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Common Ground Country Fair

by Tara

For the past few years, Tyler and I have tried to coordinate a visit to the annual Common Ground Country Fair with our friends, Mike and Eliza. Last year at this time, I was mourning the loss of my beloved grandmother, and the year before that, we were too busy working on our homestead to make the trip. This year, the stars aligned and it worked out for us to go.

To be honest, I wasn't sure how we'd like it—both Tyler and I have a wicked contrarian streak and a dislike of crowds. Our enjoyment for a particular activity or event is often inversely proportional to how many other people are packed in the same space. We needn't have worried—despite the crowds, we had a wonderful time. The Common Ground Country Fair really is a homesteader's paradise.

There were booths dedicated to timber framing, woodworking, blacksmithing, organic farming, knitting, spinning, backcountry skills, basketry, draft animals and so much more! We had a great time wandering through the stalls, chatting with craftspeople, and taking classes like Top Bar Beekeeping 101, Small-Scale Grain Farming, and Mushroom Cultivation.

Common Ground Country Fair Ox Demo Sign Common Ground Country Fair Basket Maker Common Ground Country Fair Basket Maker Common Ground Country Fair Blacksmith Steam Bending Poles at Common Ground Country Fair Grinding Acorns at Common Ground Country Fair Taproot Magazine Sign

My favorite parts of the fair were getting to try a pole lathe, and taking a spatula-carving class. For quite some time now, I've had a bone-deep desire to pursue woodworking with hand tools. I dream of making wooden bowls, spoons, and other kitchen items. Dipping my toes into the practice galvanized my resolve to pursue the art!

Common Ground Country Fair Wood Worker Carving with Pole Lathe Common Ground Country Fair Wood Worker Carving with Pole Lathe

Another highlight was getting to see so much gorgeous wool and yarn. There were whole tents dedicated to spinning, knitting, and felting! Over in the fiber area, I splurged on three skeins of hand-dyed, handspun yarn in a glorious red color. I almost bought a needle-felting kit so I could try to make something as beautiful as the tree our friend made us, but then decided that I really didn't need to take up another hobby right now.

Sheep at Common Ground Country Fair Goat at Common Ground Country Fair

Besides spending time at the fair, we relaxed at a fabulous AirBnb house that Mike and Eliza rented. Together with their daughter, Hattie Lou, and Eliza's parents, we spent both evenings in wonderful company. Somehow, we left without a single picture of Eliza (!) or her beautiful shop, Morris + Essex. We did however, capture Mike and Hattie Lou:

Hattie Lou & Mike Hattie Lou & Mike Hattie Lou Sleeping

To Mike, Eliza, and Miss Hattie Lou, thank you so much for inviting us! We love you guys!

Wooded Walk to Common Ground Country Fair Marigold