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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Living Like This

August 9, 2018

My old garden shoes have made it another summer season. I am not sure if I can get another one out of them.

Last post I mentioned I have had pneumonia and it gave me a lot of time to think.  I have not done a "from my heart post" in awhile but I thought it time to do one. 

Charles and I have been working our way back in time for many years now.  Back in the 1990s we were both working outside the home jobs, going about our busy life like most people, eating out, buying what we wanted and did not have a clue what was ahead for us.

The sudden decline of parents and the wake up call that we should have been preparing instead of just living.

I quit my job to become a caregiver which turned into seven years total.  

Life was not the same after that, we dealt with grief, not only our parents but of those that had passed away long ago.  We realized that we had just become the next in line of being the older generation.  We discovered things that were once important were no longer important.

While I was being a caregiver I did a lot of genealogy research trying to grasp who we came from and where we came from.

I became fascinated with their lives and what kind of work they did as I traveled into the genealogy documents and records.  We had blacksmiths and doctors, farmers and wagon makers.  They lived a time when there was no electricity and running water and even though they say we live longer and people did not live a long time back then, I did not find that true at all with my family.  They lived into their 80s and late 90s.  I personally feel we are in a decline of how long we live now.

Charles and I started diving into history.  We started going to the library and looking through microfilms learning about the past.  We started not liking how we were living and had more and more conversations of remember when, thinking back to our childhood.

My brother and I were fortunate to be born in a time before life was complicated.  We call it the good times.  Before televisions and computers, before technology took over our lives.

We started a journey back in time, little by little trying to rid ourselves of modern things and going back to a simple life.  Today this looks too modern and is going to  a new home.

We dove into the 1940s and started rationing as they did in the war, I have posted all along on this journey we have been on.  You can go back in my blog and see the changes and the experiments.

We now have no desire to live as most people do today because we feel it is an unhealthy world.  We don't want any part of how people live, shopping, eating out, piling up bills without thinking.  We want this simple life.

We even went and looked at houses and property in the country but at this point in our life, leaving the city might not be the best for us because of getting older.  Oh do I ever long to once again to live rural.

I know what it is like to lose everything.  When I was growing up our house burned and we lost everything.  I have had a lot of starting over in my life, moves, living in different states and I know that life changes and we change and we are all at different places in our lives of what we are doing and what we want.

All this while we were living a time when we are being led to believing we need to move forward and have the most modern goods.

I went through so many years of just living and not even knowing what I wanted.  I was a wife and mother and my children became grown before I knew it and then there were grandchildren and great grands.

Now I find I am not ready to leave this life!  I have just figured it out what is important and I want to experience real life.  I don't want to live as others do.  Just because I am getting older I do not want to quietly slow down and sit in my rocking chair and knit.  I want to knit when the day is over.

My spirit and walk with God is sound and I know I can go anytime but I have a strong desire to learn so much more and I mourn all the time I have wasted figuring out what it is that is really important and I want to know all I can and do all I can the right way instead of wasting so much.

I hope by me saying this it will save some of you younger generation much wasted time and money.

As long as God is willing, as long as my body will keep going, I am going to keep learning a better way to live and that is not moving forward.  Because moving backwards is moving forward.

Since Charles and I started our journey back in time it has been romantic.  There is much romance in learning to do things the old way.  It is hard work but so rewarding and we have had so many moments of laughter, sweat and tears.

When we got this old radio it felt so vintage and brought joy to use but now this seems modern.  This old way we have been living became normal to us and now we find ourselves living an old fashioned life that is not old fashioned enough.

We keep drifting further back in time and the dusty canners and old tools started coming out.  I started making yogurt.

Then butter,

I started filling up our old ice box we call "Windsor" with home canned goods and dehydrated fruits and vegetables.

For a time we did use Windor as an icebox but it did not make sense to pay for a freezer to make an icebox work.  Since we no longer can buy block ice this just was not doable for us.  Windsor has a very good purpose holding home canned goods.

We started learning the old ways to preserve lemons and such..

We started looking for those older items that had been around for many generations before us and discarding the cheaply made goods of today.

We brought an old treadle machine back in our home.  My first sewing machine was a treadle but it had to stay behind in a move from Oklahoma to Alabama .  It was either a baby bed or the treadle machine due to lack of space in our tiny moving trailer.

This one is not pretty to look at but the mechanics are very good and it feels right to sit down and pedal this machine with my feet to make it run.

It feels right to sit down and use a tool or piece of machinery that is not connected to anything that makes it run.  It runs by the wonderful way it is made and by our own human power.

We are so use to being connected to things that have fees to make them run that we have forgotten or never knew that this is not necessary for many things. People did not have them in the past and lived very good lives.

This is why for me that I enjoy washing dishes by hand, washing laundry by hand and using few things that require electricity. It is a good feeling to know we do not need to have these things of today that continue to cost to use them.

But the situation now is where does this all end?  Is it ever going to feel right? why this drive?   The answer seems to be that we have had much discussion on how much we wish we would have started sooner, how we just wish we had known when we were young what we know now.  How much we have wasted, being, money, time, water, electricity.  It is not going to end until we end but we may eventually settle into a very simple way of life that becomes a good kind of routine.

Remember the old journal I found?  I shared it in a blog post.  It is a journal of a family that kept track of everything from the late 1800s until around 1940.

It was fascinating to see the things they purchased over time and how simple their lives were.  The types of foods they purchased and hay for the horses that pulled their wagons and when they got their first ice box and how they paid the ice man that brought ice for the ice box.  How much butter and eggs they purchased after they no longer raise their own chickens and such.

