Monday, May 21, 2007

My Work: Living on Solar Power - Part 5

March, 1997

Four months now without central heating, traffic jams, or pollution.

What we had were skies full of stars, helpful neighbours, home-made haircuts, and sunrise through our bedroom window. After some pretty low times and frustrations over construction, computers, telephones, and electricity (accompanied with occasional second thoughts about the move here), we concluded that the move was a good idea.

We frost-seeded pastures and began to think about fences and how to divide the land into paddocks for the sheep. We built a pig yard so our future porkers could run in about 5,000 square feet (as much as pigs run). I snorted and whuffed myself about high feeding areas, low latrine areas, and providing water from roof run-off, but Susan didn’t pay me a lot of attention unless I started to squeal.

We bought a battered ’81 pick-up with a brand-new Lincoln V-8 engine from our neighbor and I asked him about welding me up a frame with wheels I could use for a chicken coop and move from paddock to paddock behind the sheep.

He said, “I can do better than that. I’ve got an old van out in back I was going to cut the engine out of and make into a chicken coop, why don’t you take it?” It was perfect. Off the ground, critter tight, with lots of doors and windows.

Of course, our temptation was to try to do everything all at once. Animals, garden, orchard, building, repairing, maintaining, hunting, and fishing competed for hours and days. We had to remind ourselves that this was a long process, with no finish line, and that the pleasure was supposed to come with the doing, not the done. Still, I had a three-page single-spaced list of projects and found myself judging the value of the day by the amount completed.

No comments: