Back from the Snowy Beyond


We lost power early Saturday. We had about half a foot of snow in the morning and by the end of the day, a foot. (Looking out toward the pond, which is almost completely obscured.)
The woods around our farmhouse creaked and groaned under the wintry weight, branches, even entire trees, creaking and crashing.
There wasn’t any mystery as to what had happened to the power lines. The power company said they’d have electricity back by midnight, but as the outage mounted into tens of thousands of homes, the message changed.
By the end of the day, they were saying midnight the next day.
As I set this post late Tuesday, we still don’t have our electricity back. This post is written under generator power and satellite internet. (We got our phone back late Tuesday, too. Note: We don’t have cell service at our farm. When we lose our phone and satellite internet and are snowed in, we are COMPLETELY CUT OFF. And our wild and woolly country backroad does NOT get snow plow service.)
The miracle was that we still had phone service on Saturday. Under generator power and dial-up (we had lost satellite internet), I was able to set a blog post for Sunday and get my column emailed to the newspaper.
By the time I woke Sunday morning, the phone was gone, too. There would be no more checking with the power company for the latest prediction as to when electricity would be back. No way to find out if school was on. (No way to get there anyway…..) At the top of our steep, impassably snow-bound driveway:
And for me, there was suddenly no more work. No satellite and no phone means no internet access at all. I work on my website every day. Seven days a week, 365 days a year. I was…..on vacation! It was strange and beautiful.
I started puttering around the house. I cleaned. I repacked and reorganized all the boxes of extra Christmas ornaments. I cooked. I had cooked a huge pot of beans the night before the outage, so we had beans and cornbread the first day, heated on the woodstove. We were also still able to use our gas stovetop in the kitchen as well as our gas grill on the back porch. We had chili and pork chops with fried potatoes and even pizza. The chickens (below, refusing to come out of the chicken house into the snow) laid and laid….
….suddenly setting to work in the freezing temperatures, and we had bacon and eggs in the mornings. (Photo: From the driveway, looking up toward the garden.)
We read books. I knitted. Kids played board games and cards, had fights with swimming noodles and built snowmen.
We watched TV. (Me, Kitten and Little, Wiggles, and Spice-the-door-opening-cat.)
That’s right.
We’ve been watching TV.
We have enough gasoline to run our generator 12 hours a day for 10 days.
It can’t run everything at once, but we move it around as needed and wanted. We run the coffee maker and the radio, the refrigerator and freezers. We run the blower on the wood stove.
In the evenings, we watch a couple hours of TV and run the Christmas tree lights and a few lamps. We also run the water pump up at the house. We keep a couple extra tanks of water at the house to refill the water heater, using generator power. We’ve been rationing our stored water carefully, not knowing how long the power outage will last, but we haven’t run out. Would LOVE to have one of those special generators that can run the pump down at the well to have unlimited water during an outage, but this hasn’t been bad. WE HAVE WATER. That’s a good thing. We’re safe. We’re warm. The animals are safe. Our food stores are safe. We even have a number of “electrical luxuries” due to the generator. This has, in fact, been the best power outage I’ve ever had.
If you’re prepared, a long outage isn’t a miserable experience. It can even be a good experience. Life slows down. Most days, I feel as if I’m on a runaway train. Long work to-do lists dominate the too-short days, broken by numerous trips for school and sports. During a power outage, time stretches while you’re waiting for electricity to be restored. You might as well relax and have fun, with many normal responsibilities out of your hands. You do what you can—and most of what you can do has already been done, in advance. You turn on the generator, fill up the wood stove, take care of the animals…..then you kick back and enjoy the slow roll of time and the satisfaction of all that preparation. The hum of the generator and the crackle of fire in the wood stove says, “You did it.”
I almost hate to see it end. I’M JUST KIDDING. I really miss baking cookies. But, at least I have internet access again! I MISSED YOU!

Update: The power company is now saying we won’t have power until 11 p.m. Christmas Eve.


