Monday, December 22, 2008

Tech for the Homestead?

Ok, I guess I should live up to my screen name a bit, huh?

Technology. My field of profession. I went with it because I'm good at it and, heck, it was easier to go with this than to try to figure out what I really wanted to do with my life. I remember one time I told my dad that I wanted to be a knucklebuster (auto mechanic), and his response? “Ok, I'll support you but realize that you will spend a lot of time at the bottom of the ladder buying your tools and sweating in the summer and freezing in the winter” Or words to that effect. I thought a lot about becoming a chef... but I hated working nights when everyone else I knew was working one daylight shift or another.

Now, when I say technology, I mean to say that I am a computer programmer. I have worked in most fields of the I.T. trade from pulling wires for networks, to setting up and managing said networks, to designing and maintaining websites, to writing custom programs. I can administer a system and a network, or I can find most anything on the 'net. Sound interesting? Trust me, its not. Well, I guess I can't say that... I'm sure someone out there is working on an interesting project. I, however, am not currently working on any project at the office that is interesting. Notice that I said that I don't have any interesting projects at work. I have a few projects at home in the works, that once they are done or are a little further along, I'll be sharing.

What brought this rambling on, you may ask? (or so you may not...) I was going through one of the newer issues of Mother Earth News that we have lying around the house, and looking at the ads (oh my, aren't there so many to look at!). There are a bunch of ads for solar panels and windmills, etc. Ok, great, I can completely support wanting to use renewable energy for some things around the house, but isn't self-sufficiency part of what we want? How self-sufficient is it to have your energy coming from a kit or from a device that you don't understand? Especially for those living completely off-grid, if something happens to your solar panels, are you going to be able to fix it or make the system work? Obviously we don't have the technology to make solar panels at home to replace broken panels. I understand that, but what if something else breaks, something isn't charging or no power is coming through. Can you fix it?

Now, I understand that many/most of the people interested in homesteading and self-sufficiency are handy and can rig something. I'm not even saying not to use these systems. I am saying think about it and what would you do if something happens? This is a yardstick that I also apply to cars. Hybrid or electric cars? Is enough information known to be able to fix these cars at home? But that's a topic for another day.


Chris W said...

Hey check this guy out He's a regular poster on Backwoods Home and he lives not an hour away, I think you'll like his ideas and how he runs things!

FarmerGeek said...

Hey, thanks, I'll have to check him out!