Monday, April 28, 2008

How it work(s)(ed)...

I decided to take pictures of how things have been working at my house-- you know the basic stuff that you do everyday. Things are changing a little bit around here and I'll get to that part of the story but I figured I better capture this stuff for the sake of history... for my kid (s) so he/she/ they can know how things were done before they came along...

First its important to know that I use a lot of bleach water...for sanitizing countertops, dishes, cutting boards, toliet seats...
This is where I cook-- I have a gas stove which is my preference for cooking anyway-- I am used to always having four burners, which come in really handy for my creative cooking style...but I have learned to do pretty well with the two burners. Also notice my handy cutting board to the left of the stove, and some of my cooking spices. The best thing is my view-- I have a GREAT view from my kitchen window. This is where I keep my pots and pans and dishes
This is my sink-- and my version of "running" water which comes out of the little spigot at the bottomof the cooler-- and my medicine/bathroom cabinet
This is how my sink drains (and where I keep my extra bleach)
This is how dishes are done...note the hose nozel. I spray everything down (usually the water that has been sitting in the hose is pretty warm for the first go around), then I add a soap droplet to each item and lather them up and scrub, then I rinse, then towel dry. This is usually not too big of a deal-- except when bugs are out, and when the hose gets a mind of its own and soaks me-- I have taken to doing dishes with no clothes on and my crocks so that it doesn't matter how wet I get...and sometimes I throw in a shower at the end...
This is where I pee. Pee only. No tissue or ANYTHING else can go in here EXCEPT bleach. I use it a lot in the nighttime. I was going outside but since I now pee A LOT more than i used to, and I tripped a couple times trying to go outside in the dark half-asleep, I brought this trusty little toilet into the house. I empty it about twice a week and sanitize accordingly. This is self explanatory I hope. When you gotta go number 2...Take the lid off, and sit on the seat. Its Murv's job to take care of this one. I refuse. He buries it...

There is one nice thing about this little jewel... I do enjoy coming out in the late evening and looking at the moon, the stars and the fireflies, and listening to the birds and watching the sunrise early in the morning. I am not going to lie- I hate the bucket, but if you have to go... it is a pretty peaceful bathroom, and one you don't experience when you an indoor flushing toilet.

So anyway, I said I would get to the part about how things are changing:
I got the electricity hooked up to the pole on our property last week. Murv was pretty upset because he had visions of us doing everything totally off the grid-- and I was really down for the idea too-- until I was almost 8 months pregnant and not close to getting the solar power hooked up, and still without a complete kitchen and bathroom...

I have to say I am having mixed emotions-- I feel happy and sad about the electricity. Have you ever seen that little movie "The God's must be Crazy?"

Here is the jist of the movie:
A Sho in the Kalahari desert encounters technology for the first time--in the shape of a Coke bottle. He takes it back to his people, and they use it for many tasks. The people start to fight over it. Misery is brought to a small group of Sho in the Kalahari desert in the form of the cola bottle. In his quest to throw the evil object over the edge of the earth, Xixo encounters Western "civilization."
It also reminds me of this great little book by Claudia Davila-- an amazing woman that lives in Canada. It's called SpOILed http://franpages.blogspot.com/2007/07/spoiled-book-launch-at-toronto-comics.html.
SPOILED, a print comic about a boy, his mother and his grandfather as his connection to Nature gets sidetracked when he discovers, and then loses, petroleum. An allegory about humankind and our inherent connection to the natural world, even in this brief era of fossil fuels.
Granted, I know, not everyone sees the problems I see with the way we live today, but I know many people are aware and trying to find ways in thier own lives to DO SOMETHING about it. To radically extract yourself from civilization as we know it, yet still have to live and function within that society, is no small task--. I struggle with it everyday. It's tough. I mean try washing clothes by hand in a day and age where fabric is so weak and flimsy it can withstand about two rubs on a rock... you know what I mean?
Or cooking a meal on a fire every single night. It's just not realistic-- unless you don't need to make a living also. Or living outdoors when there are torrential rains for six months straight.
When we first started this adventure, we really felt this strong desire to "regress" you know-- get back to our pioneer roots. Live off the land. Simplify. Make less carbon footprint. Be more self sustainable and not so dependant, and not so into instant gratification and the "I need, I want" syndrome...
But even in its unfinished state and with just bare bones basics-- I am still using orange plastic home depot buckets and propane and a hose, and driving a vehicle that cost $4.15 PER GALLON to fuel it, and typing this blog entry on an electricity powered computer at the library with the web right at my fingertips and access to ANY information I could possibly ever imagine wanting to know about!?! And still wishing I had a way to keep my food cold and wanting things I don't have that "everybody else" has....(at least most of us here in western civilization).
I have just come to accept that I don't know how to regress to that extreme in this world as it is today. So, I am trying to find some kind of balance. I haven't found the right word yet, or actually achieved the balance I am looking for. But I am trying to somehow stay connected to the natural world and the quiet and peace and serenity of a space that doesnt have man made power buzzing through it, and live sustainabley, but still take advantage of and utilize some of the technology we do have available to us today-- that can make life "easier" in some senses (and so much more complicated in others)...anyway this is my current dillema...
any thoughts?

6 comments:

Mike D. said...

glad you're fighting the good fight becca. i too think about the issues you mentioned all of the time (i consume too much, can we as a species learn to live sustainably, are we having too many babies, and so on ad naseum). i try to do a lot of things to lessen my impact, but not nearly to the degree you are, so i admire that.

i often dream about moving off of the grid, but right now i'm kind of stuck in the rat race.

an outdoor toilet would be awesome, as long as the weather is nice. but sitting on that exposed bucket late at night during a rainstorm or just really cold weather would suck. are you ultimately going to get an indoor toilet and septic tank, or build a composting toilet, or just go w/ the bucket long term?

2 little girls said...

I'm too tired for deep thoughts at the moment, but I sure enjoyed seeing your space and hearing about you washing dishes nude. With Crocks on. Cause that pretty much made my whole day.

Balance/happy medium is the key. Not that I know anything.

Love your guts.
H

SharonB said...

Reb, I really enjoyed your post. I too feel the need to find balance in life, in many different areas including my desire to leave a smaller footprint on the earth. When I get down feeling I'm not doing enough I remember that small things make a difference and just caring is something. I'm glad you have power but I understand the sadness. I miss you!
Shar

Marci said...

Hey Ebeccra!! I love your blog...glad you're back to posting more (not that I'm a great example though). I'm soooo glad to hear about your power coming. I've been worried about the baby coming and am relieved now. I can understand your mixed emotions but having a baby with no power would be really hard. Running water would help a lot too but baby steps :) Miss ya! Marci

Lindsay & Casey said...

I loved the tour of your life! I especially love your kitchen view. I can't wait to come see you.
As far as the balance...I think that it's important to be grateful for technological advancements...Heavenly Father gave us minds to think and improve and we can see a lot of that around us. Having said that...He also wants us to be grateful for our beautiful Mother Earth and just do the best we can to take care of it and more importantly really ENJOY it. Awareness and thoughtfulness are huge and then every lit bit after that is super. (speaking as a lover of flushing toilets and hot showers...what do I know:))

Lindsay & Casey said...

I have been thinking about your power sadness and I think you can find comfort in knowing that you can still live your dream...it just takes time to lay a good foundation and get ready to do all of your dreams. So when you feel sad....just remember all things will come in time....timing is all too important in this game of life.