So far outside the box you can't even see the box from here.
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Thursday, August 18, 2011
I’ve been living with a limited budget for quite a few years now. I’ve coped in a number of ways. My vehicles are old and 95% of the time they run on free waste vegetable oil. The house is heated mostly with wood. The majority of my electric power come from solar electric. In the winter, I shovel my own driveways instead of hiring a plow truck. Even little things add up: grinding my own wheat and roasting my own coffee.
Some friends and family look at what I do and just shake their head. They think I do a lot of work for nothing. Handling those veggie oil jugs is heavy work and messy. Splitting and piling firewood takes its toll in sore muscles, splinters and bruises. Several times a year I’m up on a ladder adjusting the angle of my solar array. Then there’s maintaining batteries: adding distilled water and cleaning terminals and connections. Shoveling snow can get tedious. Even the little things are time consuming.
Well, they used to shake their heads. In the past, if the price of heating oil or gasoline had an upward spike, they’d just pay a bit more. It was easier to work an extra shift at work than chop firewood. It was much easier than all the stuff I do. People had enough slack in their budgets to absorb increases. Wages were good enough that a few more hours work was real money.
Those easy money days, at least around these parts, are over. Wages have either stagnated or slid backwards. For example, my truck driver uncle is only making $11/hour with no benefits. How can they get away with that? The only other jobs around here pay $8, and plenty of drivers are out of work.
Wages are down, but houses still need to be heated. Vehicles still need fuel. Everyone needs to eat. People are stuck on the treadmill, working longer hours for less money to buy more expensive stuff. Now they don’t have the time, nor the energy to do some of the things I’ve been doing.
It’s still a lot of work, but the value of efforts has gone up considerably. I couldn’t afford to go to work for $8/hour.
I live in an area of NH known as the Great North Woods. I'm in my dome-i-cile out in the county with my lovely wife and a varying number of family and friends
-part red neck, part hippie but all country. Experimenting and enjoying the adventure of life.