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Old 11-22-2013, 10:36 PM
 
Location: Central Jersey
386 posts, read 633,811 times
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I suppose it's a truism that every technological advance raises new, often unforeseen, challenges. Although I wouldn't like to have lived 100 years ago (though a time-traveling visit would be neat!), I sympathize with the desire to regain some things we might have lost: a slower pace of life, a sense of community, a connection to our work, etc.

I'm intrigued by an idea I first saw presented in a Star Trek movie: the Enterprise approaches a small village on a planet that looks "primitive", but they are informed that the civilization actually has advanced technology which is seamlessly hidden in their "Amish-style" farms. They live for the most part in small farming communities because they've discovered that such a lifestyle is more socially rewarding. Even nowadays on our planet there are intentional communities and eco-villages that combine the romantic aspirations of the hippy commune era with modern, green technology.

But perhaps the OP should check out BackHome Magazine, for starters, or better yet, the Lehman's Catalog: lots of fun, old-timey stuff.

I also offer the following essay by the poet/farmer Wendell Berry, for the edification of any neo-Luddites among us : Why I am NOT Going to Buy a Computer - Wendell Berry.
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Old 11-22-2013, 11:11 PM
 
Location: Victoria TX
42,661 posts, read 78,624,396 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheektowaga_Chester View Post
Are you married?
Yes. I married someone who is also a minimalist. Works out better that way.
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Old 11-22-2013, 11:15 PM
 
Location: East Germany in America
13,932 posts, read 12,108,240 times
Reputation: 11969
Quote:
Originally Posted by St. Josef the Chewable View Post
I also offer the following essay by the poet/farmer Wendell Berry, for the edification of any neo-Luddites among us : Why I am NOT Going to Buy a Computer - Wendell Berry.
This letter, with it's responses, is a case study for this "effect" that I have noted over the years wherein someone will reject a given technology. They will proceed to give reasons they are rejecting it. They seldom if ever "condemn" the technology other than shunning it from their personal world. Most often, the "dissenter" doesn't really even give the impression that he/she is denigrating those who do use said technology.

Yet... look at the scathing responses this guy got because he said he wanted to use a pencil and typewriter, and that it was best for him, giving his personal reasons. Those who responded did so as though they were defending against a personal attack... which was not the original intent of Mr. Berry's essay. He simply gave his personal reasons and view on the matter.

This sort of thing happens all the time. It happens here on CD forums all the time. I've never been able to figure out why. Sure, if you are being attacked, by all means, defend yourself. But if something you do is being rejected by another person for that other person's personal reasons, that is not an attack on you, and you have no reason to defend yourself... because you were never attacked nor was your engaging in said activity. You simply read (or heard) another perspective.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jtur88 View Post
Yes. I married someone who is also a minimalist. Works out better that way.
Compatibility is overlooked far too often in a marriage or relationship. I have learned that lesson the hard way, and I'd sooner never have a relationship again than have one with a person who is on an entirely different page than me. I'm a minimalist as well... with sort of a historic flair. Until I find someone who shares those values and lifestyle, I'll remain alone.
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Old 11-22-2013, 11:25 PM
 
Location: Temporarily, in Limerick
2,898 posts, read 5,629,971 times
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Originally Posted by Bmachina View Post
Here is the biggest conflict that no one ever mentions in these self-sufficiency lifestyle conversations - money and time. A homesteading lifestyle requires insane amounts of time and work/labor.
So true. Easier said than done, as my mum would say. That sounds like quite a childhood you had & I love hearing these stories.

I came across an article recently, addressing the same issue with charts depicting the total cost, amount of land needed & time necessary to be completely self-sufficient to feed a family of 4. The water supply, number of animals & animal feed alone was incomprehensible when seen all laid out on paper. The writer stated that everyone he's ever spoken to, who'd like to explore such life, especially grossly underestimated the acres of land needed for such an endeavor. Factor in foul weather ruining crops, pests which either ruin or eat crops, unfruitful harvests & suddenly, one must either have a good storage of canned/preserved goods in the cellar or find oneself not so self sufficient after all & needing to barter or purchase. Further, I'm wondering what happens in those commune-like populations if one family has a bad harvest that year & others are depending upon them for their particular crops in order to make what they've promised others? After a couple of those, what happens?

Sounds as if there are a handful here who could live that way & probably enjoy it, should they want or need. I think many mean they would like a foot in both worlds, in varying %, maybe even in small ways of becoming less reliant on so many electronics for entertainment, for example & just spending more time growing/preparing meals & with family/friends. It's prairie enough for me to cook all my food, soap, skin care, curtains, pillows from scratch & occasionally sew an outfit or make a house craft. That's quite enough & I don't always need to do all of those all the time. But, I certainly don't wish to grow & harvest my own wheat or buy a loom or spinning wheel. I don't even want to turn a handle for hours to make my own ice cream.

