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Friday, February 25, 2011

quieting the voices...



If you've been reading my blog for a while, or if you are one of those wonderful, crazy new followers that have told me that you've gone back to the beginning and read the whole thing  (xo to all of you!) then you know how much I love New England and how much I love living here. 
That said, there is one thing that I dislike HATE about it.........
power outages.


This morning we woke up to this winter wonderland!

 As much as I enjoy the beauty, there is this nagging little voice inside my head screaming...
"PLEASE DON'T LET THE POWER GO OUT!"


It was in our second winter here that we lived through what is now referred to in the media as the "ice storm of the century."  (the story is here)  While we were some of the "lucky" ones who only lost power for SIX days (some people were without power for over three weeks), it was still a very traumatic event.  We were living in a rent house while the farmhouse was being renovated, and our rent house's only source of heat was a tiny flame from a very lame gas fireplace with the temperatures getting down into the single-digits every night.  When we lived in Dallas we would have the occasional power outage and would gripe for days if the power had been out for 2 hours!!  So, needless to say six days was a really long time.  Last year we lost power for two days and then just last Saturday we were out for a full day. 

There are a lot of occasions in New Hampshire for power outages:  snow, ice, high winds, falling trees, etc...   When we renovated the farmhouse (and after the ice storm) we buried our electrical lines from the road, but that doesn't eliminate all the other factors around us. 
(I would also like to note for the record, that somehow Dan always seems to be out-of-town during these power outages..... hmmmmmm...)


So.... this week this little beauty was installed!  For those of you not familiar with this type of animal this is a whole-house generator that comes on automatically when the power goes out.
(This should make some of the voices in my head go away!!)
let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!


(I would also like to point out that Dan, with the help of Big Blue!, built the stone retaining wall behind the generator... it is still a work in progress!)


So, what's the longest you've ever been without power?!


64 comments:

  1. I am from Texas so our biggest threat to power is thunderstorms, lightning and tornados! In June of 2004(I think) we were without power for a week in 100 degree weather! My motto is you can always put on more clothes but you can never take off enough!

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  2. When we had our home in New Hampshire we were without power once for seventeen days!!!!!!!! I totally understand that issue!

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  3. My parents live in Montana and when I was visiting them one April (with my four children) they lost power for TWO WEEKS! Losing power is bad, but it's ten times worse with children. We got an old mattress and let them jump on it in the living room for entertainment!

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  4. When I was in highschool, in North-East Texas, we had a really bad icestorm. I don't remember the year exactly, but it was somewhere around 2000/2001. Our town was out of power for around 2 weeks, but our house was out for around 3. Our electrical box was damaged due to the weight of the ice.

    How NICE it must be to have the whole house generator installed!!

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  5. 5 days!! The temps in the house were in the 40's. Not fun. It was also close to Christmas and I remember it being the ugliest Christmas ever because of all the debris from the storm piled into the street for pick up. There was a big run on generators that year.

    -Rene

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  6. Not once have we had a problem with power outage in all the 17 years we've lived here. They have happened and the last time I remember one our towers were like beacons surrounded by darkness. I thought we had our own generators but apparently we do not. I've heard its because we're on the same part of the grid as the local hospital but that isn't very convincing.
    We live with a reasonable climate - short winters that are not too bad unless there is an ice storm or a heavy snow followed by a freeze - as this year and it closed the city for five days.

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  7. Fortunately we haven't been without power for more than a few hours. Having a generator is a great idea. Hopefully we'll start to pay attention to infrastructure in our country and upgrade the grids (SHEESH) Even if the grids were better having your own generator is still a great idea.

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  8. Are you going to paint it to match the house like you did the air conditioner in Dallas? :)

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  9. That's some generator!! Wow. we just have a bitty one in case of an earthquake... no snow her in California... although this new storm coming from Canada is supposed to bring some.. ya, we'll see!

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  10. Oh my! I hate to even say the longest I have been without power was only 4 days, and I thought I would die! That was pre-kids, don't know how I would handle it now! Though we kind of had a little taste on Sunday when husband cut the cable line in our back yard which meant no TV, internet or house phone until the repairman could get out on Tuesday! Teens were beside themselves!

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  11. We live south of you in Mass and during the ice storm lost power for 7 days. Unless you live thru something like that you have no idea what its like. We went out and bought a generator and had the house wired so all we have to do is plug that baby in. Ours isn't as grand as yours but as long as we have heat and a few lights that all I care about. btw-when can we see more house pics??

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  12. REALLY love the stone wall.....and I would absolutely have a generator too ....smiles

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  13. 9 days in 1996. Hurricane Fran ripped through NC and left all of Raleigh without power or the resources to get it back. No phone, no ice, no hot water, and no way to get out of the neighborhood. We had food spoiling faster than we could grill and eat it. Needless to say, we had early bedtimes, late mornings and we got to know our neighbors REALLY well. It was complicated, frustrating, but in the end, totally worth it.

