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

Flooded (t)in

Flooded car and roofing tin

We're flooded in and our roofing tin is partially submerged halfway back through the floodplain.  But talking about that isn't nearly as much fun as pondering ebook ideas.

I told you two weeks ago that working hard to make Weekend Homesteader a text worthy of print publication had worn me out...but that I expected to be gungho about writing again by the end of the month.  Sure enough, last week I started dreaming up ebook ideas as I weeded the beds to prepare for planting spring greens.  Here are the top contenders so far:

You did such a good job of choosing a winner last year that I'm going to let you weigh in on this year's project as well.  Which of these ideas sounds like something you'd like to hear me write about at length?  Is there another topic you wish I'd write about instead?  Thanks in advance for your feedback!

Our chicken waterer makes the backyard flock so easy to care for, I can spend my chicken time thinking up crazy schemes to put the birds to use on our farm.

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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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How you plan your garden, the crop rotations and companion plants you use, your methods of pest/weed control and especially how you manage your soil, all impact (one way or another) garden ecology... took this definition from anoter site,
Comment by Ja Sun Mar 4 09:07:25 2012
Sorry I got thrown off before I was done - no need to post these comments, but I wanted a def. of garden ecology - might be good to tie in your cover crops into that series was my thought and wanted to see if that makes sense
Comment by Jayne Sun Mar 4 09:11:34 2012
Since you are kind enough to ask.. I vote for "Garden Ecology".
Comment by Dusty Sun Mar 4 09:41:08 2012
I was wondering how the barn job was coming along! How close are they to finishing that project?
Comment by Heath Sun Mar 4 09:58:01 2012
My vote is for "No-Till Cover Crops" - as I'm finally getting close to being able to start gardening again, I would like to convert to a no-till system, and cover crops that I could use this year that would help kick start the garden next year (yay!) would be an extra help!
Comment by Ikwig Sun Mar 4 10:01:41 2012
Garden Ecology. I wish I'd had this kind of information at my fingertips when I first started food gardening.
Comment by Debbi Sun Mar 4 10:25:28 2012
I've been wanting to pasture chickens on our hill side (forest) for the past couple of years. There is a lot of general information out there, but not much in practical application.
Comment by Mona Sun Mar 4 11:09:42 2012

Jayne --- Good idea about tying the shorter cover crops book into the garden ecology series!

Dusty and Debbi --- Sounds like you're in the majority so far.

Heath --- It's been too wet for work, but they showed up this morning despite flood conditions! So, Mark might have something to report tonight....

Ikwig --- Cover crops would be the easiest to write because it's short. I suspect I can slip it in even if it doesn't top the wish list. :-)

Comment by anna Sun Mar 4 11:23:30 2012
I vote for the chicken one! I am so tired of chicken books that tell me I have to buy every crumb of food my chickens would eat, and then tell me "every chicken dies in debt." Isn't there a sustainable way to work chickens into a homestead?
Comment by Sheila Sun Mar 4 13:04:03 2012
Mona and Sheila --- Chickens are currently my favorite topic at the moment, but maybe just because cute little puffballs are still springing out of their shells in my living room? :-) If the vote is pretty even, I might start both series at once and just alternate books.
Comment by anna Sun Mar 4 13:18:21 2012
Garden Ecology would be my choice, but I don't have chickens. I sent a link to your chicken blog to someeone (a city person) who wanted to know about growing bugs to feed chickens (because feed is expensive). There seems to be a growth in people wanting to have home-grown chicken, even in the cities, so in terms of ROI, I think permaculture chickens is the way to go. I'm also noticing that permaculture courses are popping up everywhere so you'd be riding an aleady rising tide of interest in everything permaculture.
Comment by J Sun Mar 4 13:21:25 2012
Such is life in those bottoms. Flooding isn't as bad now as it was 10 or 15 years ago. I think the creek drain isn't stopped up anymore. I expected higher water when I was down there yesterday.
Comment by Bob Sun Mar 4 16:59:26 2012

J --- Chickens are awfully trendy right now, and permaculture is a hot topic. I'm actually surprised no one has come out with a book yet that combines the two words in the title. I thought Harvey Ussery's book leaned that way and I might have been tempted to use that title if I'd been his publisher. Good thing they left it for me! :-)

Thanks for sending folks to our blogs!

Bob --- It definitely wasn't the highest flood we've seen, and we've only been here 5.5 years. It could be that you're right --- that the hole just isn't clogged up right now.

I tend to enjoy these flood days --- a mandatory stay at home day.

