Work on the Mountain

When we built our house, we ran our power line 2/10 mile underground from the road to the transformer to the meter. We didn’t want to look at the line coming down our driveway or have poles in our view. But that is not the norm here in rural, rocky, mountainous land. For the past two years, the power company has hired a contractor to cut down trees anywhere near the power lines. They come in, cut a wide path, leaving branches, limbs, and tree trunks where they fell. It may help to reduce power outages, but it has increased wildfire risk. It has been unseasonably wet this year, so hopefully we are not threatened. Since we have lived here, the power goes out periodically, but usually only for a few hours at a time. After a Derocho wind in 2012, it stayed out for 42 hours, and a winter or two after that, it was out for 7 days after an ice storm. We hauled water from the catchment system. Once we could get off the mountain, we hauled ice when we could get it to try to keep the freezer cold enough to not spoil, we grilled, cooked on the top of the wood stove, kept fires burning in the wood stove and the fireplace, wore lots of clothes, and coped. After a week, we booked a hotel room for a day, took all our laundry down, got hot showers, and while hubby tried to watch a Sunday football game on a very poor TV connection, I went to the laundromat. We got a hot meal not cooked on the grill, camp stove, or wood stove, and started home as it was getting dark. To our amazement, as we cleared the gap and could see our mountain, we saw lights scattered up the mountainside, the homes had electricity again.

One of the power line cuts near us.

When our house was being built, before the power line was laid by son and DIL for the power company to hook up, we had a small gas generator they used for power tools. After the week without power, I tried to start it, but it wouldn’t start, so we took it to the repair place and were told it wasn’t repairable, at least not for what a new one would cost us, but we didn’t purchase one then. We should have.

The hurricane that is about to slam Louisiana and Texas tonight will make it’s way here still with wind and rain, certainly not anything like what they will endure. My thoughts are with those folks who have lost or had their homes damaged before as they face this again. I hope it isn’t another Katrina for them. But, we will have wind and rain and possible outages. Maybe the destruction around the power lines will reduce the likelihood.

At any rate, we drove to town yesterday and the grocer did not have canning lids alone, but I was able to purchase a flat of a dozen 4 ounce jars with new lids. I came home, thawed the pints of pasta sauce and reboiled it while the big canner heated up and canned it in quart jars to save lids, so my pasta sauce is safe from an outage. Then I went outside to the garden and picked almost a dozen more tomatoes that are sitting in the kitchen window waiting to see if enough will ripen to make another batch before they have to be frozen. I won’t can green beans or peas as I don’t like the texture of overcooked vegetables, so I will just make sure that the freezer is packed densely toward the bottom, not in the hanging baskets and toss a couple of big bags of ice in there too and hope that if we lose power, it isn’t for long enough to spoil the meats and frozen vegetables in there. The brined and fermented pickles and peppers in the refrigerator will be fine. Hopefully the wind won’t be strong enough to knock down the tomatoes. We had a brief, maybe 90 minutes worth of strong wind and some rain with thunderstorms that dropped south last night. It tipped over a large jade plant on the porch, blew a cushion off a chair, but no other damage.

Today’s walk was a throw back walk. Fifteen years ago, we stayed at Mountain Lake Lodge about 4.5 miles farther up the road off which we live, with Son 1, DIL, and 9 week old Grandson 1. The lake was full, Son 1 and DIL dove off the pier after a canoe ride across the lake and around the huge rocks at the end of the lake. The lake is only a pond now with no swimming, fishing, or boating allowed. We started up in the woods and walked down the mountain to the Lodge parking, down to the pier that is now on dry land with young trees growing up, then down a path through what used to be the lake bottom to a temporary floating dock they installed when the lake started losing water. It too is on dry land now. From there, we did a steep uphill back to the trail that lead to where we parked our car. The walk was about the same length as the walk we do in town, but it was cooler, less foot traffic, and more intense in elevation changes. A very pleasant time.

The original pier.
The temporary no longer floating pier. Above hubby’s head and slightly left across what remains of the lake are the rocks we canoed around on that trip.
A little garter snake by the trail.
A ferny woodland.

I would love to hear your comments on this post.