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

Happy birthday, farm!

Homestead from above

Mark and I don't celebrate our anniversaries, but I always try to take an hour to bond with the farm on our move-in date.  This week marks the beginning of the seventh year we've spent here, and the changes are more visible than ever before.

Wild lettuce seeds

Although Bradley's hard work dragging our infrastructure out of the trailer trash category is the most obvious change photographically, what I find more significant is that our tranquility levels are at an all-time high.  I'm tempted to explain that mood away by saying we're mostly caught up with seasonal farm chores, but the truth is we're at about the same place we were in previous years.  The difference is one of attitude.

Trailer with porches

Previously, glancing at a blighted tomato plant would send me into a tailspin, but this year I'm starting to realize that we can manage the blight and still harvest fruits well into the fall.  True, constant mulching has lowered the weeding pressure, but I think part of my contentment with the 2012 garden comes from realizing that a certain level of weeds won't take over and can simply be ignored.

Hearts a burstin'

Meanwhile, we're looking forward to another winter like the last one, when we focus on creative pursuits instead of struggling to catch up on all the tasks we didn't complete over the previous year.  While there are always projects on the back burner, the most pressing improvements are already in place, and Mark and I are both learning to quash our greed for expansion in favor of time for tranquility.

Front garden

Which is all a long way of saying that I'm able to look at last year's anniversary post and laugh at who I was then.  (The pictures are worth a gander, though, since they sum up the changes in our farm over the years quite succinctly.)  Thank you, farm, for helping me grow along with my vegetables!

Our chicken waterer lets us slip away for the weekend from time to time without worrying that our flock will get thirsty.

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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 love this post. You are an inspiration. Your attitude is such an excellent reminder, thank you.


Comment by Emily Mon Sep 3 08:23:18 2012

The expansions to your trailer reminded me of a house we rented for a holiday in New Zealand once. It had started small (like a log cabin, IIRC), and bit and pieces were added as needed. It was an interesting place, with a lot of character.

So, may your house "grow up" as you do!

Comment by Roland_Smith Mon Sep 3 15:13:19 2012

Emily --- Thanks so much for saying that! I'm glad that a post I thought was fluffy was appreciated. :-)

Roland --- I love your anecdote! Just what we're going for --- a house that grows as we do. :-)

Comment by anna Mon Sep 3 18:10:31 2012
YAY! Happy Anniversary!
Comment by Everett Tue Sep 4 11:44:50 2012
Everett --- Thanks!
Comment by anna Tue Sep 4 12:34:38 2012

It's always interesting to look back and see how things have changed. I can definitely relate to the feeling that attitude makes the most difference, and constant striving for expansion and improvement can take away from enjoyment of what's already there.

Best wishes in your 7th year.

Comment by Sara Wed Sep 5 19:49:59 2012
Sara --- I read your similar post recently and it probably influenced my thought processes here. :-)
Comment by anna Thu Sep 6 14:42:51 2012

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