Sunday, January 22, 2012

Barbecued Soup

What a crazy title, huh?  Well, you'll find out what it's all about if you just keep reading.

As most of you know, the Northwest was hit with one doozie of a storm.  It has been quite a week.  This post is going to have lots of pictures, none of which involve quilts.  The next post will have quilt-y pix, I promise!

Last post, I left you with some snow pictures.  Well, it got better, then it got worse.  On Monday, I had no problem getting out to Physical Therapy.  The roads were wet but clear.  I also took the opportunity to go to the store and stock up, as the weather prediction was for more storm coming our way.  I'm sure glad I did.

Here is what my "snow gauge" looked like on Wed.  We got at least a foot of snow, but it kept melting and then snowing some more, so we never had the whole amount at one time.  It was exciting and pretty.  I love snow when I don't have to go out in it.

Wednesday night the snow stopped, but then about midnight the freezing rain started.  It kept up for 12 hours.  All night long we heard what sounded like rifle shots, but were actually tree branches snapping off.  They made a mighty crashing on their way down.  Our son, who's living with us now, has a dog that is a bit high-strung, to say the least.  She totally freaked out about the noises and barked like a maniac all night long, every time she heard one of these "rifle shots".  No one got much sleep.

This is the Japanese Maple out my front window on Thursday morning.  Totally iced over and beautiful.  I love the lone, stubborn leaf hanging in there!  This poor tree bent over so much that the branches were touching the ground.  We were afraid we were going to lose it.

This is the Japanese Maple by our back deck.  Also totally iced over and beautiful.  

By the end of that day, we were afraid we were going to lose this one too.  Look at the small fir tree in the foreground.  Totally bent over under the weight of the snow and ice.  

So, because of all the ice and the falling branches, we woke up to no power and no cable on Thursday morning.  That meant no heat, no lights, no phone, and very limited water usage as the septic pump is electric too.  We did have hot water though.  We managed to do alright.  Lots of clothes and all the quilts came in quite handy, as well.  LOL   And if I got too cold, I got up and did my exercises or swept the floor, so something to be moving and get warm.  We had flashlights and one old transistor radio that still works.  Our wonderful next-door neighbor ran an extension cord from his generator so that we could keep our refrigerator running.  That was such a life-saver.  We would have lost a lot of food in the fridge and the freezer without that.  Our high temp (outside) on Thursday was 33 degrees, with about 53 degrees inside the house. 

We managed lunch on Thursday with no problem, but dinner was another story.  We had some discussions of what to do.  Most of the meat was frozen, and we knew it would never thaw out without a microwave.  We finally decided to uncover the barbecue and use it to heat up the leftover homemade chicken soup.  Thus, barbecued soup!  I used my Mom's old cast aluminum pot.  It's probably older than I am.  I love that pot!  The BBQ didn't hurt it at all.  It didn't even get black on the bottom.

DH and The Kid chillaxed in the snow with their beers while they tended the barbecue.  That was the best soup ever!  It helped a lot to have some warm food.

Thursday evening we hung a flashlight from the light fixture over the kitchen table and played Yahtzee and cards.  It was getting pretty chilly, but we had a good time.  The poor kitties were really getting cold, so they cuddled up in quilts too.  You'd think, with those fur coats, that they would be fine, but no.  They had to have quilts.  

In the evening, it started warming up outside.  The temps started slowly climbing and the ice was melting.  About 1 am Friday morning we started getting high winds.  We were worried about what that would do to all the trees.

By Friday morning when we got up, the house was down to 48 degrees inside.  It warmed up some when everyone finally got up and got together in one room.  But it was sure getting cold.  I was starting to worry on Friday, because the radio news was saying it could be early next week before everyone got their power back!  So, we were ready to dig in.  We were sure missing our computers and phones.  The cell phones had no signal, so they were pretty useless.  And I was missing being able to sew.  I couldn't even do hand work because it was so dark and gloomy.  

Finally, about 4 pm on Friday afternoon, the power came on!  Yay!  The heat ran for 5 hours solid that evening!  And I really, really enjoyed my hot shower.  It was so nice to be warm again.

Saturday I really needed to go to the store, so I braved the trip.  It was really pretty easy, as most of the snow was melting into slush.  The store was operating on generators, but there were plenty of supplies.  And the store was packed! 

What was amazing was all the damage from the ice and the winds.  This picture is of the birch trees right outside the grocery store.  

This picture and the next show the street just over from us.  On Friday AM so many trees were down that the street was impassable.

This picture and the next show our backyard today.

The Kid and his dog in the yard.

The two Japanese Maples survived just fine, but we lost the plum tree.  The weight of the ice just pulled the whole thing over and uprooted it.  I don't think it can be saved - too many roots were snapped off.

Here's the pile of the biggest branches that DH and The Kid picked up today.  That's a six foot fence!  There is a LOT more work to be done in the yard, but we're very grateful that we survived as well as we did.  We had no damage to us, the house or the cars.

We're all a little surprised at how tired this whole adventure made us.  We all slept about 12 hours both Thursday and Friday nights, and we're still tired.   

But the next time the weather report says a big storm is coming, I think we'll be quicker to stock up on batteries for the flashlights and the radio, and get some food that doesn't need to be thawed or cooked!  And maybe a snow shovel.


  1. oh this brought back flashbacks of our storm in October where we had to spend a few nights in a hotel.
    sorry you lost a tree. I love the snow but the ice , nope not a fan at all.
    Love the soup story, very fun !

  2. holy cow. Makes me wonder just how prepared are we for no electricity. I can't say you didn't warm me. We had snowstorm here on Friday and then yesterday, we got a coating of ice and then snow during the night. No school.
    I love the snow. I hate the iced up roads.

  3. OMG! How awful, but I know exactly how you feel. During the hurricane of 2000 we had no power for 2 weeks and no water or phone for a week. No radio and no t.v. It was horrible.

    What are useful are the camping gas lights. They give out light and warmth.

  4. I was thinking about you during all the news reports, wondering how you were faring. So glad it wasn't worse than it was! We never lost power, thank God. In fact, I think we got off pretty easy compared to most folks. Being without heat sure makes you appreciate it when it comes back!

  5. Wow, your pictures speak volumes! Thank you for sharing. It seems many of us are not really prepared for bad storms. Glad you made it through without too much damage.

  6. We have experienced the same thing but it's expected in my area. It sure is a challenge if you aren't prepared. Sounds like you did just fine. Makes one appreciate our modern conveniences a lot more!


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