It has been awhile. Too long. We exist, still. And I owe you an explanation. This will be a ramble, so stay with me.
These last two-plus years have been the hardest years we’ve ever faced as a family, and we are not out of the woods yet.
Many of you know, Becki (my wife) lost her mom. Most of you don’t know, she also lost her dad. She is TOO YOUNG to lose parents like this. Harry and Nancy were the finest examples of what good humans can be, in every respect. Their loss has been crippling. I also lost my brother. All three taken from us entirely too soon.
Our marriage has seen trials that few would face in such a short time, but we have had nothing but each other to hold on to. And we have held on TOGETHER, through gritted teeth, furrowed brow, and with tears in our eyes at the trials we have faced. I love this woman in ways I cannot express through spoken word.
We left California in search of a better, slower life for our family in the midst of all of this sorrow, not knowing the struggles that would come. The buyers of our house in California backed out at the last minute, causing us to lose the first house we had lined up in Idaho. They then came back, and decided to buy, but we could not get that first house lined back up. Suddenly we were more or less homeless. We found a short term rental in Manteca, California, and put all we had in storage. We couldn’t put anything in the blacksmith shop in Ceres (which I was still working out of), as it was having attempted break-ins all the time. So, Becki and I went on a whirlwind tour, trying to find us a home. We finally found our current house in Roberts, Idaho after many trips back and forth. The story is much longer, but this is already growing too long for a single social media post.
We took a break from everything. We had to. The whirlwind of losing so many of our loved ones all at once was crippling. We had to travel to be with family in California, and in Iowa. We had to stay home to be with ourselves. We’ve had to deal with estates and funerals and end of life arrangements too many times in a row. Humans aren’t built to handle this amount of grief all at once. This stress killed my creative drive. Even if I had the shop running, I can tell you I wouldn’t have been able to make anything that I’d be comfortable sending out. We have spent this time on the edge of tears. Inches from breakdown. They say that grief never gets smaller, we just grow around it. We are trying our best to grow. Losing my brother is never something I’d have ever considered. I didn’t think I’d have to exist in a world without him. I miss his calls. I miss his voice. I should have picked up the phone more often. He was so excited to see our new home here in Idaho. So excited for Christmas. He didn’t make it to Christmas. He was here, though. I know he was.
We have found our home, but the move of the shop has been fraught with difficulty after difficulty. Needed electrical components went on massive backorder, the power company stonewalled us after telling us they’d have us set up within a week or so of us moving here. Every electrician we contacted either vanished after giving us a bid, or never replied to us at all. Occasionally we got the “I don’t really want this job” outrageous price, which infuriates me. I finally bought what wasn’t on back order, and wired everything myself after an intense YouTube Electrical Academy course. The power company waited so long to drop our pole, and the electricians strung us out so long, that the ground froze before I was able to get the trench dug to the shop from the pole. So, I bought a beat up military surplus 60kw generator to run in the meantime. Many have asked for refunds (and I totally understand and did so). This has been crazy.
A YEAR PLUS has passed since our move, and I am FINALLY running. I am FINALLY making pans and shipping. I cannot say that I am spiritually and creatively where I was before all this, but it will come with time.
My little family is my comfort. The sunsets are a salve on my soul. Soft falling snow is like gentle music for a weary heart. Chickens in the yard are simple comfort. Iron in the fire, the smell of a coal forge. My soul heals, though the evidence of hurt remains at the surface.
We are running. I am sorry for falling off the earth. But, we are back. Cookware is shipping. Please understand I am moving, albeit slowly. I love you all, and I am grateful for my customers, for the success of my friends who have soldiered on and seen amazing growth in the time I’ve been off social media (looking at you Stagecoach Forge, I love seeing you soar!).
Times are uncertain, but the fires are stoked, and still the hammer falls.
Be well, friends.