The year is 2011. Technology has become a part of our everyday lives. We take everything including our iPods, televisions, computers and even a simple light bulb for granted day in and day out. Everybody has electricity, and it’s as if having power is an inalienable right. Well for Sierra Hutt, a freshman at Castleton State College, living with constant power is a new experience.
Hutt grew up in Hartland, VT, and she grew up living off the power grid. Hutt’s house was built in 1991 in a secluded area in Hartland. Her father built the house out of old barn board when she was just a baby. When Hutt’s parents asked the electric company for an estimate for hooking the house up to the grid, they were told that it would cost them $25,000.
They just couldn’t afford to pay that much, so they settled for living off the grid.
When the power goes out in today’s society, people lose the ability to have fun, squirming without a computer or television to turn to. When asked what she did growing up without such luxuries, Hutt said she had a lot of animals to tend to, and that her training of a miniature horse and her dog to be therapy animals for people in hospitals really helped her pass the time. She also is a black belt in Okinawan karate. She also said that reading and writing played a big part in keeping her occupied.
Now, though, Hutt finds herself in a different situation as she lives on campus. She said that living on campus in a dorm is very different than home because here you can go and have hot water whenever you want, and just flick on the lights.
Hutt’s friends say they were as surprised by the transition as Hutt was.
“I was shocked when Sierra said she grew up without electricity because I don’t know anybody who grew up without electricity”, says Hutt’s friend and roommate Molly Hornbeck.
When asked if growing up the way she did caused her to be bullied in school, she admitted that opening up about the way she grew up was something new for her.
“No not really,” she said. “I kept the way I lived a secret.”
Hutt said she never really had friends come over to her house because the drive way is 1600 feet long and her house is small and always crazy with commotion.
“Living this way forces everyone to develop their own individual personalities,” said Hutt’s mother, Patience Hutt.
Hutt agreed with her mother about the benefits of growing up without electricity.
“Growing up the way I did made me who I am. It gave me appreciation for life and for other people. I wouldn’t have it any other way,” she said.