We attended our first ever Sustainable Living Fair sponsored by Mother Earth News. Mother Earth News has held these fairs before but this is the first one to come to Texas. What took them so long?
It was jammed packed with speakers and events on topics from beekeeping to preserving food. Although it was a two-day event it hardly scratched the surface. I could’ve gone all week on one topic alone.
There were some well-known speakers like master organic gardener, Eliot Coleman, Howard Garrett (the dirt doctor), and the amazing Joel Salatin.
There were over 150 workshops and lectures over two days so it was impossible for us to catch them all. Greg and I ended up splitting up so we could go to as many presentations as possible.
It was standing room only for every workshop I attended. Unlike writer conferences, this expo spanned three humongous buildings plus the outdoors. We got a workout sprinting from one end to the other.
I had several favorite speakers, but I was really impressed with butcher, Meredith Leigh. She was a tiny little thing with the physical prowess of a linebacker. She demonstrated cutting up a whole hog while making it look easy. I’ve butchered whole hogs in the past, but I learned a lot about where best to put my knife so I didn’t work so hard at it. I think I’m going to get her book, The Ethical Meat Handbook.
Another lively speaker was Marjory Wildcraft. She was a hoot and a half. Her time on stage went by in a blink of an eye. That’s when you know you have a great speaker. I was only able to attend one of her lectures about growing food efficiently. I liked how she put things in perspective by showing hard numbers about the calories we need to take in and what kind of livestock and crops to grow to achieve that magic number.
The exhibits were equally awesome. We got to talk to a lot of experts on beekeeping, chickens, and even wind turbines. One of the coolest things I saw was a 500 square foot house. From the outside it was barely more than a cabin. Heck, my master bathroom has more square footage. But what this guy did to the inside was nothing short of amazing.
The bedroom was in the loft. There was a full bathroom, kitchen, and a sitting area with office–all in 500 square feet. It didn’t even feel the slightest bit cramped. I don’t know if the picture does it justice, but anyone who says you can’t live in a tiny house, never saw this one. It was a marvel of efficiency and clean design. And the best part? The entire house was powered by a solar panel and two car batteries.
The one thing I regret not photographing was the exhibit for Claborn Farms. They had the most beautiful chickens I had ever seen. We plan to buy some of their fertile eggs and hatch some chicks. They claim the size and health of their flocks is due to years of selective breeding and not to feed or supplements. If that’s true, I’d be willing to spend the extra money for some of these birds. We’ve reached a point in our homesteading efforts that we’d like to take our livestock lines to the next level. Quality over quantity.
Here are a few more pictures from our whirlwind trip.
We had a great time. I hope Mother Earth News holds this expo again. There were so many more lectures I wanted to attend.
Have you ever met a longhorn? Would you attend a homestead fair if you got the chance?