September 9, 2019 at 9:52 am #22437
Tonight, you’re going to spend an evening without electricity.
This means you’ll have to figure out what you’re having for dinner, how you’ll light the house, and more challenging still, how you’re going to entertain the family. So no video games, no phones, no television or movies. (May the force be with the parents of teenagers.)
You can turn the power back on at bedtime if you are in an area with hot weather so you can sleep comfortably.
If you need some tips, check out my PDF called The Blackout Book.
Tell us how it went!
Did your kids attempt a coup? What did you do for off-grid entertainment? What did you have for dinner and how did you light things up? Share your evening with us in the comments below.
September 9, 2019 at 10:25 am #22441
We have already been through this without electricity for 2 weeks. It was during summer time after a tornado took out the pumping station in next neighborhood. We had candles and oil lamps as well as flashlights. We cooked our meat on grill and our stove top was natural gas so all I had to do is light a match for that as the electronics did not work without the electric but could still use it. Also had a propane stove to use outside. So had coffee each morning brewing on that. I have a portable DVD player that runs on batteries. So that kept DH happy. I did a lot of reading. Our cooking really never changed much as we cook out on the grill a lot in summer anyway. So we cooked steak one night. Chicken another night and cooked hot dogs over the fire pit. We had salads from the garden. Warmed up veggies on stove in house. So we did well for a 2 week span.. We also put puzzles together in the evenings some nights by light of our oil lamps. We opened windows on the shady side of house during day and kept curtains closed on sunny side. Then as the sun came around to back of house we closed all windows on that side and closed the curtains as well. Then opened windows where shade was on the front of house. It seemed to work well as we stayed rather cool. Though about 3 pm it did get a bit hot as the sun blazes on the back of house for a couple of hours. Our kids are grown so it was just DH and myself. That made it a bit easier.
Yes we did make hobo stew on grill a couple of times as well as corn on cob, pork chops as well.
September 9, 2019 at 10:51 am #22444
I have too much electricity powered food reservation going on right now, I’ll chase everyone outside for another round of campfire cooking and playing outdoors. Not an uncommon event at my place.
September 9, 2019 at 11:34 am #22446
We have already practiced this. Left the electricity off all day. My stove is propane, so all I have to do is light it. I have a rather large stash of lanterns and oil for burning in them. If we get caught low on propane, I have small (and larger 5 gallon) propane containers to fire up the propane stove, and heaters if its cold out. My biggest issue is we need to set up some solar or wind power for the well pump, and it would be nice to power the freezers, too. We are working towards this goal. As for non-electric entertainment, we have a nice supply of puzzles, books, cards, and puzzle books, if we are not too tired from regular farm chores!
September 9, 2019 at 11:37 am #22447
Oh, also, no kids live with us any more. Our son lives only 15 minutes away, so if they are without power for very long, I expect them to come here.
September 9, 2019 at 11:44 am #22448
We occasionally follow our friend’s suggestion of having a Little House Weekend. No electricity use, which requires that we use the outhouse, the candles, and cook out of doors on the campfire. Clean up is a bit rough, because I love my showers, but it’s certainly doable.
Living without the electric is a grand way to check preps.
September 9, 2019 at 7:39 pm #22463
We have adult children with significant disabilities and the question of how to entertain them is very similar to having teenagers. One listens to and the other watches Either Netflix or DVDs every evening. I’ll report back on how our TV less evening goes.
September 9, 2019 at 9:08 pm #22464
Easy one for me tonight. Just got home from work @7:30 pm. Not much would have changed had I arrived home & found the power out (except it would have been sweltering in the house so I would have gone out to the screen porch for the evening & to sleep ). Fed the animals, have candles & oil lamps as well as lanterns. Left over pizza for dinner & relishing a little quiet time before bed.
September 9, 2019 at 9:18 pm #22465
Have no little ones or teenagers living permanently with me. By myself most of the time. But I have plenty of puzzles, cards, games, coloring books/crayons, and books to keep all ages occupied. Have propane stove for cooking. I have two solar generators (small) but they will run fans, tvs, lights, etc. just not the coffee maker. I have a percolator for the stovetop and a single cup drip coffee maker for the top of your cup. I have a propane water heater for showers and dishes. I have a portable dvd player and lots of DVD’s. I also have an antenna for tv which doesn’t have to have electric to operate. I have a lot of light sources which are operated on solar and power packs. I check the power packs weekly to charge. I also have kerosene lamps to use for light. I have some solar Edison light strands, two in my living room and one in my bedroom. Works great. Not too bright but has a great “ambience”, Peaceful and I am able to read by it. I also really enjoy just sitting in my rocker on the front porch. Good breeze and peaceful.
