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Native Californian, biologist, wildlife conservation consultant, retired Smithsonian scientist, father of two daughters, grandfather of 4 small primates. INTJ. Believes nature is infinitely more interesting than shopping malls. Born 100 years too late.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

The hills are alive . . .

with the sound of generators. We've been without power for 36 hours now, and down the slope in the town of Chico there was a run on generators. 73,000 folks in the region are still without electricity, so Lowe's can expect good business when its shipment arrives. I just heard that 400,000 people in San Francisco are without power.

There's nothing like a big storm to make you humble. A lot of trees have blown over, some on houses, others across roads, but so far there are no floods or land slips. Some areas of the Sierra Nevada have received 44 inches of snow, and the media are advising snow boarders and skiers to stay the hell out of the mountains.

For us, it's like camping in your house.

I fire up the generator for a couple hours morning, noon, and night. It allows me to feed my internet addition, and the redhead does her chores. No mechanical clocks keep time in this house, so we check the GPS.

We're cooking on the woodstove. 20 minutes to heat a can of soup. There's a fine pot of beans simmering away right now.

But we are lucky to have a neighbor like Richard. He called yesterday to check up, and offered a solution to our lack of water. (The well pump is not on house power.) He knew of a neighbor who is selling a swimming pool pump, one he had built himself. I bought it, and huzzahhh! -- we are flushing toilets and drawing water again.

I didn't know you could suck water from your pool and give your plumbing an enema with a garden hose! Damn, it works!

"Sure", said Richard. "It just puts water pressure back in the system".

I learn something almost everyday from this man. He has all of Allie Fox's inventiveness without the scorn and cynicism.

"Are you sure we can drink this water without getting sick?" asked the redhead.

I assured her it was chlorinated, and that our grandchildren had survived swimming in it all summer".

She said she is going to boil it anyway.

"No problem, babe, just put it on the stove."


Owlman said...

Hey Codger I hope you and Shirley are keeping each other warm. We have been in similar situations and it is always a great time to sit in front of the woodstove and read some of our favorite authors like John Muir, Terry Tempest Williams,Mary Oliver,etc. A good bottle of wine and some cheese helps.
We lucked out on this storm with no trees down but a lot of debris to clean up later..

Jackie said...

Wood burning stoves are great during power outages in winter! There's nothing quite so cozy as a warm living room with a pot of something simmering on top of the wood stove. I've been wondering which part of northern CA you call home... the hills above Chico, eh? I've never visited that area.

Camera Trap Codger said...

We're a long haul from Kern county, and the preferred rout is up the Owen's Valley and over the Sierras. Rt 5 is quick but horrible.