The Aftermath of Irene
So it has been a little more than a week since Hurricane/Tropical Storm Irene passed over us. In many ways, we were very lucky. Despite having a few trees and large limbs fall, we had no structural damage and lost no animals. What we did lose was power. For one week. This, too, was not the biggest problem in the world, with one exception. As of last week we did not own a generator. We pretty much always have a large chest freezer filled with meat and fruit/veggies. We have lost power before, but only for at most about 8-10 hours. Our chest freezer is fine for up to 48 hours as long as we don’t open it, but it became clear to us right away that power would not be restored for quite some time. What follows is a description of our week.
We spent all day Saturday prepping for the storm. We picked up every loose toy/farm implement from the yard, contained all the animals, moved some of them to safer spots, and topped up all their food and water. Inside, we cleaned the house from top to bottom, did all the laundry, located all the lights, batteries, radio, chargers, etc. I condensed our big and small chest freezers into the large freezer and moved a bunch of food from our regular fridge into the one in the garage. We filled a 50 gallon drum with water on our back porch. I cooked some foods to eat, we were TOTALLY ready.
We lost power around 5:30am on Sunday. We spent the morning playing with the kids and watching the fury rage outside while listening to the radio. We heard and saw several branches fall and the wind whip all of our trees (we were getting 40-50 mph sustained gusts). We played and sang and worried. It started to become really clear that day that power would be out for quite some time, maybe up to a week.
The storm died down by the late afternoon and we decided the best plan of action would be to take our small chest freezer to my parents who lived about an hour away and still had power. It could freeze overnight, and then we would move the choice cuts over. It took five re-routes to make it to their place, there were so many downed trees. When we were a minute away my dad called to say their power went out, but luckily it was restored within a few hours.
Monday morning we packed the meat into a cooler and left behind anything that could be turned into stock or soup and pressure canned. We moved the frozen meat to my parent’s and tried to get some dry ice with no luck. We got some large ice blocks which helped. We were doing okay, we have a gas stove and grill so were able to cook and had plenty of drinking water plus water for dishes, flushing, the animals. We ran our phone and iPod chargers while in the car, and we played a lot with the kids.
Tuesday Mike had to go to NYC for work and I went and spent the day at a friend’s house who had power. It was a welcome respite. However, I had to stop at ten gas stations to be able to fill up my car which was a bit nerve wracking.
Wednesday brought us back to town for a pedi visit for Miss C. A very good friend offered to do our laundry and as luck would have it, her next door neighbor had a generator that was not being used as they had power in town. We were able to borrow it in exchange for a selection of our meat plus the head and stomach of a goat. Awesome to be able to deliver such a unique request. We also were able to get our hands on some dry ice for ourselves and friends, just in case. The generator was great and it felt so good to have power back to our chest freezer and outside fridge. We had some problems getting the water running, Mike had to get a special adapter, which of course was sold out EVERYWHERE, but he was able to make one that worked.
Thursday morning we woke up with no power, but a working generator and a fridge and freezer that were cold. It was the first day we didn’t have to act like chickens with our heads cut off and we spent the day playing with friends and relaxing at home. I had lined up a bunch of hand-work projects and had been spinning and sewing little fabric hexagons at every opportunity. We started cleaning up the debris and just enjoyed the sunshine.
Friday was a blur of trying to get the house back together and adjust to everything. My brother and sister flew in for a visit that had been planned earlier in the summer and it was going to be difficult to have our visit with no power, but we were willing to make the best of it. Luckily, 12 hours shy of one week, our power came back on. We had just gotten back home from a long hike and it was so surreal to have it back.
It was not the worst thing in the world to be without power. It was pretty horrible, though, to be running around so much trying to get ice and power for the fridge and freezer. So, now we have a generator. We might never need it again, but now we are ready. We count ourselves among the lucky, things can always be worse. Entire farms in Vermont were washed away, for example.
Wishing you are yours sunny skies.