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

The Good Life Lab

Barn rainbow

The Good Life LabWendy Jehanara Tremayne sent me a copy of her beautiful and unconventional book, The Good Life Lab a few weeks ago, and once I finally cracked the cover, I swallowed the whole thing down in a few sittings.  The first two-thirds is a memoir/treatise on how and why Wendy and Mikey quit the fast life in New York City for a small-town homestead in New Mexico, and the last third is full of useful tips such as using rainwater in place of distilled water in batteries.  I suspect that anyone who enjoys this blog would love Wendy's book (and chances are you'd also enjoy the blog she shares with her partner and the profile I included about Wendy and Mikey in Trailersteading).

The book's spare, easy-to-read prose has deep thought underneath, combined with just the right level of mysticism to make me think without turning me off.  Wendy explains that people in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, barter everything...except the one thing that person uses to make a living, which is always paid for.  She writes about turning online community into real community with the addition of a week-long, in-person visit of her favorite bloggers, and she walks you through her decision to keep her businesses at the cottage level so that she and her partner can do it all at home.

Greywater wetland

Wendy also has a solution for one of the most thorny issues I see among homesteaders --- they want to quit their jobs, but don't know how they would fill their time instead.  She wrote:

"Living a decommodified life is an invitation to discover what you most love to do.  Not all of us have to leave our jobs to find purposeful work.  Some do.  If you should become voluntarily unemployed, consider reclaiming the skills you once gave to your employment.  Our jobs contain morsels of our own desire that we modified to meet the constraints of a  commodified world.  Seek out these morsels.  They contain clues that may help you discover what you most wish to do."


(Apparently, what I most wished to do this weekend was to play in the rain, and a storm obliged by raging through.  If I had any doubt that I live in paradise, a rainbow ending in the side of the barn helped clear up that issue.  Which is a long way of explaining that the photos in this post have nothing to do with Wendy's book, except for inspiration.)

Our own cottage business is hand-making chicken waterers that bring clean water to backyard birds around the world.


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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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