Water Buckets and Jamie Lannister
What else isn't here? Well, there is no microwave, auto-drip coffee maker, television, air conditioner, washer, dryer, dishwasher, food processor, kitchenaid, or other assorted kitchen and domestic detritus. Instead there are bowls, spoons, knives, and time. I have an oil furnace but it doesn't heat the house, and keeps just enough fuel in it for hot water. I use woodstoves for heat instead. There is no tractor, skidsteer, bucket loader, roto tiller, or riding lawn mower. There isn't even an outdoor pump, hose, or light in the barn. Things here are pretty darn basic. If you want to take water to a goat you carry it in a bucket. If you want a garden bed, grab a shovel. If you want to see the goats at night, grab a lantern.
That said, This is not because I'm against gadgets or conveiences. My days of stomping around waving my Simple Living Flag are over. After meeting hundreds of people, families, and reading shared stories of homesteads across the world I am starting to see the western world's relationship with technology a very personal thing. It's a choice, and whatever mixture fits your life, fits your life. And yet I still see anti-tv posts on farming websites and celebratory posts about giving up ther internet at home. I agree television has a lot of garbage on it, but it also has a lot of art. A lot of literature, history, science, and other great things for education and personal betterment. And the idea of giving up the internet in my dishwasher-free home makes me physically cringe. This would be a very, very, lonely place without you guys to write to every day.
I have found my own comfort level with technology. I am writing you on my computer (which I adore) and have a smart phone in my pocket. I listen to podcasts, post on reddit, and love that I can click a button to download a new audiobook in seconds. This is a contrary combination of the old and new, I know. To some is seen as utter hypocrisy, but I think it's neat. I like carrying water buckets while listening to The Name of the Wind in my earbuds. I like ordering horse harness parts online. I feel grateful to be in a time and place where a woman can live alone, choose her own level of domesticity, labor, and not be burned at the stake for it. Cool, huh?
The things I go without are because it fits my lifestyle, and because it compliments my very specific circumstances at this particular point in my life. I don't think any less of any one for having a TV, a washing machine, or a kitchenaid. I watch TV shows I love on Hulu, use a laundromat once a month, and mix dough by hand most of the time. Remember I am one single person without children or a spouse 0 that gives you A LOT of leeway in the choices of domestic adaptations. I'm also 31, and able to carry buckets of water, throw a pitchfork over my shoulder, buck hay, and swing an axe. What seems as borderline Amish is really just volunatary simplicity in the areas I feel suits me. I know plenty of people who would NEVER give up a washing machine for their family of five but don't have any desire for HBO. (While this girl without a hose can not wait for more Jamie Lannister in her life).
Every one of us has our own preferences, limitations, financial and time constraints. My house is the way it is not because I think this is a superiour way to live, but because I like it. I like hard work, and things taking longer. I like being forced to use my body as much as possible. I doubt I'll feel this way in another twenty years. I also doubt I'd feel this way with a cast on. But right now this kind of life, with harness and shovels, buckets and HBOgo is okay by me. I like my coffee from the percolator on the Hob and I like my audiobooks during barn mucking. I like that a Game Night is just cardboard, beer, and friends around a table but I also never miss an episode of Community. I'm totally okay with this contrarian homestead. It's who I am right now. A gal with one foot in the past and the other in the future. I'm a lucky gal.
So what about you? Do you think a simple life needs less technology, or the ability to pick and choose? Could you live without a dishwasher or would it cause enough fighting to need a marriage counselor? What is your comfort-level with gadgets?