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

Traveling south

Monarch butterfly on a drink canteenDuring the last frantic day before our wedding celebration, I noticed a monarch licking the handles of our iced tea jugs.  One of the butterfly's wings was slightly crumpled, and I guessed that the insect was having trouble making the long journey to its wintering grounds in central Mexico.  Even though I believe that nature picks off wounded animals for a reason, I had to carry the monarch over to the sunflowers, where it began feeding greedily.

Monarch on a sunflowerSince we're currently cruising toward Mexico at this moment while my brother watches the farm, I thought this monarch was an apt symbol of this week's mini-adventure.  Despite being a homebody, I've always dreamed of traveling.  Nine years ago, I did --- setting off with a backpack full of camping supplies and sketchbooks for a year-long expedition through Great Britain, Australia, and Costa Rica.

In the end, what I remember most from that journey was the homecoming.  How American grocery stores seemed huge and slighly obscene.  How the dozens of boxes of books and clothes I'd stored in my mother's basement seemed even more obscene --- what did I need with so many possessions?

In a way, that trip was the beginning of my path toward simplicity. 
Slipping outside my own world, I saw myself in a completely new way.  What insight will this adventure bring?

Don't get too simple --- check out our homemade chicken waterer.

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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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