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


Wod shed in the snowMonday night as we read by solar flashlight, the telephone rang!  I'm a confirmed phone-o-phobe, but that sound was the nicest one I'd heard in days.  I leapt up and pounced on the receiver, then enthused in my father's ear, called my Mom and sister, and even talked to my equally phone-phobic brother.

Earlier that day, I'd resorted to putting a letter to my mother in the mailbox to assure her that I was alive.  When I got her on the phone, it was clear that Mom had been worried, but she also told me how she'd often been snowed in at my childhood farm and unable to contact her own mother for a solid month.  "No news is good news," Mom said...then admitted that she'd emailed two of my neighbors to check on me.

Daddy gave me equally good words of wisdom.  "Isn't it nice to go without so that you'll really appreciate power when you have it?"  I have to admit that in the past I've wished my ancestors hadn't opened up Pandora's box of industrialization.  But living without for just three days, I can completely understand how we ended up in our current era of modern conveniences.

Tuesday morning, the phone was once again dead.  Farewell, civilization!

One of these days I'm going to get up to date, really....  For now, though, enjoy reading our backstory, then check out our microbusiness ebook.

This post is part of our Two Weeks Without Electricity series.  Read all of the entries:

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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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Glad you are both doing well. I am enjoying reading about your adventures without power. Sometimes, as your Dad says, it really can be a special time,(though lots of work)and it's full of learning. I wanted to let you know of something I read online a while ago. If you have a heavy cast iron pot and wanted to make a stew or something, apparently, you can heat the pot and contents up to over 180 degrees F and cook it a bit. You then take it off the heat and just wrap the whole thing up in blankets and in about the same time as a crock pot, it is supposed to cook the food, without using any heat source. It is called "retained heat cooking". I have not tried it yet but it looked interesting.

Have a Merry Christmas and stay warm and dry. Glad you didn't have to drive on those icy roads. :)

Comment by Heather Thu Dec 24 14:06:13 2009
I'll have to try the cast iron "crock pot" --- it's a great idea! Thanks for sharing!
Comment by anna Thu Dec 24 17:57:01 2009

Oh what I would do to be cut off from civilization for a few weeks! I dream of a cabin with a wood burning stove and a pot of beans or stew on it... Dick Proenneke (of Alaskan fame ) would drop ingredients in a pot on the wood stove when he would leave in the morning and then come back to a cooked dinner. I dream of that some day... One day. Not for a while though I guess.

Glad you are doing OK. Looks like another weather system headed your way. We dealt with it early today (tornadoes galore) and my friends in the Ozarks are dealing with it at present.

Comment by Shannon Thu Dec 24 18:11:22 2009

We're thinking of having a traditional wood stove on hand during no-electricity times to make cooking simpler. Unfortunately, our exterior wood stove just doesn't get hot enough on the surface to cook anything. (Which is good because it means that the heat is going into the sleeve and then into the house, but bad for cooking!)

It is awfully nice to be outside the world for a few days --- alone with your thoughts and the farm. :-)

Comment by anna Thu Dec 24 19:30:35 2009

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