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Walden Effect: Homesteading And Simple Living Blog


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Join us in our quest to live simply and explore permaculture, honeybees, and chickens. Also, check out Mark's automatic chicken waterer invention.
2022-08-15 14:30
The deck planting box is turning out to be a good alternative spot for tomato plants. We decided to delete the roof overhang section to increase sun exposure time. It also opens up a spa… Read More
2022-08-08 15:21
I'm very excited to announce that our first video course is now live! If you use this link before the end of the day Friday, you should be able to snag your copy for half off. Even if you… Read More
2022-08-01 17:55
Our new friend Brad was able to squeeze us in Friday for a drone rescue from a tree Read More
2022-07-25 15:29
When we moved to Ohio, we went hardcore on our garden fencing. And the barrier has kept out the deer I was most concerned about. Unfortunately, nothing else seems fazed. It's taken years… Read More
2022-07-18 18:11
We made a short video that updates our experience using 2 recycled bathtubs as outdoor worm bins. Spoiler alert! A cheap heating pad coupled with a thermocube ensures the worms can survi… Read More
Washing Chanterelles
2022-07-08 17:21
Heavy rains and warm weather means it's chanterelle season! I usually don't wash mushrooms, but these were too dirty to merely brush off. Luckily, half an hour in the food dehydrator took… Read More
2022-07-04 15:17
Mark and I splurged on an electric wheelbarrow a year and a half ago and are very glad we did. We chose the Snapper XD because of its hefty battery, which meant the wheelbarrow was able t… Read More
Wheelbarrow Fire Ring
2022-06-29 11:19
Do you have a rusted-out wheelbarrow waiting to be hauled to the dump? If you've been homesteading for at least a decade, I'll bet you do. Well don't haul off that wheelbarrow! Prop it up… Read More
Protecting Strawberries From Chipmunks
2022-04-12 19:07
I did the unthinkable last winter --- I ripped out all of my strawberries. The issue was chipmunks. Our berry enclosure is bird proof, but no matter how hard we worked we couldn't plug eve… Read More
Turning A Closet Into A Window Seat
2021-12-15 20:50
Mark's been promising to add a window to my office ever since we moved to Ohio. But I didn't take him up on it because I couldn't quite visualize what I wanted. Then, in November, a burst… Read More
How To Identify Fireflies
2020-07-15 20:43
I'm happiest when I have something complex and natural to keep my brain occupied. This year I found the perfect hobby --- fireflies! A citizen science project asks you to spend thirty sec… Read More
Adventure From Your Armchair
2020-07-01 16:07
I have a new book out...and it's a total pandemic experiment. Gap Year is available in print only and is on the pricey side for 32 pages (full-color will do that), but it should also be v… Read More
Deep Discount On The Weekend Homesteader
2020-06-03 18:16
I have something new and different coming down the pike in the book department this month (or possibly next month....). While you wait, I couldn't resist sharing this deep price-drop sale… Read More
Building Soil During Lockdown
2020-04-05 12:54
(This is a personal post, mostly written for my future self. It gets long, so feel free to ignore!) What does it feel like to begin our fourth week in lockdown? Surreal, knowing the world… Read More
Homegrown Humus Free (and Garden Update)
2020-03-17 18:25
To give folks an easier entrance point to self-sufficiency, I enrolled most of my books in Kindle Unlimited for the spring season. And one of them --- Homegrown Humus --- is free today! T… Read More
Social Distance With A Garden
2020-03-12 16:24
It was a tough call given that there is only one community-spread case in our state as of yesterday. But deeper reading suggests what we are seeing is only the tip of the iceberg. While I'm… Read More
Honey Locust And Osage Orange As Firewood
2020-02-05 19:59
Every location has a few easy tree species to harvest for firewood. Here on the ridge, we have a massive pile of lumber that was pushed aside during the construction of our septic system… Read More
Growing Winter Lettuce Indoors
2020-01-24 19:43
We've had so much kale under our quick hoops this winter that we're starting to get tired of it. But lettuce was nipped back by an early cold spell, which left us buying salad greens at t… Read More
2020-01-17 18:25
