Tuesday, October 9, 2012


This past week has been crazy. Actually the past eight weeks have been crazy. That's because we've been working full-tilt at our home woodcraft business, shoveling pieces out the door to our booth at the Kansas City Renaissance Festival as fast as we can make them. Barely keeping up. Working twelve hour days, seven days a week. It's been especially hard on poor Don, since most of the shop work falls on him; but we've both been struggling since there's plenty of in-house work to do as well.

And as of today -- we're finished! Done! The last shipment is on its way to Kansas and we can RELAX!!

Yesterday the girls and I first- and second-coated the insides of the tankards. We usually do this in the kitchen with gooseneck lamps at our elbows so we can see every interior nook and cranny.

We let the pieces dry for a few hours...

...then tented them and put a space heater on them overnight to dry the lining more quickly.

When the epoxy coating has fully dried, we force-cure the tankards in the oven for 1 1/2 hours, slowly increasing the temperature until it reaches about 200F maximum.

After they're done baking, we let them cool, then fill each one with water and set it on newspaper for about 30 minutes, to test for leaks.

Each tankard gets its own guarantee card, which also identifies the woods.

We buy bubble wrap by the bale.

For this final shipment of the season, we had two boxes: one big, one not-so-big.

The bigger box held about 50 pieces, each individually wrapped in newspaper.


I had to run these boxes to Coeur d'Alene directly to FedEx. Big box in the back...

...smaller box on the seat.

I was never so happy to see a FedEx building!

Once those boxes were shipped, I felt like dancing out the door! FREEDOMMMM!!!

In the evening we celebrated our liberation by taking a hearty walk. Don and I are in dire need of exercise, and a family walk was just the thing.

The sun sets on another busy season. It hasn't been spectacularly financial successful, but it was fine, and we're thankful.

Now we can turn our attention to some desperately-needed tasks: fence repair, splitting firewood, finishing the bull pen, finishing the awning and feedboxes, general clean-up, and battening down the farm for the winter.

For those who are curious, we'll be putting up some tankards for retail sales within a few weeks. But let us recover first. We're exhausted and need to catch up on neglected chores before we can face the thought of doing yet another production run.

All together now: FREEDOMMMMM!!!!!


  1. Congratulations Patrice on completing all that hard work - now for more hard work around the farm by the sounds of it lol. Still, a change is as good as a holiday and getting outdoors will be enjoyed I'm sure.

    It's spring here and I've been enjoying my newly-developed vege patch which you've inspired me to do. Up until this year it's been tomatoes, cucumbers and herbs in pots but now I've got full-blown gardens happening. I've been enjoying the outdoors too.

    There's lots of truth in what my dear Grandma wrote in my autograph book, "The kiss of the sun for pardon, the song of the birds for mirth, we are nearer to God in a garden than anywhere else on earth." Jenny

  2. Beautiful work! Very productive and unique. Enjoy the end of the production phase! Since I'm in South Texas, we don't have to do much preparing for winter, we often have to keep mowing and working straight through the year, as usual, with only a little break as the growth rate slows for only about a two month time period. But, I'm sure enjoying this cooler weather! Hope you get everything done in time for winter--I admire all that work!


  3. Patrice,

    I was playing the song "Freedom" in my head for you, lol....
    Congratulations on finishing up your big orders. Now, it's back to work on the farm. Nothing like celebrating with more work. Work that doesn't have deadlines.
    Enjoy, I'm looking forward to when you post your tankards on the blog for sell.

  4. Patrice,

    I'm so glad you are getting a rest...but please tell me what ever happened with your potatoe tires.
    You did not mention them in your left to do list. Did I miss the harvest? I have one stack in my driveway that I started in August (southeast here). I love visiting with your family via blog everyday. I have learned much and enjoy ALL the posts even canning :) which I started doing this year.
    Linda M.

  5. Phyllis (N/W Jersey)October 10, 2012 at 3:55 PM

    Nothing more satisfying than a job well done... Congrats!

  6. I'll be in the market for one or two of the mugs when you have more.

  7. Are you considering hiring help for the next season? It sounds like you have enough work to make it worth your while.

  8. Are y'all considering hiring help for the next season? It sounds like you're doing brisk business.

  9. Are you considering hiring help for the next season? It sounds like you have enough work to make it worth your while.

  10. And now I know who to pester to get one of those awesome mugs I keep seeing at the Ren-faires!

    I just found your blog a couple weeks ago and have been enjoying it (and learning from it!), thank you!

    1. That, that would be us (at Ren Faires, that is).

      Glad you found the blog!

      - Patrice