Sunday, January 15, 2012

Power's out!

Every porch has a shelf full of barn lanterns, ready for power outage or parties.

    I live in a very rural part of Missouri, about 70 miles from a major city. Every time the wind blows or it rains, we seem to loose electric power. Sometimes it is only for a few minutes, but has been out for days. It always seems to happen in the hottest weather of summer or the coldest of winter. When ever it happens, it is not fun and you have to be prepared. I first experienced this  in the spring of 2008. You see, My Old Historic House, is about 200 feet from the Mississippi River. When I was thinking about buying my house, my sister said, "don't buy that house it floods." I answered, "well the last flood was in 1993 and they said that was a hundred year flood". Well, this was 2006, and I would be dead in  hundred years. Well, I bought it and in 2008, we had another one of those so called, "100 year floods." I was living in St.Louis at the time and spending weekends  here. I had to rush to Clarksville when the predictions were that the flood was to be as big, if not bigger, than the 1993 flood. We started sandbagging as soon as I got here and the very next day, we lost power. The electric company cut the lines for safety.I spent 6 weeks in that house with no electric, gas, water or bathroom. It was a challenge. But I soon learned, one does what they have to do.
    I  went back to the old days.Kerosene lamps and lanterns. I had a lot of them around, why not use them? My sister  bought me some lamp oil and I was in business. One lantern was hung on every porch., one in the kitchen. several in the trees and on hooks in the yard. When all these were lite, there was a pretty good lighted path around and about my house. Almost every evening, my first job was to fill all the lamps and lanterns with oil.  I seemed to get through it much better by making a game of it. It was like a scene from a movie, me walking about with my lanterns and lamps.I kinda felt like Scarlett, as she and Rhett left Atlanta and left the lamp burning at the front gate.

This blue lamp in my kitchen is the first one I go for when the power goes out.
This is a favorite,I got it  from the famous, Stark Nursery family.

   Kerosene lamps date back to about 1850. They were much like a candle. When the oil burns down so does the wick. In England these lamps were called pariffan lamps. This type of lamp was invented in America by Robert Daisy in 1853. The Abraham Gesner Kerosene Gaslight Company were the first to produce these lamps in American around 1860.This type of lighting made it much easily to light American homes. Kerosene was very cheap, easy to get and  for the first time in history, American home owners had better lighting.
   Today I have lamps scattered about the house. I try and keep one in almost every room. It is just handy when that power is lost. Matches play a big roll in these lamps and without them it is hard to use them. I discovered  waterproof matches also during the flood. They can be bought at sporting good shops and sure come in handy.I have a land line for my phone as well, as phones now days, don't seem to work with out electric. I hate anything with batteries. Sometimes there is no choice, as the only way to have certain products, like remotes, is to use a battery. I give in, but it is not my first choice.

I like to place several oil lamps by the front door when I am having parties at night. The chimneys keep the wind from blowing out the flame.

I hung them on hooks, during the flood and also  for night parties.

   I not only use the lanterns and lamps when the power goes out, I also use them for night parties and tours. I hang the lanterns on hooks in the yard, down the sidewalks and in trees in the garden. Oil lamps make a beautiful soft glow and the chimneys keep them from blowing out in the wind. I often place several on a table by the front door when having and evening party.They make such a warm welcome. Placing  lighted kerosene lamps about the house during a evening party creates a  mood that is perfect for an 1845 house. They are also much safer than candles.
  I hope you will come by sometime soon for a tour. I will leave the oil lamps burning and Sissy Dog will always meet you with a jump and a kiss.

This beautiful cranberry banquet lamp is really pretty to light for parties. It is in my middle bedroom and lights a nice path when the power is out.

This one has an unusual built in match holder and striker , makes it really handy.

Built in striker.