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February 19, 2021 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Do not judge

wingback chair draped in towels to make warm cat seat. (© image copyrighted, all rights reserved, no permissions granted)

What do you mean it’s not regal Louis XIV style? Like the Royals didn’t need to be  warm in those castles’ audience rooms.(© image)

Cat warmer.

Do not judge.

Warm cat offering hope from her sanctuary (© image, copyrighted, all rights reserved, no permissions granted. )

As one thinks, so it will be. Cat wisdom. Given freely. Yes, you are welcome. Oh, since you are wishing to offer something in gratitude, purrhaps a bit of tinkering to get Our heated bed up and warm again? We shall give you a small amount of time to complete that….small amount…” (© image)

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

Despite popular belief, the Realm did not suffer beyond endurance (depending on which species you talk with….).

Staff has been through hurricanes and winter storms before, so preparations were done early. There’s a fireplace, camping supplies, a gas stove top with matches for lighting (electronic igniters do not work without the Big E) buckets for household water, and groceries/water already stocked.

  • We lost power very late Sunday night. Power came on twice on Monday for 20 min. We learned that game (calculated the time between powered intervals and had pizza and popcorn ready to be cooked). Tues morning staff was up waiting for the entire day’s electricity allotment of 10 min. of power – running around the house like crazy turning on space heat that backed up to outdoor faucet on the other side of the north wall – and at the coffee maker, finger ready. We had warm breakfast of eggs, oatmeal, toast and hot coffee before power cut for rest of day. Our house indoors stayed above 40F. These were outages, not rolling brownouts. Power was intentionally cut. No iced trees fallen around this area. Steady power returned Wed afternoon. 98% of state had power by then.
  • Of course HRH cat food was steamed, warmed, and served as needed. She’s 18 and does not accept any excuses
  • Molly Malamute was just thrilled to dance in the snow and sleet. Her rough arctic-rated paws solid on ice. Confused she wondered why her doggy friends, short haired, would not come out. (“They could have worn carts and booties!!!”). Molly did get her 3-4 walks everyday – what are ski clothes for anyway?
dog in snow (© image copyrighted, no permissions granted, all rights reserved)

“It’s even more fun to dig when there’s icing on the grass!” (© image)

