Sunday, January 24, 2010

Beauty & The Beast

Good morning.

Well, my cozy kitchen this morning has a distinctively different look this morning than it did last Sunday morning. The reason is simple. It's a different kitchen.

We moved to town Thursday evening, after our house in the country lost power. When we called Slope Electric to report the outage, they kindly told us to prepare for the worst. Thousands of North Dakota residents were already without power, and they expected more lines to fall. They couldn't begin to estimate when service might be restored.
Our friend and fellow quilter Colleen kindly settled us into one of her furnished "hunters cabins" in town. I prefer to call it our cottage... it is a charming little house, neat as a pin, and clean as could be. Most importantly, it has electricity. And, dogs are allowed.

Thursday night, Wesley, Matthew, myself, Laurie-Ann, and the two dogs were here. On Friday morning, our friends and neighbors John and Gina joined us, as they were cold and tired after a spending a long night stoking the fire in their only heat source, a wood burning fireplace. We had a full house.

We were warm, cozy, and contented until the entire town lost electricity yesterday morning. Then, things got a little iffy. We considered relocating back to our county house because it has a propane fireplace and we could stay warm. But, MDU projected repairing the problem in town by 5 pm, so we hoped for the best, snuggled up under quilts, and did the "dance of joy" when the lights & furnace came on just after supper.

Before the town blackout yesterday morning, power flickered on and off for quite some time. We arrived at the grocery store in the midst of the uncertainty, hoping to add to our supplies. The owners were understandably stressed out, worrying about their coolers, freezers, and electronic cash registers, credit card machines, and computers. But, instead of asking shoppers to leave, they handed us flashlights and permanent markers.

"Write the prices on each item as you put them in your cart," Kyle instructed us. "It will be easier to figure out your total because the till doesn't work."

We roamed the well stocked aisles with flashlight in hand, preparing for a few days without electricity. They checked us out with a handheld calculator, and we were set. Small town living at it's best... we all look after each other.

As of this morning, the power remains on in town. But, we have no illusions that it will stay on. The wind is coming up, temperatures are dropping, and the weather forecast doesn't look so good. Power lines are still coated with thick layers of ice, and bounce precariously in the wind. In some areas,rows of power poles have snapped like matchsticks, and the cables lie on the ground in a tangled mess.

We've been driving to the country each day, to check on the cats and the house. So far, so good. The fireplace keeps the temperature in the low 60's, and the cats are lonely but content.

Before the mess with the power lines, I did take time to appreciate the beauty of the hoar frost, thick fog, and ice storm. These photos capture the magnificence. Visit the blog by clicking here for more scenic pictures.

Given the circumstances and the weather forecast, we canceled our vending commitment at the Mandan show. We were pretty sure we could get to the show, but didn't know if we'd be able to make it home when today's forecasted storm hit. It was a hard decision to make, but we realized travel was too risky, and we knew that we had to be here to care for our home, our shop, and our animals. We are very sorry we missed the event.

Despite all of the uncertainty and upheaval, we are extremely grateful for our situation. We are all warm, safe, clean, and well fed. We are blessed to have Colleen's cottage. Our pets are fine, and no damage to our home or business has occurred. We pray for the safety of the electrical linemen working in these conditions, and sincerely appreciate their efforts. We worry about our the ranchers, and pray that they can get water to their herds.
Dakotans are a hearty sort... we'll get through this together.