Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Ten Years After

Ten years ago this week, the New York Times came to Fur Peace to spend a weekend. Writer, Woody Hochswender came as a student along with his wife and his Father-in-law, who happened to be a retired editor from Playboy Magazine (he was very popular with the male students around the dinner table telling tales of Hugh Hefner...or Huge as he was known). Anyhow....we were thrilled to host Woody and felt so blessed by the interest of the Times. We had only been open for 5 years and were still finding our way around making it work.  If you are interested, you can read the archived article here: Picking the Blues In Southeast Ohio.
We really jumped in with everything we had, physically and spiritually and decided what worked as things presented themselves. No one had done what we were doing at that point. There were many facilities at that time that had taught workshops and they were all good.....but Fur Peace was different and our first year(s) students can attest to that. As it magically grew....so did we. The staff evolved as did the classes, the buildings, the grounds and the overall feeling....a feeling that you could not see. It was life changing.

So here we are, looking at our 15th season that we are now selling classes to. We recently created a new branch of Fur Peace called, The Fur Peace Ranch Center for Art and Culture in the hopes that we could present unique classes and opportunities outside of the music. Our first event under the new Center will be part of our lecture series with Writer and Publicist, Dennis McNally. Dennis McNally holds a significant place in contemporary culture. His book on Jack Kerouac and the Grateful Dead have been well read and he will dig deeper when he visits us at Fur Peace.  Look for the class... 
"What A Long Strange Trip It's Been", Dennis McNally reflects on life from Kerouac to the Dead.  So, if you have you ever wanted to attend the Fur Peace Ranch but don't play guitar or bass or sing, this is the class for you.

As the years have passed we have had many visions.....some worked, some we left behind. One of the more adventurous was our line of food products. The salad dressings were the first....we left those behind but not entirely. Dressings are a tricky thing to bottle. Having to use the winter oils really changed the flavor so we offered a cook book instead. I will say that Paul Newman and Newmans Own really has the market cornered. I felt that if I could get the dressings to taste like they did when we made them fresh, the competition was just too weighty and the marketing dollars needed back then were not available. That's not to say I won't try it again some day. We have splendid dressings that we serve at every meal.....with a new one  that was just created in house. But you have to come to the Ranch to try them. After one of our great meals, you can relax on the porch with a cup of one of our teas. We have three of them and they are all beyond delicious. I am partial to Earl Grey myself and rarely drink anything else. As distinct as Earl Grey tea is, ours hold true to that distinct taste. Jorma's Rhyhtm Tonic has a wonderful blend of Rooibus, Hibiscus Flowers, Rosemary, Cinnamon, and Star Anise. It is rich in anti-oxidants and great iced in the summer. John Hurlbut's Ras Hurl's  Blessings Tea is great for warming the soul. Our Ranch Manager, John Hurlbut, has been a long time fan of Reggae music and Jamaican culture. On one of his trips to Jamaica he brought back a wonderful Jamaican tea that you could only get on the island. So....he decided to get our tea lady, Maureen Burns from Herbal Sage Tea to make a blend that would capture the taste of this truly Jamaican herbal tea. John's love of Jamaica and the taste of his many trips there are the result of its unique favor. This Ital (natural) tea has no caffeine and is a very nice blend of Jamaican Sorrel and Ginger.

I think our most adventurous tea though has to be Israel Love's Super Girl Power Tea.
We wanted to market a tea that would appeal to kids but would not be exclusive to their taste buds. We really nailed this one as it is one of Jorma's favorites. Jorma recently posted on our Fur Peace Facebook page that  on Tuesday nights right before Sons of Anarchy comes on, a relaxing cup of this fine blend sets him up for an evening of male TV watching. So there you have....bikers/guitarists/Dads love it!

I think my musings here are reflective of  what it was like, what happened and what it is like today. I know...that's recovery speak but it is my life. Everything we have done and continue to pursue at Fur Peace is a gift of a life well lived, as Jorma is fond of saying. 

Go out and buy some of our tea and let me know if it get's that fire in your belly roaring so you can reflect on your own Ten Years After.......