So I went to Bellingham, Washington this past weekend for the Washington Tilth Producers annual conference. I also spent a couple days in and around Bellingham, checking out the area because I had never been there. My friend Marina says she really likes the city and especially likes the Fairhaven area, so I spent some time there on her recommendation.
I was a horrible photographer this weekend, though. I didn’t take my camera to the conference at all. I wasn’t really sure what I’d do with it there. I went for a walk Monday in Bellingham and snapped a few shots along the way, but that was it. I didn’t get photos of either of my couchsurfing hosts or any of Fairhaven! Silly me. I’m not sure why. I just didn’t think about it … maybe it’s because I think I will go there again and spend more time there.
First domestic couchsurfin’
I couchsurfed the whole time I was in Bellingham. My first host, Jessica, wasn’t even there for two of the three nights I crashed at her place. So awesome! She just left me the key and I slept there after the conference. She got home on Sunday night and cooked me a really awesome pasta dish with some of the produce out of her own garden! Her gypsy peppers were better and redder than the ones we grew at Plum Forest!!! Then I surfed with Jim and Rick in Fairhaven on Monday night. Man I wish I had taken some pictures! Jim and Rick have a great house in a great location with an amazing garden! I also met their friend Mike, who was great company and my tour guide around Fairhaven. Both experiences were absolutely great. Just such amazing people couchsurfing hosts are!
Farming, farming, farming
The conference was pretty amazing. So much information. Too much information, really, as conferences usually are. It was awesome to be around so many like-minded people. Everyone I met was really easy to talk to – we all had so much in common!
Over the course of the conference, there were five workshop sessions. Each session had five different topics to choose from. It was so hard to choose! I was really happy with all my decisions except one. Here’s what I did:
- Nutrient Management and Soil Ecology
- Local Marketing: Two Multifaceted and Complimentary Business Strategies
- Greenhouse Propagation and Season Extension
- Pest Management of Slugs and Cabbage Maggots
- Efficient and Appropriate Use of Farm Equipment
The last one, #5 was completely mis-titled. The description says the presenter would “concentrate on those pieces that our operation uses the most and which are of greatest benefit to us.” Which he certainly did, but his presentation had absolutely nothing to do with the title of “Efficient and Appropriate Use of Farm Equipment.” It should have been titled: “What equipment Mike uses on his 35 acre farm and what he thinks of it.” To me it was especially inappropriate because one of the first things he told us is that they use a very traditional tillage method on their farm – meaning they run their tractors over the land many, many times plowing, discing, fertilizing, rotovating, cultivating, etc. etc. etc. when every piece of sustainable agriculture knowledge I’ve heard and read is for the most part against such tillage practices. Anyhow … it simply didn’t have one iota to do with what I’ve done or will do with farming.
That little rant aside, the conference was just awesome. I met so many folks, talked about so many different farms. Ate some good food, tried some great wine and got to meet people I’d heard of and conversed with over email, but had never met before. So great! I especially remember Autumn, whom I got to know through several conversations about farming and her farm in Oregon. She bought one of the herb pots I’d been eyeing on our dinner tables. I didn’t get out of my last session in time to buy one before they sold out! Thanks Autumn! You rock! These herb pots were on some tables through out the conference. They were 4 different kinds of herbs – in my case sage, rosemary, mint and thyme – in a terra cotta 6″ pot. After the conference was over, rather than throwing them out, they sold all the pots and leftover food that was unused.
Officially in business
The other big thing I did in the last couple weeks – I’m officially a sole proprietor doing business as Wilson’s DesignWorks! I took the plunge after I errantly forgot to ask a client to make the check payable to “Steve Wilson” and got a check made out to Wilson’s DesignWorks. That prompted me to take the step to make what looks and acts like a business into a business. I just hope it’s not going to cause me any heartburn … tax or headache-wise!!!
I’m moving to Sun Island Farm this weekend to start work with them November 17. I’m really looking forward to it! I’ve got some heavy-duty Carhartt rain work wear now and am ready for the elements like I have never been.
I just wish I could get used to this time change!!! It is so darn dark at 4 pm! I’m tired and ready for bed by 8 pm!