This weekend was the Midwest Self-Reliance Expo at the Val Air Ballroom and I made it out every day. Honestly, I feel a little a drained right now just because it was such a busy weekend.
I got off work at 6AM on Friday, fell asleep at about 8AM and made it to the expo at noon right in time for the concealed carry permit class. As a veteran, I can just submit my DD 214 in the state of Iowa to get it, but it’s good to know the laws so it was worth my time. I took the class several years ago and let my license lapse because I never actually carried. It was cool that they offered the class for free though.
I listened to Jackie Clay of Backwoods Home Magazine give a presentation about her background as well as a Q&A session. Unfortunately Backwoods Home Magazine sold out of most of their books, because I was meaning to pick a few up.
I met Jack Spirko of the Survival Podcast on Friday and talked to him for a while. I was surprised that he knew who I was after I introduced myself. He’s a very approachable and personable guy. I was talking with him about the Permaculture design course and said that I had difficulty explaining permaculture in a sentence or two when I tell people what I’m doing – this seemed to stump him. The official definition of permaculture makes sense if you know what permaculture is about, but it’s very hard to explain to the average person with no background in these things. Hopefully someone can come up with a good two sentence definition.
Spirko’s presentation on permaculture Saturday was very good and it seemed like he was effective on explaining what it is and what it can do to an audience that might not have known what it was. If you listen to the show religiously, there wasn’t much new material but still a great speech.
I took a suturing class from Dr. Bones and Nurse Amy (both very cool and approachable people) on a pig’s hoof. It was a little unnerving how human-like a pig’s hoof is when you’re up close. I now feel confident that I can give stitches and staple up wounds.
I sat in on a beekeeping class, which was from the perspective of what bees do and what’s possible with them rather than a direct how-to. I learned a few interesting things from this. I missed classes on cheesemaking, soap making, water purification and herbal remedies. A local rancher that I buy meat from also gave a presentation on nutrient-dense foods and I missed that unfortunately.
There were about 15-20 vendors. I only picked up a couple of things, nothing too exciting.
I did meet some new people in the area and reconnect with some other like-minded folks, so that was pretty cool. I hope it comes back around next year…