Spinning, Knitting, Crocheting, Organic Gardening, Living off-grid, and chasing sheep - because- I'm, like, NOT SANE!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Meet the heretic....

heretic - anyone who does not conform to an established attitude, doctrine, or principle

Everyone likes to take a beautiful, breezy summer day and go to a fair or, even better, fiber show to fondle, smell, and generally embarrass themselves on other people's fiber. Because I am a sort of voyeur and because I am bored of watching myself do that all the time - I am a vendor. Sometimes, I hear people talking at shows and, because I am also rude and nosy, I listen. Prices are often a topic of debate. Ever wonder why this stuff is often so much more expensive than if you bought it online? For some, I guess the issue of gouging is present but, for most, it is because of the insane crap that goes into the show. Yesterday, I received a packet for one of my summer shows. The literature clearly states that insurance is a must. Now, I am part of a cooperative insurance group for any shows I take live animals to so, naturally, I assume this is what they are requiring. Clearly, I am an ass. No, now I am to take a policy that will cost me about 1000-1200 dollars a year in case someone falls in my booth or is sickened by my yarn and decides to sue me. When you add this to the fact that booths at fairs, themselves, are NOT CHEAP, there comes, with each show, about a 500.00 or more investment just to pop your table up and throw yarn on it. Do you know how much yarn and how high you have to price it to break even? Am I the only one who thinks this kinda stinks?

Fortunately, my other policy will cover me for this weekend's show but then I have to make some tough decisions. The timing is poor as by the end of next week hubster will officially be without a job and we were toying with the idea of trying to make a go of the farm.

The clincher - If I were a NORMAL person, I could just tack about 300.00 onto my home owner's policy and be done with it. Not that 300.00 is a small amount. Need I emphasize that we are a small family farm not even rich enough to own a tractor so we do our work by hand? The problem here is so many folds I lost count. Don't be shocked when I tell you this but - there is no home owner's policy! Not for lack of trying. It's just that insurance companies aren't looking to insure off-grid homesteads that heat with solely wood stoves and are self-sufficient. Sure, we could put in some 3-4,000.00 'standby' furnace to satiate them, run electric lines back here (another 20,000) and have the town install a fire hydrant at the end of the driveway (didn't even get them to give me a quote for that, they just laughed) and THEN they would only charge us a couple of thousand dollars a year to insure our cooky farm. One needn't think long to figure out we'd be on the losing end of that venture....

So, the very nice coordinator that I spoke with yesterday said something I hear alot, "we're such a sue-happy society, that's why we're making this insurance rule" that got me thinking. It's not just that we're sue happy. We are also happy to live in fear. We're so happy, then, to have our fears comforted, that we don't notice the banks, insurance companies, and medical providers seem to have us on a continual string of gut-wrenching pay-days that we are bound by contracts and need for homes, employment, medical care to adhere to. But, what about those of us that CAN'T or WON'T adhere? And, what will all these farmer's markets, fiber shows, and fairs look like if all the people who vend there are adhering? I've already priced my stuff, labeled it and am ready to go. But, in the future, I will have to raise my prices for 'show sales' to account for this awesome expense. Would you go to a fair and pay 22.00 for a skein of yarn you could buy on my website for 16.00? I feel like a slimeball doing that. Okay, okay, there is also a bit of pride at issue here, too. I, for one, am kinda tired of people laughing when I explain the reasons we live the way we do. I try not to complain about our lifestyle (though I have failed at this attempt, here, many times) because it was our choice. But, we have definitely sacrificed MUCH in the way of comfort to have a home that we can raise animals on, grow healthy food, and have a parent at home with the things. I don't know alot of people who have to start preparing their daily bathing two hours beforehand to make sure the water is hot. I don't talk alot about the days when the body says 'sleep' but there is wood to be brought in so that the sleep is not eternal and frozen for us all. It was our choice and we would make it over and over again if we could. BUT - this is a day when I am experiencing that separation from the mainstream in a real mean way. There aren't many places left for us freaks to melt into the rest of the world - save my beloved bloggers.

Now I'm off to remove my knitted surprise from the blocking board and be a general menace to society for the rest of the day.