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Submission guidelines

Espaliered fruit treesDo you have something you'd like to share with our audience?  Although the Walden Effect is primarily a personal account of our own journey toward sustainability, we like to spice it up from time to time with tidbits from our readers.  Here's a quick rundown on what we are and aren't looking for.

We value brevity.  Can you sum up everything you want to say in one to five paragraphs?  If not, you're probably trying to cover too much ground for one blog post.  We do publish lunchtime series of five related posts on extremely interesting topics, so that's a format to consider if you have more to say.

Good visuals are key.  Whip out that digital camera and document your story with relevant, personal photos.  You may have noticed that every one of our posts has at least one photo included, and longer posts tend to include two or more photos.  We don't accept posts that completely lack visuals.

We're looking for first person experiences.  Write about your own garden, your experience meeting a permaculture guru, or some other personal account.  Our readers want to know about something you've actually tried and are excited about.  That said, failures are just as interesting as successes, so if your pedal power project tanked, let us know why.

Top bar hivesWe don't publish infomercials.  If your primary goal in writing a guest post is to sell a product, please look elsewhere.  However, we are quite willing to add a short biography of you at the end of an information post, with a link to the website of your choice.

Our subject matter is homesteading and simple living.  We can and do include a lot of sub-headings within that subject matter, such as gardening, permaculture, alternative energy, urban foraging, livestock, mushrooms, and much more.  However, we're less keen on greenwashing --- alternative cleaning products aren't going to interest us much.

Read our blog and you'll see what we write about and how we write it.  Think short, fun, and informative, and you're halfway there.

Do you have an article you want to share?  Drop me an email with the the article in the body or attached in any regular format, and include photos up to a total of 4 MB in size.  I'll get back to you within a couple of days, unless we happen to be on our annual cruise.



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Car batteries are designed to have high cranking amps, that stores little power, and needs frequent recharging, over-charging and complete discharging can damage them. (This has to do with the size and shape of the lead terminals- it is a function of surface area.)

While marine batteries are designed to store more power, and give a more steady current output. Because the lead terminals on deep-cycle batteries are more robust they are more tolerant of complete discharges.

The process of charging and discharging a lead battery oxidizes the lead during discharge. Oxidizing (aka rust) means the lead is more fragile and can be broken off easily during a discharged state.

Comment by Jeff Schulte Thu Aug 12 18:03:31 2010
I suspect this wasn't meant to be a submission, but maybe a comment on our emergency backup musings? I can't quite tell....
Comment by anna Thu Aug 12 20:53:21 2010
Thank you for sharing your life adventures. I have been off the grid here in N E Arkansas for about 2 1/2 years now. I moved onto my 5 acre lot (now 20 acres ) after the last ice storm. Power was out for the whole area for about a month so I figured why not! I didn't find it that difficult to get along without electricity, so I never hooked up. And I have not looked back since, I enjoy my self sufficiency and my simple life so much I wouldn't have it any other way. So glad to hear about other folks living unconventional lives as well. Keep up the good work!
Comment by Rachel Thu Jun 2 22:38:08 2011
I'm always so impressed when I hear that folks are homesteading in Alaska! I wish we could do away with our electricity use, but power outages always shock me. Where's my internet? How will we keep deer out of the garden? (Strange that those two seem to hit me harder than lack of refrigeration and cooking ability. :-) )
Comment by anna Fri Jun 3 14:13:26 2011

Have you guys thought of using a ram pump, i found out about them off youtube. Ram pumps require no electricity and it pumps water uphill. I am not sure if you have the requirements needed to get it to work for you but I wanted to see if you knew about it, just type ram pump on youtube and you'll see what i am talking about. I hope everything is going great for you guys, I have read up to march in year 2009. Love the pictures and stories that go with them.

Comment by john Mon Oct 31 06:23:42 2011
We have considered RAM pumps, but we just don't have the change in elevation within the creek to pump the ten or fifteen feet vertically we'd need to get water to our living area.
Comment by anna Mon Oct 31 08:58:39 2011

My grandparents farmed. How did I find you two? A blessing I guess. I would like to live more simply. I was just sitting here rebuilding a moped, so I could use less energy. My job precludes me being too far from a highway (I repair CB radios) I am fascinated and encouraged by your efforts! I will read and learn. God bless you two. -Kurt Van Luven, Fontana, Ca. KI6VST

Comment by captain kirk Sun May 13 17:25:27 2012
This idea kept hitting me in the head and I have to tell you. Have you thought about trying those large space storage bags, you vacuum out the air. It squishes into its self. Get more leaves and reopen the bag, fill it again. I have no idea if this would work for you but i know I would try it if I had the leaves around here. Love your stories, can't wait to read more.
Comment by john Thu Oct 18 19:08:20 2012
John --- Interesting idea. I'm not sure I want to buy something that might not last, but would be very curious to hear from anyone who tries it.
Comment by anna Thu Oct 18 19:28:39 2012

I thought you'd really enjoy this article about recent experiments into how beans use subsoil fungal networks to communicate.

http://www.economist.com/news/science-and-technology/21580443-vegetables-employ-fungi-carry-messages-between-them-beans-talk

Comment by Cameron Moser Sat Jul 13 20:10:01 2013

Hi! Just found your website and discovered you live in SW VA. I'm in NE TN (Tricities area). I've been here for 15 years and having a lot of trouble storing root veggies in the ground due to the freeze/thaw climate and the very short springs. I was wondering how you store root veggies up there in SW VA which has a similar climate to NE TN. I've noticed that some of the neighbors use storage cellars, but those cellars were from 60 to 100 years ago when the climate was a lot colder and had a lot more snow. Nowadays and certainly within the last 15 years the climate has warmed up considerably and many of my neighbors comment on the lack of snow. I've taken to canning them, but I'd really like to have them as fresh as possible.

Got any suggestions?

Comment by Na'yan Sun Aug 10 09:26:15 2014
Na'yan --- Glad to meet an almost neighbor! Root cellars are still the best choice for our region if you have the cash and time to build them, but we opted for a simpler method of turning an old fridge into a root cellar.
Comment by anna Sun Aug 10 10:09:53 2014

Hi all, I can't find the recent post about your still too damp forest garden. But reading the following article made me think of your struggles with that area of your property. Maybe this will give you some ideas:

http://permaculturenews.org/2014/11/06/experimenting-overflowing-circles-slow-flow-swales-panama/

Also, what have you thought of tall hugelculture mounds?

Comment by Terry Fri Dec 12 21:48:09 2014
I see you had a post on both chicago Hardy figs and carpathians, do you know if Chicago Hardy fig will produce fruit if within 50' of carpathians ?
Comment by pc Tue Sep 13 10:00:25 2016