{living simply} some things I don't talk about


 {before any of you get excited; this isn't our house - it's my dad's house - the beautiful upstairs verandah with bamboo ceiling. And the downstairs entryway with those well worn bricks and the mud-brick style walls}

I've been thinking a bit lately about how we live, and how it probably differs quite a bit to how other people live.
I don't talk about it much, as really for me, it's part of who I am, and almost how I grew up - so it doesn't feel unusual or difficult or different for me. But I am very conscious of how it is for Sam and for my children, and for family and friends who come to visit us and have never experienced this way of living before.
So, I've decided that I might start sharing it here a bit more too.

The way we live on this little parcel of land isn't how we planned, or how we will always live here. But it's how we are living here right now, and have been for the past 16 months, and will continue to for some more time while our house building continues. But much of how we live is how we want to live - and will be a continual journey of slow and simple living.

Firstly - the no electricity thing. Yep, it's hard. It was romantic for the first few months, during Summer and the long evenings. But after some time, and then in Winter when the sun sets at 4.30pm. Well, it's a bit of a drag.
We live by torch light, and candles and little solar garden lights that we take outside to charge every morning, and bring inside every evening (they are more for ambient lighting, and act as little glow-bug / night lights for the children in these dark dark nights). We buy candles, and have also been making our own from the melted wax (I'll blog about that another time). We read our bedtime stories by torch, and in Winter time we cook dinner by candle or torch or good eyesight!

We have a battery powered radio - it doesn't last long if we play cds on it, so mainly we listen to whatever radiostation isn't fuzzy at the time.

We don't have tv, or a little dvd player. We have my one laptop computer (we did have two, but Sam's died a while ago). This means at night time we can sometimes either watch a (borrowed from the local library) movie or I have time for my blogging addiction, or doing online work. I charge my computer at my dad's house on most days - but not all days; those nights we have no computer at all.

We charge our mobile phones in our cars when we're driving to school or town. I take my charger and plug it in whenever and wherever I'm out and about, and I feel I'm not pushing the friendship too far...

We have a small gas fridge, it doesn't fit much, and freezes any vegetables we put in it. Luckily for Sam it keeps beer nice and icy! When we first moved here we used an esky and ice for at least 9 months - this was horrible and tedious. But it has taught us to only buy what we will eat and need for a few days, and not keep unnessecary food at the back of the fridge going bad and wasting electricity. (Go and look in your fridge - do you need everything in there? Do you really need a fridge that big?).

Prior to living here, we were never a high-energy consuming household. This is just a step further, and makes us realise we don't need as much as we ever use when it's at our finger tips to switch something on.

Perhaps you could try using your computer for as long as only a fully charged battery lasts. When it runs out, you have to turn it off - you can't plug it in and spend more hours blog-hopping, or pinning, or all those other things I used to do all hours of the night when I lived in Brisbane.

We spend more time reading or sitting and enjoying the quiet. We go to bed earlier, which means we have a better sleep and wake up earlier as well.

You could set yourself a little challenge to live in the dark for a few hours this week. Dinner by candle light is romantic, crochet by candle light is poetic. Get the kids involved too - reading bedtime stories by torch light is really fun; an adventure. I'd love to hear how you went - go on, it's not hard, just a challenge.
(and before you go to bed, go outside even in the rain the cold the snow to say goodnight to the moon, the stars, the sky, the night, the world).