We had to make all kinds of difficult decisions this weekend at the Not-So-Simple Living Fair at the Mendocino County Fairgrounds in Boonville. With an impressive schedule of practical and inspiring workshops we had to choose between acorn processing, goat nutrition, wild foods, sourdough baking, green building, cheesemaking, chicken processing and so, so, so much more. We chose the ‘divide and conquer’ approach and tried to glean as much knowledge as possible.
This gathering is not your typical festival. It’s an outdoor classroom and quite unique in that all the attendees are truly committed to learning and teaching (not just running around in feather earrings). It was awesome to be surrounded by so many friends, mentors and neighbors who are living closer to the land every day. I don’t think I’ll be wearing a dress made out of a tanned hide anytime soon, but I am completely rejuvenated by spending two days with people who don’t want to go “back to the land,” but are moving forward with the land, and understand the value of sharing knowledge, information and skills.
There is no way I can summarize all the specific learnings of this weekend, and I will have to share more in upcoming posts (like how to cure poison oak, and how to harvest and roast bay nuts.) For now, here’s a peek at a very full and incredible weekend. Click on the pics below to view them in a slideshow with captions.
The day began with a delivery of fresh goat milk, straight from the udder and still warm upon arrival.
On the way to Boonville, we stopped at Gowan’s Oak Tree farm stand aka fruit mecca
Corn on the cob!
A delightful father-daughter sourdough baking workshop in which I learned the secrets to dense rye bread.
Really impressive sheep shearing demo followed by a fantastic talk on the philosophy of animal management.
Snack time: First bite into the first pink pearl apple of the year!
Locavores lunchtime. In addition to bringing our food, we also brough our own plates, etc. as they aim to make it a zero waste event.
Afternoon workshop on cheese-making so that i know what to do with the forthcoming glut of milk.
Acorn processing workshop.
Gowan and her dream plow. Love at first sight
Gowan meets her future self – the maker of this plough, designed for draft horses. These two nerded out about metalworking and farming for over an hour so I took a hula hooping break.
Chicken trailier, literally.
Local heirloom wheat grown by the Mendocino Grain Project.
Doug Mosel of the Mendocino Grain Project talks about the “Joy of Local Grain.” Got some new ideas about experimenting with our grain share – including tortillas and wheat grass.
The Preserved Foods display section.
Everyone’s a winner here with these gorgeous canned/pickled/preserved goodies.
The Native Plants workshop was an explosion of information about foraging for basketmaking, food, medicinal plants, and spiritual practices. Pictured here is elderberry – edible only in small doses when fresh. More on that in a separate blog entry soon.
Here Corine shocks the audience by wielding a branch of poison oak and discussing it’s many native uses and beneficial properties.
More wild harvested foods.
Tamara Wilder of Paleotechnics provided a wonderful guide to year-round harvesting of wild foods.
Wrapped up the day with an olive curing workshop. I figure it’s my genetic duty to know this.
3 thoughts on “Not-So-Simple Living Fair in Pictures”
Aww, I’m so jealous that you got to go. I was hoping to make it over there but Carson’s appendix had other plans for our weekend. Last year’s Not So Simple (which I attended after just 7 weeks of living in Northern California) was a powerful reminder that Mendocino is exactly where I belong. I wrote about it on my old blog: http://vidadesconocida.blogspot.com/2012/09/seattle-and-not-so-simple-fair.html
And hey, I’d be more than happy to take some of that goat milk/cheese off your hands. Trade you for walnuts and persimmons??
I was thinking of you SO much over the weekend! We can totally barter. But, you’ll have to come visit us. 😉 -S