March 7, 2017
This evening I was just going to sleep when the bedside lamp suddenly went out. Then I noticed all of the LEDs in the room were no longer there. It was very dark. And I had lost my sense of direction.
With no idea of where a flashlight might be, I opened my MacBook and used its powerful flare until I could find my phone, then searched out flashlights, then candles. No matches. Found a lighter. A lifetime non-smoker, I couldn’t remember how to operate one. Woke my wife up to light a candle. She was less than pleased, but co-operated.
All lights off as far as I could see. Eerie. Then the street lights in Crosby came up. A utility truck began to flash lights in Forfar, lighting up half the houses in the hamlet.
My Internet was out, so I couldn’t even instant-message anyone on my phone. Had to text.
Soon I became bored with the darkness, so I went outside in the rain (46 F, thank goodness), lit up the Kubota, hitched it to the generator, and backed it up to the dangling emergency cable. I had already flipped the generator switch in the basement, so in a couple of minutes I had the 220v feed adjusted to 60 hz, and we now had heat, water, and refrigeration. And Internet, it turns out. Seems at some point I must have deemed the circuit to power the router essential, because I noticed it was lit up. I plugged a lamp into one of the plugs in the load centre, and we now had one light on the main floor, though the basement lights proved to be on the generator panel, as well.
A flashlight search of the house eventually located my laptop (upstairs bathroom, exchanged for large candle) and I logged onto the Hydro Storm Site. Surely enough, we have a power outage from a pole fire.
.Incident Id: 4919341
Customers Affected: 285
Crew Status: Dispatched
Cause: Pole Fire
Estimated Restoration: Mar 8, 12:45 AM
Oh, well. I didn’t miss anything on TV, and I finally had a chance to run the little pto generator I bought 3 years ago.
We don’t get many outages in Forfar since the Ice Storm.
Funny how dark it felt when the lights went out, though.
Update: 12:01, 8 March, 2017
There’s no longer evidence of work progressing in Forfar. All is dark. I checked the Storm Site:
Incident Id: 4919341
Customers Affected: 307
Crew Status: Crew Working in Area
Cause: Pole Fire
Estimated Restoration: Mar 8, 2:00 AM
Maybe they had to go get a pole, or a transformer. Meanwhile, the Kubota’s humming contentedly as the wind steadily rises.
Update: 4:04 a.m., 8 March, 2017
Power restored at 3:40. I had just refuelled the Kubota on-the-fly when the fire alarms bleeped and the lights came on. I waited for the furnace to finish its cycle and then switched the generator panel back to Ontario Hydro power. Neither the Kubota nor the 7.5 KW generator showed any sign of stress from about 15 litres of fuel turned into electricity over five hours on a warm, rainy night.
We are now in mud season.
Update: 1:30 p.m., 8 March, 2017
I have just spent an interesting hour researching pole fires. The short version is that at this time of year, dirt and road salt can build up on the ceramic insulators which keep the wires away from the large bolts which support the wires and connect them to the pole. Dry salt does not conduct, but under the right conditions of humidity, the accumulated salt can begin to conduct current through to the metal bolt beneath the insulation. This can in its turn heat the bolt which chars the post, sometimes to the point that the wood ignites. This produces a pole fire, the most common cause of power outages in cold climates. Repairs typically involve replacing the pole and any hardware attached to it, as it’s all toast if there is a fire.
Last night’s pole fire resulted in a six-hour outage to four hundred customers. Though they restored the power in that interval, I saw the crew was still at work on the pole (which appears to hold three transformers) in front of Baker’s Feeds at noon today.
February 25, 2017
Past-winners of the Newboro Lake Ice-out Guessing Competition
2016: Jim Waterbury (current holder of the bragging-rights mantle)
2015: Doug Fyfe
2014 Dr. Roslyn Dakin
2013 Louise Pritchard
2012 George Kitching
To the winner of this competition passes the mantle of Ice-Master/Mistress of the Lake, with all of the bragging rights and free-beverage privileges which go with it, until the mantle again passes on at the conclusion of the 2018 competition.
Entries may only be made by posting comments at the end of this post with the entrant’s first and last name and the geographical area of the Lake each has chosen to represent, and of course the date in 2017 on which the entrant predicts that judges and volunteers will no longer be able to find a patch of floating ice of greater than 100 square feet in surface area on Newboro Lake.
As usual, the dates are on a first-posted basis. If someone double-posts on an already-taken date, the moderator will void the second entry, using the date stamp of the message software to establish priority. The moderator will make a reasonable attempt to notify any thwarted aspirants to a particular date, but entrants would do well to read the comments section of this post religiously.
Emails to Rod with dates, or postings to the Ice Observations Page will not be accepted as entries this year.
Contest entries will be accepted until 11:59 P.M. on March 15, 2017, so beware the ides of March.
January 20, 2017
Today conditions were perfect for a bit of exercise, so I began to gather up slash left over from the trimming job on a stand of ten-year-old white pines.
Last fall a contractor offered the trimming in return for the pine needles which he sells in Toronto for wreaths at Christmas. The crew came back a couple of weeks later and dutifully trimmed the stubby branches off the trees, but I decided if I got a chance I’d clean up under the canopy so that I could mow it once or twice a year.
Five loads of branches transported to a burn pile were enough for today. If the weather holds I’ll get back at it. There’s little danger of running out of branches to gather in the near future: these rows are 700′ long.
Of course the best part is the unloading: just back up to the pile and flick a lever. The trailer dumps itself. A little overcapitalized? Maybe, but it’s fun.
December 24, 2016
My super-efficient MacBook Air computer has begun to suffer from performance problems relating to a lack of disk capacity. Routine purges of the hard drive fail to contain the deterioration. It seems Google Photos has linked my phone’s camera to the computer and automatically saves a version or two of everything the camera takes to my hard drive.
Each new photo automatically becomes sacrosanct, for almost all are of an adorable infant, our first granddaughter Ada. A tentative attempt to delete one or two this morning earned me an electronic slap on the wrist: the blasted things are locked! Many of these artifacts have come from other family members in an earnest effort to document Ada’s life and travels around the province.
Pretty well every time Ada opens her eyes there’s a camera there to record the event, and Google Photos immediately and automatically distributes the new data to other named recipients.
This reached a fever pitch about when Ada’s first selfies hit the Internet. At three and a half months, the kid has now become smart phone-sophisticated, calmly maintaining eye contact with the camera as a natural part of her personality.
And of course the album links get forwarded: we have created the Ada Virus.
The impulse to share one of Ada’s pictures popped up from some unfamiliar corner of my brain as I finished typing this deliberation, so I tried to upload one to WordPress. I couldn’t find a single photo accessible to this program’s software. The virus has now concealed itself!
*This online document has been checked and declared free of the named virus.
December 12, 2016
You’ll find it saved as a page at the top of the column to the right of this post. Please forward your reports as comments to that page. I’ll sort out a title for it which places it high on the alphabetical list.
Here’s a URL for cross posting:
December 4, 2016
Every year about this time Mommy goes into what Dad calls “elf-mode.” Yesterday she tried to fasten a wreath to the door of my house, but I put an end to that with a baleful glare. Anyway, she’s cheerful in elf-mode, so there are lots of treats.
November 21, 2016
This is admittedly click-bait, but first snow is a fairly big deal up here. Let’s call it kitchen table journalism.