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Old 11-21-2013, 03:35 PM
 
Location: SW Missouri
15,849 posts, read 32,045,485 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RomaniGypsy View Post
My wife and I love history. We love old houses, old cars, old furniture, old music, old movies, etc. Furthermore, we're old enough to see how our society is crumbling... and we think... "how cool would it be to live like it was long ago?".

Thus far, we haven't figured out what our "target year" would be... as in, "we're going to live like it's [year], and the only things we will use that are newer than [year] will be medical technology on an as-needed basis, and things that have become basic necessities of survival in today's America (whatever they might be)".

I watched a video about a family that did this - their target year was 1986. I think they were only intending to do it for one year, and the only new thing they used was a newer car.

The Amish do a good job of it, as I understand... but they tend to clump together such that there is a support group inherent in the area. (Amish areas have stores that sell antique-style farming implements and the like!)

Assuming we're not going to turn Amish, do any of y'all know of anyone who is doing this? If yes, where can I find it? My Google searches turned up very little.
I expect that if there are people like this, they are mostly living under the radar. Many people would like to be totallyl independent, but it is getting more and more difficult. You have to earn *some* money to pay for property taxes or you could lose your home. You have to be able to maintain your home which often requires the purchase of materials and possibly tools. I suppose you could barter for these goods, but since there are so few people out there being self-sustaining it would be a challenge.

20yrsinBranson
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Old 11-21-2013, 04:22 PM
 
Location: Delaware
136 posts, read 332,294 times
Reputation: 228
If I was Amish...I'd never see this thread.

No electricity or modern marvels!
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Old 11-21-2013, 05:06 PM
 
Location: Cushing OK
14,545 posts, read 18,900,969 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CraigCreek View Post
Check out "Edwardian Farm" and "Victorian Farm", both on YouTube. Originally shown on BBC2, these series feature three people who live the life of farmers from these eras for one year, assisted by local experts in various fields (pun intended). Both are beautifully photographed. The same team also was involved in "Wartime Farm", about farming during WWII. Highly recommended!
There was one on pbs, I think it was set in the late 1800's. The family lived in a flat, and had to cook on a stove of the time and wash their clothes with the wringer method and boiling. The only compromise was with the stove, since the real version was a fire hazard so it became more reliable.

I remember the family was going swimming, in the fully dressed swimwear of the day, and the girls were denied the pool since they were having a period.

They stuck out the year and appreciated all the 'modern stuff' when they went back to their home, but even the girls thought they got something good from the experience. They had taken stuff for granted before and didn't now.

I spend about six months staying with a friend who lived in a small self built shed like home. We had a hose for water and got electricity. The tv reception wasn't and we snuck into the state park for showers. But even thought it got really cold and things like washing clothes were an expidation to the laundry across from the state park, I still very fondly remember it. It was also quiet and my dog got to run loose, and even if I had a tiny room, it was comfortable. But I could just take walks and enjoy the sun too.

Even if it was just for a few months, I appreciate the experience. I learned a few things about making due. Even today I have a 'stuff' box where stuff that can be remade or modified or fixed go over buying new stuff.
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Old 11-21-2013, 05:41 PM
Status: "Vi må legge kortene på bordet nå." (set 25 days ago)
 
