Living Like a Homesteader – You’re Joking Right?

This post was brought to you by the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers via sheblogs. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of CAPP. 

This morning my alarm went off at it’s usual time of 7am and I sleepily hit the snooze button a few times before clumsily rolling myself out of my warm and cozy bed. Sitting on the side of my bed, I have a huge stretch as I slipped on my robe and headed to the coffee machine. The power light on my coffee machine was a beacon, telling me the day was starting off right. Behind me, in the peripheral of my groggy mind came my daughters, both happily wide awake nattering about a new app for their iPods. These two seem to become alert the moment their eyes open to greet the day, thankfully they’ve learned that my brain takes a bit of time to wake up. That took years of conditioning and biting my lip in the morning.

Sipping my piping hot coffee, I hit the remote to turn on some jazz as my husband arrives home from work. Yet another chipper human for me to interact with before my usual cordial demeanor kicks in. Within minutes, he has me in a conversation, which was far above my capacity at the time. He was ranting about how entitled we all are these days, how his grandfather lived in the bush and thrived off the land….Of course I did what I always do and tried to defend our generation and somehow ended up agreeing to live a day without any product or amenity fuelled or produced by petroleum products.

If you know me at all, you know I must have been seriously sleepy! I had the pleasure of working in the Oil/Gas industry for some time and have full knowledge of the scope of the products and amenities I rely upon which would be included in his NO list. It took only 5 minutes for the reality to set in and I was immediately back-pedalling in my mind.

Living Like a Homesteader – As If I Could Do This!

The moment I huffily agreed to living like a homesteader, I knew I was in over my head. Imagining how my day would look had me gasping for more coffee and scrambling to figure out a way out of this challenge I’d so proudly accepted. Let’s take a wee look at what it would look like for me:

First off, I would sleep in every day. I’ve never been a natural riser, I admire those of you who wake as the sun breaks but that’s just not in my genetic makeup. I’d have to go to an antique store to find an alarm clock, which has no plastic parts.

To get to the antique store, I would need some kind of transportation other than a car (petroleum-fuelled) or a bike (plastic parts). This meant I’d either be walking for miles and miles, or taking a horse and buggy. Going with a horse and buggy would be my choice but I’m not planning on moving to the country any-time soon so I will plan a day trip of walking. I’d need to walk on dirt paths because roads are formed using petroleum resources, that could be a problem to the property owners as my wacky-self trudges along hopping their fences.

For a long walking trip, I’d need new shoes. My shoes have rubber soles which use petroleum in production so I’ll have to come up with something there.

Can you see how exhausting this thought-process is becoming?


Going Without Isn’t In My Makeup

Giving up and conceding defeat to my husband wasn’t easy, it simply goes against the grain of who I am but the fact is that I rely on petroleum products and am no kind of homesteader like my husband’s grandparents.

Just in case you think you can easily live without, the fact is that we reply on petroleum daily. Here is a brief list of the products that petroleum resources produce:

  • Clothing

  • Cosmetics

  • Building materials

  • Plastics, pvc and various oils like bitumen used in road formation

  • Petroleum jelly

  • Peanut butter and jelly

  • Gasoline for cars, trucks, buses, trains, boats and planes

  • Fuel heating and cooling

  • Ink

  • Crayons

  • Dishwashing liquids

  • Deodorant

  • Eyeglasses

  • CDs and DVDs

  • Tires

  • Ammonia

  • Heart valves

Realizing the magnitude of the situation, I decided to present the positive outlook to my husband instead. With a flourish, I lamented about the advances our generation has made over time, highlighting the amazing benefits the petroleum industry has afforded us.

The fact is that Canada has the third largest oil reserves in the world with 97% of those reserves in the Oil Sands- 168 billion barrels with the potential of over 100 years of production! This is a resource that will last, providing benefits to our children’s children and so on. Having a secure source to meet Canada’s growing demand provides a future for our offspring. With this resource there is potential for over 800,000 jobs being created over the next 25 years, again an example of how Canada’s petroleum is a positive.

In the end, I managed to get out of a day as a homesteader, frankly I think my husband enjoyed my discomfort a bit too much but once again I was reminded how the advancements in technology and fuel compliment our lives. I love to take time away from society and go to Muskoka to live off of the land now and again but I’ll have to pass on truly being a homesteader, that’s just beyond me.

Could you do it?

For more information about the Oil Sands industry visit

Disclosure: This post was brought to you by the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers via sheblogs. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of CAPP. 

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18 Responses

  1. I would like to say I could do it, but in all honesty, I couldn’t. It is surprising (when I look at your list) how many things we use that require petroleum. Deodorant? Heart valves? Peanut Butter and Jelly? (yikes..not sure I want to know about the last one, lol). Thanks for an eye-opening post, Julie! Really makes you stop and think.

  2. Nope. Couldn’t do it. I”m thinking of everything I would have to give up and I would end up acting and looking like a bear.

    I didn’t rely on my alarm this morning (thanks to the genius Idea someone had of putting a skylight in the bedroom) but I right now as I am typing on my computer, I am having a coffee and I’m about to turn on the TV and lift weights. My first hour of the day wouldn’t be the same!

  3. Such a great reminder that technology has changed us in so many ways. At first, I thought it wouldn’t be so bad for one day — until you mentioned the shoes. Hmmm….. I think I’ll stay in my modern air-conditioned house.

  4. Going back to the “good ol” farm days would not be something I would want to do. There is a reason our farming ancestors lived short lives…hard freaking work. lol I’m much happier using my tractor or gas powered tools to get things done on the farm these days.

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