Where can you find a blacksmith, a bunch of baby pigs, mushroom kits, ten different breeds of herding dog, a lamb-butchering demonstration, a portable sawmill, and me? Puyallup!
The Mother Earth News has been around since the previous wave of back-to-the-landers hit the ground, in the early 1970s. Since then they’ve been giving people advice about self-reliance and rural living, and keeping old traditions alive. They are best known for their magazine, but they also host four fairs every year, in Kansas, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Puyallup, Washington. For the last two years, I’ve gotten to take part in the Washington fair by presenting the companion workshop to my book, which I call “Get Your Country On!” (Sense a theme?)
The fair is a great outing—big enough that there is variety and small enough that you can take everything in. You have to plan your workshop time carefully, however, as there are a number of competing stages. I found myself catching half of a lot of them so I could cover more ground. I learned about selling rabbit (not regulated by the USDA as meat!), heritage pig breeds, the health benefits of raw milk, and how Americans are unduly obsessed with marbling in beef.
Friends from Seattle met me there, one of whom is three years old. This boy had a great time checking out the llamas, poultry, sheep, goats, and other animals. He was especially fond of the Deere.
After taking a hiatus from public appearances due to my current remote location and graduate studies, it felt good to talk with people about moving to the country again. I love hearing their dreams and plans, and giving them ideas to hopefully make them even better prepared. And I was very happy to update my slideshow to include the fact that I now live in Wallowa County!
For those of you who were at the presentation yesterday, here is the link to my Big R blog post, so you can enjoy the photos that you missed when my slideshow crapped out!