Location: The Dusk of America
13,622 posts, read 11,980,569 times
Reputation: 11749
Quote:
Originally Posted by RomaniGypsy View Post
I sure do like serenity. My wife and I like to look up at the stars at night when we're in a remote location - something we couldn't do when we lived in a well-lit urban area. Even now, I'm sitting in her old bedroom at her parents' house, which is located on a main road, and all I hear is cars going past on the road outside.
Modern people, for the most part, do not realize how much noise pollution they tolerate daily. Of course, some don't notice it as much as others. But, having spent part of my early teen years on a farm down a dirt road where there was seldom traffic and nothing else, much, to make noise other than the farm animals and machinery when we used it, I REALLY miss the quiet surroundings. It is never not noisy where I live right now (and my town would be considered small by most people's definition). There is no way it was like that 100 years ago here. I have a decibel meter that shows just the nighttime background noise between 50 and 60 db. Louder during the day--a nearly constant drone. Some days, my ears are just fatigued. I get so tired of it. Constant traffic, dogs, people yelling, mowers, saws, leaf blowers, snow blowers, blah, blah, blah. I guess you only notice it though, when part of your life was spent with very tranquil silence. There was never any noise at night except the crickets and night breeze through the tree's leaves at times.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RomaniGypsy View Post
Not long ago, I boarded a plane for Omaha so I could pick up a car I bought. Each and every last passenger who was in his/her seat by the time I got on the plane was furiously banging away on some touch-screen communication device. I sat down, looked out the window at the sunrise, and thought... "Right now, some Amish person is taking a leisurely buggy ride to the farm supplies store after eating a delicious and nutritious home-cooked breakfast."
I see smartphones and other time vampires as the cigarettes of our day. Everyone seems to have one, and it's always "lit." Personally, not that I'm big on cigarettes or anything, but I'd rather go back to the days when they were holding cigarettes rather than phones. The smell was annoying, but there's much more to be annoyed by being around smartphone "smokers" all day every day. And I think they are just as addicted.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RomaniGypsy View Post
A commune would be great, but I don't know if I could live with people of that ilk. They tend to be WEIRD, if what I read is correct. I'm not entirely normal myself, but let's just say that I lack sufficient information. If I could live on a commune with like-minded people who weren't psycho, that'd be ideal. After all, it doesn't have to be a cloistered community - just a bunch of people living in the same area the same way, supporting each other in the lifestyle... sort of like the Amish do.
Yes, I could see a community similar to Amish in lifestyle, but without the single religious direction (it could be non-denominational), being a good thing for people with such aspirations. There is no reason that it could not be done if the participants owned their land. People could join the community to see if that sort of lifestyle was for them. If it didn't work out, fine, sell out and move back to the present. At least it would be a learning experience and something different. If it did work out, those folks would have a whole community of like-minded people around them to offer support, advice, and help, should they need it. Their neighbors would not be constantly bashing those dreams because they would have the same dreams. I would see it, not as a "commune," but more of a community of homogeneous participants.

I don't really know of anything like that, other than, as was discussed, the Amish (and Amish-like people), certain religious sects, and so forth. There are a few places in the US that do not allow automobiles (that's at least a start!), but they tend to be touristy sorts of places like Mackinac Island in Michigan. I could even go for that! I'd much prefer walking, biking, or horseback... if I didn't have to go so far to work.

I had a whole bunch of web links to places like Mackinac Island, re-enactment villages, living farms, restored homes and farm museums, Inns that still operate as they would have in the 18th century (still cooking in the hearth/fireplace!), several magazines that deal with that sort of thing, general historical sites and books, etc... but I can't find the backed up file since I upgraded Ubuntu Linux the last time. If I find the file, I will post some of the more interesting historical links here. There was even a couple of "schools" that taught things like hearth cooking, timberframe home building, and other traditional activities/trades like that.
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Old 11-21-2013, 06:11 PM
 
Location: Central Maine
2,867 posts, read 3,205,468 times
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Well, no cable or satellite TV, no mobile devices, no internet, computer will be going when we move..being replaced by a typwriter. No Nook or Kindle. Still write letters to pen friends. Still use a landline phone. Still listen to the radio (shortwave, AM or FM..no satellite).
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Old 11-21-2013, 07:03 PM
 
2,002 posts, read 2,959,189 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DauntlessDan View Post
Well, no cable or satellite TV, no mobile devices, no internet, computer will be going when we move..being replaced by a typwriter. No Nook or Kindle. Still write letters to pen friends. Still use a landline phone. Still listen to the radio (shortwave, AM or FM..no satellite).
I wish I could do it again. I can't get around like I used to. But the memories are still there. Have fun.
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Old 11-21-2013, 08:58 PM
 
Location: San Antonio, TX
11,447 posts, read 23,077,169 times
Reputation: 27663
If you have to work like a dog all day just to feed and clothe yourself, you don't have time to do anything great. That's not proving any point, it's just making yourself miserable.

I can imagine living in a small cabin with no electricity and no running water for a month or two, to see what it was like...but it would get old really quickly if I had to spend an entire day doing laundry, or spend hours cooking. It would especially get old going out back to the outhouse in the middle of a winter night, freezing my buns and using a page torn from the Sears catalog as toilet paper.
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Old 11-21-2013, 10:24 PM
 
Location: Native Floridian, USA
4,978 posts, read 6,559,542 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hedgehog_Mom View Post
If you have to work like a dog all day just to feed and clothe yourself, you don't have time to do anything great. That's not proving any point, it's just making yourself miserable.

