Monday, June 4, 2012

Dear Joel

Okay, I may not be the sharpest tool in the shed, or have eloquence flowing through my veins, but my weekend at the Mother Earth News Fair surprised even me.

We browsed booths that advertised fabulous chick condos,

which went well until the Mister and I started measuring the dimensions and taking notes to build our own for far less money.

I enjoyed learning about skinny pellet stoves,

until we realized this guy has nothing to do with pellet stoves. He builds greenhouses. Or so he said. The only greenhouse he could show us was on his phone.☺

I did great sitting in on lectures and workshops, taking notes and even asking appropriate questions at the end. I learned about stocking a real food pantry from Lisa Kivirist, author of the cookbook, Farmstead Chef. I liked her so much that I went to her workshop on small farm business's for women and dragged my Mister along for the ride. I listened to Deborah Niemann, author of Homegrown and Handmade, discuss how to choose the right livestock for the homestead, and to Janice Bryant who talked about moving back to the farm. My Mister learned about home dairying and both of us enjoyed watching barefoot hippies build outdoor ovens out of clay. We visited with the lovely ladies at the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund and the Weston A. Price booths who supplied us with bumper stickers like, "Cholesterol is for Lovers," and "Don't Mess with Perfection~Drink Raw Milk!"

Which are now mounted on the back of my Expedition, right next to the Dutch Brother's Mafia (coffee) bumper sticker.

We saw Ed Begley, Jr. run past us after exiting the men's room.

This guy is fast. And this picture is NOT from my camera.

I couldn't get my camera out fast enough to take a picture of him there, but did have the pleasure of running into him later at a booth for composting toilets.

He was sitting on one.

I didn't have the heart to interrupt~the book he was reading looked pretty good.

We enjoyed listening to Will Allen of The Good Food Revolution. (He is featured in the documentary, "Fresh".)

Awesome guy. Big guy. And deserving of the standing ovation he received.

He made me cry.

And the lady next to us.

And maybe even my Mister.

But what surprised me the most was my visit with Joel Salatin of Polyface Farms.

I'm pretty sure Mr. Salatin had security guards ready to take me out if needed.
After spotting Mr. Salatin wandering around the booths, my Mister and I stalked approached him to say howdy. Except, saying howdy may have been a little too ambitious for me.

"Hello Mister Salatin. I just wanted to tell you how much I've enjoyed reading your books and can't wait to implement some of those same ideas on our farm," said my Mister.

"Well, thank you. That is very nice to hear," said Mr. Salatin, while shaking my Mister's hand.

 "We're working on cross-fencing our field so that we can have the chicken tractor follow the cows, blah, blah, blah...." (my Mister)

"That is biologically, fundamentally, ecologically, unadulterated blah, blah, blah...." (Joel)

While my Mister and his new buddy, Joel, shot the breeze, I just stood there. Grinning. Laughing that stupid, uncomfortable machine-gun laugh that I get when star-struck, "Uh-uh-huh-huh-uh." And while I stood there, Mr. Salatin, who apparently didn't remember me from our little encounter last year, kept throwing worried glances my way. I'm sure he wanted to know if I had taken my meds before coming to the fair, but was much too kind to ask. During this little visit, I didn't hear much except the beating of my own heart. Since the room was spinning, my vision was a little blurred. And because my armpits and hands were sweating rivers of joy, I kept my hands firmly stuffed into the back pockets of my blue jeans while coming up with brilliant things to say like, "I like eggs. A lot."

Thankfully, I couldn't remember how to take words and make sentences, so my brilliance never left my mouth.

Guess I can be glad for small favors.

If I could go back to those 8 minutes, I would tell him what a remarkable speaker he is. I would thank him for inspiring so many of us with his words, tongue-in-cheek humor, faith, and wisdom. I would mention that it is not only adults he is inspiring, but 12 and 16 year old boys, who want to be farmers just like him. I would ask him questions about the types of grain he uses for his hogs and chickens, where he buys his electric netting, and what time of the year he has his animals bred. I would ask him how many hours it takes him to butcher his 400 broilers and compare notes on butchering weights. I would ask him how he manages to fit it all into one day and if he ever gets to take vacations with his wife.

And I would ask him about his hat.


Maybe I should practice some before next year's fair.☺


Candy C. said...

OMG Kim, how fun that ya'll got to attend the Fair!! I'm soooo jealous!! By the way, I would have been just as tongue-tied as you, if not worse, at meeting Joel Salatin, he is an inspiration to many, many people! :)

SweetLand Farm said...

Made me chuckle. I met Joel S at a conference and he's a delight to chat with. Hope next time you see him you can put some words together and chat with him;)

small farm girl said...

I'm soooo jealous!!!!!

Susan said...

Don't you hate that? Same thing happened to me in an impromptu encounter with James Taylor (who has been a heart-throb since teenage years). I still kick myself. But, Joel Salatin - well, I would have been right beside you giggling like an idiot.

Patty said...

You are beautifully funny! You've made my night. :) Maybe Joel will see this and find out how brilliant you really are!

Lisa {DoleValleyGirl} said...

Well, well! We almost went this year but just couldn't swing it. So glad you got to go and almost have a chat with my hero. :)

Mountain Home Quilts said...

LOL, Kim, you know I love you. Maybe next year I could come stay with my cousin who lives in Sumner and you and I could meet pre-fair and discuss all the questions we want to inundate Joel with. Then we could go to the fair together, stalk...I mean... nonchalantly bump into him and ask him all of our rehearsed questions. Because when you're around a hero such as that and your hands start to sweat and you can't remember your own last name let alone his, rehearsal is in desperate need.

Kim said...

Sounds like a perfect plan to me! And if we both stutter and sweat, my Mister can pick up the slack...he and Joel are old buddies now. ;)