We were without power for about 2 1/2 days. Our house got down to about 52 degrees which was really fun at night when it was 28 degrees outside. Thank goodness we had flannel sheets, a blanket and 2 duvets on the bed. Our cat slept between us and our dog was burritoed in a fleece blanket between us as well. Body heat was used as a great source between species and appreciated. I was lucky enough to go to the office with my husband on Monday to shower and charge our cell phones and computers. It was really weird sitting in a cubicle after 3-4 years. I do not miss it that is for sure. I was happy to have a warm place to sit and work though :)
This year we have lost power about 3 times in 2 months. Not a good sign. As we spoke to neighbors and acquaintances we found out that 20 years ago, if power was lost, it was only out for a day or day and half. Now it is 4 to 5 days. Proof our infrastructure has gone to crap and we need to update. Of course this would mean higher taxes which no one in NJ would even consider. God forbid anyone had planned long ago to bury lines underground and figure out how to protect transformers from tree damage, but let us not get snippy. This whole incident made me tell my husband that no matter if we stay and add on to this house or if we live somewhere else in the USA we will definitely need a wood stove and a generator. the wood stove can be a heat source as well as something to cook on, just in case and as for the generator. Well, I do not want just any generator mind you, no, no, I want a hardcore stand by generator that has a transfer switch and is connected to the house. I want a Guardian by Generac. I know most of you are thinking, "My goodness that is pricey and a touch overboard."
We have a baby on the way and I have no desire to have to go to a hotel or even a kind friends house. What if the friends suddenly lose power? What if the whole state is out? In these uncertain times one has to begin thinking like a homesteader. Some may chuckle at the idea, but let us be serious, the country's infrastructure, bridges, roads, electric, is in desperate need of repairs. Sure you can wait around for the government to do something about it, but I think that is a little naive. Sometimes you need to take matters into your own hands. Nothing dramatic or anarchist, just self preserving.
We discussed the pros and cons of portable generator versus stand by. Portable is great if you are looking to just run a light and the fridge. For us that does not fly as our whole house runs on electric. There are no natural gas lines so when power is out, it is really out at our house. No showers, no cooking, nada. Whoever thought that consideration of energy usage would become so entrenched in our lives? I sure didn't. At least now there are lots of options and information out there. Here are some links to self reliant living magazines/sites that can feed your need to know.
Backwoods Home A friend who has a farm in PA turned me onto this and I passed an issue onto friends who own a cabin in upstate NY and have like 22 acres. They are fans now too.
Mother Earth News One of my favorites
Hobby Farms Helpful information on livestock and gardening
Countryside Always has interesting reader letters and stories
Check any archives and links out as well for even more information on a dizzying array of topics.