We just wrapped up the first annual Modern Homesteading Conference in beautiful North Idaho. It was an incredibly jam-packed four days of VIP dinners, workshops, speakers, and so much community connection and inspiration to last a year.
In today's Pioneering Today Podcast (episode #397), I'm recapping the conference and giving a peek at some of the behind-the-scenes events (and, dare I say, miracles) that took place.
If you missed the event this year, we already have the Kootenai Fairgrounds in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, booked for next year's event. Grab your tickets at Modern Homesteading Conference and join us on June 28-29, 2024.
In This Episode
- I'm sharing a few behind-the-scenes stories from the conference.
- I'm also sharing some of the miracles I witnessed for myself (including the aftermath of a microburst tornado).
- How I experienced one of the worst migraines of my life that I didn't think I'd make it through the opening ceremonies… and then what the Lord did on my behalf.
- The best little bakery and coffee shop in Hayden, Idaho, Terre Coffee & Bakery (if you're in the Coeur d'Alene area, it's a must-visit!).
- If you're a homesteader, how coming to a conference like this can help you find “your people” and community like you've never had before.
- This homesteading life can be isolating, especially in this modern world. Be sure to find connection and community at next year's event.
- What is A2 Milk and What Are the Benefits
- Modern Homesteading Conference website
- Azure Standard – The sponsor of today's podcast! Be sure to check out the White Pine granola that my family loves so much! If you're a first-time Azure customer, be sure to use coupon code “Melissa10” at checkout for 10% off your first order of $50 or more.
More Posts You May Enjoy
- Homesteading Myths and Tips for Success
- The Norris Farmstead: Our 40-Acre Homestead Farm-Stay
- The First Time Homesteader & Things I’d Do Differently
- What to do When Your Family Isn't on Board With Homesteading
- Homesteading + Making Money (How to do it All)
- Working Bees & How They’re Relevant Today
- Does Homesteading Really Save Money?
- Self-Sufficient Homesteading Tips for the Long Haul
- Urban Homesteading – Tips for Small Space Sufficiency
- 14 Things You Must Do for Your Best Homesteading Year
- Homesteading for Beginners – 9 Transition Tips from City Life
- Tips for Homesteading Off-Grid
- How to Prepare Your Homestead for Selling
Hey pioneers, welcome back to episode number 397 of the podcast. So if you haven't noticed, I missed a couple of weeks of doing the podcast. So one, I'm excited to be back here with you guys today. I always look forward to doing the podcast. But part of the reason that I have not been doing episodes, missed two weeks, of the podcast is because we just got back and had the Modern Homesteading Conference in Idaho.
And I want to share a couple of things, including a couple of, I don't really know any other way to explain them, but they definitely felt like miracles that happened at the conference. As well as some of the behind the scenes things that if you attended the conference, one, we are so happy that you were there. I got to meet so many of you in person. I got to hug a lot of your necks even though we were sweaty because it was hot out. And I probably cried a few tears with a few of you, which was also very special because they were happy tears.
Anyhow, so if you attended, there's probably some things that I'm going to be sharing with you today that you had no idea what was happening behind the scenes. So I thought it would be fun to just break down how the first conference went our very first year, a few lessons learned, and just some different things. And I have some overall life lessons that, even if you weren't at the conference, that type of thing I still think will be valuable for you to listen in. And we'll provide some insight hopefully for things that you may be going through in the moment or maybe going through in the future.
So first off, if you're like I have no idea what you are talking about, myself and Katie Millhorn, who was on the podcast with me a few episodes back talking about A2/A2 milk and what that means, and how A2/A2 is the answer for a lot of people who actually have trouble with A1 milk. So go back and check out that episode. In fact, that was episode number 390. So episode 390, you can go and check that one out. That was a great one. But that was with Katie Millhorn, who is my partner in putting on the Modern Homestead Conference.
So the Modern Homestead Conference is the first homesteading conference of this size in, not just the Pacific Northwest, but really in the west of the United States. So there were almost 5,000 people at the conference. So for our first event, it was large and amazing that that many people showed up. But for our first time running an in-person event of that size, of course brought different complexities. And one of the complexities I'm going to share with you actually happened Thursday night right before conference started. So the conference was in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho at the Kootenai Fairgrounds, and it started Friday morning and then went through Saturday evening.
