gather and grow

Homegrown, hand-spun living in the city

On Friday, as soon as we had closed the door of our old home behind us, we jumped in the car and drove up to Pyallup, WA, for the Mother Earth News Fair 2013. It was just too close and too good to be missed. And there, during the two days of talks, workshops, demos and exhibitions, the mental dust of the pre-move packing madness began to settle, we started to be able to look forward to the next leg(s) of our journey, and to really feel the excitement of starting a new life.


MEN13MEN13-5MEN13-3It was my first time at the fair and I was like a kid in a candy store. Straw bale building! Herbal medicine! Solar power! Felt-making! All kinds of funny-looking creatures with feathers and furs! There were so many workshops that Dan and I could not possibly attend all those that interested us, so we ended up focusing on beekeeping, because that’s the next thing we want to get started on. We attended a number of talks about keeping honeybees, talked to the experts and peeked into various kinds of hives, and concluded fairly quickly that we want to go with foundationless hives. Now it’s a matter of deciding between a top bar hive and a Warré hive. If any of you have experience with either style that would help us make our decision, drop me a line in the comments section.

I also attended workshops on aquaponic gardening, adapting food growing to climate change, fiber animals, homestead tools, women eco-entrepreneurs, and assessing farmland. The grande finale of the fair was the fiery and hilarious keynote speech by Joel Salatin. I feel so stoked and inspired, and have so many ideas percolating, that it’s almost too much. Thankfully, we have ahead of us a long, slow drive down the Oregon coast over the next two days, camping and hiking. It will give me a lot of time to allow all those ideas to find their place in my mind, and to gauge which ones pull me most strongly right now.

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