Bucket List

30 Dec 2014 by gebhard, No Comments »

screen-shot-2013-12-15-at-9-13-15-amLife is about to change in a dramatic way at my house: we just closed on a new one. All the normal stresses and uncertainties that come with buying a new house and moving are in full tilt in our lives. In addition, my wife and I are also looking at a major lifestyle change, one that when it was originally pitched I blurted out. “I know nothing about any of that. I can’t image how that would work”

My stepmom likes to tell a story of me when I was in 6th grade in the 80’s.  She told me I needed to work harder on learning to spell, and I told her, “I never need to learn to spell because the computer will correct all my errors”. I said this while standing next to my father’s 8088.

It’s been some 30 years, and I’m still waiting for that statement to be true.

It highlights that I have always been infatuated with technology.  Games used to come printed in the back of PC Weekly, and my step brothers and I would take turns reading the lines aloud while the other typed. When complete, we’d save our game on a disk or audio cassette depending on the computer we had at the time.

When I was a tween, I yelled a librarian because she wouldn’t let me take home the only book in the library I wanted to read: A electrician’s reference manual, so I could figure why my rewiring of my stompers to my alarm clock didn’t work.

Over time, I positioned myself here then there by doing the technology work no one wanted to do like pulling cable, punching phones and network jacks, and doing PC support, until I got into the role I always wanted: software development.

I made a bucket list for myself: I wanted to make a website that received more than 100k hits a day, contribute to a open source project, work with robotics, make a commercial desktop application, write firmware, make a piece of commercial hardware and a piece of residential hardware, receive a patent.

Somewhere in my mid-thirties, I crossed the last item off the list. Time to make a new one: maybe satellite hardware? Become a CIO? When I started to think over my goals, what I wanted from life had changed, I had changed. I made a new list, but a very different one.

Today, we are buying a farm. It’s as crazy as it sounds. I was born in a large city. I have always lived my life in a city, or in a suburb of one.

What does farming have to do with technology?  Not a lot, or at least that what I thought for awhile.  I do love to learn. I learned many things after joining the SCA I never thought I could.

Before the SCA, I didn’t like history, but I came to see that learning about people in the past is learning about technology. Humans have always been smart and amazingly creative. In learning about History, I’ve been able to learn more about technology. For example: The Romans used to split their fields in half, let one half sit, and plant in the other.

By the medieval era, a new theory had grown to popularity. Divide it into thirds, leave your animals to graze on one third, let another sit, and plant the last. This theory stayed in use until well into the modern era and is still in use by many small farms today. Just a very small nugget of all the amazing medieval technology crammed in my head.  And don’t even get me started on the evolution of plows.

I’ve attended classes on butchering animals in the middle ages, animal husbandry, milking goats, planting crops, grinding grain, and many others. The core of these things hasn’t changed a lot in 1,000 years.

Before long, a guy who didn’t know a Bull from a Cow has at least a high level understanding of everything needed to produce food and grow crops.

My time in the SCA has allowed me to learn much about period technology.  All the amazing people I have learned from have given me knowledge and confidence do something I never thought possible.  This will be a whole new world of recreation and experimental archaeology for us.

It’s always been my wife’s dream to own a homestead. Now I can check one more item off my bucket list by getting to complete hers.


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