After the moose encounter life continued more or less the same. However, I was a little less trusting and made sure now that I had my bear mace any time I ventured out of doors. One just never knew what you would encounter. You could be taking the trash out and run into a bear. This is the last frontier and to forget that fact could be fatal!!
Our temperatures were still below zero. We had to keep the windows cracked due to the carbon monoxide threat. This kept us chillier than normal in our apartment. Our electric company had warned on the local news that there could be rolling blackouts. This was due to all the heaters or furnaces being on high to battle the cold. It was creating a pull on the electric plants that over taxed them and since they were already old and in need of updating, all the officials could do was to allow the rolling blackouts. We were warned to keep plenty of wood on hand to keep warm in the event of a blackout. And obviously, keeping canned food on hand wouldn’t be a bad idea either. We went shopping and got tons of canned food, logs and wood. We were set. We didn’t count on using up so much wood and logs. However, because we had to leave the windows cracked we were going through them at an amazing pace.
We would make weekly treks to the store to get wood and logs. Since we were in a small apartment there was no area large enough to order a cord of wood and store it. Anybody could steal it. Wood in the Anchorage area is expensive. I could not figure this out since this is a huge state and mostly unpopulated with lots of forests. Why was the wood so expensive and hard to get?? A neighbor upstairs informed me that because Anchorage is a rain forest that it’s hard to find “dry” wood. Dry wood is essential for burning in a fire place, otherwise it would smoke too much. We got an education in wood. There are kinds that are absolutely not good for burning and other types that burn fast and still other types that are perfect for burning. Sheesh!!! Who would have thought that you had to take care with picking out which would to buy and burn??
I started to bake bread all the time. My family loved it and baking helped to keep us warm. I was having to keep my aversion for the kitchen in check. I baked bread and cobblers, stews and dumplings, home made cookies and cakes. My neighbor also loved to bake and she was always making cup cakes for the boys. They loved her baking and asked for her cup cakes often. The only problem with doing lots of baking was there were lots of dirty dishes afterwards. The dishwasher in our apartment was half the size of a normal dishwasher. Sometimes, I would run it twice instead of standing over the sink and doing the rest by hand. I just couldn’t bring myself to wash dishes after a rigorous escapade in the kitchen.
I started to plan my baking times so as to yield the most heat for the evening hours when we were all home and needed it. Once the boys got home from school I would start up some bread. I use a simple recipe called Beer Batter Bread. It is an excellent and very adaptable recipe. You can make just plain bread or you can sweeten it up and make anything from a cinnamon bread or blueberry bread to a garlic or onion bread. It all depended on the ingredients. I was always searching for easy recipes. Feeding three grown men and keeping them happy is certainly a chore and takes planning. Then add Davin, who had a ravenous appetite and yet remained skinny and you have my worst nightmare.
On one particular afternoon after the boys got home from school, I had started up some blueberry bread. Davin would love it!! He loved fruit but he also loved the bread. This combined the two. I noticed I was low on logs and wood. I went ahead and started a fire for the first time that day. Our days now were around 3 hours long. There is maximum amount of time for the freezing temperatures to work their havoc. We tended to take frequent, hot showers should we get too cold. It was a fast and easy way to warm up. Davin was in the shower, I was baking bread, the furnace was on, we were all on our computers, the dishwasher was running (which meant that the hot water heater was on) and the fire had the last of our wood in it. Then everything instantaneously shut off!! This was it!!!! Our first blackout!!