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

Weekend Homesteader: June

Weekend Homesteader paperbackWelcome to the resources page for the June installment of Weekend Homesteader!  Feel free to leave comments on this page to let me know what you loved or hated about the ebook, or to share your experiences with others.

Worm bin bedding
.  Pros and cons of various free sources of bedding for your worms.

Worm bin bedding shredder.  Which shredder we chose and why.  Find worm enthusiasts near you offering starter worms or wisdom.

Fungi to bacteria ratio.  What the term means literally and for your garden.

To learn more about our large-scale worm bin project, collecting scraps from a local school, check out these links:

Survey your site
Google Maps.  Print out a map of your neighborhood by searching for your address and playing with the scale.

Recipe calorie calculators.  This site has the simplest form for calculating the nutritional value of your custom recipes, while this site tends to have information about more ingredients (but requires a bit more time to input your recipe.)

Healthier desserts.  Our butternut squash pie and dark chocolate cocoa muffins are two standbys.

Health of farmers and hunter-gatherers.  Can a non-Western diet be healthier?

Politically Incorrect Nutrition
.  This book walks you through many nutritional misconceptions.

Weston A. Price Foundation.  A good source for scientific but alternative dietary advice.

Your real hourly wage
Your Money or Your Life.  This book is the source of the real hourly wage exercise.

Financial Integrity.  The sister website to the book above walks you through all of the exercises.  If you enjoyed the real hourly wage exercise, many of the other worksheets on the website will also be right up your alley.

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

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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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In our small urban yard I've relied a lot on taking pictures.

When it rains hard to see where things pond up I take pictures so I can fix the drainage of these areas.

I noticed a few plants I thought were getting 6-7 hours of full sun weren't doing well. So I decided to take a photo every hour on the hour to see exactly how many hours each area of our yard gets. This may be information that could save you time in the future so you don't have to move trees or other hard to move plants after they are planted. The added benefit of these shady spots (really 4-5 hours) is that a lot of the cold weather crops get started before the leaves are on the trees and are growing longer before they bolt.

Comment by Brian Tue May 24 13:50:17 2011
Thanks so much for sharing the great tips on using photos to assess your site! I may add that into the next revision of the June ebook.
Comment by anna Tue May 24 18:47:23 2011

I've run into another interesting gardening issue. It has to do with the changing sun path and our espaliered fruit trees getting enough light throughout the day. The Sun path changes throughout the year (and is marked by the soltices) its illustrated on this chart for 36degree North Latitude. (The roman numerals on the left and right are the Months and the arcs are the sun paths on the 21st of those months.)

The issue is coming where we have tried to espalier trees along a fence line that runs West/East, similar to how everyone mentions (in the UK.) The espaliered trees don't get sun until 10:30 when the surrounding trees are leafed out (this is a specific site condition for us.) The light at the end of the day is more in spring and fall than in summer due to the position of the sun setting (further north) which causes the fence to actually shade the trees.

In my example if the espalier tree was in the center of the circle on the chart (North is up) I can figure out how many hours that tree could get assuming I knew when the shadows occured at certain times of the day (that's where the photos come in.)

It turns out by living at our Latitude (36d N) and not in the UK (Latitude 54d N) that growing espalier trees against a West/East Fence would be limited to a fence that is in full sun from sun up to sun down to get the right amount of daylight.

That's a good example of how growing things in different countries, or even regions can change so drastically and give entirely different results.

I thought I would share in case anyone was considering growing espaliers in the South.

Another good tool for maping and showing shadows is Google Sketchup. You can find your land on Google Earth and Pull it into Google Sketchup Outline your existing buildings and pull them up to the correct height and it will automatically make shadows all you have to do is adjust the month and time of day. It has it's limitations because it's hard to model tree shadows. But this way is easier to visualize everything and see exactly how the shadows will effect your property.

Comment by Brian Tue Jun 28 10:29:56 2011
Great tips, especially our idea of using Google Sketchup and Google Earth together to get an idea of your shadows. We're really still learning the shadow microclimates of our farm after nearly five years here, and every once in a while, the light bulb goes off above my head and I realize that I've been growing something in the wrong spot for sun.
Comment by anna Tue Jun 28 11:18:41 2011
So I finished reading May and started June this morning, I'm enjoying the series but wanted to remind folks that even while most classify Dandelions as weeds they are one of the only plants where all parts are edible! They are basically the easiest food source you can access if you're craving fresh veggies after a long winter of preserved goodies!
Comment by Jennifer Sun May 13 08:32:37 2012
Jennifer --- Excellent point! This past winter, we had great luck overwintering greens under our quick hoops, so I wasn't starved for fresh greenery in March. But the year before, I spent quite a bit of time harvesting the tender young dandelion leaves in early spring. They were delicious!
Comment by anna Sun May 13 11:17:34 2012

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