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  14. Seven days during Hurricane Gloria in Connecticut - We had 11 horses in the barn at the time and the water supply was way down the hill and through the woods to a stream. We had to haul 11 water buckets twice a day up the hill from that stream for SEVEN DAYS. And we couldn't get out of the driveway for two of those seven days because of felled trees. FUN!! But that was a long time ago. In recent years we have been lucky not to have the power go out for more than half a day or so. I say this as we have torrential rain and whipping winds.

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  15. Ummm... and Roba Dolce ..or (spreading the love)...is also Karen of This Old House. Sorry. Forgot to log out of the other. *sigh*

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  16. We lost power last March for 5 days. We don't have a generator at this house - we did at the last and it was a godsend. So in March, we ended up with 5 figures worth of damage (this included downed trees) including much in the basement because the sump pumps couldn't run. I'm hoping we can install a generator this year, even if it's just for the basics and a few lights!

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  17. I certainly understand not liking it when power is out. It happened to us once for four days in 1998 after an ice storm. Awful, awful, awful. So glad you have a generator to keep things humming along.

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  18. Living in the south we have hurricanes. So, in Katrina we lost power for two weeks. We made the best of it and cooked outside on an open fire pit. The kids enjoyed the fun (back to natural kind of thing. But the next house we build it is going to have a generator. Happy for you with your new generator. :)

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  19. During an August visit to Martha's Vineyard, I was caught in Hurricane Bob. The entire island was out of power for 3 days. I spent a lot of time reading by candlelight. A generator is a fabulous idea!

    Cristine

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  20. Joan...
    You are now officially a NEW HAMPSHIRE YANKEE...
    Having lived thru the storms...and gained survival skills...yea to the generator!
    I still have my generator in storage and keeping my fingers crossed this evening! I was thrilled to have met you last weekend and looking forward to seeing you again.

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  21. We have just come back on to full power since our big flood on 13th January. We were without any power for 3 weeks. 3 weeks of cold showers... we were screaming through them... literally. 3 weeks of ice in the esky to keep the school lunch ingredients fresh. 3 weeks of dinner by miners lamps and candles. When that power came back on I actioned every electrical appliance I could find. Still waiting for lifts to get working again. I feel sorry for those on the 7th floor! Oooh you'd be feeling much safer with your wonderful generator. A-M xx

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  22. We were out 4/5 days during Hurricane Ike year before last. But we were blessed with cool weather for that time of the year. I just don't like having to sleep with windows open any more, did when I was a kid. Strange noises in the night. We have talked about the generator for hurricanes but haven't bitten yet. The wall AND the generator are both beautiful!! Stay warm!

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  23. We lost power one winter when our children were small but the worst part was losing use of the furnace when snow blew into the vent pipe. I knew it had to be removed so melted it with a hair dryer but then water ran into the furnace. It fixed itself once it dried but I now know that I should have found a shop vac to suck the snow out. Thank goodness we had a gas fireplace so one room was warm. (My husband thought he'd leave in the middle of this for a business trip. I informed him otherwise.)

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  24. We had a wind storm several years ago, and our power was out for 7 days. We then installed a generator much like yours and the power hasn't gone out since! =) Go figure!

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  25. Only for a day, but my kiddos were little and I remember having to be very creative to keep them occupied! Beautiful snowfall-- now you can really enjoy it. :)

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  26. Here in Germany, most all of the power lines are underground and in the twelve years we've lived here, and had many winter storms, hubby and I cannot remember ever going through a power outage. I'm with you on this one; I'm a total wimp when it gets cold. We went w/out power for in TN once for about 24 hours ~ we were wimpy through the whole experience and I never want to do that again. :-)

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  27. First the pictures are spectacular but theres no denying its been a brutal winter for all of us! Storms are the worst and outages are the mother of all crisis's! No TV, no internet...what no computer!!!! I go nuts!!!! The silver lining is how much they make you appreciate all the little things we all take for granted..smart move getting a generator! Spring is only a month away.....that is my daily mantra:)

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  28. I'm one of those crazies that went back and read from the beginning once I discovered your blog! Our newest house came with a generator - yahoo! We're the only ones around here with light when the power goes out. That is so fabulous that you added one and those stone walls are just gorgeous!!!

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  29. I can remember a terrible ice storm when I was a kid where we didn't have power for several days. We all went to my grandmother's trailer because she had a (pink) propane oven that we used for heat. We all slept side by side on the living room floor. Obviously before carbon monoxide detectors.

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  30. Hi! I just came to this site; my name is María and I write from Spain (sorry for my english). I belong to those "crazy new followers that have gone back to the beginning" and read the whole blog in less than a week. I found it really interesting and I have learned a lot from your experiences.
    And concerning the power outages, thanks God we don't have many big storms in Madrid, where I live, so may be we have been without power a couple of hours, at least in recent times; I think we cannot complain...

