Awareness and consequence. Off-the-grid living keeps bringing these two words up again and again. I have to pause at moments I never had to before I moved here. Pause, take account, count the cost. Pauses like when making toast.

We have a simple toaster oven in our kitchen similar to the ones in most U.S. homes. A simple device, made of heating elements and a timer. In the mornings on the way to work, it is nice to have a bit of toast to go with eggs if we got em. But before I throw the slices into the toaster, I pause. I look outside. Is the sun up yet? How many clouds are in the sky? What was the weather like yesterday? Did we do laundry? What will the weather be like for the rest of the day?

I have to stop and ask this, because the toaster oven uses 1200 watts, thats just 200 watts below the house electricity budget, and that doesn’t take into consideration if there are any lights on, or if the fridge is running. At that morning-moment the house batteries are at their lowest charge. If it has been clear sunny days and the the sun is up I can still toast without a second thought. If it has been cloudy days, or the sun is not up, or we used a lot of appliances the day before, the whole house will go black within seconds after starting the toaster.

Then I will have to decide whether to go out and run the backup generator at $4 of diesel pr hour to get the lights and my toast back before I head off to work.

Awareness and consequence.