Quote of the Day

‘A house is not a home unless it contains food and fire for the mind as well as the body.’  -Benjamin Franklin

Who is the boss?

I live in the Pacific Northwest. Severe weather is not unknown up here. On January 20, 1990 (the day Bill Clinton took office) we had a severe wind storm. My family was ill at the time and I knew that we were going to lose power (inevitable side effect of living where there are tall trees and above ground power lines). Sustained winds were only 85 mph with gusts to 120 mph. We were without power for four days. We tried to keep warm with our wood burning stove that frankly did not work all that well. We were burning pallets that we got for free. Our electric chain saw just did not work for us. I ended up breaking the pallets with an old ax that I had.

A few years later we were without power as a result of an ice storm. We owned our own home by then. We had a nice wood stove this time and an ample supply of solid oak to burn. (A contractor friend was replacing a heavily damaged oak floor in a house and I hauled away the old flooring for him.) This wood burned hot.

We had some friends come over to dinner while the power was out. We had two dutch ovens on the wood stove. One had stew and the other was baking biscuits. It was wonderful.

Just three or four years ago, while living in yet another home, we had a windstorm hit in mid December. The entire region lost power. I drove to work and saw no sign of electricity in any direction for ten miles. Temperatures were in the teens (rare for the Seattle area). When I got to work there was not a soul to be found. I went back home. We were without power for three days. My wife had purchased a generator at a yard sale for $150.00. That was a good deal, I just couldn’t get it to start. A friend told me that he was able to start his by changing the gasoline. I recalled that my generator had a drain valve on the bottom so I decided to give it a shot.

I was wrong. That valve was a shutoff valve, not a drain valve. I had been attempting to start a generator without any gas. Boy did I feel dumb.

Tonight we again had freezing rain. Winds are only about 30 mph but we lost power anyway. I already had a fire in the fireplace. We closed doors and hung curtains in strategic areas to prevent all the heat from just going upstairs. We are remodeling our kitchen so we have no sink or range (heck, we don’t have any cabinets in the kitchen right now for that matter). We cooked on our bar-b-cue yesterday because that is the only thing we have that we can cook on other than the microwave at present. I decided to grill several hamburgers so we would have some for a few more meals.

Good thing, we lost power and had to warm up our burgers on the wood stove we have. It is a beautiful stove, just not near as good for cooking as our last one. It also does not heat well without a fan running. Kind of hard to do in a power outage.

We ate in the dark and were enjoying the warmth from the fire, such as it was.
We were talking about running the generator in the morning if we were still without power. Last time our neighbors loss most of the food in their refrigerators.

Here we were facing the first opportunity to really use our generator since we upgraded our electrical panel and added the switch and plug for a generator, when the power came back on. We were disappointed and relieved. I need the power on so I can finish building the cabinets for the kitchen. I took this week off from work so I could finish this project.

Through all of these storms there is one message that comes through loud and clear. God is in charge.
Try as we might we just cannot control the elements. God controls the wind, the rain and snow, He alone controls the earth’s thermostat. Storms and adversity serve to remind us that God is there. He lives and we need him.

We have so much to be thankful for at this time. It was a pleasure sitting with my family by the fire, eating in the dark. At least it was hot food.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.