We all know how the world works; nothing is ever as easy as it seems. Get out a pen and write this down:
“Nothing is ever as easy as it seems.”
That’s why I’ve always hated the smug jackoffs (like the folks on the cover of Mother Earth News) who use the phrase voluntary simplicity. You know who I’m talking about. The dude waving at the organic tomatoes that he grew using $10,000 worth of hydroponic wizardry or the happy retired couple standing in front of a massive log home that’s amid six acres of landscaping performed with a brand new Kubota diesel tractor. Sure they’re petting an heirloom breed chicken but a lot of work went into the damn chicken.
Doing things on your own on a farm/homestead/real life may be voluntary but there’s nothing simple about it. It’s messy, goofy, and complex. You know what’s simple? Simple is working in a cubicle as a drone. When you want something you buy it from China, you pick it out at WalMart, and you pay for it with Visa. That’s simple. Not a single brain cell killed in that entire process. No muss. No fuss.
What’s not simple are the goofy ideas that I chase; like putting a woodstove to use 80 years after it was built.
A woodstove is not a box in which you put a fire. It’s a box in which you put heat shields and the heat shields protect the box. This is due to thermodynamics or the Doppler effect or some other sciency way of saying “if the box gets too hot it’ll warp”. The heat shield can be brick… like the non-standard unobtainable ones my wood stove service repairman broke. (Full story: #1, #2, #3, #4.) Or it can be cast iron… based on a design that went away when rural electrification was still a thing; like the ones in my “new” cookstove.