Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Mother Earth News Fair, Asheville, 2015

My husband, Don, and I spent Saturday, April 11, at the Mother Earth News Fair in Asheville, NC. Mother Earth News, affectionately known as "the Mother" to its readers, has gotten Don and me into all kinds of trouble--er, I mean--projects.

What kind of projects? Let's see: raised bed gardening, helping our pollinators, local foods with a CSA subscription (currently Farm Chicks Produce), backyard laying hens, vermicomposting, and home cooking and food preservation for a healthier diet.

Whew! And I suspect that list is not at all comprehensive.

Just some of the hundreds of indoor and outdoor displays at the Mother Earth News Fair
Handcrafted baskets at the Mother Earth News Fair

We visited all the booths, sometimes twice. I attended a good presentation on chickens and gardens;  no, they are not mutually exclusive.

A dog lover, I also attended a workshop on livestock guardian dogs, just out of curiosity. Don attended every workshop he could find on how to help our bees and other pollinators.

I was fascinated by the Egg Cart'n chicken tractor on display at the fair.

We made a few purchases. I bought honey, a T-shirt, and a pair of vegan Fair-Trade sandals made from recycled materials. They are pretty and comfortable; I hope they are sturdy and long-lasting, too. Don purchased a system for making inexpensive soil blocks for seed starting purposes. He wants to use them to plant all kinds of annual and perennial flowers on our property as bee food.

Solar Oven on display at the Mother Earth News Fair
Several kinds of lumber mills and log splitters were on display. Don was curious about one of the larger mills.

We saw carding, spinning, and weaving natural fibers at several different booths
A homemade brick oven built on the spot to bake delicious rolls (I tasted a sample)
Many of the above pictures were taken at a "folk school," which to me seems like a great idea. If it were closer I'd enroll in classes, at least in the summer.

Several booths displayed products made from hemp; products of all kinds were often made in the U.S.A.

The food at the fair was great, even if some of the lines were long at lunch time. We also sampled some ice cream and a similar product made from coconut oil. Yum!

Natural remedies came in all shapes sizes, and price points. I suspect this one was expensive

The Livestock Conservancy and heritage breeds were a strong part of the livestock display

These alpacas were unusual looking and truly beautiful

Animals love Don; he knows how to scratch them in all the right places

Baby camel with its mom

According to a sign, "Milking Devon" oxen can be used for milk, meat, and as draft animals

The "Mountain Cedar Garden Hive" looks like a bird house and might make a nice stealth hive

Various types of horses also attended the fair

Cute little spotted sheep; not sure of the breed. If you know, please tell me!

Our presenter from Banks Mountain Farm on livestock guardian dogs spoke from the heart and knew a lot

This livestock guardian dog, a Kangal, is well socialized and friendly yet protects his flock from coyotes and other predators

Everyone we met at the fair was super-nice. The zeal of the various entrepreneurs who hawked their wares or displayed their livestock or their hard-earned wisdom was thrilling.

My cousin, Lise, and her family were visiting Asheville, and we got together at her friend's house in the evening. It was great to see her husband, Keith, and two daughters, Kaiya and Wrenna, again.

Cousin Lise

Wrenna, Lise's daughter

I see the family resemblance in Kaiya, Lise's other daughter, as she visits with Don
We were so tired, we almost fell asleep before our heads hit the pillow Saturday night. We had wrist bands good for both days of the fair, but we decided to schedule our long drive home for Sunday, instead. A wise decision.

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