A lesson in self-sufficiency

Published 10:04 pm Monday, August 3, 2009

Yes, even sports editors take vacations. So, I was being shown around San Francisco on Saturday instead of covering the fifth annual Farm, Home and Wildlife Expo hosted by the Chilton Research and Extension Center.

But if I had been in town, I would have been interested to see Wayne Keith’s 1968 pickup truck that runs on gas produced by partially burning wood.

For anyone that missed the Expo as well as the Weekend edition of The Clanton Advertiser, Keith retrofitted his vehicle with technology originated by the Germans in World War II. Keith places large pieces of wood into a gasifier, ignites the wood, and then closes a lid to limit the amount of air that enters the reactor.

Keith’s gasifier can take him about 100 miles without having to refill it, but ash must be cleaned out every 1,000 miles or so. The truck travels at 60 miles per hour comfortably, can reach 80 miles per hour, produces no visible emissions and is greener than the typical vehicle.

With his environmentally friendly truck, Keith would feel right at home in San Francisco, but I’m more of a fan of the self-sufficiency. In addition to the truck, Keith has a log home built with lumber harvested from his farm and processed through his homemade sawmill—and the home is powered by a homemade windmill.

Rising gas prices? Power outages? They matter little when you can everything yourself.