The Mother Earth News Fair was terrific. The funny thing is it was almost a letdown, but that’s totally a mindset thing (and a body endurance thing) and not a reflection of the fair. Trust me, most of the letdown stems from the fact that my body takes 2 days to recover from that level of activity. More on that over at Melanie’s Gym.
Last year when we went, it was a true vacation: we traveled by car 8ish hours north to Pennsylvania, where we stayed in a semi-crappy hotel and the fair was a 3-day event. The ride was long, but gorgeous, with amazing mountain scenery, especially in West Virginia. Somerset wasn’t much to look at, but the ski resort where the fair was held was lush. The weather was an interesting mix of sunny and rainy, with some mud thrown in, but Les had never been that far north before, and I was just in heaven to be seeing that part of our nation again. Everything about that trip was interesting, from the corn fields owned by Chevron (unlike) to the stars on people’s barns. We were overwhelmed by the amount of workshops offered, and had trouble deciding what to go to when. But it was life-changing, in that it’s kept this dream alive for me, and helped Les develop a new hobby (herbalism) that will only assist our continued health goals.
Not having to travel this time (the fair was 2 days this time and held in Asheville) meant more money to spend at said fair, and spend we did. While the fair bookstore seemed to be missing some key tomes (like anything by my favorites: Jenna, Ashley, and Ben), they did carry lots of good stuff and we took advantage of our 25% off coupons big-time. The workshops were a mix of stuff we saw at the last fair, combined with quite a few local teachers and the requisite folks who are trying to educate others while hocking their books at the same time. I don’t mind that, so long as they’re not too blunt about it, which is why I adore Dawn Combs, who’s there certainly to sell her wares and promote her book coming out in September, but spends her talks shoving knowledge into your head in a clear and amiable manner. Very smart lady!
Knowing about a good chunk of the workshops this time around allowed us a bit more time to wander, and the exhibitors and vendors did not disappoint. John C. Campbell had half a dozen demonstrations going on at any one time, and most of the vendors are sustainability- or homesteading-centric, so there’s lots to see. Les and I both treated ourselves to hats. His is a handmade leather that will be great for our hikes; mine has a massive brim to protect my face from the sun while gardening. We also grabbed a seed-starting kit that should be more stable than my electric blanket and egg carton concept (actually, we’ll use both this year and take notes).
Since we’re not ready for animals yet, we tend to shy away from those talks, but I was curious this year. That’s where the presence of books lends relief. I wanted to wander the animal barn before the Raising Goats Naturally talk, but unfortunately hadn’t counted on the crowd for that one. Once I’d had my fill of adorable baby goats and beautiful horses, I found the lecture area to be standing room only. But since Deborah Niemann just published an entire tome on the subject, I didn’t feel bad about blowing it off, because when we’re ready, I know her knowledge will be out there for me.
That’s also what kept me from buying a couple of books I definitely want: the Storey Books on Raising Chickens, Sheep, and Goats. oooo! There’s one on Pigs too! There will be time for that, when we are closer to having the land. Meantime, there’s a new collector on my credit report, taxes due, and some serious organizing to get to, so that land isn’t just a pipe dream. I’m on it!