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Friday, February 5, 2010

Surviving Without Power

The phrase, "You never know what you've got until it's gone," has become very apparent to those of us in western/southwestern Oklahoma this past week.  God has blessed us abundantly in so many ways and one of those blessings is electricity.  And we are all thankful to have it and the modern conveniences it provides.
My own family lives in a total electric house.  We have no gas at all, so even our water was cold during the power outage.  Thankfully we do have a wood-burning fireplace.  We hadn't used it before, even though we've lived here for 10 1/2 years.  We never had because of the irritant it seems to be with those with asthma, and our three boys and myself all have asthma.  It didn't bother anyone until the last few days.  The two youngest began having trouble and had to be given a steroid and began breathing treatments a few days ago, but they'll be fine.  We're still thankful we had the fireplace and for the warmth it provided during the power outage.
The fireplace also provided a place to warm up hot water for hot chocolate, a place to roast weiners and marshmallows, and a way to heat up other food items, as well.  We ate lots of S'mores last week!
We also cooked on the outside gas grill and found another interesting way to cook - using candles in the oven!  I saw this idea in the Lawton, OK newspaper and thought it was great!  Thankfully I have several handed-down old pots and pans, so I used those for the fire-related cooking and didn't mess up my better cookware/bakeware. 
I had lots of little votive candles left over from previous decorating events.  They rested in a mini muffin tin and heated up food splendidly! (Keep the oven vented a little bit.  I stuck a knife in the edge to keep it open slightly.) My sister-in-law liked this idea and used it, too.  We played games one afternoon at their house as she heated up dinner.  We began to smell it soon and she said, "I guess my burners are too hot.  I guess I'd better blow one out!"  If you cook by candle, maybe you should think of one candle as "low heat", two as "medium heat" and so on!
Candlelight dinners are usually thought of as being romantic, but last week it was just another sign of "survival mode"!  I wrote about this wrote dinner on our family recipe blog.  You can read about that recipe here.  This was our favorite dinner of the whole "no power" week!
Keeping warm was the major concern during the week.  As I'm sure everyone else around here did, we bundled up in layers and layers of clothing and sported hoodies, hats, and gloves in the house to keep warm. We wore our ski socks and two pairs at a time. We slept with layers of blankets, quilts, and comforters. We also made a game out of using a small, portable thermometer and taking it to different areas of the house to find out the temperature.  In our bedrooms it stayed 39 degrees F.  In the seating near the fireplace it would get to 60-63 degrees F, so of course that's where we stayed most of the time.  We had fun moving the thermometer from one end of our long dining room table to the other end, which resulted in a 6 degree difference in temperature!
Surviving without power was difficult, but possible.  God gave us the strength to get through the crisis and we thank Him for that and for all of the blessings He gives us so abundantly.  Surviving without God and Jesus is impossible.  Many try, but it will never work.

We are thankful for all who worked so hard to repair the broken electrical poles and wires.  They worked and continue to work tirelessly long hours to help others and for that we are grateful.  Remember them in your prayers.  Pray for God to continue to strengthen them.  Pray for their families, as well.  They have many hours ahead of them.

We are thankful to all who cared for others during this time.  Many opened their homes, shared their food, and checked on friends, family, and neighbors to make sure they were warm and fed.

And, as strange as it may seem, we can be thankful for the storm.  Although it caused many problems, it also brought many blessings.  For a time everything in our normal life stopped.  We lived the way my great-grandparents lived - without TV, without computers and internet, without deadlines and appointments and schedules, and without daily ball games/school events.  But, we had family meals around the table.  We had worship in homes. We had game days and game nights filled with lots of laughs and talking.  We took the time to call and check on others and care for others.  We took the time to do things that were really important and that too many times we become too busy to do when life is back to normal.

Surviving without power.  We did it with God.  We did it together.

Have you survived a weather-related crisis?  How did you cope?  What did you do?  Do you have any tips for survival and for getting by?  I would love to hear how you did it and look forward to hearing from you!

1 comment:

Lori Collvins said...

It was quite a "blast to the past" for us. The girls, of course, hadn't a clue how to survive this loss of power. The first night we wove a string of battery operated Coleman lanterns around the ceiling fan in the living room. The same lights we use to brighten our tent when we go camping! It worked quite well. Joe learned how to play spoons and we learned a few more card games. It was really quite funny as Cheyenne swept the last spoon off the coffee table into her lamp and I ended up sliding across the coffee table after her trying to get it before she got her hands on it good! She got the spoon but my table was very clean after that! We used her ipod hooked up to a tiny speaker for the entertainment until it wore out.

We were lucky to have a propane fireplace and even luckier that we had propane lol. Our home is built with ICF walls so it actually stayed warmer than most. But still, blankets were all the rage at bedtime! Mom had a gas water heater (we are all electric too) and a gas stove. So we scuttled over there to shower and sometimes sneak a hot meal. Joe finally got the welder generator hooked up but only for about 4 hours at a time. Twice a day sometimes! Long enough for the tv and computer to get turned on and heated up and turned back off.

I did manage to stuff somethings into the crock pot and it started cooking the first generator round and then I finished it on the second one as it was almost done and we didn't have a big length of time between generator rounds that day. They kept asking what are we having? I said um, food! Joe said what is in it? I said well you said put everything in it so thats whats in it lol. I have now named it Pioneer Chicken and it was such a hit that it is now on the favorite meal list. I am going to remember the candle in the oven idea! But keep my fingers crossed that it doesn't get this bad again!

The night before the storm, the dog decided to have her puppies in ,of course, the worst possible place. In a deep ditch in side a big round pipe sticking upright out of the bottom of the ditch! We assembly lined the little ones out of there and snugged them into the dog house with some doggie blankets. They seem happy there even now except for the little tubby one that keeps climbing out and whining every time his Mom takes off to bark at coyotes.

Just a few small ways we survived. It was definitely an experience and the good things were bonding and sharing that we did that we never would have done as much. Plus the girls know a little more about surviving than they did!

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