Sunday, March 3, 2024

In like a lion

Whew. March has come in like a lion! Let me catch you up on the last few days.

We knew we were going to be hit by a storm on Thursday with high wind and heavy rain. We were used to high winds in our last home, but it's far rarer here in our current place. The weather report said power outages were "expected." Accordingly, we battened down the hatches.

This meant catching up on laundry...

...bringing in the high-profile cushions from the porch rockers (except, crucially, the seat cushions with I naively thought would be fine) ...

...and filling water containers. We always keep stored water, of course, but I filled up two 50-gallon barrels in the barn (we drain them during the colder months lest they freeze) and topped off some water pitchers in the kitchen.

Don, meanwhile, is in the process of building a shed next to the barn. He frantically worked to get the roof on before the storm came in. He got as far as getting the plywood on top and the tar paper nailed down, but that was it.

The storm rolled in just at the start of my workweek, when I'm literally glued to the computer for three days of 11-hour days. For this reason, when we first moved into this house and realized how unreliable the power grid is during any adverse weather, we have full battery and internet backups for my laptop.

The rain held off, but the wind picked up, stronger and stronger. Sure enough, about 10:30 am Thursday morning – long before the wind even reached its peak – the power went out. I plugged my computer into the battery backup...

...and connected into the wireless hotspot (since our regular internet was down).

My workday proceeded fairly normally, just doing my online job, but Don and Older Daughter were trapped in the house and frankly bored. Don couldn't do any of the outdoor projects he wanted, and Older Daughter couldn't get any work done on the shop tools (since they're electric). They got a lot of reading done.

The wind was the highest we've ever seen here. This little outdoor carpet on the back porch kept getting blown off – literally – so I finally anchored it with a bag of dog food.

We have a small table on wheels on the front porch, and we forgot to lock the wheels. A gust sent the table spinning into the rails...

...and flung both a snow shovel (that had been leaning against it) and a thermometer (that had been resting on top it) to the ground below.

And it ripped off all – all! – of the tar paper Don had stapled to the roof of the new shed off. We saw pieces everywhere.

Around 3 pm, the rain moved in, and it grew so dark outside that it seemed like evening. This is how dark it was inside the house.

When evening came, we lit lamps.

We wiled away the evening reading books and talking. Because it was chilly on her side of the house, Older Daughter opened the connecting door and let Frumpkin (her cat) wander around.

The next morning, concerned that the refrigerator was getting too warm, Don used our Bluetti to power the fridge for an hour or so, just long enough to bring the inside temp back to safe levels.

He did the same thing to the chest freezer.

Then he hauled out the old military generator we bought from a neighbor a few years ago, and recharged the Bluetti. It wasn't really that the Bluetti needed recharging so much as Don wanted to see how well it worked to recharge the battery pack. (Short answer: very well.) We've bought new generators over the years, but nothing beats this old workhorse. As with any power outage, it's a good opportunity to test our preps.

The yard was soggy with the previous day's downpour, and littered with branches.

The wind had ripped the netting off the blueberries and peach trees, and toppled the cattle panels. We got out there and pulled everything back together.

As the day progressed, since Don was listening to the scanner, we learned power had been restored everywhere except around our place. Sure enough, late Friday afternoon we saw the power company's vehicles driving around the neighborhood, as if looking for the source of the disruption. (For the record, these workers are among the greatest unsung heroes of our society.)

Thanks to their dedicated efforts, power was restored around 2:30 on Friday. Suddenly life was back to normal.

For a couple hours, anyway. Late in the afternoon, a sudden microburst of wind hit us so hard, the house literally shook. It picked up one of the porch rockers and flung it across the deck.

The seat cushion was blown to the ground below. Note to self: Next time, remove all the seat cushions when it's windy.

Things were calm for about 24 hours. In the interim, we made sure our battery packs were re-charged.

Then last night, after dark, a sudden burst of rain started dumping on us. The temperature dropped and the rain turned to snow, blowing sideways in the wind. Within half an hour, three inches of snow had been plastered everywhere.