I think for a lot of us, long days in traffic, looney nutters who appear to need exorcisms screeching at us in the subways & bad boss days make us fantasize that we'd like to chuck it all in & live on a small farm, being our own bosses. But, like Bmach & others have said so well here, my mum's mum would tell stories of frigid Siberian winters & going outdoors with pneumonia before dawn to feed/water/clean up after animals, 7-days/wk, 52-wks/yr. I admire those who can & have done it, but it certainly isn't the life for me. I'm not givin' up my espresso machine or mascara, no how, no way.
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Old 11-22-2013, 11:44 PM
 
Location: Temporarily, in Limerick
2,898 posts, read 5,629,971 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisC View Post
They certainly got a better workout. Nowadays we pay to work (at a gym). Personally, I'd rather be hanging the clothes than doing whatever it is that my modern life requires me to do in those extra few minutes. Damn, I'd love it if all I had to do was hang clothes! All day long.
Agreed. Firstly, I love doing laundry, but also, the from scratch activities I quoted before. I've had people come to my home & ask why I'd ever bother to sew curtains, when I can buy perfectly acceptable curtains. I've always reminded them how they just raved about how nice the curtains are, they were fun to cut/sew/stencil/decorate & I don't want acceptable curtains, I'd like something I'd enjoy looking at everyday. I also love anything that yields a quality product for far less $$.

Quote:
And really, line drying clothing is really that horrible of a task? Some of my fondest memories from childhood are of helping my mother and grandmother hang clothing on the line on a warm summer day with a nice breeze. But then again, that was before there was such a thing as video games, cell phones, and all those things that are much more important to spend our time on.
I didn't mind those chores as a child either & still don't. I wash about 1/2 my clothing by hand (well, more like soaking in the sink, then hanging up), to preserve fragile materials. My mum still has some of the brown lye soap she used to make... must be 30-yrs old now. There's something meditative about getting into the process of one's work if it's enjoyable, even if the steps are repetitive.
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Old 11-23-2013, 12:36 AM
 
Location: East Germany in America
13,932 posts, read 12,108,240 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PatanjaliTwist View Post
Agreed. Firstly, I love doing laundry, but also, the from scratch activities I quoted before. I've had people come to my home & ask why I'd ever bother to sew curtains, when I can buy perfectly acceptable curtains. I've always reminded them how they just raved about how nice the curtains are, they were fun to cut/sew/stencil/decorate & I don't want acceptable curtains, I'd like something I'd enjoy looking at everyday. I also love anything that yields a quality product for far less $$.



I didn't mind those chores as a child either & still don't. I wash about 1/2 my clothing by hand (well, more like soaking in the sink, then hanging up), to preserve fragile materials. My mum still has some of the brown lye soap she used to make... must be 30-yrs old now. There's something meditative about getting into the process of one's work if it's enjoyable, even if the steps are repetitive.
I think a lot of it, at least for some of us, is that we have certain basic interests (mine is history/historic lifestyles and fashions and techniques, art, writing, music, etc) and an inborn desire to "do things for ourselves"--an intense curiosity, even for the mundane. Like your curtains. I did the same thing when I remodeled a room last year (my "Victorian room"). I'm not a seamstress (or seamster? for men??? ), but my mother taught me the basics of sewing long ago, so I made the curtains myself. I certainly could have gone out and bought them, saving hours and hours of time, but I wanted to do it--to have that experience. I tend to want to do most everything for myself. Of course, there are certain things I can't do, but I have learned to do many, many things because I'm the type that wants the experience of doing those sorts of things--often just little things that most people wouldn't give a hoot about. That attitude is a plus for any historic lifestyle aspirations, because there are very few people around to ask about such matters, and even fewer that have an open mind for such things. It's a matter of reading up, experimenting, and doing. Not a common way of doing things in our society of specialization.
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Old 11-23-2013, 12:59 AM
 
Location: Cushing OK
14,545 posts, read 18,952,923 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisC View Post
Sounds like my father. He grew up without electricity or indoor plumbing until he went in the navy in 1954. Of course, he never went back to living like that. We did live on a farm through part of my growing up years, but we had electricity--we did have a coal stove, though.

My father is 80 years old now. He still talks a lot about growing up the way he did. Most of his memories are fond ones, though. The only negative that I can remember him talking about was the little room he slept in with his brothers (their home was a log cabin--for real!--from the 19th century with a couple of rooms and a kitchen added on) was so cold during the winters that ice and frost would form inside the room. That being his only bad memory is pretty good, really. He hasn't ever complained about using the outhouse in the middle of winter! Most people really complain about having to do that.
When most people talk about going camping, it was Dad who organized things. With me, it was my aunt and mom. My uncle grew up doing migrant farm work, and my dad grew up on a farm. It didn't appeal. My aunt would call up and ask if we wanted to go up north for a few days. I'd have my suitcase packed before Mom said okay. Of course (we camped by the beach) the only thing I wore was the bathing suit, the sweatshirt and jeans and the warm hat. But mom was happy to see a good packing job.

