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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Down the Road

November 4, 2022

This past January we started off the year with a new history study of living like 1943.  Now it is already November, we have kept up with the two 1943 diaries and we are doing our best to continue to study and live a similar life to 1943 in our home.

This time of year is when we start thinking what will our next history project be and we are in the very early stages of this now.  

First a little bit about home.  As many of you know we have been busy up at Myrtles, our old shed/workshop now itty bitty house.  We have taken a break to catch up here at home.  Since we took a bed up to Myrtle and we did not have the time to shop for a mattress that we took the mattress off of the the guest bed in the blue room. We had an iron double and an iron twin in that room.

We decided to put the iron double bed in our bedroom and store the vintage dark brown wood bed for now. One reason is this iron bed is "Very Heavy" and difficult to store.  This bed is a lovely part of history.  

So now the blue guest room has an iron twin bed and my sewing items.  I know that most people use their master bedroom for the head of the house but we leave the master for our main guest room and it has a half bath and that makes it more comfortable for guests, more private.  

Also, even though our bedroom is very small it makes the most sense. It is in the center of the house and we can hear the sounds in and outside of our house for safety.  We are just off the kitchen and we can close off the house for cold weather if we want and heat a smaller space. We can do the same with cooling the house, we can cool or heat just the bedroom, kitchen and dining area and be very comfortable while keeping the electric bill down. 

We now have the ability to turn off our water and drain our pipes during a hard freeze since we had the plumber come and put in a special valve. This way we do not waste water dripping water through freezing weather with no certainty that the pipes will not burst. 

Our studies about the past just make sense.  The reasoning, the sensibility and the quality of the past has brought us to a new level of understanding to where we simply desire to live this way.  

I have to be honest, it is difficult to live more like the past in a modern crazy world, but once we are in our home that is where we are changing.  It is a slow process but Charles will retire soon and we want to live a very simple life.  He will no longer leave out and come home with company electronics and have time to work in his little workshop and garden. He is working longer because we are saving to pay in full to have a new roof put on our house before he retires.

Our lemons are more yellow than green and will soon be ready to harvest.

The carrot tank is doing well, the radish tank has gone radish crazy and the onion tank did zip "O".  Oh I take that back, it made one onion.

The turnip tank is doing very well and we are growing them for their roots since we do not have room for growing greens.  We add the greens that we grow to soup.  

It has been terribly dry here and crunchy.  The leaves are still falling, most plants are dying off now because it is fall and the fact we need rain very badly and I am trying my best to keep what I can watered.

Albert is sad, see the tear in his eye?  His peppers have stopped blooming but there are still some to harvest.  He has been a wonderful guard goose for his pepper patch.  We will plant him something else and that will make him happy.

We started off the year of 2022 with a lot of information about 1943.  These are from the microfilms today in 1943.

I want to add bits and pieces of information off and on until the end of the year.  This weeks paper in 1943 has a ration guide.  This is what Lena (our 1943 diary) would find in her paper and where she would know what her points were before she went to shop. 

She talks about she went to the A & P and the ad would also list points.  So everyone had a way to know how many points they needed to buy their food.  They could not purchase the food without the point stamps no matter how much money they had. 

The paper would list the radio schedule and the times.  The radio did not stay on the air 24/7 like it is today.  They would sign on and sign off the air. This above is this weeks radio show schedule.

Special notices were posted when they had updates. These came from the microfilms of the real papers this week in 1943. 

There is more than you may realize from studying the home front from many years ago and very empowering to learn something we did not know.  

The title of this post is Down the Road.  That is written on the November picture on our calendar with a beautiful picture of a farm and a dirt road. 

We can use the term down the road, to look ahead or look back.  Down the road could be used to tell someone, there is a store down the road where you can buy groceries.  Or, there was a country store down the road from my Grandparents house that sold meat and vegetables and household staples. The store sat beside a bridge that crossed a river where steamboats traveled up to Memphis. Before that store had electricity it kept the items that needed to stay cold in a cold chest that held ice. Ice came by boat or rail and the insulated ice wagons would wait at the train station to take it to the businesses and homes. Insulation would most likely be straw or sawdust. Normally an ice house would be sitting by the railroad as it did in our town. So with history you get a good mental picture of what it was like. 

