...well, let me tell you, you really did miss out. I hear there were over 15,000 visitors over the three days of the Fair, and the energy and atmosphere were consistently positive. If I'd been swift enough to bring a camera, you'd see one picture after another of smiling faces, families having fun with each other, and altogether a sense of eagerness to learn and connect with other people aiming to live life more sustainably and meaningfully.
As for me, I had a terrific time. The Seven Springs Mountain Resort is quite an amazing place: 5,000 acres of ski slopes, golf courses, tennis courts, indoor swimming pool, even an indoor arcade. I stayed in a large and beautiful condo with three other women: my friend Jeannette Beranger from the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy, her colleague Alison Martin, and Pat Foreman, author of Chicken Tractor and City Chicks, among other books. It was lovely seeing Jeannette again, and getting to know Alison and Pat a little was wonderful. I learned a lot just hanging out with these three women, and they all have been generous in their encouragement of my writing projects and ambitions.
My two presentations, one on raising turkeys and the other on raising ducks, went quite well. Considering it was raining occasionally on Saturday afternoon, I was surprised at the crowd that showed up to hear about turkeys. I really enjoy the interaction with the audience; in each of the three times I've done presentations at the Fair, I've learned something new. Even if you raise the same kind of birds that I do, something about your situation or experience will be different from mine, and this is where I think events such as the Mother Earth News Fair are so valuable. There are more and more people who, for various reasons, wish to start taking control of their own food supply, and no matter how many books or Internet pages you read, it's always helpful to connect with someone with real-life experience. (This, by the way, is just as true for me as for anyone who attended my presentations.)
Thanks to James Duft and those of you at Mother Earth News whose names I don't know, for offering me this opportunity once again. Your generosity in arranging for housing, as well as a ride to and from the airport, is truly appreciated. Thanks also to those of you who attended one or both of my presentations; I loved having the opportunity to share and learn with you.