Monday, November 19, 2012

Reading in the dark



We had our first power outage of the winter season last night. It didn't last long - only about an hour - but it was a good reminder that we need to be stocking up on batteries and candles, not to mention making sure we know where the matches are.

The biggest inconvenience was our CO2 detector, which started chirping at about 100 decibels as soon as the power went  - and we could not figure out how to shut it up. We read the instructions and followed them carefully, to no avail. Of course we thought about simply removing the batteries, but that required a screwdriver we were too lazy to go out to the workshop in the pouring rain and dark to get. So we buried the thing beneath a stack of towels in the laundry room, shut the door, and let it chirp.

I wasn't worried about water - we still have some stocked from our water adventures a few weeks ago. And a fire had been burning all day in the wood stove, thanks to Kim the Lumberjack, so we had plenty of warmth. There would be time to sort things out in the morning, in the light, if it came to that. My laissez-faire attitude was probably influenced by the fact that I'm just back from sinus surgery in Vancouver (not entirely pleasant, but enough about that) and wasn't feeling very ambitious about power outage problem solving. But the one thing that absolutely had to get sorted out was how to keep reading, in spite of the dark.

We don't have any oil lamps - I don't have any experience with them, and I confess they make me a little nervous, especially with animals in the house. So our first anti-dark measure was to light candles. Fortunately our friend Linda loves candles, and loves gifting her friends with them, so we had more than enough to give us light to see by. But not to read by, unless we were willing to hunker down over the flames.

So we gathered up all the assorted battery-powered lighting devices we have accumulated since we've been here and power outages have become a more regular fact of life.


My preference has always been the headlight on a stretchy band, even though Kim laughs at me every time I put it on. It's perfect when I need to be moving around doing things, but it's not at the best downward angle for reading. And need I say it's not the most comfortable thing for someone with a sinus headache?



Kim's first choice was the light she uses on her music stand, and I have to agree it's pretty much perfect. The gooseneck allows it to be angled just so, and the light is really bright. The only disadvantage is that the clip is quite heavy, and it can be tiring to keep your book upright.


We also have a hook-over-your ear reading light, but its batteries were dead. Finally I scrounged through both bedside table drawers and found the nifty little lights we picked up at Home Depot, of all places. They are small and very light, and clip onto the arms of your eyeglasses. Plus, they swivel so you can choose the perfect angle for reading.

By the time we had that all sorted out we got about ten minutes of reading in before the lights came back on again. So we kept them off for a while, just for the pleasure of reading in the dark.

4 comments:

Paula said...

HD has head lamps that adjust by tipping forward. I gave some to my brothers last Christmas and I'm sorry I didn't snag one for myself because they would help with harvesting out of the garden in the dark.

Aladdin lamps make the brightest lamps, and get a metal lamp not a glass base if you're worried about knock over. The Aladdin lamps don't have a wick- they have a mantle, like a good old-fashioned camp lantern- and some of their designs are very pretty and old- fashioned. They are expensive, however.

If you camp, get a camping lantern. Makes more sense.

And last but not least, but the least romantic and pretty, is the battery powered camping lantern; bright and no messy fuel.

If you don't have a penny-pinching husband to get in the way, get the Aladdin.

Lindsey at NW Backyard Veggies said...

I use this Itty Bitty Book Light that my mom gave me back in the days of yore when I had time to read things. (IE - before kid and house and BLOG) and that thing is rad - the batteries are in a separate compartment so the clip with the light is super portable and light weight.

We've lost power, too. The most fun I have is going around the house trying to remember what we left on!

Shim Farm said...

Just break down and get the Aladdin already LOL. I didn't lead you wrong with the P-touch label-maker, and I promise you, you'll love the Aladdin lamp just as much.

backyardfeast said...

We had the same short power outage; just enough to let us test out our "system" (highly informal at this stage!!). Lucky for us, we walk out to check on the chickens after dark pretty much every night, and have been "harvesting by headlamp" regularly too, so the flashlights and headlamps were right by the back door.

We love our Dietz oil lanterns from Lee Valley. We love them so much we got 3 for decorative purposes, but they cast a lovely glow for both practical and romantic uses. :) They're also very sturdy and safe. But not practical for reading either! Definitly time for us to investigate the book light.

Confession time...we were about to eat dinner and watch a show on our laptop when the power went out. We lit the lanterns, snuggled up, and then....watched the show on our battery power. LOL. Not exactly unplugging! :)

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