"I think it's like the heart of the whole body," said Alexander, 58, as he tended his yard Thursday. "That's a lifeline, electricity."
Inside, a wind-up mantle clock measured each long second as Peggy Alexander, 57, leaned over a checkbook in the dark. They live here because it's remote. "There's not much to do when the power's out," she said.
Graceful homes hide in the woods behind quarter-mile driveways. After Charley hit, neighbors helped one another clear fallen trees from streets and driveways. "It's a do-it-yourself kind of neighborhood," Joseph Alexander said.
Now the days follow nature's rhythms. The Alexanders rise with the sun at 6 a.m. to make coffee, thanks to a generator that also allows them to pump water and watch TV -- but not at the same time.
Tired from yard work, Joseph Alexander rose Thursday from his mower and wiped sweat from his brow. The days are long, but he can't complain. "I got me a big old house, a generator and some water," he said. "Life is good."
Willoughby Mariano can be reached at email@example.com or 407-931-5944.