The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

A plethora of livestock

Free range chickens
The farm we visited yesterday was intriguing --- I always find visits to other people's farms intriguing.  The family has a milk cow, a bull, two heifers, two calves, some number of sheep, a llama, the chickens you see above, and the turkeys of course.

Livestock is, in my opinion, the hardest part of a back-to-the-lander's journey.  Hard not because the animals themselves are difficult --- some are, while others are joys.  Hard because it's so easy to take on far more than you can handle until you spend every minute of free time caring for your livestock.  (Some day I'll tell you the tale of our ill-fated mule episode.)

I've come to the conclusion that just about anyone with a little will and spare time can take on chickens, but larger livestock are a much more serious commitment.  Although Mark and I talk at intervals about sheep for meat or a miniature cow for milk, we're just not yet ready to commit.  I was in awe of the farm we visited yesterday, but decided to stick to my vegetable garden --- if I overcommit there, I can just let a few beds go to weeds without causing anyone harm!

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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