Self-reliance and sustainability in the 21st century.
This time of year in the mountains on our homestead there is very little going on. Snowfall is sporadic and the days are warm and what snow has fallen is slowly melting away. Any projects inside the house have already been done and those outside that need to be done are not yet accessible due to the still sloppy conditions.
In a few weeks we will need to be outside doing those chores when weather conditions are more favorable. In the mountains we receive snow until the middle of May so we may still get additional snow. It is this time of year we sometimes get dumped upon with large quantities of wet snow. Starting an outdoor project and then having it covered in deep snow is an aggravation. Hence it is better to just wait a little longer and enjoy our time sitting on the deck in the sunshine thinking and reflecting.
One of the things I think about is about how things used to be compared to present developments. When I was small we used to sit around in the evening and listen to the old Philco radio. I could listen to the Lone Ranger saga and then we would listen to talent shows. It wasn’t until a few years later that I even knew what television was. Now we can see talent shows and they are even on our cell phones or tablets. While we are told we must look forward and not back I find that by looking back I can more appreciate what we have today. Not only our modern technological progress but things have changed in many areas. Our automobiles are safer and much more efficient. Our homes are insulated and more comfortable. There are even differences in having a back yard garden.
We now have modern sprays that kill weeds and fertilizers that make growth faster and larger. Pesticides that kill harmful bugs. Back when I grew my first garden you would get on your hands and knees and pull weeds and use a couple blocks of wood to kill insects who would compete for the produce. Much harder than attaching a sprayer to a garden hose but not nearly as harmful either.
Some advances are truly great like the safer and more fuel efficient vehicles. Electronic advances keep us in touch with people constantly and instantly where we used to have to write letters, actually go visit or wait until you could see that person. If you needed information you went to the library and researched it. Now you type it in your search engine and have pages of information on the topic at your disposal. Actually after you start the initial search word you are given several optional headings to go to so you never have to even type the entire subject. Even sports, we kids back then could quote batting averages of our favorite players, who won yesterday, and compare players. Sitting under an oak tree arguing over whose favorite player was the best just isn’t the same. Mostly that is done now on social media.
Even the clothes and shoes we wear are new and improved. I used to get my shoes resoled two or maybe three times before they would no longer be useful. With modern shoes now days the sole is usually the last thing to go. So as we sit on the deck waiting for suitable weather we look back to how things used to be and compare them to how they are now. Fast food restaurants were mighty scarce and most meals were eaten at home around a table together. That was also where we talked about what was going on at work, school, neighborhood and varied other subjects. I read an alarming statistic recently that families only sit down to eat together very few times a week and much of that is at restaurants.
Take MOTHER EARTH NEWS for example. I started reading it when it was first published. I could read some articles over and over and would save issues for further use. I ended up having a stack of old newspaper magazines and some of the nice glossy color ones that came later all protected and saved. Now I go on the MOTHER EARTH NEWS website, type in what I’m looking for in the search engine and instantly have access to what I’m looking for. I was able to clean off an entire shelf in my garage and dispose of old (kind of smelly) magazines. I was even able to give them to someone in an on-line program where you advertise items you no longer need or want. What a unique combination of the old and new.
It seems to me that the old days were really good days even though life was quite a bit harder then but today is a marvelous age to be alive in. Today there are more avenues of information available than a person has time to access. I find it sad that so may people walk around with their heads down looking at their cell phones but then that is probably good as they are staying in touch with friends and family or performing important tasks where ever they may be. Now having reflected on the old and the new I think I’ll go sit on the deck in the sunshine and do some more reflection.
Some day the younger generation will look back on the present marvels of technology we have today and call them the ‘good old days‘.
For more on Bruce and Carol McElmurray go to their blog site at: www.BruceCarolCabin.Blogspot.com