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

Moody weather

Cracked earth

The weather and I can be moody. After a crazy wet fall, winter, and spring, we started measuring precipitation in hundredths of an inch this month. A quarter of an inch of rain Thursday morning eased the earth's woes a little, but it took Mark's cheerful demeanor and calm problem solving to ease my own bad mood.

Pea flowers

You'd think I'd realize that I always get overwhelmed around the middle to the end of May. I keep a mood diary (who, me obsessive?) and this is the time of year when my homemade cheerfulness report card dips into Cs and Ds. All of the spring plantings need to be weeded, our chicks are growing out of the easy stage and require more frequent pasture changes, and learning goats has also added to my load this year.

The trouble is, I love the garden and chickens and goats. I just don't love it when a lengthy to-do list pulls me out of my slumber too early and I turn irritable and grumpy. Time to offload a few tasks.

Nursing buckling

Some chores are easy to spread around. I pull Mark off his normal tasks to help me for a morning in the garden, and together we move the chicks to a new bit of yard. After a lesson in goat tethering, we figure he can halve my chores there too.

But some headaches aren't lighter when carried on two sets of shoulders. For example --- Lamb Chop. At eleven weeks of age, our buckling is enormous, still nursing...and starting to get ornery. Artemesia went into her first clearly discernible heat this week, which suddenly made goat wrangling much more difficult. Between the screaming from the woods, Lamb Chop's need to mount our doeling in the middle of the garden, and the egg-laying snapping turtle guarding the path on the way home, I was glad Mark was along or I don't think I would have been able to get all three goats back into the pasture. So our buckling has a date with the local butcher (aka meat packing facility) in two weeks, and we'll just hope Lamb Chop manages to knock Artemesia up beforehand.

Garlic scapes and asparagus

Speaking of offloading, I've decided to let my Winter and Spring cookbooks stand alone for the moment. I had thought my book about living in a trailer would be my most controversial and criticism-inspiring text, but apparently our unusual food choices are much more divisive. Lacking the energy to push a product that the world isn't ready for, I'm moving on to one of the other creative projects that I always have waiting in the wings.

Decisions made and tasks offloaded, I step out into the garden and notice that the grass is green, the flowers are beautiful, and the garlic scapes are ready to eat. It's amazing what a shift in perspective will do to remind me that, despite temporary troubles, we're still living in paradise!

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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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Sorry they haven't done well, which I find frankly surprising. Maybe if you found a way to link into the wealth of paleo websites? There is a HUGE & hungry community out there who loves to eat just like you do.
Comment by terry Fri May 22 09:40:57 2015
I had no idea that a buckling could do the job at so young an age. That would be a great asset if she could get pregnant soon. And an egg-laying snapping turtle - what an amazing sight! (As long as you're far enough away!) I can see how these little frustrations can build up - I'm glad you have Mark to find solutions and smooth the way. You're a great team!
Comment by Rhonda from Baddeck Fri May 22 10:14:12 2015

Sheesh.... people defend their diet du jour with religious furvor (and little tolerance i think also) you are not alone in feeling the sharp end of their pointed comments. So just enjoy your real honest to goodness food that you grew yourself and yes, you pretty much do live in paradise...😊 i am still eating the kale salad from Winter...

Comment by deb Fri May 22 18:33:00 2015

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