I've been thinking about electricity lately...or rather the lack of electricity. I've been gathering together winter emergency supplies, like I do every fall. When you life in a rural area, winter storms can do more than prevent you from going anywhere. They can knock out power, which in our case means no pump, thus no water, no toilet flushing and no heat. I've been perusing different emergency preparedness websites in order to double check my preps. So far, so good. Some easily prepared and heated foods that we cook on our camp stove, extra water, and blankets. If there is a power outage that lasts more than a day or so, we are out of our element because we still have no source of secondary heat. It really makes me think about what we would do in a real power grid emergency.
We lived for a year with no electricty, back in the year 2000. We lived in an Amish built house with a handpump, an outhouse, oil lamps, and a pioneer built woodstove. It was hard, it nearly broke us, and I am supremely glad that I did it. It certainly makes me appreciate the ease of turning on lights, or having water poor out of a spout at the twist of a tap, in our currrent home. However, I do fear that in general, society is loosing a skill set that once gone, will be difficult to regain. How many of us out there can start a fire without a match or lighter? Who knows how to fell a tree with an axe? Who knows how to build sturdy and long lasting items using only handtools. How many of us know how to preserve food in a root cellar?
Thankfully, I have a lot of resilient and knowlegable friends who, through our mutual love of history and/or self-sufficiancy, have mastered many of these past skills. I have friends who are weavers, spinsters, rug hookers, basket makers, garderners, brewers, seamstresses (by hand, not sewing machine), blacksmiths, carpenters (using hand tools), etc...