Monday, April 6, 2009

April on the High Plains

This was written Saturday...

The blizzard we had been warned about hit us about ten this morning. By eleven the power began flickering on and off. There is a pattern to that: the brief outages become more frequent, and then there is that final click and it does not come back on again. Somehow you know. There is no logical explanation for it, but you know that it won't be coming back on again.

It's almost embarrassing to enumerate all my various dependencies on that little black wire carried over the hills by those slender creosoted poles.

Both my stove and my furnace are propane, but neither will function without electricity. And then there are the house lights, computers, printers, satellite uplink, camera and recorder battery chargers, and of course the water pump. On and on goes the list.

I have a generator, of course. Everybody out here does, in tacit and abject acknowledgment of our addiction to that empowering spark. But I only run the generator when it is really necessary: an hour or two of furnace, a little cooking, getting a few messages out on the internet.

My house is insulated to R-39 and the fireplace does a good job of keeping us warm even in 0° weather. I've had a good supply of firewood stacked up on the front porch, under tarps, for some time. Once the sun sets, I depend on the fireplace and the oil lamps.

And so life goes on. But it's chastening to have to admit the extent to which I am still dependent, and even more humbling to have to acknowledge my addiction to the various life-style items that depend on that thin, fragile wire.

Power was restored Sunday night, having been off for a day and a half.


Anonymous said...

My propane heaters have non electric controls, so I am good there. When the power goes out here, if it looks like a long wait, I just run the generator as long as it takes. Mine is diesel and it will last longer than I will. As long as we don't kick on something big, like a washing machine, the house operates with the generator exactly as it does with the grid. That's nice because you have lights, water, and communications. It should be easy to have a transfer switch installed that would fix you up the same way. However, I think since you are the only one there and it doesn't seem to bother you in the least not to have power, maybe you are content as is

Rio Arriba said...

Mine is dual-fuel, but I haven't hooked up the propane yet. I do have the double-throw switch however. Gotta keep those linemen safe!