Peevish Pen

Ruminations on reading, writing, rural living, retirement, aging—and sometimes cats. And maybe a border collie or other critters.

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Location: Rural Virginia, United States

I'm an elderly retired teacher who writes. Among my books are Ferradiddledumday (Appalachian version of the Rumpelstiltskin story), Stuck (middle grade paranormal novel), Patches on the Same Quilt (novel set in Franklin County, VA), Them That Go (an Appalachian novel), Miracle of the Concrete Jesus & Other Stories, and several Kindle ebooks.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Living Simpler

My grandparents, who owned and worked my Union Hall farm, lived a much simpler life than I do. Their cabin, built by William Bernard in the 1850s, was second-hand when they moved into it. They never had electricity or indoor plumbing. They grew their own vegetables and grain; they raised livestock for meat. The only edibles they bought on a regular basis were sugar and coffee. They wasted not and wanted not.

As a kid visiting in the early 1950s, I can remember the hams hanging in the smokehouse, the chickens running loose in the yard, my grandmother milking her cow down the hill near the spring (a chain guarded the entrance to the spring so the cow didn’t foul the source of drinking water), and the horse and mule my grandfather used for plowing.

In the days before Smith Mountain Lake, Franklin County was a poor agricultural county. All that’s changed now. The county is one of the fastest growing in Virginia. The towns are being leveled to build shopping centers, the lake is ringed with homes that cost in the millions, and big power lines will soon carry more power to the built-up areas.

I doubt I could live without electricity. My grandmother cooked on a woodstove, but I microwave. My grandparents went to the post office a mile away; I log on to my computer. My grandmother washed in a tub and hung the clothes on a line; I depend on my washing machine and drier. While I could make do with one bathroom instead of the three I have, I surely wouldn’t want to go outside. I couldn’t live as simply as my grandparents did.

Some people do live simpler lives, though, albeit with electricity. An article in yesterday’s Roanoke Times is about the simpler life of a Floyd County family. Another Floyd County resident—and fellow author, Fred First, describes in his blog and his book how he simplified his life a few years back.

My only claim to a simpler life is that I don’t have cable TV and I do have dial-up computer access.

Is living simpler more complicated than it used to be?


Blogger Rashenbo said...

Hehehe, nice little post here :) It's thought provoking and makes me wonder what life was like for my grandparents when they were children.

9:26 PM  

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