Being Grateful for Solar Panels and Pineapples

| 10/8/2010 1:26:46 PM

(This blog should be sung to the tune of “These Are a Few of My Favorite Things” from “The Sound of Music.”)

We live in interesting times. The best of times and the worst of times. I probably dwell on the bad stuff way too much. But this is not to say that I don’t appreciate all the amazing stuff today. I try to emphasize this in my book Thriving During Challenging Times. One of the keys to happiness is being “grateful,” so today I’m going to be grateful for all these wonderful things. This weekend is Thanksgiving in Canada, which is a great time to give some thought to what I am thankful for.

I’m thankful that this weekend my home will be toasty warm, heated by sustainably-cut firewood from my amazing 150 acres and burned in an energy-efficient secondary combustion woodstove which burns exceptionally cleanly and really emits only the carbon that the tree extracted from the air and stored during its lifetime. I’m thankful that we still have enough sun at this time of year that our showers and baths will be heated by the sun hitting my Enerworks solar domestic hot water heater, which transfers that heat to my hot water tank. I am fortunate that professor Steve Harrison at the Queen’s Solar Lab had the time and money and expertise to engineer this wondrous system, and that Canadian taxpayers had the foresight to provide seed money to Enerworks to commercialize it.

I’m thankful for the wonder of wonders that are my solar panels that allow me to live four miles from the nearest utility pole and still live a life like other North Americans. I have lights and appliances and a water pump and fridge and freezer and all these truly unbelievably great machines that make my life infinitely easier than if I had to do all these things manually. I’m grateful to Steve Bergey and his crew in Oklahoma (where the wind comes sweeping down the plain) that engineered my marvelous 1-kilowatt wind turbine that is whirring away as I write this. It is powering my laptop and the internet satellite dish that allows me communicate with the outside world by bouncing my internet signal 25,000 miles to a satellite in space and back and keep me as plugged in as someone in a big city, while I’m surrounded by trees and lakes in the middle of nowhere.


I’m thankful to live in a country where I can vote for the people who govern me. While I often disagree with them at least I have a choice and if I get tired enough of their shenanigans I can get off my butt and run for office to change things to the way I think are more appropriate. I’m grateful to live in a capitalist society that has given me a wonderful standard of living. While I think it is badly in need of a tune-up as it pushes our species to the brink of extinction with its insatiable growth to consume all resources on the planet (sorry, slipped there for a minute) free enterprise has brought most of society to a very good place and has provided the incentive to develop that technologies that allow me to live in the bush and be completely “plugged into the matrix” at the same time.

Elizabeth Hollingsworth_2
10/19/2010 10:06:25 PM

how can i be notified of when you write a new blog article?

M Fowler
10/13/2010 12:34:03 PM

I lived in the Florida Keys & grew pineapple there. It is an easy plant to long as you're patient. I was lucky enough to get an "experimental hybrid" from one of the larger companies. It tasted fantastic. I saved the top & planted it in great homemade soil (it's all coral rock in the Keys). It took off. A note: the newer pineapple plants take awhile to mature. Typically, it's around the 3-year mark. That's when you'll get your first pineapples. In the upper reaches of the continent, utilize your greenhouse. It'll make a huge difference. Also, don't forget to water it. The plant requires an amazing amount of water. Good luck!

Shelley in Vancouver
10/12/2010 11:01:34 PM

Nerdmom, I am in Vancouver, BC, Canada. Which is a Zone 8 wrapped inside a Zone 5. Pineapples are a pretty tough plant, with a shallow root. I think they will do just fine anywhere in a greenhouse environment. I have a few outside in a raised bed, that I am going to mulch and poly for the winter. Then I have a couple inside. I love a challenge, when I heard that you could grow them from the tops.... I had to try it. Now I can't stop. Shelley

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