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

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Nice to see the updates Anna. I am jealous that you are getting more chanterelles than you can keep up with, we are not having a great year for them here in Maine. If you haven't already tried freezing them, I definitely recommend it. Saute in a dry non-stick pan until the water renders and cooks off, add a little bit of butter, and then just vacuum seal and freeze in bags any that you don't eat right away. I just thaw them in a warm water bath and do a quick saute to reheat or add to soups, casseroles, etc. Happy hunting!
Comment by Anonymous Fri Jul 19 10:47:17 2019
For the record asphyxiation by carbon dioxide is NOT painless, if you don't believe me try holding your breath for 3-4 minutes. Carbon monoxide IS however painless which is why so many people commit suicide by breathing in their car exhaust fumes. An actually humane way would be to attach a tube from your car exhaust to an air-tight container and let it idle until the animal expires.
Comment by Steven Wed Jul 10 08:05:19 2019
So glad you are posting entries! I have been enjoying your posts for years, and enjoy them so much!
Comment by Maggie Turner Sat Jul 6 18:33:29 2019
Hello from a fellow Ohioan! I am up north (Akron) but considering buying property further South. Where are you located? Have you found likeminded folks?
Comment by Pita Wed Jul 3 20:27:04 2019
I want to know how to fix the wringer the rollers will not turn the washer part works
Comment by Linda hahn Thu Jun 27 18:28:40 2019

I really appreciate the thoughtfulness of your post, and the bare stats on human-edible feed ratios to meat.

When I think of veganism, not vegetarianism, I think people are missing a major factor in their math. To raise corn and soybeans, a lot of land is plowed under, and that's a factor that people do think of--that can be entered into the mental equations and argued over. What I don't see anyone discussing, when vegans discuss the "ethics" of eating meat, is the "least harm" ethical impact of raising corn and soybeans. You can torture a field of crops in that same way that you can torture an animal in a feedlot.

A field of soybeans is sprayed with chemicals (petrol-based or "organic") that kill the fungus in the field; and others that kill all the plants-not-soybean; and yet others that kill insects. These compounds eliminate Life on an epic scale. If you look at a field's capacity to produce protein but exclude the amount of insects and fungi that the field would normally contain, you've missed the main crop. And if a vegan only values "anything with a face," what about the bugs with faces?

Why is there an assumption that plants can't feel pain, when pain is at core a warning that the organism is being harmed? I know that trees which lose limbs that are still alive certainly display growth patterns and metabolic responses that equate to pain and inflammation; and trees under attack by insects react with the equivalent of panic. Trees suffering an infestation can sometimes even "call for help" from predatory insects!

Soil, most of all, dies under the conditions of modern agriculture. SO MUCH protein is lost when soil structure is damaged and repeatedly sprayed, plowed, extracted-from, sprayed again, and left bare and naked to the air. That the protein is fungal protein and inedible to humans is not the most important thing; it's possibly the most vital protein on land. Plants didn't colonize the land until fungi had filled soil with nutrients and their unique, water-holding proteins.

All of that protein and other calorie-storing chemicals that are not used for human consumption is actively growing and operating perfectly in a field that's properly managed for grazing, a field that might be unsuitable for agriculture or that might be in a grazing-fallow-furrow rotation.

At any rate--as so many others have said in the comments, vegetarian has a lot of benefits, veggie-heavy with the right amount of well-raised meat grown as an integrated farming system can be an even more ideal situation.

Comment by KT Wolf Mon Jun 24 13:42:22 2019
Are these INKY CAPS POISONOUS OR TOXIC TO SKIN? I found several of them growing in my onion and chamomile and I removed them with my hands. The black goo got all over my fingers. Should I worry? Please help!
Comment by Emmy Hulse Sun Jun 16 09:41:03 2019

I have some land that has a high sand content and low organic content. It was previously planted with rotations of corn and soy with round-up sprayed. Can I use a cover crop and let it grow tto seed, replant itself and then mow to improve organic content on the second growth?

Is there a better method to increase soil quality? I will be converting to pasture and garden after allowing the ground-up to degrade.

