Day 6

Slowly, but somewhat surely, gas is being restored to homes and businesses in Taos. Some of our friends have warm houses again, while others are still waiting, not too patiently at this point. This is day 6 of this crisis, and most Americans are not accustomed to going without. Especially not going without something so basic as heat.

Rumors and conjectures are beginning to surface. Conspiracy theories are mumbled by some, and shouted by others. People are getting angrier by the day, not just because they have no heat, but because there are no clear answers as to why this happened, and what will be done to insure that it doesn't happen again. Even after all the gas service is restored, and people's lives get back to normal, I have a feeling this will not be over for a very long time. There will be investigations, accusations, and probably legal steps taken. This mess seems to be getting messier, even as it's being cleaned up.

It has a lot of us thinking about our dependencies and vulnerabilities. Even people like us, who are unaffected by the gas outage are faced with a new set of what-ifs. We're fine here in the current situation, with wood heat and electric everything else. But if the power goes out, we don't even have running water because the pump in the well house is electric. We keep two 5 gallon buckets of water for just-in-case, but that wouldn't get us very far. Our friend who lives in an Earthship is sitting pretty good, off the grid, and totally self sustaining... as long as the sun comes out to charge her solar batteries. A day or two of stormy weather can leave her sitting in the dark, depending on propane backup for heat and cooking. I guess a perfect set-up would have to include solar and wind power, along with water catchment. It's not impossible, and it might be time to consider adding a few things here.

I guess we could sit around worrying about what might happen, but that's not really our style. We're aware of these things, and feel the need to step up our emergency backup system a bit, but otherwise, we choose to focus on what we do have more than on what we don't have. We have a lot. And the more attention we give to that, the better off we'll be... even if the lights do go out.


  1. I don't know if you remember, but about 7 years ago a huge snafu happened on the grid somewhere, plunging quite a few states into total darkness for almost 2 weeks. No heat, no cooling, no water, no nothing. Oddly enough, no one shouted "Big Brother is out to get us!" or any other conspiracies. We joined together, we helped each other out and when the crisis passed, we continued our lives. It is sad when something like a sudden, unexpected cold snap in an area that is not completely prepared for that kind of weather points fingers to the "powers that be" instead of to "oh well, it happens, even to us". Stay safe and warm and believe me, I do feel your frozen is a balmy -9 here right now lol.


  2. Two years ago we experienced major electrical power outages in the Northeast due to a terrible ice storm. In my home we were without power for 11 days. Some people I know experienced far less time being without and others a few days longer. Obviously life in this region was severely disrupted for a solid two weeks. There were hearings and investigations. There are those that are still trying to oust the electrical provider in this area. My family and I faired reasonably well for almost a week because we are a hearty, resourceful bunch and do a lot of rustic camping. So we knew how to go about without. The problem was heat and water. We eventually got a generator which we were able to run our heat on and get our pump up and running. Life with running water made all the difference. I wish you all well. It does make you wonder how our lives would be if our "basic luxuries" were to disappear.

  3. Hi Kim: Peter is taking his solar water heating class now and they are talking a lot about geothermal heating and cooling. It's done with a deep hole dug into the ground. The 60-65 degree air is then pumped into the house- good for winter heat AND summer cooling! Wonder how much it costs to dig a 50 to 100 foot hole?
    We got our gas turned on yesterday at about 4pm. We are lucky to have an electric water heater so we had hot water during the gas outage. Our adobe was pretty cozy with the wood stove going day and night.

  4. I've often felt I wanted my mother around in case of a caclysmic event. She was reared on a farm in the 1920's with no running anything, and resourcefulness was the name of survival and quality of life. And she felt she had a good quality of life. I still have the beautiful glass kerosene lanterns, flat irons, curling irons and wind up gramaphone indicative of that time and place. But, oh, how nice to flush. And I felt completely baffled by not having electricity for the 24 hours it took to repair squirel damage - I couldn't even iron :-). Yes, I think we are all entirely too dependent on our infrastructure. Maybe this is a wakeup call? Care to you all in these extreme weather areas. Norine


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