Born in the Wrong Time Period

“You know, it all began when we got rid of our microwave 8 years ago… remember?” I found myself saying, as together, my husband and I stared at the large, wooden structure in front of us.




It was Monday evening. My husband had just come home for work and was now observing our newly re-arranged kitchen. The changes included moving our large white modern fridge to a corner and replacing it with a large, stately antique icebox from the 1883. My steady-husband quietly stood there, wondering, I could tell, if I had gone plum crazy or if he was married to someone who just loves to add work to her plate.

‘Let’s try it out for a week,” I said, smiling hoping he would agree. He agreed and so therefore, the electric fridge was officially unplugged.


Yes, removing our microwave may have started the phasing out of appliances in our home.

That was about eight years ago now … I remember feeling so strange unplugging the microwave, putting it into the back of our truck and donating it to a thrift store. Family members said things, like “How are you going to heat up your food now? You better save it just in case you change your mind.”  Well, our mind never changed and the microwave never made its way back into our home. It seemed so strange, so out of the normal. My sister, at the time, did not have a microwave either. I was comforted as she said she just used the frying pan to re-heat things- her children did not seem to mind reheating their lunches that way and it did not seem a bother.


Next, we found we did not need the toaster oven, the toaster, even the bread maker was not used as we learned to make bread by hand. Soon, the dish washer was put of out of service as the girls were older and could help with hand washing the dishes. [We do currently have a dishwasher but I use it to store my mason jars in between canning batches, etc. The odd occasion will find out emptying the dishwasher and running it after having a large family over for company – mainly to ensure the machinery does not rust or seize up.]

Slowly over time, our lifestyle changed and our appliances were removed or stored.


It was a slow process … a gradual reduction of being plugged in … I haven’t used a hair dryer in quite a few years. Even something as small as a hair dryer was no longer needed. I just wash my hair at night and let it dry naturally.  We started grinding coffee by hand and using our bodum to make coffee so now there was no need for a coffee maker. I eventually stopped using our dryer, even though it was propane and did not cost much money to run. I have always utilized a clothesline, even when I only had one child, but it became more important to use the clothesline permanently as more children were added to the family. Five years ago, my husband unplugged the dryer and we have not used it since.

Then, the kitchen stove changed. We moved from a modern electric black, shiny stove to a beautiful creamy vintage 1930s stove (which I love and still own, in case I ever need to replace our current model) … and a few years later …  to an old fashioned wood burning cookstove. It has been quite the transition – especially since I did not know a stitch about cooking when we were first married. (Reminds me quite fondly, or not so fondly, of how I learned to drive standard – on my one hour one way commute to my newspaper job … no practice, just learn and drive … that was one scary commute …)

Now, with a tiny blessing from my (doubtful) cautious husband, we are trying out an antique icebox for the week to see if it will meet our needs.

Time will tell if I can ditch the fridge along with our other appliances!  I may need longer than a week to find out how to manage a new cooling system for our food.

Today, the girls helped me roll our big white modern fridge out of the way, give the floor behind it a good cleaning, I cleaned out the entire fridge and scrubbed down our antique icebox, which was just purchased off of kijiji last night. I already had frozen blocks of ice in hopes of this new project.


We do not store to much in our fridge, as our lifestyle and eating revolves around seasonal eating and home canned foods.
Many items stored in most modern fridges do not need to be there at all. Yes, we still have our chest freezers as I store all our meat that way. I will use the freezers, which are runing anyways, to make ice in the spring and summer months. In the winter, I plan on just freezing the water outside. We shall see. Sometimes I jump into these “projects” and ideas only to find lots of problems and complications. Nothing ever worth doing is easy … that’s how I see it. 🙂

There are three categories to this icebox …

I organized all the dairy in one category right beside (or ontop) of the ice, along with some homemade pie dough. We rarely have much meat in our fridge but if we do, it will also go in this category of the icebox.

To the left, I stored some fruit (watermelon) and some fresh veggies and my yeast.


On the bottom of the icebox, I placed a basket of jams, condiments and homemade sauces and pickles. Oh yes, and some tomatoes, even though I know they do not need to be in the fridge.



The icebox was built in 1883 and is good condition. It could probably use some sanding but we are just going to see how it goes first. I froze a big bucket of water yesterday and placed it in the icebox this morning. I cannot tell the temperature yet as I am waiting on a thermometer to be brought home. When we purchased our large, white fridge after moving into this home, I was thrilled to see an inside digital thermometer. Until then, I did not even realize that a modern  fridge was only kept at 3 degrees! That really  is not that cold! Half the time, I could easily use our outdoors as a fridge seeing as we live in Canada and it is generally colder here more often than it is warm. In the meantime, I only need to copy a 3 degree compartment and I will replicate the temperature of our modern fridge.