Comment by Paul Wed Jun 12 12:45:10 2019

Hi Anna, We currently grow apples on a tall spindle system in Oregon. Just curious if you're training your apple trees the same, whether they are tip bearers or spur bearers. We have some that are both and tip bearer only. Cheers! Diane

Comment by Diane Wright Thu Jun 6 10:20:21 2019

Hi: Glad to see you writing for us here again! I have been doing a little 'occasional' blog and I just had my Dad's strawberry defense system in it. You might get a kick out of it. It really works! The scare tape seems to be doing the job so far, but.... We have plan B and plan C on the ready. Here is the link, and I do hope you will not think me pushy to list it:



Comment by Tim Inman Mon Jun 3 16:35:25 2019

Dear Sumac harvester Please let me know, the difference between 1- Sumac 2- Sumac bran 3- Sumac grain

Best regards Hamid 30.May.2019

Comment by Hamid Wed May 29 23:10:28 2019

Hey Anna—I could t find a way to email you, so commenting here. Ever since you started blogging again last month, the formatting of the posts doesn’t work well on iPhone. In landscape mode it’s better, but mostly people hold their phones in portrait orientation. And as such, your posts show up oddly. Also, as I recall you used to have ads only in the sides of your posts. Now they show up throughout your content, breaking up an otherwise good experience. If you have any say so, my vote is to go back to only having ads on the sides. It’s soooo much nicer.

Comment by Jennifer Tue May 28 12:46:40 2019

Thank you for the post - quite informative. I managed to root mandarin cutting using (mostly water). Changed the water every 2 days and used a beer bottle that had stained glass (the idea is too limit the sun out). After about 2 weeks it showed signs of callus forming so I just transferred it to potting soil (it had 2 leaves and around 60% humidity in my house).

Anyhow - nice read - I heard that you can make a jam out of trifoliate and in my opinion the limonade si pretty ok - too bad it has so many seeds...

Comment by vlad Mon May 20 11:19:27 2019

I have a chick with a bloody sack hanging from its rear end. It seems energetic, and has lasted around 24 hours, but I am scared that the sack will snag on something and rip its intestines out of its body. Should I cull it? What even is this sack?

It seems so alive and way more excited than the other chicks, and I really don't want to kill it.

Comment by Help Sun May 19 15:37:15 2019

Hi Anna,

Nice to see some real content on your website again :).

Have you discovered Roland Bunch - Restoration of the soil book -- Free pdf?

Same sort of thing but much simpler. Soil gets better and better for at least 40 years.

I will be trying his method this year.


