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10 August 2009

A Day at the Fair


Joined Larry at the Eighth Annual Renewable Energy & Sustainable Living Fair at the Ogle County Fairgrounds yesterday. First off, it was considerably cooler (at least 5ºF -- no exaggeration) and less humid than in Downtown Dixon, probably because it had rained there. Still, though, the covers of books we displayed had a good curl on them.

Because she exhibited just steps away, Larry was able to talk with WI-transplanted (via NYC!) Australian Suellen Thompson-Link about the sheep she keeps at Kinkoona ("Laughing") Farm. See what we spent our saved dollars to buy: one of her beautifully (and totally sustainably) made mattress toppers. She assured me that they are perfect for both winter and summer (having used one all year 'round in native Perth). Too tired to arrange it on the bed last night, but can't wait to do so.

Larry reports that this year, one repeat visitor to the fair and to our table, was able to present and share with others some of the projects he had going on, like a straw bale building, assisted by books he bought from us. We are happy that we have been able to help -- inform, educate, enlighten, inspire.

I was also able to give Larry a break so that he can buy some organic vegetables from John Barnhart of Oregon, IL. Can't find a website for you to link, but here's the program from the fair, so give him a call or drop him a line if you need to find his produce or want directions to his place (let him know how you found him). Larry said the big q this year is "Are you getting any red tomatoes yet?" I believe that's been the big q for a number of years now. I would say in my recent memory, I haven't seen regular sized tomatoes (that is, not grape or cherry tomatoes, but Big Boy and Rutgers and the like) turn red and ready to eat around here until the end of August, but Larry says my memory deceives me.

I walked around a bit and really enjoyed seeing some wonderful adult/children interactions, among visitors and exhibitors. I spoke with a duo from Western Springs, IL selling their own Bread from the Heart baked goods and honey from Blue Island (Chicago), IL. (I didn't get a chance to clarify the relationship, so I'm going with mother/daughter.) Mother is Class of '76 from Bed-Stuy HS in Brooklyn, NY, and daughter as a high school sophomore (and Honors English student) is hoping to go East to college. Of course, I made a pitch for my alma mater Vassar.

Dudley & Rachel Fowler and their family were displaying, among others, products to help with the Japanese beetle infestation. Daughter Gwen was helping out with the booth and was delighted to know that Books on First sells more than just books on renewable energy and sustainable living. I wished they had spoken with Larry on Saturday. As they had stayed overnight in Dixon and we're open until 9pm, it would have been great for them to visit the store with all that we have to offer for children and to hear those progressive acoustic guitar sounds of Steve Schad.

Having talked about this outing, I have to put in a word about our next big fieldtrip: Nachusa Grasslands 20th Annual Autumn on the Prairie which is always on the 3rd Saturday of September, being this year on 19 Sep. Look for Larry and Books on First there in between enjoying other great things at a beautiful place.

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