There are many pluses for living outside the city. We don’t suffer through the water bans since we are on well-water, not city. We don’t get (as much) of the odoriferous down draft from the water treatment plant. We get to be surrounded by forest, and wake up to the sounds of chicken and sheep, with a view of the horses in the pasture through our kitchen window. We can tromp through our neighbors Enchanted Forest whenever we want, and rarely need to worry about Little Man walking/playing in the road since there are nearly no cars that come our way. Plus, plus, plus…
However, every now and then, particularly in the winter, we can lose power for a couple of hours at a time. When that happens it’s means more than simply the inconvenience of blinking clocks and a lack of television. For us it means no running water since the pump that brings our water from the well is electric. No showers, no washing, no water for tea or coffee unless we’ve been wise (and sometimes we are) and kept our emergency supplies of water filled along with the large jugs in the refrigerator… which shouldn’t be opened much during these times so it doesn’t “lose its cool.”
Then one morning right at the beginning of winter we woke up to the sound of disconcerting silence (no hum of the old refrigerator) punctuated by the panic inducing beeps of Little Man’s bedroom monitor losing power. Dave and I stumbled around for a bit, trying to wrap our sleep addled brains around the fact that we had no electricity and what that actually meant for our morning. I tried to turn on a sink tap to brush my teeth… and nothing happened. I stood there, staring at the tap, trying to figure out what I was doing wrong. Apparently Dave was dong something similar in the kitchen since I heard him utter a low moan as realization settled in as to the extent of our dilemma. No showers… argh! How to brush our teeth? My water bottle was still mostly full from yoga the night before. What about cooking breakfast with our electric stove (or microwave) without electricity? Doh!
At that point Little Man woke up and I went downstairs to light the wood burning stove (aka our house heater) while Dave went into our son’s room with a flashlight. I tried to get my brain to function and to think about the breakfast predicament as I knelt by the stove balancing my flashlight beam on the things I needed, but I couldn’t quite get out of autopilot mode. I arranged the wood, kindling and wadded up burnables in the stove and then lit the whole thing. Closing the stove door, I waited to make sure that the fire had caught and listened to the comforting clicking of the warming stove. Then it finally hit me. I didn’t need electricity to cook our breakfast, I had a wood burning stove right in front of me. My city-girl mind had only thought of the stove as a heat source for our home. A smile stretched across my cheeks as I quickly planned our breakfast adventure.
Upstairs Dave was hurriedly getting ready since he had to teach, while also explaining to an unimpressed Little Man why there was no TV for morning cartoons. For sanity’s sake I whipped out the ipad hoping that it had a charge, and turned on a quick Little Einsteins episode, buying Dave and I a little respite while he got out of the house and I collected my breakfast supplies.
On a large tray I piled a shallow cast iron skillet, a full tea kettle, a hot pad, plates, cutlery, a bowl with two eggs, a couple slices of bread, a mug and tea bag, a filled sippy cup, honey, jam and a few other tools. I waved Dave out the door, put slippers on Little Man’s feet and was just leading him downstairs while balancing my tray of awesomeness… when with a pop the electricity came back on. The TV was blaring in the front room since apparently Little Man had pushed in the power button during his desperation to show Dave that the TV worked without electricity.
With the jubilant sounds of a little boy who has found treasure, Little Man dashed back into the living room with Pooh Bear flapping behind him for his morning cartoons. I looked at my tray, placed it down on the dining room table, snapped a picture for future sleep addled reference, and went back to our now working electric stove to make breakfast. Next time I’ll be ready when the power is out and we get to have a picnic breakfast downstairs with our wood burning stove. And I’ll make sure the TV stays off and doesn’t wreck our adventure.
What? Without electricity!? People used to do that!?
In related news, California no longer approves new wood-burning fireplaces. And in 2019, California will require everybody on well water to put a water meter on their well so the state can charge them for their usage of groundwater.
New Zealand is sounding better and better all the time.
Whoa… Charged for water from your own well… That is a certain kind of special. While I do have to say that New Zealand does sound pretty awesome, you know there is this lovely little island to the north of you called Vancouver Island. Just saying… 😉
And in regards to cooking without electricity… I know! I was laughing at how flummoxed I was. While I like to eat “real” oatmeal in the morning (aka not the kind that’s pulverized powder and sugar in a small bag), I only ever cook it in the microwave because cleaning out the pot after cooking it on the stove is one of my least favorite things to do. I think part of my indecision was based on trying to figure out what I could cook in my trusty cast iron skillet and still be willing to clean the darn thing afterwards… once the water came back on with the electricity.