September 9, 2019 at 11:32 pm #22469
So cereal for dinner (late lunch, so not too hungry) and down to the basement with the oil lamps and books to stay cool(er.) Just my spouse and I so no worries about entertaining anybody!
September 9, 2019 at 11:58 pm #22470
Unfortunately I have failed this challenge. We have house guests (DH’s college friends) that are arriving tonight for the week and another house guest next week . Neither of the guests know what I am doing and I am not comfortable talking about what I do with them, OPSEC , you know.
We have been without power in the past at the old house(power went out for a week). That is why DH agreed to get the standby. His mom and aunt were here at the time and it was cold in the house.Our fireplace was in the family room and was not the most efficient.We moved the living room couch to family room so they each had a comfortable couch to sleep on, we had the air mattresses. Mom, Aunty, me and the boys had a good time . We did not have the electronics that most kids(and adults) are hooked on,so the boys had a great time playing all sorts of card games and board games we had with Grandma and Grand aunt. I didn’t do too bad cooking in the fireplace but we also had a charcoal grill so DH was able to grill out.
- This reply was modified 1 week, 4 days ago by Mama cando.
September 10, 2019 at 12:47 am #22472
Doggone- having some trouble posting- it just seems to disappear after I type quite a bit. Here goes again.
It wouldn’t be hard to do without electricity for an evening but DH is using computer a lot so will skip this one. We have a generator but its in the garage not hooked up yet but this reminds me we need to get to it. Also work on solar panels. They were up at other house but not this one.
About yesterdays challenge- I read challenge late in the day so didn’t get to it. Its raining today and we had to do other things so dogs didn’t even get their walk. Will have to remedy that. I can easily walk to store, church and post office in the village but to get home from town farther away where I do major shopping would be hard. It would take me a long time and I would have to recuperate later. DH simply couldn’t do it and like clergylady said “I would not abandon him”. His brain is sharp though so we would figure out something. Uphill is hard especially on a warm day and we have a lot of hills.
My bike is an old 1 speed. Maybe I should update that. Seems like we have been working on a lot of different burners lately. I’ll be glad when it slows down.
September 10, 2019 at 2:46 am #22459
I live alone so I think this practice run with no electricity won’t be that difficult. I’ll fire up the gas grill or the smaller camp stove to make a hamburger. Left-over birthday cake to finish. Paper plate and cup to eliminate need to wash dishes. Large flashlight for moving about the house. Probably should light one oil lantern and maybe a few candles for ambiance. Listen to an audio-book on my I-pad. A standby power bank will provide all the charge I’ll need. And, early to bed as is my custom.
This is what I plan and suddenly I’m thinking “what if is is dark when the power goes off?” “can I put my hands easily on all the items mentioned above?” Hmmm….I already have a problem in that the oil lamp I was thinking to use is stored on a high shelf I can no longer reach without a ladder and I don’t do ladders anymore!!!
This makes me think I probably should have a designated spot where all items required to quickly provide light, to set up the cook stove, matches, etc. for these occasional power outages are housed. Out in the country when the lights go out it is DARK – PITCH BLACK DARK.
September 10, 2019 at 9:31 am #22480
The power goes off intermittently here so a night without electricity is no big deal. Its a little cool in the evening (the 40s), so I had the wood stove going on low to give a bit of light and heat. The lanterns and flashlights are always placed to be handy and easily accessible in every room.
Tonight, for entertainment, I read. I went to bed early and got up early with the sun.
- This reply was modified 1 week, 3 days ago by Loving Life.
September 10, 2019 at 10:51 am #22482
Nancy E Griffith GriffithParticipant
We have oil lamps,candles and check our flash lights often. I worked in the yard and had cards and board games and books to keep us entertained.
September 10, 2019 at 11:32 am #22483
Power out for a few hours is pretty normal here since our power line goes through an unmaintained wooded easement.
Dinner is no problem – one of our canned meals cooked on our gas range. Power outage is one reason we got the new propane range a year ago.
No power means no water, but we have emptied large detergent bottles that we have filled with water for hand washing. Plus one with fresh water for the bathroom sink at bedtime.
On cold days we use the oil lamps, on warm days we use the battery powered camping lights; to play a game together. Plus headlamps for personal use to read.
September 10, 2019 at 2:31 pm #22495
Went well didn’t attempt a coup against my parents.
