Name: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton
Place of Residence: near Dungannon, Virginia
Background and Personal History: Anna Hess dreamed about moving back to the land ever since her parents dragged her off their family farm at the advanced age of 8 years old. She worked as a field biologist and nonprofit organizer before acquiring 58 acres and a husband. She then quit her job to homestead full-time. She admits that real farm life involves a lot more hard work than her childhood memories entailed, but the reality is much more fulfilling and she loves pigging out on sun-warmed strawberries and experimenting with no-till gardening, mushroom propagation, and chicken pasturing.
Mark grew up in the suburbs in Ohio and never considered living the farm life until recently, but his family's roots lie in hard-scrabble farming in eastern Kentucky, and homesteading seems to run in his blood. While Anna putters with her seed packets and makes planting charts, Mark does the hard work of mowing, fencing, building chicken coops and keeping the farm running smoothly. He loves the freedom of making up his own hours and the self-sufficiency of living off the land. Recently he has enjoyed inventing labor-saving devices, including the Avian Aqua Miser and EZ Miser — poop-free chicken waterers — which enable the couple to make a living on the farm.
Anna enjoys writing about her experiences, both on blogs and in books. Her first paperback, The Weekend Homesteader, was published by Skyhorse Publishing in November 2012 and her first novel, Watermelon Summer, came out from Wetknee Books in December 2013. In addition, she has a heaping helping of ebooks on Amazon that provide tips for homesteaders.
Anna and Mark live in a mobile home that they found for free and fixed up themselves. They're firm believers in living within their means and love the freedom the mobile home gives them. The trailer is only accessible by motorized vehicles a few times a year due to a frequently flooded creek and a lot of swampy ground. They enjoy the third-of-a-mile walk from cars to homestead, although they do have to plan their hauling days with military efficiency.
Their farm is home to two spoiled cats, a hard-working Chesapeake Bay Retriever, multiple beehives, and a varying number of chickens.
More Places to Find Anna and Mark on the Web:
The Walden Effect for more of their adventures
Avian Aqua Miser for their poop-free chicken waterer