Comment by anna Sun Mar 4 18:37:13 2012
Permachooks! Just finished Ussery's book and ready to try to implement using a broody breed to have a sustainable flock. I'm going to try Kraicenkoppes and either Sussex or Deleware. I'd love to read any more you have to offer on the subject.
Comment by Dave V Sun Mar 4 20:16:19 2012
Dave V. --- I'm afraid I won't be much help with broodies. I'm in the same boat you're in --- working my way toward it, but not there yet. We're trying Marans this year for that reason, but no one has gone broody yet. If we don't get lucky, I'll probably try Ussery's favorite --- English Game Hens --- next. Please do report back if your hens work out!
Comment by anna Sun Mar 4 20:45:57 2012
I vote for the "Permaculture Chicken"... For the oval office that is... Those chickens might put up a decent fight against the other politician contenders. ;)
Comment by Justus Sun Mar 4 22:24:15 2012
I don't think I can narrow down my choices so soon after doing it when picking Organic Growers School class sessions. I think I will obstinately select all 3!
Comment by Eliza @ Appalachian Feet Mon Mar 5 02:21:51 2012

Maybe it's not on the table yet and maybe it's not ebook material at all, but I think a lot of people might want to see you get more personal and away from the technical some day. What makes you tick? Why go sustainable or homestead? How does it change or feed: outlook, mentality, emotions, personality? What will be the impact of a homestead resurgence in America? How do we create people permaculture?

] j [

Comment by Jeremiah Mon Mar 5 07:18:35 2012
Chickens are always my favorite topic, and I agree that there is not a lot of good information out there that goes beyond the basics of housing and buying bagged feed.
Comment by John Amrhein Mon Mar 5 07:38:31 2012

Justus --- Ha ha! I'll take that as a vote for Permaculture Chicken ebooks too. :-)

Eliza --- I know what you mean! I didn't even go to Organic Growers School this year, and I still felt the need to make class selections --- how weird is that?

Jeremiah --- That's an excellent suggestion, but I doubt I'll write about it anytime soon. I'm not so sure I have anything to add to the philosophy of homesteading/permaculture that hasn't been said more ably by many other people. (Actually, I have no clue what they say --- for some reason, philosophy tends to put me to sleep.... :-) )

John --- Chickens are one of my favorite topics too, as I'm sure you've figured out. Your vote brings us back even, I believe!

Comment by anna Mon Mar 5 08:29:01 2012
Chickens please:) I've had two hens and a rooster for around 3 years now. This was the first winter I made it through without buying one lick of food for them. (free range). They are happy and healthy as far as I can tell, and I still get one egg a day from each hen. Thinking of expanding the flock to incorporate some dinner, and any knowledge you share will be helpful no doubt!
Comment by Megan Mon Mar 5 08:44:26 2012
My vote is for garden ecology. Definitely an area I am trying to work on!
Comment by Krisann Mon Mar 5 08:53:15 2012
My vote is for Permaculture Chickens! :)
Comment by Emily Hebner Mon Mar 5 09:02:01 2012

I'm a bit late, but I would definitely like to see more information on raising chickens without the need for commercial input. I don't want to be cruel by simply not feeding my chickens and letting them fend for themselves, but I know this can be done humanely if it's done right. I mean, chicken is an integral part of other diets around the world, and I doubt that everyone has access to commercial chicken feed!

~ Mitsy

Comment by mountainstead [] Mon Mar 5 11:25:41 2012

For the record --- one vote for Garden Ecology from my Mom and one vote for Permaculture Chickens from Sara on facebook.

Megan --- It sounds like you've got it figured out --- maybe I need to read your ebook! We've yet to delete all the feed, but I suspect we could if we only kept a couple of hens. If you're getting an egg a day, it sounds like you're not starving them. Do you do anything special, or do they just have a lot of good woods to forage in?

Krisann and Emily --- Looks like you two cancel each other out. :-)

Mitsy --- I'm only cutting back commercial feed, not deleting it, but hopefully some day.... I think part of the trick to completely no-feed chickens is to keep your number of birds small so that they can subsist mainly on kitchen scraps. That, plus a diversified homestead so they can get a lot of food from waste --- rotting apples, dropped corn from other livestock, etc.

Comment by anna Mon Mar 5 14:03:09 2012
Anna: they eat a good bit of scraps, and having complete territorial control of 6 acres give them plenty to forage. This winter was unusually warm for South Carolina, I imagine that accounts for their fatness. I do plan on growing a "test run" of field corn this year...just to get an idea:)
Comment by megan Mon Mar 5 21:41:44 2012

Well, if you could add the no-till cover crops section to the garden ecology book, then you could definitely put my vote on that one! :)

Now I just need to figure out how to get the Kindle app I have (since I don't actually have a Kindle) to work nicely with the Amazon e-book purchasing process, heh.

Comment by Ikwig Mon Mar 5 22:11:44 2012

Megan --- That makes sense. Food scraps alone will feed a chicken or two, especially if you have a family that doesn't eat much processed food. (Living further south helps too, plus two acres per bird!!)

Ikwig --- I'll count that as a vote for each --- good thing because cover crops were feeling lonely. :-) Feel free to email me if you ever want the books without figuring out the app....

Comment by anna Tue Mar 6 08:07:33 2012

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