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

Composting old dreams

Foggy trees

I'm the world's worst housekeeper, but I do like to go through my shelves from time to time to root out books I no longer use (and to give me room to slip a few new classics in).  I think of this process as composting old dreams --- after all, why else do I keep Free booksbooks that I haven't opened in a decade unless they represent a dream I never fulfilled (or achieved and moved beyond)?

Many of the books I discarded during the most recent rainy day purge are going to my mother, who's taken up the study of Appalachian ecology and can use the books I now know by heart.  Others, though, are looking for a home.  Are any of you itching to read:

  • The Backyard Beekeeper (a very basic guide that's good for a raw beginner)
  • Day Range Poultry (pretty disappointing from the backyard permaculture perspective, but would be useful if you want to start a pastured poultry operation)
  • Corn Among the Indians of the Upper Missouri (very interesting if you want to learn about Native American agriculture)
  • A History of 17 Years of Excavation and Reconstruction: A Chronicle of 12th Century Human Values and the Built Environment (about research at Sunwatch in Ohio, but interesting for any student of that era of Native American history; semi-scientific, but I think relatively accessible to a layman)
  • The Thru-Hiker's Handbook: Georgia to Maine 2002
  • Appalachian Trail Gudie to Tennessee-North Carolina (Eleventh Edition, with maps)
  • Appalachian Trail Guide: Southwest Virginia (Third Edition, with maps)
  • Lost Continent: Travels in Small-Town America
  • Animals and Plants of Ancient Maya (not as much of a reference as I thought it would be, but interesting if you're into Mayan culture)
  • Handbook of Salamanders (not the best salamander field guide, but with lots of measurements if you want to take ID to the next level)

Book shelfIf you'd like to give any of these books a shot, just email with your mailing address and I'll send them off.  We'll swallow the shipping expenses unless you live outside the U.S.

I'm looking forward to the new seedlings that will root in the fertile soil of this dream compost!

Edited to add: The books have all found good homes. Thanks for adopting a dream!

Our chicken waterer never spills or fills with POOP.

Anna Hess's books
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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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I was struck by your observation that keeping things around you don't use anymore can represent unfulfilled (or achieved) dreams. I have a professional organizer friend (a powerhouse of a professional organizer) who says the exact same thing. Do most people make that connection between the state of your mind, and the state of your stuff? I thought that was super cool because Anna and Edith always come back to the idea of living simply. Letting go of old dreams leaves more space to enjoy living now...
Comment by J Sat Feb 25 11:30:06 2012
J --- It's interesting how much organizing our stuff involves emotions and philosophy. I used to hoard books, but I've really felt much freeer and more thoughtful ever since I started purging at intervals. I love your last line, btw!
Comment by anna Sat Feb 25 12:43:15 2012
I would love the Appalachian trail books! Please, oh, please!
Comment by Brandy Sat Feb 25 15:27:50 2012
Brandy --- They're all yours!
Comment by anna Sat Feb 25 18:05:33 2012

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