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

Solstice shower

Summer garden

OnionI celebrated the solstice with a Walden Effect shower.  Here's how to play along at home.

(Yes, I know this is a bad idea, so don't sue me if you get struck by lightning.  But it sure is fun!)

First, move to a farm out in the middle of nowhere so you have no neighbors.

Forest garden

Transplanted strawberriesNow wait until a thunderstorm is getting ready to roll in.  Grab those strawberry transplants you pulled out of a bed earlier and head out into the garden with a trowel and bucket of water.  As the wind picks up, stick strawberry plants in the ground and wet them well --- every gardener knows that watering your garden is a sure-fire way to make it rain.

Bee hive from belowOnce the skies open up, rush back to the porch.  Shed clothes and grab shampoo as water begins gushing off the roof and onto your head.

You might have to hop to the side a bit if a gust of rain moves your water supply.  It's always a good idea to egg on the storm at this point, too, and to tell it how good of a job it's doing (or to remind it that it can rain harder!)  Even your long-suffering husband won't hear your crazy hoots over the din of water hitting a metal roof.

Crookneck squash flower

If the rain stops before you're clean, hose off and head inside to listen as the thunder rolls away into the distance.  You should now be totally relaxed and ready to spend a blissful evening watching lightning bugs.


Since my mother would have a heart attack if I included any relevant photos, I've instead inserted shots of the summer garden before and after the storm.  We'll be eating summer squash, green beans, (caterpillar-nibbled) cabbage, and blackberries within the week, and are still enjoying Swiss chard, carrot thinnings, parsley, basil, thyme, cucumbers, red raspberries, and the last of the lettuce, snap peas, broccoli, and black raspberries.  The bounty doesn't quite feel like an overflowing summer feast yet, but it's getting close.

Our chicken waterer is the easy and clean way to water your backyard flock.

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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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Since my mother would have a heart attack if I included any relevant photos

Oh, sure, blame your mom. :^)

Comment by irilyth [] Sat Jun 23 16:45:28 2012
That is a little disingenuous of me, isn't it? :-) More honestly, I'd have a heart attack (and probably my readers would too. :-) )
Comment by anna Sat Jun 23 19:28:49 2012

My mum always used to send us kids out in rain storms (well, at least as long as it wasn't lightning) with a bar of soap and an old washcloth. "Have fun and get clean," she would call out as she shut the door after us! And we pretty much always did . . . at least the "having fun" part, heh! She did make us wear our bathing suits, though, since we weren't out in the middle of nowhere with no neighbors at the time.

Anyway, it sounds like you had a lot of fun (and I'm envious of your "not quite" summer bounty)! :)

Comment by Ikwig Sat Jun 23 21:49:28 2012
You are WONDERFUL, Anna!
Comment by Emily Sat Jun 23 23:00:59 2012

Ikwig --- I remember lots of playing in the rain after we moved to town too --- definitely clad then. :-) We had a downspout that didn't connect to anything, which made for great drenchings! Plus splashing in the water rushing down the gutter (and racing crawdads from my pond, which, in retrospect was pretty cruel since they ended up in the storm sewers.) Bliss!

Emily --- :-)

Comment by anna Sun Jun 24 10:08:28 2012

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