Studying history is important because we can learn why things happened, how things happened, the good, the bad and the ugly. It is not something that just happened and was the end of it.  Researching and learning history will give us wisdom.  We take away the knowledge of what is good and bad and then we have a better perspective. We can see how our generations before us carried on before there was ever electricity or running water. 

We have learned that they had tools, equipment and household goods that helped them to be self sufficient.  After learning these things I started having the feeling that we are now limited and dependent on goods that break easily and need replacing quite often putting an unnecessary financial burden. We have purchased a few helpful items from the past. 

Charles and I want to know more so we will continue to study history, 

Grandma Donna


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Comments (17)


November 15, 2022 4:59 PM
I remember when we lived in Oregon we had a radio channel that would only play music from 1959 and back. It was so so nice to listen to and then starting the week of Thanksgiving they'd play nothing but the old radio shows. I can't count how many times our family listened to them and had them on all day and would turn it off when we went to bed. It was just so exciting to listen too.

Grandma Donna

November 8, 2022 5:50 AM
Thank you for sharing your experience of living off grid. The information of going to sleep at dark and wake at first light is absolutely the most sensible thing to do and what people did long ago, at least in the rural areas. After 14 years at this you must have quite a bit of practical knowledge and are welcome to share with us anytime for we have others that read this blog that are new to living off grid. Thank you for sharing the link to the Bright Betty. :)


November 7, 2022 9:01 PM
Hello. I just wanted to share a bit as we've lived off grid for 14 years. I could share a bunch, but I will speak to the lighting. The best advice I can share having tried so, so many options is to live your life according to daylight and nighttime. It truly helps. At dark, try to go to sleep soon after and wake up at first light. For the most part, this is free and beneficial to health. Also, this link below is very efficient and a good solution. God bless!???????????????? https://youtu.be/S5_cwpZnRkU

Grandma Donna

November 6, 2022 5:18 PM
I have a post about a way that they kept warm long ago. Here is a link, maybe you can copy and post it from here if not, send me an email and I can send the link that way. My email is under my comment section. https://gdonna.com/living-like-the-past/soapstone/
I will post more information if you need it. Grandma Donna

Grandma Donna

November 6, 2022 5:12 PM

It is difficult to make decision which type of lighting to use. Everything is so expensive now, candles, oil, electricity and especially batteries.
Several years ago I purchased some solar light bulbs with a small solar panel and the lights work very well and they still sell them on Amazon, are a Amazon choice bulbs that come with a pack of two bulbs and two solar panels for just under 20.00 at this time I am writing this. Ours have worked well for us. You can charge them in the sun or with the panel that comes with them and the bulbs put out good light but it is a whiter light than most people are used to .


November 6, 2022 1:37 PM
Hi Donna, if you have the time/inclination, could you write about what tools and items from the past that you think are especially useful for people who want to be more self reliant? I know you have written in the past about things like oil lamps and canning supplies for instance.

I have a neighbour who is in her 90s who I know has a wealth of memories about how things were done in the past; she doesn't like talking about it though because she had an unhappy childhood. Next time I speak to her, I will ask her more specific questions about how things were done. Right now, I'm interested in how people in this country (UK) stayed warm before there was central heating. Our natural gas and electricity prices are insane and we are keeping the heating off (thankfully we have a wood stove in the living room--the bedrooms and bathroom are pretty chilly).

