Mikey and I have relied on a variety of blogs for wisdom and inspiration. One of them is Anna Hess’s blog The Walden Effect. We have a lot in common with Anna; a start with limited knowledge and savings, a wish to never have a standard job again, and an eventual cottage industry. This year we both wrote books. While I dig out the philosophical and emotional aspects of lifestyle and then make them practical, Anna is prone to science. She uses data and charts to enhance real life. And its fun!
Her book titled The Weekend Homesteader is a twelve-month guide published by Skyhorse. First, I love the book’s size and the large font size. You can read it while it sits open on the counter and from a distance away with your hands full like you might find yourself if you were doing one of the projects she writes about. The month to month approach will have me glancing often for reminders of what seasonal activities I may be forgetting.
She covers the basics: growing, preparing, and preserving food, using space, considering weather, and being observant to your own life patterns. Her goal of financial independence is felt throughout. I like where she starts with it, a definition of homesteading, creating a better life than you could have afforded. Her success may have to do with being able to keep it simple, like her lesson on drying fruits and veggies in the car. She scours the waste stream for treasure and pays attention to details that lead to organizing stored food into labeled containers placed in time order with corresponding chart. Ya, a geek.
Anna's apprenticing tips contain the details that matter, like listening more than you talk. With similar frankness her staying warm without electricity plan starts with wearing the right clothes. Her belt-tightening tips show what is to be gained for what’s given up, homemade bread and a carrot you can taste are worth a few sacrifices.
In both of our books we take a close look at time and we agree that we need more of it if we’re going to be successful. Those jobs may have to go. Anna points to the problem. She suggests consuming less media like TV in order to gain time. Thoughtfully she reminds us that the media changes the way we feel about ourselves. It shapes our experience of having enough.
Though I’ve been homesteading for six years I learned new things from Anna’s book. I learned about carbon nitrogen ratios for compost, dynamic accumulator plants, and about fermenting seeds before saving them. And I learned to make fruit leather which I am pretty excited about. There's other stuff, details about bee keeping and ways to do the same ol' things a little better.
Bravo on your new book Anna! We enjoy what your scientific mind has generously shared, the unusual tips, and clear headed advice. Everyone will learn something from this book. We are happy to recommend it!