11 days without electricity

It seems appropriate that, right after doing a post about my homestead, 3 days later I am violently thrust into a situation where it becomes KEY to my survival!  And yes, I had to do laundry by hand for 7 PEOPLE (including cloth diapers…we had some disposables at the beginning of the outage but quickly ran out and wasn’t able to get more until the day before the electricity came back on…) for ELEVEN DAYS  hahahaha!  Thank God it’s a skill that I was able to practice 7 years ago when we first bought our other house and lived without running water (but we had electrcity!  …. the pipes in our “new to us” fixer upper house were rusted shut from sitting unused for close to a decade and a new line had to be dug but there was only ONE plumber in town with ability to run the new line and we had to wait nearly a month for them to be able to do so…) …

In case some of my readers don’t know, we live in one of the areas most deeply impacted by the “land hurricane” that came swooping through here with a surprise attack on the evening on June 29th…that was some scary shit let me tell ya! Nathan’s parents had just arrived for a weekend visit and the storms arrived about a 1/2 hour later and we saw them on radar beforehand and knew they were coming and we were all gathered outside waiting for their arrival (who doesn’t love a good thunderstorm right?) …no one knew what they were…no one knew what was happening until is was upon us and when it arrived ALL HELL BROKE LOOSE!!  (and Nathan’s wonderful parents were SO HELPFUL to us for the 3 days that they were here, we owe them the DEEPEST debt of gratitude for playing with all the children while Nathan and I secured the homestead and went into “non-electric mode”…the whole area was out of gas for 3 days, because there was no electricity to pump it, and they were effectively stranded for most of their stay, fortunately they did manage to make it out and back to Maryland on their scheduled departure date though…)

You just have no idea, it sounded like a roaring train or the jet engine of an airplane swooping down to kill us all…the wind was whipping everything around like MAD …and we all looked at each other like “Holy Shit!  Is that a Tornado??”…and we promptly took cover in the house.  The whole storm lasted only about 20 minutes but the devastation was well…devastating.  To say the least… it is estimated that OVER 10,000 trees were down in our county ALONE and we live in a small county, in the mountainous “deep woods” of southeastern West Virginia…the storm was the scariest part, after it was over it was just a simple transition to plans and stuff that we already had in place and we were still able to live just fine without the electricity ….all that practice and preparedness came into good use!  We’ve been semi “off grid” living for about 3 years now but the storm was exactly  the “kick in the ass” we needed to go 100% off grid…I’m looking forward immensely to this transition in our life! 😀

7 thoughts on “11 days without electricity

  1. We were without power due to the storm too. I thought about you during that time and how you do not use air conditioning. I think you said your body just gets use to it. Well lets just say my body took a long time to get use to it. I can handle no power but no air that is a hard one!

  2. YES! It is hard to get used to the heat because you constantly feel like you are gonna die! LOL it’s really a “mind over matter” thing …as long as you drink enough water you will not die, so it’s really just a matter of keeping the panic and/or anger under control …both feelings send your body into overdrive and increase it’s heat output …I wonder if that is why people from the south have always had such a reputation of being so laid back? They needed to adopt and keep a more laid back attitude so that their bodies could keep cooler in the extreme heat they always have…

  3. Well, I can honestly say I am still not used to these summers of over 90*F day after day even with air conditioning! LOL my first summer here it reached 100*F and I really thought I’d die! LOL I can handle it better now, but it’s still a struggle for me.
    I live right in the center of a large city not too far from you and we, too, were without power (though not nearly as long as you) and I learned two things: First that I have a LOT to learn!!! I am way more ignorant than I realized. Secondly, right in the center of a large city in the middle of summer when it is HOT and experiencing dought counditions and it’s near the 4th of July (so people have fireworks)…the middle of the night can be a very scary time!
    The storm was incredable to watch. Several years ago we had a similar wind storm which knocked out power for several days…that wasn’t nearly so bad as it was fall so cooler temps and my stove at that home was straight gas so I could still cook (at this home it’s gas but has electric light) but my husband was overseas so I was alone with 3 small children

    • I love natural gas stoves for that very reason! A long time ago when I was a young teen living in Maryland still we had “Hurricane Floyd” come through and knock out the power for a whole week…but my parents had a natural gas stove and we were still able to cook just fine without electric except you had to light it by hand with a match…but having the ability to still cook made things so much simpler…

  4. I figured that was what happened- I’m glad you guys are okay! So how did you wash clothes? My biggest hurdle is definitely the anxiety crap. Last fall while prepping for Hurricane Irene here in VT, I gave myself the shingles! Is your hubby actively involved in the prep planning still? Mine isn’t of the same mindset, and feeling like I’m going it alone amps up the worry- that’s why I appreciate blogs like yours!

    • I washed clothes the old fashioned way….hauling water by bucket, heating the water up, mixing it with cool water in a big basin until it’s at the right temp. (about 140F but I’m not anal about it)…I add a bit of soap and 4-8 articles of clothing depending on size and dirtiness and slosh it around a bit and then let it soak for a little while and go do something else …then come back and put more water onto boil for rinsing and then agitate the clothes some more by hand (some people use a plunger) and then examine each article of clothing for stains and rub any stains off on the washboard then ring it out and set it in the laundry basket…when every article of cloth in the “load” is clean I then dump out the dirty water, rinse out the basin with fresh water, add the washed clothes and more fresh cool water and then add boiling water until the temp. of the water is pretty hot but not too hot to touch…more soaking, then sloshing and rinsing and ringing out really well with my clothes wringer (I use the mop wringer of an industrial grade mop bucket, that looks like this: http://www.cleanitsupply.com/p-4921-rubbermaid-wavebrake-side-press-mop-wringer-bucket-yellow-rcp758088yel.aspx …we bought it from Sam’s Club several years ago) and then hang the clothes on the line to dry….I did a load everyday and managed to keep up with the laundry believe it or not. ….To answer your other question, neither my husband or I are as actively involved in prepping as we probably should be….we’ve been at it for YEARS (since 2002 when we first married) and have gotten complacent as of late, but the outage was exactly the kick the ass that we needed to get going again 🙂

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