SUBJECT: NO REFRIGERATION
SOURCE: JUAN WILSON email@example.com
POSTED: 29 JUNE 2008 - 10:30am HST
No Refrigerator - for 30 years...
image above: My grandfather, William Howes, at the well, on 5 August 1933, in Panama, NY
by Greenpa on 30 March 2007 in littlebloginthebigwoods.blogspot.com
by Juan Wilson on 29 June 2008
The pictures in this article are of a stone well on our property near the Village of
Back then, on a hot August day, the coldest place on the property was the bottom of that well. As a result my grandparents used the well for their refrigerator. That's because the farmhouse had been built in the early 19th century and my grandparents kept it as it was when they bought it in the 1930's. Staying at the farm was like a trip a century back in time; with an outhouse, no running water, no telephone and no electricity.
When I was a boy in the 1950's, we kept a galvanized steel bucket partially submerged down the well. Its rim was kept just a few inches above the water. In it was our butter, milk, eggs and even a few beers for grandpa.
Later, when I was a young man on Kauai in the 1970's, I lived for over a year in a yellow Volkswagon bus. We camped in several locations around the island away from public parks and roads. We had a cooler and for a while bought ice for it. We soon found that too expensive a proposition. Eventually we took the lid off the cooler and simply stretched a cheesecloth over the top of it. Inside the topless cooler we kept cheese, eggs and other perishables.
We kept the cooler clean and dry. The cheesecloth allowed a recycling of the air in the cooler and protected its contents from insects. The VW was a panel bus (no side windows) and was insulated. We usually parked in shadey spots and kept the back door a crack open with the front side windows open for some breeze. As a result we could keep a careful selection of items for many days without spoilage.
Recently, my wife and I had our fridge break down. We tried to get it repaired. That did not work out. Finally we went out and bought a new unit. Between the time the old one broke down and the new one was delivered we passed about a month without refrigeration.
Again, for a while we were buying bagged ice and keeping a couple of coolers filled. After about a week we tried an experiment. Going without ice. We can attest that living without refrigeration still works. You can live without electric cooling and still be part of western civilization.
Why even think about living without the fridge? Because is is most likely the costliest component of your electric bill. In the near energy future that is something all of us will have to deal with in one way or another.