Friday, March 27, 2009

The garden is in, the power is out

So now the garden is in.

Luci finished planting a few days ago and it has been pouring rain ever since. We were afraid it would simply wash everything downhill into a muddy mess. So far, so good, and no major disasters. Now we have to wait a little while for things to come up, and then start the tedious process of trying to weed it. There is already an army of mimosa seeds coming up for us to pull out.

Yesterday we had a crap weather: pounding rain and brutal wind. Tyler, Hardin and a few other counties were under a tornado watch. As far as we can tell, we didn't have a tornado next to us, but the wind destroyed the canopy we had set up for the kids to play under while we worked on the garden.

Our power went out around eight o'clock last night. It wasn't back on until around ten thirty the next morning. This is pretty common with the power lines traveling through so many wooded areas; there are just great odds that at some point, a tree will rip down some lines. Of course we live in the middle of nowhere so it takes a while for the power company to find the problem.

I know some people would read this and think, "Well, just light some candles, it's no big deal." It's certainly not the end of the world, but with small kids it can be tough. They don't want to sleep because they're used to having nightlights or they're used to the house being a certain temperature, and the house is dead silent because there are no appliances softly humming.

After Hurricane Rita, our power was out for almost three weeks. Our youngest daughter was still a baby and she was miserable in the sudden shift from air conditioning to not even a fan. Besides the heat problem, we have a well, which means that if there's no power, there's no running water. To anyone who raised a baby with no running water, my hat is off to you. What a pain in the ass that must have been. And additionally, when the Red Cross came with water and MREs, we found that no one brings baby formula to disaster areas. Luci ended up taking the kids to Fort Worth with her mom, sister, and our niece, while I stayed behind to feed the dogs and cats.

Even a small generator can make things more bearable, and running a generator is cheaper than staying in a hotel for a week. Like most people here, we sometimes buy in bulk and usually have the freezer packed full of food. However, two days without power can cause you to end up eating what you can and chucking out the rest. In the humidity, two small box fans can make you feel a million degrees cooler. If we were moving out here again, a small generator would be the first thing I bought.

With all the rain lately, I have decided to begin collecting rainwater. I started with all the old five-gallon buckets I could gather from around the property. If I set them under the edge of the roof where the water runs off, they fill up in an hour or two. Last time I collected fifty gallons or so and this time I got a little more. I am hoping I can barter for rain barrels on Craigslist. I would like to use the water for the fig trees, blueberries, rasberries, and the peach and pear trees as well as back-up emergency water.

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