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Not Just Peppers

Hand Forged Dagger

If you have looked around our web site or met us in person, you might have noticed we are not what you might think.  We don’t tend to container grow.  We don’t cover our land with plastic or use the latest nutrients in a drip irrigation system.  We are more of what you might expect in a movie set in the era of Western expansion.  A time when folk negotiated their land for sustenance.

Rose Pomel

In fact, that is how we started farming.  Our farm provided our food and we relied on another talent for our income.  As a teen, I was keenly interested in blacksmithing, metal work and knife making.  Prior to the focus on peppers, the farm mainly provided food for the family and our income was from the metal works I offered at various craft shows and renaissance festivals.

Mace, Hand forged

Back in the day, farming and forging was not the separate thing it is today.  At many points in history, purchasing simple metal needs like nails was not as simple as going to your neighborhood hardware store.  Not only did farms often include forges, the product of that forge was so necessary that there are historic accounts of homes being burned so that the nails could be reclaimed when a family moved.

Rail Road Spikes

After a serious injury about a decade ago, the metal work became more of a hobby.  We continued to vend at one festival: The Kentucky Highlander Renaissance Festival in Eminence, KY.

In fact, the initial move to Kentucky was prompted by that injury ten years ago and the way management at the Kentucky Renaissance festival reacted.  Where other events were upset that I could barely forge the first year after the injury, management at the Kentucky fair insisted I take it easy.  I remember one weekend where an owner actually offered to bring me something to drink.  Although there many a fine owner at fairs, the idea that someone with such status would offer to bring a beverage was amazing.  I later saw him on top of a room setting shingles.  The management at this fair are real people  Working class despite their status.  I fell in love with the fair and we moved to Kentucky so I could keep doing it despite the new challenges.

Medieval Daggers

A few years ago, the farm became more of a focus than forging iron.  I went threw a series of amputations and surgeries on my feet.  The short of the story is that I an antibiotic resistant staff infection in the bones of my feet.  For three years, they tried to cut it out and kill it off with IV antibiotics.  Half the time I was either in casts or a wheel chair.  Forging became impossible.  Ah but gardening I could do while sitting on my butt.  In fact, I am going to wrap this post up quickly so I can get to weeding while scooting on my butt down the rows.

The result was that our inventory at the Ren. Fair dwindled over the three years that I had difficulty walking or standing. This past winter, I was warned by doctors that if I do not spend three months entirely off my feet, I would likely loose the rest of the left one and parts of the right.  I did what they said and spent three months in bed.  To keep my sanity, I spent that time making hand made jewelry.

Hand Made Jewelry

Pennies and Quarters became rings and necklaces.  Crystals became copper wrapped pendents.  Copper water pipe became bracelets.  When my three months on the couch were over, I returned to the forge with a wee bit of pain management.  Not long after, I was declared infection free.  The super bug was finally dead.  With any luck, no more surgery and no more antibiotics.

Although inventory is not to the point it once was, I feel reborn and want to share what I have made for the fair this year.

5 thoughts on “Not Just Peppers

  1. Very cool! Good that you remain in good spirits as well.

    1. Thank you. Things really are looking up. The farm is looking like we will have the best year yet. I don’t think the universe gives us more than we can handle. I think it just keep us in check by threatening to.

  2. Glad you are doing well AJ. Your positive outlook and good spirit is influential.

    1. Thank you. My theory is that I can be bitter and withdrawn or I can be thankful and happy. Would rather be thankful and happy. Season at fair is over and we did well. Thinking the more positive approach is worth it.

  3. Reading through that is very encouraging. Ky. is my birthplace and I love it and the people. God bless your commitment to get through a most difficult time in your life.
    Long live hot peppers…

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