Sunday, December 18, 2016

Living Without (a few) Modern Conveniences



Image result for 1960 microwave photos

Three years ago, on the old farm,  we dumped the microwave. I needed counter space. 


We also had been reading about ill health effects from using one, and as I was cooking more from scratch and using less packaged foods, we noticed our microwave heated and re-heated meals were tasting rubbery and cardboard-like. Our taste buds were waking up.

We missed the microwave for about a week, then the pain was over. Now, in the summer, we heat up food on our small propane powered stove ( we keep a 100 pound tank just for the cook stove)  but in the winter, we often use the barrel top of our rocket mass stove.

When the RMS is running full bore, about an hour into a two hour burn, we can fry eggs easily, re-heat anything, keep our mugs of tea or coffee hot and steamy. It is reassuring to know that if we lost electricity, or our ability to purchase the tiny amount of propane we use for the cook stove, we have the ability to heat our home and cook food on the RMS. We have oil lanterns for light. When the RMS is cooling off, it's the perfect temp for defrosting frozen meat, or raising bread.



Of course, this all takes timing and planning. Thus the reason one would never call the RMS a "convenience appliance".

One and a half years ago, we gave up our electric clothes dryer, leaving two of them on the old farm, but never installing one here. In the milder months- March through November- clothing goes outside on the line. Now, moving into winter,  Dec-Feb., I will mostly turn again to our rocket mass stove. I learned the hard way last year, that lying clothes directly on the stove when it is hot, is a great way to fry your socks into oblivion.



This year I hang clothes just behind the RMS on a metal rack and spread them out on a grill basket (a gift from my sister Mary) or a wire freezer basket on top of the RMS. I still need to flip the clothes on the basket once in a while for even drying but I'm usually in the kitchen cooking, cleaning, or soap making, so it's no trouble.



The additional bonus, our clothes come out fairly wrinkle free, which is nice for the occasional family event. Our critters have never cared about the wrinkle status of our clothing, or if they did, they've been gracious enough not to mention it.

18 comments:

  1. I've been "dryer-less" for two years as well. I don't miss it, but hubby complains constantly about the scratchy towels. I do miss the softness, but wow-it sure sucked the propane.
    And I would love to ditch the microwave. Again....hubby. Sigh

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    1. I rinse all my clothes with a cup of white vinegar. Really does soften my clothes. And tell hubby the microwave is sucking out all his testosterone, see if that helps

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    2. I second the white vinegar. Only I just replace the fabric softener with it. So my amount is minimal compared to Donna. We have propane dryer with electric start. I so dislike anything with electric starts. I have found that if it is 50+ out with a slight breeze and some sun I can still hang on line and by days end it is dry. On continuous cold wet days I do a small load and hang in the dining area close to the fire. Homesteading is great makes you think and figuring out ways to get her done with a twist become a game.

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  2. I was raised with clothes hanging on the clothes line, and when brought indoors to finish drying they were placed on the wooden clothes maiden. They sell them at different stores, and I use mine quite often.
    ~Jo

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    1. Hey you, woman with the fabulous blog pictures! Thanks for dropping in. Love the name "wooden clothes maiden". Have to use it in a story somehow, somewhere.

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  3. I do have a small dryer - runs on 110 FOREVER so I don't use it other than to tumble the permanent press stuff for 5 minutes for wrinkles. Mostly I use the folding rack that dries outside on the covered patio - even in the snow. My mom used her clothesline even when a dryer was installed because she said the clothes smelled so much better!! And line dried clothes that get a little rain are softer too. I'd like the old wooden rack my granny had that dried clothes above the woodstove that was on a pulley system so it could be pulled up to ceiling height when not in use.
    And Sue, tell your hubby that rough towels absorb better than soft, smooth ones do.

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    1. Sues poor hubby is really getting it, isn't he?
      As far as pulley system goes, we are considering it.But may not be needed as we are just two of us and we have no real close friends, so we don't change clothes that often.

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    2. Funny you should say that - I have 'at home' clothes & 'going out' clothes since I retired. My laundry seems to be all socks, undies & towels these days.

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  4. When no-one's looking we dry clothes on a line in front of our sitting room wood-burner. It looks dreadful, but does the job.

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    1. Once we moved into a round metal home that used to store grain, we grew used to the idea of being seen as dreadful. At least it keeps the drop by visitors on the down low. No one wants to have tea with underwear floating in their face. Wussies.

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  5. We don't have a microwave, clothes drier or vacuum cleaner either. We get by and as you say the creatures don't care what we look/smell like. In this case Less is definitely more.

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    1. Good for you! But one appliance I will never pitch...my 20 year old Kitchen Aid Mixer. It weighs a ton but it is a real work horse.

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  6. I have two drying racks (clothes maidens) that I use to dry my own clothes. Clothes that are dried in the dryer tend to look ratty a lot quicker than line dried. I hang laundry on my very long clothes line in the summer but I am not fond of frozen fingers so I don't do it when it's cold or full-on winter. -Jenn (Although I do remember my Mom bringing in pants that were frozen stiff on the line and propping them up against the wall to thaw out.)

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    1. This weekend our temp will go up to 40! I plan to hang out every piece of clothing I own. And I love the image of frozen pants up against the wall.

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  7. Excellent post! My old dryer (about 30 years old) is still used as a back up, but when it goes we won't be able to replace it. I like your drying rack and have a little one, but may try to figure out something to accommodate more clothes.

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    1. My rack holds one large load of laundry, the problem is when I get behind and have to hang clothes in more creative spots, like over the shower rod, on the back of chairs, over the dogs shoulders (they're warm you know).

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  8. leigh and donna,
    go to 'rural revolution', patrice lewis' web log, and look at the drying rack her husband made. it hangs from the ceiling and i think it can be pulled up or dropped down if i remember correctly.
    really neat.

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