The Snowy Here and Now


These photos aren’t new–they’re from the snowstorm in December that knocked out our power for a full week, through Christmas Day.
But they could have been taken yesterday because this is what our farm looked like when I woke up. Our satellite internet is down and I can’t upload new pictures right now. Heavy, wet snow is a power outage waiting to happen because it breaks trees. It’s also a phone outage in the works. We lost our power yesterday around 11 a.m. If I lose the phone connection before the skies clear enough for the satellite internet to return, I’ll be out of connection entirely. As it is, I have trouble uploading photos on dial-up so these pictures are standing in.

We’re always prepared for a power outage, but there are the last-minute details. The quick–what should I do in case the power is gone for a week? Yesterday morning, I took a shower, put on a pot of beans, scheduled posts, and baked brownies and more bread along with cooking two dozen flour tortillas before the power went out.

As of this writing, we still have working phone lines and we’re using generator power. We have plenty of gas, plenty of food, and hay for the animals. We didn’t really have that much snow. Maybe half a foot or so. (Nothing compared to some areas.)

The thing is, after you’ve experienced a week-long power outage, a power outage is never the same again. Used to, when the power went out, I’d sit around tapping my fingers waiting for it to come back on in the next couple of hours (or minutes). I’d never experienced a week-long power outage before. Now? I meet a power outage with an ingrained patience. I’m prepared. I will outlast it. And I have a generator. I’ll watch TV and knit.

We had flooding with the river and creeks already when the snow started, so conditions here on our remote road are bad. I don’t know when we’ll be getting out of here. At least a few days. But that’s okay.

I have brownies.

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Posted by Suzanne McMinn on February 7, 2010  

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54 Responses | RSS feed for comments on this post

  1. 2-7

    Being prepared is grand….That snow won’t stop you again.
    This is just one more opportunity to practice “life in ordinary splendor”.
    Good luck, hope it won’t last to long.

  2. 2-7

    I’m glad you’re ready for it and have a plan! We get snowed in alot too; although we’re not near as remote as you, but the 4 miles of curvy gravel roads all get filled in and since we’re the only place on the road, the snow plow isn’t in any hurry to get us out. We don’t have a generator but we have a wood burning furnace, oil lamps, and can cook on the gas grill if we have to. The longest we’ve ever been cut off from civilization was 3 days. Hang in there!

  3. 2-7

    Give me brownies and I will endure most anything.. :snoopy:

  4. 2-7

    I’m with Suzy Q, give me brownies and the power can stay out! :yes: Although I hope for your sake it’s not out long.

  5. 2-7

    I admire the patience! With only dial up, I fear mine would not last long.

  6. 2-7

    Thank goodness for the brownies! :sheepjump:

  7. 2-7

    The snowfall totals are simply amazing. Two feet in Maryland, and that is not too far away from where you are. I pray for everyone’s safety, but I don’t worry. You have proved yourself to be well-prepared in the past. In fact,I think I would enjoy being snowed in at your house!


  8. 2-7

    I feel so terrible sitting up here in Michigan with the snow melting! Beautiful blue skies and sun yesterday. You were getting snow and losing electricity!

    Hopefully the power is back on today for you! But now you have the time to perfect biscuits on the wood stove!


  9. 2-7

    Brownies, coffee, and a good book.

  10. 2-7

    Brownies, coffee, a good book and a fire in the wood stove!

  11. 2-7

    I am glad you are so prepared! You never know what could happen, even in the summer time. We lost power for a couple of days last summer when someone drove into a transformer. :o

  12. 2-7

    We have it a lot better than those who live in the city during a power outage. Most don’t have a wood stove or a pantry full of canned goods.

  13. 2-7

    :woof: Brownies always make everything ok!!

  14. 2-7

    oh yeah, i remember those big pots of beans. It’s like a vitamin to mountain people ::laughing::::

  15. 2-7

    Brownies are good to have when there is not power. lol. I am in Westmorland county PA and we are under a state of emgerency with plus the whole state is under a state of emergency and the counties around me are. So its like a double state of emergency I think. Yesterday it was wild but warmer and we could have fun being outside. Today its cold and icy. Not good for power and phone lines. We are prepared to be in and without power as well. Have back up plans to get to other places just in case we have to leave. But then the roads are not safe to drive on unless you have a 4wheel drive and now they are icy so even 4wheel drive does not go well on ice either. It should turn out to be a intresting day today. I am going to knit, and watch tv also. While we have power I will also cook. I was thinking of making brownies also today. lol. Just need chocolate in times like theses. :) Stay warm and safe.

