Simplicity by Choice

Off-Grid Living & Self-Reliance

Blessings of the Old Ways December 17, 2012

Filed under: cooking,family,homesteading,off grid,old fashioned,simplicity — ourprairiehome @ 4:31 am
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This past weekend, we had an interesting development on the homestead. The gas stove went out. Now, while this does mean that I am without an oven now, it isn’t all a bad thing. Thanks to our pursuing a simpler lifestyle, this is only a minor hiccup and not a major issue. For quite a while now, my husband and I have sought out alternative ways to accomplish our goals. One example being that we have 3 ways to prepare meals. The idea is to always have a back-up plan in case something happens. The current situation with the stove is a prime example.

If we only had the gas stove as a source for meal preparation, we would be in a bad way right now. It reminds me so much of the stories of what families go through after a storm knocks out power for several days or weeks. So many rely on electric stoves, water heaters, refrigeration, etc. If the power goes out, they are in a rough situation until power is restored.

Before going off-grid, we had an electric stove. It was great until a storm knocked out the power. Unfortunately, in our state, that is a common occurrence between spring thunderstorms and winter ice storms. We always have had the wood burning cookstove as a back-up means to cook however. That got us through many power outages back then.

Another means of cooking is an outdoor fire pit or grill. We don’t have a propane grill, but set up a grill with a wood fire. In summer, we cook over that quite often. We had purchased a patio fire pit for this purpose. The pit is a metal fire pit with a metal mesh screen. We found a replacement round grill that was designed for a large round charcoal grill at a discount store. This fits very well over the fire pit, turning it into a good place to BBQ.

The propane stove in our kitchen is my summer stove. I mainly use it in the warm months, unless I am baking or canning. The oven in our wood stove is smaller than modern ovens and is more tricky to use. I am determined to get it right though. The one problem that I have with the wood stove is that the heat doesn’t stay constant enough for canning. I do all of my canning on the gas stove for this reason.

In having the woodstove and a fire pit available as options, not having use of the gas stove is not a big deal. We always have the wood stove going to heat the front of the house anyways. Cooking on the wood stove is often faster than on the gas stove. It is also my “slow cooker” when needed. I can assemble a stew or homemade soup in the morning and allow it to simmer on the back of the stove all day. I love it.

All in all, this little hiccup of our stove is really not a problem at all. I feel very blessed that my beloved husband was home and able to disconnect the stove so that no propane could leak into the home. I am blessed that we have the alternative means to meal preparation and that I know how to use them. Actually, I enjoy it quite a lot. We will easily be able to manage until we are able to get the stove replaced. Situations like these are ones that we prepared for. I am so grateful that we have set our homestead up in such a way that these little bumps in the road are minimal. It is a relief to know that we are able to weather it without any true disruption to our lifestyle.

 

7 Responses to “Blessings of the Old Ways”

  1. LeslieMaree Says:

    It is a relief. It is a relief that you have alternatives and even more of a relief that you are adept at using them and happy with using them. That really allows you to bend with life and find opportunities in seeming set-backs. I have long wished for a wood burning cookstove for all of the obvious reasons and because I know it will take quite a while to learn how to use one effectively. We cook outside over a fire pit too but not enough, to my mind. Much skill building remains there for us as well. I get restless to get going with these things but it doesn’t work to push the family faster than members can really assimilate the changes. Just switching to washing our laundry by hand changed our family dynamic, work schedule, energy levels and so many things. I want to maintain an atmosphere of harmony and anticipation while building these skills. I am very happy that you are so far ahead in these areas!

    • Thank you! Yes, the family needs to be on board with the changes….to an extent. The only person that you truly need on your side is your spouse. You must be united in the lifestyle changes that take place. Kids can become complacent and lazy when the thought of extra work is involved. If both parents are firm about the changes however, the kids will fall into the routine also. This does not mean to suddenly change everything cold turkey. That would be too hard on everyone – parents especially. Gentle weaning off is best. Start small. Choose a couple of days each week when you will cook outside on the fire pit. Set it as a routine and stick to it. Gradually, you can add another day as everyone settles into the changes. This can be done with everything. I now have a “Pantry Tuesday” each week. On that afternoon, our daughter helps me to assemble things like homemade dry mixes to add to the pantry shelves. We use recycled jars and containers to store the mixes in. It is amazing how fast you can build up a supply of convenience mixes for your pantry in just one afternoon. This is a small change, but it has very long term benefits. It is just one example. Another that I am getting back into is to make time in the evenings to crochet. It is too hot in the summer to crochet blankets and other large items. So, in winter months, I get busy on those. If I stay with it, I am able to crochet a twin bed size blanket in a week or two. I use the larger sized hook and crochet with multiple threads to achieve this.
      The amount of change that you make really depends on your own goals. Set ones for yourself and work towards them. Whenever possible, get the kids involved. Talk to them and let them know your heart in the reasons for the changes. Who knows? If they understand the “why” of it, they may grow to be more cooperative and even embrace the changes themselves.
      Good luck on your journey to simplicity. It is a lot of work, but the benefits are well worth the effort.

      • LeslieMaree Says:

        I agree with everything you are saying. We have been on this journey quite a while ourselves so I know how important your points are! Actually bringing my spouse along nicely is one of my challenges. He believes in all of it and wants it too but gets overwhelmed at all of the changes that go into implementing even one thing. There are always so many contingencies. We have six children so it takes some doing to create a permanent change and build skills for enough of us and so on. I am slowly learning to become more adept at presenting possibilities to him in a way that works for him, though. And he is good at reminding me of all that we have accomplished already. So we balance each other. Good thing, too, because we are together 24/7. I always involve the children in everything. To me these kinds of things are at least as important as academics in our homeschooling. It just isn’t always easy to convince others to work harder, no matter how lofty or practical the reason.

        Amazing you can crochet an entire blanket in just a couple of weeks. I can’t remember – what kind of lighting do you use? Are you so good at crocheting that you don’t need to see it all that well or do you have some great lamps or something? I am focused on cutting back on using electric lights at night here during the winter. (We aren’t off grid yet but we will get there!)

      • I will post about the lighting and crocheting in my next blog post. To answer here will require a longer post that I would feel comfortable putting here. Actually it would be a blog posted in the comments. LOL

  2. LeslieMaree Says:

    Wonderful. Thank you.

  3. Ann from KY Says:

    Did you ever replace your propane stove? I have the same problem here,except I can still use the burners on the top. The oven is broken. I am thinking of replacing the stove with one that will work when the power is off. For example, I learned that Premier gas stoves have a battery operated model that you can light the burners and oven with a match. My current gas stove will not work without electric. The Glow bar takes electric the entire time it is baking!!! I am trying to get away from that. Just wondering if you worked it out there yet since I am researching the same type thing.

    • I haven’t researched it out too much yet. We plan to replace the stove before spring. Having the kitchen wood burning stove, there is no rush. Sorry not to be of more help on that.


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