Powerless Wind

Monday, November 18

We made it through the windy night without incident.

We made it through the windy morning without incident.

Then, shortly after 10:00 a.m. the power shut down, with a bang.

Investigation of the immediate power lines and transformer revealed no problems.

Every hour a call was made to the hydro power outage report line, but it was completely unresponsive until after 2:30 p.m., when it was finally answered. I was informed that no one from this neighbourhood had reported a power outage. Absentee summer residents seldom do report these things, as they are not here, so that did not come as a surprise.

“Tens of thousands of people are without power, over a widespread area”, it said. Repair crews would be working in areas that affected the most people first, then work down the list until all hydro service was restored. We will be on the very bottom of that list, so who knows when power will be restored here!

I have some reserve power on this computer, so I can type this entry. Soon enough though, the battery power will run out.

I am spending my day puttering about with filing and putting away this and that. Mostly though, I am reading my book, and falling asleep in front of the warm and cozy fire in the masonry heater. The masonry heater was the best investment we ever made, without it the power outage would have meant no heat.

We have our candles and flashlights ready for a night without electric light.

As the progresses, the temperature is dropping and it is beginning to snow. It drifts down slowly and is occasionally whipped into a horizontal fury when the wind gusts.

Tuesday, November 19

After spending a quiet evening by candlelight, we retired to our dreams. The wind continued through the night.

The morning brought sunny skies, with only a slight breeze blowing to move the branches of the hemlock tree outside the dining room window.

But the power was still out. Another call to the power outage hotline revealed that power would be restored by four in the afternoon. Sure enough, around 2:00 p.m. the hydro boom truck arrived on the street, and a hydro pickup truck. The workers proceeded to remove a tree that had fallen across the lines, in front of our neighbours house. By four the hydro was on. What a relief!

I immediately began to cook the steak that Attila had taken out of the freezer early on Monday morning. It had been thawed when the power went out, then stored in the cooler downstairs.

There are several worries when the power fails here, luckily heat is not one of them. But the freezers and the refrigerator contents are of concern; we must be diligent about not opening those appliances when the power is out. The other, less serious, but more annoying, problem is that the water pump will not work without electricity. That means no water, no bathes, no toilet flushing, no dishes… well, I am sure you get the picture. Attila fills up jugs of water at the public water supply in town, which does not need electricity, and we cope. Not having running water is a game changer though!

And of course, there is no internet, and no computer available without electricity.

I spent a pleasant, powerless day. I read a book, and rearranged the furniture.

Tonight the temperature is dropping to -10C, which is colder than it has been for the last few weeks. Thank goodness the masonry heater is charged and ready to face the winter!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

Monday
Offline today, temperature 4C at 3:00 p.m., snowing, wind gusting to probably as much as 90 km an hour.

Tuesday
-8°C
Date: 9:00 PM EST Tuesday 19 November 2013
Condition: Clear
Pressure: 103.1 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: -7.5°C
Dewpoint: -9.2°C
Humidity: 88%
Wind: N 4 km/h
Wind Chill: -10

Quote

“Every man must dree his own weird.”
Oscar Wilde

Mincemeat

Attila and I donned our glad rags last night and headed off to our evening out at the restaurant. The experience exceeded expectations on all counts, and we both had a lovely time. Good company makes all the difference! The restaurant staff were wonderful. Attila said the food was great. We both ordered a drink, which came with the meal, and Attila ordered what I was drinking; and then gave me his drink so that I would have two drinks to nurse for the evening. Attila’s employers are wonderful people, no doubt about it.

We have always had a good time at this annual event, and it will be something to look forward to next year. I might even keep my eyes open for a new outfit! But probably not!

Today we dedicated our time to mincemeat production. I love mincemeat. The mincemeat sold in the grocery stores has preservatives in it, every single brand on the market. No shortcuts for me! If I want to have mincemeat at Christmas, I have to make it myself. So today was the day. Attila peeled the apples, the Spy apples I bought a few weeks ago. I prepared the rest of the ingredients, washing raisins and currants carefully to ensure that no traces of preservatives remained. We made two batches, three one quart mason jars to a batch, for a total of seven mason jars of mincemeat. The extra jar was what was leftover from the first and second batch, and that jar will be consumed this week.

After the mincemeat was jarred and refrigerated, we set off to do errands in town. It is a 70 km round trip to go to the bank, or the grocery store. We like to get as much done as possible while we are there, because every trip is costly, in terms of time, and fuel for the car.

Arriving home again, we began to prepare for the wind storm, due to arrive this evening or overnight. Dinner was put in the oven early, so that it would be cooked before the stormy weather arrived. The aroma of baked a squash, and sweet potatoes filled the room.

High winds, here in the country, often mean power outages. We set out candles at the ready, setup a cooler with basics like milk, and of course the masonry heater was well charged, and easily kept so.

So here it is evening and the rain and the wind have arrived. We have our fingers crossed that we will not lose any of our trees. There are concerns locally about flooding, but luckily we are high and dry. There are advantages to not living in a building built right at the water’s edge.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

WIND WARNING IN EFFECT – up to 90 km gusts possible
12C
Date: 4:00 PM EST Sunday 17 November 2013
Condition: Cloudy
Pressure: 100.2 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: 12.1°C
Dewpoint: 10.9°C
Humidity: 92%
Wind: SSE 26 gust 37 km/h

Strong southerly winds have developed ahead of a cold front over Southwestern Ontario. Winds of 50 gusting up to 80 km/h have been reported in a few places. Behind the cold front, very strong southwesterly winds with much colder air will blast in late this evening and into Monday morning with winds gusting up to 90 km/h or above. A few gusts of 100 km/h or more are possible in regions near the Great Lakes and higher ground, such as Southern Niagara, Picton and the Dundalk Highlands.