So you have set up day beforehand. We actually started setting some stuff up on Wednesday. So Katie and I, with both of our husbands, and Rachel, small and mighty team, and with some of our kiddos, started setting stuff up on Wednesday. So then Thursday was the vendor setup day. So we had over 100 vendors. I know a lot of you got to go shopping and get some really cool stuff, myself included. So that was really fun. And some of the vendor booths also had demos. And I'll probably be sharing more about... We have on order, we ordered, I guess I'm going to share it with you now, one of the vendors that was there had this really awesome cattle system. So it has the squeeze panel squeeze, so that's where you can put your cows in and it has the head shoot and it squeezes them, so they have to stand still.
So if you have cows that are not tame enough to handle, or you have a cow that has an injury, and it's an injury that that animal is not going to let you touch, that type of a thing. Or if you need to do castration, different things like that that we need to be able to do from time to time with our animals. They can go into a squeeze. And this one is really cool, it has a lift and it will just come in together to the sides of the animal.
And this is what's cool is because this particular shoot allows you to do small calves all up to full size bulls all in the same shoot. And so then it has a round pen and then it has a sweep. And so this allows you to have the cows in the round pen and then the cow that you need to get in there, you can get them in and then it sweeps them into the shoot. So they're not scared. It shows them exactly where to go. It's not something that we have had, but we've been knowing we had need of. And so when we saw this particular system as one of the vendors had it set up with cattle in it at the conference on the fairgrounds, we're like, okay, that is the one that we want to get.
So anyhow, all of these vendors have to come in the day before in order to get their tents set up, if they have tents, or if they have equipment depending on the things, their booths with all their merchandise, et cetera, in there. And then you have to have spotted out where all of these vendors are going ahead of time to make sure that everybody fits, and that there's a map and that they know where to go and to get set up. So that was what was happening on Thursday. And then of course, all of the tents, if they have a tent, have to be set up, et cetera, on Thursday before you can put your stuff inside and get your booth set up.
So that was Thursday, from early Thursday morning all the way through Thursday night at 9:00 PM. So Thursday night we had a speaker dinner. So all of our speakers who came, we wanted to have a chance for them to have dinner with one another and get to meet one another. Because if you've never been to a conference like this, as a speaker, you are going to your set times, obviously, in order to give your presentations, and then getting to visit with people because people have questions afterwards, meeting them at booths. And just you're spending a lot of time with the people who are at the conference there to learn from you, which is fabulous.
But it also means that oftentimes as a speaker at the conference that you don't get to interact or meet the other speakers yourself and get to form relationships with them. So we really wanted to have some time set aside the night before conference started with the speakers so that we could thank them for coming, give them a chance to intermingle and just have that community aspect. I mean, that is a big part of homesteading is community, and we wanted to be able to cultivate that within the speakers as well.
So Katie and I had left the fairgrounds. We were there until right before the dinner started. And the dinner was hosted just 30 minutes away at Athol Orchards Heritage Antique Apple Farm, which was amazing. A true farm to table dinner. Everything was, I think, within just a 10 mile radius, all of the food, which was really cool.
So 30 minutes away from the fairgrounds is where we're going to dinner. On the way to dinner, Katie gets a call and is getting text pictures sent in that there has been a microburst tornado at the fairgrounds. So Katie got the call because we had our vendor coordinator and some awesome volunteer people who were helping with us. Shout out to Beth and Jason from Crowley Farms. They were amazing. And they were taking care of it while Katie and I were at the dinner.
And so Katie gets there, and she's like, "Hey, you got to come here for a minute." And so she's telling me that a microburst tornado just hit the fairgrounds. And in my head I'm like, okay, we're in Idaho, like a tornado. I'm looking above me, and it's like beautiful blue sky, a light breeze. I mean, it is not storming out. And we just left the fairgrounds. We're not that far from there. And so in the moment I'm like, "This is not a very nice prank." And then she shows me the pictures and I'm like, "Oh my gosh, this is real. What?"
And so this microburst tornado hit the fairgrounds. It actually first hit a restaurant right across the street, and then it bounced over and hit our midway vendor area, which is one of the main places where we had two rows of vendor tents already set up, including my booth and the merch booth for the conference where we had our Modern Homesteading t-shirts, Proud to be a Modern Homesteader sweatshirts, the hats, all of those things.
