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

Monday railroad pictures

train stuffToday required a trip into a nearby town for some tire repair, a spark plug purchase, and a library visit. I discovered a park down by the river which was jumping up and down while yelling "come and take some pictures of me".

I'm always intrigued by the waste material that can be found alongside the railroad tracks in this country. These heavy steel plates are what seem to hold the actual track in place and I guess they need to be replaced from time to time?  I wonder if they can be used for anything non railroad related?

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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 am sure you will find a use for anything you salvage along the railroad. My question is, are Monday railroad pictures any different that Tuesday railroad pictures taken at the same place?
Comment by Sheila Mon Mar 2 19:09:06 2009
Mark may have to start taking daily photos of the railroad to find out. Like that artist whose name I can't remember who painted all those pictures of the same church (the name of which I can't remember)... :-)
Comment by anna Tue Mar 3 08:56:36 2009

Even though I am at work I nearly screamed at my computer, YES YOU CAN!!! After reading this older entry I had to comment. Yes, you can actually put to use alot of that old railroad items. I use alot of random pieces of metal from the railroad tracks in my blacksmithing and frankly the steel is usually pretty good. Railroad spikes are turned into knives, tomahawks/hatchets, chisels, and other tools. Some of those big pieces that look like big staples ive seen turned into sword blades (but probably not a big demand for that on the homestead!). The point of this is that with a simple forge and anvil you can turn that "scrap" into amazing tools. My forge is nothing more than an old brake drum with blackpipe on the bottom, an old hairdryer for air, and my anvil is an old piece of railroad track with a 1" thick piece of flat steel welding atop it. You can easily make your own charcoal from scrap wood and be create great pieces completely free (except for the electricity for the blower, unless you make a manual blower and then your free).

Might be something to look into if you two decide you wanna live off the land even more, like using what was left on the land by others. If you have any questions, comments, or photo requests dont hesitate to email me at

Comment by David Z in Topeka Thu Jun 9 15:52:26 2011
I'm dropping you an email right now --- this is prime guest post material! I hope you'll be willing to share some photos.
Comment by anna Fri Jun 10 19:54:07 2011

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