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Tell me the story of Aching Werx

Aching Werx began because in my late 30's, I decided to begin a very strenuous full-contact martial arts.

Fighting was learning the Medieval art of sword fighting as done in the Society of Creative Anachronism ( ).

More experienced fighters in the group fixed me up in protective loaner armor for head, neck, hands, and body and handed me a rattan sword and wooden shield. With a few pointers, I was out there swinging the sword and trying to hit my fellow fighters. Now most of us are right-handed which means the multitude of bruises were on my left-side. Meaning, as a confirmed hard-core left side sleeper, I wasn't able to get much sleep due to the bruising.

Herbal healing was just a part of growing up on a small family farm with parents who were thrifty farmers. Going to the doctor or buying medicines was not an option. Between my grandmother and mother, we were doctored with herbs.

Yellow arnica flowers
Arnica flowers herb

Consulting Medieval herbals, modern books, and connecting to my deep reservoir of inborn knowledge of healing, I created my balm recipe. Why I chose the herbs I did and how they work together is the subject of another blog.

This homemade balm was tested extensively on my rather spectacular bruises. It worked so well that other fighters started dipping in as I rubbed down after practice, further asking for jars to take home.

At first, I poured the balm in recycled baby-food jars. Between soaking the labels off, terrible lids and the supply being very dependent on the local birth rate, these recycled jars were not easy to get. Way before the magical internet, often I was putting the balm into other random jars. My labels were printed off on paper and I used clear packing tape to stick them on the jars. It was super labor intensive but it was making do with what I had.

Named "Fighter Fixer Salve", I sold lots to other fighters while I certainly remained among my best customers. The SCA had many events where I would set up a table and vend my wares.

Because it is based in Medieval learning and verified by modern science, it is very good at what it does.

Purple flowered self-heal herb
Self-heal herb

In the mid-90's we moved from the Midwest to Colorado where interest in my salves increased as did my product line. Many options opened as the internet surged.

Changing my selling focus beyond the SCA necessitated a name change.

Weekend Warrior Balm seemed like a perfect name.

As I branched out into selling at local Farmer's Markets under the name of Fox Ryde Gardens, the product line increased to over 110 products driven by customer demand and suggestions.

This was full-time Maximum Effort.

Growing and harvesting the herbs, making the products, labeling the products, and then setting up the booth and selling at up to seven markets a week in the Front Range area. Additionally, with my husband helping, were doing some weekend craft shows, I was writing for a couple of national magazines, and teaching classes and lecturing locally. Based on customer requests. I was always in the new product development stages.

Living my dream life.

All of that came to an abrupt end with a couple car accidents causing Traumatic Brain Injuries, first in 2000 and the second and worse in 2003. I had to Re-incarnate as I healed and learned who I was after the damage to my brain.

To the dismay of my clients, I had to set Fox Ryde Gardens aside. For many years, few months pass without someone calling to ask about where to buy my products, only to be disappointed.

I dreamed of getting back to it again someday.

Today, thanks to a federally-funded program from the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation, I have gotten a grant to start Wise Woman Werx from the ground up. I've made changes in name and branding thanks to the wonderful professionals I was able to hire to keep up with these times.

But that same recipe is still used to create Aching Werx.

Filled with gratitude as I start this next incarnation and my Seventh Decade to return to my best life.

Right next to me is my beloved Fighter Fixer Salve/Weekend Warrior Balm/Aching Werx and Aching Werx Oil, as ever, soothing the aches and pains of life.


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