  1. Darlene says:

    Welcome back Suzanne! Jerry did an awesome stand in for you. Good to know everyone is safe and warm. And yes, your staff is definitely messing with you :snoopy:

  2. ScreamingSardine says:

    We’ve missed you, too, Suzanne. Jerry has done a great job in your stead. Hope you get power back soon.

  3. JoLinda Flemister says:

    It’s good to know that you have all of the necessary goods for such a long outage. Thank you for the pictures I miss WV very much right now. If it even snows a flake or two here you would think it was a blizzard. Send some of that snow over here I can use it.

  4. ChrisUK says:

    Wow a Winter Wonderland!! Good to hear all is well. Enjoy your Christmas in style

  5. Blessings says:

    Welcome Back
    Beautiful Photo’s of the snow covered trees!
    Winter Wonderland indeed.
    Let us know if the animals start talking on Christmas Eve? k? LOL
    Merry Christmas!

  6. Patty Norton says:

    WOW! You got snow. Looks like it will be a white Christmas.
    Stay warm. Have a Merry little Christmas.
    Clover needs cookies so I hope the power is on soon.

  7. masonjar says:

    I am glad that you all and your staff made it through the storm! It looks beautiful but I am glad that in this part of NY we did not get any of that storm

  8. Dru says:

    Welcome back Suzanne!

    Thanks for sharing your outage odyssey (pictures and words) with us.

  9. Snapper says:

    Wow! Looks beautiful, inside and out.

  10. Kathy says:

    8) Wow, now that’s what I call snow! Very beautiful pictures. Does giant puppy have a place to get warm? Loved the kitty pics. Love their mom a bit do they?

  11. CindyP says:

    Welcome back, Suzanne!! Jerry did a mighty fine job….loved seeing pics of you in the city! 😆 But I’m not sure how the maytag washer post might have been! 😆

    The photos of the trees and snow are just beautiful! I know the snow does drastic things and can do much harm, but it is beautiful!

  12. Kathleen in Michigan says:

    I am so glad to see you back. I missed you.

    The snow is so beautiful, but so dangerous.

  13. Victoria says:

    Good to hear from you and good to know you are doing well under the circumstances. The photos are beautiful.

  14. tribalcime says:

    Awesome pictures. I am glad you all were safe and warm . IWhat an accomplishment to come safely and effiicently thru all this !

  15. ticka1 says:

    Welcome Back Suzanne. Those pictures are awesome. Glad you to a little time to sit and watch tv and enjoy mother nature at her best. Ya’ll did get alot of snow! Has it started melting yet?

  16. Brenda says:

    So happy to see you back!! Beautiful pictures as usual~ We missed you..

  17. Tracey In Paradise,Pa. says:

    :woof: Welcome back!! You were missed.Your photos were beautiful..And your tree is so BEAUTIFUL!! Hope your power is back on soon!! :woof:
    Hugs Granny Trace

  18. Cathy J says:

    Glad you are back! I missed you!

  19. Claudia says:

    What an adventure, the pictures are beautiful! Puttering around the house is a good thing! :happyflower:

  20. Laurie says:

    Great seeing you back Suzamme, great pictures too. You sure can turn lemons into lemonade. What an inspiration! Hopefully the power will be fixed real soon. Stay warm!

  21. shirley says:

    Your chickens gave you Christmas gifts. How sweet! :chicken:

  22. Leah says:

    Glad to hear youre doing ok! The snow is beautiful is’nt it?

  23. MaryLou/TX says:

    You are living in a Winter Wonder Land. You are lucky. And, that “luck” came from preparation and hard work. This is a winter you and your children will remember forever. There is just one thing missing…Jerry. Too bad he couldn’t make it up that hill.

    Thank you for sharing. I can stare at my computer screen and pretend that I have snow out my window here near the Texas coast.
    You are truely a gift to all of us.

  24. NorthCountryGirl says:

    Welcome back! So glad to have you back online. Glad to hear everything is okay and went well. It’s a different world when the power goes off. Jerry did a great job while you were offline. BUT, we missed you and where concerned for you. Good to have you back.

  25. Johanna says:

    Looks like a great adventure, since you were well prepared.