My greatest joy this winter has been getting our old wood stove into our "new" place! Yes, we dragged our darling Jotul from Virginia then let it sit in the corner for two years before in… Read More
New Mushroom Books And Movie
2019-11-17 23:46
During the last month, we had a very late first frost (November 1), rapidly followed by a freeze down into the teens. I went on a caving adventure, Mark learned to make movies on a hand-c… Read More
Gardening During Drought
2019-10-22 18:05
Life on a ridge is very different from life in our former swampy bottomland. On the plus side, we miss a lot of gentle frosts and we never have to deal with waterlogging. On the downside… Read More
Second Summer Joys And Trials
2019-05-29 20:13
We ate as much as we safely could of our first-year asparagus, have gorged on lettuce and broccoli and kale, and now it's time for the summer crops to begin. An ultra-early last frost mea… Read More
Two Edible Mushrooms For May
2019-05-20 22:06
The second Rural Action mushroom foray took to the woods amid pollen so severe my black shirt turned gray and my eyes began couldn't quite decide whether to itch or tear up. I don't even… Read More
Dreaming Of A Vetter World
2019-05-16 19:54
Mark and I recently attended a showing of Dreaming of a Vetter World, with a Q&A by Donald Vetter afterwards. If you've never heard of him, Vetter is a farmer right up Joel Salatin's… Read More
56 Years Of Garden Innovations
2019-05-10 16:08
I wrangled a tour of a 56-year-old garden this week --- such a treat! Shown here is bird netting atop the berry patch, which easily slides into place each season due to applesauce jugs on… Read More
Gardening In Young Soil
2019-04-24 21:47
We've been in Ohio for a year and a half, but took us six months (most of that winter) to get the fence going so we could safely plant inside. Which means our vegetable garden is just abo… Read More
April Mushroom Foray
2019-04-15 17:42
I've been on some pretty amazing adventures since I checked in last. The most inspiring was a five-day wolf-watching trip in Yellowstone National Park (which I blogged about on my werewol… Read More
2019-03-18 15:19
It's time to admit it --- I've been holding out on you! I have a new book coming out on April 2...or do I?Bug-Free Organic Gardening is actually the third edition of The Naturally Bug-Free G… Read More
2019-03-03 21:15
I hadn't even been over here to check comments for months --- sorry to leave so many of you dangling in moderation, especially when you were all so thoughtful and kind. Rather than answer… Read More
Hispanic Fruit
2018-11-27 19:21
Mark and I are enjoying our blogging vacation...and yet, I couldn't resist sharing some intriguing, store-bought fruits with you! We got to explore a Hispanic grocery store on Black F… Read More
Blog Re-evaluation
2018-11-19 17:48
Anna and I talked about the future of the Walden Effect blog this weekend and have decided to take a blogging vacation to to decide if we have enough homesteading activities going on to k… Read More
What Not To Recycle
2018-11-17 11:00
In addition to being wowed by the combination mechanical and human-operated sorting system, the biggest takeaway from our tour of the local recycling facility was what was best not tossed… Read More
Old Man's Cave (almost)
2018-11-15 11:00
Jenn and I celebrated our one-year friendiversary with a visit to Old Man's Cave. Well, okay, I'll be honest. I meandered so much peering at mosses and liverworts, rocks and roots a… Read More
Winter Is Coming 2018
2018-11-13 12:15
Fall flirted with us for three glorious weeks. Then the barely-almost frosts disappeared with multiple nights in the 20s --- our first hard freeze.The last green peppers escaped me but I… Read More
Deer Friendly Flower Bed
2018-11-11 11:00
The biggest reason I rushed to harvest my carrots is because I had that spot earmarked to turn into a flower bed. Two bags of crocuses have been waiting for months to go into the ground t… Read More
Carrot Cleaning Assembly Line
2018-11-09 11:00
With some care, it's quite possible to over-winter carrots. But I've found the flavor is best if you instead harvest them after the weather has turned cold but before the ground has start… Read More
Swamped, Even On The Ridge
2018-11-07 11:00
"How's your wood-stove alcove project going?" --- various people We were almost done with the digging...then it set in to rain. An inch and three quarters later, we didn't have an excavat… Read More
Perennial Kale Mutation?
