My name is Arnold and I am a German woodworker. I live in a small house in the Erzgebirge region of Germany. I have a wife and four children, ages three through sixteen. My wife is a hard worker and she awakens each morning at the crack of dawn in order to prepare the house for the upcoming day. My children all have household chores that they must do each day. All but one attend school at the local schoolhouse. My three-year-old daughter is too young to go and thus, she stays with my wife and me in our home. My wife's name is Angelika and my children, all of whom are girls, are Brigitte, Emma, Kirsa, and Juliane. I had always wanted a boy to pass on to him my skill of carving but alas, I received four girls. None are interested in learning to make the German items but I love them all, nonetheless.
My specialty is German smokers, though I also create nutcrackers, figurines, and ornaments. The smokers are my favorite since I can use my imagination endlessly and tirelessly. It seems they are always on my mind, and I will get a sudden spurt of inspiration for a new and strange design wherever I go. For this purpose, I keep a huge list in my pocket of what I want to create, constantly adding and detailing ideas before they ever come to existence.
Each day I awaken at approximately five in the morning. Since my wife is already up by this time, we spend a few moments together before our day starts. We are so busy with the children and work the rest of the day that we hardly have time to say hello. Thus, the mornings are a perfect opportunity to spend time with one another. Angelika then leaves to do her shopping for the day's food supply.
I begin my work in the back shed. I first check my list of "smokers to create" and decide which one I feel inspired to make. Then I take a block of wood large enough for the destined size of the German smoker. I begin whittling away at the wood, keeping in mind the dimensions. Today my theme is a waitress smoker. I first carve out her hat and then define her face. Then I move on down to her arms and shoulders, leaving room to add on some accessories, and then to her legs. I leave a base underneath her feet so that she is standing on a piece of wood instead of the ground. In her left hand I carve out her hand that is holding a glass of beer and in the other, I slowly create a small bowl with some potatoes and a whole chicken within. I hollow out a part of the bowl for the incense to burn through. Every smoker has a route for the smoke to escape, and for this one I thought it would be clever to have the incense burn through the food, as if it is steaming hot. Then I smooth out the wood using a special sanding tool. As of now, the smoker does not look like much; it lacks the paint that brings it to life.
It is basically just a shape, a human shape with some objects in its hands. I take out the paint set and then I make her braids blonde. I give her hat a feather by actually using a real, small bird feather. Her blouse slowly becomes white, while her vest remains a vast arraignment of colors: red, black, yellow. Her skirt remains the natural wood color but her apron is a maroon color with a white lace trim on the bottom edge. The bowl that she carries is blue, with a white flower design on the side. The potatoes are white and the chicken, brown. The stein is a gray color and just to give it a more realistic touch, I add some white foam to the top. I give her white stockings and black shoes and I keep the base that she stands on in natural tones. Her face is the last touch, dark brown eyes and eyebrows, a petite nose, and small red lips upturned in a smile. She is finished at last, the product of my vivid imagination.
I usually complete about two projects each day but today is a short day. My daughter, Juliane, is turning six today. We are celebrating her birthday in one hour, which leaves me enough time to go back to the house and wash off the day's sweat and grime. I close up the shed and make my way back to the house using the small pathway between the two buildings.
My wife is already hard at work, cooking and baking for the small party. She is a talented cook and makes delicious, hearty meals every day. As I walk through the kitchen, the smell of beef and barley soup is intoxicating. There is a fresh loaf of bread baking in the oven and also the birthday cake. My children arrive within two hours and they quickly change from their school uniforms into more comfortable attire. All come into the kitchen and take their seats at the table. After we sing to Juliane, we eat and enjoy each others company.
Juliane is beaming and loves having all our attention on her. She blows out her candle, in the shape of a small lamb, and then opens her gifts, a small notebook and pen from her sisters, a pretty dress from mom, and finally, a mini cow smoker from me - for this German incense smoker. She squeals with excitement and gives us all hugs. The children help with clearing the table and then are dismissed to do their homework. Angelika and I breathe a sigh of contentment as we finish cleaning. We make our way to bed and then tuck in the girls, one by one. After that, we fall into bed, exhausted but satisfied that we were able to spend yet another day with our precious family.
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