  26. Diane says:

    welcome back. Sounds like you did have a quiet vacation. The pitcures were great.

  27. Carmen Smith says:

    WOW..That is ALOT of snow!!!! Giant puppy is almost hid there behind it all! Thank goodness for generators and gas,lol!!!!!

  28. prairiegyrl says:

    Note to self ~ must buy generator!

    So glad you’re back! Loved the cocoa pictures of Morgan.

  29. IowaCowgirl says:

    Good Job! Here our power is blinking on and off…getting wood in for the duration of our coming blizzard.

  30. Susan at Charm of the Carolines says:

    Wow! Were you ever scared being so secluded? I go nuts when my cell phone is out of range.


    PS. It is beautiful. In southern middle TN we are still awaiting our first flurry. You WV folks get all the fun weather!

  31. skippymom says:

    I am glad you got a mini vacation 🙂 – As someone else said you “luck” comes from so much great preperation on your part and you handily deserve to relax for a few days.

    The pics are great – so lovely. Glad you all are safe and warm.

    And yep! Jerry did an wonderful job in your stead. Take care and welcome back.

  32. JOJO says:

    :woof: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman:

  33. Melinda says:

    Thank you for the beautiful pictures! We don’t get snow and if we do it is just an inch and then it melts and I love seeing snow!
    Glad you are all warm and fed and happy. Welcome back!!!

  34. JOJO says:

    :woof: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman:
    Welcome back!
    What beautiful photos–they would make nice Christmas cards.
    Generators are a wonderful thing, they let you enjoy the things that are essential as well as the things that make you feel warm and fuzzy in times of power outages.
    It seems as though you had time to relax and spend time with the family, it couldnt be at a nicer time
    I am happy to hear that you are all safe and warm with pleaty of good thing to eat, after all, what more could we ask for?
    :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman:

  35. MissWiniW says:

    I’ll trade my 34 degrees C heat for your snowed in weather :yes: Also, who needs blankets when you have four cats using you as a bed? PS: Morgan is a goose 😆

  36. kristin sherrill says:

    Suzanne, it’s a good thing you have a wood stove and a generator. But really, there’s something about the quietness of having no electric. Even the hum a fridge makes noise. It’s the best time to get lots of things done that you don’t normally do. I hope the power comes back on soon, though. I bet you feel like you’re cut off form the “outside” world.

    Clover looks really huge! Is she pregnant or just the winter fur? Looks pregnant to me!


  37. KimL says:

    Thanks so much for these pictures Suzanne. Glad you’re enjoying the outage! We’re expecting more snow out west today but hoping it’ll hold off until late Christmas Eve. You’re Christmas tree is beautiful! Merry Christmas to all :heart:

  38. Debnfla3 says:

    Welcome back!!!
    Those are gorgeous pictures of all that snow.
    It was good to relax a few days wasn’t it? You are always so busy.
    I can’t believe how beautiful all that snow is.


  39. Heidi says:

    So glad you are back! And glad you are so well prepared for the outage. Your post sounds so peaceful and serene. It almost makes it sound like a power outage is something to look forward to.

  40. Valerie says:

    YAY! Welcome back!! We missed you but had no doubt that you were thriving in this snowstorm. Glad to see your staff is back on the job, too.

  41. mirela says:

    Merry Christmas, Suzanne and enjoy your “time off” as much as possible 🙂

  42. KentuckyFarmGirl says:

    Love the photos and so glad you’re back. The day is not the same without you!

  43. JeannieB says:

    I’m so glad you are back, I really missed you even though Jerry did an excellent job. The snow looks pretty, but please keep it from South Carolina. Hope the power compamny gets you back up soon!

  44. Miss Becky says:

    the photos are awesome, just what I have been waiting for! I’m happy you were prepared for just this event and that it wasn’t so terribly bad not having power. You all were warm, well-fed, and comfortable. We missed you Suzanne, glad you are back! :snoopy:

  45. becki says:

    Was 52 stranded in the city? I’d love my little family to be able to enjoy a few snowbound days…

  46. Cranberry says:

    That’s one FAT goat! Love it! and I could have sworn i saw a duck pretending to be a chicken in one of the pics! Glad they all get along together. Looks so nice and cozy!! Merry Christmas!

