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


Posing in front of the outhouse

The photo above shows a family friend (far left), me and my younger sister in our mother's lap, my father, and my brother.  But if you look closely, you'll see we're posing in front of...(wait for it)...our brand new outhouse.  My father was probably proud of the structure and chose the spot.  When explaining this photo to me, Mom added, "This is before all the [poop] started oozing out from behind the plywood...."

I don't remember the marital strife that seems to have been involved in (not) emptying out the composting toilet, but I do recall sitting inside for hours.  I wasn't constipated; I was reading.

Farmhouse kitchen

Joey in kitchenMore photos from the same time period illustrate our rustic farmhouse kitchen.  One of Mom's favorite stories from this time period takes place here, when a rat, dying from poison, entered the kitchen in search of water and drank out of my younger sister's potty chair.  And I was wondering why my parents didn't decide the farm life was fun....

More seriously, Mom mentions "One knife was handmade...made from a sawblade....  Errol looks tired...and sweaty...."  (If you're keeping track at home, that's my father and younger sister in the top photo and my brother in the second photo, in front of a metal bucket we used to heat up water on the stove.)

Me in hammock

This is what I was doing while all that hard work was happening.  If I'd been a year or two older, I would have had a book in my hand, but I wouldn't have been any more helpful.

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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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Wow- that was a great post! I loved the nostalgia- wonder what Mark's 1983 was like as well...

This post really made Watermelon Summer pop into my mind, even though they are mostly set in different eras, they really connected for me through this post. Thank you!

Comment by Eric in Japan Fri Feb 7 11:09:41 2014
Reminds me of my childhood. Between 1975 and 1983 my parents worked hard building their own house, canning, sewing, raising goats, chickens, geese, meat rabbits, worms, figs and a huge garden. All I remember is climbing trees, throwing rocks in the creek, playing with the cats, and turning my nose up at my mother's healthy cooking. That must be why I still have the desire for self-reliance and homesteading. We moved back to the suburbs when I was 9 so I never have to do any of the work!
Comment by Daizy Fri Feb 7 13:33:29 2014
I really liked this post. I liked seein your family. I liked seeing your rustic childhood home. I really like hearing the success and fail of daily life. Keep them coming.
Comment by Kathleen Sat Feb 8 02:04:48 2014

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