Thursday, January 25


We recieved power yesterday evening! Things can begin returning to "normal" now.

Lesson's learned:
- Jennifer was right to worry and want to prepare by stocking up on water, food, etc. I'll never again doubt her! (Have said that before?) I did learn a new term for mob shopping that occurs before a storm: "french toast panic."

French Toast Panic - [french /toʊst/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciationtohst pan-ik] - noun - The fear instilled by winter weather that causes normally rational people to run to the closest grocery store and purchase bread, milk, and eggs.

- I should have installed a gas water heater like everyone said I should when I replaced the old electric water heater.

- I should have listened to Jennifer and had the wood furnace inspected before we needed it!

- It's hard to beat family and friends when you're in need.

Thanks to everyone for their support, and to those still in the dark, hang in there!

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Wednesday, January 24

Day 12

It's day 12 without power. Not much new to report. The image above is of our back yard and wellhouse. Some people wake in the morning and put a pot of coffee on, hoping aroma of brewing coffee will wake them. I wake and make my way to the well house where I pour another 5 gallons into the generator. I would much more prefer the smell of coffee over the smell of gasoline to wake to.

I added additional pictures to my flickr account that show the damage around our home. You can find the slideshow here.

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Tuesday, January 23

Powerless, Day 11

We remain powerless... and without electricity for 11 days now. We can see lights on the horizon in every direction which is both promising and frustrating. Jennifer spoke to someone at Southwest Electric who said he cannot promise or predict when we should get power, but he would be surprised if we didn't have it by the weekend.

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Monday, January 22

Livin' the Dream

It's day 10 without power. Jennifer and I are trying to keep our good humor but gets tough sometimes. Exhaustion from the routine (add wood, add fuel, add wood, purchase fuel, add wood, move wood closer to house, add fuel) plus the news on Friday that it could be "two to three more weeks" really brought our spirits down for a while. We haven't heard that news report again on the radio, but it's what I've set our expectations on now.

As a matter of fact, we rarely hear news out of the Southwest Electric Cooperative. It's completely understandable that they cannot generate a time-table, however consistent updates to the news outlets would help to dispel rumors and provide a sense of progress. The local radio station continue to give updates on numbers of poles down, number of customers without service, but it's always a crap shoot to hear anything from SWEC. The latest from the SWEC site:



Efforts to restore service to Southwest Electric Cooperative’s members as quickly as possible continues. We continue to have several locations without power ranging from the Bolivar, to Buffalo , to Pleasant Hope, to Fair Grove area, with some additional areas north of Bolivar and Buffalo . Additional crews and trucks arrived overnight bringing the man power total up to 157 additional personnel and 75 extra trucks working on the lines.

Southwest Electric Cooperative has several members asking for a definite answer as to when their power will be restored. Please understand that a storm with damage of this magnitude makes it impossible for us to accurately place specific time estimates on the power restoration.

Remember, just because you have not seen a crew in front of your house does not mean they are not working on your line. It does no good to repair a line that has no power running to it. Repairs are focused on the main power lines first from the substations, then to the secondary and individual lines going to houses and subdivisions.

We are still dealing with large amounts of broken poles and wires laying on the ground across our system. Power is being restored daily but if you are still out of power, continue to make plans for several more days, and please have patience while progress is being made.

Our phones are continuing to be answered 24 hours a day, everyday. All our phone lines are open however, with the number of phone calls coming into the offices it may take several attempts to get through. Member service personnel may not be able to give an accurate time of power restoration but they will be able to report your outage information. Please remember to have your account number or pole location number ready before calling in.

We can see lights on the horizon to the east, south, and west of us. I'm very much looking forward to the call to come home and hook up the breaker box again.

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Friday, January 19

Country Vocabulary Lesson

On the way to Springfield, I called our neighbors to see if they needed anything:

Me (to Coy Dan on the phone): Do you need anything from Springfield, we're headed that way?
Coy Dan: Naaw, I think we're OK.
Me: OK, let us know if you do need anything.
Jennifer (to me in my other ear): Glenda said they needed bread.
Me (to relaying the info to Coy Dan on the phone): Jennifer said that Glenda needed bread. Did she get bread?
Coy Dan: Lord I hope not!
Me (confused, to Coy Dan): OK...
Jennifer (to me in my other ear): He probably doesn't want the wheat bread she's been buying.
Me (to Coy Dan): Is it because she bought wheat?
Coy Dan: Oh! That kind of bread!

It was only after I hung up and recanted the conversation to Jennifer and she started laughing that I realized what was so funny. A homophone for "bread" that Coy Dan probably uses on a more regular basis than I is "bred".

