Skip to main content

Living Off the Grid


My too-cool-for-his-grandma, thirteen-year-old grandson asked me the other day if me and his grandpa “lived off the grid.” The little toot was referring to the fact that we live on three, shaggy acres six miles outside a small town.  We do not mow the lawn until the spring wildflowers go to seed, so our ecosystem is a little WILD.
Grandpa HoneyBunch attempts a summer vegetable garden every year and he collects rain water to care for his plants. Those big, bulky rain bins do not lend themselves to the esthetics of the place, neither does the compost pile, so we do look a bit RUSTIC.
HB loves to hunt and fish, so it is not unusual for me to fix a roast one does not usually find in the meat department at the grocery story.  At our family gatherings the grandchildren are expected to eat whatever I fix, and they are expected to finish whatever is on their plate. Their grandfather does not believe in waste.
Our nearest neighbors are an acre away, but our most frequent visitors are usually skunks, snakes, and huge spiders.  Migratory birds and an assortment of owls and hawks also frequent our three acres, so the kids see us as the living biosphere version of the WILDERNESS.  
Inside the house, we have two wood stoves, four air conditioner window units, and a TV that is older than our oldest grandchild. We do not own a PlayStation or iPods, so in a world obsessed with the latest version of electronics, I can understand why our grandson thinks we are ARCHAIC.
 I hate to disappoint him but we have water, electricity, and flushing toilets, all provided by the city for a fee, but if we had to go “off the grid,” we might be able to do it with more ease than he could. We have access to the Internet and Direct TV, and our cell phones are just as smart as his.  I own a Kindle and my car has Bluetooth, but what might buy me some points on his how-archaic-is-my-grandma scale, is that I own the Oral B Pro 5000 toothbrush, and it too has Bluetooth capability!  Bam! We are just as embryonically attached to the grid as he is!  
I answered him we are “on the grid,” but try not to abuse it nor are we dependent on letting it define who we are.  We want all our grandkids to learn that, so when he comes over, I limit his electronics.  I force him to go outside, get some fresh air, and get bitten by chiggers.  I want him to appreciate that food does not magically appear prepackaged at the grocery store, and there is benefit to eating fruits and vegetables instead of chicken nuggets and takeout pizza. I want him to learn that he is responsible for his own learning, health, and survival, and I want him to develop the art of human conversation, imagination, and interaction.  

That’s the trick, isn’t it?  We all live off the grid; we are dependent on it, but it is not there for us to abuse it, nor is it there to steal our independence. By asking his question, my grandson showed his intelligence and sense of humor. There is still hope for him if we can get him to tear himself away from all those seductive electronics so that he can observe the more alluring world around him. 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Dating Challenged

I stink at dating – always have.I sputter.I hyperventilate.I fail miserably every time. I blame a pathetically underdeveloped gene that got little use before I married in my early twenties, then atrophied, gathering dust and rust, until I became single again in my fifties. I decided to use this defect to my advantage when I needed to do some investigative reporting a few years back.While on a newspaper writing assignment on Boomer-aged dating, I sacrificed my dignity and my vanity for the sake of the story (and I got several).

Thank goodness, HoneyBunch saved me from all this when we married.  (He comes up with the best dates.) I’ve decided I will “show you mine if you show me yours.”I will swap dating horror stories with you, but you have to promise to play along. The trick here is to tell about your worst date in 25 words or less.You must keep it clean and you cannot name names. Our little contest will run only this week and before my next blogger posting. Me first: The facts:My mom f…

Happy Breastday to Me!

I gave myself a very special birthday present this year – I had surgery. Before you think it was to increase, decrease, or “lift” something, let me tell you it was not cosmetic (though I could probably use a few nips and tucks at my age; the infinite number of creams I buy OTC are not working their promised magic). About four or five months ago, I discovered a hard lump about the size of a large marble in my left armpit.  I had been feeling small pangs of pain in my left chest for several months, but I figured it was just my turn to dance with heart disease.  Everyone in my immediate family is diabetic and suffers from strokes or heart attacks, so I thought – here we go; my turn. I was going to tell my internist about the pangs during my next visit, so imagine my surprise when I discovered the lump. The Drama Queen in me immediately manifested herself – cancer, I thought.  I have cancer. I searched some more and found that the texture on the left side of my left breast felt different t…

Grandma’s Dining Table

Twenty five years ago my first husband and I bought a new home with four bedrooms and three baths, but my favorite part of the house was the enormous room you walked into from the front door. It had no dividing wall but the design was to use half of it as a formal living and the other half as a formal dining. From the beginning I decided to make it into one huge dining room that would catch the eye when everyone walked in through the front door of my home.   My three children were very young, but I envisioned them grown and married. We counted five at the time, but one day we would grow to eight, maybe more if we factored in grandchildren, so I bought a table that sat a family of twelve.  My husband thought it silly to look that far ahead and convinced me to buy only ten chairs. The room looked magnificent – the long, majestic table, the ten chairs, the buffet, a couple of real ficus, and a few other nice pieces of furniture – I was pleased. The table lasted longer than the marriage, a…