The Living Sustainably and Independently, Ready for Rough Times, Hands-on, Solar-Powered, All You Can Grow Workshop Wrap Up

| 11/8/2011 8:53:38 AM

A couple of Saturdays ago we had 12 people come to Sunflower Farm for “The Living Sustainably and Independently, Ready for Rough Times, Hands-on, Solar-Powered, All You Can Grow Workshop.” It was a blast.

It was a really great group of people and I think everyone had a great day. I know I did. One of the advantages of this workshop, over the ones that I have done at community colleges, is that there was more time for sharing. Whether it was during our coffee breaks, or lunch, or while we were outside touring, the participants seemed to enjoy getting to know each other and discovering similar interests. There seemed to be a real synergy with everyone. I noticed during the outside stuff that sometimes people would wander off doing their own thing. If my explanation of putting up a wind turbine up didn’t interest someone, they could wander off to chat with one of the other participants and I was fine with that. We asked everyone to fill out an evaluation form and a couple of people commented that they really liked having the opportunity to talk to the other participants. I will have to take this into consideration for future workshops. I’m used to yakking for 6 hours during my college PowerPoint workshops. It’s not that I think that I know everything, but I want to make sure that people get their money’s worth. I’ve learned that is important to make sure that people who want to share information have the opportunity to do so.

I also liked that fact that during my brief PowerPoints in the living room, the bookshelf next to the TV is full of the books that I’ve read that have helped me to formulate this workshop. Michelle has lots of “fiction” bookshelves, but mine are all those boring non-fiction ones that I’ve read over the years to help me form my opinions. “The World According to Cam” is very much a compendium of ideas from lots of sources.

It was great to have Michelle here for the workshop. People are smart and they know my bias, so it gave them a chance to get Michelle’s take on the whole homesteading, off grid, peak oil thing.

I learned a lot too. First off, many people do not like compact fluorescent lights. I understand. It took me some time to get used to them, but I’ve had good luck with them. I have had to replace very few bulbs in the 13 years we’ve lived off grid. I also learned that LED light bulbs are suddenly available. Many stores, including Wal-Mart (which is a store that I’ve never shopped in) are stocking a fairly wide variety of them. They are still expensive, and from a payback point of view, you’re still much better to go with CFLs, but if you don’t like them, or want to be ultra energy efficient, LEDs bulbs are finally going mainstream.

I also learned that many people share my lack of confidence in fiat currencies. These are the paper dollars we use today. So there was good discussion about where to buy precious metals. Apparently I’m not the only one thinking this way.

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