Monday, September 24, 2012

The Mother Earth News Fair: Day 1

We left for the Fair early, right after chores on Friday morning. This meant getting up at 5:00, going over the whole farm, and then loading up a diesel station wagon for the long drive. My truck was in dodgy shape (sorry for the pun)—and Brett's is so big is requires melted stegosaurus to get 400 miles—so we borrowed his sister's wagon. 50 miles to the gallon can not be beat. We left the farm at sunrise.

It's hard to leave a place that is your whole life. The farm is my home, my business, my livestock, my every energy. It's a place people go on vacation. I can't just head out with a little extra hay and water and feel okay about it. A small army was involved in leaving for the Fair. The Daughtons took on the huskies, saving me the costs of boarding. Patty and Mark Wesner and Jon Katz and Maria Wulf all came by to check on the animals, do chores, and generally keep the place under their safe watch. Brett was driving, a huge kindness. And everything had to be ready for me to return by Sunday afternoon. It was going to be an exciting and exhausting weekend, I was as excited about the little vacation as I was anxious to leave.

The happy travelers were Brett, Gibson, and myself and the road ahead was a minimum of eight hours long (meaning if we kept on without stops). Washington County to the town of Somerset Pennsylvania is quite the haul. Brett had a headache and Gibson refused to stay in the back cargo area on his bed. After a while we just let him perch on the vintage wooden suitcase I had packed my clothes in. He sat like a little sphinx, watching out the window while we passed farms, cities, developments and roadside attractions.

By the time we pulled into the Seven Springs resort it was close to 5;30PM. That's a long day, no matter how much you enjoyed your company. Brett was ready to park and relax, his head was still hurting. But he was right as rain by the time he got a short nap in.

I headed to the resort's bar and met up with fellow Storey folks. Pam Art, Ann Larkin Hansen, Carol Ekarius, and some others I didn't recognize at first were there and invited me to join them for some drinks. It was nice to just finally be there, at the destination, and Guinness was on tap. Brett joined us, and soon a pile of writers, and Storey Staff had collected for dinner. It was welcomed, as Brett and I both subscribe to the anti-road food idea of travel. We had a salad at lunch because we were on the move, not wanting to feel heavy and carb-loaded with five or more hours ahead of us in transit. But by dinner at the Fair we were ready to regret.

The food was amazing. That place really put on the dog! I enjoyed way too much, had a few glasses of wine, and looked around the table. These were people I have known for years now, people with farms and books, with databases and PR charts. These are the folks who also help keep Cold Antler running strong. They are a part of my extended community.

We ended up crashing before 9PM. Gibson was the first to fall, exhausted from the long car ride and rest stop potty breaks. He ate some food and crawled into bed with me. Tomorrow we'd all have to be up around the same time as the day before but for meetings and breakfast talks and then off to the fair to explore and take in the big show. The first thing I was going to hit was the live chicken slaughter/plucking demonstration with Joel Salatin. I could not believe the fair pulled that off. My hats off to whoever greenlit such a real and helpful topic at a convention center.

More to come through the day. I need to meet Bob, who is delivering a cord of firewood here in about ten minutes! People, there will BE HEAT!


Blogger Alison said...

Ha! I had to go back and re-read that list of Farm Helpers. My mind had convinced me Patty's last name was Steele. :D

September 24, 2012 at 1:12 PM  
Anonymous Tracy said...

Enjoyed both of your sessions this past weekend at the fair. My husband went with me and before the fair he was constantly rolling his eyes at my farm dreams and homesteading ideas. He is actually starting to warm up to the idea! He now wants bees...well it's a start! Even though I have much bigger plans....all in time. Please keep up what your doing...your such an inspiration!

So sorry to hear about George. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

September 25, 2012 at 9:04 AM  
Blogger Tara said...

Sounds great, can't wait to hear the rest!

September 26, 2012 at 8:10 AM  

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