Monday, September 26, 2011

Mother Earth News Fair 2011

We got back late Saturday night from this year's Mother Earth News Fair in PA. We left our kids with some friends, which was a very good decision. Everyone was much happier all around that way! This was actually kind of an early anniversary trip for my hubby and me. We were married in December, but it's hard to go anywhere if you don't like skiing. (I do want to go snow shoeing this year though...) We had a great time at the fair. (And it sure helped to bring our own lunch. Lines were crazy...) If you're curious, advance tickets to the fair were only $15. That's pretty darn reasonable!

I just have to say that the fair was fabulous! There were a lot of great improvements over last year's fair. For one, the book store section was 6 times the size it was before, in the center of the room, and they sent 25% off coupons with our tickets! Hooray for coupons! I got some awesome books. I even read one I got already called Maple Sugar: From Sap to Syrup - The History, Lore, and How-To Behind This Sweet Treat. The book was awesome! (I really just love Storey Publishing. Their books rock.)

Okay, enough gushing. Here are the workshops I attended:

1. Chick Days: First steps to a backyard flock - Jenna Woginrich

2. A Year in the Life of a Micro Farm - Andy McCallister (how awesome that he put his power point online!! - click on the title of the workshop for his power point link)

3. Food Sovereignty: Get Big Ag and the goverment out of your kitchen - Robin Mather
If you're tired of the government telling you what you can and can't eat, if you're angered by Big Ag's refusal to label GMO foods, a food sovereignty initiative may be the solution. Learn how tiny Sedgewick, Maine, passed the country's first food sovereignty laws, and get the nuts-and-bolts materials to do the same.
Robin's Blog

4. The Backyard Rabbitry: Rabbits for Meat - Jenna Woginrich

5. Working Companions: Dogs for small farms and homesteads - Heather Houlahan

6. Why Homegrown and Handmade - Deborah Niemann

7. Keynote Speech: Taking the First Steps to Sustainability - Jenna Woginrich (got my books of hers autographed and got a free unproofed copy of her new book "Barnheart" due out in December! Woohoo! Thanks, Jenna!)

My husband went to other workshops talking about bio-diesel, passive-solar homes, and other geeky technical stuff like that. It was great to divide and conquer!

I took notes at all of the workshops and I'm planning on typing them up. So, if you're interested, just let me know and I can e-mail you the notes.

Books I got: Maple Sugar: From Sap to Syrup, Chick Days, Homegrown and Handmade (I just found out that this book isn't even released yet! Huh!), How to Grow and Preserve Your Own Food (a Mother Earth News Wiser Living Series booklet with a compilation of articles on one similar topic), Guide to Backyard Bees and Honey (Grit Country Skills Series), and my husband got a booklet on straw bale building specifications for builders. We just might have a straw bale structure in our distant future... :-)

The fair was so fun. I can't wait to go again next year! (Sorry no pictures! I was rushing around looking at stuff and forgot I was lugging around my camera. Sheesh.)

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