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

New year, same old

Sun through the trees

Saturday afternoon, I was itching for a walk, so I put on my hiking shoes and followed their lead.  They told me that it was too muddy to go down into the floodplain without my muck boots, and wouldn't it be fun to chase the sun up over the hill?

Trailer and addition

Eventually, the sun angled me around onto the other hill, which overlooks our homestead.  As trashy as it may appear to most folks, this view of our trailer and addition are pure beauty in my eyes --- freedom for a grand total of $3,000.  People keep asking me when we're going to build a house and I look at them like they're nuts.  Why would I want to spend masses of money and/or time building a larger space to keep clean (and use up prime growing area?)  Now, porches, a summer kitchen, a better roof, and perhaps strawbale walls for additional insulation might make the cut...someday when my gardening and writing projects get boring.  (Ha!)

Front garden

I got tired looking at our trailer after a while and zoomed in on the garden.  Here's the shady front garden, half of it mulched with straw and the other half with nearly dead oat cover crops.  Perhaps you don't get the same pure joy I do out of watching things rot?

Mule garden

The mule garden was still in nearly full sun, making the quick hoops shine.  Our whole homestead is encircled by the protective arms of trees --- young but beautiful.  I'm looking forward to watching them grow up.

No New Year's resolutions here.  Just more of the same --- beauty, nourishment, and most of all fun!

Our chicken waterer gives the flock clean water that never fills with POOP.

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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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If it is possible, May GOD grant you guys more peace and contentment than you have found in your homestead this year, I have been watching you, somewhat envious on what you have found, while we are unable or unwilling to take the plunge, your success fuels my williness to make what I currently have the best it can be.

Thank you, and GOD Bless you both.

Comment by oneoldchief Sun Jan 1 09:35:55 2012
It's well worth it!
Comment by anna Sun Jan 1 10:35:55 2012
It looks like one wall of your addition is a mish-mash of old windows. Do you use this as a seed growing area?
Comment by Danny Sun Jan 1 14:11:54 2012
What you're talking about...using up prime growing area for big indoor spaces you just have to keep clean, this describies urban planning / shopping centre and subdivision development in southern Ontario.
Comment by J Sun Jan 1 16:08:55 2012

Danny --- At this time of year, we mostly use the sunny area for our dwarf citrus.

J --- My new philosophy --- I like dirt. Dirt outside is good. Dirt inside is bad. Clearly, I need more outside space than inside space. :-)

Comment by anna Sun Jan 1 17:56:57 2012

I doubt you agree with Objectivists about much, but this post is a really good example of one thing that I think they're right about: Your aesthetics are significantly influenced by your ethics. Where other people see trash and rot, you see simplicity and fecundity. And not just because you're looking at things from a particular perspective, but because of your own core values. Very cool. :^)

Happy New Year!

Comment by irilyth [] Sun Jan 1 18:52:29 2012
I love that you can take my flaky rambling post and turn it into a philosophy! :-)
Comment by anna Sun Jan 1 19:12:03 2012
I love this. It feels so... achieveable! I do think strawbale walls and a new roof would feel good too- freedom in a different way. I have a buddy in central VA who has stellar insulation and then heats his house with solar hot water on the roof that pumps through radiant heat pipes in the floor. His winter utility bills are in the $20-30/ month range.
Comment by Molly from Mon Jan 2 00:00:51 2012
It feels even more feasible when you realize my goal for these home improvements is to have them done by the time Mark is 60, in 17 years.... :-)
Comment by anna Mon Jan 2 10:57:28 2012

Compared to HGTV where people insist on granite countertops and get rid of appliances because they don't like their color, your home is a breath of fresh air. Anyone who wants to create independence on a limited budget needs to spend significant thought on what their home should be. I know at least three families who have dreamed of leaving jobs in the city and creating a homestead in the country. In all three cases, many years later, they are still working jobs they don't like, no closer to that dream, but still talking about that perfect (and expensive) cabin they want to move to one day. For most, the cost of that cabin is the difference between living a dream and just dreaming.

Your home reminds me of a bird's nest, uniquely put together from available materials to fit its environment and protect its inhabitants. Happy nesting in 2012.

Comment by Lisa Mon Jan 2 14:22:07 2012
Lisa --- Excellent point. I think that glossy magazines like Mother Earth News feed that dream for a fancy modern house combined with a homestead lifestyle, which is unfortunate since I think you're right that most people either stick to their job or get bogged down in a decade-long building project that puts all other efforts toward self-sufficiency on hold.
Comment by anna Mon Jan 2 16:19:31 2012

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