Hilogene in Az

November 6, 2022 9:10 AM
Wonderful post today, and I have been thinking about how today’s convenience has cost us our independence (or perhaps our hardiness). Living in Phoenix, summer storms come by and we lose our electricity, usually only for a few hours. So I have bought four small solar lights and have some candles. Much less light than normal lighting. I don’t want to use oil lamps so I bought a Coleman LED lamp that runs on batteries. Much improved but each four batteries only lasts 10 hours. Yikes! It got me thinking how learning to be independent of something simple like room lighting is so much more complex that I thought. Realistically if I need room light for days, then oil lamps would be logical. I know you and Charles have traveled down this path for years and have learned…thank you for sharing your knowledge and thoughts as the rest of us catch up ;)

Grandma Donna

November 5, 2022 7:18 AM
Mary, I enjoy reading the microfilms of the old newspapers and there is much to learn there. You are very right that we are in charge of stretching those dollars. Many people today have very good ideas of how to do this but there something about looking back at the old ways that seem to make it more practical. :)

Grandma Donna

November 5, 2022 7:13 AM
Gayle, thank you, I am so happy that you enjoy reading my posts and find inspiration. Thank you for commenting.

Grandma Donna

November 5, 2022 7:11 AM
Emma, I agree about the sink full of dishes. When we are up at the Myrtle I have a large pan that I stack the dishes needing to be washed. Each time we are up there for a few days I try to find a better routine with the dishes. I know now that before any item that goes in that pan has to be completely scraped or wiped off. I imagine all the different trials and errors you have gone through to get to where you are now.

Mary Nienhouse

November 5, 2022 5:56 AM
I so enjoy your post! The ads are eye opening. It prompted me to look up wages from that time area. As homemakers we have always needed to be in charge of stretching those dollars with our food shopping.
Gma Donna, your gentle, practical posts always inspire me to live a more full, thankful life. Thank you so very much for sharing ??


November 5, 2022 5:23 AM
Donna, I cannot tell you how happy I am that you are continuing on with your history studies. I certainly look forward to your posts and set aside a little time to read them (usually on Fridays after my morning chores are completed) with a cup of tea - it is part of my weekly routine. Not only are they educational, but inspirational as well. Thanks for sharing this part of your life with us.

Emma - Barradale Farm

November 5, 2022 3:47 AM
I agree things today are built so poorly. It's incredibly frustrating. Even when you think you are spending more to get a good quality item, it still often breaks. Living off-grid we try to avoid a lot of electrical gadgets. I don't have a sandwich press, instead, I make toasties in a cast fry pan. Toast we do under the grill or on top of the wood oven if it is lit. I boil the kettle on the wood oven too or use a stovetop kettle. I do have a stick blender for whizzing soups and electric beaters. But that's about it in the kitchen tool department. I enjoy living simply and there is little I miss.

In winter we eat a lot of slow-cooked casseroles and broths on the aga, in summer meals are quicker, often with a lot of salad. However, I'm very thankful for my dishwasher and washing machine. Having such a tiny kitchen with a big family means bench space is precious and a sink full of dishes constantly drove me bonkers. It's an extravagance, but it does make living here and cleaning up much easier.

I agree there is a lot to learn from the old times. I don't think we were created to live such hectic and stressful lives. Even finding pockets of slowness and simplicity in the day is so helpful I think. xx

Grandma Donna

November 4, 2022 10:51 PM
Hi Gail, our garden failures just make me more determined next year. :) Every time I read or see pictures of someone's beautiful harvest I am "in for a new garden challenge". :) I do know that there will be several Cherokee Purple Tomatoes planted because Charles really likes these. Donna


November 4, 2022 8:52 PM
O Donna, I wish we could send you some of our rain. Your garden still looks lovely though. Funnily enough it’s been a great year for us for onions. Our celery did not do as well. We grew early Tiny Tim tomatoes in our sunroom. What a success. They grew right up to the ceiling. Our outside tomatoes are just coming on the vines now so having those early plants inside was a real bonus as we been eating tomatoes for about a month now. Thanks for a very interesting post again.
Blessings Gail ????????

Grandma Donna

November 4, 2022 6:57 AM
Thank you Laura.


November 4, 2022 6:42 AM
Your house seems so lovely Donna, both from what you say and from the pictures you kindly let us see. I am glad you are continuing with your studies and look forward to what this coming year brings.
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