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


Nigerian dwarf goats

Sanitary bootiesWhile we were waiting around for Monte to romance Artemesia, Tonya took me on a tour of her operation. She has about eight happy does, one of whom is pregnant, plus three bucks. Add in a turkey (whose mate had recently become dinner), five layers, three young silkies, and roughly half a dozen dogs, and their homestead was hopping with life.

Tonya sells most of her kids, so she's used to folks wanting to tromp around in her pastures. As a result, she was all set with little medical booties to cover my farm boots, keeping any diseases I might be tracking in off her farm and any of her diseases off mine. The booties didn't fit Mark's feet, but he didn't mind babysitting our doeling while I went on the grand tour.

Milking stanchion

I was particularly taken by their milking stanchion, which features a side piece that swivels into place then locks with a latch. Although I like our current stanchion, Mark considers its design imperfect. So we may eventually upgrade to something like this when Artemesia begins giving milk in the spring.

Goat manger

Their manger was just the right size for one bale, but I felt like it allowed for more spillage than ours. No upgrade necessary there!

Goat herd

A couple of years ago, I would have wanted to spend quite a while with these fat and sassy does. But Artemesia has won over my heart so completely that I dismissed these perfect specimens as OPG (other people's goats) and moved on. I'd rather load our first freshener back in the car and wind home to enjoy a goat afternoon in our own oat fields rather than pet Cocoa Bean and the other girls whose names had nothing to do with chocolate and were thus forgettable.

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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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