I AM SO FLIPPING BUSY I CAN HARDLY BELIEVE IT! Certainly it’s spring time.
We’ve just returned from a week long trip down the coast with the whole family. We felt as though we were vacationing in luxury, as we rented a car and stayed in motels the entire trip. Some folks wouldn’t consider cramming a family of four, suitcases, and the contents to set up an educational booth into a VW Jetta luxurious, nor would they consider the lowly EconoLodge a posh resort but since our family trips are normally in a 1980 VW Camper Van we thought it was pretty durn fancy. Since this was a family trip, we did all manner of dorky tourist-y things-saw the Sea Lion Caves, visited the Trees of Mystery and rode the Skytrain gondola 600 feet in the air and above the Redwood forest canopy, drove through two redwood trees, stopped by the Real Goods Store and Educational Center in Hopland, we went to the Winchester Mansion in San Jose, rode cable and trolley cars all over San Francisco as we checked out Fisherman’s Wharf, Alcatraz, and tons of Painted Ladies, we drove over the Golden Gate Bridge, tabled at the Bay Area Anarchist Book Fair. But my very very favorite thing that we did happened in the Redwoods. No, it wasn’t seeing a topless young woman being photographed by her boyfriend on the side of the road as we drove past…although that was certainly a highlight. The very best thing that happened was that my whole family stood inside of a redwood tree. We stopped to take a walk in the woods and found a large crack on a giant tree. We all squeezed through the crack and found ourselves inside a round “room” approximately 15 feet in diameter. It was amazing. We didn’t want to leave. Ever.
Normally, we make an adult road trip down to San Francisco to attend the Bay Area Anarchist Book Fair. We set up small booth and give away about 650 packages of seeds, mostly heirlooms and open pollinated varieties. We offer the seeds for free but do accept donations. Sometimes we give away buttons, zines, etc…and sometimes we also sell items such as books and other propaganda as well as my yarn. This is a farm endeavor which we consider to be sort of an educational social outreach project. Our table is kind of unique because pretty much everyone else is selling things, mostly books as you’d imagine. There are two other rooms with speakers or panel discussions happening, and it’s probably not what you’re imagining. Alright, it’s true that pretty much everyone is decked out in black but politically I think that the average person would be surprised at how much they’d connect with the ethics and ideals presented at the fair. Anyway, we are oddballs because we’re basically there to talk to folks about living the lifestyle many of them are ideologically drawn to. We chat about our farm, our lives, how we spend our days, pass out seed packets and buttons. I brought some yarn this year and got to meet lots of amazing knitters which is always great for me.
But we had a different fair experience this year, aside from the whole family vs adult road trip scene. We gave away 650 packages of seed on Saturday and ran out, packaged up the reserves and were out of those by 3pm on Sunday. Normally we take in about $200 in donations which essentially covers the cost of our table at the event. This time, we gave away 200 more packages than usual and our donations for the weekend were roughly $50. Although this was a bit disappointing from a financial perspective, we considered it a great success because it basically says that this year, more people are hungry and don’t want to rely on the industrial food system and that they have less money. Since we’re coming all that way to promote independence from agribusiness, self-sufficiency, and greater access to financial independence…..we think it was a victory.
I had two highlights at the book fair as a yarnarchist. One of the first visitors to my yarn display asked me “What makes this yarn radical?” which was possibly the coolest question ever and one I’ve been waiting for. I am running out of time at the moment, so I’ll have to share my answer next time around.
The second highlight was a return customer. I remembered her from last year, and after she mentioned that she’d bought a skein from me I asked my usual question “What did you make from the yarn?” She sort of looked a bit embarrassed or shy and said that she didn’t really make anything but she did something sort of macabre with it. As it turns out, her crochet artist grandmother had died. This woman, my customer, had taken a crochet hook and “the nicest skein she owned” (my yarn!!!) and put them in her grandmother’s casket during the funeral services. I am so honored, I can hardly think of it without getting all teary.
Here are some photos of the trip, and yarn, and everything!