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

Happy New Year 2018!

Snowy limbs

I tried to write a post containing highlights of 2017...but many events of last winter and spring are simply too raw for me to even skim past. So, instead, here are my goals for 2018 --- both simpler and more difficult than they at first appear.

Aerial silks

First and foremost, I plan to continue bringing my life more into balance. Left to my own devices, I work until I drop. But my body isn't as young as it used to be, and both physical and mental resiliency require more work than they used to take.

The prescription? Incorporate more fun into my life! I'm carefully backing off on production goals in most most areas of my life by approximately 10%, penciling in holidays weeks and months in advance. So far, this method of making me take time off has actually worked. Next step --- continue to plan rejuvenating activities to fill in those gaps.

Chocolate cookies

One of the biggest goals of our move was finding our "tribe" --- likeminded people with whom we have lots in common. To that end, we're working as quickly as my introversion allows to meet our neighbors, attend interesting events in town, and insinuate ourselves into organizations that will help us build a more resilient community.

As is usual for me, doing something hard becomes more realistic when I set a quota --- two socializing events per week. Three months in, I already know more people in the community than I did after ten years in Virginia without this goal (although the in-depth relationships will take quite a bit more time to build).

Permaculture zone 1

Zones 0 and 1

In terms of our homestead (the point of this blog --- I know!), my goal is to get zones 0 and 1 in order in 2018. That will likely include skirting, installing our wood stove, replacing windows, installing rainwater catchment, and building garden beds along our most frequently used paths.

Since one of our favorite neighbors decided not to move away after all (yay!) we might put our own chicken acquisition on hold. But I can't live without a garden, so we'll prioritize getting that up and running ASAP. The trick will be making sure its size stays in line with resolution number one....

Happy New Year! I hope your dreams are both realistic and bright! May your skills grow with the enroaching darkness and may the most important elements of your life fill you with joy.

Anna Hess's books
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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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Happy New Year to you guys, too!

Thanks so much for your blog and for sharing your life's adventures.

Advice from an old guy: Please remember the truth in the old saw that says life is a journey, not a destination. We never actually 'get there.' So enjoy every single day and keep going. Find at least one thing in the day, every day, to just soak in and enjoy.

I have learned this lesson for myself, but I was taught that lesson by my grandfather, who was wounded twice by artillery fire in France during WWI. He came back from that horrible experience and practiced the daily habit of 'stopping to smell the roses once every day' for the rest of his life after that - even though his lungs were permanently damaged which made smelling and breathing difficult some days.

So, look at what you CAN do, and don't focus on what you CAN'T do. Cheers for the new year!

Comment by Tim Mon Jan 1 10:56:50 2018
Anna and Mark, I want to thank you for sharing your experiences via your blog - you have a bigger "tribe" than you may realize! (Although it's partially in the blogosphere.) Your openness to sharing everything about your experiences (both good ones and heartbreaking ones) has garnered many followers/admirers/fellow homestead dreamers. So - Thank You - and may 2018 be the best year ever for all! Ellen in Oregon
Comment by Ellen Mon Jan 1 13:43:43 2018

Yep - seems your tribe is a lot more far reaching than you may have realized. Nice comments - great goals for 2018! Thanks for sharing as always!

Comment by Jayne Mon Jan 1 18:39:03 2018

Happy New Year and thank you both again for the blog! I still remember the holiday break years ago when I discovered your blog and spent 3 days reading every post to catch up to date. That was six years ago. Still a daily reader.

I hope last year isn't too, too raw for you. Sorry to hear that there were such struggles. Glad you have a positive, happy outlook with balance in mind.


Comment by Jennifer Mon Jan 1 19:26:24 2018

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