This can't be good...

This can’t be good…

Last night around 9:00, in the midst of our family Christmas gathering, a huge limb came crashing down on the roof, grazed the family room windows, and brought the festivity to a grinding, screeching halt. We had no idea that almost half an inch of ice had accumulated on the trees, and when it suddenly got quite windy, it was too much for big old cherry limb to withstand.

Everybody pretty quickly got out, cars started, windows scraped, and cleared out. I had parked Kim’s Fusion and my Milan in the drive and turnaround for the shop, directly under a big Walnut, and decided I’d better move them out of harms way. Good thing I did, because a big limb let go on that about 30 feet up, and fell right where the cars were parked.

Our cars had been right where this limb is now.

Our cars had been right where this limb is now.

My bother-in-law Don, my son Craig (who’s home from Las Vegas for the weekend) and I got the old Onan generator out of the back of the garage, and in position in case we lost power, which seemed pretty likely, as the weather was worsening by the minute. We had a house full of guests, Kim’s sister and her family, as their power was already out. Not so for us, and the party kept going ’till 1:00 am.

Sometime early this morning, the power went off, making getting the generator out a good idea. If the battery had been any good, it’d have been an even better idea, as we ended up having to jump it to get it started. It ran pretty ragged at first then seemed to smooth out once it warmed up. That lulled us into a false sense of well-being, as it stalled several times, and was almost impossible to get started.

One needs quality, well maintained equipment to prepared for emergencies...

One needs quality, well maintained equipment to prepared for emergencies…

The culprit turned out to be the Onan’s original, 45-year-old fuel pump diaphragm, which was completely disintegrated. Because the pump is below the level of the fuel tank (which had probably 3-year-old gas in it), and the plunger was working, it would pump a tiny amount of fuel up to the carb. Not enough to keep it running however. A trip to AutoZone netted a new 12V fuel pump, which we replaced with no trouble. Of course the power cam on immediately after that. Well worth it though, because the power went back off after half an hour, and has been off since.

It’s running great, no hiccups, and the wind has stopped blowing. We have a tremendous amount of damage in trees and limbs down. I’ll have to rent or borrow a Bobcat or end-loader for the clean up, as there are dozens of big trees that have to come down, and a huge amount of limbs to cut up and clean up. It’ll be getting very cold again tomorrow, so the ice will stay on. Bad when we get more snow.

The good news is no cars damaged, no damage to house from the multiple limbs falling on it, and the veteran Onan generator is working like a champ. Our cat, Milo, must have traumatized by the constant crash of limbs and ice, as he was MIA all day, and finally came out from under the deck only at about 5 pm for some supper. We did seem to gain a new pet, a young opossum that appeared to be unfazed by the storm, who’s been nosing around the bird feeder and backyard. Normally I’d shoot it, but hey, it’s Christmas, and he looks hungry. Spirit of the season and all…

Let’s hope Consumers Power gets us back on-line for Christmas!



I had to jump the Onan with the GMC, as the battery is junk for the generator.

I had to jump the Onan with the GMC, as the battery is junk for the generator.

We lost some trees, but gained an opossum.

We lost some trees, but gained an opossum.

  1. Thanks for your posts…we’ve been worried about what’s going on at home. Glad your house is intact!! I will be hoping your power comes back soon…it’s going to be so cold…will your generator run the pellet stoves? Our old generator did NOT.

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