This past week and weekend I attended the Florida Earthskills Gathering. I had an awesome time learning, hanging out with friends, meeting new people, dancing, singing, walking, camping, etc. There are not enough words to describe how much I like going to these gatherings, they always make me feel like I am at home among people that share similar interests and lifestyles.
This time I learned a variety of hand skills such as Naalbinding. It is an ancient technique for making socks, mittens, etc that predates crochet and knitting. It originated in Scandinavia. The beginning can be a bit confusing, but I found it pretty easy to catch on. I also took a class on finger weaving, which for some reason was harder for me to catch on but I do want to try it again at some point.
I also learned to make a rug with cloth and a toothbrush needle. This is really easy and quick to make. It does use a lot of cloth but I have enough old clothes/fabric, I think, that I can use. I am also going to make one with the plastic bags I have to take with me to future classes (to keep my butt dry).
I went on two herb walks and they were both great and entertaining. The first walk was with Green Dean , which, if you live in Florida, I would highly recommend you check him out. He does a lot of walks throughout the state. On the last day, I went on a walk with Doug Elliott. It was highly informative and entertaining; not only did he teach us about a variety of plants but he also sang songs and told stories. I also highly recommend taking his classes and checking out his books. Plus, I saw my first bald eagle so that was awesome!
I also took a class on fermented foods. Even though I have been fermenting a variety of foods and learning as I go, I wanted to take an actual class with someone. So, I took Marissa Percoco’s class and it was awesome! One of her mentors is Sandor Katz. We got to try 19 different fermented foods, including cocoa nibs and bamboo. The class gave me tons of ideas on what to make next, the sky really is the limit. So, I am looking forward to many new fermented creations. I highly recommend taking her class if you can.
Some other cool things that happened at this gathering:
- I got a massage
- I sold a bunch of my stuff in the Ancestor tent
- I met new people and got to hang out with friends I only see at the gatherings
- I got to know the First Aid folks quite well. I had hurt my finger prior to the gathering and they took great care of it and me. One of the herbalists there was the Herbalista, which if you live in Atlanta I would check out.
- I probably walked several miles a day from and to camp, up and down hill
- Stewart and I took a Contra Dance class on the last night and it was so much fun! I don’t think I have ever been so dizzy! It was lead by Michael Ismerio and a local band played.
- I got to spend 5 whole days outside which was awesome and very much needed
I am looking forward to the next gathering.