We have been building out this farm for 3 years. Time off from work and farm construction has been virtually non-existent. Also, while we have had our followers during all of these years behind the hammer and drills, we have never had a time where we could sit and just chat and swap stories about our successes, failures, and future developments with other hobby farmers.
A great friend of mine from archery, due to various reasons, found himself living in Michigan only about 90 minutes from where I grew up. We used to talk everything archery and shoot a bunch together. I hadn’t seen him in several years since his departure. We hooked up via text and email about a year or so ago and were both absolutely stunned by what we found out. We had both gone off, bought land, and proceeded to destroy ourselves physically by building farms!! Ours grew out of gardening, and theirs grew out of dairy. Understand this though – in all the years we had known each other we had NEVER talked about it. I still find it uncanny that we have both made this leap to self-sufficiency and simple living!
Every year Mother Earth News magazine hosts their sustainability fairs in various places around the country. It is a collection of booths of many subjects and products as well as seminars spaced throughout the weekend. We saw how to build straw-bale houses, keep bees, winter gardening, making solar panels, rocket mass heaters, and many others. Two of my heroes, Wes Jackson, a biologist and Joel Salatin – the guru of the small farm movement were also there.
Paul, his wife, son – in – law, Zina and I decided to meet at the fair in Topeka, Kansas. We had an absolute riot! We went to breakfast, out to dinner, hung out at lectures, wandered booths (I even got to meet a Facebook brother face to face for the first time and bought one of his hand made brooms!) It was just the ticket! It was a short weekend with two long drives at either end, but I wouldn’t have traded it for anything. It has been so long where traveling didn’t mean having to visit family, or clients. The astronomy star-parties are fun, but the total upheaval of one’s sleep schedule makes it not as relaxing as it could be.
All in all the fair was pretty basic. I have my ideas on how the vendor displays could be more homestead-ish and self-sufficient oriented than they were, but if my friends want to hook up again at one of these things, I’m all in.
Paul, Cindy and Jonathan, it was so great to see you!