Monday, December 13, 2010

Lamplight really is cold outside today! Almost like the "brain-freeze" you get when eating ice cream, the wind hits you in the face when you step out the door no matter how bundled in layers of wool and carhartt's and boots you might be.

I am thankful that we didn't lose power in this storm. I suppose we still could, the wind is gusting. I have water drawn in the house and hot coffee in the thermos and laundry and dishes are all done up. The other thing I have is plenty of oil in the oil lamps and extra candles on hand if we should need them. A few weeks ago we lost power unexpectedly right before dark fell. Luckily I had finished chores and supper, so Bill and I settled in for a time of him reading and me knitting. Reading only requires light from the oil lamp and spinning and knitting don't really require light at all. It was peaceful and refreshing and quiet.

Since then, I have been reminded of how much less we really need to exist than what we have (and those of you who know us, know we live pretty simply!) I have even been enjoying some evenings with oil lamp light just because of the mood it puts me in. I have spent several lovely evenings reading or spinning or knitting or even doing some housework by this light. I was dusting the mantel a few nights ago and the soft light on these old books (some of our favorites) seemed beautiful to me:

(Okay, my family and friends who know me can stop laughing now and pick yourselves up off the floor at the thought of me doing any kind of housework, let alone dusting!)

When the electric bill comes in the mail or the propane truck delivers fuel for the furnace and hot water heater and leaves a bill that takes nearly one-quarter of our current monthly income, I get even more serious about wondering how much more we can live without!!! Now of course, we need heat and water...but what do we need beyond the basics we already have?

I am grateful for all that we have...all of the needs that God supplies. But I have been spending considerable time in thought and prayer about how we could live more frugally and self-sufficiently. Even in our already simple life here at Serenity Farms, we are wasteful. And that could change. It will change, in both big and small ways, over the coming year. Maybe you would like to follow along here at our blog to watch our changes, struggles and joys?

I have been inspired by a new friend and her family for most of this past year. If you have never visited the Maple Valley Farm blog, you really should! You don't have to aspire to be a farmer, or to live more simply, or go off grid as this family has to enjoy their love of God, family and farm. In our time, Bill and I have come across lots of folks striving to change their lives in a similar way. Sadly, sometimes it is as much a marketing plan as it is a life plan. Matt and Angie are not that way at all. They are honest, hard-working, humble, gracious and real in what they are doing! Most likely their successes are due to their love and faith in God and belief in their family. I am so blessed to have been able to spend some time with them and if you are ever able to, please do so. You won't be disappointed I'm sure! Stop by their blog or facebook and say hello. Angie had a funny post about losing power that actually inspired me to write this post.

Jesus said "I am the Light of the world"...John 8:12

Now we aren't planning to go as far off grid as the Maple Valley Farm family has, lol! But I really would like a working windmill (the old fashioned ones, not those airplane propeller looking modern ones!) to supply water. That part is probably a dream, but it does seem like this old farm could supply a lot of wood for a wood burning fireplace, and maybe even make use of the wood cook stove at the Round House? What about utilizing the gravity fed cistern and connected water lines at the barn? Hmmm...lots of ideas! Do you and your family have any ways you are changing or hoping to change to be more self-sufficient? I'd love to hear them!


Joanne said...

Love the thought of peacefully reading and knitting by lamplight. Your pictures are so pretty, that I can just imagine being there. We have talked about going off-grid too. We know a family that heats by woodstove and actually has to OPEN their windows in the winter. Imagine that?(and it was on cold days, 20 degree kind)

Kate said...

One suggestion to help with fuel costs - shut off the hot water heater when you aren't using it. Pick three days a week or certain hours during the day. You will be amazed at the shift in your energy costs. We are almost off grid. We have a wood cookstove and a small woodstove in the living room for the rest of the house. The cook stove heats our hot water. It is doable. Take care!
Kate McAuliffe