of a sudden the radio goes dead, then it comes back on and the lights go on and off.  I unplug the microwave because every time it goes on and off it beeps.  Hmmm, looks like the power is going to be funky today.  I haven’t been here when the power has gone out yet.  All of a sudden the power does go off and appears it will stay off.  I wonder how long before it comes back on.  Maybe an hour, maybe two?

I should have fixed breakfast when I had the chance.

I want to make a pop-up book so I dink around with trying out a design and decide maybe making a pop-up book is not for me.

About 10:30 I am getting hungry so I decide I can start the wood stove to heat some water.  I have some green chili stew in the freezer (I’m wondering how long that stays cold) so I get out a bowl and I heat that on the wood stove.  Hey, this is just like being a pioneer.  When this house was built in 1912 it was four cement walls, an upstairs, and a cook stove.  If it worked then I guess it will work now.  Hey, that was fun.

My cell phone battery is almost dead so I’m conserving what little power I have.  I still have dial tone on my regular phone (fiber optic with a battery pack that should last 8 to 12 hours which I didn’t know when I got service up here – for all my old phone company friends “You just can’t beat a good POTS line”).  I try calling Denise but no answer.  It’s ringing but voice mail doesn’t come on.  I call her on my cell phone and it starts to die.  Hmmm, it’s too nasty to go out and charge it in the car right now.  Hey, I just got my Rockies tickets and the gift they gave this year is something called a power pack.  I assume it’s to charge things so I get it out and it lights up so it must have come with some charge in it.  Luckily it charges my phone back up.  Whew, that will last awhile then.  It’s an odd feeling to think I have no way to communicate with anyone outside except where I can walk to.  My computer is running on battery.  This one is better than my last one.  I can get at least an hour out of it so I jump on and off checking the news to see if there is any mention of us losing power and how long it might take to get it back.  My computer finally dies just as I am trying to find Xcel’s phone number.  Their web site isn’t working to report and see what’s happening with outages.  I just paid the bill so I dig around in the trash.  I have almost hand shredded the bill but I piece it back enough to find the repair number to call.  Oh well, I’m sure the power will be back on soon.

Hey, great chance to just sit and read a good book.  I let Sweet Pea inside because it’s awful out there.  The wind has to be blowing 50 mph.  No snow is sticking because it doesn’t have a chance to land on the ground.  She will be happier and more content in here where the wind is not blowing and its dry.  As I sit and read I hear the thump, thump, thump of the wind.  Well, now I’m hungry again.  It’s 2:30 pm and still no power.  It was good timing that I had some pizza in the freezer.  I grabbed a pizza on the way back up here because it was late enough I didn’t want to cook when I got here.  I get some out and put another log on the fire and heat it up.  My regular heat is propane and I don’t need any electricity so that is good.  My water is well water from town (I don’t drink it but I have enough water on hand and if I had to it wouldn’t kill me to drink it) so I have running water.  The battery starts beeping for the fiber optic phone.  Hmmm, every minutes it beeps four times.  I look at the battery and it has a light that says “alarm muted” and a button that says “silence alarm”.  No matter how much I push it, it won’t stop beeping.  I talk to Denise and hers has started beeping as well.  I tell her about the button and light.  Hers works so the beeping stops.  Why won’t mine?  I still have dial tone so don’t want to unplug it because it’s not dead yet so I just listen to it every minute, beep beep beep beep.  I have the wood stove and I’m eating so hey, life is good.  It’s getting dark now.  Oh I better think about that instead of stumbling around in the dark.  I have two of those 6″ round lights you press and they come on (like for a closet or something).  Luckily I have 8 AA batteries so I load those up.  I put one in the bathroom and I take one upstairs to the bedroom.  I have my really cool DeWalt super duper flashlight (see previous blog) and luckily the battery is charged.  I make it an early night and read by the battery operated “Moonlite”.  I feel just like a kid trying to sneak reading in bed.  I’m sure by the time I wake up tomorrow the power will have come on sometime in the night.  I unplugged everything just in case it surges when it comes back on but I’ve left the radio on so when I hear it I will now the power is back on.  Someone is running a generator across the street to the north.  It’s far enough away I can’t tell who it is.

Day 2

Well, doggone, it’s morning and the power is still out.  Yesterday was fun but how long will this last?  It’s been out for about 26 hours now.  My neighbor has to go back to work today.  She is out feeding the cats.  They have a really nice generator and have had that running since the power went out so it’s business as usual for them.  Yesterday she took hot water to the neighbor and made sure they were ok.  Today she asks if everything is ok over here.  I say yes, I am using the stove to heat up water etc.  I haven’t motivated myself this morning to get the stove going again.  Do I really need coffee or tea this morning?  My neighbor disappears and about a half hour later she stops by on her way out of town to go to work and drops off a mug of hot water and a scone. Oh yumm.  A cup of hot tea and a scone.  This is good.

Things I am doing today:

I call the Xcel number and they say that there were 290,000 people  who lost power in Colorado.  They are 89% finished getting power restored, 10 more will be today, and the other 2% by Friday.  Well, I am sure we will be up today.  We couldn’t be that last two percent.  I all Denise and we hash over reports we’ve heard.  Rumor has it some of the new poles are down.  If they are new then why are they down?  When it comes to stuff like this, please don’t do a mediocre job.  New poles should not be falling down.

I read two art books I have on how to make a pop-up book, and working with precious metal clay.

