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

What should I write next?

Growing into a FarmI enjoy spending chilly mornings writing in front of a fire, and once I finish up my stockpiled projects from earlier in the year, the question becomes --- what to write next? I probably won't start any new projects until the first of next year since I'm currently cleaning up old covers (what do you think of Growing into a Farm version 3?), finishing the expanded manuscript of Trailersteading for my publisher, and generally getting all of the things I let slide during the summer back into shape. But it's good to start ruminating, and I'd love your opinion on which of these books you'd most like to read:

Eating the Working Chicken expansion --- The short ebook that currently goes by this name is very basic, with concise butchering advise and a small amount on cooking. But since writing the first edition, I've learned at least half a dozen delicious ways to cook tough, old hens without ending up gnawing for hours on stringy meat. So an update seems to be in order.

Gardening in a Wet Climate --- This new ebook would be just what the title suggests. We've definitely learned a lot about how to make gardens thrive when it rains all the time and when your soil is so waterlogged you have to garden in knee-boots, so I'd love to share the results of our experiments. But perhaps this is too much of a niche subject since most people probably didn't get seven inches of rain during the first two weeks of October?

Permaculture Cliff Notes --- I give away Best Books For Homesteaders to anyone who joins my email list. But I was thinking of adding in page-length summaries of each recommended title so you could, conceivably, get quite a good education in just an hour of reading.

Keeping Deer out of the Garden --- Mark and I have certainly experimented with this topic like mad over the last eight years, and I have a lot of permaculture tips to share on the topic. However, my advice is pretty non-mainstream --- I think that working with deer's behavior is the long-term solution rather than purchasing repellents. So people in search of a quick fix might be disappointed.

Even though I sell my ebooks on the open market, my blog readers are the ones I really write for. So I'm putting it up for suggestions --- does one of these ebooks speak to you more than others? Or is there something else you'd really like to hear about instead? Please leave a comment and let me know!

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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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Cooking old birds is definitely some useful homesteading info!
Comment by Jessie Wed Nov 12 07:28:49 2014

Hello, I have recently come across your website. Love it. It has taught me a lot already. I thank you for that. I am answering your question about what to write next. Being new maybe I have missed something you might have already wrote about. I would be interested in herbs and wild plants. I understand you try to live off the grid but what do you do when you get the common cold or have allergies. You just don't run to the store? Do you drink teas? eat herbs? do you apply creams to your cuts while working on the farm? what are they made from? We get a lot of minerals in herbs parsley basil chives etc. Do you use these in cooking? I am hoping this is a topic you are interested in or would research it and become interested in it. The older I get (my Husband too) the more we enjoy the idea of living off the land. Thanks for listening. Sue

Comment by Sue Wed Nov 12 07:39:23 2014
My first choice would be the book on deterring deer, and next choice would be the permaculture cliff notes.
Comment by De Wed Nov 12 08:17:27 2014
I think you should do the rain book. Even people that live in temperate climates that aren't swamp usually have a rainy season. That's time that could be used to grow except that people don't know how to handle it. They either wait till later, or the stuff they plant gets washed out. Even for me, it's an adjustment coming from Arizona.
Comment by Andy Ayers Wed Nov 12 08:20:21 2014
I would vote for eating old hen (always love useful cookbook types), and deterring deer.
Comment by Charity Wed Nov 12 09:09:34 2014

Hi Anna and Mark,

It seems to me that help and cooperation between those nearby is what really helps us succeed. And it is what makes life meaningful.

IIRC you get horse manure from someone nearby. What do you do for them?

You get hay also.

So maybe a book talking about that sort of thing: advice given and received, favors given and received,

On another subject; I would also like from you a list of your favorite links.

Happy Thanksgiving to all.


Comment by John Wed Nov 12 10:05:52 2014
Eating old hens has my vote, although I'm also interested in all the others.
Comment by Nayan Wed Nov 12 10:09:23 2014
Gardening in the wet! for sure. You might have an audience in the Pacific Northwest that you are unaware of and this is the main challenge for us in perpetually precipitating Oregon and Washington. Your observations would certainly add to our knowledge base. That's my vote!
Comment by Nicole Wed Nov 12 12:53:15 2014
They all sound so useful! But I'd the one on wet climate :)
Comment by SHQ Wed Nov 12 13:21:06 2014
Permaculture Cliff Notes gets my vote. This is a topic I am very interested in. :-)
Comment by Michelle Wed Nov 12 14:27:47 2014

Thanks to everyone for your votes --- keep them coming!

Sue --- Mark and I are relatively young and very healthy, so we honestly don't use many herbs (other than for flavoring). Instead of waiting for things to break, we instead boost health with copious servings of fruits and vegetables, especially pushing garlic and leafy greens. We also swear by broth from homegrown chickens and by pastured meat. Seems to be working so far....

Comment by anna Wed Nov 12 16:55:16 2014
Permaculture cliff notes and Growing Into a Farm 3, and thanks for helping us learn by your experiences.
Comment by Teresa Lee Wed Nov 12 20:24:56 2014
I like the chicken book idea. I have a hard time finding advice on the actual kill.
Comment by Kathleen Wed Nov 12 22:19:16 2014
I'd vote for eating old hens #1 and deterring deer #2. But they all sound good. Can't wait to see what you decide!
Comment by Jake Thu Nov 13 03:08:57 2014
Wet climate, deer, and cooking chicken.
Comment by kristina Thu Nov 13 21:49:13 2014
I'd love some non-mainstream advice about deer deterrence. And tough birds - can you do anything besides soup?? Please do tell!
Comment by Emily Fri Nov 14 16:53:24 2014

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