In a sense, the county fair is a celebration of the quite remarkable Gulley families, who we are proud to call our friends. Carol, Ed and their daughter Maggie have set up the most creative and beautiful stall decorations in Barn 2, (their cows are right behind it) and from what I could see, in all of the fair.
When I think of them, I think that they and their family embody the great spirit of farmers and farming, and of the idea of the county fair. I have great respect and admiration for both of them.
Their booth is festooned with milk cans, Ed's wooden flowers, floral decorations, old farm artifacts and links to Ed and Carol's popular and wonderful blog, the Bejosh Farm Journal. Ed and Carol are long-time dairy farmers, they work long and brutal hours and at night, work in their daily writing about their life and about farming.
At the fair, the family shows cows and has already won some ribbons.
Carol is joining my writing class this fall and Ed will be showing his folk art at the Bedlam Farm Open House in October. He has already sold three of his sculptures at the county fair, he has sold others at our Spring Open House, and he is working on another wind chime sculpture and other works for the Open House.
We are in awe of the Gulleys, they decided to speak up about the lives and challenges of farming in America, and also advance their own very creative spirits. Ed is selling his wooden flowers his turtles made out of old engine parts, his beautiful wind chimes and his inventive lawn sculptures.
Ed and Carol's reports from the fair on their blog are unique, a daily account of what family and farming has meant to them, and what the fair means from the inside.
I've talked to many people about the opportunities blogging presents, but no one has ever taken the idea and run with it like Ed and Carol. They never heard of a blog until a few months ago, now theirs has thousands of devoted followers. Blogs have the potential to give voice to the voiceless, and opportunity to the creative. I know, my blog is the centerpiece of my creative life.
A good friend, a doctor, expressed wonder the other day at how often I write on the blog, and i laughed and thought, how many patients does she see a day? It is my work, as farming is Ed's work.
The Gulleys's writing is authentic and heartfelt. It is often funny, sometimes poignant, sometimes informative. Ed's art is inventive and exciting. Carol's writing is filled with humor and love, and Ed's is a honest as the sunrise. We went into the Swine barn and saw one of Ed's eclectic sculptural turtles, turns out he is bartering the turtles for drawing from a farmer/artist who raises pigs.
The Gulleys' have become dear friends to Maria and me.
Ed was here when the bear was hit by a truck and euthanized in our pasture, he took the body away. He came to take Deb, our sheep's body away when she took ill and had to be put down. Our friendship began when I met Carol in our cardiac rehab class, she was on one treadmill, I was on another.
We all became friends, we have spent many rich hours at their kitchen table. Maria saw Ed's art one day and challenged him to see himself as an artist and take his work seriously. He didn't need any more encouragement than that, he began showing his work at his farm and at our Open Houses. He has a loyal following already.
The Gulleys are a remarkable family and a remarkable couple. I think the fair is, in many ways, a celebration of them, their family, their values and their good lives. They are happy, busy, and proud.