The low pressure system originally from Colorado is near Whitefish Bay. The associated cold front will reach Southwestern Ontario very soon then blast east across the remainder of the regions tonight. Very strong southwesterly winds with much colder air will affect much of the Southwestern and South Central Ontario.

Quote

“Seek not, my soul, the life of the immortals; but enjoy to the full the resources that are within thy reach.”
Pindar
522 BC – 443 BC

Wind Storm

Friday, November 1, 2013

November has swept in with a great flourish of energy!

The wind arrived just after 7:00 a.m. this morning, just after Attila left for work. Immediately, within seconds of the first serious gust, the power flickered off, long enough to power down all appliances and clocks in the house. It will be along day where I work, because there is no generator, and the whole business is run from one wonky computer, which is challenging under ideal conditions. Still, no matter, I will be paid for my time, so I’ll be off to work this morning, power or no.

The MacBook Air will work for hours from the battery, so I will need to conserve power and use it judiciously. However, the internet connection is entirely dependent upon electricity, and so all wireless connection with the outside world will cease.

In the time it has taken to write this part of the entry, the wind gusts have increased in intensity. Small objects can be heard hitting the windows and chimney, probably leaves and the last remaining seed pods that have been clinging to the trees.

By 7:30 a.m. the power was cutting out completely for a few minutes, then coming back on, then cutting out again just minutes later. It is difficult to get ready for work in these conditions. It isn’t full light yet, and the house is quite dark without the lights. Also the water pump will not run without electricity, so no power, no water. I do as much as I can in the way of preparation for the day, when the power is briefly on. Being an early riser provides ample time for schedule setbacks. The drive to work should be interesting.

Already a great branch from the neighbours dead birch tree has crashed to the ground. Our front yard is littered with stubborn dead oak branches, which have finally agreed to return to the earth.

Keep safe Attila, out there in all that wind!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Terra and Lares dropped by our little house in the city and checked things over for wind damage. No damage, thank goodness.

Terra sent me a photo of her kitchen counters, which I thought were brand new from looking at the picture. However, they are the old kitchen counters which she refinished with a kit from Walmart, and they look amazing! Terra is one handy girl.

I worked Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Thursday I was in charge of an office, things went smoothly. Friday I worked at a location which is always unpleasant. I wrote some details about that experience here, then deleted them with glee, be gone! Saturday I was once again in charge of an office, things went smoothly.

I have been spending a lot of time with my three remaining computers, since the fourth, the iBook, crashed and burned. Saturday afternoon and all day yesterday, Sunday, I had all three of them fired up and was busy moving files, and backing things up.

Nerdy Computer Stuff

I have been spending a lot of time with my three computers, since the fourth, the iBook, crashed and burned. There are three remaining computers, an old G4 desktop, an iMac, and the MacBook Air. After upgrading the operating system to Mavericks, the latest, on the MacBook Air, a lot of issues have arisen. Mavericks is not soup yet!

The ability to backup data has been severely compromised in the new Mavericks. Hundreds of Mac users have lost their backup data in failed external drives, which were working perfectly until they upgraded their operating systems. I have been affected less severely, so far. I am working through glitch after glitch after glitch with the new Mavericks. Luckily, all the files on my external backup drives are also on the computer hard drives. It will take about two solid weeks to reorganize the three computers, and adequately back everything up. That is, if Mavericks doesn’t corrupt my new backup drive!

An additional problem at the country house, the electrical power supply, from Hydro One. It cuts out almost every day, sometimes for a short time, often for minutes to hours to days at a time. When you are working with multiple connected computers and backup drives, these power failures cause quite a ruckus. Last Wednesday a power failure completed wiped out the second partition on a Firewire La Cie drive I was using to make a backup. I lost all the data on that partition. Some of it will have been backed up to DVD, and some of it is gone for good.

Just after 10:00 this morning the power cut out again, while I was backing up the iMac on the external Firewire drive. Hydro One cannot blame the weather, the skies are sunny, there is no wind. I think they should be reducing our bills accordingly, considering they cannot supply a reliable electrical supply. They are the only game in town though, so we are stuck with them.

My fingers are crossed that when the power comes back on, the computer is booted up, and the external backup drive examined, that my data will still be there.

I either stop using computers here in the country, or buy an electrical power bar that will allow me lead time to disconnect external drives and shut down computers before the power cuts out. Sigh.

Attila spent his day off work cutting wood for transport. We buy our wood for renovation projects near our country house, to support local business here, and take advantage of a few local deals. (We buy our food near the little house in the city to support business there, and take advantage of a few local deals.) The size of our car limits what we can transport. Attila measures and cuts the wood for projects, purchased here in the country, so that the carefully cut pieces will fit into our car for transport to the little house in the city.

There were a few sunny days this past week, and they provided a window of opportunity to get the leaves raked. After the wind storm there were quite a few small branches to pick up as well. No trees were lost at the country house, during this last storm.

The close of the day and this post has arrived. Here in the bush we will eat our dinner, and sit reading in front of the evening fire.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

2°C
Date: 5:00 PM EST Monday 4 November 2013
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 103.4 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: 1.8°C
Dewpoint: -4.2°C
Humidity: 65%
Wind: SE 13 gust 28 km/h

Quote

“In Canada, the Liberals think the glass is half full, the NDP think the glass is half empty, and the Conservatives think the glass is theirs.”

Maggie Turner, 2013