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  31. Oh how wonderful, it is on my list, we do once in awhile have the power go out and like you hubby seems to be away !!!

    Would you mind mentioning where you got it ??

    Thanks so much,
    Kathy

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  32. During the recent floods I was without power for 6 days. We also couldn't buy the basics like ice, bread, milk etc. I have chooks and a gas cooktop so we ate quite a few eggs and barbecued a lot. I also have gas hot water. A few of the neighbours would come around for a cuppa and a shower. One day a neighbour, who I had never met, scored bread and shared it with the neighbourhood. It was quite the bonding experience. But you could hear the cheers from everyone when the power came back on.

    TDM x

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  33. Your photos are beautiful.. what a wonderful view & porch.. and I love your generator.. I've been trying to convince my other half to get one for years.. but he doesnt see the need.. manoman.. we needed one when the grid went down a few years ago.. We were only in the dark about 2-3 days but that was long enough. Thankfully most everything from the freezer survived just fine.

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  34. Maria- I said "WONDERFUL", crazy new followers!!!":) I am so honored that you have read the whole blog! thank you!

    Kathy- we purchased the generator through Home Depot, who then contracts with a local company for installation.

    KimH- I would read "quintessence" comment on this post to your dear husband.. I think it speaks volumes in terms of the money saved!

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  35. Hi Joan,
    Well, two-three? years ago Hurricane Ike left the Spring, TX area north of Houston, out for two weeks!! Our brand new generator kept on one light, a bedroom window air con, and the fridge. AND my husband's favorite hurricane foods all involve beans...uh, huh! I was ready to leave for NH, but planes weren't flying. Next time I'm gone! We hope to install one of those big generator babies in NH. But as we all said, hot and dark is better than cold and dark!! Temp here today is 80. Sorry!
    Holly

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  36. Our last home in the Northeast was in a town that had great pride in all of its very large and very old trees. And at least one of those great old trees would fall in a summer storm and we would go through a summer blackout with no a/c.
    We have no memory of a winter blackout.
    We have memories of the winter when we had approximately 17 storms, one after the other, where cars were completely buried in snow.. but even then, there was no blackout.
    Maybe the wires were all underground?
    Well, you have given me one good tip for the day- if/when we move to a little house in the country, we will get a gigantic generator like your big blue thing.
    besitos .. Ella is sleeping with you, isn't she ? :)

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  37. We lived in another house during the aftermath of Hurricane Isabel, and we were without power for a week. We had a small generator (the last one in town, bought the day before the storm) that kept a light or two on, and ran the refrigerator and the sump pump. As bad as it was for us to lose power for 7 whole days ... our back door neighbors had to wait ANOTHER week to have their power restored. When our power came back on, we took our generator to their house to make their life a little bit easier.

    Here at our old house in the county, we lose power often enough for us to now have a much larger generator now ... and a switch box wired so we can use the generator to run the household necessities (like the WELL PUMP!) and a couple of other circuits. This is part of country living, and we're doing the best we can ... I LOVE your solution!

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  38. Smart, smart, smart! The windstorms here in the PNW knock the power out all-the-time...and it's very annoying...but we've never had it out more than a day, your six sounds like a nightmare, and the others, well...that's just wrong!
    Enjoy your new power buddy!
    xo J~

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  39. Very smart. Hope you have an electricity filled remainder of the women!

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  40. Maybe a day? Nothing like you've dealt with! When we lived here the first time, they were doing renovations at the metro on our block which made household "services" randomly go off-like the time I had just lathered my hair up with shampoo and the water was turned off. NICE. And I think it's the law- the guys go away and all goes haywire!

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  41. Hello Joan, Dan and Ella: Beautiful pictures! I was sitting here reading a book for book club and needed a break, so thought I'd pop over to your blog. It is just what I needed! As always, your pictures are beautiful and I love the stone wall...so New England. We have been fortunate, here, with only losing power for only a few hours...thank goodness. I heard that last Sat. some of our neighborhood lost power, but we didn't.

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  42. Same ice storm of the century as you...NINE OF THE LONGEST DAYS OF MY LIFE! Love that stone wall Dan is building and I'm going to have to show Rick, he'll love it! (But be forwarned Rick could end up on your doorstep wanting a first hand look see with Dylan!)