And when it hit it hit our merch tent and then two other tents. And it took the tents, I kid you not, up hundreds of feet in the air, and then it dropped them back down on the power lines. And so you literally have tents dangling from the power lines right above on the fairgrounds. So they had to call the fire department because obviously you can't get a tent out of live power lines. And some of the power was out, but some of it wasn't. So we didn't know if they were live or not.
And I'm like, at that moment, we had no idea if merchandise had been destroyed. These different vendor booths, were they even going to have anything to be able to offer to sell to people? Was everything they just brought totally destroyed? Were the traffic lights even going to be working by morning and the power to the fairgrounds restored so we could run audio and have traffic lights that were working so that you could actually have traffic coming through and not getting stopped? A lot of unknowns.
And so we were like, do we stay here for this dinner? It really was just that you can plan for a lot of things, friends, but planning for a tornado in this area of the country is not one that you would generally expect, especially when the weather was gorgeous. Beautiful. So my husband and Katie's husband was like, "Hey, you guys, stay here at the dinner. Keep the dinner going. And we'll go back to the fairgrounds and see what all the damage is. And then we'll come up with a plan, and after dinner we'll just go back to the fairgrounds." So that's what we did.
And by the time we got done with dinner, and Katie and I got back to the fairgrounds, our husbands were miracle workers with duct tape because they had managed to take this tent the fire department got down for them from the power lines, our merch tent, and was able to duct tape this baby back together on the frame, and sturdy enough that we could use it for the whole weekend.
But the really amazing part was, so we had only so many tents available, we had planned accordingly to how many people said they needed vendor tents that weren't bringing their own. And so we had already had these all purchased and laid out. And we had three extra. That was how many tents were damaged beyond being able to use again was three. So we had three extra tents that just perfectly, we could get set right back up for these people. And our tent was mendable enough that we could use it.
But the amazing thing is that they could lift these tents up that far into the air, and then put them back down, but all it touched was the tents. None of the merchandise that was in boxes, I mean my tent just 20 feet down from there, the Pioneering Today tent where I had handmade pottery mugs, so talking glass, handmade pottery mugs, sitting at, stacks of books, aprons, fabric, lightweight things, easily broke, easily picked up, don't weigh very much. You guys, none of that was touched. It was like a hand, God's hand was just sitting over it, and it was just these three tents that were picked up and blown to who knows where, one in the power lines. And everything else underneath those tents was protected. I mean, not even ruffled. So that was pretty amazing.
So by that Friday morning when conference gates were open, all the power is back on restored, all of the traffic lights were working, and that in itself felt like a miracle. And I remember when I realized, when Katie told me, I realized it was real by seeing the pictures, and I knew she wouldn't actually tease me, pull a prank on something that was that serious, but in the moment it just felt so surreal. There's no way that this could be happening. This is got to be a joke.
And I remember I looked at her, and I said, "You know what?" I said, "For the devil to come this hard, there's going to be some amazing things that happen because of this conference. There's no way that something freak like this could have happened just because." So that felt like a miracle that everything was protected, and the only damage was to a few tents. And none of the merchandise and nobody got hurt. All of those things. And power was restored.
So we hit the ground running very early. So if you've ever been to an event, just know that the people who are running it, we were up at 4:00 AM every morning, even though gates didn't start, I should say, 8:30 in the morning was opening ceremonies. But people could start coming in. The actual ticket line gates were open at 7:00 AM so people could get in and go through and get to the different buildings for the presentations that they wanted to watch and the demos.
So we were up and at the fairgrounds before 5:00 AM every morning. Up at 4:00 AM, there before 5:00 AM, to just get everything going. And then we were so busy, as you can imagine. I also presented both days. Part of me was like, I'm in charge of the schedule, therefore I'm in charge of scheduling myself. Sometimes wondering at my schedule choices. But I was also presenting. And so Friday we got there at 5:00 AM, and I did not eat until Friday night. Because there was just no time to even stop for lunch. It was just go, go, go, go, go.
So by Saturday morning, the last day of the conference, again, we were up at 4:00, and we had been at the fairgrounds each night getting everything wrapped up, even though the last thing, we had a special Friday night concert by Rory Feek, which was amazing. Really special time. And that got over at about 7:00, but we didn't actually get back to our room and leaving the fairgrounds, because we had go to make sure gates are shut and all those kind of fun things, I think we ended up getting back to our room, oh goodness, like 9:30 or 10:00 that night, I think, somewhere around there. So that's a pretty long day.
