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Hi Anna,

My plants grow well when they have 'good' soil.

Even when I meditate :).


Comment by John Tue Oct 16 08:17:26 2018

First of all I'd like to thank Maggie for the link to the Quaker site. I'm not religuous, but their sense of social justice speaks to me. In the videos they come over as nice and genuine people.

In general I tend to find self-help books unhelpful. Reading the quotes from this book on Wikipedia and elsewhere sets off my woo alert. Between the self-evident and the mumbo-jumbo I'm left with a feeling of meh.

I would recommend looking into modern stoicism. But like all philosophy, it is best imbibed in moderate doses. :-)

Comment by Roland_Smith Mon Oct 15 15:36:04 2018

By the way, I think that bibliotherapy has been peer reviewed in research studying the benefits of reading self development/help books.

I would challenge the scientists to encourage that people write self help material in their own words (like you are) because sometimes it can feel good to read books like this but then we can quickly forget the reasons or rhyme.

Comment by Maggie Mon Oct 15 11:15:14 2018

Is Quaker Worship Meditation?

I used to think I was a Quaker. The best part of Quaker life for me was definitely Silent worship. So when I moved home, to a Bristol, TN without a Quaker Meeting, I found myself sitting on the floor of Bristol Yoga, learning what mediation means to me. Honestly, I always confused mediation with Quaker Worship. But on a Quaker Speak Video titled Is Quaker Worship Mediation, the answer was a uniform if complex No. (Or yes and no but no.)

Maybe you first heard of mediation in a similar way to me?

I agree, a big part of meditating is about resting the mind. Meditation makes a conscious attempt to be effortless. Part of meditating is about sitting still, being present in the moment where we find ourselves, with an aim being peacefulness.

I am glad that you are trying the easy work of mediating. It is super healthy and good for you.

What mediation is to you should ultimately be defined by you.

I was watching Oprah talk to this author of yours once. He is pretty deep. Good work!

Comment by Maggie Mon Oct 15 11:11:28 2018
there are seed pods like small skinny pea pods on the upper part of the peanut plant. what are these used for? are they seeds and can i plant them and get a peanut crop next year?
Comment by Glenda Gonser Sat Oct 13 20:59:10 2018

How about permits on the installation of the wood stove and pipe? What sort of inspection for the home owners insurance? I know on your last place, you said you did not carry insurance (as an old trailer in a place the fire department could not access was pretty much something no insurance company would touch)

I have known others that were told that you simply can not put a solid fuel stove in a manufactured home and be covered by home owners insurance.

Comment by Eric Sat Oct 13 09:04:00 2018
I'm sure you are aware but be sure to put a vapor barrier under your slab.
Comment by Brian Fri Oct 12 16:31:08 2018

My sister's house (built in the 1920s) has a coal chute into the basement. Lift the lid. Drop the coal on the chute and it slides down into the coal bunker in the basement. Next to where coal-fired furnace used to be.

Comment by Roland_Smith Fri Oct 12 12:17:20 2018
Rebecca --- We asked about that last year at the courthouse when we went to register our trailer. They told us that we didn't need any permits for an addition, but that they will cruise by from time to time and assess the new square footage and add that onto our property-tax bill. So it sounds like we're good...until tax time.
Comment by anna Thu Oct 11 15:24:37 2018
I know in our area, we would have to have permits and inspections to build something like that. Heck we had to have permits to have the foundation waterproofed. (we have a neighbor who hired a reputable company that failed to get permits and their project has been shut down at the exposed foundation state for 2 months now). Whats it like in your neck of the woods?
Comment by Rebecca Thu Oct 11 09:57:29 2018

They're actually good pollinators. You can set out unpainted weathered wood blocks for them to use. Maybe even drill some starter holes to attract them away from where you don't want them. Here in the Pacific NW I have 2 honeybee hives and a half dozen mason bee houses with pre-drilled wood blocks. The mason bees are a little different in that the pupae overwinter in cocoons, as opposed to the carpenters where the adults over winter. The mason bee blocks come apart so they can be cleaned to cut down on the mites, and the cocoons can be removed and stored in the fridge over the winter to be set out in the spring. I usually get a few hundred cocoons every year. See the Crown Bees website for info on solitary bees:

Comment by Marc Crump Wed Oct 10 00:57:00 2018
Wait till you see where they filmed it! (We're quite proud of it, actually!)
Comment by Librarian92 Tue Oct 9 21:20:36 2018

Anna, I was reading your adventure with rapt attention until you used the term "toboggan..." This of course is what folk in a small region call what I call a stocking cap, Canadians call a "Touque" or others may call a "Beanie"

My wife is from rural south western VA, about twenty miles as the crow flies from Mark and Anna's old homestead... I am from Minnesota.

