Living Like The Long Winter ~ Progression

“That’s so,” said Pa. “These times are too progressive. Everything has changed too fast. Railroads and telegraph and kerosene and coal stoves – they’re good things to have but the trouble is,  folks get to depend on ’em.” The Long Winter p. 193


We look at this paragraph and think, “Railroads and coal stoves? They’d jump out of their skin if they could see where we are today…” And yes, that’s probably true. I’ve heard stories from older folks about how they were actually scared of the telephone when it became a household item.

But then there is the other side of this, the younger generation mostly that would look at this paragraph and think, “Wow, I would have never survived in a world without my ___.”

Which one are you? Do you look at all the gadgets and try and “go back in time” and make due with things that can be done without electricity? Or are you the one that looks at all the new things and how they can improve your life?

I think it’s interesting how these 2 different perspectives can change our lifestyle and how we live. For one, I don’t like being hooked up to community electricity. It’s unreliable and if it fails, I can’t fix it, I’m just stuck. So at our next house, one of my requirements is that we install a wind generator. (If we can.) I’m not giving up on technology all together, just finding an alternative that works for us.

I don’t have too much to say on this topic but I rather open it up to discussion in the comments section.

What do you think of progression? Do you shy away from it or do you jump in with full force?

Make sure you check out the entire Living Like Little House series!

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  1. ….Guess its my age,but I long for the way I grew up! We had 2 bedrooms and a “path! lol! No electricity,and a hand pump on the back porch! My Mom thought it was grand to have a hand pump instead of a well where she had to draw up water in a bucket! Wash days were never ending! A big black cast iron kettle over a fire to boil the clothes in homeade lye soap,scrubbing til her fingers were raw,rinsing in another tub,and wringing them out by hand to hang them on the line.Then ironing……!!!! We had several old flat irons that she heated on the wood cookstove…talk about HOT! We got our ice from an “Iceman” that delivered right to our old Icebox! We were always excited cause it meant our sweet tea would be COLD! One day a month the peddler would stop by in an old school bus….he sold a little bit of everything,but the only thing my Sister and I wanted was the penny candy! lol!We had chickens,so therefore fresh eggs…and chicken on Sunday! (poor Chickens!)We had a huge garden,and Mom canned EVERYTHING.We helped as much as she would let us.I have so many good memories of that time,sitting on the porch with a cold glass of tea,eating corn my Daddy had “parched”.Watching the lightning bugs,and listening to them talk and wish for rain for the garden and crops…..
    I’d go back if I could….*sigh*,but alas..all three of them are gone now,so its up to me to carry on.

    1. Peggy just reading that gave me such a huge smile. I never grew up that way, but I wish that my kids could experience that way of life. I am hoping to preserve some sort of the past in my kids. Canning, playing games (not ones on computers – actually board games!), reading together on the backporch and other simplicities of time past. Thank you for sharing your beautiful memories. It really made my day.

  2. Definitely shy away…. so much I don’t need to have, nor even desire… While I enjoy electricity and hot and cold running water, I could live without them – and have at time…. but gotta say, I would miss communicating on the internet 🙂

  3. I’ll give you a clue as to which way I lean: I am 42 and I have never driven a car. Prior to marrying at the age of 35, I never owned a telephone (except when I was a kid, my parents had one). If it were up to me, I’d have running water, and that’s about it. I don’t like the fact that we are not given a choice with many things these days. There are so many companies who are stealing from their customers because they are the only game in town, and there is nothing that the people can do about it. I’ll give you an example: My MIL died in January, and her house has been empty since then as it stays on the market to be sold. The realtor says that the house needs to have the electricity and water stay on while the house is for sale. Fine. Only isn’t it interesting that every month’s power and water bills are almost identical to the monthly bills before she died ? In other words, they are not even checking the meters, they are just charging what they always charge based on average usage before she died. $58/mo for water for an empty house? $142/mo for an empty house in which the a/c and heater are turned off and no lights are on ? They are stealing, it happens every day to millions of people, and there is nothing that can be done about it.

  4. I agree with you Alicia, Things just are not right in our world and I could live without a-lot of things myself! I would bring it to their attention! At the electric or water works place and just see how they justify what they are doing! It would be a curiousity ! Have a blest day!

  5. If I could turn back time i would…..I live in Ontairo, Canada. The closest I,ve ever come to being totally independ from all utility services was in 1998, when we had an Ice Storm. We were without without water, heat, electricity, transportation and commutcations for a total of 30 days . We were the last on the line to get these services back. I enjoyed evey minute of it. Im not going to sit here and say that it was easy, cause it wasn,t. It became a matter of survival, I had no wood stove for heat,….I used candles and many blankets…etc. I cooked over candles, useing what ever canned goods that i had complied . I had to wrap water pipes with whatever blankets or towels that i wasn,t using, in order for my water pipes to not brake under freezing conditons. I order to use the bathroom … I had to go to the basement which was flooded by water, since my water pump wasn,t working due to electrity, and grab a pail of water , to flush the toilet. In order to drink water , I gathered snow from outside…boiled it over candlelight in order to make hot drinks such as coffee or tea to keep warm.

    Yes it seems like alot of work, but it was things that needed to be done in order to survive. In this time… was the first time that i ever seen my small hamlet of a town come together to help each other out. People shared things, food, shelter, clothing , blankets, candles, heat….etc. They peopled shoveled the snow and ice off of roof,s so that they would prevent the roof,s from fall into the homes. Before this people kept to themselves, and half of them didn,t even know who there neighbours were.

    Once all was done , and back to normal . The community went back to the way it was….the electrity was on….tv,s were on …etc. The silence was gone again. The people gone again. I miss it….very much. Families had no choice but to talk, make there own entertainment, even cook together.

    I guess what scares me the most about this generation…is that…if all services failed….for whatever reason. Would they be able to survive ? I know that i can…but….would they be the ones knocking on my door for heat & food ?

    Most are to busy on the computer, laptop, i-phone….etc. Sure they can always lookup the info on how to do these things, in order to survive, while the commutcations are on. But if it shuts off and stays off for a long time…..can they implement or even remember what they might have seen . I can .

    As for progression….I think we have enough . We already depend on to much…and pay for too much.

  6. I agree with all these posts. I’m only 24 and didn’t grow up like little house but my grandmother has always told me stories. She was a child in the great depression. My daughter and I live as modestly as we can, repairing our own clothes and drying our own meat and reading by oil lamp. I can’t believe how much the utility companies charge for services and you have to choose them because no one else is around. I really worry about people and how they would survive if the whole power grid crashed. It amazes me to see how people act when small things happen like facebook crashing.