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

Full sun to white out in 24 hours

Sunny winter garden

The first chorus frog creaked its spring call from the woods Wednesday and the first male hazel catkins softened into bloom. Meanwhile, Kayla and I spent the afternoon with our hands sunk deep into the soil, preparing a bed for spring lettuce and mulching some overlooked garlic. In fact, it was so warm that even Huckleberry came out to help with our garden tasks.

But I won't be planting lettuce (or peas) quite yet. Even though I mark February 2 as the first outside planting of the year, I play the actual date by ear, keeping an eye on the weather and on soil temperatures. With temperatures due to plummet today and to stay below freezing for the foreseeable future, I opted to simply lay down some dark-colored compost and erect quick hoops to continue heating the lettuce-bed soil, but to keep my seeds inside where they can stay warm and dry.

Cutting scionwood in the snow

Good thing too since our farm looked very different 22 hours later! Fingers sure do get chilly when you cut scionwood in the snow.

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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 see the cold and snow hasn't stopped Lucy from stealing firewood for a good gnaw!
Comment by Jake Fri Feb 13 09:40:20 2015

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