Thursday, July 18, 2013

My Guts are Falling Out

We spent this past weekend at Leonard’s Mills for the Living History Days. Reenacting the 1790’s on the eastern frontier has always been one of the highlights of our year. We get to make delicious food over the fire, practice historic crafts, and fellowship with friends and family all the while educating/entertaining the community.

Julia and Eden both had a great time this year again. For me, it was somewhat of a different story: I spent most of the weekend as an invalid in bed. And the real bummer was that this was no charade. I was really not feeling well. The immense at times abdominal pain was unbearable every time I stepped up to my workbench for demonstrations. So I sipped water in the 90 degree humid heat while trying not to move too much.

All my unused and lonely tools

To make a long story short I have a hernia. This means my guts are falling out. Literally.

If you have not had a hernia, let me just tell you that it is painful. And it makes getting projects done very challenging. At the studio I have two chairs I am trying to finish up for a dear client and at home I am trying to finish up the goat shed for their arrival next week. (The frame is complete and the roof boards are on so far.) Lord knows how all this will shake out. Doctor’s orders are no heavy lifting. What in the world do I do that doesn’t involve heavy lifting? Dear me.

The goat shed progress

All I was able to accomplish over the weekend was to make a sheath for a knife I recently made. It’s based on some 18th century examples I saw and I assumed I’d only use it for reenacting but I like it so much I’ve been wearing every day since. The blade is ground from an old file and the handle is cherry with a linseed oil/oil stain/shellac/pigment/wax finish to add some ‘age’. The sheath is a piece of scrap leather I hand stitched with a waxed thread. I am pleased with the outcome.

As I am writing this post, I am resting on my bed at home. It’s dark outside and I feel a beautiful cool breeze blow through my house. I hear the low rumbling of thunder in the distance. Everything is still and quiet. This moment is incredibly calming and healing. It’s as if in the stillness there is a small voice reminding me that Someone is still watching over.

O Lord, blessed are those whose strength is in you.


  1. Hi Joshua

    Sorry to hear about your hernia. Having had three (on both sides) I sympathize with your problem. Word of advise - don't put off having it repaired. I hobbled around for months with my first one and finally gave in - I can remember wondering afterward why I waited - I felt so much better. Another piece of advice - when the surgeon says don't lift anything (or drive) after the surgery he/she means it - the reason I had a second surgery shortly after the first one :-)

    Hope you get better - Ross

    PS really enjoy your column

  2. Hi Josh, Sorry about your condition. Let me know what I can do to help. I'm teaching all next week at WoodenBoat but I can give you some time at building or whatever after that.

    All the Best, Jerry

  3. Ross, Thanks for the advice. My wife and I are trying to figure out the best way to deal with this situation besides the immediate comfrey poultices, supplements, exercises, etc. We may have to postpone surgery a couple weeks until I can get things in order around here. I appreciate you sharing your experience, Ross. Be well.

  4. Jerry, Thanks so much. I may give you a call if I have a need come up.