2018-11-06 11:00
My Mom tried Dwarf Blue Vates kale this year.Anna noticed that it did not go to seed, so she pulled it out of the chicken coop and replanted it to see if it will come back next year. Some… Read More
Gambling On Pepper Ripening
2018-11-05 11:00
I go back and forth about what to do with late-ripening peppers. Mark and I vastly prefer sweet, red peppers over their immature green form. But if you pick all of the green peppers befor… Read More
2018-11-04 11:00
Our spinach crop is a little bare this year.Some things to do next time will be to increase nitrogen and loosen the soil 12 inches deep to help the tap root get established Read More
Time Lapse Garden Winterization
2018-11-03 10:00
I set the camera up in time-lapse mode while I started putting the garden to bed. And in the process, I came to two conclusions....Conclusion one: sowing an oat cover crop beneath ailing… Read More
Prelude Raspberry
2018-11-01 10:00
Prelude raspberry is marketed as an ultra-early-ripening red raspberry (thus the name). But the variety is actually an everbearer that can give you a second crop in very late autumn if yo… Read More
Cooking Brussels Sprout Tops
2018-10-30 10:00
When's the best time to top brussel sprouts? Usually months before I get around to it.I feel like I'd top my brussel sprouts in a more timely manner if I came up with a good way to cook t… Read More
2018-10-29 10:00
The 1 pound Mini Mattock is a good solution for those final few inches of a footer.It also makes excavating roots a lot easier compared to using a shovel Read More
Electric Crew Weather Predictions
2018-10-28 10:00
Some people use woolly-worm color to predict the severity of the upcoming winter. I've been superstitiously watching the powerline crews instead. Because this is the second time they'… Read More
2018-10-27 10:00
This post is to remind me to more lightly tap each U-post next year for tomatoes Read More
Cardboard Cache
2018-10-26 10:01
After we stole two loads of cardboard, the recycling dropoff center near us shut down. Which means my huge pile of wood chips has been waiting in the driveway, with no kill mulch layer to… Read More
2018-10-25 10:01
We are getting to the digging stage where the walls need to be cleaned up.A full size mattock feels like overkill here so I decided to order a 1 pound mini mattock to smooth out the walls… Read More
2018-10-24 10:00
Mark and I have been tortoising through our digging project. Between my carpal tunnel and his hernia, we try not deal with more than two wheelbarrow loads of soil per day.Still, slowly bu… Read More
Last Summer Crop
2018-10-23 10:00
The last summer harvest was an overripe cucumber. We fermented the gelatin off the seeds to save for next year Read More
First 2018 Freeze...maybe
2018-10-21 10:00
I can't quite decide whether to note down October 17 as the date of our first freeze or not. Our thermometer recorded a low of 34 and there was no visible frost up here on the ridge. But… Read More
2018-10-20 10:00
We might be about halfway through our digging phase of the new project.Digging around roots is more effort than the actual digging.Anna's favorite loppers make short work of thick roots t… Read More
Flower Arrangement 101
2018-10-19 10:00
Fencing class led the herb guild which in turn led me to attend a flower arranging workshop on Tuesday night. The class was led by a retired florist, and she gave us a lot of basic tips f… Read More
Winterizing The Garden
2018-10-17 10:00
With a chance of a light freeze on Thursday morning, we spent an hour winterizing the garden. Hoses had already been rolled up in late September, so the next step was to put quick hoops u… Read More
The Power Of Now
2018-10-15 10:00
I don't usually review non-homesteading-related books here. But Mark's mantra on the farm is "work smart not hard." And the most powerful tool our species possesses is our brain...so a book… Read More
2018-10-14 10:00
The easy way to photograph someone in a freezing sleet storm is to stay in the car and roll the window down if the wind is not blowing toward you Read More
Wood Stove Addition Pre-production
