Grateful For Our Generator

The donkeys didn’t come out to eat this morning, but the sheep didn’t mind the snow a bit.

The lights flickered as I walked into the house after feeding the animals. They went out, then came back on again.  Then they went out for good.

I had a feeling we might lose power when I went out with the dogs and two big branches had fallen from the maples.  The snow, though not deep, was so wet it melted in my shovel. So I was shoveling slush.  The lower branches on the maples were so heavy with snow, they all but touched the ground

National Grid didn’t have an estimated time that the power would be back as they usually do.  The storm is a big one with expected outages all around us.  We knew it could be a while, maybe even into the next day before we had electricity again.

We’d gotten the generator a year or so ago but never used it.  We decided today we would.

Even though there were only a few inches of snow it was hard to wheel the generator (which is a lot heavier than I thought) through it from the barn to the house.  Once I shoveled a path, it was easier, but even though the distance between the buildings isn’t far, I had to stop a few times to catch my breath.

Once I got it to the outlet on the outside of the house, I found that I couldn’t plug it in.

It’s not a regular plug and the outlet is in an awkward position. My clothes were soaked through by the time I gave up and Jon called Mike (who helps us with everything on the farm from plowing to putting down sheep).

He was conveniently just a few minutes away and stopped by to help.

I was glad to have him there because, even though I had instructions, I’d never turned on the generator before.  After Mike showed me the sequence of buttons to push and the levers to switch on both the generator and the electrical box on the outside of the house, I wrote it all down with drawings.  Then I went over it again and again in my head, seeing it all in my mind till I could do it without thinking.

It was a joy to hear the growl of the generator out our living room window.

All the lights were turned off, but I was able to make tea and cook eggs on our electric stove and have running water.  We didn’t have to haul water from the pond to flush the toilet or be careful about opening the refrigerator.  The woodstoves keep us warm and with fifteen gallons of gas in the barn, Jon and I had a sense of security that allowed us to relax and enjoy being offline all morning.

We were even able to offer the warmth of our home to a friend who lives nearby and doesn’t have a generator.

About six hours later, the power came back on.  I knew just how to turn off the generator (picturing it in my mind had worked) and because the snow was still coming down, we decided to leave the generator where it was and just throw a cover over it once it cooled down.

It’s possible the power will go out again with predictions of more snow and wind.  It feels good to be ready for it.

Asher eating breakfast in the snow.

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