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

Unlikely environmental partners

Ora Anderson Nature Trail

Now that we have the basics in place --- electricity, heat, a workable kitchen, and running water --- we've been spending more time exploring what the area has to offer. One jaunt further afield took us to the Ora E. Anderson Nature Trail, a half-mile rail-to-trail that passes through an inspiring wetland.

This area used to be farmland not too long ago. But the railroad messed with water drainage, then the beavers moved in and exacerbated the issue. The result is a species-rich enclave that I'm definitely going to have to return to during the growing season. A good place to just sit and observe for awhile!

Acid mine pigment

We also attended an equally inspiring set of lightning talks about partnerships between the university and the community. The most photogenic involved reclaiming the orange streams you find throughout coal country, where old mines leach acidic water and basically kill off all life therein.

In a fascinating method of turning trash to treasure, Rural Action has created a treatment system that scrubs the issues from the water then funds itself by selling the pigments to Gamblin Colors to be turned into oil paints. Sounds pretty sustainable!

Anything inspiring happen in your neck of the woods this week?

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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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"Rural Action has created a treatment system that scrubs the issues from the water then funds itself by selling the pigments to Gamblin Colors to be turned into oil paints."

That is absolutely astonishing! Although I don't use Gamblin Colors (use Windsor & Newton's Watersoluble Oils) I can see where this is a win-win situation. Will you be visiting (if you can) the factory where Rural Action does its treating of the water? To me, that's the kind of story I'd like to see some of the big media outlets show. You could also write a story, or your husband do a video, of a visit to that plant and then contact Aeon magazine (wonderful stories) and work with them to get it out.

Comment by Nayan Sat Dec 9 09:55:53 2017
While it is not inspiring, we did have snow today from about 8:00 until about 5:00, but it hardly covered the ground. I think it was warm enough that it melted quickly and the flakes were tiny. Hopefully that is all for this winter!!!
Comment by Sheila Sat Dec 9 22:03:47 2017
In the mid 1970's a lot of the old rural rail line beds were taken out in central Minnesota, the land sold back to the land owners. In some parts of the state they were turned in to recreational trails (the Lake Woebegon trail for example, I grew up near the fictional town of Lake Woebegon) but in the township I was in the farmers dozed them out because they feared "hippies would burn their fields" if they were open to public use!
Comment by Eric Mon Dec 11 06:54:42 2017

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