Thursday, April 29, 2010

Belated Earth Day Post

Earth a child I loved and celebrated this day. We went to a fair called the Arbor Days and planted trees and learned about pollution. All the normal Earth Day stuff.

Since then, I'll grudgingly admit that I've slacked off on most (Oh God, if Maxine is reading this...sorry!) I love my car. Love it. It's not an SUV, but it is a 6 cylinder engine. I do not walk anywhere, really. I love my stove and baking, my washer AND my dryer and plastic bags are totally overflowing my home for use as about anything. But sometimes, they just end up ..... in the trash.(GASP!) I like preservatives. Yup, I do. All natural most anything tastes like crap. Which usually means it's good for you. I'm a rebel. A rebel without a cause.

Well, my family and I supported Earth Day this year. Wanna know what we did? We lived without electricity. None. Zip. Zero. From April 15 to April 26th no power coursed through the wires in this home. We used candles, flashlights and oil lanterns to see. Our propane cookstove came in handy. But let me tell you something. Until you absolutely can NOT use electricity, we forget all the things we used to do with it.

Baths: Must boil water and mix with cool water in a large tub to fill to enough capacity to wash each child (3) and then each adult (3). This takes all evening. Alllllll evening.

Dishes: Should be done all at once so you only have to boil water for dishes once. This is crucial. Otherwise you will spend your entire day doing dishes. Seriously.

Laundry: Okay, we cheated and went to a laundromat. However, I remember a time that I had no washer and dryer and no quarters (several years ago) and I did laundry in the bathtub and hung it out to dry over my back porch railing. I don't think this would have been possible with 6 people in a household. Well, I would never sleep.

Food: Must be non-perishable or can last in a cooler. It must be easily prepared. The propane cook stove takes a while to heat things, and it doesn't always cook as evenly as an electric range. Trust me on this, okay. Leftovers are more difficult to store and heat without a microwave.

Cleaning: Everything must be done during daylight. Early to rise, early to bed. Only-I never made it early to bed. The carpet and kitchen floor must be swept. With a broom. No electricity.

Climate Control: This is tricky. You have to shut the blinds down at the right time of day to preserve coolness during the heat and yet, leave them open at the right times to gather a little coolness and possibly even a little heat when it gets TOO cold at night. Then you break down and buy a propane tank and attach a heater head to the top of it. This knocks the chill off your room in about 20 minutes and it stays good and hot inside for a few hours. Much cheaper than central heat and air. MUCH.

Entertainment: A lot of outside play. Kickball, soccer, bikes, scooters, races, mother may I, Simon Says and yardwork. The kids might have grumbled because of no tv and no way to charge the Nintendo DS, but they had so much fun outside, 'roughing it', that you'd never remember their gripes. Love that part. Reading, writing and long conversations made a come back. (Actually-I did not write. My wrists were hurting. Stress related, probably.)

So, this was a huge learning experience for our family. Not to mention the frightening visit from DCS. (Which went fine. They found us to be resourceful and our children safe and healthy) It brought us together in a way that we haven't experienced in a long time. It made us strong. ALL of us. Not just me and CJ, but the Royals too.  We ran across some incredible and very giving organizations that helped us with food and the electric bill. In fact, without a certain church and other organization, I would not have power on right now. We learned that those people still exist. Thank God. We learned that even without them, we can do it, but it's those people that gave us hope. Light at the end of the tunnel. Love and warmth when we were worried there was none.

It was about more than Earth Day. It felt great and we plan on voluntarily turning off our electricity for a few days out of each month. I suggest you give it a try. Even if just for one full 24 hours. Turn the breakers off and camp in your home. Save the planet....and possibly a lot more. :0)


  1. I love earth day and it looks like you love it as much as I do! The other day my co-workers and I were talking about it... Correction, I was talking about, they had no idea what I was talking about!

    I used to plant a tree every year in school and then we would also pick up trash around the area, it was rewarding. I try and stick to that lifestyle today where I regularly pick up trash, the tree thing doesn't happen, but I still give my part to society, and hopefully I made my co-workers re-think the day!

  2. Ah, life without power. Reminds me of my youth. I know when I was a baby and toddler we lived way out in the boonies with no windows and a wood stove to heat and cook. As a kid we lived in the Santa Cruz mountains and it was very typical to have a storm knockout the power for several days to a week. They still have lots of power outages during the winter, but get them turned back on much faster now that the silicon valley richies have made that area a bedroom community.

  3. It is amazing how much we take electricity and other conveniences for granted.
    Have a great weekend,

  4. Once last hurricane season we lost power for three hours. It was l-o-n-g, but we ended up having a blast playing board games and eating by candlelight. You're right, we should power down voluntarily from time to time, to really appreciate what we often take for granted, and to reconnect with our family members sans TV and Wii.

    Great post! Happy Belated Earth Day!

  5. Wow... we've lost power for a while (several days) and I can't imagine. It does make you realize how much of your life depends on electricity. Have a good weekend.


Your spotlight on R.A.W. :0) I strive to respond if you have your email address attached!