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Friday, December 12, 2014

Well, this has been an interesting week.  We've had a heap of snow and yesterday afternoon, just past 1 o'clock, our power went off.  Knowing how heavy and wet the snow was, we didn't think twice before starting a fire in the wood stove.  We'd already put extra water in the fridge for drinking and a big pail in the bathroom for flushing - just in case.  While Fred was outside dealing with a garage door that refused to release so we could operate it manually, I spent the afternoon hauling Christmas decorations down form storage.  It was a little weird putting lights on the tree without being able to have them on so I could see bare spots, but then I decided it would be a nice surprise later when it was all decorated and we could finally light it, so I pressed ahead until dusk and it was time to get out the oil lamps and make plans for supper, knowing that with only the wood stove for cooking everything would slow down to a pace more like the 1800's than today's streamlined 30-minute meals we're used to preparing.  It was fun making everything work without electricity.  We had turkey soup from Thanksgiving that had been frozen and I had that thawing out in plenty of time so we had a nice supper by lamp light and instead of watching the news, we watched the fire cheerily blazing in the stove.  Woody was stretched out in front of it, the house was eerily quiet with no hum of the refrigerator or boiler downstairs, and after supper we sat by the fire and chatted; I finished knitting a child's hat that's been a pick-up project for over a month.  Only Woody seemed a bit at odds with everything.  He hung out by the fire most of the day instead of curled up on the bed in the guest room where he is usually; and when we sit down in the living room after dinner at night, he usually immediately gets up in my lap and watches TV with us.  (Yes, he seems to actually watch.  He especially likes commercials with whales or dogs!)  Last night he sat on the rug in front of the TV and stared at the blank screen.  A long time.  

This morning Fred checked with Washington Electric and the report was not good.  The recording had been updated this morning and instead of saying power would likely be off in most areas into the weekend, they were saying to plan for outages to last "into next week."  That sent Fred to the store to get some bottled water as all we had on hand for drinking and cooking was the pitcher in the fridge.  I was even contemplating searching out some picture puzzles we have stored someplace.  I was looking forward to spreading it on the coffee table in front of the fire . . . haven't done one in years.  The morning slipped by quickly, taken up by washing dishes the old fashioned way in a basin and rinsing them with scalding water; I had measured the new snow (3 1/4 in. ) but had no way to report without my computer, so left the snow in the tube and the core sample in the sink to melt, and started thinking about meals for the next few days.  We planned to unload the freezer on Saturday and stash everything in a big cooler out in the garage.  The temperature out there remains well below freezing, even if the weather warms up a tad, as long as we keep the door closed.  A couple of times we laughed about how much we were enjoying our vacation.  It was like camping in a beautiful winter wonderland.

When we walked up to Jamie and Marie's at noon, the trees were bent over the driveway - creaking under the weight of the snow.  There were spruce needles and bark across the driveway where a tree had come down and Jamie had to haul it  out of the road.  As we were heading down the road from their yard, we heard a loud crack and caught a glimpse of a big limb crashing to the ground in a cloud of snow.  Fred had heard a tree crack and crash above our house yesterday, and tonight Jamie told me on the phone that in back of their house they've lost some big old spruces - the 80 ft. ones that are so beautiful with a coating of snow like now.

When the power came back on this afternoon, and Fred went back to his computer and I to mine, Woody went back to bed in the guest room. Things are pretty much back to normal, but we are expecting the power will likely go off again because the snow "showers" keep coming, building up on the already over-burdened trees and there are plenty more tilted precariously over power lines along the roads.  So we're enjoying having the luxury of electricity for the moment, but if it goes off again, we're so prepared.  

According to my measurements, we've had 19" of snow so far this month.  Of course, 12 inches of that came this past week.  The pictures above tell the story - they were all taken today.  Top is West Shore Road going up the hill by Meadow Lane towards Sandy Beach Road this morning; the next is the tall trees at Jamie and Marie's, like the ones that came down north of where these are standing; and that's me heading up their driveway at noon today.  I stopped a couple of times to listen to the creaking in the woods - it was lovely to look at, but a little frightening, too.  By Sunday, we should be heading out of this storm pattern, according to the forecast.  I think it's safe to say that winter is here - with beautiful vengeance. 

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