About gDonna
The photo is my son and myself. Now days you can get a photo made to look old like this one. This photo was taken when this was the new look.

Harry S Truman was president when I was born and world war II had ended. I grew up in a time when lunch was put in a brown paper bag and a sandwich was wrapped with wax paper. There was no such thing as pantyhose, we wore stockings that attached to the rubbery clippy things that attached to the girdle. Convenience stores were not common and when we took a trip we packed a picnic basket because many places did not have fast food. Highways had places to pull over and stop, some with picnic tables. Read more ....

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November 11, 2022

Picture above is our main table here at home in our dining area, it seats six people.  I just changed out the table cloths on each of the three tables today. 

We have another table in our living room (above) and sometimes we eat meals here but it is used more for our popcorn nights. We do planning, budgeting and journaling here at this table and it also makes a good game table. It is a nice size for dominos and board games. This table sits two to four.  

A difference in our home verses other homes is we have tables instead of sofas.  We do have a loveseat, two rockers three occasional chairs and one wingback. 

This is a smaller drop leaf table, also in the dining area, that sits two and sometimes we will sit here to eat a sandwich. It can be used as an extra table for when we are all together for a meal. The way everything is arranged in our small home we can sit 12 people at a table to eat a meal or play games.

We are all about enjoying and embracing our home.  

I enjoy having cozy seating places and anytime we find a chair set out for trash, if it is repairable we pick it up and bring it home. It is very hard for me to pass up a chair because I want everyone to have a chair to sit comfortably when they are here in our home.  The extra chairs end up being outside chairs still having purpose. 

We all have different interest and needs and each of our homes are unique.  My Great Grandparents house had a bed in every room including the kitchen area because long ago it was very common to have boarders.  Especially in the time and locations there were no hotels of any kind.

During this time that my great grandparents took in boarders they did not have electricity or running water so how did they do this?  

Well, they did not know any different and did not know how to live with electricity and running water.

There are many things I have learned since we have been staying over night at the Myrtle, our mini tiny house. 

The longest we have stayed so far, was four days and three nights. Our purpose of being up there is to help our family member Madge with repairs and stay overnight or a few days.  So we need water down at the Myrtle for cooking meals, washing dishes, bathing and such as that. We put a 35 gallon tank outside the mini Madge house. 

We filled the tank from water up at the well house.  My experiences of being in a house with no running water was when I was younger and staying with family members that lived rural. I have been very conscious of not wasting water my whole life but it is very different when you are trying to remember how they did this. 

The time before last time we were at our Myrtle, I hand washed some laundry.  

We were temporarily using paper towels and paper plates until we could get an area made to prepare food and have shelves to put pots and pans and dinnerware.  

I was tired of using disposable because we do not use that here at home unless there is something unexpected, disposable cost money over and over.  I did not have any flannel wipes and towels like I use here at home so Charles picked up a pack of flannel baby blankets so I could cut these for the same purposes we use them at home but leave at the Myrtle.  They needed to be washed because they were new.  I figured this was a good time to do some no running water laundry and learn from on the job training. 

The laws in our state are very strict about disposing of greywater so it is important that we keep our water use to the minimum.  We were there for three days this last time, three days and two nights I am speaking about.  We cooked meals, we bathed, I did this batch of laundry shown above, wash and then rinse, and I did dishes each day and I washed my hair.  We never had to add water to the 35 gallon tank.  I did not realize this until our last day.  

Since the water did not flow to us we have to pour the water into the vessels. So how did we use so little water?  I had to think about this a lot because I have tried for years to cut back on water here at the house and never have we used this small amount.  It is because we still have flowing water here at home and it makes a big difference even when you think you are conserving.

This past trip we cooked regular meals...

I just relaxed with what I was doing this time up, I felt more comfortable.

This is the large pan I used to wash my hair so I don't have to worry about splashing out.  Charles poured warm water over my hair and I soaped up and then he poured water using the pitcher over my hair to rinse. If I had a smaller container that holds water I could have done this by myself.

Our bath was in our bathing area where we added a privacy curtain.  We heated up our water outside on our gas camping stove using an enamel canning pan because it holds a lot of water.  I forgot to take a picture of it.  Brought it inside and set it on a towel because it was hot.  The large pitcher was used to mix the cold water with the hot and then poured into the bowls. 

We still do not have our cabinet built for the bathing area so we just put the other bowl on the other washstand.  Standing on a towel we soap up from top to bottom, wash some of that soap off and pour that water into a bucket.  Then set that bowl aside and replace with the clean bowl and clean washcloth and rinse well with this nice warm water head to toe. Feet can be placed in this water to give a good washing.  

