We always look forward to going to the fair but this year we were so excited about it that Gil told Marsha to set the alarm for 5:30 a.m. Nobody in this household ever gets up so early on a day off but in our anticipation we got up anyway. It was dark. It was cold. The coffee was too hot. After two navigational boo boo’s we finally got on the turnpike. And arrived at the fair in plenty of time to wait twenty minutes for it to open... (insert a smiley face here!).
|A goat cart.|
The rest of the day went very well, and we spent most of it attending hour-long classes and learning some good stuff. In the first of these Gil learned a method of cutting down a tree with a chainsaw and getting it to fall exactly where you want it to. This method we had not seen before, and it appeared much safer and easier than others. The teacher was very good, and talked a lot about safety issues.
|The teacher has felled the tree exactly where he intended.|
Finding the excavation pit for the next class was a little bit of an exercise because it had no marker or sign. But we took a few guesses and a few wrong turns and eventually met up with the teacher and got there. This teacher was a soil scientist. He explained that much of his work is to help farmers make the best use of their land. Although the pit didn't look like much at first, the talk was fascinating. We learned how to identify the various colored layers of sand, clay, and buried topsoil, and the difference between undisturbed soil and that which had long ago been cultivated. We heard about how the latest glacier- it had been a mile thick over Maine- affected things. We walked away with new insight into our own piece of land.
|The horses are waiting to haul away the felled tree.|
Following our usual lunch of organic lamb sausage (really yum...! with chopped fresh-veggie hot salsa), we learned about how to raise a steer in our yard. This was excellent not just because the teacher told us everything we need to know from buying the animal to having it processed, but it also let us know that this is something we can do here, even with our limited area of pasture.
|Carved wooden faces.|
Finally, famous author Harvey Ussery lectured us on some of the ways that an unheated greenhouse can be used. Marsha having gotten up way too early took a nap so you would have to ask Gil about what he learned.
|A famous author's truck.|
On our way out we browsed through some of the art and craft displays, and then the farmer's market. We bought our usual two cabbages for kraut-making and some garlic for planting. And, last but not least, since we are fond of name-dropping: we found that we had parked by famous author Eliot Coleman (Four Season Harvest). A great day at the fair! -jmm