Winter Solstice, 2006 Version


How We Survived The Winter Storm

A mighty wind blew through here last Thursday night, knocking out trees and power lines in its path. A million people lost power in western Washington, and we were two of them. Our lights went out Thursday early evening, and didn’t come back on until Saturday night. We had flashlights and candles at the ready, though, and we have a gas cooktop, so we figured we’d be OK for a little while at least. And we had running water, though by Friday it dawned on us that our septic pump, which pumps the bad stuff up to the street level, runs on electricity, and we better quit running water down the drain. (You’d think a smart girl who grew up on a farm would figure this one out faster, wouldn’t you?)

The fun part of all this is that we had our annual Solstice party planned for Friday night, complete with a huge standing rib roast and ten people around the table. We waffled a bit, then said, what the heck. And cooked a huge dinner with the benefit of only a gas cooktop and gas grill. I’m happy to report that you can indeed cook 15 pounds of prime rib on a grill with no problem. Ours has a temperature gauge, and it kept the interior temperature fairly constant during the cooking.

It occurred to all of us that this year’s party was symbolic of the whole Solstice thing, with the house lit only by dozens of candles (and a few flashlights at times). We were hoping the lights would come on at midnight, in a truly symbolic gesture, but no luck. We were still in the dark Saturday, and with the house getting colder, and temperatures due to drop further, we bailed out. We packed the cooler with everything from the freezer that would fit, and salvaged what we could from the refrigerator, and headed out to stay with electrically blessed friends. Our lights finally came back on late Saturday night, and we’re now home, and the kitchen is cleaned up. (We left all the dishes from the party out on the deck when we left!)

We’re lucky. All of our big trees survived the storm, nobody we know died or was injured, and we had a great meal in the bargain, and got to spend the whole weekend with friends. From the looks of our little neighborhood as we drive around, the region won’t be back in full swing for the rest of the week. There may even be some people without lights back on for Christmas.

Here are some photos of the event.

The table, before the feast began.


Mashing potatoes by flashlight. Note my husband with his handy-dandy headlamp. I love a man who is prepared for anything.


The main course:


Carving by flashlight:


A few guests enjoying themselves:



The aftermath. Note the little temperature thingie on the table in front of me. At this point it was still plenty warm in the house. Must have been all the candles.


I did make my traditional trifle for dessert, but didn’t get pictures of it. It looked just like it did the last two years, though. Without electricity, we had to whip the cream for it by hand, which was probably the most challenging part of the dinner.

When we got up on Saturday and started to clean up what we could without running water, we did the traditional “count the wine bottles to see how hungover we should be” thing. Hmmmm. Only three wine bottles on the table, along with a couple others opened and not finished. That’s pretty lame for this crowd. Then I looked outside. Apparently some of my guests decided that tossing the empties on the lawn was a good idea. Click on this one if you can’t see them. Four more on the lawn, that’s more like it.


All in all, a good way to survive the storm. I’m off to cook the formerly-known-as-frozen food in my refrigerator.


Winter Solstice, 2006 Version — 18 Comments

  1. Way to make do. We had a similar storm a couple weeks back and didn’t have power for 2 days, some people just got power back this week, more then 2 weeks without power in winter. It’s amazing what a little ingenunity can do.

  2. Sound like the perfect Solstice celebration! Glad didn’t let the lack of electricity get you down, and enjoyed yourself anyway. :0)

  3. What a beautiful party! Even more special with candlelight 🙂 Dan’s birthday is actually on the Solstice, so it’s especially meaningful here. Planning on making a rib roast and a trifle for our holiday dinner, too.

  4. Glad all is well and you have your power back. All our family escaped the outage, thank goodness, but son number 2 was on the road and stuck in Ellensburg as the worst of the weather passed.

  5. I’ve been thinking about all of you in the NW and it’s good to hear you are OK, albeit a little light deprived. You did the perfect thing by going ahead with your party and celebrating solstice as it should be. May the rest of your Holiday season be delightful and brightful!

  6. LOL – if they were chucking wine bottles on the lawn, it must’ve been a good time! Between mashing the potatoes and whipping the cream by hand, it sounds like a workout party. 🙂 I’m glad that you’re all ok.

  7. The meat looks delicious and it’s clear that everyone had a great time. I’m glad you didn’t suffer any major damage. Hopefully, this will be the last of the bad weather for you this year.

  8. You guys are having some rough weather, but i’m glad you still had your party. Looks like a nice time in spite of everything.

  9. Grace under fire, for sure. I’m not sure I would have been amused by the wine bottle littering.
    Glad you are back to normal.

  10. I’m sure it would have been a great party even without the extra “challenges” but I suspect they added even more to the merriment. Hope you get power restored soon though.

  11. I wish we lived closer. You guys know how to have fun.
    Glad the power came back on, but how about the latest storm? Did that one affect y’all?
    Hope you had a Merry Little Christmas!
    Stay warm and knit lots,