Thursday 19 November 2015

What to do when the power is out and you are unemployed

We were recently without power for a day and a half in our new home.  This is the longest power outage I remember, though I was assured this is quite normal in our new community.  We had no luck starting the fire in the morning and as my husband and kids headed off to school and work where there was power, I had a little pity party wondering how I would make it through the day.
Here's what kept the kids and I occupied on the first night of the power outage.  The Borrowers was a great choice to show the kids that people survived without electricity in the past.
Step one:  Get that fire started!  After two more tries, I got the fire going.  In my head, I heard my new friend Karla telling me "Well, if it doesn't work, we just have to try again."  She also passed on my friend Michelle's secret of "stuffing the box".  After taking this advice with a good dose of prayer, the fire started and things began to look up.

Step two:  Make coffee.  Michelle also told me she made coffee on her stove.  By 9 a.m. I was in serious need of caffeine, so I put the kettle on the stove and waited.  Thanks to Phil's new AeroPress Coffee maker, I had one of the best cups of coffee in my life, along with an excellent book to help me through the day.
Step three:  Start using your ingredients.  I was beginning to worry that all the food in my fridge would go bad.  I thought to myself - well, I made coffee, why not try biscuits?  That's what the pioneers did!  I dug out my trusty Westgate Alliance Church cookbook and found the biscuit recipe.  Nothing like a church cookbook to remind you of wonderful women from your past.  
Biscuits on the stove
Finished biscuits

Westgate Alliance Cookbook
Step four:  Keep cooking.  It was about an hour from lunch, but cooking on a wood burning stove takes time.  I decided to use up my bacon, eggs and spinach.  An hour later, not much had happened, so I fired up the barbeque and finished the job.  Mmm.  Eggs cooked in bacon grease.  Delicious!
I couldn't stop there.  I still had feta, eggs and spinach to use up, so I invented a recipe for spinach, feta muffins, using a church recipe for apple cheese muffins as my reference point.

Step five: Chop some wood.  A lot of our wood is too big for our stove, so I decided, while acting as a mountain woman, I should try my hand at chopping wood.  It was a fantastic workout and I was very warm, but shortly after this photo was taken, I quit.  The axe was firmly stuck in the wood and I couldn't get it out.  Something for Phil to do on his lunch break!

At this point, I thought I should reread my Grandpa's book on surviving in the North, but I never did get to that and will have to start another day in preparation for the next power outage.

Step six: Write some letters.  It was a bit lonely without a phone, twitter or facebook, so I took Julia Cameron's advice in her book The Right to Write and wrote to my sister and parents.  So glad I bought this sweet Jane Austen writing set from Scholastic book orders last year!


  1. our record is 5 days without power during winter - a couple of years ago - thankfully we had a propane heater and a camping stove. Didn't really have enough light to read during the evening for long,

    1. Yes, reading at night was difficult. I used a battery-powered lantern, but my eyes got tired quickly.

  2. It sounds like you had an adventurous day all thanks to no power. The magic of wonderful appeared in the stillness.

  3. Laura Ingalls Wilder for a day! Maybe I should teach you how to knit for those days? LOL It certainly sounds like you had a bit of an adventure, though. But I'd definitely grab a solar phone charger just in case for next time. You can use the flashlight app on your phone to read at night, too! It's a killer book light, I've been using it for that for about a year now, haha.

  4. What an adventurous day. We have been taking about heading out to the islands to do some camping and having our own adventure. We enjoyed your Christmas letter too.