The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Power outage kitchen management

Flood line in the snow

There's an art to managing the kitchen during a power outage.  My control-freak tendencies thrive there, and Mark wisely stays out of the way.

Even with the generator to top off coolth, I know the contents of our fridge have a limited lifespan.  So we focus our meals around eating the lamb roast I made just before the outage, making squash pancakes from the butternut pulp that was going to be a pie, and frying up lots of bacon on top of the wood stove.

Cooking a cheesecake on a wood stoveMeanwhile, my chocolate cravings (and the yogurt, cream cheese, and butter hanging onto edibility by a thread in the fridge) tempt me to make a chocolate cheesecake.  Two fire bricks on top of the stove, the pan of batter, and another pan for a lid create a cheesecake-like dish eighty minutes later.

Heating water for dishes is easy, but I take over that task (usually Mark's job) because the water tank is only half full and I know my washing method is more sparing of water.  (Don't worry --- Mark is doing far more than his fair share in other areas.)  For the first few days, we also ration fruit, unsure when we'll be able to reach town for more.

All told, power-outage cooking is a fun thought-problem, but everything does take twice as long (and uses a third again as much firewood).  I read somewhere that being hooked up to the electric grid is akin to having dozens (or was it hundreds?) of servants at our beck and call, and while I only feel like I've lost one or two helpers, the analogy is apt.  As Mom handily pointed out on the phone, at least I have something to do during those hours I would usually be spending on the internet.

I switched over to one of our premade chicken waterers for easy carrying in at night when the heated version is out of commission.


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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.



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