Tag Archives: workshop

Mother Earth News Fair

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.




Tiny boy, big tractor









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!

Pre-show audience

Pre-show audience









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!

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Get Your Country On!: The Official Workshop

Bring me to your leader!

I have something new to share: a companion workshop to Get Your Pitchfork On! As I mentioned in a recent post, I had a fun first year presenting Get Your Pitchfork On! to bookstore audiences across the country. Now, I’ve created a workshop for both large and small groups.

Last weekend, a dozen generous souls suspended their Memorial Day weekend plans to join me for beer and chili, and a practice run of “Get Your Country On!”


Thanks Joe, Shari, Leah, Rebecca, Bill, Evan, Judith, Karla (pictured) and Suzy, Ryan, Mike, Laura

This presentation is interactive; participants break into small groups to discuss their own ideas of what a perfect rural life would entail. People who are contemplating a move to the country have already thought of a few contingencies. “Get Your Country On!” brings up things they probably haven’t.

For example:

• Gardening zones and other landscape issues

• Environmental hazards like road spray and orchard smog

• Cell phone coverage

• Culture shock

• Pervasiveness of death (not yours! of plants, insects and animals)

Feedback from this practice run was great; I have incorporated it and am ready for my first prime-time showing—today at the Mother Earth News Fair in Puyallup, Washington!


I would love to discuss the joys and pitfalls of country living with you!

Later in June, I’ll present “Get Your Country On!” at Regards to Rural, in Corvallis.

A reader recently said of the book: “You’re doing a great service to people. If I were considering a move to the country, your book would save me a ton of time and money. For those on the fence, it would certainly help answer the question of whether it’s the right move or not.”

Do you have a gardening group, CSA, book group, farm-to-table event, community education class or other opportunity for “Get Your Country On!”? Please check out my website or contact me at kristy @ kristyathens.com.

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