First, let me whine a bit. I am apparently not as yong as I used to be. I spent yesterday putting up peaches. This involves lifting not just the peaches (40 pounds) but a canner full of water and all of the jars. I also picked beans, cucumbers and broccoli as well as made the beds and toted around my grandson. Today, I am a hurting puppy. Hurting as in I could use some major drugs. The drugs are out of the question. I actually have a some left from some surgery I had earlier this year. I didn’t take them then because I hate the way they make me feel, all spacey and disconnected. If I am still feeling this bad later I may break down but for now I would rather muddle through. I have a couple of big projects I want to tackle and I need my faculties for them.
After some household, mommy type stuff like cleaning out my youngest child’s drawers in anticipation of school beginning soon and getting the canned peaches in the basement (directing my girls on this one I think) I want to work on an idea I have for another cooking option. We use propane for everything. In an emergency, we would want to make the fuel last as long as possible. Heck, even with no emergency, we want to make our propane last and cooking, especially long, slow cooking like stews and soups can use up a lot of fuel. I had read about hay box cookers and was intrigued but, as we get several feet of snow around here, one seemed impracticle for winter use. I had already decided to use Sharon Astyk’s idea for expanded refrigerator space by using a cooler with a big ice block in it. She actually doesn’t have a refrigerator at all. She just runs a freezer for the ice which she would do in any case. Well, I am thinking of adapting a cooler to a hay box oven. I need to find a good metal one, used of course. I am also investing in a cast iron Dutch oven. Lehman’s has one that looks very neat. It has a tunnel up the midddle, rather like a bundt ban, that heats food with the efficiency of a convection oven. The lid is so heavy that it makes the pan perform like a pressure cooker as well. If I get the pan and food really hot on the stove, I could put it in the cooler, surround it with some old quilts and let it be for the day. By supper, the food should be cooked and my energy expenditure much lower than usual.
A lot of brain power is invested in talking about the history of energy use, the multiple theories behind economic systems and what collapse looks like. A lot less energy is spent where it counts, in figuring out how to make do with less. I find that I am annoyed by web sites that I used to read faithfully. They all seem to say the same thing. The markets may go up or they may go down. The crash may be fast or it may be slow. Governments are inherintly evil and people pretty stupid. It may be climate change that kills us or it may be disease. Enough already!
I am more and more drawn to sites that offer me some solutions for living on less and living more lightly. Don’t harp about a looming food crisis. Tell me about your experience growing grain on a small acreage. Don’t tell me that pandemic will spell the end of civilization. Give some information about using elderberry extract to combat the flu. I don’t want to hear about any more about how our wasteful lifestyles have caused our promblems with energy. I want to learn about how I can heat my house and cook my food without using so much fuel.
I sound crabby this morning. Pain will do that. But it has been brewing anyway. I feel like we have whined enough. Most readers of this blog and others like it are already on the right path. I was following a conversation thread on another site and I was so annoyed I just logged off because ther were so many who felt that growing food and doing with less was a waste of time. TEOTWAWKI was coming and there was nothing to be done about it. Nonsense! There is plenty we can do about it. Now that I have stepped off my soap box I will have to take my own advice and do something about my back besides whine. Something like stay off my feet for a few days, stop lifting more than I can comfortable carry and slow down in the garden. Everything does not have to be done today. I can’t do everything I want. Sometimes the answer is no. Advice for me. Advice for the planet.