Thursday, November 15, 2012

The wind storm

According to the weather channel it's 65 outside right now with winds at about 5 miles per hour.  I'm not sure where they are getting their readings because it no way reflects what's happening at my house.  It's about 50 and the winds are steady 10 mph with gusts in up to 20.  I know.  I have my weather machine.  Or perhaps I'm just in a dream state and don't really know what's going on.  After all, about 1/2 hour ago PG&E (our power company) called with an automated call letting me know that my power is out and will be restored in about 3 hours.  The call told me to press 9 if I knew of downed power lines.  It may be windy but my power is on.  Not even a little flicker have we had to disrupt the microwave clock. 

I have the wood stove burning even though the Great Central Valley has a no burn day.  That's right, our air district tells us when we are allowed to burn wood in our fireplaces or wood stoves.  And they have a toll free number that your neighbors can call anonymously and rat you out.  The burn police then show up at your door and give you a ticket with a fine of $50 for the first offense and a couple hundred if you keep ignoring them.  Never mind that you just want to get warm.  Fortunately for me, if you live on acreage and you use propane you don't fall under their restrictions.  I can burn whenever I want.  Not only that, but I can have a bonfire outside and burn brush debris, even though that's not allowed due to air regulations.  All you have to do is call it a warming fire.  Or in the case of my kids, they can have their friends over and call the debris burn a bonfire for a party.  Then it's all legal.  When the government first started in with these no-burn day rules they made sure everyone knew that they would only have one or two no-burn days per year.  People didn't protest too much.  They even had a test run for a year before the regulation took effect.  Amazing that during the test year there were hardly any no-burn days.  Now, it's several times per week that they call for no-burning. 

Not only is it cold but we are supposed to get some rain tonight and some more tomorrow.  Because of this I have the laundry on the inside laundry rack in front of the fire.  I have a clothesline strung across one of the dining room chairs over to the patio door handle.  I still don't feel like using the propane drier or even turning on the house heater.  I know I'll be using both next week when we have company because I don't push my ways on visitors.  I may be comfortable wearing a stocking cap in the house all day and a sweatshirt on top of my long sleeves, most people don't dress like that in their homes. 

I was talking to my daughter-in-law the other day and she said that during the winter they keep their house near 80 and during the summer around 70.  The 80 sounds good during the winter, especially since the bug-out house has such a great wood stove.  But 70 in the summer is downright cold!  They have $300 a month electric bills for their air conditioner for a 1000 square feet.  Unbelievable!  Us, our house is usually 85 during the summer and 65 during the winter.  I figure that's 20 degrees cooler than the outside temps during the summer and 20 degrees warmer than the outside temps during the winter. 

If TSHTF and there weren't any utilities, would you have enough propane to last forever?  No, it would eventually run out.  How about wood?  Do you have a wood source that is close by?  And something to cut it with?  Here on our main property I could probably cut 1/3 cord of wood every year from our fruit trees.  It's not a lot but it would keep the place warm enough during the coldest of days.  (blankets keep us warm during the nights)  What about cooking and heating water?  If you have something like a little rocket stove you can cook with twigs.  We can scrounge enough of that to cook forever.  At the bug-out place, there's enough wood to use the wood stove whenever necessary and the property is only a couple hundred feet off the National Forest so there's a huge supply really close by. 

About half the leaves are still on the trees.  Hopefully the wind will blow most of them off.  We need to get them raked up and some put into the chicken coop and the rest go out to the sheep to eat.  Perhaps this weekend the wind will stop blowing and the rain will stop drizzling. 

I didn't feel like cooking tonight even though I got home from work early.  Instead I filled the rice cooker with 2 cups of dry white rice, four cups of water, 4 teaspoons of instant beef broth mix, cut up the leftover beef from the last two weeks (about 1/2 cup total meat), a dehydrated 1 pound package of frozen stir-fry vegetables, the last of our fresh zucchini sliced in thin rings, and a couple dashes of soy sauce.  20 minutes later, delicious dinner, with 2 minutes of prep time.   

1 comment:

  1. The Burn Police and Air district are an irritant to us also. WE have a pollution problem and the #1 reason isn't being limited in some way because it is politically a touchy subject with people? So we limit fires, and people go along with it. Sometimes we deserve what we get. Isn't that Karma?

    We have friends with orchards and have access to their trimmings. Mostly olive and plum, which both burn hot.

    It will be interesting if the power goes down on the Central Valley like it has in NY/NJ.