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Thread: Living like the 1800s . . . my experience

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Springfield, Oregon


    That's a cool little steam engine, the wood would be the problem in the desert. I would have to buy or go to the National Forest and I'm to beat up to be cutting and stacking wood anymore.
    We are looking at the Lister engine.

    These thinks can run on almost any kind of oil stove oil, diesel, veggie oil, used cooking oil. etc etc. from what I understand. Of course we would be using it only as a back up to the solar power 12v system, unless I needed 110V to run something. Rupe
    Coodinator Oregon Chapter of
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    If you don't like logging then try using plastic toilet
    Exploring Oregon in a Jeep
    Tread Lightly

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2006

    Default Living like the 1800s,my experience

    Quote Originally Posted by Wolfgang View Post
    Sure Enuf . . . . the other link still works . . .
    I tried the link, but it didn't seem to work for me.
    My dad as kid grew up in Hot Springs,Ark. in the 1920s and 30s. When they moved there from Milwaukee, they moved into the old house out on Hwy 70. They didn't have electricity,running water, and you cooked over a wood stove.
    Grandma milked the cows and fed the chickens. If they wanted chicken for dinner, she just picked one out and wrung its neck and took care of the rest.Daddy and Uncle Tom helped out too.I recall daddy saying grandpa dug up the septic system and fixed it.
    They used kerosene lamps for a long time, until grandpa got together with the neighbors and they payed for electricity to come out to their area.
    The cows and chickens were later sold when gradma decided she wanted to go back to work.She got a job as a receptionist for Dr.Wilkins in the Medical Arts Building downtown.
    I think grandpa sold the cows to Woodall, who ran a dairy,as these weren't beef cattle. I don't recall my dad ever saying they ate any of the cows as a kid.
    Course if they had wanted too, grandpa could have taken care of that, as he was a butcher by trade.
    As a kid he couldn't stand his mother,so he left home and got a job driving a delivery wagon for a butcher and slept in the livery stable where they kept the horse and wagon.he had a room there were he slept, and that's how he learned about the business,through his job.
    My great grandmother took grandpa and Great Uncle Fred up to the Yukon to look for gold.Greatgrandma was a crack shot with a gun.They never got robbed, but a man who had a claim near them was murdered.
    When she decided to come back home to New York, she told her two sons she only had enough money to pay for HER passage, and that they would have to work for theirs. So Great Uncle Fred and grandpa did various things on shipboard for their keep.
    That was another thing that grandpa resented.He felt she had the money for all three of them, but didn't want to spend money on her two sons.
    That too was something kids did in those days, work.Work in coal mines, factories, and other things.
    She made all the kids work,all 9 of them. Why she was tight with money, I don't know.
    She came from a good german family was educated and spoke several languages as did her husband,Great grandpa.

    The old house never had ceiling fans,don't recall seeing any when we would visit my great aunts who later moved back into the house when daddy's family moved back to Milwaukee.
    Later on the house got running water I know.Part of the old porch was turned into a bathroom shortly before my great grandma and her daughters moved out, because they were tired of using an outhouse.
    They later also had natural gas put in.What they did with the old wood buring stove I don't know.
    I like camping, but prefer indoor plumbing and gas stoves to cook over.But not watching tv or that sort of thing doesn't bother me.I love to read ,so it wouldn't be any hardship.

    As far as kids go things were different then.My dad and uncle went to school,and they had chores.But they also had plenty of play time.They would go walking through the woods,or catch crawdads in the Molly Branch.Sometimes when the family went to town, they got to see the latest silent movie or listen to the radio at home with the family.
    There was no video games,ipods, cell phones then,etc.
    i recall my dad talking about how in Milwaukee in his neighborhood they used to have block parties where the neighbors brought food and everyone got together and had a good time.

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Wastlands north of Palm Springs Ca.


    Seems to have disapeared ( again ) former site of a few years back disapeared also. I just googled and didn't find it anywhere.
    - Wolfgang -

  4. #14


    Quote Originally Posted by Gravelrash View Post
    Rupe ~ I have done a fair bit of what you and Wolfgang and others are taking about. You'd think, at my age, I'd know better....but.... I fear not!!!
    I have learned many hard-won truths about wants, needs, necessities and fripperies though, so "this time round" I intend to do it a lot easier on myself and a lot more realisticly. (She Who Must Be Obeyed says I better, or....)
    To that end, I thought this idea might spur you on a bit.

