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

Peach pollinator extravaganza

Peach flowers

If you have the opportunity to plant a peach tree right outside your kitchen window, I highly recommend it.  For the last few days, I've been torn between watching chicken TV and pollinator TV as we eat our meals, but I think I might prefer the pollinators.

Moth and butterfly

I can identify butterflies, moths, greater bee flies, honeybees, and bumblebees from a distance, but the rest of the pollinators are too small for me to easily distinguish unless I snap a photo to peruse inside.  If you've got a lot of tiny native bees you're itching to identify, I recommend flipping through Attracting Native Pollinators, or asking for help at

Or you can just watch the tiny pollinators buzz around your blooms and guess how many different species are present.  They work just as hard even if we don't know who they are.

Our chicken waterer is perfect for chicken tractors since it never spills on uneven ground.

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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 heard on the radio the other day how some backyard gardeners in the Bay Area are hand pollinating their fruit trees with a soft paintbrush because there are so few honeybees and native pollinators around. How sad is that!

~ Mitsy

Comment by mountainstead [] Tue Mar 20 11:34:11 2012
That's very sad! I think Mark read somewhere that in parts of China, they've used so many pesticides that they're pollinating whole fields by hand. Our plenitude of pollinators is definitely one of the benefits of setting aside a lot of our property to be wild.
Comment by anna Tue Mar 20 13:09:47 2012

I have always been very carefull with chemicals. When in doubt, I don't use it.

We have several varietys of wild bees and fliying insects/butterflys to polinate our flowering trees, bushes and plants.

We have a honey locus tree that is abuzz with the vibrations of many many many bees when it is in flower.

We both grab the lounge chairs and sit under the tree and vibrate right along with the tree. It is very relaxing.

The only year we did not do this because we had a bald faced black hornets nest in the lower branches. We left the tree alone that year. I didn't have the heart to distroy the nest until it broke apart during a winter storm.

Comment by Mona Tue Mar 20 14:20:35 2012
Mona --- It sounds like you've got great pollinators, and a fun tradition to go with it! I wonder if you've tried feeding honey locust pods to any kind of livestock? I've read they're beloved by some animals.
Comment by anna Tue Mar 20 14:36:45 2012

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