September 10, 2019 at 3:18 pm #22499
No problems for an evening without electricity, and recently practiced during Dorian. We used gas to heat some soup and supplemented with pantry fruit and crackers. We have some great little solar lanterns that also have USB ports to charge phones, etc. We worked some on a puzzle and then each read, so just a quiet evening at home.
September 10, 2019 at 3:18 pm #22500
There was a simple “no” from DH for this challenge. He works every night on his computer and one of his favorite shows was on.
We have gone without power before and it went well. We have battery fans and the ability to cook. Plenty of board games and cards. No worries if we truly did not have power we would be alright.
September 10, 2019 at 4:47 pm #22505
I lose power if a cloud farts. I picked up a lot from Hurricane Irma 2017. Power was out for over a week (I get my water from a well), and my generator decided to puke out on me, and I did not bother to check my gas grill (also out of commission) Flashlights (1000 lum) sitting on counter pointed at low white ceiling gave me light, and battery operated fans kept me comfortable. I ran gallons of water through my Berkey before hand, and was smart enough to get plenty of food that did not need cooking. I cooked what I had to cook before the storm. I knew it was going to be bad when there was only one path (determined by all weather people ) coming off Africa. that gave me plenty of time, and to convince others how bad it was going to be. No power can be dealt with if you are prepared.
September 11, 2019 at 1:17 am #22517
This was fun and…as always…a Dress Rehearsal reminds me of things I knew and forgot OR points out something I need to know. Thanks, @daisy
FORGOT …expected to have computer/Internet until my weak laptop battery died. NOPE, router/modem device need elect. Hurried to do DuoLingo lesson early. Don’t want to break my hundred-and-some day record.
I “went dark” at 5:30 and DH got home from work at 9:30pm so it wasn’t that long for me. I turned barn and house yard lights on so he wouldn’t be worried that I fell or something. But before I did that, I spent time on our porch and enjoyed the dark night, bright three-quarter moon, and a million stars. So quiet. 🙂
Outside chores had really no difference since it was still light and water is from the pond or the horse tank that’s full. Used headlamp in no-window garage. We also keep small cheap flashlights down there in specific places.
Supper: I brought up the 2-burner Coleman stove from garage. Good time to check; been 11 yrs since we camped and used it. Where has time gone? Set it up on porch table and …tank nearly empty or possibly it’s malfunctioning. Never achieved a steady blue flame. Soot on my griddle but got my cheese/Spam grilled sandwiches done anyway. Need to check that stove to make sure that’s the only problem….in daylight. I did that on porch with headlamp.
I used a strand of uncooked spaghetti….light the end and it’s a long “match” to reach the stove burner…or a candle. Carry lighter in my pocket for lighting stove and candles this night.
Thought of candles later. 1 too deep to stay lit; 1 tall taper didn’t fit in candle holder till I dripped enough melted wax inside; lit a new small pillar and two in glass jars. One of those in bathroom. Check with my hand …to make sure nothing above would get hot from flame.
2 old flashlights with weak batteries….on floor of bathroom, bedroom …turned on. Excellent to see the floor to walk! Continued to use headlamp for what my hands were doing.
Good crank radio with a light – works very nice! Forgot to charge up my LED spot light…oops.
Most difficulty: Washing hands…pouring from juice bottle into sink…tucked bottle under my arm and lean forward to dispense water. Especially with soot on my hands. Could have used wet wipes…didn’t even think of that. Cleaned up with sink/wash cloth instead of shower. It works fine but even using tepid stored water….it’s COLD here in mountains. 52 degrees outside and maybe ten degrees warmer inside.
9:30pm Then DH came home from work…had to explain that nothing is wrong with our electric…just a dress rehearsal. He “gets it” but too tired to “play”.
Thanks for the WATER exercise before this one, Daisy. Then we all had our containers of water filled for this ‘power outage’. Actually, I have yet to dump 20 containers that are lined up in front of the fireplace…in sanitizing mode. But had plenty of others. The September projects are getting backed up…
September 14, 2019 at 12:17 pm #22673
All went well. We were ready because it’s Florida during Hurricane season. The teens did fine. We have a few battery operated fans to keep cool enough. Dinner on the grill is something we do all the time anyway.
September 15, 2019 at 1:33 pm #22720
We don’t lose power very often and when we do it’s for a very short period of time. Things went well last night. The power was out when I came home at 6 pm. The pork chops were already defrosted so I cooked them on the grill along with some zucchini and tomatoes. I read outside until it was hard to see then lit the oil lamps and moved inside. Bed time was a little earlier than usual but that wasn’t a big hardship.
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