Posts Tagged ‘Wind storm’

night caps

It has been an unusual winter here in rural Virginia.  Everybody says that around the globe, but it may actually be true here.  One day it feels and looks like Spring with balmy breezes and sunshine.  And the next there may be snow or freezing rain or rain or flooding or wind.

With each ensuing event our family and friends (in warmer climes) would call and ask if we were o.k.  “No problem.  They simply exaggerate the weather here.  All is well,” we said.

But then for the last two days we got seriously punishing winds.  Gusts were up to 60 miles per hour which caused limbs and toppling trees to fall onto power lines and then massive outages.

Even so,

for a time we were spared any inconvenience and we smugly carried on.

But then there were the inevitable lights out.

It was our turn.

Ah well, no problem.  There is a trusty wood stove in our living room and a little generator only Bill knows how to operate.  And soon we were once again smugly carrying on.

And in a mere two hours our lights returned and we let the fire in the woodstove slowly burn itself out. 

I retired around 11PM and went into a warm cozy dreamy kind of sleep

when around midnight the lights went out again.

The house slowly turned stone cold.

So did the top of my head

and then my nose which woke me up at 3:15 A.M.

Have you ever tried to warm your nose and keep breathing?

I did manage to create a sort of blanket tent

around head and face but

the cold kept seeping in.

I got up to put on a wool cap

(not particularly becoming).

It kept slipping down over my eyes.

The forehead got warmer

but the nose re-froze.

This went on until 5 AM…. a rough night.

Bill finally got the wood stove going again at 6AM and the power returned about 10 AM this morning.

My nose is warm again.  So is the forehead.  But I had a lot of time to think about coping with a cold nose and other bodily parts and kept remembering “mama in her ‘kerchief” in the Twas The Night Before Christmas poem.  Surely she and my ancestors had the same problems with the fires going out and the cold creeping in.

Today my side of the bed is at the ready with

  • a wool cap nearby (forget romance forever),
  • an extra blanket for swaddling semi-exposed areas of face and body,
  • tightly closed windows (never mind allowing in fresh air for health),
  • and warm socks to avoid frostbite.

I wonder if “mama in her ‘kerchief” had a canopied curtained bed.

Not a bad idea.

Now if only Elsa-the-fuzzy-wuzzy-dog would recognize the value of cuddling, winter’s woes will disappear.



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You have to plan to be self-sufficient to live in the country.

Like, Bill and I have learned to imagine power outages and other deprivations in Oh-No-We-Are-Under-Attack situations.

In over 27 years we have never been under attack out here in the tranquil Virginia countryside.

Nevertheless, we do have frequent power outages and always think we are prepared.

This week, in a howling wind storm, right after dinner when the dishes were stacked in the dishwasher and we were happily watching t.v., the lights went out.

Ho Hum.

We were smugly and snugly prepared!

  • A wood stove for cozy warmth
  • A generator for lights, television, computers, etc.
  • Candles and Flashlights
  • A little extra food in the pantry
  • Water

Along with the lights, the television went black, and the dishwasher too.

And when I tried to check the electric co-0p status on Facebook, even my computer (on battery) started screaming, “YOU HAVE A VIRUS INFECTION!”

The wood stove was a life saver if you don’t count old Bill traipsing in and out for wood and by the time the fire got going good, the power was restored.

The power was off for only 2 1/2 hours.

But the television stayed dead even though Bill took it all apart.  He finally called a techie who told him to put it back together again.  That didn’t help either.

The 14 year old dishwasher was dead too, no matter how many buttons we pushed.  Fortunately, I don’t think Bill knew how to take that apart so we called an expert in the morning.

But Bill was able to fix my computer by restarting it.  My h – e – r – o!


The dishwasher man came right out and gave us 2 choices:

  • Buy a new dishwasher (which he said we would hate) or
  • Wait 4 days for a new control board.   I am hand washing dishes for the time being.
  • The t.v. is working again because Bill discovered a loose connection.
  • My h – e – r – o!
  • So much for being prepared!

Life is on track again but I am reminded that “Smugness is folly.”

