Saturday, September 13, 2014

The Homestead and Gardening Expo

I am just going to be covering my thoughts and observations on the recent Homestead and Gardening Expo that was held in Oxford, AL and hosted by The Southern Preppers. I only attended on Saturday, so keep that in mind.

I would consider this a fairly small event. The Oxford Civic Center is not a very large venue, but it was almost filled to capacity. The gymnasium portion was covered quite well with vendors. Two classrooms were running continuously. There were classes on several homestead and preparedness topics. I was only able to attend two classes, but I would have really liked to attend almost all of the classes that were offered.

The Classes

The two classes I attended were Go for Green Living and the suturing class by Armageddon medicine. I really wanted to be in the herbal medicine class, but I was talking to someone and lost track of time. There were lots of classes and had I had more time I would have attended as many as I could.

Both of the instructors knew their topic, the only thing I would suggest for the Go for Green Living guy is please have an outline in the future. I still learned things from him, but I was told that the class was going to be about greenhouses. He did mention greenhouses, but that is all. The best tip I got from this guy was for blossom end rot. Whenever you see blossom end rot ,crush some Tums into your watering can and water the plants. Blossom end rot is caused by a lack of calcium. Great tip.

Armageddon Medicine hosted the suturing class. This was cool. I loved this class. I have taken a suturing class in the past, but this one was ran a lot better than the first. I really enjoyed adding this skill and am going to teach my entire family this skill as well. Will I ever use this skill? Don't know. Don't really care. I just like knowing that I know how to do this.

The Vendors

There were a good number of vendors. I am going to talk about the ones that I noticed most. Also I am giving my opinion only. Just because I do not think something is cost effective for me does not mean that it might not be good for you.

The Biggest Winners

Without any doubt there were a couple of big winners for me. 
White Harvest Seed Company. I love talking about seeds, gardens, and growing things. The folks with White Harvest were good down to earth people that I really enjoyed talking to. I found myself going to their booth just to hang out and talk. I am hoping to work with them in the future. Heirloom seeds are where the future of sustainability lives. Guys, if you read this I am very happy to have met you.

The Aquaponics guy. I really enjoyed looking at the aquaponics set up that they had at the event. Very informative presentation. This is something that I have thought about doing, but I am not real sure how I would add this to my homestead. You may be able to add this system more easily to your home.

The Southern Herbalist.  I had actually heard of Mr. Patton from several people. If you have followed my blog for any period of time you will know that foraging and herbal remedies are very high on my want to learn more about list. I consider myself an advanced beginner at a minimum. This guy though is a master. He had a tincture of American Pokeweed. I loved talking to him about all of the different tinctures and extracts that he had for sale. I am hoping to learn a lot from this man. Below is my video on American Pokeweed.

The Vendor That I had the Most Questions For

Without any doubt the vendor that I had the most questions for was the company that was selling the home freeze dry system. There is no doubt that freeze dried food tastes better than dehydrated food. The company is Harvest Right. The equipment is very impressive. I really like the idea, but with an entry price of $3900.00 the big question is, would it be cost effective for a family?  The answer is; it depends.

If you have lots of fruit or even a lot of leftovers, maybe. I would have dearly loved to have been the lucky person who won a freeze dryer. I can easily see an extended family or a close nit community taking advantage of this technology. 

There are lots of benefits of freeze drying, a 25+ year shelf life of your food is a big plus. The nutritional benefits are also a big plus. 

The unit plugs into a 110 outlet and it takes about a day to a day and a half to freeze dry the food (depending on what you have in there). This is an item that I am looking at in the long term. Is it right for me right now, no, but it could be in the future. I have included lots of pictures below.

The Biggest "You Have Got To Be Kidding Me"

Okay. This one is my opinion only. The item I am going to cover next is without a doubt the coolest product that was at the event, but it was in my opinion also the biggest overkill. The item I am talking about is the Bug-Out Survival Trailer.

I love the basic idea behind this trailer, what I do not like is the $19,000 price tag. This is a bug out camper on acid and is designed for the people who are worried about everything. Now first I am going to tell you everything I like about this trailer and there is a lot.

I love the energy system. This trailer was designed with self -sufficiency in mind. It includes propane, solar, and wind power generating capabilities. Not only that, but also has the traditional ability to charge the batteries from you vehicle or being plugged in. This was very well thought out, my hat is off to you on this.

The kitchen was very intelligently designed. I could cook almost anything with this kitchen. The trailer comes with built in water storage and even a water still. The shower and bathing facilities are more than adequate. 

The trailer will easily sleep, say three, without having to add the outside tent. If the outside tent is added and turned to sleeping quarters, I would say it would sleep 5 maybe 6. The salesman said 8, but in order for it to sleep 8 several would have to be small children. The upper sleeping quarters looked comfortable, but here is one major issue. No air conditioning or heat. Air Conditioning is not a necessity, but sure is nice especially here in the South where we can see near 100 degree days with very high humidity, heat on the other hand is a necessity. I know you can bundle up and cuddle, but adding heat would be a really good idea.

The storage of the trailer was well thought out. It even includes a gun safe. According to their website this trailer fully supplied will provide 30 days of self reliance for 2 people. I can believe it. If it had heat, I wouldn't mind having one for a hunting cabin.

The Overkill

Alright, here is where I am going to deviate from many. The entire electrical system is enclosed in a Faraday cage. I just do not think an EMP is very high on my worries list. Also the side door has what they call a grab and go area. This area is where the first aid kit is kept, great idea. It is also where the gas masks are kept. If you need gas masks you have not gotten far enough out of the big cities. In our situation, if we were to want gas masks we would basically have to fill the door up with nothing but masks, because if our whole family were together we would need 7 masks. I could not put myself in a situation where I had to decide which member of my family would have to do without a mask. 

Conclusion on the Trailer

Great idea, still needs some adjustment and cost is out there for most people. I would rather have a nice travel trailer. I can do most of the same things with it.

Ending Thoughts

I loved the Expo and plan on going again next year. I may try to attend all three days. It was well worth my time and effort. I strongly encourage you to find a homestead or preparedness show near you. Go and learn all you can. 

Or maybe come join me next September at the Homestead and Garden Expo hosted by 

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