  16. 2-7

    Next step, a wind generator or some solar panels hooked up to batteries. I know, it costs bazillions of dollars but everyone striving for a self-sufficient lifestyle should be given a really big discount just because…well, because who else are they gonna unload things like that on, ‘cept us aging hippies?

  17. 2-7

    It’s no fun to lose power. At our farm, the hardest thing is not having the water pump working (water for the horses). We have to go to the Highway Department Garage to get it. And in the winter!!!that also means no hot water heater. Fortunately we have two wood burning stoves and can keep the house relatively warm. Our farmhouse was built in 1853. I’m really enjoying your blog and hope to make beer bread very soon.

  18. 2-7

    Yes, being stuck and without power is not fun. We race around before every snowstorm to make sure all the water buckets are full so the horses have water. We have a generator so we can run the pump and a wood stove for warmth. Cooking with gas does have it’s pluses–no electricity…..stay warm and safe.

  19. 2-7

    Coffee??? Do you have coffee???

    That is a lot of snow! Thank goodness you are prepared.


  20. 2-7

    Glad to know your prepared…or we would all worry. Stay warm and what a great time to relax and knit. Take Care

  21. 2-7

    I’m going to Weight Watchers this morning for my first meeting and I really wish I was snowed in. Dreading the weigh in. Soooooo…of course you mention brownies and now I’m hungry!!! lol
    Hope you get access soon. At least you don’t HAVE to be anywhere.

  22. 2-7

    We ended up w 32.4″ here at Dulles. We shovelled the drive [car in the garage] but I am so mad at my neighbors. They shovelled all their snow into the street and now it is impassable – eventhough the plow has been here three times.

    I would rather be snowed in in the mountains that have to deal with these idiots. [Yes, we are completely stocked like you…we could go a few weeks. :D] but still – I can’t believe the selfishness.

  23. 2-7

    Good luck! I hope it doesn’t get any worse. Seems like you got the basics covered, bread, brownies and knitting. Would be enough for me…

  24. 2-7

    Good morning,
    Glad you are all right, a real trooper during your 2nd power outage. Hopefully it won’t last as long as the first one. I have yummy beans in the slow cooker for dinner and am going to make your yummy cornbread to go with it. You make the simple foods yummier than a gourmet dinner. Thanks for your wonderful blog. I am am glad I found it by accident. Have a great day with your croked hen and Clover and other cute critters.

    Laurie from Wiscconsin :cowsleep:

  25. 2-7

    Being prepared is a great feeling! I made your beer bread yesterday, how easy is that? Didn’t add anything extra, delicious. Next time we will add cheese and maybe dill. Enjoy your Snow Sunday and GO COLTS!!!!!! :snoopy:
    Kathleen H from Indiana Colts Country

  26. 2-7

    Stay safe and warm!

  27. 2-7

    Whew I was getting concerned until I read you had brownies. You will endure.

  28. 2-7

    Hope you’re warm and fed. Our lines are underground, so we seldom lose power… but the roads are impassable and the cars are buried. The cocoa is hot!

  29. 2-7

    I wish I could do what you do and be that organized,but I’m the great procrastinator,soI’m afraid that I would be sitting there in the dark with nothing to eat and stillthinking I had plenty of time to take care of things.I admire you for what you do,it’s that true pioneer spirit,the spirit this country grew up on!!!Stay warm!!

  30. 2-7

    We ended up with 2 1/2 feet of snow but, thankfully, never lost power or phones. Part of the snowfall included a heavy, wet snow with lighter snow on top of that. The plow on the truck can’t push the lower layer. What a mess! I hope your power comes back on soon, but it sounds like you’re more than well-prepared. We were without power for 3 days during an ice storm in 1994 and that was long enough, especially because we didn’t have a generator then. Good luck!

  31. 2-7

    Hang in there Suzanne…spring is just around the corner!

  32. 2-7

    :snoopy: And aluminum foil !!! :shimmy: :snoopy: rain

  33. 2-7

    When I saw the news last night about the snow, my first thought was, “I bet Suzanne doesn’t have power”, like we were the best of friends. Sorry, is that too stalkerish for comfort?

  34. 2-7

    LOL, Annie! Thank you for thinking of me! (We STILL have no power.)

  35. 2-7

    This is the 10th day I haven’t been able to use the driveway (between snow, ice, and flooding, about 20 feet of water) but I AM GETTING OUT TODAY. We’re out of chocolate!