So Saturday morning, get up at 4:00, and we get to the fairgrounds. And we're actually there before any espresso stands or bakeries are open because we're there so early. And there was this great little bakery coffee stand right across the road from the fairgrounds, which was phenomenal. Terre, if you're ever in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, highly recommend the Terre Bakery. Really, really great food, great coffee, all the things. And then we also had a coffee stand in the fairgrounds, but they weren't getting there and set up and ready to go until right when the gates opened and started going.
And this girl needed a coffee before 8:00 AM having been up at 4:00. So we go over to wait for the coffee shop to open up. It was like 10 minutes before it opened so that we would be first in line to go in and get coffee and then scoot right back over and get everything going for the conference. And we're sitting in the parking lot, my husband and I, and had the coffee order that we're going to grab for everybody. And all of a sudden I got hit with a huge wave of nausea and a headache all in one. And I rarely get migraines, thank the good Lord. Thankfully nobody else was in the parking lot because it was that early.
But I had the door of the truck open, and I was literally on my knees thinking I was going to throw up in the middle of this parking lot. That's the severity of the nausea. And then I was digging, trying to find sunglasses. I don't really normally wear sunglasses very often, but when that type of a headache hits, for those of you who've had them, you know, I mean, I felt like my eyes were allergic to sunlight. I was just trying to hide them even with my hands, anything, because the light was just intensifying, the pounding in my head, and the nauseous in my stomach.
And so I told my husband, I said, "I need to get some coffee because caffeine sometimes helps, but I need to get enough food in my stomach that I can take an Advil." I didn't have any herbs with me or anything like that because we were traveling. And I'm like, "I've got to try to stop this because I'm supposed to do opening ceremonies again at 8:30 AM this morning, and I'm supposed to present and do a whole workshop and everything today." I can't be debilitated. I can't go and try to sleep this off, which is usually what I try to do when I get a migraine is just if I can go and sleep for two or three hours, I can usually get over it. I might be not feeling so hot for the rest of the day, but I can get past that point. Like I said, thankfully I don't get those types of headaches very often. That's probably only about the fifth one that I've ever had.
But I mean, it was hard. And so I need to go in, I need to get coffee and I need to eat something because with my stomach history with ulcers and stuff, I can't take any of those types of Advil, just over the counter Advil, but I can't take it on empty stomach, or my stomach already hurts and it compounds everything. So I knew I needed to get some food.
So went in and just got a breakfast burrito and a coffee, and was able to eat just enough so that I could take the Advil, and then just kind of sip on the coffee. And so that was enough to just put everything, it's like where it doesn't take it away, but it dulls in enough that you can function. So we got back to the fairgrounds, distributed the coffee that we had picked up for folks, and then we started to start moving chairs. Because we had had a bunch of chairs in the arena the night before for Rory's conference, but we only had so many chairs. And so those chairs had to get from the arena all back into the main building in time for opening ceremonies.
And so my husband and I just go and start slinging chairs. And then thankfully we had some volunteers that were able to come over and help us. So it was about an hour and a half of moving chairs, just put them in the back of our truck, take them over to the other building, and setting them up. So we were able to get all of that done. And then it was time for opening ceremonies. So I really didn't have any time to try and just go and rest your eyes or try to rest it out. We just had to get things going.
So opening ceremonies was at 8:30. And by then, thankfully, both the caffeine and the Advil had started to kick in. Hallelujah. And so I was going up on stage to do the opening ceremonies. And you know how it feels when you're on a boat, when you're standing on a boat, but everything is, it's like you're on waves like that. Or when you're in an elevator, that weird feeling you get in the elevator when the elevator's moving. So I'm walking across the stage and that building holds, I think we had 1,300 chairs in there, and then some standing room. And I'm walking across the stage to get to the microphone, and it's up on a platform. And all of a sudden, that's what I feel like. I feel like I'm on a boat literally. And there was no earthquake, hallelujah. But it was like the floor was moving. And I'm like, I'm going to pass out on stage in front of all of these people. That was literally the thought that went through my head.
And so I reached the podium where the microphone was and there was a podium. And I just gripped it with both hands and I am like, I will stand here. I am not going down and we are going to get through this. And so I am sure I was white knuckling it because I was gripping that thing for all I was worth because I'm like, I cannot fall over and fall off this stage or faint in front of all of these people. It is just not an option.
