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Power Less

Tree Down, originally uploaded by elefanterosado.

The tree in the photo came down on the power lines along our road this past Friday. It kept us captive for about 24 hours too, because driving underneath it was far too dangerous an undertaking. We were among some of the luckier folks along the eastern seaboard though, as our power was down for only 14 hours in the aftermath of a vigorous ice storm. Fortunately, we have a generator. This is a handy appliance to have in the Vermont woods!

After about seven hours, however, even generators start to get grumpy. That’s because they thirst for gas. So my husband braved the logging trail (on the dead end of our road) in our 4-wheel drive pick-up truck. Four wheel drive trucks are another handy thing to have in Vermont! The hardware store had recently had a run on five gallon gas cans, so he purchased two (2 1/2 gallon) cans and enough gas to fill them up. Meanwhile back at the farm, my son and I stayed warm by the wood stove. Although our water pump was down owing to the power outage, we were able to access water from a gravity-fed inside tap connected directly to our well. Of course, each time the power fizzles our water purification system does too. We made due by boiling drinking water on the stove. I was reminded of the immense privilege that is inside plumbing, and thought of the courageous folks throughout the world who daily haul water from great distances, walk to outhouses, and bathe outside.

My husband was able to drive the truck to that orange dot (a mailbox) just beyond the tree, where it stayed parked overnight. There is an unoccupied house and driveway there. The Connecticut-based owner is a friendly and understanding fellow who has never (to my knowledge) made an appearance in these parts in the dead of winter.

My husband bustled into the house, bearing provisions and a number of receipts.

“How much did you spend out there in the big, bad world?” I asked.

“A little over a thousand bucks,” he replied more or less casually.

“Good God!” I exclaimed. “Is gas suddenly up to over $50 a gallon?”

“No,” he said, shrugging off his Carhartt jacket and heavy overalls. “But I decided to buy a snow blower. I thought it might just possibly come in handy this season.”

So there you have it, folks: Just another ordinary, run-of-the-mill winter in Vermont.


Comment from FjordWoman
Time December 15, 2008 at 9:22 am

So glad you guys are okay up there in the wilds of Vermont!
We Lawn Guylanders have those kinds of winters, too, but we have been lucky so far this year!