Yesterday, after a morning and afternoon of freezing rain, at about 4:00 my power flickered several times then went off completely. I was expecting a power outage, so I went from happily knitting on my sofa to survival mode. Start a fire, find a flashlight, fill up some pitchers with water.
My fireplace is very tiny, and during the past four years that I have rented this house, I have continually struggled to keep a fire going. I think the problem is that standard sized firewood is just too big, and I can't get enough oxygen around the logs. Thankfully, I had some Enviro-logs on hand, so I was able to get a decent fire going with those.
For about an hour I sat in front of my small fire and continued knitting. Soon enough the sun started to go down, and it was time to find my camping lantern in the garage. My lantern provided enough light that I was able to read throughout the evening.
When was the last time you sat still in complete silence? Even if there is no TV, no radio, no cell phone, you probably don't realize how much noise is still present in a house. Mid-sentence I suddenly realized just how quiet it was without the hum of the fridge, the heater, or the whir of the fan in my computer. I looked around me and I could feel the darkness pressing in around me. It was silent. I wasn't scared but felt a bit jittery, so a few times I picked up my lamp and walked around the house peeking out the windows to see if any other houses in my neighborhood had power. No lights; the street was filled with darkened windows.
My face was warm from the fire, but I could feel the coldness creeping in around me. My dog, who had retreated to bed, trotted out and plopped down next to me underneath the blanket. While it wasn't very cold outside, I didn't relish the thought of having to let the fire go out while I slept and waking up to a 30 degree house.
At about 8:00 I decided to let the fire burn down, and when the flames extinguished to just go to bed and pile on a few extra blankets. A few minutes after coals started to lose their red glow, I was suddenly blinded with light and I nearly jumped out of my skin. The light was back on! The hum of the fridge returned and the heater roared to life! My dog and I did a little happy dance, and went around the house fixing the clocks and resetting the thermostat.
This morning I awoke to another bright light, the sun reflecting off a light dusting of snow. In case there was another power outage, my mission of the day was to split my firewood into smaller pieces. Thanks to my favorite magazine, Mary Janes Farm, I had learned in a tutorial geared towards women how to split firewood. The article called for an axe and sledgehammer, but on hand I only had miniature versions in a hatchet and mallet.
I trudged out into the snow, and using a tree stump as my chopping block, I started to swing down the hatchet as hard as I could into log. It took a few attempts and re-positioning before I got into a rhythym. Pretty soon I was sweating profusely and had a wagon-load of split wood. I'm sure my neighbors were peeking out the window at me, wondering what the heck I was doing.
You never know what you can accomplish until it becomes necessary. I used to think, I'm not strong enough. I'm not coordinated enough. Well, if you know that you have to choose between splitting the wood or being cold, you'll find a way!
I hope you are all safe and warm too, knitting in front of the fireplace. Happy Knitting!