And so as I was standing there, and I will be honest, I felt horrible. I had actually cried in the coffee shop. I wasn't going to share that, but I was standing at a coffee shop waiting for the coffee. And I turned and looked at my husband and I just started crying. And I know I've cried on the podcast a few times with you guys relaying the story of Clover and how we lost her and some different things like that. But I'm not normally someone who cries, especially in public, but I just started crying when we were waiting for the coffee. And bless his heart, he's like, "Honey, it's going to be okay. Honey, it's going to be okay." "I know."
And so I'm standing up there and I'm like, I'm going to get through this even though I literally have no idea how, because I think I'm going to faint right now. And I had kind of a speech planned for the second day of opening ceremonies, but that is not what ended up coming out because I couldn't even formulate the thoughts of what it was that I was going to share for opening ceremonies that second day. And so instead, I just said, "I want to make sure I give you guys enough time to get from opening ceremonies to the demonstrations," which is true. "And so I'm just going to pray a blessing over you. We're just going to pray." Because at that point, I literally had no words. I had no stamina. Nothing was left. And so I just gripped it.
But you guys, as soon as I opened my mouth to pray, it was like, this is why I say it was like a miracle, it was you flipped a literal switch. It was like a switch was flipped. And I prayed the prayer of blessing. And from that moment on, the headache was gone. I did not feel like I was going to faint anymore. All that weird dizzy motion went away. My stomach felt fine. And I got this infusion of energy, which is great because I went that whole day Saturday. I didn't eat anything until we had dinner again that nighttime. By that time, I was getting pretty hungry, to be honest. But it was just like I had this infusion of the Holy Spirit, I don't know any way else to explain it, that just took over for the whole rest of the day.
So we learned a ton, one about how much work it was, but two, I'd never have been probably more body tired, exhausted, and even mentally exhausted, but so soul filled. So we got to visit with so many of you guys. And even just watching. There was one time when we were doing chicken butchering, Daniel Salatin came and grabbed some kids actually. The homesteading family's kids, the Thomas kids, and a couple of other people's kids there who were there as vendors. Knew the children is what I'm trying to say. It's not just grabbed random kids from the crowd and said, "You're going to learn how to butcher a chicken." These were kids who were raised on homesteads, know how to butcher a chicken, and were eager to help.
And so we served at the VIP dinner, which was Saturday night, chicken that was raised by Katie at Millhorn Farms. And then we butchered it. This was on Friday, the chickens were being butchered, to then rest and then be smoked Saturday afternoon for Saturday night VIP dinner, which was really cool. Talk about local food as you can get it.
But that being said, we had 26 chickens. And during the demo, four of them got butchered as part of the live demo that Joel Salatin did Friday morning. That meant we still had 22 chickens, if I can do math on the fly, left to butcher. And so we asked Daniel, I'm like, "Hey, can you come and help us knock these out? We need to get them butchered so they have time to chill and rest, et cetera, before being cooked tomorrow?" He's like, "Yeah, no problem."
So he grabbed some of the other homesteading kids that he already knew from the families and said, "Hey, do you guys want to come help?" And so my husband and I went over in case they needed more hands-on help in order to get these chickens butchered. But Daniel and the kids just had it covered. And so it wasn't on the schedule because it wasn't part of another demo. We just needed to get the rest of them done. But the really cool part is people were walking by and saw that these chickens were being butchered. And so they just start coming in, and some of them just jump in and start learning. And so Daniel's taking them through step-by-step because they'd never done it before. And it was just this very surreal moment.
And I just was sitting back, I actually took a picture and texted it to Carolyn. I'm like, "Your kids are so cool." Her little boy, I mean, I think he was like six, it was one of the littles, he's just in... I mean, these chickens are almost as tall as he is when he's taken them over. And it was just really amazing to just watch all of this just happening. And to see the learning and the community, even though it wasn't part of a planned demonstration, nothing, just to watch it come together in that moment, I got to just step back and watch it. And I'm like, this is so cool. This is so awesome to watch. So there was so many of those types of moments that just fueled beyond being tired and doing, I don't even know the hours, like 17, 18 hour days for four days in a row. It was incredible.