Comment by john Sun May 19 08:19:18 2019
Is that a snake I seen coming toward the sweet potatoes?!
Comment by Tressa Mon May 13 13:37:04 2019
Rhonda --- Great question! The picture is a bit of an optical illusion, but the netting actually goes all the way down to the ground.
Comment by anna Sun May 12 15:44:24 2019
Does she have success with putting netting ONLY over the top (not sides)? Brilliant idea to put jugs on top of the stakes - soooo much easier than stapling or tying the netting!!
Comment by Rhonda from Baddeck Sat May 11 12:39:53 2019
I want to know more about the mechanics of this gate opener.
Comment by Rod Sun May 5 11:47:07 2019
I have a 3-4 year old Issai kiwi that is flowering very well. small bunches of white female flowers with black tipped stamen. Do issai kiwis have completely male flowers, like usually yellow flowers?? And how long should you keep your longest vines growing from rest of the plant for fruiting?
Comment by Bubba Thu May 2 17:27:37 2019
i can not get it to agitate it moves very little and you can hear the strain on the motor both the wringer and pump work what do you think the problem is?
Comment by barbara hanzuk Mon Apr 29 16:10:35 2019
I have learned a ton from you two, on keeping chickens and goats.....and have been in a hiatus myself but very happy to see you sharing again...
Comment by melissa wilson Sat Apr 27 02:08:14 2019
Good to see a post here! So much of interest going on in your garden!
Comment by Maggie Turner Wed Apr 24 19:02:09 2019
@Snake snare, the best method to catch a snake without making it scared or aggressive is, to not hurt it. Snakes don't have very strong muscles around the neck. If they get caught in a snare, they get panic and try to get out of it by rolling sideways. That way they hurt themselves badly. And a hurt snake will do anything to defend itself. If you catch them gently by lifting up the body on a snake hook, you can easily grab the abdomen gently, and support the front body with the hook. The snake tries to get a way. But it wont strike, because it doesn't get hurt. With the hook you can also keep the head in safety distance, and guide it towards a PVC pipe with a snake bag on the other end. The snake wil even crawl into it by itself. I've caught hundreds of wild cobras and huge king cobras with this method. And it works just perfect. No reason to harm the snake with a bloody snare. For people, who are not able to catch snakes gently, I wouldn't recommend, to interact with venomous snakes at all.
Comment by Stefan Pullitzky Thu Apr 18 23:25:32 2019
Nice to see this. Mushrooms are so mysterious. I would love to go out with an expert. But haven't been able to connect yet. Most people around here treat is as top secret.!!
Comment by Donna Thu Apr 18 12:09:47 2019
Thanks for showing us. It was nice to see what you have been doing.
Comment by Kathleen Mon Apr 15 22:03:06 2019
i breed these goats on a small scale for selling the babies but mostly for the milk,the milk from this breed has the highest buttermilk content of all goat breeds which makes for better yogurt and cheeses and of course butter ,from my point of view they will charm you and become pets if you only have a few as they are very friendly so killing them for food can become hard ,as far as brush control the larger species are probably better than the smaller ones but they all do a great job ,as far as milking i built my own milking machine to do the job for me all i do is hook the cups on to the nipples and wait for the milk to slow then move onto the next one, cost me around $200 to build including a mobile cart to keep everything together for easy work the most expensive part was $120 dollars for a vacuum pump so conclusion is if you want goats to eat or brush control go with a larger breed if you want to milk and have cute spring babies go with a smaller breed and to get around the fencing problems put 3 strands of electric high tensile wire at the top of a 4 foot fence which is grounded and 2 strands down low inside they will learn to stay away from it real quick then that will save you $$$$$ in fence repair
Comment by jim Sat Mar 30 11:59:50 2019
i live in Ohio and i have hundreds of bees on saw dust .Cant go buy them they will make you run very good info .
Comment by Hope Thompson Tue Mar 26 10:49:37 2019

Hello, I just found your blog and noticed many entries are from several years ago. Are you still keeping it current? The reason for my email is to inquire as to how your persimmons from seed worked out? I have tried growing from seeds that happened to be in a store bought fruit. I got 4 to germinate and got to 4 leaves and then just stopped growing. The leaves lasted until November and eventually dried up and fell off. Maybe this was normal, I don't know. I brought them inside and put under a grow light for the winter. It's still just a stick and I'm wondering if it is just dead.

Is there a nursery or place to buy more seeds? I was actually trying to grow the round and flatter variety "Haku"? I can't recall the name just the shape.

I'm also located in the Pacific Northwest -- about 20 miles north of Seattle. Do you think any persimmon variety would survive in our climate?

I look foward to hearing from you soon.


Comment by Wendy Wed Mar 20 03:21:27 2019

It is nice to hear from you again. :-) Also it is good to hear you've sold your farm, both financially and as closure.

Like you, I've had my house broken into once so I sympathize. It made me feel unsafe for some time afterwards. On the other hand, stuff is just stuff. The best heirlooms are your memories, and those can't be stolen.

Up to now I've refrained from commenting on your blogging vacation, because I was ambivalent about it. I have enjoyed reading and commenting on your adventures. But I can imagine it can be stressful. As an introvert myself I'm not sure I'd give the whole world such a detailed peek into my life! So if you continue blogging or not, you have my respect and thanks either way.

