Saturday, October 1, 2011

Highlights from the fair

What fair? The Mother Earth News Fair, of course! Last weekend, I was in Seven Springs, PA, talking about "Why Homegrown and Handmade," as well as "The Natural Home Dairy," and I was signing copies of Homegrown and Handmade, hot off the press.

I was not able to attend nearly as many of the sessions as I had hoped, but here are a few highlights --

L to R: Me, Joel Salatin, and Pat Foreman, author of City Chicks
I finally got to see Joel Salatin in person. I walked into the speaker's lounge and recognized his voice the moment I heard it. I looked around and saw him standing at check in, talking on his cell phone. Like a teenage rock-star groupie, I grabbed my cell phone and hurried over to him to ask if I could get a quick photo with him. It was the only time all weekend that I thought about taking a picture of anyone, including myself. I was able to make it to one of his talks. Seeing him in person was fun. I've read so much about him and watched so many interviews with him that I "know" Joel pretty well. But I'm still looking forward to reading his newest book, Folks, This Ain't Normal, which will hit bookstores in the next week or two.

Another highlight for me was meeting Gianaclis Caldwell, who runs an off-grid, Nigerian dwarf goat dairy in Oregon. She is the author of The Farmstead Creamery Advisor and is working on a second book on cheese making. I wish we could have talked more, but hopefully our paths will cross again soon.

The Mother Earth News people put me in a condo for the weekend, which I shared with Aquaponic Gardening author Sylvia Bernstein. Aquaponics is a hydroponic system for growing your own fish and greens. I am really looking forward to reading her book because I've wanted to grow our own fish for several years, but there was not a book on the topic for me to learn more, and I didn't have the time to search through all the info scattered across the Internet. I can't believe I didn't think about getting a picture of Sylvia, but I did get a shot of the beautiful view we had from the condo kitchen.

I was able to see most of the bread presentation by Zoe Francois and Jeff Hertzberg, authors of Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. It was fun seeing Jeff make a pizza crust without a rolling pin, -- he flipped it in the air -- and I really appreciated what he had to say about using diet to deal with medical issues. He talked about eating flax seeds to cure a shoulder injury. (Sorry I forgot the amount!) After only three weeks, the pain in his shoulder, which had been there for three years, went away. He said that there is no risk in trying something like flax seeds to see if it can help you, whereas he used to prescribe medications that sometimes have life-threatening side effects. (He is an MD.)

And I caught the tail end of Jenna Woginrich's keynote. She's the author of Made From Scratch, which is part-memoir, part-how-to on her move to the country. I love her can-do attitude, and she ended her speech saying, "When the sheep knock you down, get back up!" Jenna and I squeezed in a very quick, very late lunch at nearly 3:00 as we were rushing between speaking engagements, book signings, and sessions we wanted to watch.

If you haven't made it to a Mother Earth News Fair yet, I highly recommend it. There are about a dozen speakers from which to choose every hour, and there are more vendors than I could estimate. They will be returning again next year to Puyallup, WA (near Seattle) and Seven Springs, PA (near Pittsburgh). They are also considering a third event, perhaps in the Midwest, but they're having a hard time finding a venue that can meet all of their needs.


Donna OShaughnessy said...

Sounds like a great time, maybe next year we will make it. I did get to hang out with Zan Asha from the Renegade Farmer and Miss Effie herself last weekend while learning more about bees and woman doing the self sustainable thing in another part of Illinois. It really is amazing what is going on out there in self sufficientcy land isn't it ?

Deborah @ Antiquity Oaks said...

It is totally amazing how interested people have become in this subject! A few years ago people thought I was nuts; now I'm cool.

That's so awesome that you got to hang out with Miss Effie and Zan! They are two cool ladies!


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