Powerless – The Year the Lights Went Out

Monday, June 23 – Baking hot
Yesterday and today have been hot and sunny, yet here we are, trying to heat the bread oven. Martin thinks he’s managed to restore it and now we’re trying to work out how to use it. We think we have to heat it first by lighting a fire inside the oven itself.
The first time we tried, we closed the door and that soon made the fire go out. Now we’re trying to get the inside of the oven really hot, but leaving the door open. It’s hard to tell how hot it is and then we have to rake out the ashes. I was reluctant to waste much of our precious stores on testing the oven, but unless we try we’ll never know if it works. So I’ve made some rolls with the yeast starter I’ve been feeding for over a week and we’ll know soon if they work. I’ve left them to rise, covered over with a damp tea towel and when I’ve finished writing this I’ll try baking them. Martin is heating the oven again now, with fragments of the Scots pine that came down last summer, as it burns very hot.
In the days when we had electricity, we never lit a fire in the summer unless it was suddenly very cold and rainy. But now we still have to keep the fire burning all the time to heat water and cook. It is sunny outside even though it’s now gone 6, yet here we are, stoking the fire and baking.
We’re hoping for more supplies in the village this week. It’s been a while since the last delivery and our stocks are running low. We have plenty of meat and vegetables, but the staples are so useful if we are to make substantial meals. And I’m getting concerned about fresh water. It still hasn’t rained and although the soil is quite damp deep down and everything is growing well, our crops could do with a good drop of rain. But most of all I want more fresh water for washing and for bathing Anna and her baby when the time comes.
I took some well water out to the hens as they don’t care if it’s murky and only kick soil into their drinking water anyway, when they scratch in their run. I carried a saucer in to the broody, as her chicks have hatched but she won’t yet come out into the open. She hovers over them with her wings spread, like a great feathery umbrella, while she pecks at her food and sips her water. I’ve given her a very shallow dish of water so the chicks won’t drown.


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