I can imagine living in a small cabin with no electricity and no running water for a month or two, to see what it was like...but it would get old really quickly if I had to spend an entire day doing laundry, or spend hours cooking. It would especially get old going out back to the outhouse in the middle of a winter night, freezing my buns and using a page torn from the Sears catalog as toilet paper.
when I was a young child, back in the early 50's, I still had relatives that farmed in N. Fl. They didn't have running water, drew it from a well just outside the back door, no indoor bathroom and kerosene lamps until the late 50's. When my mother and I would go to visit her relatives, we used "slop jars" at night to uninate, emptied the next morning. Food was simple. For dinner, some kind of bread, either cornbread or biscuits, a cooked vegetable, maybe two, sliced tomatoes and/or cucumbers and usually some kind of fried meat. They supplied most of their own victuals.
When someone gasps over the "fried" meat, let me just say that my Uncle Jesse lived to be 84 and Aunt Minnie lived to be 90. Oh, and she cooked with hog lard. I could mention several uncles and aunts that lived simple but hard lives and were blessed with longevity. A certain amount of that was the luck of the draw genetically but, I also believe some was due to their lifestyle.

I had several relatives that lived that way. My parents were not real young when they married and they were the youngest children in their families and I was the last of 5 children so, most of these people, their brothers and sisters, were well into early old age when I was young.

We are not talking share croppers here. These people owned small to middling sized farms, were reasonably self sufficient and lived good lives. Their farms, their families and their churches were there lives.
I always enjoyed it when we went to visit and I was fascinated by the lack of amenities. Could I live that way all the time ? Probably. Though not as well as they did.

When I was 12 years old, my mother took it into her head to move way out in the country. The house was very old and there was no running water or indoor bathroom. We heated with a fireplace. No kidding. We lived there 2 1/2 years. Finally got an indoor bathroom after about a year. But I pumped water on Saturday mornings for my mother to do laundry in an old wringer washer and 3 rinse water tubs. They had to be emptied a few times. She was particular about her wash...lol. The last rinse water, I would take a bath in it that evening. The water was warm and soft seeming. The tub would be on the back porch. (That was not the only bath I had all week....lol...just the most thorough.) Needless to say, I was well liked enough in school, I didn't lose many friends over the situation.. But, this was in the 1950's and my mother still quilted,
made some of my school clothes, canned vegetables....we didn't have a lot but we didn't go hungry or cold.
I felt like sometimes I was roughing it.....LOL.

Last edited by AnnieA; 11-21-2013 at 11:27 PM..
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Old 11-21-2013, 11:04 PM
 
Location: Temporarily, in Limerick
2,898 posts, read 5,611,848 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DauntlessDan View Post
Well, no cable or satellite TV, no mobile devices, no internet, computer will be going when we move..being replaced by a typwriter. No Nook or Kindle. Still write letters to pen friends. Still use a landline phone. Still listen to the radio (shortwave, AM or FM..no satellite).
I'm not that old, over 40, but we grew up very poor. All the above was us, save for not being wealthy enough to have a TV, vehicle or phone. We had 1 radio. The 1st in-house phone I had was when I rented my 1st apt. The 1st falling down rental I recall as a kid had an outhouse, in the city... a hammer was left hanging on a string to crack the ice on the toilet in frigid winters. We (my mum & I, the oldest girl) washed clothing with a washboard... for 7 kids, cloth diapers. Our house had no heat... the gas oven door was left open in the morning, so the kids could sit & eat breakfast sans shivering.

When I was 13-ish & 5 of us moved into a crowded 2-br flat in another country & I had hot running water & a stand-up shower for the 1st time, I thought I'd faint from shear joy. Hot water on demand! Oh, boy!

Not complaining. I thought most lived this way. I live well today (meaning I have a car, some appliances, LOTS of clothing & can afford to eat what I like), but don't waste money, cook from scratch, make many of my own home decorations/paintings/clothes/pillows/etc, go without TV (I'd rather do something that sit & stew for hours) & waste nothing. I'll take your broken chair & refurbish/reupholster it or stain/paint/stencil it & have people not believe that I indeed did fix it & no, it's not gear from a high end home store. I can fix anything... non-mechanical.

