What do you do? More often than not, what the question really asks is what do you do for a living. I can’t really answer that question. With my various challenges, there are very few things I can do for gainful employment. If I stand or walk too long, the nerve damage leads to what I call hamburger feet. The medical term is tunneling ulcers. Programming requires a good day and near absolute silence because my focus often fades. So I move from one thing to the next with no discernable pattern. After my last hospital stay, I decided maybe I have been going about this recovery thing all wrong. Instead of trying to fit me into box where I do the same thing over and over but never enough of it to make a living, maybe I should try to combine efforts.
So what do I do? I am an organic farmer, blacksmith, and general creator of stuff. When my feet are raw, I scoot on my ass and pull weeds. When the neuropathy is too great to move about, I work on that master project that I started to prove brain damage could be over come. When I can not focus on writing code, I fill cups with dirt, maybe twist some seedling pots out of newspaper, and plant seeds.
One of the owners of the Kentucky Renaissance Festival must have noticed how random my efforts seem. While I have been a blacksmith there for some 8 years, this year she invited me to involve more items from the farm. In this photo, taken by a patron, you can see some of the first results of that combination.
Although it is very early in the season for crops, you an see a few have already made it to market; potato, radish, and beets. A few of our plants are shown, but most have sold by the time this photo was taken. I think the only ones left at this point are the Carolina Reapers (world’s hottest pepper).
But what I’d really like to point out are the hanging baskets. The ones with plants each hold a cherry tomato plant. Some growing upright, some upside down, each grown from seed and fruiting in June. The baskets are handmade from low carbon steel, partly forged and partly cold formed. They are designed so that plants can be grown either upright or upside down. This is the first of the truly combined efforts, where instead of having one product next to another I have combined the two seemingly separate areas of my life into one reflection of that life.
While they have not exactly flown off the shelf, they have sold a fair amount. While it is hard to compete with mass produced plastic from Walmart, there are folk who appreciate truly hand made goods.
The next combination will be bird houses made from last year’s gourds which will feature hand forged perches and other features.
For more information on the Kentucky Renaissance Festival, visit their Home Page.