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

Making up our own holidays

Water on lichens

Mainstream holidays don't tend to speak to me and Mark much, so we often skip them, but then we're left with a celebratory void in our lives.  So, for the next year, we're going to try to come up with one meaningful (to us) holiday per month and make up our own way to celebrate the day.

Stone wall

The Winter Solstice was an obvious choice for December.  After reading far too much on Wikipedia about traditional methods of observing the holiday, we decided to do something entirely different --- go for a hike.  A majestic bald eagle, fascinating stone walls (unusual in our area), about a dozen creek crossings, and skinny-dipping in a deep forest pool were all included in the outing.

Forest pool

What's up for January?  The outside-the-box thinker in the family (Mark) is going to have to make something up because nothing on the calendar called out to me.  Maybe you have suggestions?  You get bonus points if it's in the second half of the month to make it more distinct from Mark's upcoming natal celebration.

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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 vote for National Seed Swap Day on the 25th, as you have it on your calendar. Might be too early, though I did see the first seed catalog last week.
Comment by Brandy Sun Dec 22 10:31:05 2013

How about Robbie Burns Day - January 25th? A poetry themed celebration of sorts on the day of Scottish Poet's Robert Burns' birthday. A specific reason to dig out favorite poetry or explore new poetry - with each other, out of doors, around a fire, or with friends. And nothing says January quite like winter in Scotland! Menu could include scotch broth - lamb or venison bone broth with kale! but that is probably often on the menu at your place. . . :)

I think a hike sounds like an absolutely lovely say to celebrate - get off the homesite, enjoy the outdoors, explore a new or recently unvisited natural area . . .

Comment by Charity Sun Dec 22 10:33:11 2013

Hi Anna and Mark,

Seriously. I used to celebrate January as a month without any celebrations.

I seems so silly what people celebrate.

How about I did a good job at this or that chore/job. I got something done I wouldn't have had time to do given all the 'other' celebrations (wasted days) going on in the other months.

Good thing I keep reading Waldeneffect for some happy stuff :).

Warm regards and Merry Christmas to you both, John

Comment by John Sun Dec 22 12:47:40 2013
Back in New England, we often celebrated Robert Burn's birthday with Contra-dancing, whiskey,& poetry. Always talked about trying to do the stuffed sheep's stomach (haggis), but never did. I think there is lots to work with for a celebration : )
Comment by Rhonda Sun Dec 22 13:08:20 2013

In our area we always have a warm spell at the end of January so it would go from 0 degrees or 10 degrees all the way up to 30F. As a child we had a celebration we called "summer in winter" and it was a day to put on my swimsuit, have "summer" foods, and lay in the sun reading a book. We'd put beach towels down in front of the windows, etc. etc. It moved every year as we had to wait for that warm and sunny day to have it.

This may or may not work for you. :D

Comment by c. Sun Dec 22 14:05:11 2013

Third image steam shot looks like clearest deepest That ive seen on here. What fish in stream?

Comment by jim Sun Dec 22 20:21:51 2013

January 2th we will be celebrating Arbor Day. I realize that day is already taken but that is the day of the local Master Gardeners tree sale. The wife and I will spent a couple hours listening to various presentations then the mad dash to find the best fruit trees available. We are planning on 10 trees... apples, peaches, pairs, etc and roughly 15-20 berries and fruiting shrubs depending on availability. This will be followed by a quick non nutritional lunch at one of the drive through joints. The remainder of the weekend will be devoted to some serios planting. All planting sites are prepared and ready to go although I still need to gather pine needles for mulching. The trees will be mulched from a still rather large pile of wood chips we harvested last winter and spring. Although the pile in 50 percent decomposed it should keep the weeds down. In Zone 9 you celebrate when you can.

We got our first two spring catalogs this week (Saturday) and 5 flats started (Monday) in greenhouse I finished two weeks ago. Yesterday I noticed first seedlings poking through reaching for the sun

Love your site, keep up the great work.

Comment by Tom Mon Dec 23 05:28:19 2013

I like all the suggestions --- keep them coming!

Jim --- That's not our creek, which is why it's so clear. Having stones instead of mud on the bottom and a forested watershed definitely helps. I'm not sure which fish are there, but they stock a similar stream nearby with trout.

Comment by anna Mon Dec 23 08:10:54 2013

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