We forget the value of electricity

It is quite easy to forget how valuable electricity is to us.
Shortly after my father built our cabin on Rainy Lake, we gave up Coleman lanterns and replaced our lights with electricity. We had a small diesel generator that provided enough power to light the cabin and run a few hand tools while the refrigerator and stove continued to use propane.
In the late 1970s, a power line was run from the mainland connecting about 13 island properties on the lake. Two island residents went from island to island talking to cabin owners encouraging them to participate.
Not everyone did, thinking the cost of electricity was too much or the rustic feeling of propane lights was more valuable.
For more than 35 years that power has been very much appreciated.
We had forgotten how many services it provided to us. Our cottage is on the last island before the U.S. border and that power line that comes from the Canadian mainland powers all three cabins on the island.
So when the power went out early on July 4 with a lightning strike, we expected it to be short-lived. It didn’t make a lot of difference since we were in Fort Frances but as we approached the weekend, and the announced return to power kept being delayed, our concerns mounted.
A quick run to the cabin Thursday night by my sister and her husband removed all the perishables from the fridge. The announcement then on the Outage Map said power would be restored by 3 p.m. on Friday, which subsequently was extended to 6 p.m. on Friday and then to 6 p.m. on Saturday.
On Sunday, with thunder and lightning in the air, Ontario Hydro removed their crews from Rainy Lake.
Our departure to the island Saturday morning saw us packing ice blocks and cubes in coolers and choosing to only bring items that were essential for the day. You forget how valuable the electricity is.
We had buckets of water to do dishes in. Since the stove was not working, hot water was difficult to come by. All of our cooking had to be done on the barbecue. That is not a struggle and even the toast was great cooked that way.
The heat of the day on Saturday called for many dips in the lake. A stiff breeze also helped keep things cool.
At supper, we debated whether to eat inside the sun porch or on the deck. Unthinkingly, I suggested that the fan in the sunroom would keep us cool and then everyone looked at me and one said, “You think?” No power, no electric fan.
As the sun disappears behind the clouds, we often will sit back and read. It is a tradition. Not so without any electricity. The electronic reading devices soon ran out of power. We realized that the cellphones would use more power without the Internet at the cabin, so they were turned off so that in an emergency, we still could phone for help.
The composting toilet that relies on power could not be used so everyone used the old outhouse again.
The upside of the weekend without power is that we are experiencing a huge harvest of wild blueberries. We have had the proper amount of rain and heat to grow huge berries.