This years' Skill Swap (presented by Crosshatch, and held at the Earthwork Farm in Lake City, MI) was a great success. I brought along my friends Jillian and Rachel, who had never been to the farm before, nor had they ever really been to any sort of formal skill swap... which is probably fairly common not to have experienced before. Actually, other than this one, I've never heard of something like this taking place.
I know this seems like fake news, but there were no actual skills being "swapped" at this event; you didn't need to bring anything to the table, except a willingness to learn. We had 16 different skills to choose from - everything from screenprinting basics and wooden spoon carving to bread-making and beekeeping. Very diverse. The concept is sort of like a home-ec class, and the idea is that you're not going to leave as an expert in anything, BUT, when you go home and try to apply things that you learned, you'll have a basic understanding of what's going on. Maybe you leave and try to bake a loaf of sourdough bread - you're probably going to screw the first one up, but at least you'll be able to (at least attempt to) troubleshoot why it didn't turn out right.
After a full day of learning about stuff that I didn't know I didn't know, I was HUNGRY! The weather was basically perfect and for whatever reason, a day in the sun seems to take a lot more energy out of you, even when you're not really doing much of anything! At 6p, the dinner bell rang and we were treated to quite the spread - eggplant, orzo, rice, salads, cheeses, breads, and on and on! Saying that Ben Cohen put together a top-shelf dinner doesn't do justice to the quality of that meal... the guy knows how to season food.
After dinner - it was time for the show. We started things out with the waltz hour. The dudes at crosshatch are known for their love of dancing in 3/4 time. Bob Bernard, our host at Earthwork Farm, led the his "Waltz Posse" on fiddle as the barn filled up with people learning to dance. After the Waltz Hour, we got full sets from Lansing's Gifts or Creatures, Eartwork's own Seth Bernard and the Toledo duo, HEAVY COLOR. What a day. What a night.