|The homesteader's dilemma|
One of the basic tenants of homesteading is to turn one's home from a zone of consumption into a zone of production. But it also means that if you use x amount of energy, you try to either reduce or at least maintain that amount as you go along in life. Meaning you don't add appliances without thinking about their impact on your household bills and the environment.
Sometimes this is a challenge. Right now, for instance, I have realized I am accumulating a pretty nice collection of wines, some of which are new and could do with a nice laying down for several years.
A laying down, you ask? Yes. If you know wines, you already know that this means. Get a bottle of, say, 2010 Cabernet, and while its drinkable now, it will be even better in a few more years. Laying it down means just that: Setting it aside and, just as important, storing it properly, so you can hang onto it until it comes to the peak of its deliciousness, when it's truly ready to be opened and enjoyed.
|Laying down on the job|
The other day at the winery, for example, the staff sampled a 2009 Cabernet, which everyone thought was delicious, until the manager opened a bottle of the 2005 Cabernet, which had been stored in the temperature controlled wine library to age for four years longer than the 2009. The change was remarkable; the "laying down" truly took a good wine and made it great.
Wine is an investment. I have a coworker who collects new wines, allows them to age, then checks on a wine brokers website to see when it's selling for the most money. That's when the wine is at its peak, so that's when he opens his bottle. He said usually a good wine will double in price by the time it reaches its peak, and some become more expensive even after that.
So as I'm working for wine now and amassing a pretty nice collection of wines, I need something to store them properly in, i.e., a decent wine refrigerator (rather than the 8 bottle one we currently have), so I can do the same thing as my coworker and open no wine before its time.
But we're homesteaders, and so begins the homesteading thing of adding and subtracting as far as our power usage goes. When we get rid of the inefficient 8-bottle cooler we have now, that will save some wattage. Moving the chest freezer indoors has saved us a lot of wattage also. So now I can justify buying the wine fridge as we've created energy savings elsewhere.
These are not hard and fast rules; we're not energy-use zealots, but we do believe in not wasting finite resources, like those that bring us our power. So we check and we balance, and we find a way to preserve our new and delicious investments.