So looking at weather maps more than we have in years, we had feeding, lambing, unpacking, the joy of such a beautiful snowfall, and finally, as happens so often in the aftermath of such a storm, a power outage.
Photos and memories are all that remain of the storm as the snow has mostly gone into the ground. The power was finally restored. We have a lot of live lambs but lost more than we had in the last three or four years-- never this many in one year. Some is the weather. Some maybe the wrong ram for young ewes. It is part of the nature of raising livestock but not a fun part. It was complicated by no electricity from Saturday afternoon until about midnight Tuesday night--followed by another power outage Friday morning from 3:20am until 7:30am (likely due to a downed tree across a line as a lot of them haven't looked good since the storm).
When you are without power, it's amazing how it changes living. Surprisingly, light was the thing I found myself missing most. Yeah, the internet, but we could get online sporadically with long extension cords attached to either the trailer battery or a generator (original one stopped working one day into the outage). What we couldn't have were electric lights, the refrigerator, stove, water for flushing or drinking (well pumps run from electricity).
What we had was heat thanks to the fireplace and a good wood-stove. We lit candles, but they provide pools of light. It feels like living in a cave when the only light comes from flames. It was a good reminder, when I get back to writing something historical, although likely people didn't think about it so much as it just was what they experienced.
The power company was the most disappointing it's ever been as they kept giving updates when we would call in and each one was the same-- we're working on it. Be back in 48 hours. Here are the places still without. Who believes anybody when they say it'll be 48 hours? That just means they don't know. These days they operate like so many businesses, you are never allowed to talk to a real person. A computer runs it all including the crews from what we can tell.
Finally Tuesday night when Farm Boss called their recording, it said, all power is restored in the area. that's when he got angry and told them as much. They were on our road later that night, just before midnight with three trucks to restore power. It could have been done Sunday and saved us the cost of a new generator-- if they had listened to their old timers-- like us. We've been through it before. Their computers are clueless as they go by whatever info was typed in!
When you live out and through this kind of storm, you totally appreciate the crews that go out in the worst of it and try to bring it all back to normal. The road crews worked steadily not only removing snow but the trees and branches that went across the roads from the ice and snow load.
Of course, I can't be sure what went wrong with our power company, but I am blaming their computerized system that cuts jobs and frequently fails pretty much in an emergency. When the guys out here were the ones deciding what to do, they got the job done. When they are forced to depend on a computer to tell them where to go, the story is not the same.
Anyway all is well that -- at least temporarily-- ends well (other than the cost to us of that new generator as we didn't have time to get the old one repaired if we wanted to save what was in our freezer as it began to warm up). I am just very glad we were here for the whole experience. It was a snowfall my part of Oregon hasn't seen in probably ten years-- beautiful, intense, filled with opposing emotions, colors and feelings. For someone like me who remembers these kinds of storms when I was a kid, I enjoyed it-- even to some extent the power outage as it does challenge us to bring out the best we have. I am not yet ready to live somewhere that the temps never change and there is no challenge. I'll save that for my 80s... maybe ;).
Anyway it's more or less back to normal, and the snow is gone all but for patches. We are back to rain, which our land badly needs; so we welcome it. Some people kid Oregonians about how so much rain must be depressing. It isn't for most native Oregonians-- especially those who have lived their lives the west side of the Cascades. We do what we want in it. We know it's what makes our land what it is. If the rain goes, so will go a lot of our vegetation. This is a drought year in our area and even this amount of rain hasn't gotten our snow-pack or river levels to normal. It's not as bad as California but we had already been experiencing forest fires. That's not good when it's January and February; so I am glad to see it raining.
The detail and personality in his work is amazing, but the glossy finish has made them a challenge to photograph on the mantle beside one of our Navajo rugs, some pottery by a local potter, and candles. Because of the shine from the flash, I gave up and moved them to a table where outside light helped to cut down on the glare. You can enjoy the grain of the wood and detail finally this way.
Ironwood trees are beautiful all year but especially when they bloom. They also have fine little slivery leaves and limbs. Unless you have worked around an ironwood tree, you have no idea how insidious those tiny slivers can be. I wouldn't have one near the pool but in the natural vegetation region of our property there, i love and treasure them. I am though thinking maybe the stump from that big one we lost... maybe just maybe some of it should be carved ;). I used to carve stone but bloodied my hands so much that I gave it up-- not to mention the soapstone dust is bad for lungs. We left the old ironwoods where they were as the hawks, doves and other birds love to perch on them as they survey their world.