I got a very nice comment from my post on electric assist from a woman who had learned much from her grandparents’ experience living through the great depression. It brings up such an interesting point about buying new stuff to solve the problems we created by relying so much on new stuff. I make a point of going for the non-electric, non-fussy model of anything I buy whenever I can. There are some notable exceptions. I bought an electric grain mill because I found the hand crank model so difficult to use that I didn’t grind as much as I should. The problem is that the thing sound like a jet taking off in the kitchen. In retrospect, I would have spent much less money and had what I wanted if I had gotten the slightly more expensive hand-mill that’s a lot easier to use and convertible to a bike assist quite easily. Penny wise as they say. Some time ago I bought an electric juicer. It is a very cool juicer and make fabulous apple/juice without precooking the fruits and vegetables. It too sounds that jet in my kitchen and I rarely use it. What I use far more is the cider press for hard fruit and my Squeezo for soft fruit, Neither takes electricity. Both are fairly easy to clean, multi purpose and made in the USA.
For a while now, I have been thinking about getting a Vitamix. Bad idea!!!! It is amazing how easy it is to get carried away by the glitz of advertising, even when you know better. I have a blender. The Vitamix is a better blender but how much better? $300.00 better? Of course not. Even the good blender I have is limited in its usefulness. It makes a good smoothie and crushes ice. Could I live without smoothies and crushed ice? I’ve crushed ice with a hammer and a stone counter. The blenderI use most is a none-electric model. It works well for most small jobs and costs less than $40.00 several years ago.
As most of you have probably figured out, I am not optimistic about our ability to continue on the path we are currently skipping down without running into big trouble with the three E’s, energy, economy, and environment becoming huge problems, dwarfing what we are dealing with today. I am not sure that any of the small steps we take as individuals have the potential to change much. What they do have the power to change is us, our way of looking at the world and approaching challenges. I need to carry stuff. Do I buy a designer bag, a store issued reusable bag or make one out of fabric that was destined for the landfill? The anser may determine the next question. What am I putting in the bag? Something I need or something I want? Something that supports my local economy or something that exploits people I never have to look at? Something that respects the planet or something that depletes that which can’t be regenerated.
These are difficult questions although they seem easy on the surface. The right answer is usually the more expensive answer and money is tight for a lot of us. The right answer is sometimes a lot more work and lot less convenient and time is also tight. The right answer is sometimes the wrong answer when you dig a bit deeper.
I have a bunch of books written about life in the depression and many about families that homesteaded in the 1800′s. I love these books. They give me a model for solving problems with ingenuity and intelligence rather than money and technology. Way back when may be what’s circling around us. It behooves us to pay attention.