For the past several weeks, I have been encouraging my readers to consider everything thoroughly before jumping into this self-sufficiency lifestyle. This week, one reader wrote to me and said “stop all the over thinking and get to the nuts and bolts of it already”.
That made me laugh right out loud. I’ve been called an “over thinker” more than once in my lifetime, but I wanted make to sure my readers could avoid a lot of the situations I have found myself in, if at all possible, when starting this lifestyle. But I will assume that since you’re taking the time to continue to read my articles that you might be interested in this lifestyle and I will try to get down to the “nuts-and-bolts” of it more over the next several articles.
This past weekend Ranae and I traveled to attend the “Mother Earth News Fair” in Belton, Texas. Each year, the Mother Earth News magazine puts on six fairs dealing primarily with the sustainable lifestyle. The magazine is more than a little bit too liberal for my liking, but they are a long time player in the self-sufficiency lifestyle so we thought it would be fun to attend and see if we could learn anything. Ahhh… who am I kidding? I went to see if I could connect with any vendors and save some money on the things I want. 🙂 Frugality. Frugality. Frugality.
Much to my surprise, I was disappointed by this fair for a couple reasons.
The price of admission was just crazy, compared to other similar fairs we have been to, at $25 per person just for the privilege of walking around to meet vendors and listening to a few speakers. Overall, this event was not worth 10% of that fee to me. I would have been okay with the higher than normal admission fee had there been anything there for me to learn. I walked away upset and discouraged.
Not only was the fair entry fee outrageous, but most vendors’ pricing was out of this world high on their items too. There were some bargains I am sure, but the overall vendor value was horrible in my not so humble opinion.
Case in point, one man was selling a plastic window material that I was interested in for our greenhouse project. His price was almost double what the same product costs at the big orange do-it-yourself center. I know… I had investigated that plastic several times.
Another vendor was selling trees. These types of trees are pretty awesome. They grow about 12 to 14 feet per year and they are, no doubt, wonderful for feeding the leaves to chickens, etc, but at $30 for a small starter tree, I think I will just go online and order some seeds for $1.99 per package.
I guess the point in sharing this weekend’s experience with you (as negative as it was) is that I don’t believe the right solution is to simply throw money at something. All the vendors at the fair were self-proclaimed experts in their offerings and that may be worth some amount of money, but $30 for a twig, I mean… starter tree, is beyond logic for me.
Think everything through, but please be aware that highly organized vendor fairs like Mother Earth News Fair may not be the best place to learn anything about this lifestyle nor the place to spend your money.
Until next week…
Vern Six is a freelance computer programmer and entrepreneur. He is a United States Army certified survival expert and former Christian missionary. Vern has been a hobby blogger for nearly five years and now has his “According to Vern” blog published in numerous newspapers around the world. You can learn more about Vern by visiting his website at http://AccordingToVern.com