Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Day 26 - Go Off The Grid

Several years ago, I believe it was 2005-2006, we had an ice storm.  It was baaaad.  While the town 15 miles away got some ice, they didn't get what we did.  We lost power for several days.  I would have loved to take my family into town to stay at my uncle's house, but it was impossible to get there.  We barely made it to the in-laws' house 5 miles away.

Why did we leave the safety and coldness of our own home?  Because they had an attached garage, and a wood stove in that garage.  There were 11 of us living in a 2-bedroom house for about 3 days (my sis-in-law & her family were there, too).  That 5 mile drive was one of the longest and scariest drives of my life.  The road was covered in ice, so we didn't dare go any faster than about 20 miles/hour.  And, as if the ice wasn't bad enough, the phone/electric poles had snapped in half, so we were also trying to avoid the poles and lines on the road.

Even though almost all of us have gas heating, our thermostats are electric.  Jeremy, the boys, and I slept, huddled together, under a pile of blankets, in two twin beds pushed together, and we were still cold.  I don't think it ever got above 0 degrees the entire time we were at the in-laws'.


My father-in-law & oldest nephew slept out in the garage to keep the wood stove loaded.  It helped a bit, especially when they got the garage up to 105 degrees!

We spent our 2005-2006 New Year's Eve in the garage, and we all went to bed by 9:00, because we got bored!  That made me realize how much we depend on electronics to entertain us.  Don't get me wrong.  I love the internet, Netflix, and my ipod, but we learned some valuable lessons.

Despite the cold, the boys had a blast.  Well, Bug did.  Awesome was only 20 months old at the time.  He seemed to have a fun time, though!  We all dug out our cast iron pots & pans so we could cook on the wood stove in the garage.  I think we ate better during that ice storm than we had in a long time.  When you cook with cast iron, you have no choice but to cook with real food!  We played several board games, and spent a lot of time just chatting and hanging out.

Since then, J, the boys, and I try going off the grid one or two evenings a month.  All electricity (except what is needed for heating and cooling) is shut off.  When it gets dark, we light candles, and we just hang out.  We do what we did during that storm.  Just play games and hang out.  Sometimes, I teach Bug & Awesome a simple song on the piano, too.  It's just a good time, and it really helps us reconnect and grow as a family.

Going off the grid is not only beneficial to the environment, but it is a great way to recharge our family.

*I took several pictures during that ice storm, but I'm not sure if I have any on a CD.  I'll look, and will upload any if I can find them.

3 comments:

  1. I was just passing by and thought id stop to say hello. I'm checking new blogs today, and i hope you folks are enjoying the fall weather like we are having here in Pennsylvania. Richard from the Amish community of Lebanon county.

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  2. I know exactly what you mean! We lost power in 2007 for 12 days during an ice storm. I went outside videoing the ice and its eery to watch and hear the tree's just snapping for the weight of the ice all around us.

    We luckily had a generator to keep our frozen foods good and a wood stove to heat with and cook on. The best part was the family time and finding things to keep us all occupied without all our electronic gadgets. To this day when we lose power our kids get excited and want to play board games! Just a good reminder how we all need to make family time more of a priority without our "gadgets!"

    Following you on FB. :)

    Clydia {threemangoseeds.blogspot.com}

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  3. Hi Richard! Thanks for stopping by! We have been lucky to have a pretty mild fall so far. We'll know it's a good fall if we don't get snow before the end of October! I've never been to Pennsylvania, but I bet your trees are gorgeous this time of year!

    Hi Clydia! Thanks for following! There's nothing quite like a good ice storm to put things into perspective, is there? I agree, hearing the trees snapping is kind of freaky. When I was taking pictures, it was eerily quiet, except for the trees cracking and falling.

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Thanks for stopping by!

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