Saturday, April 03, 2010

powerless life

I'd like to purchase a hand-crank blender. Get rid of all my electrically power appliances. Use a rotary dial phone.
We've had a windstorm here. Large tree limbs and plant debris litter all the roads. It smells like Christmas outdoors due to the snapped pine boughs. The power has been intermittent and all the home appliances have been silenced.
Liv has been in heaven. She and Briar all perpetually begging to have candlelit dinners, olden days evenings and scheduled time to unplug every electric convenience. Each time the power has been restored, Liv has groaned and sighed despairingly, "Ahhhhhhhhhh....I was hoping it would stay off for ten days!!!!!"
I have to admit that although the laundry hamper has been suffering from the weight of its' overly abundant load, I have been enjoying the silence. The lack of 'need to's. The pondering that takes place while washing the floor on my hands and knees rather than with a steam mop. The reconnection with my home. The time spent being present in my house while not being entertained with electronic devices. The satisfaction and joy felt when helping the elderly neighbour repair his fence. The enjoyment felt when playing 'Hi-Ho Cherrio' on the kitchen floor with the kids or playing hide-and-seek in the backyard (with the time I would have been studying status updates on Facebook).
In all honesty, I had thought that we were pretty 'unevolved' in this sense. Although we have a computer and a dishwasher, we do not have a Wii, a breadmaker or even, cable tv.
I make our laundry soap. I scrub the soap scum from the bath using Bon Ami and elbow grease instead of the tempting and toxic sprays that foam and lift all organic material...even skin from your hands. I feed the chickens our leftovers and compost the rest.
But really, I'm just barely scratching the surface of self-sustainability.
I have found the frequent power-outages of late have caused me to work hard....with my body. I am reminded of the satisfaction of making something myself....instead of having a machine provide it for me. I have stilled my thoughts and quieted the worries without the sounds of the dryer, the fridge, the vacuum all humming in the background.
This all has me thinking about solar tank heaters, larger veggie gardens and more 'family time'. The need and happiness found within our communities. The ability to be found within ourselves to provide food for our families. The satisfaction in being able to 'do it ourselves'.

P.S. Check out this podcast with Cam Mather - pretty cool and informative!!!


Janine (txmomx6) said...

Our community had no power for 2 weeks after Hurricane Ike and it was a really neat experience. Neighbors met neighbors and everyone hung outside in the evenings (since it's quite hot in Houston in the summer). I really enjoyed the peace and quiet and darkness at night. It was a relief to get the power back on, but I was also a bit sad.
Enjoy the extended family time. :)

Suddenwidow said...

Hi Jackie,
We find the same thing happens when we have a power outage. More family time, life is simpler and we always groan like Liv did when it comes back on. I'm not sure how long it would take until I missed things like my washer and dryer, my computer, my iPod, but I do enjoy the simplicity life without electricity brings. By the way, Capitol Iron sells hand crank blenders. We bought one last year to have on our boat (the one place in our lives where life is always simpler). They are fun and provide a lot of upper body work out time!

Hope you didn't sustain any damage in the storm. And here's to more power outages without any property damage.

Krista said...

I just picked up a (Mennonite) book from our last NCHL gathering called "Live More with Less". I've been glued to it for days and it's like music to my soul. It's old, practical and full of so many great, simple tips that have me thinking "why don't we all do that still?" or "why didn't I think of that?". It seems people have all but lost the ability to survive even a few days without most of our modern conveniences, thinking that they are actually *needed* in order to live well. It's just not true. Living *with less* truly does result in living *more*. More fully, more connected to ourselves, each other, our community, more alive, more satisfaction....

Less does not = less, as many are led to think!

Krista said...

(thank the advertising industry and multi-billion dollar, multi-national corporations for leading people to believe that... and how sad that so many people swallow it hook, line and sinker.... oh, I could go on... but I'll stop now

Anonymous said...

I love the idea of unplugging more. Unfortunately, after doing Earth Hour with my toddler and being forced to extinguish the candles and sit in the dark, I don't see it in the cards for me right now. But soon, soon I might be able to turn off more regularly.

Andrea Renee said...

So THAT's how you get all your muscle tone! ;)

I don't mind power outages myself, but I'm glad they're temporary...


Kaitlyn said...

I think that balancing technology and parenting is a challenge for most people. Our smart phones and laptops and twitter and facebook are always with us, and because they're there and they're addictive, it's easy to get lost in them. I myself am guilty of plunking the kids in front of the tv to get some emails shot off, and then completing the emails and instead of turning off the tv and playing, I end up checking FB or some other equally mindless drivel.
But, on the other hand, our kids need to be technology savvy if they want a chance to succeed in this world.
It's a hard balance, for sure.