The Walden Effect: Homesteading Year 5. Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

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Old news

Old newspaper

Stove adWhile B.J.'s tracking down a few more local root cellars/springhouses for me to include in my $10 Root Cellar ebook, I've started on another project to keep myself occupied.  I feel a bit self-indulgent with this one, so I thought I'd check in and see if any of you are interested.

Several readers have emailed or commented in the last year or two to say that they got sucked into our blog so deeply that they went back into the archives and read through all the way from the beginning.  That reminded me that one of my few regrets is that we didn't start this blog at the same time we started the farm, so even those hard-core readers aren't seeing the true beginning.  On the other hand, I do have some earlier photos and journals that could be turned into an ebook....

What I'm not sure about is whether that ebook would be helpful to anyone, or whether it would be just another farm memoir.  Plus, my working title (Walden Effect: The Early Years) needs serious help.  Suggestions?  Am I wasting my time and should get back to something serious like writing about chicken pastures or tips for selling ebooks on Amazon?  Or are you interested in hearing about my rocky road to farm ownership?

(By the way, the photos here are of old newspapers from the 1930s that coated the walls of the old farmhouse pre-demolition.)

Our chicken waterer is keeping our chicks happy in their outdoor brooder despite high activity levels that knock over traditional waterers.


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I have to confess I'm one of those readers. I found this blog a few months ago and read through all of the archieves. I think what you and Mark have done inspirational as well as interesting. My vote is to go for it. I know I'd love to hear about the true beginning. I have a couple of blogs I read faithfully, but this one is by far my favorite.
Comment by Tee Thu Mar 21 08:47:17 2013

I loved that farmhouse. When I saw the photos on that post, you got my hopes up -- I thought you were going to write about history :)

I would call it Up A Creek -- then do some subtitle about Sinking Creek or Wetknee Farm.

Comment by Heather Thu Mar 21 10:15:00 2013
I would love to see an ebook about Walden Effect.
Comment by Faith T Thu Mar 21 12:22:36 2013

Yes please! I've read through from the beginning and would love it!

Comment by Sh Thu Mar 21 13:17:48 2013

I'm also one of those readers who went through the archives. Admittedly, more than one time have I searched through and reread your posts.

I would love to see you put an eBook out there that shows your journey from the beginning to present day. You could even update it with each new project/improvement or add a compilation of your projects that tie into 'The Beginning". That would also add a bit of extra income to the farm's cookie jar. ;-)

Comment by Jacqueline Thu Mar 21 13:34:25 2013
And for spring you can include photos of you wearing some of those lovely spring frocks from the old newpaper articles ;-) Obviously they're not meant for working, but my grandmother farmed all her life and I never saw her in slacks of any kind. Of course she wasn't dressed up in these frocks. She made all her clothing and wore a simple cotton dress every day whether she was in the tobacco field, garden or at the house. She'd wear ked sneakers or boots with her dresses. As I grow older I'm wondering if she wasn't on to something. Summers are extremely hot and humid here in NC and I'm sure a cotton dress is cooler than most anything I can think of.
Comment by Tee Thu Mar 21 15:50:57 2013

I would find it absolutely helpful as all of your blog posts have been. Being that I only came across this blog several months ago, I'm still slowly making my way through your archive to learn from your mistakes and your many successes. I've also recently bought your book and am still reading that as well. Oh, and your e-books! My family has been poking fun at me for always saying, "Anna [this]. Anna [that]." Haha!

I have to say what I love the most about reading your writings is that it's very personal and down-to-earth, but still so full of information both hands-on and scientific. You appear to have a similar personality type to my own, adding to the easy-to-digest aspect and making it easy for me to actually follow your instructions.

So honestly, anything you write, I'd be interested in reading!

Comment by Roberta Thu Mar 21 16:11:28 2013

I'm too "guilty as charged." I don't recall what Google search led me to your site initially, but I have also read all the posts over the last several months, and also check back regularly to keep up-to-date.

BTW, congrats on the Mother Earth News article!

PS: I'd be most curious to see "The Beginning!"

Warm regards from a fellow Virginian, Renee

Comment by Renee Thu Mar 21 16:40:17 2013
I think that this would be extremely helpful. My wife and I are in the process of looking for land in the country to homestead, and an ebook about searching for land, figuring out if it's right for you, testing the soil, etc. would be really cool. It could be both nostalgic and useful. Walden Effect: Finding Our Walden?
Comment by Nick L. Thu Mar 21 16:55:18 2013

I, too, read your blogs "cover to cover" once I found you (while looking for homesteading books on amazon two thanksgivings ago). Now it's what I read over morning coffee each day. I think you could easily have more than one book ahead of you from your blog: a farming memoir (an engaging read like The Blueberry Years or like Animal, Vegetable, Miracle), and something of a general get-started tutorial with chapters for the various topics (or a medium or advanced book on so many topics, too, frankly). I love farming memoirs, which can give life and inspiration, and a dose of reality, to farming/homesteading. So I guess it's up to you! You could combine the memoir and instructional books into something like what Kingsolver did, ending chapters of what is generally a memoir with the lesson learned, instructions, or recipes, etc.

Comment by jen g Thu Mar 21 20:50:20 2013
I've read all the archives-- not only do I enjoy the education I'm receiving, but I also enjoy hearing the stories of average days.... I think it would be a lovely idea to hear the tale of how The Walden Effect came to be....
Comment by kim Fri Mar 22 12:26:44 2013

I don't think Ive read all of your old post. I cant get enough of the new ones though. Even so, I'm very interested in your beginning. You were such an inspiration in me starting the things that I do. All your doings are a major curio for me.

Someone up above me mentioned something about a random google search as to how they found you. Or something like that, cant remember now that I'm typing. But I thought that kinda funny, since it was some fateful random googling that brought me here.

Comment by T Sat Mar 23 00:12:18 2013

Im definitely one of those readers! Found the blog last year and read religiously every day. It took me a couple weeks but i ate up every single post you've made. At the beginning i always felt i was missing posts when you referred to the mule garden, or other projects from the early farm. My wife and 4 children will be following your footsteps in about three years when our 57 acres of farmland is paid off, and i'd be interested in avoiding any pitfalls you hit in the early days.

I laughed about how the other posted mentioned talking about y'all. I think my wife gets sick of hearing about "anna and mark" as well!

Comment by Chaos Farmer Sat Mar 23 08:26:44 2013
Please, please, please write the book!! I would love to read it! Our little family is just beginning our adventure and would love to learn from your lessons! Just found your blog - really enjoy it! Good luck!
Comment by Crouch House Sun Mar 24 23:52:10 2013

I personally would enjoy the beginning stories... How about " Finding Walden" . Or " becomming Walden" I have been to the original Walden Pond in Massachusetts... It is preserved still as a quiet idyllic haven in the midst of the city.
I will be starting over soon myself.

With all my hurculean efforts here to garden, and become as self sufficient as possible, it looks very likely we will be moving and all this will be wasted. I doubt seriously the next owner would put the time and energy into growing that i have. So, sort of sad. But we would be returning back to green, lush New England, where the main problem is keeping things from growing where you dont want them, rather than having to nurse every bit of plant life in hopes that something will grow.

Comment by Deb Mon Mar 25 10:49:33 2013
As one of those who got sucked in and read (almost) everything, I would love to hear about the very very beginning.
Comment by rhapsody_98.livejournal.com Fri Jun 21 21:02:35 2013

One very unique homestead, $1,500 per acre, the opportunity of a lifetime