Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Non-Electric Lifestyle

I was reading Wendy's post over at Surviving the Suburbs about giving up her dishwasher to save electricity and become more eco-friendly, and it struck me that we all have our little guilty electric pleasures that will be hard to give up.  I'm sitting here listening to my electric coffeemaker gurgling on the kitchen counter, and wondering how long I would need to pedal a bicycle generator to get my morning cup of joe.

There are so many things that we North Americans take for granted, and just never consider how difficult it would be if the lights went out for a very long time.  Growing up, we didn't have an electric coffeemaker.  Mom made it on top of the stove using a percolator; it went camping with us and made coffee just as happily on the camp stove as it did on the electric stove at home.

Many of my relatives had large kitchens with both electric and wood-burning cook stoves in them.  One of my aunts had an oil-burning cook stove for use in the winter.  One thing I remember vividly is watching my granny stick her hand into the over to gauge the heat and whether it was hot enough to stick a tray of cookies in.  I wouldn't have a clue what felt hot enough.  Mom's stove had a thermometer on the front of the oven door.

We've probably all seen those camping gadgets for making toast or popcorn, but these are not new inventions.  There was a time when these are what people used.  I remember sitting in front of the fire with a wire basket on a long handle full of popcorn kernels and watching them pop.  I grew up with all those non-electric tools, although I will admit that when dad came home with that first electric coffee maker when I was in high school, that produced genuine excitement.  With that baby in the house, my first major addiction was born.  Mmmm, coffee! 

Nevertheless, when I look at a lot of food storage sites, and prepper sites, even though we all talk (and write) about preparing for a time when there might not be electricity, we all have all kinds of electric gadgets for prepping with.  Now that's ironic.  M.D. Creekmore addressed the same issue in a recent post, 4 Unique Ways to Preserve Food.  Honestly, I read a post from someone who is using an electric pressure cooker to can small batches!

This has driven me to an obsessive search for all those old-fashioned non-electric tools that my mother used to use.   Amazon has an amazing selection of these products, and the prices are not bad at all: 


Wendy said...

You struck on just the same irony that I've found - many of us are prepping for a low energy future using "electric gadgets." How funny, right?

We've been working on de-electrifying our lives for a while now, and I still get people who kind of chuckle behind their hands at my insistence in "not" using my electric dryer, or in the fact that I'm giving up my television set because it uses too much electricity ;).

We still have a long way to go, for sure, but it's actually starting to be fun to see how low we can go ... kind of like a party game. Limbo, anyone? *grin*

Ollamha Anne said...

If you have a wood stove, you don't need a dryer. For years, on laundry day, I strung a line in the hallway, and the clothes would dry in 5 or 6 hours.