Early on in our courtship I overheard my better half referring to someone "Wearing a toboggan.." I was TOTALLY confused! To most folk, a toboggan? It's a wooden sled used to slide down hills!

Comment by Eric Mon Oct 8 18:35:08 2018
According to wikipedia Mr King and his wife got to the hotel at the last day of the season and spent the night as the only guests in such a huge hotel. That night he woke up in a cold sweat from a dream about his young son being chased down the hallway with a fire hose. He got up and wrote the outline for the Shinning in the time it took him to smoke.
Comment by mark Mon Oct 8 15:56:35 2018
Mark! LOL, I had never seen The Shining until yesterday for the very first time!! Just thought that was too much of a coincidence to not share. I don't have too much of the opportunity that you have to homestead, but I am always very inspired when I read posts from you and Anna.
Comment by Karl P Tirrell Mon Oct 8 14:47:10 2018
Yes a friend and I camped out at the pawpaw fest some years ago and had a great time, but you are correct, it can be a very busy place on the weekend. I might consider going next year but I don't think Mary would be willing to camp out.
Comment by Zimmy Mon Oct 8 05:54:43 2018
We have four of them, they are a little different than the one pictured but all work well. The soda bottle fills up every year, the one we have with a pint jar is full and running over.There is no bait, just the 45 degree angle on the entrance hole. They go up and then go down into the bottle and can't find there way out!
Comment by wewally Sun Oct 7 18:32:46 2018

Especially the mountain pictures are gorgeous.

You may be surprised to hear that the Appalachian mountains are becoming more rugged. Although you need to take your time to appreciate it. :-)

Comment by Roland_Smith Sun Oct 7 15:19:26 2018

Jen --- I hope you get to see Colorado too sooner rather than later! It was definitely inspiring.

Mom --- I'm such a sneaky photographer.... That lake is actually right beside a two-lane road! I just angled my shot so you couldn't see it. There were lots of smaller "lakes" (what I would call ponds), though, in the area accessible only by trail, or not accessible at all.

Comment by anna Sun Oct 7 14:36:37 2018

Anonymous --- In our old place, when fruit flies came it was often at this time of year and they seemed to die back once the cold weather hit. But I'm afraid I don't have any ideas other than letting your trailer freeze inside! :-)

Sheila --- This isn't actually ours. It's on a friend's house. I think they purchased it as a kit, but I'm not quite sure from whom. There's some kind of lure inside the wooden box. As you can see, there are insects inside...but there is also fresh carpenter-bee damage nearby. So I'm not sure if I can recommend it!

Comment by anna Sun Oct 7 14:34:40 2018

Was there a trail to the lake?

We in "The East" have no conception of lots of The West...Our country is enormous! Thanks so much for your photos!

Comment by adrianne Sun Oct 7 08:58:07 2018

Colorado has been on my bucket list for years.Maybe if I could swell some art I'd get there. Glad you guys enjoyed your time there. Looks absolutely stunning. Can't wait to hear about it.


Comment by bleueaugust Sun Oct 7 08:04:58 2018
It's not possible for urine to have the NPK numbers suggested in this article. I have seen these exact numbers on other web sites and I suspect they are just being copied when in fact the primary source is incorrect. Urine is 95% water. An NPK with N=11 implies 11% of the urine is nitrogen which is impossible. The correct NPK is closer to 2.8:0.18:0.15 i.e. much much lower which would also suggest much lower dilution rates are required, no more than 4:1.
Comment by John Sun Oct 7 02:58:39 2018

This is fantastic idea, a lady on youtube used cardboard and coffee grounds also with great success. Though I did find a research paper which found using newspapers for growing oysters tested a high level of heavy metals and they were inedibe. taste at you own risk!

Comment by Jane Sat Oct 6 23:20:48 2018
Did you purchase this or did you make it? I would love to get rid of our carpenter bees, both here at the cabin and up at the tree house. If you made it, I will take two. If you purchased it, from where?
Comment by Sheila Bach Sat Oct 6 22:09:43 2018
I would love to find a solution to the fruit flies in my house. I've tried every home remedy and every time I think I'm winning they come back. I have never had them before only knats. Any suggestions?
Comment by Anonymous Sat Oct 6 08:25:04 2018
Send you a email.
Comment by Anonymous Fri Oct 5 12:44:41 2018
um.... pretty sure that is a fly agaric lol.
Comment by yup Thu Oct 4 20:10:30 2018
Can you wolf down a bowl of raspberries without leaving stains all around your mouth? ;-)
Comment by Roland_Smith Wed Oct 3 17:06:03 2018

I know that I get a lot more raspberries when my daughter is off at college and my wife is picking them. Even worse--for years, I didn't think our strawberries were really producing much at all.

