These days, everybody has some amount of technology in his or her home. Computers, smart phones, e-book readers, personal gaming devices, and Siri….don’t forget Siri. (Is it just me, or does anyone else feel like they are one of the Jetsons when they say, “hey Siri…). You see we all have some technology in our lives, but here at Red Acres, we have technology EVERYWHERE in our lives. See exhibits A-E for clarification

APPLIANCES: We have a dishwasher that communicates to the factory, and has a remote sensor inside to detect leaks; and in the case of a leak, it will shut itself off and send us a message. It also detects the water hardness and lets us know when we are falling down on the job in the water-softening department. Oh, and our laundry washing machine not only sings us a song when it finishes it’s job, it also keeps track of the number of loads we have done and senses when it has had enough red dirt and dog hair to require a 6 hour respite. Then it proceeds to shout at us for time off, so it can complete it’s self-cleaning cycle.
LIGHTS: We do not have good old toggle on/off light switches in our home. Nope, we have Lutron! We have buttons on the wall that say “clean”, “TV”, “cook”, and “dine”. Yes, you must first “think about what you intend on doing in the room” before you turn the lights on. Let that thought sink in for a minute….you cannot just approach a darkened room and casually reach over and flip the lights on as you enter. No, you must approach the darkened room with a set purpose and intent, and then you must predict all the activities you may want to do in the room, and select the appropriate and corresponding button to then illuminate the room.
THERMOMETERS: So thermometers aren’t necessarily technology…but hang with me here for a minute as I explain. We, here at Red Acres, do not limit ourselves to a single, standard thermometer. We have several thermometers in the house…meat thermometers, candy thermometers, Bluetooth remote thermometer bbq probes, oven thermometers, and yes even take your temperature in the ear type thermometers. Now you may not think that this is necessarily over the top technology, well here is the kicker: with all these thermometer options at our disposal, “we choose to use an infrared laser thermometer to make kefir”. LOL, now there is a sentence that has probably never been uttered. On one end of the spectrum we are totally “back to the basics, grow it yourself, healing with food, health conscious” groupies; and at the other end of the spectrum we are “early adopters of technology, riders of the tech wave, and avid automaters”. Okay, enough about this…moving on…
SECURITY: Doorbells used to be the way guests and unwanted solicitors would make themselves known to those inside. Not us, nope…we know you are here before you even know you are here! With a driveway camera, a parking lot camera, and all the other assorted cameras and whatnot, we probably do not even need a doorbell. Finding our place is not easy. We are a bit off the beaten path, and after driving down the gravel road for a bit, unwelcomed and uninvited solicitors are faced with a pretty steep incline to navigate before they even get a glimpse of our house. They almost deserve a prize for actually making it all the way to our house, but instead may find themselves greeted by the dogs or the husband. Normally they barely have time to put their car in park and turn the ignition off before someone gets the jump on them. Yep, with technology, there is no sneaking up on us at Red Acres.
FENCES: Good old-fashioned fences have their place here at Red Acres. With a little over 6 acres, 4 dogs, 5 goats, 10 chickens, and 3 bunnies…um we better have some good old-fashioned fences. However, technology is starting to take over here too. The dogs have collars that keep them from chasing after every coyote, deer, bobcat or squirrel that happens to cross their path; an invisible fence is a necessity when you are living in the country with Airedale Terriers. (Well, the invisible fence and collars have kept most of our dogs on the property…sometimes an Airedale just needs to break free and chase deer for miles and miles…yet again, material for another post)

Now, please do not get me wrong, I am not complaining about all of our technology. We are a bit geeky (proud of it), and we are a little nerdy (we can own it), and we really enjoy both sides of the spectrum. We enjoy going back to basics and making our own fermented goods, growing our own food, making our own remedies, and now raising our own meat. However, we also enjoy embracing and utilizing emerging technology to engage our minds, stretch our creativity, and free up our time to live in the moment.

Now, sometimes this dichotomy causes a stir. Just this week, my family called me out on my “not embracing technology”. Seriously! With all the technology, and tech-gadgets we have in this house, it blows their minds that I have chosen this as a reminder.


However, to me, the white plastic step stool is a more effective reminder than setting an alarm on my iPhone, and I am okay with this.


Question: So, what exactly is the step stool reminding me of?

Answer: The step stool stands sentry in front of the fridge for 18 hours, approximately once a week; reminding me that there is kefir fermenting away above the fridge.


Question: Why won’t I get with the times and just set an alarm on my iPhone?

Answer: Well, to be honest…I have control issues!


It may be an age thing, or just an example of my inflexibility in some areas; either way here is my thought process on the matter of the white step stool:

  • I am the one who makes, ferments, and then bottles the kefir.
  • I try to start new batches at lunchtime.
  • The kefir needs to be kept at approximately 72 degrees for 18 hours, and that just happens to be the constant temp in the cabinet over our fridge. (I used the infrared laser thermometer to check!)
  • I am short
  • I have to use the step stool to put the kefir up.
  • Once placed in front of the fridge, I leave it there to remind me that the kefir is up there.
  • In the morning, I wake up, see the step stool, and promptly use it to retrieve the kefir.
  • I then put the step stool away.

So, this is why they teased me this week, and questioned my ability to keep up with technology. Needless to say they really don’t like having to walk around the step stool for 1/2 a day, but hey, it works for me!