Thursday, January 30, 2014

When the power goes out...

...and it's -10°F.

Monika got a crash course in electrification last Thursday. Our power went out mid-way through my shower. So while I tried to make the most of the afternoon – with conditioner in my hair, all wrapped up in a towel – Monika peppered me with questions. Excerpts from the electricity lesson, not necessarily in chronological order, included:

Monika: So does that mean you can't wash dishes?

Me: Nope. We don't have any water right now because we need electricity to run the water pump.

Monika: Oh! Does that mean you can't cook supper?

Me: Nope. The stove uses electricity, too.

Monika: Ohhhhh! And that means we can't get anymore milk from the cows either.

Me: Right, we need electricity to milk the cows.

Monika: Does the television work? How about the radio?

Me: Nope.

Monika: Does the garbage can still work? Does the door work (pointing to the front door)?

Me: Yes, they work. They don't need electricity.

Monika questioned the function of just about every appliance and device in our house during the outage, which lasted about three hours.

We've had outages in the past, but Monika must have been too young to understand what was happening. And, we usually start up the generator if the outage lasts more than a couple minutes.

But, starting up the generator didn't work last Thursday. The tractor which runs the generator hadn't been plugged in long enough before the power went out, so it was too cold to start. Even if we could have started the tractor, we wouldn't have been able to get to the generator. The skidloader was parked in front of the generator and it was too cold to start, too, even though it had been plugged in for several hours.

So, without electricity from the generator, the fans in the barn didn't run and the heaters in the outdoor waterers didn't heat.

I told Glen to take a nap until the power came back, but he was too frustrated with the situation to settle down, so he went to town to buy a gas-powered generator so he could plug the tractor and skidloader in.

But, wouldn't you know, ten minutes after he got back from town and had the new generator running, the good people at our electric cooperative resolved the problem and we had electricity again.

A pail of hot water thawed out the waterers and the air cleared in the barns rather quickly once the fans started up. The tractor and skidloader started after being plugged in for awhile and Glen was able to finally start mixing feed. I rinsed the conditioner from my hair, loaded the dishwasher, and started supper.

And when Dan got home from school, Monika told him all about how we use electricity.

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