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

Vagrancy, motherhood, and buying land

Eating spicebush leavesAlthough backpacking gave me a glimpse of simplicity, I didn't have any money to buy a farm, so I instead spent the next few years wandering around in other peoples' woods.  Every year, I moved to a new property where I identified the plants and animals and told the owners what they were doing right or wrong.  Some of my hosts turned out to be my best friends, and I got all of my maternal urges out of my system by helping with one set of kids who I still adore (even though they're all grown up now!)

Old houseIn 2003, I finally achieved the goal I'd been saving for and dreaming of for so long --- I bought 58 acres of swamp and hillside about an hour from the farm I grew up on.  With no experience under my belt, I took my father's advice and decided to build a little house by hand, first tearing down the old house on the property to get some supplies.  Crowbarring on winter days, I came down with carpal tunnel and ended up dropping that dream for the time being.

Dreaming of spring chickens?   Make your own homemade chicken waterer.

This post is part of our Decade in Review series.  Read all of the entries:

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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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Sometimes I dream of throwing on a pack and wandering for a while. Even better would be throwing a tent and bag in a plane and wandering from small airport to airport for me. That would kill two birds with one stone... My new years resolutions have me getting a few steps closer to the dream.

I have mixed feelings about being in my mid-thirties and no kids. Part of me still has the urge to have kids. One thing's for sure, my mother sure wishes she was a grandmother! She's resorted to inquiring about all her neighbor's daughters!

Comment by Shannon Tue Jan 5 18:03:00 2010

"Backpacking" by personal plane sounds awesome. :-)

I think that far too many people default to having kids just because that's what their parents did. :-) Honestly, I think that only about 1 in 10 people are really cut out for parenthood, meaning that they want to commit all that time and energy (and money!) to raising kids right. I feel profoundly lucky that Mark doesn't want to be a father any more than I want to be a mother. There's so much you can do to spend meaningful time with young people without committing to parenthood!

Comment by anna Tue Jan 5 19:06:26 2010
Problem is if I really did backpack by plane, I don't think I'd stop until I was in Alaska or some place in Canada for my own variation of "Into the Wild". :P
Comment by Shannon Tue Jan 5 19:22:34 2010
You did watch that movie to the very end, right? :-)
Comment by anna Tue Jan 5 20:48:55 2010
Did better than that. I read the book, then watched the movie. The book is better.
Comment by Shannon Tue Jan 5 20:55:49 2010
The book is always better! Drat --- I didn't realize it was a book!! :-)
Comment by anna Wed Jan 6 08:25:14 2010

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