It has been three years since we lost everything and left our farm. Sure feels like a lifetime ago! We had our family and a few things and started over. I used to love the thrill of the hunt, the search for the usable off grid item. I had no desire to purchase items for mere decoration, they needed to be usable. I had every homesteading item you can think of before we left, and truth be told- material items or not- it has taken awhile to fully heal from loss.
So, for the first time, I was able to walk through our nearby antique stores without lamenting that “I used to have that!” I simply kept my eye open for a bargain that I could use. A relic to make my life simpler. Not simpler in the modern theory of flipping a switch or hitting a button, but in the beautiful space in time that hand grinding coffee beans takes, or being mesmerized by the percolator. Or curling up beneath an oil lamp with a delicious book. Or knowing if the power went off, we’d be none the wiser as our clocks ticked, our lights shone, and our wood stove puffed out smoke into the cool air. The tea kettle on, a dog at my feet, a cat on my lap. Goodness, I know no better life than one like this. The homestead revival.
Here are a few pieces to keep an eye out for that can go to work in your home. They are pleasingly decorative in their own right, creating a lovely old fashioned coziness to the home, but are also useful and trusty.
Oil lamps are amazing, beautiful, useful, and fairly easy to come by. You can, of course, buy all these things from a great homesteading catalog, like Lehman’s, but that takes some of the fun out of it! Make sure the knob on the side works. You can get wicks at Walmart. They create the most lovely glow and help the body realize that bedtime is soon, as opposed to LED lights which awaken the body more.
The coffee grinder is imperative on a homestead! This way you can purchase five pounds of whole beans at a time at a more affordable price (organic, fair trade please!).
There a few options for coffee. I have long loved my French press. It makes delicious coffee and you can keep it hot by placing it on a tea warmer with tea candle. This percolator was in perfect condition at the antique store and the price couldn’t be beat. There is something soothing about the gentle perking of coffee coming through the lid. It could also go on a wood stove if the gas weren’t available.
In this picture we have a great tea kettle that goes from stove to wood stove. A beautiful oil lamp. A pile of library books and musical instruments. There are many ways to keep oneself busy without screens!
I have three amazing clocks that I got from my friends, the Jensens’. I have the lovely, old grandfather clock that shows up in many of my photos. I have a fun cuckoo clock in the kitchen. And I have this melodic, wind up clock.
Simple baskets and reusable bags (perhaps that you make out of old clothing) are great to take to the market, or to bring in the harvest for supper, or carry books back to the library. Try with all your heart not to buy or bring home another new thing that is plastic.
Use less energy by unplugging cell phone chargers, anything that lights up, and shutting down your computer at night. Turn off the television and go for a walk.
Being outdoors hits the reset button for our lives. A nice walk at dusk, or a hike on the weekends, helps bring life back into focus. Finding things to do that have a lower footprint inadvertently gives you things to do that are great for mental and physical health. We may have more health care options in this day and age but I bet our fore bearers were actually healthier and happier because they had purpose, family, and kept busy. They had the magical satisfaction of work well done, of having purpose, and the space of mind to relax during methodical tasks.
There are many ways that we can lessen our load and the one we have put on the planet. Spend time with family, eat homegrown or local food, laugh, read, be. And maybe read by oil lamp.