Amy and Kevin Harrington are no strangers to the wrath of Mother Nature - and the shutdown and disruptions that can accompany an extended loss of electrical power. Their chronology of storm-related activities in just five months of 2011 reads like a calendar of power outages and disaster movies.
"In June, we had a series of severe thunderstorms," recalls Amy, which knocked out power for four days at their Dover Plains, New York, home." Then Hurricane Irene hit, followed shortly by Tropical Storm Lee." Irene left them without electricity for six days, Lee for three." So when we were slammed with 23" of wet snow by the freak October storm that blasted the East Coast, we were expecting a 10 day impact similar to a storm in the late’80s."
What the Harringtons were in for was another five days without heat, hot water and warm meals - if power outages affected them the way they affected hundreds of thousands of other New Yorkers. But they don’t.
"Well," Amy remembered, "one night we made roast duck for dinner. The prime rib we had was really perfect, too."
The Harrington’s secret for surviving power outages - along with piping hot meals, a toasty home and warm water - is their fireplace. Actually, it’s two Tulikivi radiant heat fireplaces with bake ovens for cooking.
"Even when we’re out of electricity, we can use our Tulikivi unit for heating and to warm water," Amy explains. "It’s easy to use, doesn’t require a large amount of wood so it’s very energy-efficient. With this as our back-up source of heat, we’ve never been cold during a power loss."
And with their bake ovens to cook up everything from vegetables and stews to Eggplant Parmesan, Amy adds: "We’ve never gone hungry, either."