2015 has been a year of changes for our “homestead.” Some of these make me feel a bit strange.
You may have inferred from the posts on this blog that we kind of revel in the quaintness of our situation. We like the quirkiness of our life—were that not so, we likely would not live this way. Ironically, then, I feel a slight sadness when our situation improves, becoming a bit less quaint or quirky than before.
I first felt this way when we switched the emphasis of our off grid electrical generation from wind to solar (see Power Shift: Increasing Our Energy Independence). I couldn’t quantify it; I’ve been thinking about it ever since then, and am just now working out what, exactly, I’m feeling.
As much as I wanted to change our power system, I wondered if I might miss our old way of doing things. I didn’t want to fully let go of the constant weather watching, monitoring the direction, speed and strength of the wind. I feared I might even miss the challenge of dealing with the obstinant wind generator—the very reason we decided to change the system in the first place.
I know it doesn’t make a lot of sense. My reaction is wholly emotional, not logical.
At any rate, I’m getting over it. I catch myself watching the wind generator now and then, but I get an overwhelming feeling of relief when I do that. I love remembering that I no longer need to do it. As I write this, a 35 knot (40+ m.p.h.) gale blows. Were we still relying on the wind generator for our power, the charge would be very erratic.
Now, we ‘re changing our Internet connection (see Eviction Notice). As I noted previously, connectivity will now depend on maintaining a cellular connection rather than a satellite dish and modem. It seems so easy. So ordinary.
If this blog has enjoyed success, I feel it’s largely because our life isn’t like the majority of others in our society. Maybe that’s the heart of my fear: I don’t want our life to become common place. I don’t want to become just like everyone else. I know that these two changes won’t make that happen, but any progress toward it concerns me a little.
I sometimes joke uneasily about our “21st century homestead” with power, running water and Internet access. I feel like ours is a luxury homestead, somehow less authentic than those that have no water or power. This doesn’t bother me very much, particularly on days I need a shower, want to watch a movie, or post on this blog.
To look at this another way, I think it’s significant that we have now “outlived” two companies that cater to the off-the-grid lifestyle, Southwest Windpower, which has abandoned the U.S. for India (see My Wind Generator’s Company Goes Missing) and Starband (which seems to be affiliated with Sage Net—keep an eye on this company if you associate with it, based on what just happened to us).
If I meditate on the quirkiness of our lifestyle at times, I surely think harder and longer about whether or not we’re managing our life here. After nine years and outliving these two companies, I guess we’re doing okay.