Great story by Alabama Author Inez McCollum, about ways we managed in the past without electricity. Share this with your children and grandchildren.
At least two times last spring we were without electricity for several days. There is something about a power outage that brings out the pioneer spirit in us. We enjoy sharing stories with friends about our survival methods. These inconveniences always remind me of visiting my grand parents who had no electricity until I was a preteen.
Water was drawn from a well and brought to the house as needed. Cooking was on a wood stove and the fireplace was a much used spot in the winter.
Firewood of different cuts was needed
Seeing a person standing in front of the fireplace brought out the mischief of pulling that person’s pants legs to set off a yell! The cook stove and fireplace required different cuts of wood. These were prepared in the fall after crops were in.
The wood was stacked in perfect order, a stack of each kind. Grandma could always get a visiting grandchild to bring in the stove wood. The logs for the fireplace were handled by the men.
Paper fan’s on the porch to cool off
If the heat got to you during the hot days of summer, time was spent on the front porch, using elbow power and a paper or hand fan. However, that time wasn’t wasted.
There was usually a basket of some type of bean to be shelled or broken for another day’s meal or to be partially cooked and put into Mason Jars for food during the winter. Those jars of beans would be placed in a water bath for a certain amount of time and then be removed from the water and set aside to cool. As each jar sealed, there would be a loud pop and a smile on Grandma’s face. She would say: “Another good one!”
Oil lamps didn’t give much light
Oil lamps were a necessity, not an item of decor. Those lamps were fired by kerosene, often called coal oil. The lamps didn’t give much light; but some was better than none! Windows were left open to catch any breeze that might be stirring.
Watermelons and Ice Cream for snacks
An afternoon snack in the summer would be homegrown watermelon or homemade ice-cream. The watermelons would be chilling in a tub of water. We would wrap a block of ice with old blankets or towels so that it wouldn’t melt and take it to Grandma’s to be used with the manual ice-cream freezer and to chill the lemonade and tea.
Homemade ice-cream is still a treat; but it is much easier to make using an electric ice-cream freezer. Cold drinks are always available. Windows are seldom left open because of the pollen and/or dust. Having electricity has brought us a long way.
Vinegar of the Four Thieves was a recipe that was known for its antibacterial, antiviral, antiseptic, and antifungal properties for years. It was even used to cure the Bubonic Plague. See Thomas Jefferson’s recipe in VINEGAR OF THE FOUR THIEVES: Recipes & curious tips from the past
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