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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Simple Life????

The following is a personal opinon about the comment "simple life", and what I think about it:

Many people (not all) say that when you homestead you are living the "simple life". Well, to me that phrase "simple life", isn't quite all that simple. I know in my early adult years I thought the "simple life" was childhood, we a child in a way (minus severe poverty) has a simple life, they have no responsiblity; and most people crave that life again. The people who think homesteading is the "simple life", well some ways it can be. You grow your own food, there by reducing your need to go to the grocery store; yep that makes life a tad easier. If your homestead is fully built with animals and crops growing when you move in.I will now share with you how "simple" my life is at this point in time.

I get up a little before six am to feed our dogs and cats (most of the dogs were "drop offs"), and start some water boiling for a mornign cup of tea for me and my partner Silver, also taking something out of our deep freezer for breakfast.Then at six am I wake the kids up to get ready for school, this takes anywhere from 20-40 minutes for them to get ready; with arguments over who has the hair brush. Sometime during this I have to give our oldest dog an allergy pill as she's allergic to flea bits and is half naked at this time because of it. While this is going on me and Silver are trying to enjoy a cup of tea, while hurring the kids up. Then when the kids are ready for school we walk to the end of the road (10 minute walk unencumbered), where the kids wait for the school bus and me and Silver use the wierless connection from the gentleman on the end of the road, so we can use the internet while we wait. *Note this is my only time of the day I am online*

after the kids have left me and Silver walk back home, then we have breakfast and decide where we are going to get our water from today; no our well is not yet running. Now we can go to the person with the internet connection, or go to the couple who live practically next door. This requires more thought than you think, while it is semi easier to go next door (semi); we have to wait till 10 am to do this and if we are low on water we need to go sooner. At the end of the road, we could sit for a bit and use the internet for a while after; we also get to listen to the gentleman who lives there for an hour or more complain about everything... and I man everything. Now, until Silver's next check arrives we have no car; it needs a new tire the regular tire and the spare are both flat. so we have to walk with our water bottles, Silver has rigged up a hand truck with a box so it is easier to carry 15 gallons at a time, plus whatever Silver or I can carry in backpacks. I will tell you now, when you have to haul water you use less of it and find ways to use less. Now imagine if you will one person with weak lungs and burcitis and one person with arthritis walking 1/4 mile with 15-30 gallons of water, it's not easy and we wind up sitting for an hour trying to cool down and catch our breath.

Next Silver will (for now) get out his chain saw and either cut brush or cut up some very dead logs for our fire wood this winter. I move the brush or log pieces, we do this until lunch or it gets too hot. Nowdepending on the day I will either do our dish washing or dishwashing and laundry next.

Now for dishes I fill a 30 pound bucket with water to rinse the dishes in, and fill a wash tub with soem dishes, soap, and water. then I wash them by hand dipping them in my rinse water then putting them in a rack to dry. I do this till either dishes are done, or the water is too ugly to use. Next if I am doing laundry that day too I empty the wash tub and if I remebered to heat the water while washing dishes (on a home made outdoor wood fire pit to save cooking gas), I fill the tub with clothes (not a lot), soap and the BOILING water. Boiling is important when dealing with kids clothes as they seem to attract dirt. then I add enough cold water so I can wash the clothes without scalding my hands in the process. This is much easier when everyone is home, then me and Silver wash and the kids hang it. Next I grab a peice of clothing and I determine how dirty it is, if it's slightly dirty them a few wrings through the soapy water will clean it then I wring it out and hang it... note I don't rinse, the rinse water from the dishes is still there; but do you want to rinse clothes in that? I don't. If I could afford the extra water I will set up another bucket of clean water for rinsing, however with clothes it will get mucky faster than dishes. Now if the clothing piece is very dirty then I pick it up and grab either liquid or bar soap and put some on it and scrub as if I were washing my hands. When satisfied that it is clean I rinse in the soapy water wring and hang. To do enough for a few days this process can take an hour or more.

Next if it is too hot to work we will sit infront of a fan and catch up on our reading. Sometimes Silver works on the plans for the house always trying to make it work better. If the weather is agreeable we keep up on the brush or wood cutting. You know it's fun chopping fire wood with an ax, everyone should try cutting up about 6 logs with an ax sometime, you'd appriciate your either pre-cut wood, gas heat, or electric heat much more.

this is done until the kids come home which at that time either me or Silver (depending on what it is) cook dinner and heat bathing water. While we are doing this the kids are doing homework. Yep bath... not shower... you know we bought one of those "solar shower" bags... it doesn't work well with five people, so out neighbor's next door lent us a bathtub to use. We bath in about 10-15 gallons of water a day, kids go first as they are in school. We heat the bath water on an outdoor wood stove(?) Silver made (I'll post a pic when I get to the library next), we have a old medical basin we use for the water heating it holds about 2.5 gallons of water and it takes from 20-30 minutes to heat it. Then we add it to the tub which has 5-10 gallons of water depending on if the kids need to wash their hair that day or not, then we adujst it based on how hot it is after the boiling water is added. Then we heat another baisn full for me and Silver, note we do not empty the tub between people that would waste the water we hauled.

After baths we send the kids intot he tent to read or in my son's case, play on his laptop; and me and Silver enjoy another cup of tea then we head in and read/ watch a movie/ play computer and then go to bed after the kids are asleep. We send the kids to bed at nine pm and it takes 10-20 minutes for them to go to sleep.

Now a few things will change in the next week or so, the first and biggest in my opinon is we are going to get the wire we need for our well. I am crossing my fingers that the pump is good and we won't have to replace that, but if all we need is he wire we'll have our own water in a week and a half at most. If the pump is no good... well I'm not sure how long it will take. Now the second change will be, we are goignt o be getting our building supplies after we buy the wire for the well so instead of brush clearing and firewood we'll be building.

I know not everyone thinks homesteading is "simple" compared to anything else, but somepeople think it is and I wanted to show how "simple" my life is. Now I will say I am healthier than I have ever been with all the work I'm doing and exercise I'm getting, plus the no junk food diet I'm on. so personally I wouldn't call this the "simple life", but I will call it the "healthier" one.