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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 ....

We Don't have to be miserable, if....

April 24, 2020

If we have a plan.

With what all is going on and the many hours I have been sewing masks I have had a lot of time to think about this post.

I have been thinking the what if's. Many people don't ever think about the what if's, they just live life as it happens.  But if we do not think about the what if's then we do not have the things we need should something happen and it did. 

I am a what if thinker.  Have always been this way because I do not like to be caught in a situation that I am not prepared for if there could have been something that I could have done before it happened. This is not a bad thing and has many times been a very good thing. 

Long ago when my parents health started to decline I was not prepared and this was a very big lesson for me.

Living a simple life or a simple old fashioned life more like the past, does not mean a simple minimalistic life. 

When I first started keeping my own home, I did not have a lot of things in the home.  Did not have a phone, no television, no radio, no washing machine.  But life was good. I had enough knowledge by watching and tagging along with my grandparents and family that had very little to understand the things we need verses the things we want. 

Charles and I went on with our life like many people buying things we really did not need to buy. Getting into some debt, trying to keep up.  Then we realized this was not good.  We also talked about the good old days. We started changing to see if we could get back to those good old days.

Then we talk about a simple and sensible life.  

A sensible life we think ahead and we plan.  We slowly purchase items that will help us to become more sustainable. 

Charles and I decided to start replacing non functional items with items that were useful, helpful and necessary.

We have had some very bad storms this week.  I have been sewing masks and giving them away to people that are having to work during this pandemic and to family. 

My electric sewing machine started having problems so I had to put it in the repair shop. Then storms hit, we had to unplug everything.  I then switched to "Clara" my 1923 treadle machine that requires nothing but me doing the work with my feet and hands so she can sew.

When I first learned to sew, I learned on a treadle and I loved the rhythm of the peddle as I sewed. I do sew with Clara when I am not rushed to get something finished. 

This week I realized that doing things fast has made us lose touch with many things.  I have thought about the generations that used these machines and how their lives were so very different than ours today. I am not suggesting to go out an buy a treadle but think about if we have the things that would be helpful and not cost anything to run.

As bad as this pandemic is, the losses of life, the pain and suffering, the stress from financial worry, I hope that something good comes from this and that people will realize how far from our roots that we have come and how wasteful we have been. 

Those of us that make it through this terrible time, it would be awful to come out the same as we were.  We need to change.

Some people are angry because they want things to open no matter how bad it would be. Life is inconvenient for them right now. It does not have to be this way. 

I read on the news a woman saying, I am not afraid of this virus!  She wants thing to open even though at this time it is not advisable. 

We have to be more patient, we have to be as cautious as if a bad storm has hit and power lines are down all around us and we let things get cleaned up before we venture out. 

In the past people were much more prepared than we are today.  I cut Charles hair the other day and with my guidance, he cut mine.  These scissors above are hair cutting scissors. If we do not have hair cutting skills we can learn.  I have always had hair cutting scissors. 

We try to think things through, the good and the bad.

To live a simple sensible life we must have tools to help us through difficult time.  If we do not have these tools we make it priority to purchase them slowly instead of purchasing frivolous things.  Charles and I practice doing things the old way by just living it. 

 People need exercise.   There is plenty of exercise with gardening.  This spot here we dug up and transplanted a rosemary bush.  We try each year to plant something perennial so it can just grow on its own year after year.  We had some plants along a fence and we decided our perennial plants would be asparagus.  So we dug up an area to make room for the asparagus, a rosemary and a few other herbs needed to be re-located. 

This on the right is where the rosemary was along with some cilantro and a few other things.

We added some compost and a little sand and spread out the asparagus.

Then we covered them with three inches of soil.  When they start coming up we will cover them again and stop when we reach 8 inches of soil on top. So now year after year this bed will give us food because asparagus will come back each year often for decades.

If you are feeling like you are having withdrawal right now, find a shovel and start digging dirt and plant seeds or plants so you will have food. 

After studying history we decided to resemble those generations before us with items that made sense.  Just like the last two storms I mentioned. We do not worry when the power goes out at our house.  We can manage well off when there is no power. We just switch over to off grid items in our home.

We keep oil and oil lamps.  I have purchased most all of our oil lamps over time and for very little money.  I keep a supply of oil and wicks for these lamps. 

When we first started moving to live more like the past one of the first things we did was to cancel our television cable.  We bought an old radio. 

At first we kept our televisions but we soon realized we did not want them because they did not feel right anymore.  We gave them away and kept one very small one so we could get news and weather when needed.  

We have some old movies on dvd so we do have movie nights occasionally because in the past such as the 1920's and 1930's people would go to the movies.  So this is the extent of what one would call entertainment.

We took that money we would have spent to buy items that would help us to save money and to also live a more prepared life.

When businesses open and you have money to spend think about your purchases such as will this be helpful to us to save money?  Is this something we really "need".

Living a simple sensible life means having more items in our home that have purpose instead of just decoration.

Water bath canners, pressure canners and dehydrators are some of the items that could be very necessary in such times as we have now. 

With those items we need canning jars and lids. For the last several years when we have gone to purchase groceries we often pick up a pack or two of canning lids and store them away.  We have found how necessary this is since the lids are a one time use.