How time changed for them and how the man of the house started buying cigars and going for a shave and a hair cut.  How they started paying for transportation when there became more than just buggy travel.

Then I was led to learning about old soap stones and how people kept warm using soap stones and how bricks and rocks can burst when heated and soap stones are dense and solid and hold heat well.

This past winter was our first winter to use soap stones to warm the bed and put under our feet at our desk to keep warm.

There is so much intrigue and fascination in how things were made in the past and the appreciation for non plastic goods.

If only I had known to ask or beg for those things the elders in my family were letting go of as they replaced their antiques for modern day goods.

I had one Great Aunt that didn't let go of antiques and I was always drawn to her home.

I recently got my nerve up to learn to make our own soap.  

Why did I wait so long?  Why have I not been doing this all my life?  It is pure, I know what is in it and it is not difficult to do.

We discovered the old drinks of the past and learned to make Switchel and Shrubs.

We found a old rocker that fits my short body frame and it feels right.  We don't have recliners anymore and we even removed our sofa.  We don't have time to lounge.  We sit or lay down to read when we are tired.

We have learned each stage on our journey back in time. Little by little I am trying to replace the processed foods and we still have cereal and packaged pasta and such but I am slowly replacing these making it homemade.  It is not happening fast but I am getting there.

 I understand the importance of food storage and I have always understood this but I have more appreciation for doing it the old way.

Something changed the day we found the old cabinet/hutch we call "Walton".  Windsor is our icebox, Walton is our hutch.

We brought it home to be restored because it was part of the past and it felt like we had rescued something that was meant to have new purpose.  Walton is a reminder to us of a older time and it is helpful to have visual things made from real wood.

I have found that looking out the window and watching the laundry blow in the wind or soak up the sun feels right.  We live in a country where the clothesline is becoming less seen as people are paying the electric company to dry their laundry.

I have found how important soap and water is every day..

I have found that I will not quit trying to conserve water because it is the right thing to do.  I wish at times we did not have running water and that we had to haul water to make us be even more careful.

We have tried so many ways to live the old way and wonder where is this going now?

How do we find a time that feels right?

How far back do we have to go to find a place to settle?

Well, I don't even know if there is a era for living a life that feels completely right.

We have gotten ourselves to a point that we are actually growing food that we can cook and bake with and preserve.  Not a lot but we are improving. We keep adding more blueberry bushes because blueberries are tasty and healthy.

For us, this is a very important part of living more like the past because we were not gardening at all.

We are finding old ways and news ways to grow in the space we have. This is a vertical cantaloupe growing next to our vertical cucumbers.

Food is very important as it always has been.

We learn by doing and we can never guarantee a good harvest but we can try.

When we first set up our fire pit years ago, it was new and even though we had cooked on camping trips and such, cooking real meals has to be learned.

Ovet the years we have learned...

And practice makes things better.

Charles is coming to a point of what is important to him in the things he does.  He is going back more and more to hand tools instead of electric tools.  He has just built a new workbench and is settling down on what he is wanting to do and that is to make practical goods, things with purpose.  He doesn't want large projects but small projects for his small workshop.

It took me all kinds of practice and finding ways to hand wash laundry..

It came down to less is more..

You soak, swish,

And finding that soaking and then rubbing soap and brushing the clothes gets them very clean.

We found the best way to bathe and save water is to take a bucket bath.  You can get completely clean with no tub, no shower, just a bucket of water, soap and a dipper.  We heat our water when needed.

We gave away our large side by side refrigerator/freezer and went to a dorm size fridge.  We continue to downsize our use of refrigeration and are studying more on this about food preservation.

We just want to know. If we ever get to a point that we completely know how to live without refrigeration, this dorm fridge will go.

We also learned that we do not "need" a hot water heater.  It is only a convenient way to have hot water waiting all the time.  But we pay a price for that when we can just heat our water when needed.

Our goal is to have as little dependence on the grid as possible.  Just last night we had a storm and we lit our oil lamps after our son called and said they were without power.  It is good to be able to just switch over to the old way, the oil lamps and such but we want to do this the opposite and only switch to grid when "Needed.  If we live like this then we are less dependent or inconvenienced when something happens.  It is nice to not worry about food spoiling when there is no grid or how large the electric and water bill is going to be.

The best thing we have done is to start journaling all our expenses, all our usage, having a garden diary, trying to get more like those before us when entries were simple.  This means we are making progress in the right direction. 

Things running in the house now seem bothersome.  We find the radio irritating.  We like the sound of a page in a book turning.

We like to hear the natural sounds in our house and we are slowly getting rid of the smell of toxic plastic smell that gasses off in our homes as more plastic leaves the house and much less comes in.

Each day is exciting, if I don't feel well, I research and study.  I pray my mind stays good for a very long time.

Our era is the era of what makes sense.   

Wherever you find yourself today, and something feels off, life is not as interesting as it should be, your finances are in trouble, you feel tired and drugged down.  Take a good honest look at how you are living and what changes you can make to improve your situation.  Go back to basics and work from there.  

If your life is wonderful, you are happy then that is the place you should be but do look ahead and make sure the life you are living today is actually not taking away from your life in the future.  Make sure you are putting money aside for later in life, make sure you are not living pay check to pay check.  Make sure you are not digging a deep hole that will be difficult to climb out of.  Less is more.

We don't have to live poorly to live a simple life. By that I mean we don't have to look destitute. This life can bring a lot of value and richness in many ways.

Grandma Donna

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