Sunday, November 2, 2008

Going Without or Making Do

No microwave, no coffee maker, no hairdryer, no TV…. What kind of life is this? A return to the “dark” ages? To me it is a relaxing vacation in a cabin that was built in 1913. It doesn’t mean that I don’t have light or electricity. It does mean that I don’t have so many lights and that there is only one electrical outlet in each room of the cabin. It also means that if everyone has their microwaves going at the same time, the cabin at the end of the line may experience a “brown out.” It also means that I get to try some things I haven’t done in awhile. It means that I can show my children the way we used to do things at Grandpa’s house.

Most of us in our 50’s and older remember our first microwave. For me it was entertainment – we “exploded” hot dogs in it. Now it’s a standard fixture in our kitchens and offices. Can we cook without it while we’re on vacation? How will we pop our popcorn? How will we heat up water? I love Lakeview’s three burner gas ranges. First thing in the morning I get a pot of hot water going on the burner. That heat takes the chill off the kitchen and gives me ready water for tea and drip coffee. I love using my big griddle over two burners to make pancakes. Have your kids ever seen you pop popcorn on the stove top, shaking the pan back and forth?

Maybe this vacation is the time to show them! Need a cake for a birthday celebration? Try the “Easy Bake” range top oven shown in this blog. Out at Lakeview’s outdoor cooking station there is a range top oven that works very well – feel free to give it a try. Another advantage to not bringing electric kitchen appliances to the mountains is that I have more room on my kitchen counter!

My family loves to cook at the campfire every evening. Cooking fish outdoors is easy and doesn’t leave any odors in the cabin. Whenever we have our campfire going, I like to bake our potatoes in the fire – oil them, salt them, wrap them in aluminum foil. We generally wrap up sliced vegetables, add butter, onion and seasonings and place them in the fire too. Do you remember “hobo meals” from your scouting days? What a great way for the kids to help with dinner preparation.

I also have more room in the bathroom because I leave my hair dryer and curling iron at home. The mountain air is very dry and it takes no time for my hair to dry. I am on vacation – so no curls in my hair. Bad hair day? That’s what caps are for. As an added bonus, the hat keeps the sun off your face.

There is electricity in the Lakeview cabins. There is even an outlet, but you may need to look for it. The two bedroom cabins have an outlet in the light socket of the bedrooms. I do recommend that you bring an extension cord ( or two). I love to sew at The Cottages.

I plug in my 1942 Singer Featherweight, an additional light, and my travel iron and get to work. It is great to work on a favorite hobby with the lake in view.

A TV at the cabin while you’re on vacation? There’s no reception. One group with a lot of kids made do with dvds on their laptop computer. Another group brought a projector and projected dvd movies on a makeshift screen out doors. That was a memory maker. But better than passive entertainment, pull out the games. The Lakeview Cottages office has playing cards and board games. Teaching our daughters to play Hearts while we were rain-bound one vacation is part of our family history. The process was particularly noteworthy because one or the other daughter ended each round throwing herself down, in tears, on the bed, vowing to never play again. They did play again, and still do, and game playing is part of our family tradition.

Traditions and vacations just go together. Because it’s a time away from the everyday routine and every day “stuff,” you have the opportunity to try new things or even go back to old things. Use your time in a vintage cabin to make your own traditions. Many of those traditions will be based on what you make do with, or do without on your family vacation in the woods.


live a colorful life said...

These are all GREAT memory-making ideas. I may have the most trouble letting go of the curling iron, but other than that returning to a simpler life is so appealing. And this I know for sure: sewing on my Singer Featherweight and looking out at the great view cannot be beat!