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Wednesday, February 24, 2021

A big flash then nothing



My lovely wife and I were hanging out in our kitchen. It was lake, about 11:30 p.m.. The grid power did a little blurp and came right back -for about five seconds. Then there was a blinding flash and the grid was down for good. It was about 30 degrees and snowing.


Most of my lights and the water pump run on my solar electric system. I threw some more firewood in the stove, grabbed a flashlight and went to investigate. The flash had been so bright I was afraid it was ice pulling the wires off my house or something. Soon as I got outside I realized my whole side of the lake was dark. Everything around my property looked good, but there was a burnt electrical smell in the air.


My neighbor came outside and assured me she was fine and had enough firewood in the house to last for a day. She’s recovering from a broken leg so needs someone else to bring wood inside.


By 4:30 in the morning the grid was back up and running. I couldn’t believe they sent a crew out in the dark, in the snow, way out in the woods to fix it. Good service. It took most of the next day to get the Internet back, but that’s a different company.


During the daylight I walked down the road and found the problem. A tree came down on the power lines about 200 yards away.


Although grid and normal communications were down I was able to send text messages by satellite with a Garman InReach.


We were prepared for a long outage if need be, but I’m glad we didn’t have to deal with it.


-Sixbears






Sunday, February 21, 2021

Winter so far



Winter in New Hampshire’s Great North Woods hasn’t been bad at all this year. In spite of the polar vortex temperatures haven’t been awful. In fact, while we’ve had plenty of subzero temperatures, they pale in comparison to decades ago. Back then it would not be uncommon for a week where it never got above zero. -30 used to be common and -40 not unheard of. It never got that cold this winter.

Going into the fall we were in a slight drought condition. The northern part of the state received a lot of rain just before the freeze, bringing us out of drought. Snowfall, for this time of year, is moderate. Of course, we could get buried in snow during the month of March. It’s happened often enough in the past.  On the bright side there should be enough snow melt to keep ground water levels up.

Our solar electric system has significant battery storage. We can go some time without the grid or sun. Before every storm the battery bank was topped off from the grid. Even with heavy snowfall we’ve only lost the grid for short periods of time. It appears the utilities have done a good job preparing. Aggressive tree pruning has kept a lot of problems away. The times we lost the grid were generally due to collisions with power poles. Power was restored within hours.

The Internet has sometimes been slow and would go down for short periods of time. This seems to correlate with everyone working and schooling from home. It also gets hammered pretty hard after dinner time. While that’s been annoying, the problems are relatively minor -for someone not needing full time service.

Thanks to being  isolated and avoiding people, we’ve been pretty healthy over all. I get more exercise when we travel south to warm weather. Part of the problem this year is that I injured my knees and they took a long time to get better. I’m finally getting back into walking.

Snow shoveling has provided a fair bit of exercise. Fortunately, I’m retired and don’t have to be anywhere in a hurry. If I take three days to shovel everything out, that’s fine. Often I’d only shovel a walkway and dig out the mailbox the first day. Digging out a car could wait.

I know it’s been a tough time for a lot of people, but we’ve been in pretty good shape. Personally, I’m comfortable living like a hermit. At least we aren’t putting a strain on the systems that other people need to get by.

-Sixbears

 

Friday, February 12, 2021

Everyone’s going camping



Right now we are experiencing some of the coldest weather of the winter. It’s been some time since I’ve had to deal with -12 with a -30 windchill. However, compared to winters of the past, it hasn’t been all that bad.


RV sales have been through the roof as people look for a safer activity during these interesting times. There aren’t enough campsites to go around. Even the dispersed campsites on Federal land are packed.


Forget about prime warm weather winter locations. Even before the new camping craze we found prices had gone up. Now they are worse.


If we were to spend some of the winter in the Florida Keys, we’d most likely have to do it on our sailboat. The boat’s small size and shallow draft allow access to places other boats cannot go. There is much to be said for being able to anchor in a remote place away the crowds.


Not that we are going south anytime soon. In fact, I plan on making the house more winter comfortable for next winter, just in case.


I have some camping and sailing plans for close to home this summer. When you know an area well, there are camping places hidden away from most people.


-Sixbears


Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Obviously not in Florida




We aren’t in Florida this winter. Good thing we don’t need this car in a hurry. Maybe in a couple of months. We are using the Blazer this winter. It’s parked across the street in my other parking space that’s level with the road. Our travel has been very limited this year.


It’s actually been a pretty decent winter here in the North Country. Normally I travel south to avoid winter colds. However, with all the mask use and lock downs, my lungs are doing well.


My lovely wife and I figuring out what our future plans will be. Of course, the whole world is trying to figure out the future so we aren’t going to sweat it right now.


-Sixbears