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


Inside a bee hiveI hesitated to make this post since I suspect most of you won't get anything out of it. Chances are pretty good that 40% of you don't need this information and another 50% of you will poo-poo it. That leaves only 10% of our readership who might benefit from this post, so feel free to look at the pretty picture inside our daughter hive and then move on if you're in the 90%.

Still here? Okay, I wanted to plug a website I've been using for the past month --- happify. Mark has been training me to use positive thought to boost my creativity and pleasure in daily life for years now, and this website's activities are helping me build on that foundation and take my mental hygiene to the next level.

I've worked my way through the track "Conquer your negative thoughts," finding some activities a bit basic but many others insightful and thought-provoking. This weekend, I started studying the Mindfulness track and I can tell it's going to continue to help me simplify and focus my thoughts so they don't look so much like the image above.

In case you're curious, I haven't paid for any of the potential upgrades they keep throwing at me (the one downside of the website), but I thoroughly recommend the free version of happify. Just be sure to click on the little "why it works" links to learn more about the science behind the projects.

Homesteading is all about choosing your own adventure, and that adventure can be terrible if your brain isn't in the right spot. So, go on, happify!

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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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Thank you so much for going out on a limb to post about this. I have often wondered during your busy, busy summers if such a workload would suit me (read: my spouse). I have long wanted to live more with the land as you do. I appreciate your honesty that the magnitude of your endeavors is a bit much at times (physically or mentally) for even those with many streamlined processes. On a more general note, we have sticky issues in my family with depression in all living generations. And little tips and tricks for mental health adjustments are welcomed in our lives. Easy, self-paced mindfulness activities can be a good thing for homesteaders, busy parents, you name it.

On another note, our local Costco is selling beginner bee kits (seems kinda niche)! I wonder how many folks in our very urban area are looking to start beekeeping? They placed them right by the organic foods area.

Comment by jen g Tue Aug 4 09:30:34 2015
Thanks for this post! It's the kind of thing I'd usually poo-poo but since it came from you I decided to check it out. I love that they use games for the training. I'm a new convert!
Comment by terry Tue Aug 4 10:12:48 2015

jen and terry --- Thank you so much for your kind comments! It helps a lot when I go out on a limb to know that at least a few of our readers get something out of the information. I hope you enjoy the site!

About the bee kits --- that's fascinating! I wouldn't have thought that beekeeping was something enough grocery-store shoppers would want to get into to make it worthwhile to stock the items. But what do I know? I don't find it strange to see broccoli sets out front of a grocery store, so I guess beekeeping kits inside isn't so strange either.

Comment by anna Tue Aug 4 12:30:00 2015
Thanks for this link! I struggle with negative-thought spirals whenever I go through a stressful period (I don't think of this as a personality flaw - I think it's just how some brains are wired, with the overthinking) and it's great to have any new tools in my cheer arsenal. Much appreciated!
Comment by Cordy Tue Aug 4 15:51:06 2015
I personally (and guess others as well) find the posts about the balance of such a hands on/work at home lifestyle interesting. There are a lot of books on virtual work, working from home, and self-employment that have relevant nuggets to a homesteading lifestyle which many don't put together. Cultivating optimism, pacing yourself, managing shifting priorities, proactive versus reactive and balancing the realities of both within the natural cycles, organizing and scheduling time and focus, efficiencies and investments changing both the amount of work as well as the nature of tasks and all of the above over time and development of a homestead . . . all of these come through your blog to some degree or another. This post fits in quite well!
Comment by Charity Wed Aug 5 12:12:43 2015

Cordy --- Yeah, those negative thought spirals are terrible. That's one of the biggest things Mark has been training me out of. I rarely go there now, which improves my life dramatically.

Charity --- That's a great way of looking at it! I agree that all of the points you hit on are imperative if you're going to live a homesteading/self-employed life. Very nicely said!

Comment by anna Wed Aug 5 21:01:38 2015

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