Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Power Outage

Back in the bad old days when I was a mere sprout and my poor father had no inkling as to just what he'd gotten himself into, our family would lose electrical power on a fairly regular basis. An ice storm would reliably knock one or more wires down, and during any given thunderstorm lightning would strike the transformer at the end of our driveway and put us in the dark for a day or two. Our family had well water, meaning that we were without water until the Toledo Edison saw fit to send a crew back into no-man's land and restore the electricity. For those who have never lived outside the city, this means that you get your water from the ground, pumped to your home with an electric water pump. This also means no funny tasting chemicals get added to your water, and if some enemy nation like the Nazis, the Japs or al-Qa'ida get the bright idea of slipping a few poison pills into the local water tower, you'll be among the few that wake up on the sunny side of the lawn the next morning.

Up until today we've been lucky, but around 10:00 this morning everything went dark. I used my cell phone to call the automated response system, then I took a drive to see what I could see. I found Toledo Edison utility trucks scattered up and down the road and was informed our power would be restored in about ten minutes. At 1:00 PM the lights came back on. I'm not complaining, as this is a whole lot better than the bad old days when we'd end up cooking and heating the house by the fireplace in the living room. Ah, the good old days. No electricity, no phone, driveway blocked by snowdrifts that only a bulldozer could move.

So, in celebration of civilization and the soft life it has provided, here are a few pictures I took of the immediate area.

Mrs. Cardinal

Here's Mrs. Cardinal. I think we have three or four males and perhaps two females in the woods, but I can't be certain as yet. Anyway, Mistress was in one tree and her mate was in the other.

Mr. Cardinal
I've been trying for the classic picture of the male and female cardinal against a backdrop of fresh, white snow, but the little birds are camera shy. This is the best I've been able to get so far.

Here's a photo of their neighbor, Mr. Woodpecker, who is a very wary bird and will depart at any movement nearby.

Mr. Woodpecker

We have three species of woodpecker around the house; The Red-Bellied Woodpecker, the Downy Woodpecker and the Hairy Woodpecker. The Red-Bellied Woodpecker is the shyest of the three, and I haven't managed to get a decent photo of him as yet.

Ice Storm Results
Everything is covered in a layer of ice, and when these bushes are in full sunlight they become dazzling. Unfortunately, full sunlight is rare.

Ice on the Brambles
I think that a lot of our song birds make their home inside the brambles and brush along the driveway, which is a very good excuse not to clear the area out. For one thing, it would take all summer. For another the clearing would cut back on the wildlife.

Ice on the Trees
These trees are in the back yard. This is the shot I'd been trying to get most of the day - full sunlight on the ice. This was taken in the afternoon around 4:30 or so. I think the ice will be with us for a few days at least, and I hear there's more to come.

For anyone living South of the Mason-Dixon Line, this is why you don't live up North.


Capt. Schmoe said...

I know ice on the trees is a pain in the neck for those who live in it, it sure is beautiful to look at. I know it must be cold, that cardinal is all puffed out, it makes a great contrast to the ice and frost.

We don't have cardinals out here, I do remember however, the first one I that I ever saw. It was in central Nebraska, I marveled at it's beauty.

Thanks for the post.

Mad Jack said...

The cardinal is the Ohio State bird, and I can understand why. They are very striking.

It was about 20 degrees today, and I gather that we are going to get the hammer again around Friday.