It was raining hard when we awoke this morning. I am finally getting a decent night’s sleep, with almost no pain or pins and needles sensations. ( I suspect I will have scarring from this eczema episode – it was that bad!) The rain hadn’t wakened me, despite it pounding down on the metal roof.
I went downstairs, made coffee using the electric kettle, put wood on the fire, and went back upstairs to dress. And about a half hour later – post-coffee, of course – I noticed that we had no electricity. It may have been like that for an hour before we noticed!
The only problem we have with no power is the water pump. We have heat (yay!) and a cooking surface. We have a good supply of beeswax candles if needed. I can do wash in tubs and hang it on the line or put it on the clotheshorse by the woodstove. We have, in past years without power, bathed in said washtubs.
But we do not have an open spring here, or a handpump.
Being the resourceful pioneer-type woman that I am, I threw a wool shawl over my head and went outside to shove a washtub under the one downspout from the roof. It filled very quickly (it was raining really hard!) so I ladeled the contents of the full tub to an empty tub, and brought a pot of water inside to strain for washwater.
(Years ago, when I was living alone, I woke one morning to a lack of power. I had a full tea kettle, so I made a fire in my fireplace, planted the kettle on the grate over coals, and then had a cup of coffee and some hot cereal. I was all settled in to enjoy a quiet day – but my parishioners called me every ten minutes to make sure I was all right! At that time I had wisely stored about thirty gallons of water in my basement, so I was good for a while.)
Nicholas came into the kitchen and kept me company while I made some oatmeal porridge and more coffee for him; I noted that we needed to locate the spring in the field soon, dig down to it, and probably cover it with a catch basin outside the cover for drawing buckets. We also talked over whether we want to get a solar panel just for the water pump and maybe the refrigerator. (I don’t really feel the need to have a refrigerator, especially if I have a nearby spring.) We decided that we would put up more eavestroughs (rain gutters to Americans) and get rain barrels. Although we live on the river, it is far from practical to draw water there. For one, it is polluted upstream by several towns; for another, it is a sheer thirty foot drop to the water, and it is always a fast moving, treacherous river.
Since the oven had reached a good 425F, I whipped up a batch of Irish soda bread, a good old recipe from Edna Staebler’s Food that Really Schmecks. I substituted 1/2 cup of dried cranberries and a 1/2 cup of golden raisins for one cup of the two of currants the original recipe has. I like this recipe, as it calls for a smidge of nutmeg, which makes it fragrant and heartwarming as it bakes. (I suspect the nutmeg may have been a poor woman’s substitute for saffron, a common and now very expensive ingredient in older soda bread recipes.)
Bread in the oven, husband comfortable in the corner with a cup of coffee, and a very quiet, peaceful house – the power came on. It was almost a disappointment.