    They make 2 k.v.a generator kits. I've spoken to Rod, via email, and the fuel requirements seem manageable. I like the idea of being "on the grid" but with a few solar panels and the steam genie, feeding back in to the grid so I get "credits", not a huge bill!
    Part of my Growing up was with getting Firewood and Water from anywhere.No Electricity or whatever.
    I'm in Januar/Februar in the South West.
    First visiting some in ilinoice and toronto,and then Hiking in South West for fife to six Weeks,without Car or whatever.
    I may get me a Donkey or what to carry Food,Water,Tent and so.
    We are in a Civilised Time,and you can't leave without a minimum of Luxus.It would be wrong.
    I do a Spot with me,but i get in Trouble doin a Gun with me to protect me against Wild Animals.
    You could leave in a Log-Cabine,on a River which poweres your Generator,Mill and helps Watering your Land.
    Next to a River you mustn't drill for water,and that's you most need.Water!
    But you also need Phone,SPOT,Tools,Clothes,and,and,and,.....
    Well,it's possible to have a leaving as in the 1800,but you also need some of our newer Technic.
    Anywhy,if Interested we could put a Ox over the fire,around 20th Januar around Newberry Springs and try what we can and what not

  5. #15
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Costa Mesa, CA


    I will refer you to my post from earlier this year. I Lived in Vermont in 1972 with running water---a creek, light---kerosene lanterns, a place in the woods for a toilet, and a road we had to build to get to the site. We built a house there on 100 acres using only hand tools, and did well for five months before I had to split. Those were great times.

    I go camping every other weekend, but that is not the same. I wish it was and then sometimes I don't

    "I got four things to live by: Don't say nothing that will hurt anybody. Don't give advice--nobody will take it anyway. Don't complain. Don't explain." Death Valley Scotty Walter Scott 1872-1954

  6. #16
    Sunrise's Avatar
    Sunrise is offline Rawk Crawlin GPS Totin Ghost Towning Expert
    Join Date
    Dec 2008


    I'd surely love to live in a Cabin along a creek, with the energy of the water supplying power to the cabin, but the one thing I'd miss the most is one of those celsius / farenheit converters.

  7. #17
    Vulture's Avatar
    Vulture is offline Rock Crawlin GPS Moving Map Totin Trailblazing Expert Ghost Towner
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Galeyville, AZ


    1971, I knew I was about to be drafted & had a chance to live in a cabin at the top of Black Rd. in the Santa Cruz mts, Califruity, for a few months.

    The place was about 80 years old, I had to replace the stove pipe & some shingles, got it cozy & water tight, (almost). At the time there was no electricity for a few miles around, other cabins were set up like mine.

    There was a spring in a cave about 1/4 mile, almost straight down hill & filiing 2 5 gal water jugs took 2 hours & at least a gal of sweat.

    No car, food was in Los Gatos, a whole day spent hitch hiking & hiking with what I could carry.

    I was a skinny, energetic kid with few real needs & a couple of fine neighbors.

    It was beautiful at night. I spent the days exploring & found an old logging camp & a couple of long abandoned cabins, leaning & completely unsafe, so I chencked them out of course. Great stuff, rock fireplaces with tree branch gun racks above the mantle.

    I still value those memories & think that experience helped steel me for life generally.

    Comopared to the cabin those WW2 barracks at Ft. Ord seemed like the presedential suite at the Waldorf Astora.

    That drove home an appreciation of what the American pioneers had to endure.

    Sweat can take the romance out of a fantasy, but it's still worth it.

    "The good things a person needs-stubbornness, thinking for himself-don't make him a useful member of society. What makes him useful is to be half dead." Sylvan Hart

  8. #18
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    South Central Orange County


    Great stories!

    While I'd like to try it out for a few months, I'm afraid my better half is about interested in it as I would be in "living la vida loca" in Las Vegas (e.g. not at all).

    My grandmother said that when she and my grandfather moved to the wilds of British Columbia in 1963, they might as well have been in the 19th century. They lived out of a camper shell as the general store they bought had been gutted by its former owners for fire wood during the winter. No electricity, no running water (except for the stream on the property), no stove, no phone, and no mail service.

    They spent all day clearing the brush on the property, rebuilding the store, and building cabins for their resort. The 20th century advantages they brought to their construction projects were a chain saw, a pickup truck and a tractor.

    After a year they got a generator, after two years they got a phone, and after a couple more years they got rural route mail delivery. I doubt I would have made it that long.

  9. #19
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Wastlands north of Palm Springs Ca.


    I'm going to get to live in my Ohio cabin for a while next spring. It's doing very well for almost no maintenance for the past 35 years . . . and I'm going to do a bit so as to make sure it lasts the next 30 years. I'm planing on doing an internet "blog" regarding living a "frontier life style" while I'm there. Will post a link what that happens. I'm looking forward to it

    The place in Ohio:
    Last edited by Wolfgang; 09-24-2009 at 03:50 AM.
    - Wolfgang -

  10. #20
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    alaskan transplant in yorba linda ca.

    Default Living like the 1800,s

    Bad Bob hit it pretty solid on the head with his comment.Quite a few of us actually live this way in Alaska.To many it is considered a way of life and a chosen one.I myself homesteaded just out side of Mentasta Alaska in Bear valley in 1976 shortly after reaching Alaska.I found it to be a innovating yet trying experience how ever the rewards were well worth the effort and the trials and errors.Tho eventually i did have a 5kw generator and hot running water my 1st couple of years were primitive indeed.Hauling water from a creek roughly 1/4 mile away using dog teams to drag fire wood back to cabin.Some may think you are crazy for such a venture but I look back upon it with pride knowing that I can and did survive.If only this opportunity existed for more people...I would recommend it for those hardy enough to pursue this life style.While this may have been a craze in the 70,s for many it was a accepted life style and way of life that was openly embraced with out any illusions.

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