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

Isolation versus stimulation

House for sale

We made another whirlwind trip to Ohio to look at a property...that, unfortunately turned out to be another dud. Luckily, our realtor suggested a different offering that came much closer to hitting the spot.

Country road

As we arrow in on what actually feels right, though, we're having to make some tough decisions. Do we want more land and more house further off the beaten path (what I chose the last time around and was very happy with for very many years)? Or do we want to go in the opposite direction and buy unimproved land to trailerstead on closer to the location that drew our attention in the first place?

Fallen tree

I've learned over the past year that I'm willing to drive about 15 minutes to something fun...while 45 minutes or longer means I only take the plunge rarely and after extensive vaccillation. Since one of my primary goals of this move is to give myself a wider range of artistic, social, and intellectual stimulation off the farm, part of me thinks we should focus on proximity at the expense of all else. (Mark would love proximity --- he's less of an isolationist than I am.)


Of course, the homesteading part of me twitches when I think of all the livestock doors I'd be closing by settling near neighbors who might not be thrilled to hear a cock crow (or to see a trailer move in next door). Meanwhile, the hermit part of me cringes away from being able to see the road...and of the greater likelihood the area we choose might grow up around us and squeeze my need of countryside out.

Decisions, decisions. No matter which direction we go in, I'm glad we made another trip. Images on the internet really hold no candle to feet on the ground.

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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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Hi Anna, Having had to make this very decision through many stages of my life (almost 70 years old now), I'd place stimulation above isolation for this particular move. After all, it is why you are moving in the first place and I'd honor that reason first. And I would be willing to keep searching until the RIGHT place presents itself. I believe it is less expensive to make many exploratory trips to a new place than it is to jump on an OK place just to get moved, then have to shift everything again for something that more closely fits your ideal later on. Even if you could not move until the spring, the intervening time is valuable because in addition to finding that perfect place, it allows you to more effectively de -clutter, to prepare your current place for sale at an optimum price, and to say a proper good-bye to all the bonds formed with people and places, as well as the homestead itself:-) And the very best of luck to you both in your new venture! Lucy

Comment by Lucy Tue Jul 18 08:58:04 2017
Don't forget to check zoning. Some counties will not allow single wide trailers (our county does not)or certain animals etc. There is so much to consider with a move but it sounds like you are thinking it through. I'm sure you will find the perfect property for your needs.
Comment by Pam Tue Jul 18 11:28:04 2017
Hi Anna. I've been following your blog adventures for quite awhile, I am usually not big on posting. I was excited to see you and Mark in my neck of the woods. My Husband and I live in Columbus Ohio but own property in Meigs county Ohio that we spend weekends camping and weekend homesteading. We spend quite a bit of time in Athens and Lake Snowden in Albany. I thought you may want to keep an eye out for a place in the Albany area. It's just around the corner from Ohio University and a beautiful area. We are planning for a tiny house on our place soon. We are in our fifties and setting up camp with no water and a heavy generator is getting harder for us. I hope you find the perfect spot to begin your new adventure soon. Pam
Comment by Anonymous Tue Jul 18 11:45:44 2017

That's what it boils down to, doesn't it?

But if you two want to have more time for writing and film-making, you'd problably do better with a house (and garden) that doesn't need a ton of work.

Personally, for my current place I did the needed work (new kitchen, flooring, decorating) before moving in. It's plain easier that way (without your stuff in the way) and I dislike living in a "project".

Comment by Roland_Smith Tue Jul 18 17:40:36 2017

Anonymous --- We're glad to (virtually) meet someone from our new stomping grounds! Once we're in our new place, we'd love to meet less virtually. :-)

Everybody else --- Thanks for your thoughtful comments! I've appreciated them all. :-)

Comment by anna Wed Jul 19 19:17:06 2017

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