We didn’t want to be, but we were “off the grid”, without Hydro power, for 28 hours. It was uncomfortable in some ways, inconvenient too, but did not create for us the kind of hardship it did for many others.
Overnight on Wednesday, we had about a foot of snow. Gary and Rob were skiing Marmot, so on Thursday, I thought I could make a couple of passes up and down the driveway with the tractor, just to make it easier for them, and also for my customers. There was already quite a lot of snow on the driveway, and snow was still falling.
Early early in the day, I plugged the tractor in. I cared for dogs, cats, piggy, chickens and the horse and puttered around. It wasn’t very cold, but I spent the morning indoors just reading and shuffling paperwork after the essential things were done. I watched more and more snow come down.
Finally about noon, I went out to “try” the tractor. The lights on the console lit, but it it didn’t start. I slogged through about TWO feet of snow to Gary’s shop where the extension cord was plugged, and discovered that the breaker on the receptacle had tripped! It was a simple thing to reset that, but of course I was wondering why it hadn’t occurred to me to assure that there was power going to the tractor.
And the snow kept coming. About two hours later, I tried the tractor again, and there was NO life … no light or sound. Then I thought that I had left the key on and drained the battery, and set about to attach the battery charger to the tractor battery… if only I remembered how to get AT the battery! By this time I was feeling like a total buffoon.
I asked on Facebook if anyone knew how to get under the tractor hood. If I hadn’t been so frustrated, I might have felt a little bit of “moxie”… that I was willing to attach a battery charger and solve my own problem. Nobody responded with helpful advice. Other people, I knew, had their own problems to solve, as the white drifts and banks built up.
I was starting to worry that one of my customers, or Gary and Rob, would get stuck in the driveway with no way to get pulled out. I had swept off all of the vehicles twice, and you could hardly tell.
Then Gary came home. Nobody was angry about the epic accumulation of snow nor that the tractor wouldn’t start, even though I was in tears of distress. It was helpful that I had had the machine plugged in, because as soon as Gary wiggled a battery terminal connection WHILE I turned the key, the tractor came to life! Dear hubby set about to clear a bunch of the snow so that people could turn around, and I went in to start supper.
As I dished up our dinner … the power went out! The power was out at our place for more than 28 hours. Many people in the whole Valley had an outage lasting that long or longer, and many folks in town suffered a great deal. As far as I know, nobody incurred lasting harm, but it was frightening, inconvenient and bloody COLD!
If we hadn’t had 39” of snow by then, we probably would have driven into town to help someone! We simply kept warm with the wood fire, and were grateful for our water system (gravity fed). The kennels stayed very cozy right up until the time our power was restored, after 9 pm. the next night. Among the “meals” that I cooked on top of our wood heater were porridge, chicken & rice casserole, and chicken cordon bleu wraps. We didn’t suffer unduly.
We don’t expect to have power failures lasting that long. When combined with the heavy snowfall and then plummeting temperatures, it’s extraordinary.
Now things are back to normal, other than “digging out”. In the town, neighbours helped neighbours and strangers, offering help or showing up to shovel or bring whatever was needed to make life easier. I took a shamefully long time to phone my renters Linda and Rose (first it had to occur to me to plug in the old phone), but they had been fine, merely a little chilly in their house. They were in a part of the town that had had power restored early.
All’s well that ends well, eh?
Enough excitement for awhile!