  47. Euni Moore says:

    Welcome back! The winter wonderland pics are beautiful. There is something so etheral about the quiet beauty of fresh snow, the quiet is so intense. It is good to have a few hours when your world comes to a halt for a while. So glad to have you back. It was good to see the post from Jerry.

    Euni in Colorado

    PS Woke up to 3 inches this morning with promise of more to come!

  48. Sarah says:

    Glad to have you back! Boomer looks so cold with all that snow up to his belly. I remember when there was a big snow storm at my sister’s house and they had to dig little tunnels for their two little dogs (8 pounds max) for potty trips. It was so funny to see that system of tunnels in the backyard and to see those tiny dogs navigate them. 🙂

  49. Cindy says:

    Oh, Suzanne – what gorgeous photos! Glad that you and yours are safe and sound and enjoying the beauty of winter. We missed you! Merry Christmas!

  50. Jill from Spencer WV says:

    I live outside of Spencer and we just got our power back yesterday afternoon (Sunday). Luckily I had canned and froze alot of stuff and had plenty of food for the goats, chickens and other animals. We didn’t have a generator but un Sunday, Lowe’s in Charleston goat a load in and we went and got one. They are great and we are ready for next time! Hopefully you will get yours back on soon!

  51. kerri says:

    It’s so good to know that you’re all managing well and staying warm and fed. How lovely to have a little vacation from the fast paced days, and to be surrounded by such beauty. Thanks for sharing those wonderful photos. Morgan is really enjoying herself and that hot chocolate :sheep: Clover and the rest of the gang look pretty pleased with themselves too. Yay for the chickens! :chicken: Kitties sure know how to relax, don’t they? 🙂 It’s great to have you back, Suzanne! Jerry filled in very nicely. What a good friend! Hope your power is restored soon even though it will mean the end of your vacation :pawprint:

  52. ShadowWoods says:

    Suzanne, Glad to have you back! Isn’t remote, rural life wonderful? We go through this about once a winter – no power, no phone, no satellite TV/Internet, no leaving the property – and it usually lasts 4-5 days. Like you, a generator and a packed cellar/pantry happily get us through it. And, yes, time does slow down when you’re waiting to hook back with civilization. Enjoy it while you can! Merry, Merry! Happy, Happy!

  53. Cyndy Buiniskis says:

    Welcome back Suzanne! We missed you of course, but were hoping you were doing as well as it turned out you did. Jerry was so sweet to fill in so we didn’t all have withdrawal, LOL! As always, you give us the blessing of not just your writing but also the wonderful photos. But please don’t ask us to pick the best one, though, it would be a mighty hard thing to do! May you continue to enjoy your mini ‘vacation’ and as always, bless you for sharing it with us. So glad you’re all together, have a wonderul Christmas!

  54. TXLady says:

    Good to have you back…and I am happy that you all were so prepared….

  55. Phyllis Ryan says:

    Glad to have you back. Also, happy to hear that all the preperations helped make time enjoyable. Great snow pics, and am glad to see the staff working so hard.

  56. Rituparna says:

    Welcome Back …
    Love the snow …
    Can I come stay with you the next winter … :sun:

  57. Angela says:

    Hey Suzanne!

    How come the snow you got is way more prettier than mine? That’s just not fair! lol I love the way the snow looks on your trees. It’s just beautiful! :snowman: My trees didn’t get as covered as yours but it was still pretty. We got 12 inches of snow here in Hurricane, West Virginia. Glad you have been able to take a mini vacation! Just think, there are people who actually pay to go where there is a lot of snow and we get it for free! Hope your electric does come back on soon! Especially before Christmas! :grinch:

    Angela :wave:

  58. Janessa says:

    Beautiful photos!! I also loved the flower pot sized mug of hot cocoa. 🙂

  59. wkf says:

    :snoopy: :woof: :dancingmonster: :happyfeet: :shimmy: YAAAAAAAYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!
    You did it!!!!!!

