Jul 19, 2011

See You in a Hundred Years

by Logan Ward

Young married couple decide to leave their jobs and live on a farm for twelve months, as if it were the year 1900. They didn't use electricity, plumbing or even accept a ride in a car from neighbors. They burned oil lamps, dug an outhouse, pulled water from a well by a hand pump, and heated their house with a wood stove. Milked their own goats, used a horse for transportation and occasional hauling, grew their own vegetables to eat. Thought they were going to get away from the hustle and headache of the rat race, but at first it was just as much headache and worry trying to supply food for their own table and wondering if they'd make it through the winter. Eventually their muscles toughened, they learned to manage the animals, the neighbors reached out to them (even entering into the spirit of their experiment and only giving them foods that would have existed in 1900, for example). Being a woman and a mother I was curious how the wife learned to cook on a wood stove and transitioned from disposable convenience to laundering cloth diapers (with a washboard!) but as the husband wrote the story there are more details on splitting wood, teaching himself to handle the horse and drive a wagon, etc. It's a very interesting tale, funny at times. At the end of the year they were relieved to go back to some modern conveniences, but still wanted to live close to the land the way they'd come to appreciate. I don't know if I could ever do without the ease of a washing machine or other things for so long, but admire their determination and integrity to the trial.

Borrowed from the public library. See You in a Hundred Years came to my notice because I read about it on Worducopia. There's an article about the Ward's year-long experiment here.

Rating: 3/5 ........ 252 pages, 2007

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bermudaonion said...

I really enjoyed this one even though I was aggravated with Ward when he didn't want his wife to seek medical attention because it might mess up their experiment.

Jenny said...

There are so many reasons I wouldn't do this experiment (such as all the awesome books that were not published before 1900) (although it would be nice to live in a year when Oscar Wilde was not yet dead), but one of them that would really screw me up is that I would never feel sure I'd done enough research to ensure that I was really living by my own rules. I would always feel like there was something I'd missed.