First of all, I must say it was one hot weekend! And by that, I mean the temperature reached one hundred. We were out in it for two days and Jeff held up in the heat better than I did. We’ve done markets and shows in the heat before, so Jeff was prepared for it. He kept constant ice in his hat, sprayed himself continually with water, wore a neck cooler, drank cold drinks, and sat in front of our battery powered fan. The combination seemed to do the trick. There was only one place to sit in front of the fan though, and Jeff was certainly in need of it to make it through the day out there, so Bracken and I would hang out in the booth (with Jeff spraying us with water continually) until I felt like I was melting (and my brain was shutting off), and then we would go in the nearby air conditioned building to cool down a bit.
Our booth turned out to be a corner booth at the last minute, which was a wonderful surprise, so we changed things around to make that work. We ordered a new banner for our booth and it was supposed to arrive in time for us to bring it to the fair, but it did not. Instead, we used the sign the fair gave to us. Jeff and I designed a blog handout together and had a pile of them in our booth. I was glad to bring it to life, I’d been visualizing a handout for quite some time and colorful pictures just make me happy to look at.
I was excited about the workshops this year. There were so many that looked interesting, I knew it would be hard to choose. Jeff wanted to hang out in the booth, so we chose a few workshops for Bracken and a few for me. The first one I went to was ‘The Homestead Medic’ by Joseph Alton. The description said: “Learn how to deal with medical issues that might affect your family in a remote homestead environment. Dr. Joseph Alton talks about the issues you’re most likely to face, the skills you need, and the factors that go into becoming an effective caregiver when medical help is not readily at hand.” It also said that his mission is to put a medically prepared person in every family. I found his talk incredibly informative and bought the book he and his wife wrote, along with a first aid kit (we have first aid supplies scattered around, but not all in one spot like that and not as comprehensive.)
I enjoyed listening to Dave Boehlein speak last year, so I went to another one of his talks this year. This one was called ‘Sustainability Lessons for Homesteaders from Traditional Japan.’ I learned things about Japan I never knew before and there was good food for thought. I made it to a little bit of ‘Common Sense Natural Beekeeping’ by Kim Flottum, but Bracken only wanted to go to so many of “mom’s workshops”, and I didn’t blame him. He only wanted to draw and color for so long before he was ready to move on.
We went to three workshops for Bracken and his favorite workshops were ‘Spinning Yarn with a Drop Spindle’ by Heather Campbell and ‘Kids Kraut’ by Christopher and Kirsten Shockey (just clicked on her blog, looks like a great fermentation resource.) In the spinning workshop, each child was given a drop spindle made out of a recycled CD, they decorated them with stickers, and then they got spinning. Bracken was delighted to be making his very own yarn. I’ve made sauerkraut many times, but I love seeing the way different people make it. Bracken loved getting to make his own batch in the workshop and he wasn’t alone- I saw many happy little faces around the room. (I want to check out their book on fermenting vegetables, they said it has everything from arugula to zucchini.)
Besides the worskshops, there were lots of booths to see! Two of my awesome sponsors, Homestead Drying Racks and Scratch and Peck Feeds, had booths there and we visited them. We saw folding bikes that took up hardly any room, handspun yarn, ways to grow lots of food for animals in small spaces, goat milk soaps with titles like ‘Garden Dirt’ and ‘Fresh Cut Grass’, and the coolest solar grill imaginable! (Bracken and I got our picture taken while we got to try it out. It was awesome!) I tasted some delicious blueberry wine. And of course Bracken and I always love to see the yurt and visit the tiny houses.
Two booths I found particularly inspiring were Billions in Change and Project41. “Billions in Change is a movement to save the world by creating and implementing solutions to the most basic global problems: water, energy, and health. Doing so will raise billions of people out of poverty and improve the lives of everyone, rich and poor.” At their booth, there was a bike you could pedal for one hour and get 24 hours worth of electricity. “Project41 is a humanitarian organization changing the lives of impoverished families in the developing world through the introduction of simple and sustainable water filtration and irrigation technologies.” Both of these organizations are having such a positive impact!
Thanks, Mother Earth News Fair, for a weekend full of learning and inspiration. Until next year!