It gets pretty darn tootin' cold here in the mountains when a storm knocks out power...
No sooner than I had finished the dinner dishes to the dimming and pulsing of lights in the house as the heavy snow piled on the tree limbs and power lines, the sudden and impending plunge into the darkness of a cold January night began.
My husband and I piled on extra blankets and placed 4 year old Alyson between us in our bed. The tiny (and very cold) toes of my little girl in my back and the hum of our neighbors generator made it impossible to forget how cold I was and prevented me from dozing off. That is until 3 am, that magical hour when Ed's generator ran out of gas and all became quite...the kind of quiet you only get during times like these.
We awoke in the morning to find our home, built in the 1940's, only lost 10 degrees through the night! What a blessing, indeed. Malcolm began clearing the snow from the side walks and drive, and even shoveling out the neighbor's car that didn't make it up the hill and instead was welcomed in to our drive for the night. I peeped out the window and watched as he was diligently working through the heavy snow and bitter cold...never taking a break, just shoveling away.
I had an epiphany! I took the ceramic potpouri warmer and lit one of the tea lights I always seem to have in drawers throughout the house. I filled my aluminum (copper bottom) measuring cup with water and placed it on top of the warmer...by the time Malcolm was finished shoveling the snow there was a slightly warmer than "warm" cup of coffee waiting for him. Preferring a piping hot coffee he chose not to drink it, grrrrrr. OH well, I drank it and waited for the next cup of water to warm up.
Being one who doesn't like to have her attempts of kindness rebuffed for any reason...(yes, I've got an ego and it's big at times), I studied on my initial concept for making coffee. I remembered a few design elements for solar ovens I saw on a documentary years ago...and pulled out the aluminum foil and constructed a small "tea light oven"...making a dome with the foil, I hoped to reserve the small amount of heat produced by the tiny flame and reflect it back to the center where the water sat atop the potpouri warmer. This time it only took 15 minutes to take cold tap water to steaming water!
I did this through the day, little Alyson and I drinking our hot tea to stay warm...and relishing in my small victory over the loss of a modern "worldly" thing like electricity! (you're supposed to laugh at this point, because I am)...Sure, I may not know how to survive in the wilderness with a piece of kite string and a paper clip like my husband does, but I can survive a storm...with hot tea!
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