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

Giving thanks in 2013

Sunbathing chickens

All week, I've been living in another world.  The piece of young-adult fiction I started in June fermented all summer, started and stopped in October, and then swallowed five days of my life this week.  I'd wake at 6, a chapter already written in my head, type until my brain went foggy, tend to the animals, type some more, pause for lunch, type, eat, type, sleep, repeat.

Now, waking back into the real world, I feel a bit like I do after spending days in bed due to the flu.  The snow crunches beneath my feet and I feel I'm obeying Thich Nhat Hanh who admonished us to "Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet."

Chicken tractor

I haven't written fiction in years, and what I wrote then was pretty bad.  But this time I don't just have a feeling I want to wallow in, I also have a world and thought problem I want to explore and share.  Now that the first draft is done, I've promised to ignore the book for a week so I can edit it with rested eyes, and hopefully I'll be able to share the result with you before Christmas.  Unless my rested eyes say the story is terrible, of course.

Which is all a long way of saying that what I'm most thankful for this year is the freedom to let a project swallow me whole.  I'm thankful for a warm fire to type in front of, and for two cats who are sometimes actually willing to sit somewhere other than on top of my arms so I can do that typing.  (Yes, it is possible to type with two cats on your lap...barely.)  I'm thankful for a husband who doesn't mind that I haven't really been present for the last week, and for a mother who let me mix up her history with my own and cook the result down until it gelled without any added pectin.

Later today, I'll also be thankful for pie.  Have a wonderful Thanksgiving wherever you are!


(By the way, the chickens in these photos are being thankful for a rare day of sun last week.)



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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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