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

What's simple about the simple life?

Goats in the woods

I read a lot of blogs written by aspiring and actual homesteaders, and one theme that often comes up is --- "This simple life isn't all that simple, is it?"

Goats grazing together

Of course, the bloggers are right. The intricacies of growing your own food and trying to be more self-sufficient can be daunting and exhausting. But I find that the complicated lifestyle simplifies me.

Resting goat

I was thinking about this over the weekend while enjoying our usual weekly Mark-mandated respite. "I'm a pretty boring person," I thought as I loosed the goats in the floodplain, then settled down with a book to watch them graze. Lamb Chop curled up in the crook of my legs and I reached down to scratch that itchy spot at the base of his horns. In that moment, all of us (boring or not) were 100% happy.

Goat eating grass

After a couple of hours, even Abigail was starting to waddle as she walked, and I figured it was time to come home. Standing, I saw for the first time a huge patch of yellow flags --- a wild water iris that I rarely see --- about thirty feet away from my resting spot. Even though I'd walked directly toward the flowers while heading out for our weekend browse, I hadn't noticed the blooms until I rose at last, my head completely emptied by an afternoon with a novel and three goats.

White buckling

And that, to me, is the purpose of the simple life. When my usually far-to-busy brain slows down and completely empties, when I can't think of anything I want that's not within reach of my fingertips, when the sight of a flower makes me happy...that's the simple life.

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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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I grew up in the country, on a small farm, and what you describe is a base point for me, and that is my good fortune, my wealth.

It is a transferable wealth. I lived in an apartment in downtown Toronto, and could sit at a table in a cafe, looking out the window at concrete, and hundreds of strangers passing by, and feel that very same feeling. I think that if we learn how "to go there" early in life, we can find our way back wherever we are, whatever lifestyle we lead. It is easier though, in an idyllic setting such as yours, and my present location as well.

Comment by Maggie Turner Mon May 11 07:37:20 2015
Very well said, great definition.
Comment by roseanell Mon May 11 07:56:40 2015
Your last paragraph has summarized everything the Buddha was trying to teach.
Comment by NaYan Mon May 11 08:39:38 2015
"The complicated lifestyle simplifies me"...YES!
Comment by Mountain Home Mon May 11 17:07:21 2015

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