  • Obviously Mother Nature had planned on massive redecorating of landscape this spring. Wish she’d sent a memo. The Christmas lights worked great while we had power. It’ll be days before I risk unwrapping the palms to evaluate the cold damage. The smell of rotten foliage already fill the neighborhood. It went down to about 9F.
  • One widowed neighbor decided to stay with family elsewhere, but unfortunately by not using fireplace for some warmth and periodically turning faucets on every so often (that means even during the night ), she’s has multiple pipes broken and the house flooded. She has friend and has gotten help already.
  • Some neighbors were smug about their generators put in for hurricane season – but the small ones that run on diesel or gasoline quickly ran out  – then they couldn’t find replacement fuel. Aa run on fuels as well as gas station pumps not running without electricity or were frozen up.
  • It’s 28F now and sunny. Looks like one more very cold night probably right at freezing here. Despite the media hyper-hysteria, this isn’t an unheard of event. The Houston-Galveston area gets these cold cold winters 2-3 times every decade. There’s vintage pictures of people walking on ice quite far out into the bay from the beaches of Galveston. I clearly remember the ones as a child ( and I am ancient HAHA! Kids were told “It doesn’t matter what you look like all wrapped up in that odd assortment of clothes as long as you are warm” .) There was a foot of snow during my freshman year at college. In the 70’s Palacious on the coast way south of here got a foot of snow, and I ruined shoes. The 80’s had multiple winters of extended below freezing temps (How I learned to frantically protect house pipes – we were remodeling – little heat – no money put aside for redoing pipes,soooo…shop lights critically hung…and hair dryers used on a schedule will keep pipes from bursting.) Every decade (10 years) there’s a long bitter blast. ( RC Cat sniffs in disbelief of human disbelief, “Dunderheads, cats and dogs do not sport long lush coats for style. Dunderheads.”) Just grateful it’s not all winter every winter.
  • We are dealing with boil water notices as so many broken pipes pipes took the water pressure down to the point of water treatment plants being unable to function enough. Want to thank the Air Force in California sending a huge plane of loaded with bottle water to Scholes International Airport in Galveston. The county has distribution centers now. As soon as the “boil your water” emergency message hit the cell phones, people went absolutely nuts and mobbed any possible source. We passed one grocery store ( with already bare shelves) and it looked like a fire ant bed that had been stomped on. Pure hysteria. Calm, people. Calm. It will work out.
  • Please hold judgment about the Texas winter storm response until you understand the mechanics and all the facts are in. Do not jump to conclusions pushed by an emotion-driven (“If it bleeds it leads”) media and politicians looking to score points. (Beto, dear, if you are going on TV, please do not accidentally mislead the general public elsewhere about conditions and the causes here….you know it ain’t exactly as you are saying….we all know you your in-laws and family want to run for Gov President.)  Oh, and 62% of Texans are Ok with Ted going to Cancun; 5% have no opinion. (Realistically everyone thought about going someplace warm with power. Honestly, many did. You evacuate during hurricanes and people now take laptops and cell phone to keep working. Besides, Cruz and the Gov. had been coordinating before this thing hit – it’s documented…more on all that later.) Not surprised the ERCOT (Emergency Response Council of TX – a private group of power provider representatives – some living out of state) directors’ pulled their names and contact info off their website. They were getting death threats. In addition it was discovered that those selling electric generating fuel stocks (coal and natural gas) were selling and exporting to buyers outside of TX as they were willing to pay top dollar. The Gov. stopped those export fuel stock sales until Feb 21. Greedy, greedy. People died from extreme cold – inside their houses. District Attorney of Galveston County is looking at investigation and there will be charges. One energy guru’s early analysis here. It’s complex. More authoritative information to come.
  • Thanks to the federal government realizing the crisis and sending extra generators for the hospitals. People on dialysis or who required medical devices run by electricity to live, flooded the hospitals here…on top of COVID cases already in house. Extra power was critical.
  • Over 60% of homes in TX use electric heat. That’s astounding (and foolish, but in rural areas especially, if you don’t trust propane yard bombs,  and fireplaces aren’t enough, there’s electric if gas lines aren’t available) Still the heavy electric demand is during July-Sept….so there’s a bit of explaining to do ERCOT… More on this as clear facts are determined.
  • 20-25% electric power from wind and solar (% depends on whom you talk with) It’s West TX. It always gets cold. Why aren’t those wind turbine  blades winterizing with extra texture/coating to prevent freezing or why don’t these wind blades have the heater wrap used elsewhere? Oh, The base low cost model…..I did wonder when ERCOT was demanding we all unplug everything, lower thermostats to lower than chilly, and turn off lights, washers and dish washers, did they told electric car owners to not charge or drive their cars? Hmmmmm. Now there’s an issue few have talked about?
  • Grills as heaters. Heard about those pictures. Yep, and there was more than that one family/group doing that. People died from using a charcoal grill indoors and there’s been over 300 people treated from trying to use their cars as heated places. To be fair, ALL the county judges and mayors were all over the news saying do not use charcoal/propane grills indoors, do not use your stove for heat, do not sit in running car inside your garage – move it outside…and ALL the other possible dangerous stuff like no paper or cloth near space heaters. They loudly and frequently warned in both English and Spanish. (I guess those of the other 100+ languages of the area were supposed to already know?) Authorities tried to warn everyone, but still bad stuff happened. What can I say. Tragic. There’s also a concern of those trying to secretly cross the border at this time. The Cartel coyotes don’t care if the people who paid for passage die in transit.
  • Disturbing also is the fact that cell towers also froze and we and others did not have internet or phone service. People couldn’t call 911. Text could get out…eventually. This is dangerous.
  • The Houston Zoo should be applauded for their determined efforts. Quite a feat to keep all safe and warm despite generators going down and electricity loss. It’s tragic about the open air savanna-type drive animal “kingdom” near San Antonio that lost so many free ranging primates and animals…they should have started earlier trying to round up the poor creatures. Maybe licensing of those places should insist on a firm plan for environmental contingencies. Thanks to Space-X and volunteers for helping over 4,000 sea turtles stunned by the cold in South Padre. (Read story here)
  • Hope for better days is not just for the birds. The robin flock has been huddled in the dense bushes. One big fluffed up robin looked like a pumpkin on legs each morning as he perched on the top of one of the crepe myrtles to survey the conditions. This morning the mockingbirds were plumped and singing happily. Some lessons there.

That’s the update. Hasta later, Phil.

Dark room with fireplace. (© image, copyrighted, no permissions granted, all rights reserved.)

