Tuesday, March 22 DAY TWO 7am 31 degrees outside/58 inside
Day two. SUNSHINE!!!! For a little while at least. I took a bath in the tub with a pan of heated water…ahhhh it’s not a real bath but it was very refreshing. After cleaning the parrots’ cages I shook off the couch and chair covers and straightened up the living room. I swept the hearth of the wood stove and then swept the carpet, which worked fairly well as a substitute for the vacuum. I usually go upstairs to my computer with my cup of coffee to check emails and read the news (we don’t have television service even when we have electricity). The poor dog is confused. She keeps running upstairs anticipating our routine but I’m not cooperating. Photograph below: Fenced backyard Tuesday 7:45am.
Dave and I take a walk to survey the damage. Every lot has broken and downed trees. Up the street we come upon a large pine tree laying/hanging on the power line to a home. I can’t believe it hasn’t snapped the line yet. The power pole is leaning due to the pull of the wire. I want to turn around and go home. Dave keeps walking so I run past as fast as I can. I fear the line snapping, wires whipping around and cutting our heads off. Yes, I always think of the worse case scenarios. On the return home I again run past as fast as I can.
I make more bread and perform the usual kitchen chores. Lunch again is salad and quiche warmed on the wood stove. We add fresh snow to the containers in the fridge and freezer and find more containers to fill with snow to stuff the fridge and freezer. I fear the next storm arriving may just be rain and our snow will be gone then we won’t be able to keep the fridge cold. I fill a couple of small containers with water and bury them in snow to see if they will freeze. They don’t. The next day they are still liquid.
3pm 42 outside/65 inside Large dark clouds are forming as the next storm arrives. We fill an ice chest with snow then bury it in snow and cover it with plastic with more snow on top. As I write this, 12 days later, there is still snow inside the ice chest. The dogs have really enjoyed having my blanket covered lap to sleep on during the day. The parrots have enjoyed having us in the room with them all day long. I lock up the chickens, again they don’t leave their cage and they grumble about the snow. Yes, chickens can grumble. For those curious about the coops design, its a 6x6x4 chain link dog run wrapped in wire mesh to keep the raccoon hands out. During the winter I wrap the cage in large sheets of bubble wrap that we save from the shipments of picture frames. Over the bubble wrap I put used flannel backed plastic table cloths that were under the parrot cages until they wore out. On top of the table cloths I put old used tarps, then plastic, old gazebo covers and a good tarp on the very top. One corner at the ground is left loosely wrapped for air circulation. A sheet of bubble wrap covers the door, this I tuck into the space on either side of the door when I close the cage up for the night. A gazebo cover hangs over the door and is clothes pinned tightly. A flood light under a large ceramic bowl provides heat in the ‘rafter’ near their roosting places. We play several games of scrabble by oil lamp. For dessert I crumble oreos and pour chocolate ice cream on top.…..The next storm is moving in. I miss technology. Highest temp today, 48 outside/66 inside.
Wednesday, March23 Day three
33 degrees outside/63 inside Light rain. I again refill the containers for the fridge and freezer with snow. My hands hurt so bad the first time I performed this chore. I’ve gotten wise. I use a small bowl for scooping and compacting the snow and I wear gloves as much as possible. I take care of the parrots then put on a pot of beans. This may be a bad idea with us imprisoned together in tight quarters but it sounds so good. At 11am the Calvary arrives!!! There are PG&E persons inspecting the power lines and work trucks are up and down our street. We would have known if we hadn’t seen them ourselves. As soon as the cockatoo spotted the men and the trucks he began screaming bloody murder. It wasn’t a pleasant situation for a while. He finally calmed down, thankfully, since the men were there for such a long time. When they begin working the weather is inactive. One of the workers takes off his heavy coat and climbs the pole to begin untangling the wires. The drizzle begins, the temperature begins dropping. The drizzle turns to pouring rain, the temp falls 39, 38….the man on the pole puts his coat back on. The fat snow flakes begin falling. While the men work I decide to can the some of the ham and beans I made. I don’t want to add more food to the fridge and there’s too much for us to eat. I have a large pan of hot canning water when I’m done so I decide I’ll bathe with the canning water while there is still light outside. I got a lot of knitting done during the day. At 6pm it’s snowing heavily, its 34 degrees outside/63 in the house. The men are still stringing lines on the lot next door. The men worked until 8pm. Still no power at the end of day 3. We get an automated phone message from PG&E estimating power could be restored by 8pm Saturday. An earlier recording had estimated returned power on Thursday 10pm. Our elderly neighbors gave up and went to a hotel in Oakhurst. We spend the evening playing scrabble again.
Wednesday, March 23 7:15am