Monday, April 25, 2011

Upcoming Local Living Events

Gotta Love Double Daffodils

Well, we've kicked Spring into high gear here in Central Maryland... flowers and allergies are in full bloom. I took a wander down to my next door neighbor's property a few days ago to find a massive display of tulips. They had hand planted 1000 tulips last Fall. Wow, now that's a lot of work in heavy clay forest soil. I planted a hundred daffodil bulbs and some much smaller number of tulips about twelve years ago now on the property. It was crazy tough getting a hole deep enough. I went from using the little bulb planter through a variety of shovels trying to excavate and eight inch hole. I recall the frustration enough that I haven't tried to plant spring bulbs again, in spite of the fact that most of the daffodils have survived and provide a gorgeous array of color in March.

Now, like many folks, I'm trying to get thing done in the garden before it gets too hot. I did not empty my rain barrels this past Winter, having thought about it and consulted a number of others on their opinions. Mistake. My two 60-gallon barrels split and are now big chunks of plastic. :( Since we are on a well, collecting the rain before last Summer's drought was critical. I was able to water the plants enough to keep them going, resorting to using our house water only at the end of the Summer. So, one major project is the rain barrels. Another is my veggie garden bed. That's a subject into itself, which I'll post pictures of later.

Along with all the yard work that comes with Spring, there are lots of fairs and festivals, many celebrating local and more conscious living. I've listed the three here that we will be attending in the next month. If you know of others in the region along this theme, please add them in the comments.

Dicentra Cucullaria - Dutchman's Cap - love it !

Next weekend, April 30th and May 1st, is the South Mountain Creamery Spring Festival. This Maryland creamery delivers dairy products across the region, along with an array of other groceries, many from local producers. Their family festival is designed to learn about the creamery, tour the farm, and for kids to get to do activities like making butter and feeding calves. The festival runs 10-5 on Saturday and 11-5 on Sunday. The farm is located at 8305 Bolivar Road in Middletown, MD.

Then, the following weekend, May 7-8, is the Maryland Sheep and Wool festival at Howard County Fair Grounds. This will be our first year attending, but the number of people who have told me what a great time this is for the whole family is striking. It's all about regional sheep herders, complete with livestock demonstrations and workshops. And it's also about the wool, completely with spinning and yarn. There are crafts for the kids and lots of vendors. I've been warned that Saturday during the peak of the day can be insane because the road isn't designed for that heavy level of traffic. We're going Sunday. Check it out, meet your farmers. There are tons of activities and you can find a schedule online.

Lastly, but far from least, is the Go Local Fair coming May 21st at the Carroll County Ag Center in Westminster. This is a free day long festival about local and sustainable living put on by a wonderful set of people committed to educating the public and providing the resources necessary for them to make great decisions about their food, their home,  and the environment. There are workshops and lectures through the day, as well as vendors. This year, Ed Bruske, the Slow Cook, will be doing a kids culinary workshop. Ed is a school food activist, former Washington Post journalist, and kid's culinary instructor from D.C.  He writes a fabulous blog both about the school food movement and his own adventures in local living at Last year I took two great sessions, one on native Maryland plants and another on sustainable agriculture. The Master Gardener program, I believe, will be selling rain barrels and composters. Please do check it out, rain or shine. A tremendous amount of work goes into the planning of this event, it's free, and it's designed to connect people to information they need.

Kwanzai Cherry in full bloom

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