We can all do a lot of those old world hobbies/activities if we choose. No reason to unless one feels a benefit in some way. I do. I can't wait to have a house again so I can have some yard chickens & learn to grow a lettuce leaf. We all have weaknesses... I can grown nothing, can't understand driving directions to save my bloody life & wouldn't do simple electrical/plumbing modifications/fixes if you paid me. But, I'm a small girl & can build my own shelves, sand/stain/polyurethane a floor by hand (I don't have the strength to handle a sander) & rip out walls with a crowbar & plaster them back up. I refurbished a 4 story Victorian by myself, completely. (I'll never do it again, but know I can).

If one has a log cabin dream, do it. You may love it & never wish to live any other way. Or, you may enjoy the experience for awhile, then go back to more modern/pampered living. Neither is wrong & either can be fulfilling.

There are some great treehouses, in addition to the Tumbleweed homes someone posted. A lot of amazing ideas out there & a lot of interesting ways to live, if one chooses to experience & explore. And, nothing wrong in wanting a beach house or modern loft & just staying there... my preferences now.
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Old 11-21-2013, 11:09 PM
Status: "Vi må legge kortene på bordet nå." (set 25 days ago)
 
Location: The Dusk of America
13,622 posts, read 11,980,569 times
Reputation: 11749
I think a good chunk of people in our day assumes that everyone in those days of old worked 16 hours a day every day just to keep the household going--and that was beyond doing whatever they did to fund their lives. There were certainly people who did have a very hard life, and the work for the "average person" was much more manual than in our time, but to assume that everyone slaved all of their waking hours is an inaccurate view. Read the history of the "everyday life" of people from those times. Read the diaries from a good variety of people of the times. It wasn't nearly as severe (on average) as most of us seem to think it is today. It varied, just as it does today, between classes and social strata. You can't compare a sharecropper in a shack's lifestyle with the lifestyle of an east coast socialite in a Victorian manse. And there was a wide range in between. Also, domestic servants were far more common in those times even for the middle class.

Personally, I have found, after doing many of the things that are supposed to be so horribly difficult and backbreaking that most of those everyday tasks aren't as evil as people make them out to be. Granted, they are quite time-consuming, and given that people nowadays live as if they haven't a second to spare, the perception of unbelievable toil is perpetuated. Yeah, in takes an hour or more of physical effort to wash a small batch of clothing by hand and it takes several hours to grind wheat to flour by hand, prepare the dough, let it rise twice, and bake the bread, and yes, it takes time to cook meals the old-fashioned way--and even longer if you're cooking in a hearth, and it pretty much takes longer to do any kind of construction type work. But the thing is, some people prefer to spend their time doing that sort of thing rather than the things that soak up our "modern" time. There is no point of attacking such interests or lifestyles. It's neither right or wrong to aspire to such ways. Just different. Some people can't seem to grant such differences without a few potshots, for some reason. And really... if someone wants to pee in a chamber pot at night, what's the big deal? (note: I do that. I find it's easier than going to the bathroom on a cold night. So what?)


Editor's note: I'm not trying to be argumentative or aggressive, but it seems that every time anyone wants to discuss a simpler or more historical/traditional lifestyle, someone else gets ruffled feathers and says something like, "I'd never do that! That's nuts when we have X Y and Z now." And it's fine that you'd never do that and that you want to use X, Y, and Z instead. Nobody is asking you to live like that. Just like I could say, "I'd never own a smartphone, even if someone gave it to me and I could use it for free." (which I certainly will never own a smartphone or "tablet") But... again, so what? Nobody is asking me to, so there is no point of me really getting into a response for a no-call situation.

At the end of the day... hey, some of us are a little odd. I do a lot of that sort of traditional lifestyle thing as time permits. It's just interesting. Right now, I'm not slaving on any of it--I'm sitting here in a room that looks like I'm in about 1900 with an oil lamp for light... reading about Postbellum America on a windy, snowy night (and responding on this forum). And you are doing whatever it is that turns you on. Vive la différence!

Last edited by ChrisC; 11-21-2013 at 11:20 PM..
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