What We Miss, What We Don’t

We are about a year and a half into our limited electricity, sustainability, country-fied life transformation….wow time flies! And it definitely gives some perspective. I thought it would be fun to take a look back and the things we have chosen (or been forced haha) to “do without” to see what’s been a “big deal” and what’s been almost no-deal at all. I think the list might surprise you. At least it surprises ME, because if you asked me several years ago as a new mom what typical American things I could do without, I never would have imagined what things actually make the biggest impact on daily life.

FIVE Things We Don’t Miss
1. My Microwave. Seriously. When we realized that there were no plugs in the kitchen, getting rid of the microwave became a no-brainer. And honestly, I never think about how we don’t have one. I never would have imagined this, since when we lived in town I used it multiple times every day. Now we just heat up leftovers on the stove (really doesn’t take that much longer), defrost meat in a bowl of warm water, and make popcorn the old-fashioned way.
2. Little Kitchen Appliances. We don’t have the clutter of all those typical little trinkets. No toaster. With five toast eaters, honestly, it’s faster just to make the half loaf breakfast takes all at once in the oven anyway. No coffeemaker. The percolator takes a bit longer, but I think the coffee is much smoother! Don’t miss our Keurig, George Foreman grill, etc. On and on. The only small appliances I refused to give up were my kitchen aid mixer, crock pot, and a waffle maker. Because…mmmmm….waffles.
3. Traditional Cell Phones. To get out of debt, we cut every conceivable expense, including our cellphone bills. We traded in the traditional cell phone for a free Google Voice number (more here: https://wp.me/p8t3Rv-pm). There have been a few times it’s been inconvenient, especially when you get lost while driving at don’t have GPS! But, in the big picture we LOVE not having that bill while still having the ability to text and call on demand.
4. Utility Bill. It is super awesome having just one utility bill (electric) that is small and consistent year round. When we lived in town, winter and summer were always hard to budget for because the bills would sky rocket when the HVAC system started competing with the outdoor temperatures. Not to mention all the stupid little ‘base’ fees you had to pay to be on city sewer or water or or or.
5. Nosy Neighbors and City Restrictions. Out here we can do whatever we want pretty much. Want to build a shed? Build it! No inspections or permits required. Working on a car and have to put it on blocks in your driveway for awhile? No one cares!

Five Things We Do Miss
1. Instant Heat. When you have to leave the homestead in the dead of winter and be gone all day, it’s pretty darn cold when you get home! Wood stoves need tending. While a better stove (which we have plans for in the future) would help extend the longevity of our heat, at the end of the day wood stoves need people home to feed them. Which means being gone all day in the winter equals a chilly first hour back home!
2. Showers. This is the hardest one for me. I LOVED my steamy hot shower. I do not particularly like baths. Especially baths in an old cast iron tub that instantly cools off even the hottest water. Our original plan had been to just refinish the current tub and not have a shower. But I just miss being able to take a shower too much. So plans are under way to get rid of the old tub and put in an off-grid, inexpensive shower system.

The ladies test out our new, soon-to-be tub/shower basin.

3. Easy Snacks. This is one that we “give up” on time to time when we get busy. We try really hard to watch how much trash we produced, which means not buying things wrapped in plastic. Which is like every kids snack made ever. But, man. Sometimes a baby food pouch or a box of fruit snacks is the best peace keeper when you are busy!
4. Instant Pregnancy Craving Relief – Much better for my HEALTH that we are a 40 minute round trip from the nearest fast food joint. But, sometimes the baby just really really wants French fries. Out here there’s just not much you can do about it!
5. Soft Water. Our well water is SO hard it makes it hard to get clean! It’s like it just runs over you when you try to rinse off in the tub and doesn’t clean a thing. We’ve tried multiple different shampoos and soaps with out much luck. We did buy a softening shower head for our bathroom remodel, so fingers crossed that it helps. Because right now the best solution has been to warm up water from our Berkey Filter to use when rinsing out hair!

Have you made the change to a more sustainable life? What do you miss the most?