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

Rain day

Playing on the porch

I'm not good at taking Mondays off, so we worked on Memorial Day.  But a rainy Friday?  Sounds like perfect weather for virtual homesteading.

The porch continues to be one of the best investments we've made since moving to the farm.  On a hot afternoon, surveying my domain from the porch makes me feel like I'm on a cruise.  And playing a board game with my brother while the rain pounds on the metal roof reminds me of several happy childhood (and young adult) experiences all rolled into one.

Clearing the gullyJust a couple of years ago, though, I don't think I would have enjoyed the porch so much.  We've been making an effort lately to spend a bit of energy and money deleting stressors around the farm, and the attention is really paying off.  First was the barn roof project, then Mark took the ninja blade to the sinkhole, and last week our helper and his stepson cleaned up the rest of the gully.  Mark's fences around our perimeter also remind me that nothing beyond the fenceline is my problem.

Now when I look out the window or off the porch, all I see is beauty and I can relax.  I'm glad Mark has mitigated my idealism enough that I can (mostly) quash my guilt at hiring in a bit of help and simply enjoy the results.

Our chicken waterer is the POOP-free alternative to traditional, filthy waterers.

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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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Thanks for sharing about this!! I'm going to order that game! Meanwhile:
Comment by Rhenda Sat Jun 2 15:59:57 2012
Rhenda --- It's currently my favorite game (perhaps only because it lets me raise sheep without daily chores? :-) ) The online spot to play looks like it has even more levels than the version I have! (We've been playing for two years and have been working our way up the levels, so it's always a new game.)
Comment by anna Sat Jun 2 17:05:59 2012

Recognizing the benefits that come from investment of resources other than time and one's own sweat can be a bit challenging to those really frugal and independent (or should I say cheap and stubborn, ha ha.) Whether it is the identification and purchase of the right tool for the job at hand, rather than persevering and overdoing the 'make it work' attitude which are great values in most cases, or hiring of extra hands or specialized skills . . . it takes a lot more personal balance and self reflection. Most often people find themselves on one extreme of the other; hiring everything out and buying every new tool or toy out there, or living with less than that you describe as stressors. Congratulations on moving in the middle way!

Comment by charity Sun Jun 3 10:01:33 2012
Charity --- It can be surprisingly difficult to find that middle road. I appreciate your words of encouragement!
Comment by anna Sun Jun 3 11:57:46 2012

Anna is probably the type of person who, at least before Mark healed her, had the sickness that keeps people, such as myself, from enjoying the fruits of their labor. Every time I tell myself I'm just going out in the garden to leisurely pick a few pea pods and enjoy being there, I end up spending an hour pulling weeds until sweat starts to sting my eyes. Every time I tell myself I'm going for a relaxing walk in the woods I end up spending two hours moving logs, breaking branches that have grown over the path and clearing out a better path until I'm all muddy and have to change clothes from my "walk". I can't even go to the mailbox and back without collecting kindling or pulling weeds along the way. Instead of looking out at the beauty all around me I look out at all of the poison ivy vines that need cutting; the barn wood that is being eaten into swiss cheese by carpenter bees; the half-fenced-in pond (we have a 1 year old son and I need to get it fenced); the half-finished chicken coop; the rabbits eating our lettuce because there's not garden fence; the rusty pipe from the pond outflow that needs fixing; weeds in the garden; weeds in the flower bed; wasp nests on the eves of the house that need knocking down before they get big and mean... And instead of that relaxing moment that I went outside to enjoy I end up full of stress about all of the things I need to and want to do, but don't have time for as a husband and full-time working father of a 1-year-old son.

But not all the time. Sometimes I work really hard on Saturday and Sunday and have all day Monday to just sit back and relax, knowing that I put in the work and deserve the downtime. ...of course, this past Monday (yesterday) was spent mowing, but hey - I DID give myself an hour at the end of the day to enjoy the setting sun and the peepers and bullfrogs coming alive.

Thanks for the pep talk Anna! We'll get there....

Comment by Everett Tue Jun 5 09:30:43 2012
Everett --- Yep, that's just how my life was before Mark cured me. :-) For people like you and me, I highly recommend picking your relaxation spot(s) and then prioritizing cleaning up any projects/problems you can actually see directly from those spots. Sounds crazy, but it sure does make relaxing easier.... :-)
Comment by anna Tue Jun 5 16:43:40 2012

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