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Wednesday, June 19, 2013
Got power?Posted Sunday, February 1, 2009, at 2:18 PM
This is how my place looked on Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2009. My Jeep is parked right in front of that downed limb from the wild cherry tree.
Don't let this new blog fool you -- I still don't have power out on my rural Tillman hilltop. However, my fellow goat lady friend Emma and her husband Chester came out Thursday afternoon and took a chain saw to the levee lane -- so I can now get into town. There are some things that a 4-wheel drive Jeep can't do, and climbing trees is one of them!
I haven't decided if I'm going to stay at the house tonight, here in the NSC office, go to Cape and stay with my sister-in-law Patricia - or take Emma and Chester up on the offer of a bed tonight.
I'll share my story with you, and you can feel free to share yours. I feel like Rip Van Winkle, waking up from a 20-year sleep and finding a new world. The U.S. could have been attacked by Iran for all I knew this week: The only news I got was second-hand, from friends and relatives who called to check on me.
"The governor is in Sikeston!" said Paul Corbin. "It took him 3 hours to get there."
"A bunch of power poles are down on 91 between Bell City and Morley!" said my neighbor Lonnie Stubenrauch.
"Madeline! They have power on Double-0!" said Emma.
Mostly people call and say, "Do you have power?" It was the favorite question at church this morning.
My power went off at 10:20 p.m. Tuesday night, too late for me to make the necessary arrangements to turn my living room into the warm retreat that I survived in during last February's ice storm. It was too dark to put up my elaborate system of sheets over the big bow window and both wide archways into the kitchen and entryway --- so I stoked the fire up as far as possible slept in two-hour snatches on the couch under two blankets and two cats. I heard the freezing rain coming down all night, and in the post-two a.m. silence, I later discovered that 2-3 inches of snow had fallen on top of that.
By Wednesday night, i had my act together -- sheets up, firewood brought into the entryway, cups of water and soup warming on the fender, and layers & layers of flannel between me and the cold.
The second night of solitary confinement was marked by the crashing of tree limbs all around the house. The cats spent the entire night leaping off me in fear, and I had visions of a massive limp crashing through the window and impaling me as I lay defenseless under my blankets.
None of my lanterns worked right. Either the batteries went out, or the lantern wick was too short. My trusty mag flashlight was a live-saver, having to light the way for me whenever I had to go into the icy kitchen or the frigid bathroom.
Of course, since my house is total electric and I have a well, I have no water when the electricity is off. I keep enough kitty litter jugs of water down in the basement for a short outage, but I'm not prepared for an entire week. Who would have thought???
I was in no hurry to get into town, because I know Advance - and if the weather is that bad, there's nothing going on in there. I had no way of knowing that the situation was even worse south of us.
To try to save my sanity, I went upstairs and got a book that I hadn't finished, and I dug through a spare room & found the pink & white baby afghan that I started crocheting three years ago for my son Todd's second child. He and his wife have had a third one since then, and that afghan still sits in a basket undone. I carried these two items down to my big comfy chair by the fireplace, where I crocheted and read by flashlight. Since then, I've brought my journal down, too, so I can record my thoughts during these dark times. I always feel better if I can write.
Thursday afternoon brought Chester, Emma and a guest - Paul Corbin - out over the snow-packed one-half mile lane to my house. Ice-laden trees hung down too low on the levee road to allow traffic, so Chester chained sawed his way in. Mr. Corbin was just along for the ride to "supervise"! What a welcome sight they were!
I was able to go into town, get a battery-powered radio from here in the office, a bunch of candles, a lantern wick, and some more water! Yippee! Thursday night was the most pleasant yet -- I was able to sit in my big comfy chair and crochet by lantern light and listen to an oldie station, instead of humming Abba tunes from "Mama Mia" in the dark.
Now I understand that all my neighbors have electricity, though some still can't get down off their hills in anything but their big trucks.
Well, well, we do pay a dear price for the bliss of total isolation and a back-to-nature lifestyle, don't we?
From the only house in the Tillman hills with no power, this is your verrrrrry remote verrrrry rural reporter Madeline, signing off. Stay warm, folks!
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Madeline DeJournett is the Advance writer for the North Stoddard Countian. A retired high school English/history teacher, she spent 32 years teaching in 5 schools in Missouri and Alaska. These days, she lives quietly with a menagerie of wild and domestic animals on 52 secluded acres in the remote Tillman hills south of Advance. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 573-722-5322.