2018-10-13 10:00
Okay, so digging wasn't really the first step in creating a wood-stove addition. With input from Mark's mom (and due to the relative cheapness of large, glass patio doors when compared to… Read More
Stocking Up After All
2018-10-09 10:00
I know I said I wasn't going to preserve any food this year. But a little bit of this and that socked away in the freezer while making dinner doesn't count. Right? Freezer tally --- t… Read More
2018-10-08 10:00
We got a chance to see where Stephen King got inspired to write the Shining Read More
Come For The Sunrise, Stay For The Rainbow
2018-10-07 10:00
I've been feeling the travel bug lately, but Mark and I hadn't been on a plane for over six years. So rather than making all kinds of pie-in-the-sky dreams without knowing how we'd handle… Read More
Pawpaw Festival 2018
2018-10-05 10:00
Mark and I attended the Pawpaw Festival a few weeks ago. How could we not go to an event that promised a contest for the tastiest pawpaw variety, a demonstration of pawpaw cookery, and fo… Read More
Theremin Mechanics
2018-10-04 10:00
Anna picked up on the mechanics of theremin playing rather quickly.Most people think the theme song from the original Star Trek series uses a theremin but it's actually an opera singer's… Read More
2018-10-01 10:18
I started to write a long anniversary post summing up what our first year outside Athens, Ohio, was like. But, instead, Mark and I went to a Steampunk Spectacle at our local public librar… Read More
Rocket Stove Mass Heater Vs Jotul F 602
2018-09-30 10:01
We like Roland's suggestion about building a Rocket Stove Mass Heater.It seems like a clever way to get more heat from less firewood.Maybe we would give it more consideration if we had no… Read More
High-tech Passive Solar Wall Panels
2018-09-29 10:00
  "Have a look at these passive solar wall panels." --- Roland As much as I love big walls of windows, I suspect Roland is on the right track. Optimal passive-solar design woul… Read More
2018-09-28 10:00
Purple Passion Asparagus has grown twice as high as the regular asparagus.At this rate we might be able to safely harvest some in the Spring of 2019 Read More
Last 2018 Planting
2018-09-27 10:00
Planting season for 2018 is now officially over. My stomach still can't handle garlic, so we skipped that previous crowd pleaser. But it's now too late to plant pretty much anything else… Read More
Dreaming About Concrete
2018-09-26 10:00
We are leaning towards a concrete slab for our new wood stove addition.Our small slab will need .79 cubic yards of concrete which would cost a little over 200 dollars. We could avoid a 75… Read More
Wild Edibles As Tea
2018-09-25 10:00
Jenn and I enjoyed an inspiring naturalist-led hike at Burr Oak State Park on the equinox. Our fearless leader not only brewed teas for us to taste, she also stashed jugs of the refreshin… Read More
Amish Rainwater Collection
2018-09-23 10:00
Mark, Rose Nell, Jayne, and I dropped by an Amish-affiliated produce auction last week...and of course I was more interested in rainwater collection on the nearby buildings than in the pr… Read More
How To Germinate Ramp Seeds
2018-09-19 10:00
I made a mental note of the location of the ramps patches this spring, planning to check them for seeds in the autumn. Luckily, the patches are on my usual weekly routes because I'd forgo… Read More
2018-09-17 10:00
"We can at least plan the wood-stove alcove this month, right?" asked Mark."Sure," I replied. "But what size should it be? Four by four like our last one? Four by eight? Or eight by eight… Read More
Water As A Limiting Factor
2018-09-15 10:00
Last weekend, we got 4.5 inches of rain in two days and the garden started growing like nuts. This confirmed what I'd already suspected --- despite my compost troubles, water was the prim… Read More
Mark's Hybrid Eggplant Lasagna
2018-09-13 11:41
Mark has been feeling a lot better. So much so, in fact, that he wanted to dive into a wood-stove-alcove project immediately. I, on the other hand, want his innards to heal a little more… Read More

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