Thursday, January 10, 2013


I spent my day off from the blog working with Jess. Yesterday was one of those rare, carefree times when what I was doing was more important than anything else in the world. My wife has made great strides in getting the greenhouse going, and I was glad to help her team start their planting for this year. I admit to having my doubts about the idea, but I should have realized that if anyone was going to be able to overcome the technical hurdles, it would be Jess. 

The place is freaking huge. It's made up of several large former business, of course, so that's not really a shock. What truly struck me when I walked into the main greenhouse, which used to be a Lowe's and is at least forty feet from floor to ceiling, was how hot it was in there. Sweltering enough that I had to strip my jacket off and get down to a tank top. In January.

Compost makes its own heat, and Jess was not sparing with the stuff. There are piles of it everywhere, set in a pattern around the tables and shelves our newly-planted veggies will occupy. She told me that the compost will heat all the time, and with so many tons of it constantly radiating, the buildings are fairly easy to keep warm. Wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't felt the sweat-inducing warmth myself. 

The roof of the place is being fitted with water catchers to feed the sprinkler system, which will in turn feed the hoses that water the plants and provide drinking water. There's something awe-inspiring about watching Jess order people around and carry this huge, crazy design in her head. Seeing her not only be in charge but actually taking charge is so far from who she was when we started dating that I can barely reconcile the two versions of her. 

Hell, she even ordered me around. I spent a good chunk of the day with my hands in dirt, planting seeds. Some of that time was taken up with helping relocated truckloads of compost from New Haven proper and creating the huge piles according to Jess's plan. The last bit few hours I was over at the Box watching one of the production lines build wind turbines. 

Food is a necessity, and one my wife is becoming more clever and creative in managing. Her work is impressive to say the very least, but the turbines that will go on the roof will be the icing on the cake. They will power grow lights to supplement the natural sunlight coming through the new skylights. They'll be powered by batteries (some homemade ones, now that we have people making them) that will charge any time the wind blows hard enough to make the blades spin. Thanks to the wonder of compact fluorescent bulbs, the things will sip power. Should work out well. 

And that, kids, is just the beginning. Thanks to an abundance of copper laying around the country--already in wire form--we can make a lot of generator engines, for windmills or whatever other kinds of power generation we can think of. 

Ha. I just noticed that this whole post has been without mention of my two least favorite things: the UAS and zombies. Funny how a few projects that would have been utterly mundane several years ago now capture my imagination and hope as if they were magic. Plentiful food and the ability to turn on a light at our convenience may not seem like much, and in truth they really aren't in comparison to what we've lost. But it's important to remember that agriculture and the light of fire propelled mankind out of nomadic wandering and into an era that created modern society.

Now we just have to repeat the greenhouse strategy over again a few times and we will have enough food going by spring to keep people from getting too hungry. Sometimes I forget hos many of us there are now. We've planned for it, but maybe my small brain can't wrap around how this is going to translate into feeding so many. Jess tells me it will work, though, so I believe that it will. 

That's hope. More important, it's a start. A first step toward the future we've been planning to build. 


  1. Not sure if this has been mentioned; Obviously I don't agree with the logic of the UAS, however, by their own logic of having "been elected", wouldn't it then figure that their terms of service have expired or will be soon? Just a thought...

    1. Funny, I just said the exact same thing at the exact same time, just on Tuesdays entry.