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

Perfect September days

Blanching peppers

This is such a blissful time of year. It's not too hot; it's not too cold. The huge summer preservation push is mostly over (although I've still got a few things left to pack away, like these peppers, recently blanched and fated for the freezer); the fall crops are starting to come in. And even though the garden needs some weeding still, I'm starting to feel like my work is making a difference rather than just pacing along on the summer treadmill.

Shady goat

Meanwhile, the oats I planted over the last six weeks are getting big enough that I'm starting to let our goats eat the largest plants even though there's still plenty of greenery elsewhere. The early feeding isn't really spoiling our herd, nor is it being wasteful. Instead, I know from experience that if I let this fall cover crop flower, the plants will perish faster when the cold weather hits. By grazing the oldest plantings now, our herd will set the cover crop back into vegetative mode so the goats can graze the same ground once again after winter comes knocking.

Wet carrots

I owe you some photos of the front garden renovations I'm still in the middle of, but you'll have to wait on those. Instead, here are some of the carrots I harvested to clear out beds so I could shovel dirt around and create one long row. I took the time to rinse off each root so I could easily sort the imperfect goat carrots out of the perfect human carrots. The picture above is the latter --- all straight and spotless, perfect for winter cooking.

Goats in the woods

If I make it sound like it's all work and no play around'd know I was lying. Sometimes, the goats suck me out into the woods two times a day instead of just one, in fact. So maybe our hooved friends aren't the only farm residents who are spoiled in late September.

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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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