Usually I am a stay close to home person, but the past two Mondays were spent in Minot, a larger town about 1-1/2 hours away. I went both times with a friend to attend a Healthy Lifestyle meeting.
The first Monday we decided to check the thrift stores for bargains. I think we checked out four thrift stores as well as a consignment store. I was very surprised at how difficult it was to find a winter jacket that Jim could use for every day work. Minot has a military air base, and usually there are military style parkas at very cheap prices -- but not this year. We finally found a bright orange parka style hunting jacket at the Salvation Army, and that was the last thrift store we visited. I talked with the lady that rang up my purchases, and she said winter gear flies out of the store as quickly as it is placed on the racks. I guess either people are choosing to hang on to their clothing, or more people are shopping at thrift stores these days. I was very thankful for the purchases I managed to find.
Then last Monday night we did a bit of shopping first with Jonathan, who was along this time. Of course that meant checking out the sporting goods store. I hadn't been into a mall for ages, and was even less impressed than I have been in the past. I was amazed at all the impulse items to purchase that were lining the aisles. A lot of those items will be in the thrift stores in the near future.
I was very thankful we attended the Healthy Lifestyles meeting. We were able to share a table with our friend who was selling health books and also a wonderful healing salve she makes. Jonathan offered brochures on his chickens, and I sold raspberry jam sweetened with honey, homemade bagels, dried minced onions, and also decided to bring along some sugar sweetened raspberry jam in case there were people needing last minute Christmas gifts.
There was a homeschooling family we had not met before that also attended for the first time, and told us they are interested in some land that is for sale only 15 miles from our farmstead. They are interested in doing much of what we are doing! We'll have to wait and see if events fall into place for them.
We then met another couple we were excited about. The Licks were also offering information on purchasing meat, eggs and CSA shares from their farm. They live a couple of hours away from us, so we would not be in competition with each other's products. It was so enjoyable to talk the same language with someone else, discussing everything from rendering lard to butchering chickens to grass fed beef to ... lots of other topics. The event was over by 9:30, but we didn't get out of the building until after 11:00. Licks had just returned from the Acres USA conference held in Minneapolis. I would have liked to have grilled them about what they had learned, but we just ran out of time. I didn't know it then, but when Sally Fallon of Nourishing Traditions and the Weston Price Foundation came to Minot for a conference back in the winter of 2008 it was the Lick's daughter that I had contacted for information. Hopefully we will run into them again in the near future.
There was one humorous thing that happened. This meeting was held for people interested in healthy eating; I only sold three jars of the jam made with honey, but sold all ten jars of the sugar sweetened raspberry jam!