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


Ironweed in front of the barn

The sumac spice hidden in plain sight was only my latest find around an old homestead. Several years after moving to the country, I followed a faint trail up a hill, and found overgrown blueberry bushes. And then the next year found another blueberry bush I'd missed, and another this year... Now I have a thriving blueberry hill, that produces berries half the summer long.

Wringer washer in the weeds

My last time visiting Anna, the encroaching weeds reminded me of when I first visited, soon after Anna bought the place, and well before the beginning of the waldeneffect blog. Then it was a tangle of weeds and brambles, with the bones of an old farm in among them. Walls chinked with newspaper told the tale, of occupants in the 1930's, and a hardscrabble farm.

Mom in the garden

I'm used to software, where each line of code comes with a deep epistolary history of past versions, descriptions, justifications, discussions. A similar history has been built up on this web site, but as weeds choke the place again, perhaps it will be forgotten.

Metal hummingbird

Perhaps a deer hunter one day will notice a row of gnarled fruit trees in the old homestead, or in among a raspberry thicket, find stranger fruits, tiny kiwis and figs. Perhaps a new resident, crossing the ford years from now, will wonder what hands shaped it. Will, as they prune apple and peach, pick spring asparagus, and uncover deposits of unusually rich dirt, find themselves conversing across the years with like minds.

All we know is, we'll remember the place fondly, and look forward to new adventures. Join me in wishing godspeed to Anna and Mark!

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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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thanks, Joey, for your moving piece (not eulogy, but more, elegy).

memories are so important, also the sharing in writing is...

I just finished reading What is Paleolithic Art, which gave me a better feel for those ancient times. How does this connect to Wetknee farm? By gaining your perspective, that we people do not last that long, but our places keep on longer, hopefully. We are stewards, which Anna and Mark have been, and you are, too.

The age of trees and other flora is sometimes so much longer than the age of the gardener. In some respects, your own coding is sort of like unknowingly starting volunteer plants, even thru feeding squirrels acorns...

It all boils down to what we are aware of, and how we share our awarenesses.

Comment by adrianne Tue Oct 3 07:31:41 2017
A very nice way to bring closure at the end of one adventure, as another adventure begins. I hope that Anna and Mark continue to blog, I've been following for years! Wishing them the best in the years to come!
Comment by Maggie Turner Tue Oct 3 10:42:46 2017

Very nice. Often I wonder of the place where my parents built their home I grew up in, and their description of how they found foundation stones there indicating at one time there was a structure. Or how we found traces of barb wire fence in the middle of what was woods, and some rocks rowed to indicate there must have been a cleared and cultivated field at one time.

Hopefully someone will buy the place and make it a home.

Comment by Eric Tue Oct 3 17:32:28 2017

Thought provoking wonderful write up on Mark & Anna's homestead and all that has been The Walden Effect I do not believe anyone could have done it better Joey!!

Adrianne - love your comments as well!

Comment by Jayne Wed Oct 4 11:55:30 2017

I'm trying to convince my aunt and uncle that they need your homestead! They were looking for a peice of land that they could use as a camping get-away, and I sent them the listing. I'm crossing my fingers!

Emily in Bristol

Comment by Anonymous Mon Oct 9 17:54:18 2017

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