We also have a dehydrator for dehydrating food.  Both canning and dehydrating are very necessary kitchen items to be able to preserve our food. I have told the story before about my neighbor Naomi telling me that during the great depression her mother had a pressure canner.  Some people did not have one so her mother would can for them for part of the food and this is how she fed her family during this difficult time and the others would have canned food that would have gone to waste if it had not been canned. They would bring back the jars to her and they worked this out to help them all have food.

If the power goes out we can lose our freezer food during a long term outage.  Due to this we keep only a very small chest freezer.  We keep some propane and a cooker that we keep stored so if we need to can the food that is in that freezer during an outage we can get out our jars and can the food to keep from losing it. We keep canned and frozen food at our home. Some things taste better frozen to me such as carrots and potatoes. But in a bind I would can them. 

Many people think they cannot afford these things.  We put anything that is "necessary" in our home budget.  when we started cancelling subscriptions and cable etc that allowed us to start buying the necessary.

If anyone that gets a stimulus check and it is not necessary for rent or food, my opinion is purchasing items that will help you get through tough times such as this because "this" could get worse.  This is the situation we are in, we cannot pretend otherwise. We should take control of our home and our needs right now and do things that we can do something about.

I mentioned in my last post about using cloth diapers so there will be no worry about a shortage of disposable diapers "or" no money to buy disposable diapers.

Again, I never used disposable diapers because this was a time before they were used. We never spent money on diapers after we first purchased the cloth diapers. 

I realize that we have become a nation of consumerism which people spend and other make money.  It gives people jobs but it has gotten out of control.  Now look at what has happened, many people have not been able to even make it past a few weeks much less a few months.

Everyone has to get themselves in a position to where they have some money saved for hard times.  It may mean turning things off, don't use what we do not need. It may mean rationing and using very little of anything until we are in a position to be able to at least eat and keep a roof over our head. 

It is not the time to pout about anything, it is time to take care of things. If you are doing okay financially right now, that is good "but" consider that things could get worse and maybe you too should conserve and look at what you would do if there are more shortages and you cannot get the things you need.  What else could you use and such as that. It is a very good time to make a plan.

We are going to come out the other side of this pandemic either way.  We are going to live through it or we won't,  but we hope we will and if everyone would do their part we have a better chance. Those that will not do their part, stay away from them, they are foolish. 

I am hoping that people will start trying to figure out how to get in a better position to be more sustainable and have the ability to push though hard times as these.

In the past people kept items in their homes for sewing and mending,they saved their old clothes and fabric scraps for making blankets.  They were very resourceful and people are good at different things.  When one lives simple and resourceful there is less to lose.

We keep extra items for our garden such as this garden cloth.  I use it for frost but this week I have used it twice to batten down for high winds and hail.  It is better than having nothing over them.  It actually helped.

I was thinking how can one learn to make a"loaf" of bread if they do not have a bread pan.  We can still make rolls or flat bread and rustic bread but having a bread pan helps to make a sandwich loaf. 

I also learned to make my own soap and when I do I make a large batch.  It was something I always wanted to do but as time went by it was not something people did but then started making a come back for people that like to live more sustainable.  The main thing is I keep the items that I need to make the soap. 

I keep soap presses so I can mark the soap such as fragrance free, laundry, pet soap etc. It is not necessary. When we get to where we are living that more simple life we can buy the extras.

Seeds are very important so we can at least try to grow food to at least supplement our diet.

I keep flannel stored in the cupboard for making family cloths and most anything that replaces disposables. 

For us, we see the importance of bowls, buckets and basins.  There are items that help when we try to control the flow to keep the utility bills down... We use bowls when we wash up, we have others for shelling beans and peas. we keep different kinds of things like our generations from the past had. They do not have to look like these, living more simple and like the past does not have to look like the past. 

Studying the past and also being old enough to know a few things helps us to learn to do simple things that can help us. 

The simple knowledge of ways to stay cool when it is very hot in the house or outside such as putting our feet in water will help us cool down. Long ago on very hot days people would sit out on porches with their feet in cool water to cool down.  Porches were more common in the past.  

Thank you Charles for letting me pour cold water over your feet. :)

We keep good tools around for repairs.  We have saws and nails and screws, shovels and hoes. We understand the need from living through life paying attention.

Even living in an apartment, there are many things one can do to improve their chances during a pandemic, recession or depression. 

In the past people knew what to do with the things they had and these same things we discard today as if they are of no worth at all.  Clothing we no longer want that they would have used to make quilts. 

They fed chickens and pigs food scraps and today we may not have chickens or pigs but we can put much of our vegetable, coffee, cardboard waste into a compost bin to make good rich soil that can be put in the garden beds or containers.  

We don't have to take big steps, just practice steps are good at getting us started. Try adding i some vegetable plants into your flower beds. 

We are heading into new situations right now.  We do not know what this financial strain is going to cause and there may be many families that have to move in with family.

There are ways to help situations such as the little chamber pot pictured in this post.  It worked fine in the past and it can again, it was a normal thing for them in the past and it can be again.  We do what we can do and we make it work. 

If you are at home on lock down my suggestion is to watch some older movies that we can learn from.  There are British series that are very good with Ruth Goodman such as Victorian Farm, Edwardian Farm, Wartime Farm and more that teach us how to do things. 

There are very good youtube channels such as;

Family heritage living, they live completely off grid.

Little house on the mountain

Charles Dowding

Love to all of you, Grandma Donna

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