We’ve had quite an interesting week! Monday and Tuesday were normal days, but Tuesday night when we went to bed there was a strong wind blowing and I saw online that a violent storm was making its way north up the island towards us. Soon after we went to bed, apparently about 11:00, the power went out–and didn’t come back on for over 42 hours! Towards morning, we started having thunder and lightning, and when it was light enough to see we saw a number of branches down around the place. There was no power where Gayle works, either, so after he went in to see if there was anything he could do with the power out, he came home again to start cleaning up the mess around here. The boys really enjoyed working with their daddy on that kind of job! I spent the day working on the mending pile. Of course, without electricity, I couldn’t use the sewing machine, so I just pinned on patches and did some hand sewing. The entire mending pile is now waiting for me to sit down at the sewing machine–I should be able to whip right through once I get there. Esther spent the day reading and writing, but it was rather frustrating because the day was so dark and cloudy. We don’t realize how reliant we are on electricity till we don’t have it anymore. We were very thankful for the gas grill we had been given, enabling us to at least cook, and for the fact that we have chest freezers rather than upright ones. I moved all the things from the fridge freezers to the chest freezers, and we opened them as little as possible. I also fed the fresh milk to the calves, since we had no way to chill it. The milk that was already in the one fridge stayed fresh, since I had turned the temperature way down a couple of days earlier and forgot to turn it back up–the milk froze in it! That was a blessing in disguise! We used up the food that would go bad in the other fridge, but mostly we had milk products in there which are all right even if they warm up.
That evening we had a very interesting experience. About an hour before dark, a car pulled up at the driveway. There were four people in it, three men and one woman, French tourists in the country for nine months. They are trying to see the country in the least expensive way, and were asking for a place to set up their tents for the night! We gave them permission to camp in our yard, and invited them in for supper. I put together a stew for supper, using potatoes and cooked beef from the fridge, a couple of jars of tomatoes and one of carrots, and a leek that Simon brought in. Soon after I put it on the grill to cook, I realized that the flame was lower than it had been. Sure enough, the flame went out after awhile, but the stew was hot enough to eat. The leeks were just a bit crunchy, still! We had a fun evening chatting with our surprise guests by the light from headlamps placed strategically around the top of the room, and candles on the table. They said several times how good the meal was (stew, cabbage salad, bread and butter, and homemade cheese). I didn’t think it was that extraordinary, but then Gayle asked them what they’ve been eating: Ramen noodles! No wonder they enjoyed what we offered!
That night the wind came up again, and by morning was blowing at gale force again. We still had no power, but at 6:30 Gayle called in to work and learned that they had a generator, so he went in. I went to town as soon as the shop opened to get a new cylinder of gas so we could cook breakfast! Our French visitors left about the same time Gayle left for work–I was relieved, as they had pitched their tents close to a big gum tree, which was swaying their way in the strong wind. It didn’t fall, but if it had it would have crushed them.
The second day, the sun shone and it was bright–what a nice change. We still had no power all day, and I was preparing myself mentally for another dark evening of cooking over the grill outside, and planning a breakfast and lunch for the next day that would not require cooking or washing dishes. Then, praise God, the power came back on at 5:35! What a wonderful sight. Life is now back to normal for us, and we didn’t lose any more than a cup or two of food. The boys were quite disappointed; they like playing with candles. One of them was saving all the extra wax that ran off the candles, and melted it down, making another candle from it.
We were also glad be be back in touch with the rest of the world, although it was very peaceful and quiet during the power cut! We had no internet, of course, and the cell service was also out. Our landline worked the first day, but the second day it didn’t.
Another storm rolling in over the hills to the west of us. We had an interesting experience the week before, also. We had helped to organize a meeting here in Cheviot with a speaker from Creation Ministries International. We had a barbeque before the meeting; about 50 people came for that, and there were probably about 75 at the meeting itself. That was very good, but we also really enjoyed having the speaker, Tas Walker, and his driver in our home for the night. Friday morning before they took off for Christchurch, we took them, and a single lady from our church, who also slept here overnight in her van, to Gore Bay. We really enjoyed our chance to get to know Tas.