When Laura woke in the mornings, she heard the terrifying noise of the storm, and every nail in the planks above her head was thick with frost. There were no trains. Soon there was no oil for the lamps, no fuel for the stove. Laura’s family lived on coarse brown bread, made from corn ground in the little coffee mill. They burnt hay; and Ma made a button lamp that gave a tiny light. ~ The Long Winter, Laura Ingalls Wilder ~

I did not ask if you could live without indoor lighting. Most places have windows and you can go to bed when it gets dark. In the long run, really living off the “fat of the land” (Hah!) of today’s stressed ecosystems may mean the lighting source is rare beeswax candles where olive oil is not handy. What’s that, you say, “Oh, how unlikely!? Petrocollapse ~ Jan Lunberg ~

Continuing in our pursuit to use less electric lights, we have come to realize that lights are indeed a luxury item (one of many that we still have on the homestead). If you didn’t have oil or beeswax which were high cost item in the old days, then you rationed your lighting.   We recently purchased a couple dozen sheets of natural beeswax, along with 10 lbs of soy wax to make candles. In addition, knowing that biodiesel is a limited resource, we went looking for older lighting technology and found some clay “lamps” that burn olive oil.

What’s the reason to stay up late once the sun goes down anyhow? If you are up before dawn  (4 or 5 am), after a hard day of physical work on the homestead or farm, come 7-8 pm you are about ready to hit the sack (believe me!). Our modern lifestyle will have to dramatically change voluntarily or other forces will do it for us.

Any transition serious enough to alter your definition of self will require not just small adjustments in your way of living and thinking but a full-on metamorphosis. ~ Martha Beck ~

We (PTF) realize that we are going to have to take steps to prepare us for the future so we won’t be so paralyzed with fear and the future unknown.. Instead of turning on a switch for music, we are going to have to make our own. Instead of watching TV or movie, we’ll have to read out loud.   These skills have been lost or buried since it’s more convenient to let others entertain us.

Instead of eating food from all parts of the world, our gourmet will be more specialized to the locale (even Fair Trade coffee, chocolate or tea will not be sustainable since they are still brought in from thousands of miles away). Lucky for us, we never drink coffee so there won’t be this caffeine addiction to break. Instead, we would have to grow chicory or herbs for such a stimulant.   As for chocolate (our weakness from our Belgian genes), we may have to do without or use carob instead.  All these things and more are going to have to be changed. Scary, isn’t it?

These (and more) are the steps we are going to have to take in our journey. The homestead is not only a way of life, it’s a basic training ground and model for survival.

Thank You…

to Shannon ( a local homeschooling mom and urban homesteader ) who generously donated a new incubator after she read one of our posts about our wanting to hatch our own chickens this year.   We love to barter/trade so in exchange we gave her produce goodies from our yard and a few packets of seeds from Seeds of Change (hope you can use them?). We are excited over the trade and can’t wait to start this new project. Again, thank you and all the best with the new little one on the way!

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  1. gerry medland says:

    Hi Folks,
    Living ‘the real life’comes with a responsibility,not only to ourselves but to the planet itself.I have found that since joining the path and practicing its daily virtues,an inner peace that promotes a clock within,real time blasts away illusion and as so amply described in this latest post,we must alter our thinking and actions and responses if ‘we are to survive’thank you for the timely insight