It wasn't primitive, but we had a lot of fun, and divided out between a tent, the station wagon and the pop up at night. Mom and my aunt spent a LOT of time cooking, with a hotplate and bbq, but they liked it too. It was cool to get up and eat and take off your warm clothes so you could hit the beach later.

Of course we didn't do any work, but just being away from the whole normal was liberating. My brief experience with less than the normal was something I really did enjoy too. Too bad some of the people there spoiled it or I would have stayed longer.

I think everyone should try getting out of the comfort zone, no tv, trees and nature, and away from where your used to for a time. It really does make you appreciate things. I think one of the reasons why my current house has been in remodeling mode for several years is I have found the doing is as much a reward as the finishing, so I keep finding new projects to add. And some of its still not started since I haven't quite decided what I want. I love the doing and it gives me satisfaction watching someone else doing it faster never would.
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Old 11-23-2013, 01:17 AM
 
Location: Cushing OK
14,545 posts, read 18,952,923 times
Reputation: 16886
Quote:
Originally Posted by PatanjaliTwist View Post
Agreed. Firstly, I love doing laundry, but also, the from scratch activities I quoted before. I've had people come to my home & ask why I'd ever bother to sew curtains, when I can buy perfectly acceptable curtains. I've always reminded them how they just raved about how nice the curtains are, they were fun to cut/sew/stencil/decorate & I don't want acceptable curtains, I'd like something I'd enjoy looking at everyday. I also love anything that yields a quality product for far less $$.



I didn't mind those chores as a child either & still don't. I wash about 1/2 my clothing by hand (well, more like soaking in the sink, then hanging up), to preserve fragile materials. My mum still has some of the brown lye soap she used to make... must be 30-yrs old now. There's something meditative about getting into the process of one's work if it's enjoyable, even if the steps are repetitive.
I crochet. The dog harness broke, I got some tightly woven string for a dollar and remade the part that broke and sewed it back together. My favorite chair is pretty torn up by my cats. I could buy a new one, but am making a crocheted cover instead. I needed covers for the couch cushions I made and am almost done with the last one, crocheted, and flipable. They get dirty wash and dry and back. I make and fix some of my clothes. I save small bits of stuff I know I can reuse.

I love things like stitching (do that too) and crocheting because of that repetative movement and the enjoyment of seeing something solid and useful come together out of yarn, weaving your own fabric in essense. The problem is getting to where you feel you can stop.

I tried outside drying this summer with the dryer not working right, not heating, but it was too dusty. So I air fluffed them then hung them to finish drying. Next summer I'll do the same.
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Old 11-23-2013, 08:03 AM
Status: "No longer very optimistic." (set 27 days ago)
 
Location: Coastal Georgia
41,261 posts, read 51,079,804 times
Reputation: 71414
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheektowaga_Chester View Post
If your definition of "living well" is a life expectancy of 52 years, chronic alcoholism, malnutrition, death from infection, cholera, high infant mortality, exhaustion, minimal food storage capability, missing teeth at 25, 69 minutes of free time a month, then I completely agree with you.
Not only those serious things, but if you have ever suffered from heartburn, can you imagine how horrible their quality of life would be without Tums? Or imagine life without drugstore reading glasses, let alone prescription glasses, and the seemingly small things we take for granted like disposable diapers and bathtubs with hot water. I sometimes think about all the women who raised children in little freezing cabins in the middle of nowhere, and I wish could miraculously provide them with a hot bubblebath.
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Old 11-23-2013, 08:34 AM
 
4,162 posts, read 4,112,224 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheektowaga_Chester View Post
Again, let's be reasonable. Moving clothes from the washer to the drying takes about one minute.

No dryer?
Take them from the washer and place in a basket
Carry the basket outside
Remove each piece of laundry one at a time and clip it to a line.
After they're dry, remove each piece and place them back in the basket.

If line drying was even close in effort to line drying, 99.999% of Americans wouldn't be using a clothes dryer.
'Carry the basket outside' - Yea The washer ( A wringer model) was in the basement so each basket of clothes had to be carried up the steps and out the back door. Do you know how heavy a basket of wet clothes is? 30-50 pounds depending on the size of the basket and how efficient the wringer was. Then watch the farmer next door come in and harrow the field next to us just after the clothes were hung out. Or if we were lucky only have one item targeted by a bird as it hung there. And in the winter your hands get chapped handling the wet clothes out in the wind. but it was interesting folding frozen towels :-). If it was raining or very cold we hung the clothes in the basement to dry. It took much longer even after I suggested we move a fan down there to move the air around more.

The electric dryer we eventually got was a gift for the entire family
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