Baker Creek, MO (Missouri Trip Part IV)

Baker Creek is WAY OUT IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE. Thaaaat’s right, Mrs. Matuschek, way out in the middle of NOWHERE. This means that there are no freeway sounds (no roadway sounds at all, actually), no city lights (not even any small town lights), and no pop machines, gas stations, or Red Box DVD rentals within an heirloom seed packet’s throw.

In fact, this was one of the absolute quietest places I have ever been. Quit breathing for a minute and plug your ears and you’ll know how quiet it was out there. 🙂 . I hope I can impress upon your mind that there is nothing out there. One could almost imagine one was back in the 1800’s.

The fact of the matter is that I had arrived at the stomping grounds of the Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company, it was really isolated out here, the place looked very neat, and there were big tents being set up down below the village. This, in and of itself, would have served to assure me that the festival was actually this weekend and not the next one; however, there was a helpful little sign that said Camping: (with an arrow pointing the direction).
Yep, I was gettin’ a little excited. I’d wanted to come here for quite a while, and here I was!!! I pulled off the narrow gravel road and bumped into a cow pasture that was fenced off with strings and posts and the little triangular flags they usually have at events like this, to prevent people from driving into swamps or cow pies or six lane freeways.

It was Saturday evening and most folks that would be camping would be arriving the next morning, but there were already a few others parked along the back half of the pasture reserved for campers.

View from my Tent
View from my Tent

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Camping was primitive but free. I didn’t particularly care. All I was really concerned about was making it through the night without freezing to half to death. I backed the car up ( REMEMBER: always park your car facing out so you can out REALLY FAST if you need to! *inside police knowledge*) onto a nice little patch of grass that was right at the end of the pasture, with a creek behind me. From my vantage point, I could comfortably see most of the other campers, the village on the hill, and a view of the road from both directions.

I set up my tent and cooked myself a bit of supper on my brand-new handy-dandy little Coleman one-burner propane burner stove top. It worked great, and I had a NICE HOT SUPPER, thank you very much. And I had a NICE WARM SLEEP that night, thank you very much again. Sleeping bags are a wonderful invention, let me tell you.

I was up bright and early the next morning because one always wakes up early when one is camping, even when one has had a nice hot supper and a nice warm sleep. It is just the sort of thing that happens when one is camping. There was a lot going on, even this early on in the game. Barely six o’clock, and already the different vendors that would be setting up their wares for the next two days were lining up on the road, waiting their turn to get into the grounds and set up. I enjoyed watching from my tent.

The Set Up
The Set Up
vendors arriving early in the morning....
vendors arriving early in the morning….

 

As it got nearer to opening time, things grew busier and busier. I was amused when an old truck, loaded with straw bales for people to sit on while listening to music, was inching down the steep hill that led south directly out of Bakersville, and had piled the straw bales too high. The inevitable happened; bales slid down over the front of the truck and a few busted open. It was kind of funny to see, because just before it happened I could totally see it coming and was kind of holding my breath just waiting for those bales to topple and slide over the top of the cab.

The Hay Incident :)
The Hay Incident 🙂

In due time, though, everybody got set up and the festival was in full swing. There were a LOT of people there, as you can see by the photo of cars below. Later there were even more; the hill you see cars on below got even more full, and the hill to the left also had cars on it eventually. I like this kind of event.

Vendor vehicles in foreground to left, cars of all the visitors up on the hill
Vendor vehicles in foreground to left, cars of all the visitors up on the hill
View of the whole thing in full swing
View of the whole thing in full swing

 
Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company’s Bakersville, a replica to some extent of an old fashioned village, is cute but a bit on the eccentric side, just like its founder, Jere Gettle. I took pictures of the village and of the event, and that will hopefully give you a bit of sense of the whole thing. I can’t, of course, begin to show the number of people that were there or all that was going on ….it was quite the event!!

Restaurant
Restaurant
Seed Store
Seed Store
Flour Mill
Flour Mill

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The weather was okay on Sunday. Some of the time it was rainy and cold, other times it was quite pleasant. At least it wasn’t horrible, and I was thankful for that. I alternated my time between listening to speakers, browsing the vendors’ tents and booths and tables piled high with goods, listening to music at either one of the music sheds, walking around looking at people and the animals and the village, and of course buying seeds at the seed store. I tried to tell myself that I didn’t really need seeds, and that if I did need any I could always order them online, but I failed and bought a bunch of seeds. It’s different when you’re looking at the rows and rows of seed packets, all containing an equally interesting and unique variety of plant, and browsing them online or in a catalog. I ended up buying seeds both days.
Most of the music was old fashioned/country/gospel music, which is generally what I like anyway, and there were some REALLY good players there! One 14 year old boy could play like you wouldn’t believe on the violin.  I have videos I’ll have to show you all when I get back…

There was plenty to do and see, and I really really enjoyed both days of the festival. In the evenings, I sat in my tent and ate good hot food and slept in my nice warm sleeping bag. I also wrote in my journal and visited with some of the other campers.

The couple pictures below show pretty much what is the essence of the Baker Creek gathering—there is everyone from homeschoolers to hippies, with everyone in between.

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Ultimate Baker Creek...in this picture you have people from just about every walk of life. :)
Ultimate Baker Creek…in this picture you have people from just about every walk of life. 🙂

On Monday, the second day, I even had the opportunity to meet Jere Gettle, the founder of the seed company and a world-famous leader in heirloom seed preservation. I thought that was pretty neat. He lives in a neat old house at the top of the village. I also met really nice people from Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Kansas. There were also license plates that I saw from, if I remember correctly, not only Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Kansas, but also Texas, Ohio, Indiana (not including me), Illinois,  and I’m pretty sure a few other states. So it was a good big gathering and a lot of fun and I really want to go back again sometime!!

Tuesday morning I packed up and headed out. I drove through southern Missouri, then up north to St. Louis, out across Illinois and all the way back home to Indiana. It took 12 hours almost exactly and I was glad to get back home and check on my garden.

the road home....
the road home….
Gotta love Missouri...
Gotta love Missouri…

 

What a trip!!!

P.S. I know I didn’t get that many great pictures of the actual village and stuff, but hey, that gives me an excuse to go back next year, doesn’t it?

3 thoughts on “Baker Creek, MO (Missouri Trip Part IV)

  1. Truly wonderful!! First class pictures, and excellent writing. Makes me want to go with you! So glad you were warm and had hot food to eat after that first COLD night. How neat that you got to see Laura Ingals Wilder’s houses!

  2. Can’t forget that *inside police knowledge*. Glad that you could have a NICE HOT SUPPER, and a NICE WARM SLEEP!
    Daniel.

  3. Thanks so much for sharing your experience . . . loved it!

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