The power was still out in my Dallas housing complex early last Tuesday, so I grabbed the survival hatchet from my emergency bag to chop up a couple of fallen trees, which were covered with six inches of down-soft snow dropped by Winter Storm Uri.

The trees broke easily, and after 30 minutes of hacking, I’d cut enough for two small blazes. I divided the wood — one half for my apartment, the other for my neighbor.

My wife Joy and I cooked beans over the fireplace and burned some old clothing to keep the temperature in the apartment above 40 degrees. After our fire died, our complex issued an “Important Message For Residents” warning that Dallas might ration water as treatment plants froze: “Please take action NOW to fill pots/pitchers, bathtubs and other storage containers … use this water to flush toilets.”