Came back on Wednesday afternoon, late in the day. 4:30ish. Not too soon for us! The outside cleanup continues, and as it has, the snow has melted and we ended up with some warmer weather.
Now I have to get after the mess we made in the house moving things from one place to another. Almost every electronic thing had to be charged each in its turn, in the bathroom at the one lonely outlet that was electrified. No light in the bedroom, so clothes were piled everywhere. Kitchen is a disaster. But that is part of what makes an episode like this so exhausting, even though we had heat and water. That’s just the way it goes!
Day 3. No school for a second day, either. But it got a lot warmer and the snow came off the roof like gangbusters. Looking at the map of power-outages in Maine, we are still in relatively tough shape in Lincoln County. Our section of Bristol is not expected to regain power until tomorrow night or Thursday. Sigh. The YMCA in town is offering free showers, which is wonderful for a lot of folks. We are lucky enough to have a big Honda generator that is hooked in to our electrical panel and it runs our water, heat, and a couple of lights. Our “charging” center only works from one outlet in the house, which happens to be in the bathroom!
So we are comfortable, but every day it’s another trip to town to buy a few more cans of gas, and fooling around with the generator. At least we can keep our elderly neighbor in water for flushing and drinking, and the animals aren’t hurting, either.
And so the meteorological winter season comes to us a little earlier than we had wanted to meet it. With the time change, it already feels like darkest winter by 5 PM!
But I know that our little peninsula is not a priority when there are over 26,000 people without power just in our little Lincoln County. We were definitely not ready for this one, and I am feeling relieved that the temps are supposed to go up close to 60F by Wednesday.
With the weight of the snow and 50 mph winds, we had a bunch of close-calls here on the farm. A huge limb of a maple came down within a few inches of the pigeon loft, and a huge white pine uprooted itself and fell into the driveway, totally missing the buck’s paddock fences. When I went out this morning to feed the goats, I got a moment of panic: there were lots of footprints in the driveway, but they turned out to be deer tracks! Phew. Don’t need goats loose in the ice and the snow.
My iPhone photos are not fantastic, but I will share some here. We are now getting ready to start chopping up the trees in the driveway. We can’t get out until those trees are moved! And our son, who only lives less than a mile away, is trapped behind trees down on the connecting road. Here we go. I can hardly wait.
And no power. Typical! I imagine most of the peninsula is out, the snow is so heavy and wet the trees are bent over and covered. And we are having 30 mph wind gusts. If we get sleet on top of all this, I can only imagine how long it will be to get the power back on.
Well, nothing to do about it. Just hunker down and enjoy the view. I am grateful for the generator that runs some of the house, most importantly the water and heat. I am going to try and get a knitting project started that is a holiday gift for a friend. Sounds about the coziest thing to do. I had oven-roasted vegetables on the menu for tonight, but instead I think I will get some lamb shanks going on the stove a little later. Thank goodness for the gas stovetop! (Our oven is electric, and even our heavy-duty generator won’t run that!)
The last few days have been incredibly busy. I spent a lovely day at a friend’s camp right on a small lake on Wednesday. It was grey and overcast, but it didn’t start raining until later on, and it didn’t matter because we were relaxing and having fun with a few other friends.
Wednesday night was the big storm, apparently a record for the amount of rain that fell in the course of four hours. By 9:30 p.m. our electricity was out, and every once in awhile throughout the night it blinked back on which made our freezers begin beeping (which need to be reset, necessitating a hop out of bed). The power wasn’t really back on for good until a little after 4 a.m. when we needed to get up anyway. Groan. My husband had to have a routine test down at Maine Medical Center in Portland, and of course, we had to be there by 7 a.m. By the end of the day yesterday I was toast, and in bed before 9.
When I went out for chores this morning I heard our little Marigold crying, and realized that she was outside of the paddock fencing, frantically trying to get back to her mama and her sister. Even though she is the friendliest doeling, she was so frightened that she did not want to come to me, or follow me. So it was a process, but I finally got a collar and a leash on her and coaxed her back into the correct area. She and her sister lifted their mama Zelda right off the ground they were so happy to have some comfort food (although I don’t know why Iris was that excited, maybe just commiserating with Marigold and happy to have her sister back!).
It’s a head-scratcher, but she may have gotten out via the extension paddock which I had open to them. I can’t find any openings in the perimeter fencing there or anywhere, but one of them might be sproingy enough in the middle that she scrambled over it. Needless to say, after she had a nosh and a visit with her mama, she came over and lay down on the big rock with her head on my lap, squished up tightly to me. She didn’t even want a good chin scratch, just wanted a snuggle. Funny goatie, happy to be home again.
We had quite the eventful Solstice evening. We were looking forward to going to a friend’s house for a Solstice celebration around a bonfire. The weather definitely did not cooperate, and we found ourselves with winds higher and more persistent than we saw during Hurricane Sandy. And buckets of rain came along with it. I had a harrowing drive to do an errand that could not be put off (read here: pick up a hand-made gift for my husband from friends who were about to get on the road out of town on Friday directly from school. There were moments on Route 1 when I really thought my little Subaru was going to get blown right off the road). When I got home, chores were about as much fun as I had imagined they would be, and I came in chilled to the bone and ready for something hot to drink. We began getting ready to go to the party and my husband was listening to the police scanner and saying that he didn’t think it would be a safe trip anywhere. The wind by this time was absolutely howling, our greenhouses were flapping in the wind, and if it hadn’t been so late in the day, I would have thought that the Mayan calendar might be right! Limbs were coming down all over the place and we heard that a transformer blew a few houses down from our son and his family, and that lines were dangling and sparking there. I was just about ready to call our friend and say that I was hesitant about coming out, and was on the phone with our friend Pam, when the lights went out. And that was it for Solstice eve!
We waited for awhile and eventually got the generator running, but sitting in the living room with the winds howling around and the trees going nuts in the gale, it was almost spooky-scary. And it’s funny that our our friends over at Henbogle had the same thought that I had: I immediately had visions of the series of books by Susan Cooper, The Dark is Rising in particular. It’s all about the darkness and the light, and the constant fight of good to hold the evil back. Solstice night is a main part of this first book and it is a very dramatic and very suspenseful read. The BBC made the book into a movie and they actually did quite a good job with it, particularly in catching the mood. It’s usually aired once or twice around Christmas, and if you catch it it’s worth the hour and a half. I get a shiver every time I think about the book and it really speaks to a more primal, and yes, pagan, side of humanity. The fear of the the darkness and the evil that is part of our physical world, is truly just as much a part of our spiritual and emotional world as is the tangible. And I guess the whole Mayan calendar thing coming so close on the heels of the Newtown massacre as well as the Solstice, just made the night that much more dramatic and more intense. John and I ended up turning off the generator and just hitting the sack before 9. The electricity came back on early the next morning and we learned then that there were multiple trees down on our street. I am glad that we sat tight in our little house.
Our lambing greenhouse didn’t fare as well as the house. We lost some of the ballast pipes on one side and it flipped over the ridgepost. At least the other side held. Tonight the moon is shining among some quickly moving clouds and all is quiet. I am guessing that the goodness and light has pushed back the darkness for another year. And so the seasons go. We now are looking forward (obsessively) to a few more moments of light each day. Happy belated Solstice!
Coopworth Fiber, LaMancha Dairy Goats and Cheese on the Coast of Maine!