So I had this drywall situation.

When we bought our place there was a small propane fridge in the kitchen. We didn’t like it, it made bad smells and then we realized that it was venting on the inside and that periodically propane fridges have bad consequences for people who use them. So we bought a secondhand small electric fridge, which was the most efficient fridge you could buy for an off-grid application 15 years ago (other than special ordering a SunFrost.)

There was a wooden cabinet built in over top of this small fridge.

Thanks to California pushing energy efficiency limits we were eventually able to buy a full sized fridge that uses less energy than the small one. We had to remove the cabinet to get it to fit, but of course it didn’t fill up the entire area, leaving a big ugly gap.

I’ve been meaning to fix it for years but I got distracted. Finally I just stuck a piece of drywall in the gap but I still hadn’t bothered to properly tape and finish it off. I can do a lot of things but dry wall is not one of them. Finally this Christmas I vowed to fix the situation before the New Year. I decided to just cover up the whole mess. So I grabbed a big chunk of 100+-year-old pine from an old train station and I slapped it up on the wall over top of the fridge.

I did it before Michelle could object and I said, “Let’s come up with some great philosophical, motivating, inspirational quote to engrave into the wood!” I wasn’t looking for anything food-related; just something that we could look at every day that would have meaning to us.


Well, that was 2-1/2 months ago and the big hunk of wood is still a blank canvas. The other day Michelle said “I know the perfect prayer for you” and she sent me this;

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

The courage to change the things I can,

And the wisdom to know the difference.”

Michelle suggested that I spend too much of my time getting annoyed/angry about things that I have no control over. She says that I would be a much happier person if I accepted the things that I cannot change. I think she was referring to some of the small annoyances in my life right now, like the fact that the drought killed our lawn last summer and so now as the snow melts it’s turning into a muddy mess that Jasper (the dog) can’t help but track into the house. I can put old hay down on his pathways but she’s right, I just need to accept that we’re going to get some mud tracked in.

It’s an interesting concept because the question becomes “well, what can’t I actually change?” Obviously I’m kind of concerned about the whole climate change thing right now. Well, that’s one of the things that keep me up at night. That and the torrential spring rain that threatened to flood the guesthouse two nights ago. I was out every couple of hours digging trenches to divert the water. And of course the rain had to come during the middle of the night – not during daylight hours. Ah … country living!

I just watched a great video on Grist with David Robert giving the lowdown on carbon numbers. He suggests that with the political mood in the US Congress we’re stuck between the impossible and the unthinkable. Now everyone in the audience must make the impossible, possible. ( or

And so that is where I am at right now. It’s a monumental task to get a price on carbon. Perhaps I should accept that this is something “I cannot change.” But my instinct is to keep doing what I’ve been doing for decades, trying to get my carbon footprint as low as possible, and trying to share those techniques and motivation with others.

So then I think maybe I should try another quote.

“Every calling is great when greatly pursued.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes


“Energy and persistence conquer all things.” – Benjamin Franklin


“You’re happiest while you’re making the greatest contribution.” – Robert F. Kennedy

I’d like to believe that last one, but sometimes this battle can be pretty dam depressing.

So I’m still wrestling with finding the perfect profound, inspirational message to put on the wood over the fridge.

Have you got a gem to share? I would love your feedback because I know many of you share my beliefs and challenges.

On some blogs you can enter to win great prizes. For this promotion if your inspirational quote is selected you’ll win “My infinite gratitude!” Even if you don’t win, I will be grateful for your contribution!

In the words of my wise father-in-law Lorne, “Thanks, ever so much!

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Blog Notes from Michelle – We apologize for the lack of posts lately. Cam has been busy writing the new book, “The Sensible Prepper” and when he isn’t busy writing he’s out hauling in the last of the firewood on sleds before we lose all of our snow.

Just a reminder that our next workshop here at Sunflower Farm will be held on Saturday, May 4. Go here for details and let us know if you’d like us to reserve a spot for you!