*Quote by Dor

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It was a storm called a Derecho  that demanded and got its 15 minutes of fame – a  maniacal weather beast that  caused headaches and a lot of sweating in the Commonwealth of Virginia and they say, in a total of ten states.  And the Derecho actually took lives in its insane path.


A Very Big Wind –  I was creating a peachy blog post with two luscious tried and true recipes, when I heard the pitter-patter at my window pane, along with a howling wind.  “How exciting,” I thought, “It sounds like hail.”  I have never seen hail so I rushed to tell Bill.  “That’s not hail,” says he, “That’s WOOD.”  He meant that twigs and little things were being pounded into the window.  Uh Oh!

The wind got worse and all around there was lightning with no rain. It was all over in  minutes.  And our lights went out and stayed out for close to four days.  But that first evening was cool and deceived us into thinking, “This isn’t so bad.  Electricity will be restored by morning.”  Ha!  The storm hit on Friday night and by Saturday at noon temperatures had reached over 95 degrees, and there was no power.


Our Driveway Debris

Damage Assessment – Morning meant we could see what we really didn’t want to see.  Trees were down all around (fortunately, not on our roof).

Gasp! Look at this! Look at this! This will take months to clean up!

No electricity.

No air conditioning.

No land-line phone.

No water.

We were suddenly painfully aware we were dependent upon a little red generator, cell phone communication, and our own ingenuity.  We decided to simply tough it out. Ha!

Clean Up Job
Around the House

To get my mind off drooping, dripping and my clothes sticking to me in all the wrong places on that first scorching day, I invited neighbors/friends for dinner!  This may sound irrational,  but sharing stories of survival made the time go faster. Besides, our guests not only had no water at their home, but no generator either.  Pete had been out all morning clearing fallen trees from our roads, so he was happy to clean up a bit at our house.  And we had our July 4th feast on June 30th, cooked on the barbecue.

Sleeping that night became problematical. The day’s heat had built up in the house and I soon learned what “tossing and turning” really means.   What did we ever do without air conditioning I ask you?


Seeking Refuge –  Early morning of the second scorching day after the storm we rented a motel room (along with many other “locals”) to find some respite from the heat and to be able to shower and sleep at night.  Fortunately, there was some power on the north side of town to allow motels to stay open.  By midday however, the inn signs read “We are filled.”  We did get a room but spent most of the day at home anyway, trying to keep the freezer and the refrigerator going with our stalwart little generator.   By switching it onto different circuits it could magically generate enough water to flush toilets and fill pitchers.  Neighbors came to get drinking water  and more water for their horses.


Forest Coming Down

The End of the World? –  I was beginning to feel like a displaced person wandering around in a world of technology that didn’t work.  Power lines were down so there was no land-line communication between friends and neighbors.  There was no news.  Our two radio stations never mentioned the storm or the anticipated time for reinstating power.  No one could connect with the power company or the phone company.  Gas was scarce.  Ice was precious.  Water was gold.  Cash worked better than credit because credit card machines were down.  Many restaurants and businesses closed.


Paralyzed  – Another scorching day spent much the same as Monday, with an increasing feeling of paralysis.  I was finally able to get my computer to work at the motel and answer some emails.  Blogging was a delightful activity I recalled from a long-ago past.  The list of new posts by my favorite blogger friends was growing and there was no time to devote to commenting.  Is this the way life was going to be?  Have you ever read The Road?  I saw comparisons as Bill and I traversed a scorched world full of confused people searching for ice and water.  Gas stations closed with signs on their pumps reading “No Gas.”

Tuesday Evening: 

Lighting the Way – “Bill, there’s a light on in the hallway!” I yelled,   “Is the generator hooked up to the hallway?”

“Noooo,” was his incredulous answer.  “I think we have power.  Yes, I believe we have power.”


Wednesday, July 4th


There are still many people in our area who are without power, but progress is being made.  The incessant heat is the culprit in making it so difficult to tough things out.  People have lost all the food in their freezers and refrigerators and are still camping out in the motels.  Motels are offering “local” rates and there is an overall air of kindness and people eager to help each other through this very rough time.  The Derecho storm is almost over and it’s time to clean up and start again.  It’s an Independence Day Holiday that will not be forgotten.

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