You’re halfway through cooking your scrumptious meal and… yip, there goes the power again. Sound familiar? It’s becoming a daily part of life in South Africa. So we have a choice. Either moan and groan or do what South Africans are known for – MAAK A PLAN. It can even be fun figuring out ways to work around this inconvenient ghost in the machine. How about using it as an opportunity to practice ways to live a more natural life in tune with Mother Nature? After all, the sun and stars keep shining, the moon waxes and wanes and when you stand back, all is still well with the world.
A high capacity solar panel that can power multiple functions in your home is perhaps a more expensive long-term investment worth considering, but there are smaller, more affordable options coming onto the market that fill the gap nicely. From keeping your phone charged to your house lit up, and even some basic entertainment going, there is an exciting range of solar powered gadgets to suit your needs.
One of the magic things about load shedding is the quality of eco-friendly lighting you can use, as well the fact that soft gentle lighting at night is more relaxing and healthy as you get ready for bed.
And for when you need super strong light for getting on with things that simply can’t be left ‘til later, there are some super bright solar powered lights available too. Solar powered lights that use LED bulbs, are the best solution for an eco-friendly option because they are recyclable and don’t contain toxins like mercury. They also have an impressive lifespan that will just keep on going.
Solar fairy lights make a very atmospheric decoration of diffused light that you can leave up so that you don’t even have to worry about floundering about for lights when the power goes. They’ll charge by themselves and go on automatically at sunset.
And especially now that its winter – what better excuse for the evocative crackle of a wood fire for light and warmth? Fire has always been with us and the calming effect of sitting and watching a fire is well known. It was the caveman’s TV in a sense – so curl up at the fire with your kids and see the stories in the flames. Wood is a replaceable natural fuel, and it is generally considered the more sustainable and carbon-neutral option for fire fuel in comparison to charcoal. But it is important to be aware which wood you buy – there are sources that use sustainably managed wood supplies so you’ll know you are supporting a healthy eco-system. And instead of using chemical-laden petroleum-based firelighters that create toxic fumes and are not sustainable in the long term, have a look for some eco-friendly options here.
Light a few beeswax candles, they’ll clear the air and create a delightful peaceful atmosphere, with none of the toxic fumes given off by petroleum-based candles. And what a perfect opportunity to have a romantic candle-lit bath. Warm orange-toned light at night is actually extremely beneficial for your sleep and tells your body to start producing healthy sleep hormones that will leave your immune system and body super-strong and rejuvenated.
Sometimes the power goes out just as your food has hotted up and started cooking, or you may even know the power is going to go and you don’t have enough time to finish cooking your meal – a really clever solution is to simply pop your cooking pot of food into the amazing spunky Wonderbag, which will use the existing heat to keep it cooking away ‘til It’s ready. All without needing more power!
Even without some external source of power, you have a source that is with you at all times and it’s called muscle power! There are some hand-cranked gadgets you can use to churn out some useful wattage, from milk makers, yoghurt makers to juicers you can use to create nutritious jugs of super juice electricity-free.
STORE SOME SUPPLIES
Be sure to keep a supply of easy ready-to-eat food handy in some glass jars, such as some dehydrated treats or biscuits you can top with condiments and tasty veggies such avos and tomatoes. Think tasty raws, sprouts, sandwiches, salads, chopped fruit, things you can braai.
One of the most magical things about load shedding is the way it forces you to take a step back and find some other ways to keep yourself occupied rather than sitting glued to a TV or computer.
Here are some fun power-free things to do when the lights go out:
- Stargazing – watch the brilliant jewel-like brightness that appears when artificial lights are down. You can even start teaching your kids the different constellations or learn them yourself
- Play board games such as chess, monopoly, 15 seconds
- Get a big white sheet, a torch, and put on a spot of shadow theatre
- Create stories together
- Read stories to each other
- Write some handwritten letters and post them
- Knit a scarf or some warm winter mittens
- Sing, play an instrument
If anything, load-shedding can be seen as a wake-up call for us to become more aware of our electricity use and how we can really be living in a more eco-conscious off-the grid way. Adapting to load-shedding is the perfect opportunity to green your home power and habits.