Saturday, November 27, 2010

Weathering the Storm

Okay, this is a halloween picture, which I never posted. My little cuties loved dressing up, but it was pretty easy. Paxton wanted to wear the same costume as last year, Quincy was sick last year, but was happy to wear our cowboy get up and Finn wanted to be a vampire, just like last year. But since we had borrowed last years costume, I had to make a cape and necklace. They turned out great, and I think the cape will be used a few times. More recently, we had a storm! Monday before Thanksgiving, it starts snowing. I took Finn to the bus stop and there were just traces of snow, but it started snowing again on the way home. When I went to put the twins on their school bus at about 11:00, I felt like I was in the midwest, like putting your kids on the bus in the middle of a snow storm, was normal. I fretted while they were at school and cleaned house. When all the boys were home, I relaxed and prepared for the power to go out.

Okay, where we live, we expect the power to go out! This year, the power company trimmed a ton of tree branches back, but that doesn't do much good when a tree takes down the power lines! We were with out power 41 hours total, from Monday night until Wednesday morning. Normally, that isn't a long time, but along with the 4 inches of snow, we had hard winds and very cold temperatures.

And no power, when you live out from a city, means no water (we are on a well) no heat (we have radiant heat which needs power to circulate the water) as well as no electronics, no lights, etc.

So how'd we do it? Well, I write this in case you are like us and need a few new ideas, or just to have it written down! But, I would also love your ideas that would help us during the next outage.

  • If you have warning, finish your laundry and don't start a new load.
  • Fill up a basin of water (I use a pitcher with a pour spout) and put it by the kitchen sink.
  • Unload the dishwasher and make sure your sink is empty. Rinse dirty dishes in basin and put directly into the dishwasher.
  • Put a pitcher of water in the bathroom (we only have one, but if you have many bathrooms, water goes in each one) use this for washing or toothbrushing.
  • I have a dish soap bottle that I fill with water and add a few drops of soap for washing hands. Just squirt a little water on them!
  • Fill the bathtub! (I'm always amazed when people don't know you can flush a toilet by adding water into the bowl, the faster you pour, the less water it takes to send solids away) We use the water in the tub for hand washing and flushing.
  • Close off unnecessary rooms. Smaller spaces heat faster and since we only have a fireplace, not a wood stove, we can't heat much! We planned for the boys to sleep in the living room and closed off their room.
  • Put towels at base of all doors, to keep drafts out and heat in.
  • When it starts to get dusky, give each child a glow stick (must get more) or bracelet. They can hang them off their bodies with out loosing them and they have a little night light!
  • Down comforters for everyone. Down alternative isn't the same...we all sleep warmly with just a down comforter. (for small children, get an oversized down throw from overstock, and sew it in half)
  • The less you open your refrigerator, the better, so put milk and other foods you get out a lot, outside (if it's cold).
  • Tin Foil dinners! If you rub a cookie sheet with dish soap (helps wash the soot away when finished), you can cook a tin foil dinner on top of the coals for easy removal. Although you won't want to use the cookie sheet for cookies again!
  • Barbeques work for cooking food too, but not so great for casseroles, if you can stand outside to cook it.
  • Wear a hat inside if you start to get cold. My kids always tell me how stupid I look in my down vest and bad hat, but at least I am warm.
  • The minute the power comes on, turn on the dishwasher, wash down the counters and head for the shower (water stays hot for a few days in the water heater), because you never know if it's going to go out again!

We have downstairs neighbors that have a wood stove and that really helped to keep us warmer! And they could take water downstairs in a pan and warm it up for us. We didn't have warm coffee, but since we cold brew coffee, we did have iced lattes!

What tricks do you use for survival? We also spent time with my mom and dad, who have a wood stove big enough to cook on, but that isn't an option for all!