Mr. Enders & I had the immense privilege of spending this ENTIRE weekend in Puyallup attending the third Mother Earth News Fair to take place in the Greater Seattle area. Happy Birthday to me. I bought the tickets back in March for my birthday & by the time the event rolled around, I was reluctant to make the drive back & forth TWICE. If I could time travel, I’d smack myself in past because I seriously had more fun this past weekend than anytime in the immediate past I can recall. I met so many amazing people, learned about so many amazing products & got a little star struck when I ran into some folks who inspired my journey into self-sustainable living & keep me going strong when I feel like just eating a Big Mac whole & picking up the free stick of Lady’s Speedstick instead of whipping up a batch of my own…
So, what exactly is Mother Earth News Fair? Umm… In one word? AMAZING! In many more words, Mother Earth News is a publication. You can guess by the name (& my interest in it) that it has to do with all things Earth-lovin’… Bees, farming equipment, soap making, solar panels, goats ya know — the usual. They got this crazy little idea to hold a fair out in Pennsylvania. Things worked out so well, a West Coast fair was started & Washington is so fortunate to be allowed to host the event. This year, they’ve grown to include a Kansas fair sight as well. According to the magazine’s editor, Puyallup saw some 6,00-8,000 visitors…. PER DAY this year. That’s a whole lotta Earth love!
Without further ado… take a little walk with us through our first day at the fair & join me tomorrow as I explorer the second day (which includes meeting the brilliant, Joel Salatin & answer the question, “Did Dani manage to hold her cookies during the live chicken processing demo?”)…
First up, we started our day with a little canning knowledge. I fully plan on taking my first trip into boiling water canning this summer once Biringer Farms announced the strawberries are getting out of control & start letting in the U-Pickers. Sherri Brooks Vinton has written some brilliant books on the subject & brought preservation down to its base elements: What do you have time to do & what is the best method for what you got on hand? You can pick up her books: here & here.
We decided to skip the next hour worth of workshops (though I did swing by the bookstore to catch a glimpse of Bob Moore, founder of Bob’s RedMill products!) I kind of wanted to check out this “What Happened to Our Health?” presentation but something was a wee bit more important… LUNCH!
On our venture to finding some grub (& boy, let me tell you! Those Mother Earth News folks did not spare any detail! They made sure every avenue was covered: local beef, organic French fries, gluten free crepes, gyros, organic ice cream! They had it all & I attempted to eat it all!), I saw the ginormous Botanical Interest banner. I got all giddy & excited because I had already pre-planned stopping by their booth to pick up some seeds for the season but what I didn’t expect was who I was going to run into….
I literally stood in the aisle way with people pushing past me for like 10 minutes (fine… 2!) with my mouth just hung open. I’m surprised I didn’t catch any flies. I went for seeds & ran into Mavis Butterfield of One Hundred Dollars a Month. Remember how I was talking about those people who inspire me & keep me going even when I want to take the easy way out & just live a NORMAL (see: wasteful, unsustainable, don’t-get-looks-from-strangers-for-digging-in-dumpsters) existence… Mavis is one of those people for me. She shows you can save money and eat real food, garden and raise chickens on limited space, bring back the lost art of bartering & cook from scratch.
That’s all fine & dandy, but WHY IS SHE DRESSED LIKE THAT? Operation Send in the Gnomes. Check it out. I know I have gnomes to send in (& hope to snag some more garage saling this summer before she hits the road to St. Judes headquarters in August) This fundraiser is even further proof how down to earth (despite uber goofy!) & kind-hearted she is. Super approachable & really eager to share her knowledge & meet her fans. I should know. I was shocked she could identify who little ole I was just based on my name. Out of all her fans, she KNEW who Danielle O. was. I also met her “Boyfriend Ryan” from Botanical Interest & scored free radishes seeds by reaffirming he is definitely in fact one gardening hottie!
After sharing some lunch & grabbing a couple scones, Mr. Enders & I split up. He went to check out “DIY Solar Panels” & I sat in “Adapting Food Production to Climate Change” which was actually way more fascinating than I originally thought it was going to be. Reuniting, we checked out some of the truly awesome exhibitors & the beautiful animals!
The electric cars were pretty legit. A couple Telsas, some converted VWs, but my DEFINITE favorite was the Ford F250. I usually love old farmin’ Chevys, but I do have to pay much due respect to this one. I think pretty soon we’ll see some post of Brian tinkering with the idea of converting my ideal truck into an electric truck. That’d be interesting to see all the blinkie lights & computer boards in a 1960s body.
One of the curses of being a woman: Everything fluffy & cute. I want to smuggle it out in my coat. The cutestness overload gets worse….
Alright, the photo explosion is over for Day 1. Afterall the oogling of the animals, we decided to cut out early because we KNEW the next day was going to be even more intense & needed some time to digest everything we had experienced & everything we were going to encounter the next day.
Oh wait. SWAG!
I was *SUPER* excited to see Happy Family brands passing out free pouches. The Spawns *LOVE* those things. (Personally, I hate how wasteful the packaging is — but I do reuse the tops for toys. Seriously, why buy your kids toys? They could make anything into a toy with enough imagination). Those are also my beautiful Bontanical Interest seed packets I bought: spinach, microgreens for winter under the grow lights, tomatos, chard (my current obsession) & romaine because I’ve been eating my weight in salads lately. $1 for seeds or $3.29 a head at the store…. Do the math 😉 Also, shout outs to Theo Chocolates from Seattle! If everyone spent that kind of cash on (good quality!) chocolate, we wouldn’t eat so much of it. Totally recommend any & everything on their menu! Can’t wait for winter to indulge in some of the Chipotle Drinking Chocolate.
Disclaimer: I was not paid for any of these opinions. They’re my own. I don’t do cue cards. I tried the products. I liked the products, so I give it the Save Just Three thumbs up for being tasty & more green than some of the products on grocery store shelves. I watched the presenters & liked what they had to say & think it’s a good fit for anyone who is into sustainable living who want more information from more professional people than myself. I’m a peddler of knowledge & I like sharing that knowledge & I didn’t make a penny in writing or sharing this knowledge. None of these are affiliate links. Just regular old links to the products or products website where you can learn more if you are interested.
Make sure to come back tomorrow to see how Day 2 went!!
Want to green up your lifestyle but don’t really know where to start? Overwhelmed by all the choices to the point you forget the simplest steps can lead to a huge impact? Veteran eco-ally looking for a few tips or discounts on your favorite sustainable products?
One of my favorite new sites since starting our voyage into sustainability has become Recyclebank.com.
1. Sign up here
2. Complete pledges to earn points. For example, tasks can range from pledging to turn off your lights for Earth Hour to learning about the process to recycle aluminum & vowing to recycle your cans (Did you know recycling just ONE can saves enough energy to power a TV for 3 hours! — I learned that from Recyclebank!)
3. Earn points & cash in for rewards!
According to my reward summary, I’ve saved $30 to date by printing exclusive, high-value coupons from Recyclebank. I’ve gotten free cans of Bumble Bee tuna by pairing their $1 off 2 coupon (NLA) with Albertson’s Twice the Value deals & BOGO Happy Tot squeezy pouches (which I then turn around & send to TerraCycle to be made into new products!)
Right now I’m really excited for the $2 off ANY Alba Botanics product. I LOVE their lip balm & will be cashing in for one of these coupons to get it on a good sale. There’s also cash off Regal Cinema ticket coupons, $10 Applebee’s e-gift certificate & $1 off 2 Blue Diamond almonds (we go through A L O T for making almond meal).
Check it out & come back to let us know what your favorite reward is or something new you learned during one of the pledge infographs.