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  43. I must have been living under a rock not to have found your blog before now. I am the newest kid on your block of followers!!! My dear friend moved to NH 2 years ago,I am sending her your link, I just know she would love to follow along your wonderful journey!! Love your blog,KS

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  44. Our power was off just 3 hours in our little town. But a family friend with 3 daughter's lost theirs for 4 days. The girls got quickly very tired of "playing Amish." Isn't that cute? Peggy

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  45. Where we live, we can get terrible ice storms in Winter and thunderstorms and tornadoes in the Summer months. The scariest so far was a tornado last June that hit a little too close to home and put our power out for about 24 hours. Thankfully, only a couple buildings were severely damaged, no residential homes. You have a lovely blog. I'll be back to visit again. :)

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  46. Joan, when I was a child we lost power for a week when we had an ice storm here in Georgia. I was miserable and cold.

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  47. Six days is majorly impressive.....a couple was enough for me! xv

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  48. oh good girl... we had that same generator installed last year... no power and frozen pipes did it for us..

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  49. six days!! i would have gone mad! we were without for 2 days a couple years ago and it was not pleasant, especially with a baby in the house. looks like you are all set for the next time. which probably won't be for a LONG time now - Murphy's Law and all!! :)
    Tessa

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  50. Without power for two weeks in Key West 12 years ago after a big storm then without again for 7 days after the big storm that hit the Oregon Coast a few years ago! We always seem to make the best of it, camping out in the living room or cooking meals outside over a fire pit. But what a relief to me when the power finally returned...to the kids it was always the end of an adventure and back to school!

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  51. Although we live inland four and a half hours from the coast we get the high winds from hurricanes in the fall. When hurricane Ivan came through we were without power for nine days. It was so humid and in the eighties and nineties it was miserable and conveniently my husband was out of town and I was home with two small children running out to get bags of ice. We have a small generator now.

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  52. Eight days after Hurricane Charley. about 4 nights into it I looked at the thermometer and it wass 95 degrees in my livingroom @ 9pm.

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  53. I cannot imagine it,we occasionally lose power but only for hours never as long as you and the other commentors(is that a word) I could not cope,so glad you have the generator, I would say ots a must:)

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  54. The longest we've been without power is 7 days. We have a generator, but it doesn't come on automatically, and it is used to power the fridge and the pump - no lights or TV etc. I have the same little voice in my head!

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  55. I'm jealous! Not over your weather, but that generator. We don't have power issues as often as you guys here in Georgia, but it does happen. After an outage last year due to summer storms which lasted four days, I was searching for a generator - but then decided we didn't have this problem enough to justify the expense. Then this year we've had two separate outages due to snow. So, I'm rethinking my decision!

    www.ajbarnesonline.blogspot.com

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  56. Hurricane Isabel- 10 days. I left town for 4 of them...but still I recall the crazy of it all. Thank goodness for wonderful friends with power and an open door.

    So glad you're safe guarded now!

    hugs-
    Carolyn

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  57. we live in NH too :-) so I remember the ice storm of Dec 2008. really put a kink in my Christmas plans! I was supposed to have a party the day the lights went out, grrrrrrr! I think we were out for about 3 days that time.

    Feb (or March?) 2010...dunno, it's a blur now; we were out for FIVE days. yes, we had a generator but you can only do so much with that...it was such a pain!!

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  58. I don't blame you a bit...it's a necessity where you live!!

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  59. So glad you now have a back-up! One less thing to worry about.

    Have a great week!
    Heather

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  60. I remember the blizzard of '78 as the longest I've ever been without power. I had to XC ski downtown to get dog food and all they had was Dinty Moore beef stew for him! There was no bread, no milk, etc. I remember reading The Shining by candlelight and being scared to death!! It lasted for days :)

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  61. Smart thinking...now you never have to worry about a power outage again! So far here in the middle of no-where ;) we haven't had a power outage in the winter. In spring and summer when the storms come we could loose power but it's not the same thing. You may not use this very often but I'm sure it will be VERY appreciated when it's needed. Congrats!
    Maura :)

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  62. First, your home is so lovely, beautiful, welcoming, inspiring.. I could go on and on with adjectives!! Thanks for sharing with us!
    We were without power for about 1 week during an ice storm back in 2009. I bailed out and went to stay with my parents! I think the generac is a great investment and wish we had one. I have never been north of NYC but have always dreamed of living in new England. I am keeping my fingers crossed that I win the HGTV dream home in Vermont this year ;)

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  63. I've just started reading your blog and came across this entry and had to comment. We live in Connecticut, and in the past 3 months lost power for 5 days due to a hurricane Irene and 7 days due to a fall snowstorm (15 inches in October!) Ugh, it is awful! Like you, I always get that nervous feeling whenever it storms... what if the power goes out? We have finally gotten a portable generator, so I can relax a bit, but I would love to have a whole house generator like you have.

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  64. anon- first of all, welcome!
    and secondly I am so sorry for all the outages you have had in CT the last couple of months. Y'all really have gotten the brunt of it and just this week saw a segment about a lawsuit due to all the outages. You'll be able to sleep much better knowing you have a generator ready to go. Thank you your comment, and here's to no more outages for any of us for a very long time!

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