Now she has her own garden bed at the house she is renting for the year! It is wonderful to see your passions being handed down to another generation.

Comment by JIm Wed Oct 3 08:09:41 2018
hi, love your blog. I am collecting persimmons to preserve and store. I live in silver Spring, MD and was wondering about the trees you saw at the resevoir. I wonder how large they are now. Do you remember the name or location of the resevoir?
Comment by Avery Tue Oct 2 11:55:56 2018
I’ve had my kieffer pear tree for six years and for the first few years that the tree produced pairs they were really not flavorful and were tough . Finally this year I have a large crop and they’re absolutely tasty, crisp like an Asian pear and sweeter then previous years. We Already made a tasty pair sauce that did not require too much sugar and ust a bit of cinnamon also doing a infused vodka with the pears. We are also going to put them in our root cellar and try a preserve .
Comment by Julia Mon Oct 1 20:20:29 2018

@Amanda Sullivan

Forced air wood furnaces are available. See e.g. here. They're quite expensive. And the ducts that you need are pretty large. The ducts also need a significant amount of insulation, because air cannot hold a lot of heat.

I have my doubts about the efficiency of these things. The supplier I linked to seems to make them mainly because they don't have to meet the 2015 EPA standards for hydronic (water-heating) outdoor furnaces. To me, "buy this because it doesn't have to meet standards" is not a good sales argument.

If you are on a tight budget, just put a (modern) woodstove inside. At least that will allow you to capture all the heat generated. And a modern woodstove (with an "afterburner") will be pretty efficient and won't generate a lot of smoke and soot. To be fair, a wood stove in the house will cause more particulate matter ("PM") pollution inside than an outside furnace. (The sources of PM pollution can be unintuitive, though. When I was measuring PM pollution inside my house with a cheap Adafruit sensor, the highest value was reached when I opened the window; probably caused by a nearby busy road. There was also a noticable spike when I was cooking dinner on natural gas.)

If you can afford it, go for a modern computer controlled hydronic outdoor furnace, and put in underfloor water heating.

Comment by Roland_Smith Mon Oct 1 15:00:29 2018

My Mom found that air pocket wood stove on ebay.

It was home made and very weak compared to a stove like the Jotul.

Comment by mark Mon Oct 1 09:33:02 2018

Well, you don't have to give up fire therapy if you go for a "Grundofen". That's the German name for it, they're also popular in scandinavia. The proper term in English is masonry heater.

Here is a link to a video that shows how it is built. The comments are in German, but don't let that deter you. As you can see it still has the fire door where you can see the flames.

These heaters are very good at storing heat and releasing it slowly. They are heavy, of course. So building one in a manufactured home should involve looking at the load limits of the construction.

Comment by Roland_Smith Sun Sep 30 13:04:23 2018
We've got a Jotul - I think it's the F8 TD - and we love it too. Our heating season is pretty short here, and we mostly only light the fire in the evenings, so it's not really worth it to muck around with rocket mass heaters. Plus we like to toast marshmallows and cook doughboys over the coals :-).
Comment by Darren (Green Change) Sun Sep 30 08:44:06 2018

Thank you for going with me. I really enjoyed it and I am glad you did too. The spice bush was my favorite too and I would love to have more of that tea for sure. Look forward to our next adventure.


Comment by bleueaugust Sun Sep 30 08:20:53 2018

Thank you for going with me. I really enjoyed it and I am glad you did too. The spice bush was my favorite too and I would love to have more of that tea for sure. Look forward to our next adventure.


Comment by bleueaugust Sun Sep 30 08:19:51 2018
This question is about a different wood stove that you made. I read that you had an outside wood stove that blew hot air into your trailer. I read that it was a special kind of wood stove with an airpocket in it. What is this type of store e called where did you find a stove like that? I wanna do the same setup with my trailer.
Comment by Amanda Sullivan Sun Sep 30 07:50:46 2018

I'm planning to add insulating Kume curtains to my windows this winter. I saw them in action at Living Energy Farm; with the curtain down the room was warm all night, and raising it only a little immediately cooled the room down. The idea is to trap a layer of still air in between the window the curtian, which acts as insulation. So you need a wide window sill for the curtian to fit snugly inside without leaking air.

I'd say, make sure to get good double glazed windows (or triple) and design window sills that will allow adding kume curtians if you need them.

The main downside of combining the curtians with passive solar is they have to be raised/lowered every day.

Comment by Sat Sep 29 11:51:03 2018

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