When we first moved to the country we moved into a small cabin with no running water and limited electricity. We had no internet connection so although I had started this blog several months before moving away from the city, I had to suspend posting to it for about a year and a half. This made it so I didn't blog about our experiences and how we handled the situation.
I recently found a blog called Seeking Simplicity. The author is a mother of 5 children who is living similar to the way we lived in our cabin for 8 months. Reading her posts has allowed me the opportunity to write about our own experiences. Yesterday she posted The Shower Experience. The following is my response.
It is great reading your blog, knowing that we are not the only ones who've decided to live this way! Your story is so similar to ours.
When we were living at our cabin, and even once we moved into our house two years ago and the well ran dry, we had to figure out how to deal with baths. Fortunately, we live in an area where truckers come through, so we were able to have the 'luxury' of going to the truck stop for a hot soothing shower a couple of times a month.
It was actually very nice to be able to go there, as there was a tv and booths to sit on. There were also washing machines which was great.
But this wasn't always something that we could rely on as it was very time consuming (taking 21/2 - 4 hours for our large family.) The weather was also prohibitive. And as you can imagine, shlepping 6 kids and the clothes and toiletries was quite a chore!
Besides, cleaning up only once a week isn't a great idea! So we had to bathe at home as often as we could. Since we only had one teenager, most of the family was young enough to not have to worry about bathing to prevent smelling.
It is interesting that without running water you realize quickly how much water we all take for granted. Hand washing and bathing become chores.
Being very fastidious hand washers all our lives didn't change when we moved to the country. Even our young children have been taught to wash hands after going to the bathroom or before eating.
Only bathing 2-3 times a week wasn't a terrible shock for us as it might be for some, as we had long believed that bathing everyday is bad for your skin and a waste of water. Being environmentally conscious had brought us to not using deodorant and not bathing 2 times a day, like most people do.
We found that bottles of Gold Bond powder were about as valuable to us as gold! This helps with sweating, chaffing (for men where their legs rub against their jeans) and for soothing bug bites. We use this powder instead of deodorant.
With a year and a half of not having running water under our belt, we became pros at bathing with only 2-3 gallons of water.
Like you we used a solar shower bag (purchased from WalMart) some of the time, but mostly we just filled up milk gallons or the plastic garden watering can.
We are so familiar with cleaning up in cold tubs or in rubbermaid containers in front of the wood stove!
In the summer I set up a bathtub that our neighbor gave us, along side the far side of the cabin. It was in a private location and that is where we bathed late spring through early fall. I loved bathing outside! (We're considering setting up a solar shower here at our house.)
Now we don't have to haul water anymore. Our state has been drought free for 2 years and so our well is very full. Even so, we still have learned to appreciate water and we all take short showers and monitor our usage.
I am so grateful for the experiences we've had, despite the challenges and the sacrifices we've had. The main reason is that we all have a great deal of empathy and compassion that we, particularly the children, may not have otherwise had.
This winter our pipes froze and the well had electrical problems so we were out of water for a couple of weeks around Christmas. Some friends of ours who have a bed and breakfast offered us the use of their shower. I was reminded once again what a luxury a hot shower is and I literally cried for all the people in the world who have never even experienced it.
The other night I watched Larry King Live. A couple of singers, Joel and Benji Madden were on the show discussing their recent trip to Africa and their involvement with the UNICEF Tap Project which is working to bring clean water to children around the world.
Larry mentioned how the brothers were very poor when they were kids. Their response was that since going to Africa they realize that they weren't poor at all because they at least had clean water to drink.
Thank God for all of these experiences we've had, Sasha. Just think of the compassion and also the skills that our children will have accumulated because of the choices we've made.
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