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Jay Currie

One Damn Thing After Another









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1/10/2005

Jamie Oliver on the Woodstove

My eastern friends can, of course, be forgiven for laughing at a snow story where the temperature never dropped below -1C and a mere foot and a half fell. That would be a light frost in Montreal...

But it is less than fun on our little slice of the Mediterran bobbing in the Salish Sea. The deal here is that you have a snow day once a year and then it turns to rain. Apparently Ms. Nature did not get the memo this year and left the snow tap on. Which was wonderful right up until the trees started dropping their branches on the power lines.

We evacuated down the hill to our friends' just vacated cabin. Tiny but with a functioning woodstove. Power outages are pretty normal on Galiano but they are cleared in twenty four hours. Not this time. This time the Hydro crews could not get to the island because the snow was accompanied by wind which made it impossible for the ferry to dock. Lovely.

It happens that we live at the top of the tallest hill on Galiano. A four by four could drive it in snow but not much else. So we were stuck for a couple of days. The real bitch was that the water is on an electric pump which meant, er, no water. Fortunately there is a nice big holding tank so we could trudge up the hill and carry water in the time honoured manner of pioneers. Friends down the street were reduced to melting snow - which is a remarkably unfulfilling exercise in which a stock pot full of snow produces two inches of water after being on the woodstove for an hour. So Sam and I hauled a few, ramarkably heavy, gallons of water down to them.

One of the pleasures of the island is just how neighbourly people actually are. I hitch hiked down island yeaterday and, on every ride, was asked if there was anything we needed, did the kids have the right clothes, what was our wood situation?

The power's back, road plowed, water running.

Susan proved last night that you could slow cook a Jamie Oliver lamb, vegies and cous cous recipe on a wood stove with remarkable results. If we had not been so hungry we'd have taken a picture and sent it to the Naked Chef. Pioneers never, ever, had it this good.