Shall I keep you updated? I know it probably sounds rather crazy and a bit strange to want to get rid of my fridge, but it has been on my mind for two years. First off, I love an old fashioned home and the modern fridge just stuck out like a sore thumb. Secondly, I love to save money and save hydro! One summer, I tried an experiment of unplugging the fridge during our daytime hydro hours (which are supposed to more costly) and plugging it in at night. My husband did not like this idea as he said it would cost too much to cool the fridge down again when it was plugged in. I did not get a chance to find out it if saved hydro or not.


I guess I was just born in the wrong time period.


June 30, 2018 - 5:38 am

Gigi My husband is skeptical, too …. so far, it is okay but of course, we are going through a GIANT heatwave (hottest temperatures in years for Ontario) so I am finding I am replacing ice twice a day. I don’t mind. I just check it in the a.m. and in the evening and replace as needed. I am surprised it is holding up so well in this heat!
Do let me know if you convince your husband. Nice to know I’m not the only “off the beaten path” wife. 🙂
p.S. a cookstove is so worth it! Especially, I am sure, in Alaska!

June 30, 2018 - 12:48 am

Rebecca Haha! This is awesome! Definitely keep us up to date! We got rid of our microwave years ago and someday I hope to have a wood cook stove in the kitchen in addition to a propane stove (our current stove is electric and I hate it!). I’ve talked to my husband about having our own icebox but he is skeptical, haha…

June 29, 2018 - 9:14 am

Paula Yes on using the stove. It’s in our cabin in the North Cascades. I have always loved cooking on it. When I light it, it smells like my Grandma’s kitchen. She cooked 3 meals a day on it. Even Thanksgiving meal for all of us. I have a picture in my kitchen of her and all those pans on the stovetop. She lived a simple life and role modeled contentment. Traits I see in you. I love the cooktop and how quickly you can move a pot from boiling to simmer in seconds. So much easier to clean than my current stove. I have always loved baking in the oven. You do have to quarter turn your pans often. I have found it takes less baking time. Like a convection oven. It’s a challenge I enjoy. Your face gets a bit warm once in a while. I had a vintage wood cookstove in my farmhouse that we sold when we retired. So you can see I love them. I have an icebox in my cabin also. It’s a bit tricky in the winter with wood heat. Thank you for your blog.

June 29, 2018 - 5:18 am

Gigi Paula, your cookstove sounds amazing! Do you use it?

June 29, 2018 - 5:15 am

Gigi Diane, nice to hear from you! I will keep you updated…

June 28, 2018 - 10:35 pm

Diane I have been reading your blog for awhile now, and I love it. So refreshing! I would love to hear an update on your new icebox.

June 28, 2018 - 10:54 am

Paula I am a member of the wrong era club too. So happy to meet all of my peoples. I have the kitchen wood stove that my grandma cooked on until she was in her 90’s. So I think we all get to live a long life living in this era.

June 27, 2018 - 7:03 pm

Erin Lynn I think how you do things is absolutely fascinating! Love your blog. Keep us posted!

June 27, 2018 - 5:24 pm

Maike This title just jumped at me. That’s exactly how I feel too. I feel in the wrong time and like an alien in this modern world every single day! That’s why I love reading your stories the most. So yes, please update us on the new cooling system, how it exactly works with all the different temperatures, where the ice bucket goes, and anything else that you explore about this new piece!! I have never heard of it, but it does make of course sense that there must have been a working cooling system even in the 1800s and before. 🙂

June 27, 2018 - 9:14 am

Our Home of Many Blessings I was definitely born in the wrong time also….I love your kitchen.So warm and inviting.There is nothing wrong with the old fashioned way of things…..I love it so!

June 27, 2018 - 8:32 am

Monica Haha, love it! We had one at our local thrift a while back and I fell in love with it. Just for storage or whatever, but it did not stay there long at all. I’m interested to see how this works for you all. I haven’t had a microwave for 15 years and manage fine as well. We rarely even have leftovers anyway to heat up so that part takes care of itself! 🙂 I always use my clothesline and as I drive down the road I notice there is only one other lady from my house all the way into town that I see uses a clothesline! Sadly in the summer months I can’t hang out our clothes as they sour quickly because of the high humidity and heat. Funny, last evening our power went out for about six hours. We had had a small storm but something major happened with the electric. I was managing fine, the windows were up and I had candles lit. I read several books to the children, before dark it gave us a good chance to be outside swimming and mowing grass. I even went to bed with it still off, listening to the crickets chirp through the window. My dear ones didn’t appreciate it as much. I tried to have them pretend we were camping! 🙂 So add me to the “wrong era” club too!

That is a lovely icebox! Yes, keep us updated!

June 26, 2018 - 11:14 pm

Sarah Yes! Please keep us updated, I’m so interested!