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

Up the holler

High water

I realized Monday that I'd never explored all the way up the holler behind our farm.  When we first moved here, I didn't want to trespass on someone else's property, but a year or so ago, the owner of that property mentioned that he didn't mind if I walked there since we let his son hunt down onto the adjacent parts of our property.  So I set off with the camera to explore.

Rocky holler

Long-time readers will know that our farm seems to completely lack rocks --- not so up the holler!  Before long, I came across mossy boulder fields, rock-loving ferns and liverworts, and even a pretty waterfall.  Granted, our main creek was at flood stage, so this waterfall on the little spur creek might not exist in dry weather.

Old beech snagAfter about half a mile climbing straight up, an old tire in the creek suggested I was approaching civilization, so I looped back toward home, this time walking on contour along the side of the hill.  Along the way, I discovered another perfect stump-dirt tree, but I had nothing to collect the prime potting soil in (and doubt I'll climb that high with a bucket).  This tree is an ancient beech just like my favorite stump-dirt tree, suggesting that something about that species makes the best potting soil --- I've rooted around in the rotten center of many other trees without finding such black gold.  Maybe rotting beech wood hosts a particularly good species of fungus or beetle?

I'm afraid that after the halfway point, though, I stopped taking photos and started writing the sequel to Watermelon Summer in my head.  Oops.  I really meant to write a non-fiction ebook or two before scratching that itch, but it'll probably be good for me to at least start another fiction piece while all of the lessons of the first are fresh in my mind.  And if people like the fiction, the sequel will be ready to go that much sooner.

I hope you're taking advantage of the winter lull to explore the wider world!

Anna Hess's books
Want more in-depth information? Browse through our books.

Or explore more posts by date or by subject.

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.

Want to be notified when new comments are posted on this page? Click on the RSS button after you add a comment to subscribe to the comment feed, or simply check the box beside "email replies to me" while writing your comment.

So nice to see you take a short break from the intense homestead tasks, and explore past the bounderies! Even your blog on this adventure yielded useful information for people like me! I would love to know more about rotten tree stump material. We have trees like this on our property here. I have scooped out this soft, somewhat fluffy, powdery tree material and wondered what value it has to soil, and how to best to utilize it. My knowledge is pretty limited so more of your thoughts would be appreciated! :D
Comment by Monica Wed Dec 11 10:58:07 2013

Maybe, I'm a couple of klicks off.

To collect the stump dirt, use an old backpack (aka "rucksack"). It's easy to carry and volumes around 20 L (~5 gallons) are not not uncommon to get.

Oh ... and please, excuse my idea of English.


Comment by Martin Thu Dec 12 23:33:24 2013

profile counter myspace

Powered by Branchable Wiki Hosting.

Required disclosures:

As an Amazon Associate, I earn a few pennies every time you buy something using one of my affiliate links. Don't worry, though --- I only recommend products I thoroughly stand behind!

Also, this site has Google ads on it. Third party vendors, including Google, use cookies to serve ads based on a user's prior visits to a website. Google's use of advertising cookies enables it and its partners to serve ads to users based on their visit to various sites. You can opt out of personalized advertising by visiting this site.