Island Life: The Great Propane Race

Our back garden path, currently.

Nine percent.

I just checked the level on our propane tank, and it’s down to nine percent. Just a few days ago, when I started this essay, it was eleven percent. Eek!

Propane powers our stove (both range top and oven), and also our water heater. One of the first things we learned when we moved from a city to this rural island was how different the utilities work out here, and what a bummer it would be to run out of propane.

(And how important it is to have the septic tank pumped regularly, but that’s another essay for another day.)

Lest you think this is about to be a complaint about our negligent propane-delivery company: it is not. This is something we have done to ourselves, quite deliberately. In fact, the gas truck has come by twice in the last month or so, and we’ve sent it away.

Why would we do such a foolish thing? Well, you see, we need to have the tank moved. And the tank-moving fellow made it very clear that the tank should be as close to empty as possible. Propane is heavy, and also, you know, flammable. The less of it that gets picked up and tumbled about on its way to its new location, the better.

So. As I write this, Tank Moving Day is two days off. Nine percent should be fine. Yep. Perfectly fine.


More words and LOTS more pictures on my website!



About Shannon Page

Shannon Page is a Pacific Northwest author and editor. Her work has appeared in Clarkesworld, Interzone, Fantasy, Black Static,, and many anthologies, including the Australian Shadows Award-winning Grants Pass, and The Mammoth Book of Dieselpunk. Books include The Queen and The Tower and A Sword in The Sun, the first two books in The Nightcraft Quartet; novel Eel River; story collection Eastlick and Other Stories; personal essay collection I Was a Trophy Wife; Orcas Intrigue, Orcas Intruder, and Orcas Investigation, the first three books in the cozy mystery series The Chameleon Chronicles, in collaboration with Karen G. Berry under the pen name Laura Gayle; and Our Lady of the Islands, co-written with the late Jay Lake. Our Lady received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Library Journal, was named one of Publishers Weekly’s Best Books of 2014, and was a finalist for the Endeavour Award. Forthcoming books include Nightcraft books three and four; a sequel to Our Lady; and more Orcas mysteries. Edited books include the anthology Witches, Stitches & Bitches and the essay collection The Usual Path to Publication. She practices yoga, gardens, and has no tattoos.


Island Life: The Great Propane Race — 4 Comments

  1. We had a damaged part inside the tank for our propane gas fire. HAD to have the tank completely empty so repair man could open it and not lose the contents.

    So I ran it until the pilot light died. Called for repair. It got done. Then I called for a refill. Done. BUT because it was empty and this can be due to a leak, we had to have an inspection on the entire system before we could reignite the pilot light. In winter. Temps struggling to reach up to freezing. I’m rural too, half way up Mt. Hood. Inspector’s office scheduled us for 2 weeks out. Thankfully he had an appointment only a block away and squeezed us into the schedule so he wouldn’t have to make 2 trips up the mountain, in winter, freezing temps, and snow in the forecast…

    • It doesn’t even look nearly as unsightly there as I thought it would. Though it will look even better with a little screen around it…someday…