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

4 things I don't talk about

Four-month-old pullet

It occurred to me the other day that the things I don't talk about much here on the blog are the things all of our readers really should be doing. The things that are so easy and successful that I barely give then a moment of my attention...until it's time to harvest the results. So, without further ado, four things I don't often write about:

Pastured chickens. It took us a while to work the kinks out of the system, but our laying flock is mostly a set-it-and-forget-it homesteading project nowadays.


Low-work vegetables. I know I post (far too much) about struggling with fungal diseases in our tomatoes and trying to harvest apples despite living in a frost pocket. But large parts of our garden are as simple as plant, weed and mulch once, then harvest. I write in more depth about the easiest vegetables in Weekend Homesteader, but here's the cliff notes' version (slightly updated over the last four years): swiss chard, okra, crookneck and butternut squash, green beans, kale, and lettuce are hard to go wrong with.

Young buckwheat

Easy cover crops. Once again, I post mostly about my experiments in this department. But the trinity of buckwheat in summer and oats and oilseed radishes in winter build soil while keeping weeds at bay. I adore them and plant them copiously.

Greywater wetland

Greywater wetland. Mark weedate around the greywater wetland last week...which is the first time we'd touched the area in about a year. The cattails are thriving and our kitchen-sink water disappears without a trace. In case you want to learn more, I write in great depth about our greywater wetland (and other infrastructure projects worth their salt) in Trailersteading.

What do these four facets of homesteading have in common? They all started out as problems --- smelly chicken runs, ailing vegetables, poor soil, and a mucky drain out back. Then we tweaked and tucked and soon created systems that worked with very little effort on our part. Maybe in ten more years, my things-I-never-write-about list will include goats and tomatoes and frost-bitten apples. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy tagging along with our trial and error. And, I hope you'll consider posting your own things-too-easy-to-blog-about list below.

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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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