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

Farmers of Forty Centuries

Chinese carrying polesIf you enjoyed my series on traditional Central American farming practices, you'll love Farmers of Forty Centuries by F.H. King.  Precisely 100 years ago, the American author visited the eastern sections of China (along with Korea and Japan).  He documented his journey with anecdotes, photos, and vivid prose like the following description of a Cantonese house boat:

Sometimes husband and wife and many times the whole family were seen together when the craft was both home and business boat as well.  Little children were gazing from most unexpected peek holes, or they toddled tethered from a waist belt at the end of as much rope as would arrest them above water, should they go overboard.  And the cat was similarly tied.  Through an overhanging latticed stern, too, hens craned their necks, longing for scenes they could not reach.

I'm excerpting the portions of the book which appeal to my organic gardening and permaculture leanings, but I highly recommend that you read the whole thing as an ultra-cheap Asian vacation.  Although Farmers of Forty Centuries is currently back in print, you can still read the full text (minus the photos) for free on Project Gutenberg.

Check out our homemade chicken waterers.

This post is part of our Traditional Asian Farming lunchtime 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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