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

Searching for green

Winter hillsideLast week, I was paging through old blog entries from this summer and literally couldn't remember the earth looking so green.  On the south side of the trailer, the ground is still covered by snow where it's shaded by the hill, and the rest of the world is mostly brown.  I watch deer pulling honeysuckle out of trees and dream of a big, black bull calf doing the same in search of green leaves.

Silhouetted rosemaryHow do I relieve winter gardener's blues?  Luckily, I've got some house plants in need of attention.  My citrus trees (dwarf Meyer lemon and dwarf tangerine) have sunken down in their pots over the long growing season and need a new infusion of stump dirt.  I also have a rosemary in need of potting --- one of the six sprigs I got from my father finally sprouted roots.

So I climb the hill halfway to the cars, heading straight to my favorite, hollow beech.  This old beauty churns out around seven or eight gallons of stump dirt every year, which I scoop out with our yellow-handled shovel, savoring every teaspoonful.  I chose a warm day so that the stump dirt would be shovelable, but that means the driveway is too wet to drive on.  So I lug the dirt home in five gallon buckets.  It's all worthwhile, though, when I get to sink my fingers into rich soil, the combined scent of actinomycetes and rosemary smelling as good as baking bread.

Dream of spring with me.  Check out our automatic chicken waterers, great for chicks.

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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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