Tuesday, October 10, 2017
Living Like at Camp
Just about every natural disaster takes down the power grid. Hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, snowstorms, tornadoes, and even solar storms. Throw in human error and it's a miracle the grid works at all.
I'm a big proponent of alternative energy. Even small solar electric systems can be a huge help. Then I got to thinking about how I used to spend many a day at my dad's old hunting camp. My dad and his friends built it about fifty years ago, when I was a little kid. Solar electric wasn't an option back then.
Here's what the place was like. It was sixteen by sixteen feet square. The camp was framed with spruce poles. Walls were constructed from salvaged boards. There was a small covered porch in the front. It had a woodstove, a bunk bed, a full sized bed, sink, and a propane stove. Propane came from a hundred pound cylinder. It ran the stove and two gas lights. Propane was the big luxury item in the camp. At first they used a kerosene lantern.
Water came from a brook maybe a hundred yards down a steep hill. Behind the camp was a woodshed and an outhouse. The toilet seat for the outhouse was kept on a hook behind the woodstove. You would not believe the difference in comfort that made, especially in sub-zero weather.
To get to this camp required a nine mile trip up a logging road, then about another quarter mile down a fire road. Many a year we were unable to drive all the way to camp. Sometimes we only had to hike the fire road. For a few years the last three miles would get blocked part of the year. One year my cousin and I traveled the whole way on cross country skies.
Occasionally someone would bring an AM/FM transistor radio. It wasn't all that often, however, as we were at camp for the quiet and isolation. Entertainment consisted of cards, a cribbage board, books, and magazines. It was nice. Actually, it was wonderful.
I got to thinking about how my lovely wife and I would survive at our house with no electricity at all. Let's say the grid goes down and for some reason my solar electric gets knocked out too. It would be a lot like camp. We'd have to keep the woodstove going in cold weather. Jugs of water would need to be hauled up from the well. The toilets could be flushed that way, but it's a lot of work -maybe more hassle than an outhouse. Actually, if I could use the composting toilet from the sailboat it would save a lot of work.
Lighting might become a problem. Eventually all my LED headlamps would run out of batteries. We've some candles, but they wouldn't last forever either. Maybe we'd just go bed when it got dark.
As for entertainment, there's playing cards, a cribbage board, board games, and thousands of good books to read. Actually, it doesn't sound too bad to me. There's something to be said for a less technological lifestyle.