Tuesday, May 08, 2007

A different kind of Festival

The weather couldn't have been better for our two days at the Baker Creek Spring Planting Festival. We had the perfect spot, both wind and traffic-wise.
Several people from Spindler's, Spinning and Sheep Thrills lists came out looking for us and we had wonderful, quick visits. I kept getting distracted by other visitors to the booth, so I don't think I finished any conversation! Thanks everyone for coming out and sharing hand spun skeins, blue bird houses and llama cria stories.

This festival was different from the others we attend, teach or vend at. Almost every time we explained what we were doing at Foxbriar - turning forest into farm while trying to work with Mother Nature; building a home, barn and fencing with our own 6 hands and available materials; fighting ticks - the response from people at Baker Creek was - make sure your grass is down before you pull stumps to keep erosion from making a mess of the creek; How long have your logs aged?; get rid of all the underbrush and leaf mould and lime the heck out of the place before the spring rains to help keep the ticks down... in other words - "Been there, done that, best of luck."

The advice, company and connections are impossible to put a value on. And the food was divine. If you ever have a chance to have green beans with cashews and red peppers cooked in a cast iron skillet over an open fire and served on a bed of wild rice - eat up! Dinner was one of the best meals ever.

The festival was very busy and quite crowded on Sunday. There were two stages playing live music, non-stop. We demonstrated spinning and triloom weaving and gave lots lessons to many people. One young woman, Heather, from the Nebraska Sandhills was a very determined learner. She and her husband are raising heritage fruit trees and seven children.

Now, at the beginning of the festival I had told Shawn, "No plants!" We don't have the room in the little garden that we have fenced off from the goats, we don't have time to plant any more and we are leaving for Colorado in two weeks. He reluctantly agreed, though it was hard on both of us. There many, many plant vendors there and they had wonderful rare herbs that I would love to have and fruits and vegis galore....

Shawn was off looking at books from the Back 40 Books booth when Heather came over to ask me if I would like to trade trees for a drop spindle and wool. So, in spite of my edict, we came home with a little Cox's Orange Pippin apple and an American Summer Pearmain apple. They are sitting in the wheel barrow, getting used to our climate and will likely have a temporary home in the little garden this year, moving to the orchard next year. My favorite apple that I have ever grown, and the Holy Grail of my orchard is the Arkansas Black. I grew one when we lived in Canon City and harvested two apples off of it before we moved. They were the best apples I've ever eaten.

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