And we're back! This weekend has been jam packed with activities. I took a day off work, so Jon and I could take in all of the 2011 Health Farms and Rural Advantage Conference. This was such a great conference! It was amazing when we walked in and looked around at all of the people that we have met. Networking when you are a small or beginning farm is so key. The wisdom and guidance of those who have started before you is priceless.
Abe Collins was one of the keynote speaker. He is founder of New Soil Matrix, Inc and New Soil Quantum, Inc. He was talking about carbon farming, which was a little bit over my head. Jon really enjoyed his talk. Chuck Hassebrook was another keynote speaker. He is the Executive director of Center for Rural Affairs. He gave a great speech about what three things need to happen in order to advance local and sustainable food systems. I wish I would have taken better notes on what both of these guys were saying.
We then split up to take in as many sessions as we could. One of the highlights for me was a talk by Merlin and Rita Friesan of Sunny Slope Farm. They were speaking about working on sustainability on their farm. We have had the chance to tour their farm and it was a great experience. They are completely off the grid, with wind and solar power for energy. They also have a windmill that pumps their water for them and are going to be installing a solar heating water system. It's great to talk to people who have already had a couple years experience with wind energy under their belts. If you ever get a chance to tour their farm take it!
Another interesting session was by Amy Jeanroy. She is an herbal gardener located her in Nebraska who also writes for about.com and has written "Canning and Preserving for Dummies". She was talking about the top 10 herbs that she used in farming. She used the herbs mostly for her animals, especially for her goats, but also for herself and family. I've never studied herbs before so the different tinctures and salves was a little over my head, but very fascinating. I've never thought of dandelion and plantain as something useful. Her blog is also linked to her about.com profile. Check it out!
I also can't forget to mention R.P. Smith. He was the entertainment during Friday nights dinner. He is a cowboy poet and fourth generation Nebraska rancher. Oh my goodness, he was funny! I was a little skeptical at first about a cowboy poet but his stories were so great.
Truth be told this was an exhausting weekend for me. I think I fell asleep as soon as my head hit my pillow on Friday night, glasses still on and everything. My brain hurt from all the great information that I was trying to jam in at one time. And my butt hurt too....I am not used to sitting still for that long!
And while we were away, a little something decided to show themselves...
Onions seedlings are up! And I just got some more of my seed orders, so I have another tray of onions I need to start.