This morning revealed another winter landscape, and the temperature had dropped to 22F.

I should add that none of this weather drama – outside of Thursday's wind and rain – was predicted. Go figure.

So yeah, March is coming in like a lion. But hey, at least we're not in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, where people are experiencing a blizzard described as "as bad as it gets."


  1. What crazy weather! What model of Bluetti do you have for your backup? Thank you!

  2. Here in the pan handle not that much wind around here (our house) but it rained at least 2 straight days making this wonderful clay soil slimy as it can get. Then of course the snow fall that I would say was at least 8 inches. Everything held up. Maybe because there is a mountain on each side of us that will break up the wind. Though we have had some wind gusts in the past that were pretty horrific. Most of our power outages have been due to a branch that fell on a power line. It as a yearly event. A few years back there was such a strong wind storm that trees along the side of the exit road were toppled like a bunch of Lincoln Logs. Trees criss crossing on the road along with all the lines down. We have a generator that is hooked to our grid handy but. spendy. Seeing that tar paper all over is a heart break, good thing the roof wasn't blown off.

  3. We got some of the snow also and high winds for us, about 25-30 mph. Mu SIL laughs when I tell her that since she regularly gets 40-50 mph and when they say windy there they are talking over 60. Glad I live on this side of the Mississippi!

  4. Over on another blog, Doug and Stacy, Doug has fussed a lot about strange weather and his "conspiracy theory" that all the chemtrails criss crossing the skies were seeding the clouds to do things to the weather. A couple weeks ago he found an article confirming it and posted it online.(I only read transcripts because so many of these videos waste your time with endless blather. Reading it takes a small fraction of the time) Like we don't have enough on our plates without weather experiments using chemicals.

    I'm sorry that hit ya'll , but it has become normal. I have a bunch of rechargeable lights so it's not as dark as your house. They were cheap in the hardware section of Walmart and have lasted me years.
    Bluetti keeps having big sales on. Well worth watching out for. I'm going to get something like an AC200 max. You can plug a couple of batteries to it to get up to 8 kwts of pass through charging. I think most of their products have pass through charging, which means you can use it for power while charging it via solar, or 6 other ways. They even have smaller systems with smaller backup batteries.
    One of the beauties of bluetti is that you can get one piece, then another, and just build your system as you can afford it. And they can be recharged 3500 times. You could recharge once a day for ten whole years. I've been studying this a long time and bluetti is what I want.
    The Texas wildfires are being blamed on a utility. It's getting to be time to finish up getting off the grid.
    The nice thing about power outages is that electrical "hum, or buzz" we've gotten used to, disappears. Something in my body seems to give a sigh of relief. I want all that electricity has to offer except that buzz.

    1. How do you get just the transcripts for doug and Stacy is that thru you tube?

    2. Yes. Their videos are very long. I click on the word "more" under the caption, and pause the video, then scroll down and click on transcript. Faster and saves on data which in my area I still have to buy. No wifi.
      Since stumbling on that I rarely watch any video any more. I do subscribe and hit the like button for everything I read.
      Sometimes it doesn't work and I don't know why. But most of the time it does.

  5. I just love a good weather story. Glad to hear y’all survived fairly unscathed. As I mentioned before on your blog, in a list of books that I highly recommend, David Laskin’s non-fiction book, The Children’s Blizzard, is an un-put-downable account of the tragic 1888 winter storm that killed hundreds. I always describe the book as a cross between Into Thin Air, The Perfect Storm, and Little House on the Prairie.

    Anyone else have any good book recommendations, fiction, or non-fiction, where weather is a large part of the story?

  6. Too bad it took off the tar paper. If I put up one pillow, I would put them all up. At least your damage was minimal.

  7. Hi Patrice,
    I was wondering if you could write a future blog post or tell us in the comments a little more about your Bluetti? Like what model yours is and what appliances/tools you use your Bluetti to power in your home?
    Always enjoy reading your blog! =)
    J.W. in Oregon