But what was really interesting was watching and the feedback, because now it's been a couple of weeks since conference. Which 2024 tickets, by the way, are on sale. We're doing it again. And I'm like, if we hadn't put it publicly, I remember the last day, I'm like, "If we hadn't have said it publicly, would we do it again?" And yes we would've. But June 28th and 29th of 2024, same location, the Kootenai Fairgrounds in Idaho. So you can go to modernhomesteading.com, which is the conference website, and you can check out the different ticket sales there.
But what was really interesting, because as we got back, we sent out surveys to attendees and people were sharing on Instagram and stories on social media and emailing us, and just getting to speak to people that were there, what their experience was, what they enjoyed, what they would like to see different or better the next year. Because of course, the first time you do anything, you learn so much on what went well and what can be improved. And we are no different.
But what I found really interesting was everybody was there to learn modern homesteading. I mean, it's a modern homesteading conference. I think that's pretty apparent in most folks would be there for that purpose. But what I found interesting, and I've seen this before, but really drove it home this time, is all about perception and attitude. Because we were all at this same event. Those who are attending, obviously, we're all at this exact same event. So we're in the same buildings. We are in the same temperatures. Probably most people hadn't been 17 hours straight of working in it, but we're all hot because it's in the middle of summer at a fairgrounds. It's going to be hot when you're outside. There's really no way to mitigate that other than the tents we had for shade and some of the trees.
And so what was really interesting though was seeing the people who were like, "This has been life changing." I literally had people come to me and said, "My husband came with me just because I asked him. He's never been fully on board with homesteading. He's never been fully on board to go for it. And it's only the end of the first day and he is already like, 'We're going to go home,' and he's like, "we're going to get a cow.' He's on board to do even more than I wanted to do. And it just took him being here for one day. I can't imagine what he's going to say by tomorrow night." That was just one. I mean, we heard multiples of that.
Or, "I've been feeling very discouraged and really wasn't sure. And just within the first opening ceremonies, I now have a clear vision. And I know why I'm here and I know what I'm doing. And I am so invigorated and excited to go home and start implementing. And that was just from opening ceremonies." So those stories were amazing.
And then it was interesting because then you had people who were complaining about it being too hot. And it was hot. And there was a couple of fans and air conditioners that were broken in some of the buildings. Which things break, like a tornado went through the night before. Some things, they were working just fine and then they're not. And so you do your best to try to get them working again, but it's not like you're going to just cancel and not do a presentation because the building might be hot. I mean, it's hot when you're haying in the middle of the summer. And if bale's got to get bucked and put on that and get into the barn, and it's 100 degrees out, you just do it. That's part of homesteading. It's not always in comfortable situations. So we wish it were.
And so it was really interesting though to see on one hand you have everybody who's at the same event had these life-changing experiences and making connections and all of these things. And then you have other people who are at the same event who don't see any of the good, and were only fixated on that they were uncomfortable in a building, or this didn't go how they wanted it to, or they thought this was going to happen and this happened, and just all of these different things.
And so it was just amazing because it was very much confirmation that we're all going to be dealt things that aren't what we expected, aren't comfortable, make us uncomfortable, all of those things. But by the way we choose to view it and our attitude completely changes our experience. So if we look at it like, yeah, it's hot, but I am surrounded by people who are excited to learn about homesteading and who are trying to create communities of homesteading and all of these things that I believe in, and I'm just going to soak up whatever info and details and all of the things that I can learn, and go home and apply it and get the most out of this that I can, then that's exactly what happened for those people. And instead, those who decided to focus on the negative, then that's exactly what they took back with them.
And I can tell you which group I want to be a part of. I want to be a part that focuses on the good. And therefore that's what I see and find and determine, even if things aren't good. That I can find something and that's what I focus on and take back with me. And so I'm assuming if you are listening to this podcast and interested into homesteading, that is the camp that you fall into. It's just really interesting when you get large groups of people together to see those differences. And how you can have so many people in a room, the same room, yet their experience ends up being so different, but the only thing that's different is them and their mindset and their outlook, right? Because the circumstances in the room are the same for both of these people, even though one had a great experience and the other one decided not to.
So it was very incredible and super excited for next year. There's so much that we learned obviously that we'll be able to implement and to put in to make it better. Some of that is equipping people with the ability to find people closer to their actual geographical location so that they can find folks at the Modern Homesteading Conference that may live close to them, helping that happen. So we're excited to roll that out. This as much as I'll say about it right now. So we're excited to roll that out at conference for 2024. We're going to have some bigger outdoor tents because the tents had some better ventilation, so that we don't have some of those smaller billings so that more people could get into the places that they want to see.