I felt very clean, my hair was washed, my body was washed and rinsed well.  My skin actually felt better than from a shower. I normally always feel clean with a washbowl bath as they did long ago but I usually do this trying to save water and this time I used what I needed and found that it was not that much. 

We know how much water we used bathing because we dumped all of it into a five gallon bucket.  We used 4 and 1/2 gallons total for both of us including washing my hair.  

I washed dishes once a day.  I have one pan to put dirty dishes in but I clean them off very well before I put them in the pan that does not have water in it, that pan is just to hold the dirty dishes.  

Carrying water is heavy and carrying our greywater is also heavy so we do not want too much to dispose of.  We use natural environmentally friendly soap for bathing, dishes and laundry but our state laws on greywater are confusing so we contain all of our grey and black water in proper RV containers we purchased from a RV place and drive to the nearest proper dump station. 

What would you do if you suddenly did not have running water?  I feel it is important to learn what to do. 

We are starting to figure out more things but we are slowing it down now because we have been getting overtired and Charles caught a cold.  It is easy to catch a cold if our body is not rested.

I made him some herbal tea from our garden. 

Which is what we do first sign of a cold and as a preventative. We grow oregano, thyme, and rosemary all year around, three of our most important herbs and then we grow many more herbs. Do you have a favorite herbal tea? 

Grandma Donna


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Comments (25)


November 28, 2022 8:12 PM
I read all of your posts and enjoy them very much. We also use herbs as medicine and preventives. One of my favorite herbs is echinacea. At first sign of cold or other illness, we take this along with extra vitamin C and zinc. It has helped us to stay healthy for years. Also, I gather wild thistle. I make a tea of thistle and blackberry leaves most days. Add a bit of honey sometimes. Thank you for sharing your life with us!


November 16, 2022 9:39 AM
I feel the same way about collecting rainwater, clotheslines, etc. I get so worked up I have to just let it go sometimes and not think about it because it really makes me sad. Where we live our hoa rules have stated no clotheslines, but honestly the way I look at it is we have no neighbors behind us, were on half an acre and the hoa doesn't own the land the private homeowners do so I continue to hang my clothes and blankets out on the line. I find comfort in it and I figure it's saving me from having to replace my 20 plus year old dryer just one load sooner. I told my husband I've never been so rebellious before and I feel so guilty at the same time. Many of our Amish around here I learn lots of things from just by saying hi and starting on a conversation with them about. I can relate on the skin thing with taking a shower. It really seems to make my skin especially in winter much more sensitive especially my feet.

Grandma Donna

November 15, 2022 4:18 PM
Diamond, I make my own laundry bars using the recipe found on mommypotamus website, she gives instructions how to make bath, laundry, shampoo bar and more. Look for the one that says how to make pure coconut soap the laundry bar recipe is in that section. She has a homemade laundry soap but that is where she mixes a laundry soap and this is not the bar.
I found her recipe years several years ago.

When I am out of mine I purchase the laundry bar from goatmilkstuff.com until I can make some more. I try to make my own but sometimes I get busy and run out.


November 15, 2022 1:59 PM
Thank you for another beautiful post :) when you mentioned at the end about pulling back a little to not overtire yourselves, I could relate - it seems sometimes my mind is so excited with a million and one ideas but I have to remember my physical limitations. But there’s just so much to learn and try out in life! Simple things that can bring a lot of joy.

You may have answered this before but what bar laundry soap do you use? I hope Charles feels better soon.

Grandma Donna

November 15, 2022 9:57 AM
Thank you Amy. :)

Amy Kendall

November 15, 2022 8:34 AM
Just wanted to take a moment to tell you how much I enjoy your posts! I always look forward to and appreciate them...

Grandma Donna

November 14, 2022 5:12 PM
Marie, thank you for sharing your wonderful memories. You cleaned the family shoes and I cleaned the combs and hair brushes and I was in charge of dusting what I could reach. :)

Marie Dybing

November 14, 2022 3:24 AM
D ear Donna I too remember hair washing over the sink Saturday afternoons with soap and a bath before bed. I cleaned all the families shoes Mum dad my four brothers and mine so we all looked tidy for church Sunday.our hot water system would not have run to showers daily so we were all encouraged to wash at the basin with a face washer. I remember being surprised the amount people were spending on shampoo and conditioner when they first came out.blessings Marie