No, we did not freeze in the dark. And it was rather pleasant around the fireplace without the noise of TV, media, internet, politicians. There are some positives about living simply as people once did…for a little while HAHAHAHA (© image)

 

24 Comments

  1. Audrey Kalman / Feb 19 2021 12:27 pm

    Thanks for the dispatch from the field. It really helps to have a first-hand perspective not mediated by media.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. pensitivity101 / Feb 19 2021 12:33 pm

    keep safe and warm if you can.

    Like

  3. Ally Bean / Feb 19 2021 12:43 pm

    I’ve been wondering how you were doing. Sounds like you adapted as necessary and are wiser for the experience. Stay warm

    Liked by 1 person

  4. sustainabilitea / Feb 19 2021 12:47 pm

    Thanks for the details and not the “bleeds-leads” junk. My husband says it always makes sense to have a little bit of the prepper inside you and that would apply here. As for Ted leaving the state (and others as you point out), I said to my husband, “Wouldn’t you if you could?” Duh! That being said, it’s been pretty bad there and in other parts of the US and another big storm supposedly on the way. When we lived in Ohio, we had a wood-burning stove inserted into our fireplace so when power went out,we could at least keep warm in the living room even though the blower only worked if there was electricity. We had an enormous woodpile that was all “found” wood that I scrounged from every downed/cut down tree in the area or that I saw while driving. 🙂

    Glad everyone’s okay there and hopefully tonight will be the end of the cold. Stay safe.

    janet

    Like

  5. marina kanavaki / Feb 19 2021 12:59 pm

    Oh…. I’m sorry to hear about your power outage but glad you made the …most of it. The ‘lack’ of tv, internet, reporters and politicians [can be / is] a blessing. Peace and quiet, as long as the basics are in tact [some heat and food]. There are still [after 5 days!] some areas in Athens with no power from trees that fell on power cables. Our snow this year killed so many trees…
    Paw waves from Hera, who really enjoyed the snow too.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Kate Crimmins / Feb 19 2021 1:22 pm

    Sounds like you all are doing well!

    Like

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Feb 19 2021 3:05 pm

      Sounds like you -kit, cats, and kin- have made it to the other side. (I have to admit during the winter storm here I kept thinking, “please, let Kate’s move be smooth and snowless)
      I’ve managed to read a bit but not comment – the cat vocals in the cars are so familiar. That a post was delightlofuylly written – perspective clearly done well.
      Hope things are coming together and piece buy piece peace arrives
      (Our Starbucks is closed. May yours’ be open and warm!)

      Liked by 1 person

      • Kate Crimmins / Feb 19 2021 5:26 pm

        Good grief! Our Starbucks is open! It’s what gives me sanity.

        Like

        • philosophermouseofthehedge / Feb 19 2021 7:15 pm

          !!! Followers of the Grounds Unite!
          You better bet I had calculated when that power interval was coming up and had finger ready on that coffee maker. (Actually Molly barks when the printer comes online when the power is up – earns her keep HAHA)

          Liked by 2 people

  7. islandeditions / Feb 19 2021 1:43 pm

    So good to hear that all is well with all of you there! And thank you for your comprehensive report on the state of affairs in the State. Sending you warm tropical breezes from Bequia to help with the thawing process …

    Like

  8. RAB / Feb 19 2021 1:43 pm

    Oh, it’s good to see a post from you, Phil–I’ve been thinking of you down there in the snow! I should have known that The Realm would be prepared and serene. Perhaps you should think about running for office! Best wishes to my favorite wise woman.

    Like

  9. Anne Mehrling / Feb 19 2021 3:19 pm

    Thank you for this detailed post. I don’t have a radio and don’t watch TV, so all I saw were headlines. It is good to know what you lived through. I’m so glad to know that you survived in style with humor intact. Many thanks.

    Like

  10. Curt Mekemson / Feb 19 2021 4:50 pm

    As always, a little preparation goes a long ways, whether it’s what you do as an individual or whether companies and government are prepared to deal with emergencies. But nothing can beat self-reliance. We have a 3000 gallon tank of water that we can draw from for toilets, drinking water, etc, if we need it. We have propane heaters that are designed to be used inside. There are battery lantern and flashlights galore. Plus candles. 🙂 We have down sleeping bags and enough freeze dried food to last weeks, and we have backpacking stoves that can cook it up with plenty of fuel. We also have water purifiers that can purify almost any water. I use them all the time backpacking. If worse comes to worse, we can bring down our small RV that comes with a generator, gas stove, heater, bathroom and bed. Still, I want and expect our power company to do everything it can to assure a continuing flow of power. And I must say, they do a pretty damn decent job. Of course, if worse comes to worse, Peggy and I can always fly off to Mexico. 🙂 –Curt

