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

New Year's goal 2016

Winter shiitakes

My sister and I were discussing New Year's resolutions the other day. Unlike most people, I like to think of them as goals rather than resolutions and I prefer to immediately set up action steps to make them a reality. Still, the start of a new calendar year does seem like a good time to mull over the annual goals.

That said, during our early years on the farm, I overwhelmed us with huge numbers of goals that were really window-dressing rather than reaching to the heart of what would make us truly sustainable and happy. Recently, I've changed gears a bit and instead focus on one annual goal that's so deceptively simple I can write it in a single sentence.

Broody hen

In 2014 and 2015, my goal was to take one work day off per month just for fun. No, it doesn't count if I'm going to the dentist or planning Thanksgiving. There might be fun involved in both those activities, but neither one works to counter my workaholic tendencies. Instead, the free day has to be devoted to exploring a park or just swallowing a good book --- pure unvarnished pleasure with no obligatory springs attached. I failed at this goal in 2014, but did so well this year that I was no longer sliding my free day off into the very end of the month just to say I did it.

Goat eating brussels sprout

Having achieved my goal at last, I'm now ready to move on to a new resolution. So in 2016 my goal is to add another just-for-fun day per month, but this one will be devoted to long hikes like the one I enjoyed this fall. Now I'm off to research medium-distance trails within easy driving distance and plan out next year's fun!

(By the way, in case you're curious, the photos in this post from top to bottom are: shiitakes we hope to eat for Christmas, a broody hen who's got her seasons mixed up, and Abigail eating a spent brussels sprout plant.)

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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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Being an avid hiker myself, I came across this website which has hikes in SWVA, NETN and NWNC:

Then there's this one: You need to scroll down past the ads to get to the list of hikes.

Happy Solstice and New Year and enjoy your hiking!

Comment by NaYan Wed Dec 23 09:53:52 2015
A fellow homesteader here in NH has 3 hens sitting! Maybe it is this El NiƱo winter!
Comment by Deb Wed Dec 23 17:01:03 2015
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