One Pioneer Ready to Weather Another Storm

With all the sunshine lately, I’d forgotten about winter, until early this morning, when I awoke, home alone and craving that first morning cup. The winds had crashed against the house and trees all night and I completely understood why the room was entirely black with no time flashing at me in red from the alarm clock on the night stand. No power! It had snowed well over two feet and it was still coming down. Hmmm… it is still always kind of fun when I get the chance to put that pioneer spirit to work and make do. My first idea was to put last evening’s leftover coffee in a pot on the wood stove, which I quickly remembered, I had left unattended when I’d drifted off to sleep. No fire either! I hustled out for some small dry pieces of wood and had the fire going in no time. I placed a couple of big frozen items in the frig touching the milk and cream to keep things cool and filled two pitchers of water. Ever since that one year when the power stayed out for days which caused the water to eventually quit pumping, I know the routine.

Hmmm.. I thought.  I do have a tiny generator in the garage which has proven successful in making fresh coffee. I’m going! I slip on my highest boots and head out to get it. Half way, no way; my boots are filled with snow. I reach for plan B: new boots with elastic bottom sweats that will cover the top of the boots in deep snow. Me and the dog make our way to the garage with a flashlight and find the all-of-a-sudden-not-so-tiny generator. I can barely lift it, let alone be sure to not once drop it in the deep snow. On to plan C: find a box to fit it in, like a sleigh. Cardboard worked fine as I lifted the box with one hand and pushed it with the other across the top of the snow piled high next to me  as I walked in the driveway. Huffing and puffing, I made my way to the porch and set up this bad boy. Whew. I started it up and headed in for the coffee maker. Oh no, why don’t I keep ground coffee on hand? I stumble through the house dimly lit, looking for a hammer. I had already placed oil lamps outside by the windows on the porch so I could enjoy the light without the smell of kerosene burning. I ventured with a lantern in hand, to the cement floor of the laundry room with my coffee beans in a plastic bag and hammered them to oblivion. Ahhh… almost there.

I threw the coffee in the awaiting filter and grabbed the whole contraption as I heard a new sound… silence. The generator was out of gas. I was not discouraged yet as I tended to the fire and put a pot of water on to boil. Good news! It was last evening’s coffee I had placed on the cold stove when I first woke up. It was now heated to a steaming perfection. I quickly poured  a cup, and seasoned it with my usual fare of half and half. ” Ahhhh..”, thankful, I sat and enjoy this pioneer moment, giggling inside.

I say giggling and pioneer because all the fun reminded me of a funny story. When I was young and new to mountain dwelling, a guy once told me, “I’m from a town where the men are men… and so are the women. All the guys laughed. I had no idea what he meant but was immediately offended for my gender until he explained. “No, not in a bad way, they are pioneers. They can start a fire, chop wood, shovel buckets of snow, whatever it takes. It didn’t sound very good to me at the time, but after decades of life in the mountains, I get it. I even enjoy it I thought, as I thoroughly enjoyed my long-awaited cup of coffee. The sun was just coming up to light to the room as lights everywhere came on abruptly. Quick, I started the coffee maker and ground some more beans. While this is one pioneer always ready to weather another storm, I am awfully quick to jump back to those modern comforts as soon as the storm is over.

Happily awaiting Spring!