Grandma Donna

November 12, 2022 10:19 AM
Luci, I love your comment story about your memories, thank you. :) My mother always washed my hair in the sink or a bowl and I really cannot tell you when I started washing my hair in a shower.
It has really been a wonderful experience so far up at the Myrtle. Now I prefer to wash my hair in the large bowl, there is something special and it just feels right. The old enamel pitcher holds just the right amount to wash and water is not running and being wasted as I am soaping up my hair. My skin is not stingy after a wash bowl bath and the slowness of the entire process of getting clean this way has made me realize how I rush in a shower so to not have the water running for too long. This will be my new way. Thank you for your comment, thank you all for your comments, they are wonderful. Grandma Donna

Grandma Donna

November 12, 2022 7:55 AM
Felicity, Gail and Cindy, thank you for your comments. I will do a group answer about the greywater. I have read state codes and regulations over and over and they are "Very" complicated. We would rather haul the water to the "official" dump station than to ever call in a state inspector to determine if we would be allowed to repurpose our greywater. There is a way to do this but it involves getting the state involved and possibly have to filter and disinfecting and all of these crazy things that have to be done. We use so little and dispose of so little water it is not worth all of that. If we were up there full time we would have to look into what to do.

My Grandmother always tossed her wash and dishwater ( considered greywater) out over her plants so this is very disappointing to me to see how invasive our laws have become.

I am still in disbelief that we have states that will not allow the use a clothesline or dry their laundry outside. I will not even type out what I think about this because it would not be nice so I will keep my composure. As far as I know it is legal in Alabama but laws are constantly changing. People are fighting for rights for clotheslines, some call it the sunshine law and I have read they are making progress. Some states have started allowing it and my surprise is "when" did they slip these laws in that says people cannot hang their laundry outside or toss their wash water over their plants?

On a more positive note, I am enjoying your memories about the washing up, the lightbulb in the center of the room, washing your hair in a basin.
Gail I will add in my next post about board games and as far as I know it is still legal to collect rainwater in Alabama but that is not the case is some states. So yes we can and have plants to do this. :)


November 12, 2022 7:53 AM
Hello Grandma Donna,
Thank you for another lovely post. I grew up with my mom washing her hair in the kitchen sink as a separate event from her shower. As I got older I wondered why she didn't just wash her hair in the shower, and when I asked her she didn't really know either! But I think your post made it click for me finally. My mom is in her 60s and has always had running water, even as a child. But I bet this hair washing custom comes from the days before her family had indoor plumbing. She says they also used to share bath water in the bath tub. They would take turns bathing from oldest to youngest, so she as the youngest always got rather cold bath water. When I was quite young she would have my brothers and I take turns with shared bath water as well, but she would always add a bit more hot water to it after each bath was done so that no one would have to have a cold bath.


November 12, 2022 1:07 AM
I really enjoyed this post and it brought back many memories. My Grandma did not have an indoor bathroom until 1964. We washed in a big wash tub in the kitchen. She had sink water but still brought in water from a pump outside and heated it on the stove. My Great Grandma lived up the block and had no inside water and one lightbulb that hung from a cord in the center of the livingroom. My uncle and I would walk up and he would get a bucket of water from the well behind the house and I would get an armful of wood for the cookstove. Her house was so simple.


November 11, 2022 11:41 PM
Hello Donna, I found it interesting that you are not to put grey water out in the bush land. That would not be a problem here in Australia. We also have a tank on the the side of our house which collect rain water off the roof. I drink this water after boiling it as I don’t like the town water which has chlorine and fluorides added. Could you put in a small water tank off the side of Myrtle to collect rainwater?
I’m also really interested in the board games you play. I dislike television and enjoy sitting at night and laying games.
Have a lovely week. Blessings Gail ????????


November 11, 2022 11:13 PM
Hello Gd
I recall washing my hair over the basin as a child and as a young woman too. These were the days of a hair wash once a week and a weekly bath at another time too. We were quite clean and a little ‘top and tail’ wash occasionally was just fine. We have probably gone ott with all this showering and washing.
We are interested about the grey water - are you not able to use it in the garden even?
A cup of camomile every night for me.
I like peppermint too. It is good for an upset tum and refreshing too.
Sending kind wishes to you. I also cherish your posts. Thank you.