    Happy Happy Merry Merry!!!! :reindeer:

  60. anni says:

    with all the city hustle and bustle here, it sounds idyllic. If you’re going to be snowed in, on a farm with a wood stove and a full pantry sounds like the best way to do it.

  61. Ms E says:

    So glad to hear you’re hanging in there and all the diligent prep work is falling into place! So it takes a blizzard to persuade the hens to be prolific layers – go figure!

  62. Judy says:

    Suzanne, Glad you’re back!

    We’re still without power over at Newton (Southern Roane County)too. Have stopped believing those Allegheny Power estimates of when power will be restored since they’ve all been wrong so far. And, since we’re at the end of the road with broken power lines on the ground, we’ll probably be the last or near last to have electricity again.

    I am thankful for the small generator we have, for the gasoline to run it and for my “52” (aka 71) who is the only person at our house who can start it (although it isn’t easy) and for satellite internet service which has kept on working (when I can steal a little generator power). Like you, I’d love to have a generator to run the well pump as well as one with an electric starter.

    Here’s hoping your lights are ALL back on soon.

    Your neightbor across a couple of hills

  63. SuseM says:

    What a beautiful winter wonderland you have there! Truly gorgeous and peaceful! Glad you all are faring well – we missed you, but Jerry did a fabulous job filling in for you. I am jealous of your snow! I would love for my kids to experience that kind of snow like we did when I was a kid. We were supposed to have snow starting yesterday, today, tomorrow, and Christmas, but they changed the forecast to rain, rain, rain, and then snow on Christmas.

    So glad you are back! :shimmy: :happyflower: :shimmy:

  64. Julie Harward says:


  65. Michelle Natale says:

    So glad you’re so well prepared and safe! You are SO much smarter than a first year farmer! (*wink*)
    I loved the pictures on this post. They reminded me of growing up in rural upstate NY. It looked like that every winter after a good snow. My favorite part of the big snows was waking up so early in the morning, just before the sun makes the sparkling glare on all the crystals of snow, is all the silence. You can hear the snowflakes hitting the ground. But, in my parts, that serenity was very short lived, as my family and family friends were avid snowmobilers (we often had no choice but to use them as our main source of transportation) and all the tracks would mess up the morning’s peace. But usually, a day or three later, I would get to enjoy it again.
    Now I’m in New Mexico. And I seldom see snow up close here. But, to my pleasure, there was about 1/8″ on the ground when I crawled out of bed this morning! Yay!
    Glad you’re back Suzanne!!!

  66. JOJO says:

    —forgot to ask–where do the dogs stay in bad weather?


  67. Hannah says:

    They say we’re probably getting snow tomorrow. Not as much as you did though! 😆 It really looks like a winter wonderland! :snowman: :snowman: :snowman:

  68. Maureen says:

    I’ve been in this predicament before only we were completely unprepared. No generator, no electricity, no fireplace for a week. We managed to cook on the grill, played a lot of games and bundled up. It was a very bonding experience.

  69. Kim in SD says:

    So glad you’re back! Say prayers, please, for those of us trying to get loved ones home in the Midwest. Here, in SD, a “strongest storm system in 40 yrs” is headed our way. 15 – 20 inches expected. Will get interesting later today! :bugeyed:

  70. Billy says:

    So much to be grateful for. God Bless You Suzanne, and all my reader friends too. Merry Christmas ya’ll.

  71. Dianna McBride says:

    And I missed YOU! Somehow no one can make the ordinary sound quite as extraordinary as You! Hope your power is back on before 11:00 pm Christmas Eve!

  72. Sharee says:

    Welcom back! Merry Christmas! :reindeer:

  73. anne says:

    Merry Christmas, Suzanne and family.
    Marry Christmas to all your well loved farm animals.
    So happy to have you back.
    I so enjoy your pictures and blog.


  74. catslady says:

    Welcome back! Maybe there will be an early Christmas present from the electric company lol. I usually get out a book and read by a battery powered lantern. unfortunately we don’t have a generator and the last big outage that we had was 3 to 4 days so I lost most of what was in my refrigerator and it did get a bit nippy since we don’t have a fireplace either (sigh).

