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

Looking for more trailersteaders

TrailersteadingI'm excited to announce that I'll have two new paperbacks in bookstores in 2015!  With The Naturally Bug-Free Garden spiffed up and turned in (due out this coming spring), I tentatively approached my publisher about the idea of printing Trailersteading as well.  I've been wanting to expand and update this best-selling ebook, but I didn't have high hopes that a mainstream publisher would be interested in a book teaching our permaculture redneck ethics.  However, I was pleasantly surprised --- Skyhorse once again was willing to leave me the ebook rights and publish a full-color paperback edition that will be hitting bookstores in fall 2015, despite the book being about living in a trailer.

What does this mean for you?  I'm looking for more trailersteading tips from the field, so if you homestead in a trailer on any level, now's your chance to see your name in print.  I'm especially interested in contributions in the following areas:

Trailer interior
  • Interior design.  I have a tendency to ignore anything that's purely pretty rather than functional, but several readers clearly wanted to learn more about making an old trailer into an aesthetically pleasing living space.  If you've rehabbed your trailer on the cheap and have photos to showcase your artistry, please drop me an email.
  • Trailer awningRehab suggestions.  On a similar vein, I'm always looking for trailer-related rehab tips that can be turned into a sidebar.  For example, Harry recently emailed me photos and construction information for his homemade window awnings, which he uses to keep out the worst of the summer sun.  Perhaps you have a similar simple but functional trailersteading tip?
  • Inspirational stories.  The heart of Trailersteading is the idea that living in an old mobile home can be a stepping stone allowing you to achieve your goals.  If you have a similar story to share, I definitely want to hear about it.
  • Around the trailerstead.  I plan to add a new chapter about how a trailer fits into the larger homestead.  I've already got sections planned on adding gutters and rain barrels and piping greywater to a wetland for treatment.  Do you have something to add in a similar vein?

I'm not going to buckle down and really start working on the updated version until this fall, but please do send your submissions now while they're on top of your mind!  (I'll try to remember to make another post when the deadline is closer.)  To sweeten the pot, if I decide to use your submission in the paperback version of Trailersteading, I'll send you a paperback of your choice (The Weekend Homesteader, Watermelon Summer, Shiftless, or my color version of the first edition of Naturally Bug-Free) and a Walden Effect t-shirt (size L or 2XL).  Please email with high-resolution photos (anything except pictures from a camera phone will probably work) and a written explanation of your innovation.  Emails will bounce if they're larger than about 5 MB, so be sure to send one picture per email.  Thanks in advance for your contribution!

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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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I don't know if this is something you would be interested in including in your book or not but... I started out in a 2200 sq ft home in the central valley of cali. my marriage hit the rocks and due to having a newborn and needing to work full time I moved back to Louisiana. The housing bubble burst 2 months after the move. Our home did not sell. There were so many homes available, I couldn't even rent it. So I declared bankruptcy. Bank took the house. My son and I got a fresh start with (hopefully) wiser eyes. I swallowed pride (sometimes you can't do it all. And sometimes it does take a village to raise a child, especially when you work shift work)and accepted land from my parents. The question was to build or go trailer? Hmmm... I went trailer because it was immediate move in and more room for the $$. Little did I realize I was about to confront a bias I did not know I had. Yep, somewhere along the way I grew to associate trailers with poverty and trashy attitudes. Yes it's stereotypical and displays a gross misrepresentation by the media but there I was. I admit I went thru a small depression. I have had to expand my view. Today I am proud of my home- the garden I have put in, the orchard I have started, the rabbit hutches I built, the chicken coop I designed and my brothers lent their time and muscle to, the front porch with swing that I cherish. It keeps my little family warm in the winter, cool in the summer, and dry year round. I entertain as often as my schedule permits. My heart and soul are at peace here. I call it my sanctuary and people who stop by mention that "sanctuary" is exactly what it feels like to them too. And the best part? My 3 acre homestead with my comfy home cost me 1/3 of what a site built home would. I resorted my priorities and have found life much better on the other side of the reconstruction! Good luck with your books. I have really enjoyed the ebook trailersteading and the weekend homesteader series. The info you provide is invaluable.
Comment by Elaine Thu Jul 10 01:11:53 2014

Instead of putting in flowers we used the space around the trailer as a garden. Put in egg plants, tomato plants, herbs, onions, watermelons, pumpkins, and so forth as space is limited, I even used the hill side for some of it.

Then instead of mulch we used a thick layer of hay with the chicken and duck pooh to not only fertilize it but to keep weeds down so almost no weeding needed. Now most of my veggies are coming and are double the size they have ever been.

Comment by Cynthia Stevens Mon Aug 4 13:15:53 2014
Hi Anna! I am a huge fan of your work and I was wondering if your trailersteading profiles were limited to house trailers. I have a travel trailer (an Airstream from the 70's) that my fiancée and I are rehabbing. At the moment not too much work has been done on it but we plan to finish it by the early winter (hopefully). I was just wondering if you would consider this type of home in your updated book as well. Can't wait until the second edition comes out! Thanks to your books I have more confidence and ideas about my future homestead! Have a great day!
Comment by DeLaney Mon Aug 4 15:17:22 2014

Cynthia --- I'd love to see your trailer-side vegetable garden in action! If you've got some photos to share, drop me an email at --- it might fit into the print edition of Trailersteading.

DeLaney --- I'm open to including travel trailers along with mobile homes --- we already have two profiles from folks who went that route. And I'd definitely love to include more interior design options since our readers specifically asked for more information in that direction. So, please do take photos as you work! If you can get me something by October or November, I can probably fit it in before my deadline. Thanks for sharing!

Comment by anna Mon Aug 4 16:07:50 2014

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