The Peasants of Silicon Valley

Over the past months you may have sighed indulgently – or with irritation – as I’ve described our attempts to get to grips with our peasant lifestyle.  I’ve smugly talked about our efforts to get a 52 weeks a year veg. patch going, about going equipped on every walk, prepared to carry loot home: a bagful of walnuts, chestnuts to roast, windfall apples and pears, a log or two for the fire.  We enjoy what we do and it matters to us, but frankly, if we don’t get these things right….well, there’s always the market, or someone around who can sell us what we need.

Until now.  Now we’re in crisis.  We’ve no firewood for the wood-burning stove.  Well, not much anyway.  A friend’s cousin was supposed to supply us with our wood for the winter, and he did.  But it won’t do for this winter, and probably not next either.  We need wood that’s had all its natural moisture weathered out of it, leaving it dry and combustible.  What we got was freshly-hewn logs.  They sit in the grate and spit and sulk. We’ve been busily lugging them to the open first floor of our atelier, and stacking them where the air will get at them and dry them out.

Wood for the stove....going....gone

So now, half way through November, we’re asking anyone who’ll listen where we can buy seasoned wood.  And the answer is, we can’t, it’s too late. It’s all sold.  Like real peasants, we face the prospect of a winter without our beloved wood-burning stove.  Unlike those peasants, we do have a few radiators, but they don’t glow cheerily at us after a chilly day playing at being self-sufficient in the great outdoors.

And unlike those peasants, we’ve had another, peculiarly 21st century crisis. Our computer became terminally ill.  Its death in the night seemed certain.  We were distraught.  How to keep in contact with friend in 3 continents?  How to pay bills, organise our banking, buy tickets to England for Christmas?  Hearing of our distress, friends and family phoned, diagnosed, offered treatments, and somewhere in among all this, a remedy appeared.  It might turn out to be merely patching the wound, but it’s working so far.  It’s reminded us though that we’re not quite the horny-handed sons-and-daughters-of-toil that we like to see ourselves as.  We have some way to go before we achieve The Good Life

A rural scene a few miles from our house. This farm's ready for winter

9 thoughts on “The Peasants of Silicon Valley”

  1. You could try making your own out of newspapers and other stuff like that…there are a couple of ‘machines’ on the market that enable you to do just that! (and also one that you can use stuff like wet leaves in!!)



  2. I have this image of you guys wandering the countryside in deep snow, wrapped in blankets, going from farm to farm and asking, “please monsieur, can you spare some seasoned wood.” I bet you can find some at large chain grocery stores, building supply markets, or maybe on the web. Just to get you through this winter.

    Does China export seasoned wood yet?


    1. Of course I had to lay in on a bit thick. Something will turn up: the ideas keep cpoming, and in fact we have all sorts of rescued wood, wormy floorboards, that sort of thing, squirrellled away. Just needs chopping – peasants once more.


    1. What a star! Thank you. We’re finally getting somewhere, but we’re not out of the wood yet (groan)….except we are of course, almost. Yes, I’m better at organising others than I am myself, too. It’s more fun, n’est-ce pas?


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