Three months without power and it's crazy ass cold outside! I think our day time highs are in the -25°C range, and the nights are in the -40's.
Husband never 'got around' to building a windmill, not that it would help much now anyway, since there's almost no wind- just cold, cold, cold! He did add 15 batteries to the battery bank, taken from cars off the roadside. He's also installed a series of car radiators around the kitchen, livingroom and our bedroom. He wrapped the woodstove with copper pipe, then connected waterhose to run between the radiators. It helps a lot.
He found another mini solar panel in an abandoned car, and hooked it up to the battery bank. We're still only using the batteries to run the furnace fan for short spurts, but every little bit helps. We sealed off the upstairs- the boys are camped out semi-permanently in the livingroom. Husband collected a few alternators, pulleys, and gears, so if he ever gets motivated to try the car alternator windmill he should have what he needs to build it.
The Bigs wander around daily with the calking gun, filling in drafts we never knew we had before. The Littles have been doing chores- it's the only time they go outside lately- and if they don't go outside I might have to kill them. We're all cranky from being cooped up, but the little two fight and argue all day long. Board and card games have lost a lot of their appeal, with everyone trying to find a little spot to get away from each other. On a positive note- everyone is reading these days!
I sorted through my seed stash and started tomatoes and peppers. It's a little earlier than I normally start them, though only a week for the tomatoes. I had a good supply of store bought pasta sauces, tomato juice, and tomato soup going in to this winter. Next winter we might still be on our own, so that's a whole lot of gardening and canning we've never depended on before.
We're eating out of the freezers almost exclusively now- no sense opening jars when anything that's left in the next few months will have to be canned. Beans, beans, the musical fruit, lol. There's not much variety for veggies in the freezers.
I've started canning some meat as well- ground beef and stewing meat, just a canner load per week. I wasn't going to, as we could probably use it all up before spring, but then what? I'm not sure I'm ready to become a vegetarian or rely on what we can hunt or catch through the summer. It's easier to do the canning now, while the fire's heating the house and the snow is providing the water, than to try butchering in the spring and having to can it all. Looks like Mindy will be safe 'til next fall. At any rate- I've got about thirty meals worth of meat canned now.
Which brings up another worry. Canning jars. I've gotten a few extras from the flea market, maybe an extra case or two. I wasn't counting them, because I always bought extra jars whenever I found them. This is different though. I won't be able to freeze summer greens or beans with no power. Everything will have to be canned. All of those tomato products I normally buy come in their own cans. This year they'll be taking up jar space. Jars that I don't have. Jars that I probably won't be able to get.
Which really makes me rethink the garden and the menu. We need to grow more of everything, but we really need to grow more of what will store without processing. More cabbage- which can stay in the garden until after it freezes. More squash and pumpkins, that keep well. More root veggies. Do dry beans count as a veggie? My beloved green beans, which I'm so tired of right now, will be few and far between next winter. And of course, those veggies aren't the easy seed savers either, which will make the following winter even more scarce.
All in all, we're doing ok. I just hope we get hydro back soon.