I invent a new song and dance titled “We need our power” to the tune of La Cucaracha.  OK, is this the starting of insanity?

I see the phone guy at the telephone building and he enters the door and the generator noise stops.  OK, that’s who is was.  The generator immediately starts up again.  It’s a gorgeous day outside so I put on my boots and stomp around town talking to anyone who is outside.  I take my neighbor’s cup back and give it to her uncle who is staying there (his house just burned down so is staying there for a while and he is elderly – he’s doing ok) I talk to the phone guy about the battery pack;, check on my neighbor who has her 95 year old mother with her (they are not home so assume they decided they need to go somewhere there is power because they have no heat); talk to Duane who is out shoveling snow out of the back of his truck; take a quick walk and head back in the house.

Now someone across the alley south of me has a generator going.  It sounds like everyone is outside mowing their lawns.

I am worried about the stuff in the refrigerator and freezer.  Some of the stuff is starting to slightly thaw so I take everything out of the freezer (including the ice holder) and put it in a plastic bag, then put it in a cardboard box and tape the seams shut.  I take it out behind the shed and bury it in snow.

I take my camera outside but nothing too exciting to take a picture of except the cats congregating.


It’s The Pea

Twice I have received “your rural mailbox is out of regulation”.  I am supposed to put my house number on the outside and my name on the inside so April 1 when there is a new mail person they will know who is who.  OK, we all know who our mail person is personally and since there are like six mailboxes in town (most people in town have a PO Box and there are only about 6 mailboxes on the street for those “who live on the wrong side of the street” – is that like the “wrong side of the tracks”?) it would be hard not to know who is who but why not make it pretty?  I take out some patio (outdoor) paint I have and paint my numbers on the front of the box.   I have my name prepared to tape on the inside of the box.  Ok, now I’m not illegal anymore.

I take a broom and go around the outside of the house knocking off icicles.  All day I have had the song “Bibbity Bobbity Boo” in my head.  I can’t get it out and I can’t remember all the words.  All I can remember is “Put it together and what do you have? Bibbity Bobbity Boo”  Ok, I am going insane.

I’m also going insane because I want to take a baseball bat and go break the generator across the alley.  Aren’t they done mowing their lawn yet HAHA?  Yes, I know.  How selfish of me for those just trying to keep warm and cook food!!

OK, I am hungry again.  I do more pizza on the wood stove.  I guess you could say I’m having wood fired pizza.

Guess I’ll read some more.  I finish the book I’m reading.  A very good book titled “Priceless”.  It’s written by the guy who worked for the FBI and ended up going around the world getting back stolen treasures.  Was very interesting on what was stolen, how long it was gone and when it resurfaced again, and the people who have the money to try and buy these things to put somewhere they can’t be seen except by them.  Strange.  A very good read if you like this type of thing.

OK, guess I’ll start a new book.  OK, I am hungry again.  I heat up another bowl of green chili again.   I’m glad I have it but I’m tired of it.

Someone knocks on the door and the third member of the Barn Cat Ladies Society  is at my door on her way home to check on me and make sure everything is ok.

It’s getting dark so off I go and read by the “Moonlite” again.

I tell Denise I’m sure we will have power by 10:00 pm because we shouldn’t be in the last 2% they fix.  I lose the bet.

I try to go to sleep but people are still mowing their lawns and it’s really loud in my bedroom.

Day 3

I was just sure I would wake up during the night to the sound of the radio but no deal.  I call Denise to see if they would like to go find some breakfast somewhere.  I don’t feel like lighting the stove just for water so decide I don’t need anything hot to drink this morning.  She says they are not going anywhere until they can shower.  In addition to no power over there they have an electric pump for their well so they have no showers.  I think they should boil some water on the wood stove and get out the wash tub HAHA.  I am fortunate that I could take a shower and feel human.  I am sure that we will have power by 10 am.

Report from Xcel this morning is they are 98% finished.  How dare they put us in the last two percent.  It seems that we are at the very last tip of where Xcel has service.  Around us to the north, east and west is Morgan electric and Poudre Valley REA.  They were all out 10 to 15 hours.

Neighbor calls to see if I want hot water.  I decide I don’t care about eating until the power comes on again.  If it doesn’t I’m heading to town to find something different to eat.

I call Denise at 10 am and tell her I’m sure we’ll have power by noon.

Report from Xcel two hours later.  All is finished except 3,000 people.

I call Denise at noon and tell her I can’t believe it will be much longer.

Ok, we are not the last 2%, we are the VERY LAST percent.  Two hours later we get our power back @ 2pm.  It’s been 58 hours without power.

It was fun the first day, ok the second day, and I’m really glad the power came on the third day.  And thank God that generator was turned off.  All day I was needing to go shopping but didn’t want to go until we had power again.  I ran outside and got the food box and everything still had ice crystals so I didn’t lose any meat.  I lost some frozen fruit but that was about it.  Not bad considering.  I don’t know why I didn’t think of it earlier.  I could have just gone and bought a bag of ice or dry ice and put it in there.

I run shopping and everything is back to normal.  Hurray for electricity!!











About pbodwell

Master Gardener; Nat'l Award Winning Photographer; Garden Writer; Artist - art books, print maker, hot glass, wire jewelry designer; sometime quilter; new homesteader; bee keeper; very crafty; Baseball fan, enthusiast, and researcher; all things vintage
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