Grandma Donna

November 11, 2022 1:02 PM
Rose, Teresa, Lissa, and Karen, I have read through all of your emails. Thank you for sharing your memories and the way that you do things and also your favorite tea. I so enjoy reading comments. Thank you, Donna


November 11, 2022 12:01 PM
Oh yes.. beds.
I set up a single fold up bed in one of our sunrooms as it is a beautiful room with lots if windows and a glass door that I decorated with butterfly curtains and butterflies bone China crockery books and knick knacks and thought how lovely to lie on the bed on a warm Summers day.
The other sunroom that our 2 freezers are in is warmer in the colder months so I put 2 single beds in there for when our grandsons or others stay. I'm putting venetian blinds in that room.


November 11, 2022 11:56 AM
Very interesting about the strict rules in regards to grey water Donna.
My favorite herb to make tea is lemongrass. It is even more delicious than Earl Grey tea.


November 11, 2022 11:28 AM
As always, I look forward to Fridays to read your post. I remember summertime showers at the Jersey shore. My father had build an outdoor shower—still all beautifully plumbed, but with the addition of spiders. It was a happy feeling to return from waitressing or time at the beach to have a shower outdoors. There was a bird sanctuary next door. Funny that I remember those outdoor and more primitive showers (even shaving of the legs) with such fondness and can’t really recall any bathing in our fancy current bathrooms. I do have a question about cookery: I notice that you usually boil your vegetables. I was raised that way (I’m now 67) but now prefer to roast veggies (especially Brussels and broccoli and asparagus, carrots—haha, I guess everything— is this just to your taste preference? It’s funny, I remember some of my grandparents eager to try new ways and trends while others didn’t feel a need. Some of my cooking is updated, but a life without casseroles is unimaginable. My kids are in their 30s and rarely is a casserole in sight. But they have their versions of comfort food.

Teresa Pittman

November 11, 2022 11:09 AM
We used to haul water when we lived in the Airstream. Later, when we lived in a different travel trailer, we hauled water but had access to the church water for fill up. I tend to take quick showers even now. We also used an enamel canner to heat water in for showers.

I've lived without refrigeration and electricity too. The problem is that it takes longer to do things without electricity. I have those things now, but still think in terms of how to do without. This is the first house I've lived in with central air and heat. I am having to learn how to keep those systems going.


November 11, 2022 9:31 AM
Grandma Donna, I cherish your blog. I actually think it is needed now more than ever. There are so many folks who are interested in off grid/ old fashioned living but it seems the majority of information out here, ( the internet and even stores) is just not common sense. Many say they can't afford to be off grid. It's because they are trying to use systems which are priced thousands of dollars. This does NOT have to be. This is why your blog and a few others help.. Look at the old paths. There's much talk about living simply, but using expensive things...to be simple. I hope this makes any sense. I guess to say...WE COMPLICATE IT.

We love ginger tea from root here at our home. Some family members enjoy peppermint. ????

Grandma Donna

November 11, 2022 8:10 AM
Little Penpen, Thank you for describing your grandparents home. You are describing a generation that was very focused on what was important in the home. They had their reasons for the placement of those beds and why they chose to sleep in a bed in the living room.

I understand this, Charles and I sleep in a small bedroom in the middle of our house just off the kitchen because we can hear in and outside the house and when family comes and sleeps over we can go into the kitchen early and get breakfast going. We have another bed we can put up if necessary and two cots. I am happy you shared that with us. :)

Little Penpen

November 11, 2022 6:52 AM
I was just thinking about our grandparents small home recently. There were two full size beds in the hallway, one in the only bedroom, and my grandparents slept in a bed in the living room. The beds were always made and the home was always tidy and neat.

Grandma Donna

November 11, 2022 6:21 AM
Madeleine, I do find similar feelings. Thank you for sharing your favorite tea. :)

Pam, some of us have memories like you and I and as I type the posts I think about our younger generations now that have with no experiences such as these to draw from and why I feel it is so important to write about the past. :) Thank you for commenting.


November 11, 2022 5:15 AM
Hi Donna,

your washing area looks so cosy and practical. It is amazing how little we really need. I experienced this when we had our house fire and I had to live in the one habitable room with no running water inside the house. I had a cold tap outside, an outdoor portable loo and a small electric hot plate. I washed up outside, and cleaned my teeth outside under the moonlight. Living this way was actually quite enjoyable, but once the house was rebuilt and I was back at work it was very hard to keep it up - work and life seems to demand more speed from us.

My current favourite herbal tea is fennel with peppermint or chamomile.



November 11, 2022 2:06 AM
Hello from Norway, a windy mild Friday.
My mother used to give us baisin baths in the 70's. I grew up on a very old farm in rural Norway. I also remember her washing my hair in a baisin and water jug. I am glad I remember these things, if needed I would go back to that and wash that way.
Blessings, Pam
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