  36. 2-7

    I, too was thinking of you in this snowstorm- but I put my concern into prayer. People who pray for you are not stalkers! :)
    You are so good at self sufficiency- I’m wondering if Morgan is feeling more cut off than her momma- have you taught her to crochet and knit? LOL- maybe she has some good books to read stashed away for an emergency.

  37. 2-7

    Hang in there, Suzanne,
    Our snow has melted,and we are getting ready for some more. We have a generator, a coleman camp cook stove, and lots of food, the only thing we might be low on is diapers for the youngest grand girl. Will have to run into town and stock up. I am waiting on your beer bread to get done. That is so easy, love it!.
    Stay safe and warm,

  38. 2-7

    From Texas, I feel for you. In 2008, after Ike, we had no electricity for 14 days, no natural gas for about a month, no cable or internet for about six weeks. We had no water at all for five days, then we were under boil water orders for a month.

    But you are so much better than me! I bet you never open a can of ravioli and call that dinner. Our vow was never to eat canned ravoli again

    Our strength was a large box of candy bars our daughter was supposed to be selling as a fundraiser.

  39. 2-7

    Hi Suzanne,
    I know what it’s like also to go without power for a week. And my sister was visiting! However it was from a big summer storm that took down trees and power lines somewhere! But in the summer you just have to deal with no water and lights. (I lost everything in my refrigerator and freezer though.) When something hits unexpectedly like that you don’t have time to fill up the tubs with water to deal with toilet flushing. I panic in the winter when I lose power because, of course, no heat. I have a fireplace though and wouldn’t freeze to death! Sure makes you appreciate the conveniences! I don’t have a generator! Hope your power comes back on today!!

  40. 2-7

    Suzanne, we lost our reception also but it was because the dish had filled up with snow. We brushed it out and were back in business when we got back in the house. good luck

  41. 2-7

    I’ve been thinking about all my internet friends who are in the path of this snowstorm. I just pray you all are okay!
    Hang in there Suzanne. I think you are probably the best prepared of them all!

  42. 2-7

    :happyflower: We are in Monongalia County West Virginia. We got a lot more snow than you. The kids are outside with a yardstick right now measuring. The official kid with a yardstick count is 14 inches of snow. Lots of poweroutages here. We were without for 4 hours yesterday but we are back on now. We are just in a rental so we don’t have the best set up for poweroutages. Well water with an electric pump, electric heat and phones through the computer. But we have plenty of supplies and a fireplace – but no brownies. My husband is working on digging us out now but it is going to be awhile.

  43. 2-7

    Wowzers! Another power outage. Good thing you have learned to stay stocked up and prepared! I admire you Suzanne!

  44. 2-7

    And to think my friends and family worried about me here in Iowa – right now I have it easy, with lots of thick fluffy snow but NO outages, and nothing like what you have as far as snow depth. Even with the stuff still on the ground from 2 months ago it’s not bad.

    My best wishes to all of you!! :sun:

  45. 2-7

    I’m surprised you got so little snow – we passed the two feet mark but were lucky in not losing our power and unlucky that we’ll miss a superbowl party for being too tired from trying to shovel ourselves out.

  46. 2-7

    Beautiful weather here in northern Michigan since before Christmas. I think we’re gonna get ours though.

  47. 2-7

    No power outage or snow here, but I baked brownies yesterday also.

  48. 2-7

    Good luck. I hope you get your power back on soon, but at least you’re well prepared!

  49. 2-7

    Hope you are able to watch the Super Bowl Suzanne! Last I saw on Facebook you still have no power or phone service. Hope you get it soon but you are very prepared.

  50. 2-7

    I’m glad you’re so well prepared but sure hope the power comes back a lot quicker than last time.
    This latest storm stayed south of upstate NY again. All we’ve had so far is a few light snow flurries. It’s too cold to snow! Very cold here today but not as windy as yesterday, thank heavens.
    Sending warm hugs, Suzanne. :hug:

  51. 2-7

    You do so well with all of that….really! It is amazing!

  52. 2-7

    Brownies, coffee, a good book, and a cat in your lap. Or maybe a crooked little hen.

  53. 2-7

    I was scared for you, until I saw the brownies ;-0

  54. 2-9

    We’ve had the snowiest winter in Iowa this year. I’m not tired of it yet but I think most people are. But I’m a home loving sort. No fireplace here but when the minifarm is up & running we’ll have a woodstove in the machine shed if all else fails. I’ll remember to stock up on brownies, a very good idea.

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