Braving winter's wrath with the lights out

Living as far north in Kitsap County as you can go without falling off, we get a lot of power outages, but we did not expect one the morning of the day the big snowstorm was predicted to hit.

That was Monday, Jan. 5, at 7:15 a.m.

There wasn’t a breath of wind, no rain, no snow, when the lights went out and the TV off. We concluded that a car must have hit a light pole or some such, which also happens pretty often. I could see that all was black to Hansville so it wasn’t just us alone having a power outage.

I could have driven to the store and asked there except I already had the cover on my car in advance of the upcoming snowstorm and didn’t want to take it off just for that, and have to put it back on again. It’s helpful to know the cause of an outage so you know whether you can tough it out or light off the wood stove in the kitchen. After a couple of hours, we lit off that stove.

The power came on briefly toward noon, long enough to heat lunch, then out, then back on again. At 6 p.m. we were again in the black, this time to last until 10:20 a.m. Tuesday.

The snowstorm arrived about 4 a.m. We live on the water in the Sequim belt, which runs down to Eglon, so we get a more moderate winter — no snow in three winters now, although we have to drive through Poulsbo’s and Silverdale’s snow going south.

Anyway, I called Puget Sound Energy about our mysterious outage. I wanted to know if we were in danger of losing the underwater cable that serves Hansville out of Port Gamble, but that wasn’t the case, Tim Bader said. One line bumped into another one and it took so long to get people back on the job in the cold weather that they had to resupply the power in sections.

We noticed, I said, that the power was going off and on every five minutes for an hour on Sunday morning, I said. What was that? “Those outages were from us doing some work on trying to balance the loads,” he said.

I just hope, I said, that all these people in Hansville who fought the possibility of emergency generators up here got their fill feeding a wood stove and listening to a battery radio. I can’t understand how people can complain about the noise and pollution of a generator that serves the whole community in a time of need.

“Even if we had generators, we probably wouldn’t have called them out in this outage,” Bader said. “It would take a more prolonged cold weather spell.”

But PSE hasn’t given up on the generators, he said. It’s calling for another meeting of the community for Thursday, Jan. 22, at the Hansville Community Club to discuss locating a generator on Little Boston Road. “People are confusing the fact it would be there 24 hours a day, running all the time. It will not. It is only for emergencies, if the underwater cable is damaged or the cable fails or there is really prolonged weather.”

The other part of this story is that the cold weather has driven indoors some critter, a possum or a racoon or multiples of them, who is demolishing our spare food supply in the enclosed garage under the house. It has opened and scattered bags of flour, boxes of cornflakes, cartons of bread crumbs, Jell-O boxes. I keep putting such foods and anything in glass into drawers or boxes, but I miss some and the critter makes a mess. A mouse lost its life when it got caught in a trail of honey from a broken jar.

The critter chewed open a plastic zipper bag of artificial flowers and pushed them out a large crack in the door to make a big heap outdoors like Princess Diana’s funeral.

We caught a possum down there in a live animal trap last fall and though I asked my husband to release it miles away, he simply let it go nearby, so I suspect this is the culprit.

It knows a way in we haven’t found yet. We’ll have to try again. It has taken to running across shelves of canned goods and the noise at night is like there’s a soccer game going on down there. Cans are rolled around. The dogs pay no attention whatsoever.

I’ll let you know the outcome.

Adele Ferguson can be reached at P.O. Box 69, Hansville, WA 98340.

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