Comment by Roland_Smith Sun Mar 17 12:41:22 2019
My chick got hatched today but it was stuck in the egg, I saw it late after some hours and when I went to check on it, it was still in it shell and ants trying to feed on the it while the rest were gone with the hen.......I helped it out of the shell but still unable to stand on it's own and I saw wounds on it's body.........The feathers are not like the rest of the chicks. Help me see to it
Comment by Michael Sun Mar 10 12:57:27 2019

Glad to see the update but sorry to hear someone else felt they had a right to your things. I guess it's part of moving back to "civilization". You need a big dog or two. That is as good a deterrent as the security system. Anyway, glad your doing well. Post when you can because it's always a welcome sight.

Comment by Ned Tue Mar 5 11:51:16 2019

Looks like all the Northern Arizona folks are all in the same boat. Some of the comments are from 2015. Have you had success with any of the techniques mentioned here? I’ve got 10 acres of flat land. I’ve got a honey crisp and a Granny Smith who are about 6 years old and an apple tree I grew from seed that’s 5 and producing fruit. It’s not bad either. I was also thinking that maybe growing full size trees and letting them get big might help since cold sinks. Maybe the height would help protect the blooms. It’s so frustrating. I will be trying some late blooming varieties but was hoping some of the previous posters would follow up on their success or failures. Thanks.

Comment by Einit Mussey Sun Mar 3 15:38:55 2019
Has anyone ever tried this and does it really work? I want to catch some turkeys near our home to re-locate them and was googling for ideas....
Comment by Debbie Wed Feb 27 15:14:10 2019
I live in beautiful Baldwin County, Alabama, about 30 miles form the Gulf of Mexico. Common citrus grows here with limited cold protection. The Owara type Satsuma is a favorite of many. Actually not all Owara trees are the same. The trees have some that are sweeter than others. Years ago, there were many very big orchards of satsuma, in our area, until a severe winter killed them. Most satsumas are grown on Trifoliet. This seems to give better endurance of our mild winter cold.As a Satsuma ages, it becomes more tolerant of cold. However, those mid to low teens will kill the trees. If the tree trunks are covered with more soil above the graft, during winter, the lower part of the tree will survive to grow Satsuma, again. Failure to bank the soil on very cold winters, will only leave the old thorny Trifoliet roots. Some yards have beautiful Satsuma trees with bushels of fruit; while others have only the sour oranges.
Comment by James Kirksey Mon Feb 25 21:33:37 2019
I have seen numerous bees foraging on pumpkin leaves heavily infested with powdery mildew - they appeared to be collecting the spores (or some other part of the fungus) from the surfaces of the leaves. There are not many flowers at the moment as we have had two months of warm/hot sunny weather (Australian Summer). This would support the idea that it's spores the bees are seeking in your sawdust. I can't find much in the literature on this, but it suggests the bees might inadvertently spread mildew from infected plants to healthy ones as they go about their business - a rare example of the honeybee cast as a villain.
Comment by Phil Mon Feb 18 02:11:42 2019
I am male turkey mated with my female chicken is that normal? Her eggs are fertilized and we have no males, except for the turkey...
Comment by Krystal Kasper Tue Feb 12 12:34:17 2019

Ah, another great post. I keep on finding my way to your blog quite often! I'm looking into low-energy in-house carbon sources for humanure. We don't produce enough sawdust, but there are loads of leaves, and potentially enough straw, both from grasses and from reeds.

Does anybody have experience with any? I can imagine that dry leaves could work, even without processing. But, according to Joseph Jenkins, straw doesn't, due to particle size. I'm looking into efficient ways of making "straw-dust"... any thoughts?

Comment by Dita Mon Feb 11 10:45:18 2019
meat animals dont nessassarily eat grains raised for humans. considering the cases they consume the remaining portion of the plants we raised to eat crops and fruits, those numbers you represented must have been something really different. the digestive organs of humans are not designated to live on the plants. what matters is the ineffective methods of raising animals not eating meat itself.
Comment by Anonymous Wed Feb 6 10:22:13 2019
Wow! This place looks amazing! Is it still available?
Comment by Beverly Tue Feb 5 08:40:41 2019

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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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