So it is Monday the 19th of December, and the outside thermometer is reading 39 degrees. I just returned inside from gathering a basket full of firewood, and as there were still red embers in the box from last night, the wood stove was quickly brought back into working mode. (For a note to the picture, the base under the stove is not wood, but a simulated wood grain pattern done on cement board with a “graining” tool!)
The chickens were given their feed, and they were let out of their coop area just as the sun was breaking over the trees. This statement being shared could have been out of a story from 100 years ago, but we are experiencing a few of the many “old school” techniques and lifestyle habits out of necessity (and for a little amusement). We can thank our present governing administration for the state and style of living that we are experiencing today.
Our household is undergoing a bit of belt-tightening, but we are still well within a certain degree of comfort. Lighting up the wood-burning stove has cut our electricity consumption substantially, and as the charges increase dramatically when you get over 1,000 kWh (kilowatt hours), it makes this home adventure a bit more profitable as well. Not using the big heat strip in our central HVAC makes a big difference.
Also, I have been seeing (and reading) about the fuel costs “across the pond” skyrocketing in areas like Great Britain and Germany, where people are having to forgo simple habits and pleasantries like going out to eat and doing their holiday visitation of relatives. My wife and I have been attempting to learn many of the “lost ways” with the mindset that most of civilization somehow survived without things like electricity, “Big Box” stores (and a Walgreens at every intersection).
We also enjoy the blessings of reliable transportation and (somewhat) stable roadways (to get us to and back from the Walmart and Lowes stores just down the street)! Speaking of “The Lost Ways,” there is a book out in print that is actually based on that title, and many of the pioneer-based ways of life are actually being looked at and practiced. There is a large want and need for learning to be self-reliant. Even though we greatly enjoy and depend on corporate-supplied electricity, if times were to get rough and some of these “niceties” were to disappear, we would (and will) be ahead of the game on many fronts.
Our gardening skills leave a lot to be desired, and it seems that I am (at present) better at growing sugar cane than I am at producing edible quantities of corn. There is a show on the History channel called “American Pickers,” and as they go from state to state and city to city, buying glorified junk, they make a point to instruct and inform their audience as to what many of the old tools and wares were used for.
They often note that during the years when the U.S.A. was involved in World War Two, most of the people had to ration things like food and fuel, and their main existence was based on the survival of the nation as well as the survival of their families in tough times. At the present day, the “culture” is being coerced and governed by the T.V. screen and the Internet, which tries to separate us from not only our wallets but our family structures and morals. The life teachings, according to the executives steering outfits like Disney and M.T.V., put on shows that make the parents of the main figures (who are mostly just teenagers) look like they are out of touch with what is really important in life.
That doing stupid or dangerous stunts on TikTok and other similar sites will get the targeted youth more “likes.” The one thing that I have noticed from what I have been seeing on T.V., and the Internet, is that those who are experiencing the ravages of war (thinking of Ukraine) are finding out that life can be a lot different when you are “unplugged” and literally running for your life. Lessons of survival and strength of family numbers come hard, and when there is no heat in your home (because your home had its roof blown off), it can redefine your priorities.
Scrambling for those needed things to just keep you and your family alive for the present day will be paramount, and all the other stuff (like the latest trendy shoes or clothes) will be correctly prioritized. We just went through the recent holiday of Thanksgiving, and still, try to remember that God has blessed this nation. As we near Christmas day (or are observing those sacred days of Hanukah), let us keep in mind the God that loved us so much that he sent Jesus to earth for us! (He also has allowed us to reside in the greatest nations to date)!
Just bear in mind that those that have a lot also have a lot that can be lost (or taken from them). I do not suggest that everybody go out and attempt the lifestyle of living “off the grid.” I will make a mild suggestion that if you have kids (or grandchildren) that have never been through a challenging life scenario, you have a healthy conversation with them, pointing out things that they may need to consider if they ever have to go into survival mode. Just speaking with family members about the “Old School” way can be educational, (and it may be life-saving for a member (or members) of your family as well!