    Liked by 1 person

  11. shoreacres / Feb 19 2021 7:12 pm

    I loved that first photo. It reminded me of this. As for the rest of it, we both know there were plenty of warnings, in plenty of time. The problem has been that some people don’t listen, some don’t understand, and some don’t care. They think they know better, or that they’re not subject to the same realities as everyone else. If we did a Venn diagram of don’t listen, don’t understand, and don’t care, I think it’s pretty clear where the ERCOT board would be.

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Feb 19 2021 7:27 pm

      That picture is just adorable.
      RC Cat has happily accepted the new architecture – we’ll see if she gives it up for the sunny window when the sun rotates a bit in a few weeks.
      Really pleased to see the robin flock has managed. How are the feathered food fighters at your place? They may be birdbrains, but know exactly what to do when winter storms hit…unlike certain humans.
      Thanks for slipping’ in a cool comment

      Liked by 2 people

  12. cat9984 / Feb 19 2021 11:07 pm

    RC Cat – We are very pleased that your staff took good care of you. That sounds atrocious. Purrs, Snoops and Kommando Kitty

    Like

  13. SilverTiger / Feb 20 2021 1:13 am

    I’m glad that you and yours survived and sorry about the many who didn’t and the other many who suffered from loss and destruction. It puts my moans abour how cold it is around freezing in a rather savage context.

    We have of course seen news items about the Texas crisis but your post adds details and insights that do not appear in those sources.

    We can only hope that the obvious warning implicit in this disaster will help concentrate minds on better preparing for the difficult future ahead as climate change bites down on a divided world.

    Looking forward to hearing your better news as you emerge from the disaster into more liveable conditions.

    Like

  14. Philip Edwards / Feb 20 2021 5:17 am

    ⭐️✨⭐️✨⭐️

    Like

  15. Irene Tobias Rodriguez / Feb 20 2021 7:49 am

    I, too, was wondering how you were doing. Thank you for your update.

    Like

  16. disperser / Feb 20 2021 8:08 am

    Glad to read the usual tone and of self-reliance and of four-legged beings managing.

    As for the rest . . . everything is always a mixed bag. We live at a time when no matter what one does, someone will find fault with it (which prompts people to then find fault inturn).

    ERCOT, however, completely ignored the recommendation of the 2011 report on the outages due to that winter storm (when only “four million” lost power). No one wants to spend money (including people who say that they should have spent money) and I doubt they will fully embrace being prepared for next time.

    If we were to lose power and natural gas here, my preparations — such as they are — would be for naught (the house is not set up for a natural fireplace and my generator runs on natural gas). Our plan is then to . . . we’ll see.

    Take care, stay safe.

    Like

  17. Littlesundog / Feb 21 2021 8:20 am

    Wow, I knew it had to be bad for folks south of us. I’m glad you managed well. Isn’t it wonderful how resilient animals are? We did fine here, but then we’re generally prepared. The only negative for us was even though I’d called to top off the propane, we didn’t get any until we were less than 20% in the tank. And propane is rationed to 100 gallons per person until supply and demand evens out a bit. Other than that, we did well. Now Forrest’s sister, who rents the rock house from us, is on city utilities and she had a lot of trouble. One thing for certain, we know what needs to be done in our work to repair and update things in that house. This weather made that evident, so for that I am thankful.

    You did an excellent job explaining the “mechanics” of how things work in the energy industry. I suppose that is why I didn’t know just how bad everything had been in Texas until I read your post. I rarely watch TV anymore – I don’t trust any of the lamestream media. I rely more on people out there living it. I don’t need to watch all of the soap opera drama, and idiot reporters telling us lies.

    Like

  18. Spinster / Feb 26 2021 10:00 am

    Read this days ago and forgot to comment. Thank you for sharing your perspective.

    A friend of mine is down there, and her experience wasn’t fun; however, it wasn’t as bad as many. Wishing the state a good recovery.

    Like

  19. Pied Type / Feb 28 2021 10:21 pm

    I’m relieved but not surprised that you were organized, had a system in place, and knew what to do. I imagine your experience with hurricanes helped a bit, too. Just glad to hear you got through it all, though I’m sure it wasn’t much fun.

    Like

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