Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Mother Earth News Fair in their own backyard

The past couple weeks have been crazy. Early last week I was getting ready for the Mother Earth News Fair, and then I headed out on Friday. This year the Mother Earth News Fair folks decided to stage an event in their own community -- Lawrence, KS -- and it was great. It was smaller than the events held in Pennsylvania and Washington State, and it was held in a park. It felt smaller than it was because the park was smaller than the other two venues, but the attendance wasn't that much smaller 10,000 versus the 12-14,000 that the other events draw.

One nice thing about having the event in the MEN backyard is that Mother Earth News Publisher Bryan Welch invited the speakers to his ranch for a party on Friday night. And of course, several of us asked for a tour of Rancho Cappuccino. Forget the fancy party tent and the band! We want to see livestock! And Bryan was happy to oblige.

Unfortunately most of his goats and sheep were not so cooperative, as they were way far off in the pasture, so we didn't get a great view of them. However, these are some ram lambs (above) that will soon become lamb chops.

And his breeding rams were more than happy to pose for pictures. It was almost dark, and I was using my phone's camera, so these pictures came out looking really artsy -- more like a painting than a photograph.

And I was also excited to see solar panels on Bryan's barn roof. He said that the panels produce enough electricity to pretty much meet their needs, although their system is tied into the local grid so that they have electricity even when the sun hasn't been shining for a few days. We've talked about putting solar panels on our barn roof, so it's good to see someone else has already tried it, and it's working fine. My husband was worried that the panels might be too heavy for our barn roof, so he'll probably want to talk to Bryan when he sees this post.

The Fair was great! I spoke about Ecothrifty Bread, Ecothrifty Living, and Raising Goats Naturally. It sure is interesting trying to condense a whole book into a one-hour talk of the most important points. My goat talk was at the same time that Temple Grandin was presenting, so I was worried that no one would show up -- but I figured that I would know that everyone at my talk really loved goats. To my surprise, the seats in the tent quickly filled up until there was standing room only.

Ecothrifty and Raising Goats Naturally both sold out in the bookstore, and the local public library had a copy of Ecothrifty sitting on their table. They asked if they could take a picture of me holding the book. It hasn't shown up on their Facebook page yet, so maybe they'll be using it for something else. Too bad I didn't get contact info for the woman there because I forgot to get any pictures of myself doing anything all weekend.

Overall, it was a great event. I arrived home late Monday night and was back in the barn Tuesday morning milking the goats.


Mary Ann said...

I live 13 miles from Lawrence... and missed the MEN fair, it was the weekend of our high school reunion and church bazaar, though I saw the tents driving by. I wish I could have heard you speak, and I regret not being able to do so. I'm reviewing your book today, though... I would have loved to have had you sign my copy!

The Harried Homemaker said...

I saw your talk at the MENF and it was great. It was hard to choose between your presentation and Temple Grandin's, but I am very glad I selected yours. It was the most useful, information-packed presentation I saw all weekend.

Your book is fabulous and it has given me a lot of food for thought. I am trying to decide whether a dairy cow or goat would be right for us. All your initial troubles with goats are a bit intimidating and there is the tricky bit of finding a quality buck to impregnate my does (I definitely do not want to keep one myself.). So much to think about!

Deborah Niemann said...

Harried Homemaker -- If you're thinking twice about goats because we had challenges in the beginning, you should hear about the challenges we had with cows! We no longer have cows. The challenges with cows are much harder (and more expensive) to overcome because of their size. However, goats are a piece of cake once you have the right information, which is why i wrote the book. The only reason we had problems with goats in the beginning is because of a lack of good information.


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