I have always been a very good speller. I have been a bookworm since I learned to read right after my fourth birthday and as a result, the way letters arranged themselves into words held no mystery for me. Lately though, I have noticed an interesting phenomenon. The number of words I find misspelled when I hit the spell check is rising. There are days when one would think a blind monkey had typed this post. But no worry; a right click, a left click, an enter and all is well.

I fear that this is true for way too many thing in my life. The easy way is so easy, so available, that I risk losing the ability to do it old way. And as the new way is technology dependent, it is by its nature, undependable.

When you are thinking of your own independence days and following Sharon’s strategy of plant something, harvest something, eat something, save money, support community food systems, think about that spell check and do something the old-fashioned way. Balance your check book, write a real letter, bake a loaf of bread, sew on a button.

As I write this, it occurs to me that a lot of things can’t be done the old fashioned way because we have lost the ability. How many of us a know a place with a manual gas pump or a non-electric cash register? This brings me to my next point. While you prep, add one more thing (that’s what you need-another thing!) the list. Buy the antique. Not the pricey, isn’t it cute type of antique that will sit on a shelf and collect dust, but the usable antique that may be just what you need when the lights go out. Lehman’s has a great selection of non-electric equipment but the prices can be very high. Right now, I am keeping my eyes peeled for a working treadle sewing machine. I have passed up several for under fifty dollars and now it regret it. Ah well, live and learn.

Today is my daughter’s birthday. She is 16. I remember the day I picked her up from the courthouse. She was not the prettiest baby I ever saw. She was sick and a bit odd looking and she cried non-stop for months. I had cared for many other babies over the course of several years as a foster parent. Pretty babies, sweet babies, babies who stayed for days and babies who stayed for months. I cared about all of them and sent them on their way when my job was done, often with tears but never with regret. So how did I know from the minute I held her in my arms that somehow, Karen was different. Karen was mine.

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