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Thursday, January 18

Ice storm update

I took the image above of our first fall fire back in October. Little did I know we would really be putting it through it's paces in the coming winter. We've burned quite a bit of firewood now and are on the hunt for more. The limbs and trees that have fallen near us will provide lots of wood but it's too green to burn on it's own. My dad, who has gone above and beyond what anyone could expect to help us out, is on the look-out for firewood east of us where the ice storm was less damaging. Pickup-loads in the Springfield area were going for $175 (when they're normally in the $50 to $75 range).

My dad and my cousins came out last night to help hook the generator directly into the well house and clear limbs around it so we now have running water. The water heater is electric so we're still without the convience of the water faucet handle on the left, but it's a start. Finding the plug that fits the generator was quite a challenge. My dad stood in line at Sutherlands for an hour to find out they would only sell him the plug if he bought the generator from them (which we did not). I will not be shopping at Sutherlands anymore.

The night before my dad and I wired in the heat-a-lator. You can see the vents of the heat-a-lator in the image above. A fan pulls in air through the bottom vents, circulates it around the firebox, then blows out the warmed air through the vents on top. It's helping keep the house near the 55-to-60 degree mark, good enough with a few layers of clothes or several blankets on the bed.

I haven't slept longer than 2.5 hours at a time in the last 6 days, I've set my phone to alert me to throw wood on the fire every 2.5 hours. I then wake at 5 AM to fill the generators and make the drive to work to shower in the locker room. I'm looking forward to getting power back permenantly so I can get a continuous 8 hours of sleep and a hot shower in my own home. Until then we'll make it and continue to count our blessings.

*Note: for those who might be concerned, we completely removed the appliances we've wired in from the rest of the house's electrical system. There will be no back-feeding of power into the lines should our power be restored. I will have a bit of work to wire things back together when we do get power, but that's a chore I'm looking forward to.

Monday, January 15

"Plum Give Out"

Ice Storm
Originally uploaded by duanekeys.
"Plum give out" were the words of our neighbor, Coy Dan, when I asked how he was doing. I can certainly echo the sentiment. None of our loved ones were hurt during the recent ice storm but there's plenty to clean up after. Several mature trees came down all around our home. There's at least two large sections of trees are resting on the roof of our house. We're without power and will be for sometime I suspect. Several sections of fence are destroyed but we still have enough standing to keep the horses in.

We are managing to stay warm huddled around the fireplace at night. I borrowed a generator from my dad, and we plan on trying to wire in the well house to get water working. I hope everyone else is faring well!

Looking on the bright side of things, we've got plenty of firewood (though it's a bit green).

Friday, January 12

Time passes so quickly when you're having fun or you don't seem to have enough time to have any fun. Geek Acres lately has had less of an emphasis on geek and more on acres! We're still working on our room addition where we converted our 2-car garage into a new bedroom. Our goal to have it finished before the holidays has come and gone but we're still working on it. This picture doesn't represent it's current state either. The ceiling is textured as are the walls. Jennifer has already painted the closet/tack room as well as the new bathroom. This weekend we plan on laying tile and working on trim. In the meantime I've taken on additional responsibilities at work, started teaching, and got myself involved in some website creation projects.

We lived through the skunking and things are back to normal as far as the scent of the house. The dog door in the mud-room is a blessing and a curse at the same time. We spend lots of time cleaning up after our pups but in the end we both feel it's worth it. We don't have to schedule doggie breaks and the dogs are much happier being able to go outside as they see fit.

One day this last fall Jennifer had moved two of the horses into the backyard fence area where the dogs normally do their business. She reasoned that the mares would make short work of the grass and therefore we wouldn't need to mow. The horses kept trying to get on the deck so Jennifer had to block access to it to keep the mares from going up the steps. After that commotion the big girls were content to eat some of the green grass in the back yard.

Meanwhile, Jennifer went in to feed the dogs. Our dogs get measured amounts of Science Diet dog food: light large breed for the chubby girls and regular large breed for the boys. We usually have to keep any eye on them while they eat or else the girls will shove the boys from their food and eat it too. While Jennifer watched the dogs eating their dinner one of the Percheron mares stuck her giant head in through the dog door. Suey was nearest to the door. She was in mid-chew when the big black head poked through the doggie door and she nearly choked on her dog food trying to get a surprised bark out of her mouth. Jennifer laughed about that one for quite a while. I imagine the look on Suey's face was pretty funny.

We managed to give away all but two of the kittens. Oliver, Spits, and Momma Cat are now at home in the barn. We did have one little incident, again with the dog door, as Momma Cat made her presence known in the house late one night. Jennifer and I were both sound asleep when we heard a Meow from the master bathroom (which has an entrance to the mudroom where the dog door is). We both jumped out of bed to prevent the dogs from going at the cat, but luckily, they slept through the whole thing. I tossed the cat back outside and locked the door shut. I don't think Momma Cat has forgiven me for that yet.
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