Mother Earth News Fair

We left on Friday morning intending to attend some of the events on Friday afternoon. We didn’t actually make it.

First, we stopped in Maryland to look at the Paw Paw Tunnel (there is also this PDF with some really interesting information). We were driving by and we both said “Hey, that looks interesting. Let’s stop!” So we stopped, walked the 1/2 mile to the tunnel, puttered around in the tunnel for a bit, then walked back to the car to get back underway.

We stopped in Cumberland, Maryland for lunch and, as we were walking across the railroad tracks back to the car, we looked to the left and saw smoky stuff. Being nosy tourists, we went to investigate.

This engine was in the station, so we peered at it for a little bit. But then….
 

…this one came in. The video that Tony took of the larger engine is in the Picasa album from this trip.

We finally were underway again when we were distracted by the windmills that are all over Pennsylvania and parts of Maryland. Tony thought they were the coolest thing and I was enjoying the roads, so we wandered around looking at windmills for a while. This picture gives you an idea of how enormous the windmills are. (You can see why it took us so long to get to our destination)

So, Saturday was the first day of the fair that we actually got to see. There was so much happening that the first few presentations have pretty much been forgotten. We went for lunch around noon. It was raining a little and it was uncomfortable, but that was nothing on what was to come. We finally got our lunch about 30 minutes later (the stand we picked was pretty popular) and by that time, the rain was coming down pretty hard. We ran for one of the entrance tents and then this happened (the water popping up out of the drain was driven by a little waterfall thing off to the right of the frame):

That wasn’t much fun, but we stuck it out and stayed for a goat presentation by Deborah Niemann (her presentation was really good, I don’t know anything about her books). She was really excited about her topic and that made a huge difference in my ability to pay attention and remember some of the things she said. We left toward the end of that presentation, even though there was at least another hour of talks because we were wet and cold.

Sunday was beautiful and we arrived in time for the first presentation at 9:30 – a live demonstration of chicken processing. That was interesting, informative, and certainly memorable. We didn’t really have anything that looks particularly exciting for the second slot, but we stopped by a presentation to find that it was apparently really popular. We didn’t find it to be something we were interested in, so we wandered around looking at various booths. The next slot was pretty ok, but the last talk we attended was the one I was most interested in going into the fair – Working Companions. It was a presentation about dogs working with and/or for a farmer. It was more informative and less entertaining than I was anticipating. There was no demonstration, but there was a lot of helpful advice being offered for free.

The trip home was just as pretty as the trip up. We meandered through the non-highway roads and found some pretty sights. Some of the places we visited are places I want to go again and take my bike.

Update on Recent Events

There’s been a lot of activity over the last couple of months!

I started classes at the end of August. Things were pretty crazy at the beginning and, while I wouldn’t say they’ve slowed down, I’ve begun to adjust and figure out ways to not feel quite so frantic.

On Labor Day, we went to Meet Yer Eats with a couple that Tony knows through work. We learned a lot, not only about the farms and farming in general, but also about how to plan a day like that. We had some downtime waiting for particular tours we were interested in and since we didn’t pack a lunch, that wasn’t exactly a good thing. We had other things we wanted to look at, but not time to get there and back to the tours we especially wanted to see.

The following weekend, we went to the Heritage Harvest Festival at Monticello. We did all free events this time since we were scoping it out. We think we might try to pick up one or two paid classes next time, depending on what they are. We learned a little about finding property to farm on and how people are managing their property for things other than just food and fiber. There was one man there who was investigating various alternatives for heating his turkey building. That was pretty cool, although definitely not applicable in the immediate future.

The following weekend, I worked a party for a former employer (I used to work with their horses). She was having a bunch of people from her real job (nursing) out to visit and I went out to do what I could. As it turned out, Jerry (one of her horses) and I walked miles and miles (ok, it wasn’t really that far) around the round pen as people took their turns having a “pony” ride on an American Cream Draft Horse.

Finally, this past weekend, we drove to Pennsylvania to attend the Mother Earth News Fair. We had a lot of fun just getting there, not to mention the fair itself. But I’ll post another entry tomorrow talking about this event. It was huge and there are pictures!