And She’s Off Again

I spent this past weekend traveling to Oregon where I attended the Mother Earth News Fair.

MEN Fair

I have sung the praises of Mother Earth News before – I love that magazine. In addition to their publication, they hold fairs every summer/fall across the country that teach homesteading, animal husbandry, medicinal herbs, and food preparation and presentation. Doesn’t that sound so Tammy?!?!?

As enjoyable as I knew it would be, it was also another research trip for my novel. Two of the workshops directly related to things that happen in my book. I’ve already altered one scene to reflect what I learned! Needless to say I was excited.

While on the trip I got to visit with a high school friend I can’t seen since our last reunion, and I got to stay with my sister and brother-in-law who live one town over.

From the moment I arrived in line waiting for the gates to open on the first day until the very last workshop of the fair, I felt I was among kindred spirits. Not often am I surrounded by people as passionate about self-sustaining issues as I am.

Over the weekend I saw a scythe live demo,

scythe

took a hands-on class for determining a goat’s body condition, and I learned about mushroom farming,

bale

animal behavior (with Temple Grandin!),

Temple

grey water reclamation, and a ton of cooking/preserving classes.

I can’t wait to start experimenting with what I learned. I bought a pressure cooker last year, and now I’ll definitely be pulling that out of the box! I’ll also be trying to duplicate the incredibly creamy and melty deliciousness of the dairy-free fondue “cheese” I got to sample.

This coming weekend I will be trying my hand at fermentation again. In my four previous attempts I’d only grown mold. My last workshop of the weekend was on fermentation, and I was able to ask what I was doing wrong. They were impressed and shocked by my mold-growing prowess, and they recommended a new method for me to try. Fingers crossed that sauerkraut is on my way.

I was trying to think of the last time I felt so at home in a group full of strangers. The closest I’ve had lately was the writer’s conference, but there I wasn’t confident in my own abilities. With this fair, it was everyone sharing what has worked and hasn’t for them. It was like going home.

When was the last time you felt you were among kindred spirits you didn’t previously know?

 

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