But the speaker lineup for next year, we don't have it all announced yet, but we have our major keynotes for next year. And so really excited because Temple Grandin is going to be our major keynote for 2024. And I, myself personally, am thrilled and can't wait to go and listen to her speak and to learn more from her. And then we've got some others. We've got Mary's Nest is going to be there. She was actually there. I got to meet her in person this year. She came just as an attendee, which was really fun. But Mary's going to be presenting next year. We've got Lisa from Farmhouse on Boone and Jess from Roots and Refuge is going to be there next year, as well as some of the same people.
And then just, I am so excited. I'm trying to stay calm because I don't want to screech in your ear if you're listening to this on audio and not video and have earbuds or headphones in, but it's just super excited for next year. And to see so many people have, well, one already bought their tickets for next year, but said, "I am bringing my neighbor. I am bringing this family member. Or so-and-so has to come with me because they have to experience this." So I'm really excited truly to just see all of the seeds that were planted from this year and how those begins to spread and impact everybody and their home communities. Because I got to tell you, homesteading is on the rise for very good reason. And I think that there are still many, many people out there who want to learn how to do it. They just haven't found anyone to teach them yet or a place to go to learn. So I'm super excited for all of that.
And today's episode is sponsored by Azure Standard. And what was really fun is at conference, both Azure Standard was there, as well as White Pine. So this is White Pine brand blueberry granola. And they are now being carried by Azure. And she was so sweet, wrote me a very, very kind letter, and sent us home with a bag of goodies. And yes, this is pretty much empty because we started eating it on the way home from conference because we have about seven hour drive, give or take a little bit, to get home from Idaho from where we live. And so we snacked on this on the way home.
We also tried the original, which was really good. I think my favorite was the blueberry though, because I love blueberries. But what's awesome, now I love making my own homemade granola, but I have to be honest, when times of travel, or right now when a ton of stuff is just starting to come on in the garden, I'm already hitting preserving, I know that I have to pick my battles on what I'm able to get done and what I can make from scratch. And if there are great alternatives available, then I am all about that.
So this one is great. Azure carries it. It's from Timber Bakery, and it's the White Pine. And organic oats, organic honey, organic expeller pressed coconut oil, organic coconut and organic blueberries with pure vanilla extract and some spices. And it is really, really good. They also had some little packets of instant granola that you could just add hot milk or water to like cereal, but being a lot better for you than cold cereal. So I am really excited to see that Azure is carrying this brand because I'm probably going to grab some more for us throughout the summer months. And also just to have on hand. These was great to just have the kids on busy mornings, so they needed to get out and go. And so my daughter was using the little instant packets of the instant granola.
So Azure Standard has been a great resource for our homestead, and I know many of you guys. And they are continuing their coupon code. So if you've never used Azure before, and you are a brand new customer, and your first order is $50 or more, you can get 10% off your order by using coupon code Melissa10. That's Melissa10 for 10% off on your order at azurestandard.com.
Okay, so the first of the week, I felt this one was very fitting, and it came to mind quite a few times, honestly, during conference as I shared some of the things with you here today. And that is Ephesians 6:13 and 14, and says, "Therefore put on the full armor of God so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground. And after you have done everything, to stand." I mean that whole section of verses about the armor of God is a great one in Ephesians.
But that one particularly came to mind because when I was grabbing that podium thinking I was going to faint, that is exactly the verse that came to mind. I'm like, you are going to stand. If you do nothing else, you're going to stand here. And that was activating the armor of God because that is the only way that, as I look back on it, that that transformation happened and was able to get through the whole rest of the day absolutely fine.
So I leave that with you because I know a lot of times myself, I like to try to do everything in my own power that I can think of. And yet all that we need to do is to just stand and let God fight the battle for us. I'm doing better as I get older, but oftentimes that's one of the last things I do instead of it being the very first. So I leave you with that verse because I know sometimes we can feel so we and so beat down that the only thing we can do is stand. And that's exactly what we are to do.
So thank you so much for joining me for this kind of behind the scenes and just sharing from my side about the event. If you were there and I got to meet you, just know that it was truly amazing. And I'm so thankful for every single one of you that came and that I got the chance to talk with and to meet. And if I didn't get to meet you, I hope I got to meet you next year. So blessings and Mason jars for now, my friends.
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