|Elijah and Raymond guide the auger
while my husband, Ben, operates it.
We are expanding the barn. We have sheep this year and both the dairy cow and the ewe are pregnant so we need not one but TWO birthing pens to keep the mamas and their babies away from the others. We borrowed an auger from a neighbor but since it didn't fit on the tractor hubby drove five miles there to pick it up, he had to come home with the neighbor's tractor. It takes a while to get used to a new machine but the auger made quick work of the first couple of posts...and then they starting hitting large rocks. So many rocks here! There are giant rock piles out in the fields that are the result of piling up all the ones that are turned up in plowing. These piles are huge, like the size of large car, and there are several of them. When we want rocks to fill in around the house to keep the mud down during the melt, we just take the tractor out there and load up the bucket. Anyway, they had to resort to finishing the holes with a a plain old post hole digger and old fashioned blood, sweat, and tears.
We have some great friends helping us. We helped a new family to the area build their house and by we, I mean the royal we. I basically stayed home and Ben and the boys took lunch over their and worked many days over the summer. Not hard for me! So this family and the father's brother and his wife all headed over here to work on our farm. This weekend was pretty old timey feeling with all the people here and the neighbor who stopped by to see if the tractor was working out for us (royal us). The men and teenaged boys were out there busting their backs in the cold drizzle and the ladies and girls were inside in the warm kitchen. I have a large kitchen table, it is ten feet long and a scant four feet wide. We had yarn all over the place and we were knitting and crocheting and chatting and I cooked enough food for a hungry army. My eleven year old daughter made her first solo cake and even iced it herself. The younger boys did the dishes to keep them from being underfoot since the ladies were busy and the men were working. It was a fantastic weekend for me but my husband is sore as heck this Monday morning. I am actually looking forward to the next few weekends because we get to do it all over again although I think my husband is probably less excited than me.
So, after my glorious weekend, we had a rough evening last night. About a quarter to seven, I sat down to edit these photos and my thirteen year old son started the dishes. We had several minutes of flickering lights and so we got ready for an outage. We get water, we make sure the Berkeys are filled, double check that all the electric candles are in the specified places, and plug in all the devices. Usually we get some warning but we are pretty out there so power outages of a couple of hours are a regular thing. Then we actually lost all power for just shy of five hours.
I complained and whined and moaned and groaned. I was starting a fun project and the dishes weren't done. We had an outage of a day and a half this summer during the hottest part of summer and it was a crisis. We live on a well and when the power goes out, so does the water. No water, no toilet, no heat, no electric fence, no heat lamp for the ducks, and no lights is a tall order. If we have no water, that means that we have to haul water for our animals, 40 gallons twice a day, and the outhouse sees some use, which is less than fun when it is cold outside. I was working on a hat for a friend and in the dark, I could not find the second color of yarn I wanted. Because the fence was off, we had to put the animals in the barn early (the cows have been known to take a powder). The power company didn't update its message and every time I called, I got more annoyed.
I was huffy about the whole thing as I got children ready for bed and the two who were supposed to shower went to bed dirty. We read books and brushed teeth and then my oldest daughter and I settled down with our yarn and an battery operated lantern while my husband read on his charged Kindle. I just wanted the power to go on so that people could shower and the dishwasher could run and so I could flush the toilets. I used a different yarn on the hat, which in the morning light, actually is working pretty darned well. After a while, Ben and I went to bed and just as I was feeding the cat, the power came on. I was thrilled. Everything was working again.
This morning I was chatting with the grandmother of one of Ben's youngest students at our little country school. She had managed to hear from someone at the electric co-op about what caused the outage. Some poor soul had wrecked their car and taken out a pole. While I sat in my comfortable house with my family and whined about not finding my yarn, someone was in an actual crisis. I felt like a heel. I have no idea how this person is doing today but I can tell you that this person and any passengers and their families had a much worse evening that I did. I wish I had known but if knowing would have made me less self centered, that means that I am mindlessly navel gazing and I don't like what that says about me. I hope to take something away from this experience and that is a sense that I don't really know what happens out in the world and I need to spend less time concentrating on my own little heart and it's selfish desires. I prayed for my power. I should have prayed for the people involved. At least I learned something about myself and that might have been the best part of the weekend after all.