The tropical storm, Irene, left us without power for three days in August. Everything in our big freezer in the basement made it through fine, although we did take the opportunity to toss a few rather ancient packages of food.
Last week, as four days without electricity became five, I began to dread what I might find when I opened the freezer’s door this time. DH and I had agreed that we would not open it until power was restored. On Friday, day six, I asked DH if he flipped containers of frozen fruit upside down to pack them more closely together like I sometimes did. I was imagining shiny red berry juices cascading down all five freezer shelves, covering each one with sticky sweet goo. It’s best not to dwell for long on such thoughts.
The power came on very early Sunday morning, having been out for seven and a half days. DH woke up when both the water pump and furnace turned on at once, but he let me continue to sleep. For some reason, the noise of the furnace blower woke me up the next time it kicked on. I jolted awake, excited that the electricity was back! I thought to reach for a flashlight, and then remembered, I didn’t need one! I ran downstairs to see how everything in the freezer had fared.
I never thought I would be excited to share a picture of the heavy frost layer in my freezer with the world, but here it is!
As soon as I saw that the frost was still there, I knew things couldn’t be too bad. The ice cream was nearly liquid, but we decided to let it refreeze, just to see what it would be like. We could always use it in milkshakes, right?
I poked a package of ground chicken and was barely able to make an indentation, a very good sign! I suppose everything that was even that slightly thawed will suffer a loss in quality, but at least we knew it was all still safe to eat. I was suddenly flooded by a feeling of deep relief, shut the door and hugged my freezer! I may have wept a few tears as I stood there for a minute, appreciating what a weight had just been lifted from my mind.
I am so grateful that we didn’t lose any of the fruit that I spent all summer picking. Red raspberries, yellow raspberries, black currants, peaches, blueberries, blackberries, rhubarb, homemade applesauce and cooked pumpkin fill the cottage cheese containers you can see in the photo, plus more on lower shelves, dozens of containers altogether. (Those tan plastic bags hold loaves of bread.)
We have had this freezer for many years, having bought it used from friends who were moving and didn’t want to take it with them. I think we paid $200 for it, because it was only a couple of years old. I can honestly say it was one of the best investments we’ve ever made and I don’t even care that it’s not self-defrosting.