  75. Merino Mama says:


    I can definitely relate over here in Nicholas County. Lost power Friday night at 9:30 p.m. and woke to 18″ of snow and no phone. The power came back on today, but no phone so I’m making use of my work computer while I can. The chickens have really hated the snow. We basically have kept everyone but the horses in. And we had two baby lambs born just this morning and one born day before yeseterday. There’s no stopping mother nature! Enjoy the white Christmas! :pawprint:

  76. Kris says:

    Merry Christmas to you & your family! All the photos are beautiful!

  77. Amy says:

    Hey, welcome back! Hope you enjoyed your vacation! That is one fat Goat.

  78. Yvonne M. says:

    Welcome Back! I heard Governor Joe is really unhappy with the power company taking so long to get service restored. I only live 15 minutes from town and was without power for 2 1/2 days! Wish we had a generator ’cause we are ALL electric…no lights, no heat, no hot water. It was tolerable for a day with the candle light and fire place, then the temp in the house finally fell below 50 degrees and then it was just plain miserable. Again, welcome back and I’m so glad you were so well prepared and were able to enjoy a bit of a vacation. (The snow is beautiful and I love it – with electricity!)

  79. Amber says:

    The snow looks absolutely magical. The best days are when you just have to put the to-do list aside and enjoy being in the moment.

    I hope you will post some pictures of your handsome sheep in the snow…pretty please! :sheep:

  80. Jo says:

    So glad you’re back, for the most part, Suzanne. I missed you too, but Jerry did a great job of filling in.

    We are in the midst of a bad snowstorm here now. Could get anywhere from 15-20″ and then it’ll start blowing. We don’t have a generator, however. 😮 I pray our electricity doesn’t go out. But we do have a gas stove and a woodburning furnace and lots of food. So we’ll be ok.

    The only bummer is that it’s putting a damper on everyone’s plans for Christmas. But it is nice to just stay put. :yes:

    Merry Christmas to you and your family! :wave:

  81. 5kathleen2 says:

    So glad you came through the storm with flying colors! What fun. Merry Christmas to you and your family! Wish I had some snow, we are expecting freezing rain. Yikes! :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :grinch: :grinch: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman:

  82. Patty says:

    Oh I am so excited that your emergency plans have worked out and you can sit back and relax during the outage. How wonderful!!

    I don’t know if you do Christmas on Christmas Eve or Day, but MERRY CHRISTMAS either way! :grinch: :snowman:

  83. LisaAJB says:

    YAY! I was really hoping you’d post some pretty snow pictures! :woof: We’re having our own snowy beyond in Iowa. Sleet all day today, so that all of the snow that fell the night before is all shiny and pretty. And snow expected to keep coming until Saturday. Luckily, we’re already settled in with my in-laws. We’re hunkered down and ready for the snow to keep a comin’. Thanks for the pretty pictures!

  84. Runningtrails says:

    So glad you’re back! I bet you are glad now that you installed that wood stove, eh?

  85. Darlene in North Georgia says:

    sigh. All it’s been doing in Georgia is RAINING. We don’t need no more stinkin’ rain! Gonna have to build an ark soon! Ground is so saturated that I have huge puddles on the ground. And I live on a steep hill. Well, I guess the drought we’ve been supposed to have been having is over.

    Glad you’re back.
    And I got my calendar earlier in the week. Thank you again! We love it.

  86. Kim W says:

    I’ve gotta say that these pics were some of your loveliest. That (& that fact that you’re BACK! :snoopy: ) is your CHRISTmas present to all of us.

    Stay warm! And…

    Many, many blessings from Ohio… :snowman:

  87. Nanny says:

    Beautiful pictures………it is fun for awhile isn’t it…..but then after a few days I’m always ready for the conveniences/ha

  88. Sheila Z says:

    New Year’s cookies? Remember to refill the fuel for the generator as soon as you are able to get out. I’m betting you will need to use generator power again before winter is over. Merry Christmas!

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