It has been a long time since I moved into a new home. Any move to a new residence was never complete for me until the electricity was turned on. Electricity means hot food, a hot shower and some form of entertainment, however to me-more than anything-it means light.
When I look at the creations in my life, most of them had some sort of light attached. It is almost as though no creation counts to me unless it has light. There is something that feels good, and even respectful, about light.
A few years ago, I built a cupola for the roof of my shop. Much of the design was built around creating space to hide electric wire and protection of a milk house light fixture. I like designing systems and lighting typically demands imagination and planning. I do not like heights so changing a light bulb inside a cupola was out of the question. For this reason, and prior to long-lasting LED light bulbs, I had to make a light bulb last as long as possible. For this reason, I started using timers combined with photovoltaic switches, I really enjoyed designing the wiring for these little set-ups-particularly when combined with a three- way switch. LED bulbs last so long, and cost so little, that typically I just leave them on all night however you can even get LED bulbs now that operate using a dusk to dawn switch. Ahh, progress.
Most of my recent lighting has been with porcelain barn lights. These are simple, elegant lights which, at one time, vainly tried to fulfill their description as a yard light. The small, incandescent bulbs threw only a small amount of light and pale in comparison to current overhead, yard lights. I like the old porcelain light fixtures and use them as accent lighting around the farm. In the middle of a winter storm, their warm glow makes me feel truly fortunate for every minute of my life.
I like low-voltage lighting too. It seems lower-risk to me and more DIY-friendly. We have an old bed frame in our yard that has a sign with our names on it. I hung a few low-voltage fixtures on the frame years ago and paired it with a circuit that powers a spotlight on our flag. A separate circuit runs to the pet cemetery in our yard and lights each night as a way to remember some of our favorite friends.
I know this is not a tutorial on electricity or lighting as I am not qualified to teach either. I must have been trying to make a point somewhere along the way. Maybe it is this; there is a need inside most humans to seek light in the darkness. This can be a literal, spiritual or metaphorical beam however I think there is a certain comfort that comes from a light that is meant for you.