Walden Effect: About Us
couple of back-to-the-landers living simply on our 58 acres of swamp
and hillside in southwest Virginia. When we arrived on the farm
in September 2006, a hundred year old barn stood amid a mass of
blackberries and honeysuckle so thick we could hardly push our way
through. Since then, we've cleared a couple of acres (leaving the
of the forest to grow naturally toward its climax state), installed a
free trailer to live in, and are learning to farm. (You can read
about our adventures starting in year three in our blog archives.)
Anna was trained as a biologist
and now turns her scientific leanings toward experimenting with no-till
gardening, mushroom propagation, and chicken pasturing. She
dreamed about moving back into the countryside ever since
her parents dragged her kicking and screaming from their family farm at
the ripe old age of eight. She admits that her childhood memories
of farming don't really match reality --- real farm life involves a lot
more hard work than the eight year old was involved in! But the
reality is also much more fulfilling and she loves harvesting her own
vegetables, pigging out on sun-warmed strawberries, and soaking in a
washtub of water
in the yard. (There are many perks to living in a secluded
setting.) In addition to writing here, she posts about her
poultry experiments on her chicken
blog and has published several ebooks,
and a paperback.
Mark grew up in the suburbs in
Ohio and never considered living the farm life
until recently, but his family's roots lie in hard-scrabble farming in
eastern Kentucky and homesteading seems to run in his blood.
Anna putters with her seed packets and makes planting charts, Mark does
the hard work of mowing, fencing, building chicken coops, and
keeping the farm running smoothly. He loves the freedom of making
up his own hours and the self-sufficiency of living off the land.
Recently, he has enjoyed inventing labor-saving farm devices, including
his Avian Aqua Miser --- a POOP-free chicken
waterer based on chicken
nipples --- and a deer deterrent that keeps the
garden from being eaten by four-footed neighbors. (Mark's chicken
waterer is how the two make a living.)
The farm in September 2008.
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Effect" is a term Mark uses to describe the changes
he's experienced since moving onto the farm. He's given up
television, the fast food life, and even paper towels, and finds that
his mind is clearer than it's ever been before.
We're thrilled to have
you as part of our online homesteading community! Although you
can email us (using the links above), we prefer hearing from you in
comments so we can all benefit from your homesteading wisdom.
Thanks in advance for sharing a story to help us notice a shortcut on
our journey or to brighten our day!