Looking for a simpler life, but not too simple…

Building

Blacksmithing Class

Smithing has interested me ever since we interned on the farm in Albuquerque, NM, where it was introduced to me. I had the opportunity to stop and take a weekend-long blacksmithing class in Mineral Point, Wisconsin, last weekend while on our way to visit family in La Crosse. I love the uniqueness and the endless possibilities  of things you can make with smithing. Its a dying trade that not too many people know how to do anymore, since we live in the age of machines.

This was my teacher David Day. He has 18 years experience smithing.

Here are some of the things I made: a coat hook (top left) that I made frome a push rod out of a engine, a ornamental leaf (top right)which was made out of a 1/2in diameter piece of metal . and a pair of tongs custom fit for my hands. ( The tongs they had at the class sucked; I couldn’t hold any piece of metal tight with them.) I had so much fun, and learned so much about the dynamics of smithing and metal. I wish there was a way I could smith on the road. 😦 It is so simple but yet so complex at the same time. I have hopes of using my carpentry skills, and smithing skills together one day to make some really beautiful pieces of art. I can’t wait to have the chance to do it some more.


Fun with Friends

I just want to say sorry to all of my readers for neglecting this blog so long. There is just so many interesting things to see and do. We have been staying in Keatchie, Louisiana (about 40 minutes outside of Shreveport) for the past 3 weeks visiting one of my good friends and helping him with some things. We also got to jam on the djembe which was so fun. His dad, whom was one of my bosses from Vegas, lives right down the street from him. He was gracious enough to let us stay on his beautiful land with full hookups for the RV.

Drummers

The first weekend we were there we went to Mudbug Madness, which is a crawfish eating festival in downtown Shreveport. I have to say after having crawfish for the first time they were very yummy. Z was grossed out by the way they looked and didn’t have any. But he did take advantage of all the cool things to do there. He went in a “euro ball,” which is ball you get in and fill up with air and can run on top of water. He looked like a hamster in one of those balls. 😉 He also had the chance to try out one of those bungee jumping trampolines.

Mudbugs

Crawling Bobble

Bungee Bouncing

We just decided to leave Louisiana Friday and head back to Texas to meet up with some of our good friends that have just decided to buy an RV and embrace the RV lifestyle. We stayed at Martin Creek Lake State Park. It was a great park.

The only thing that weirded me out was swimming with the power plant in the background, and how warm the water was. Sara and Chris told us that the power plant uses the lake water to cool down the plant. And wouldn’t you know it when I got out of the water I had a fricken third arm! 😀

I helped Chris and Sara do a little remodeling to their RV and help acquaint Chris with his new home and all of the cool gadgets that come with it. I can’t wait to meet up with Chris and his family again.

Closet Recon

I’ll try to blog more frequently for ya’ll. Peace!!


Lovin Life

Let me recap what I have been up to since my last post.

I picked up some work in Gonzalez, Texas, doing some hardwood flooring in a RV, working on a couple of generators and siding a house. I finally had the chance to take Zeb fishing on the river close by. Within 20 minutes Zeb caught a sunfish but it was to small to keep, but you should have seen the look on his face reeling it in. 🙂 I caught a catfish but my line got snagged in the lily pads and broke. Damn, that one would have been a keeper too. The second day we didn’t have as much luck. Zeb didn’t catch anything but I caught a catfish again but it was too small to keep. At least I remembered the camera to take a pic.

IMG_8262

We left Gonzalez Tuesday and drove to Austin to stay at McKinney Falls State Park. We had a chance to check out downtown Austin. It was really cool, full of culture and small shops. Here is a pic of Zeb on his first bus ride.

First Bus Ride

From there we made our way to Waco, Texas, for a pit stop at Walmart for the night. Thursday we went to a unschooling park day in the Dallas area. Zeb and Tara had a lot of fun, but I on the other hand had fun day full of fantastic allergies. Here is a pic of Zeb and Tara on the rope swing at the park.

Zeb Swinging 2

Tara Swinging

Now we are in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area visiting with some old and new friends.


Forging

Yesterday I went over to Chris’s dad’s house to help work on some gates for a few of the openings I Installed. I didn’t know he is a blacksmith. This is something that I am so interested in learning. When I arrived he said that we have to make some hinges to hang the doors on. So we went to the table he made out of fire brick with a hole cut out of the center and a cast iron bowl in place. The bowl also has a hole in the side where he has a hand cranked fan to push air into the coal, making it super hot.

Here is a pic of the hand cranked fan.

Interested

This is Scott getting the steel hot enough to bend.

Forger

After a while you have to add water to the surrounding coals around the pot to keep the fire contained.

Wetting The Coals

This is Scott bending the steel.

Strong Enough To Bend Iron

On the anvil Scott has holes drilled to put misc tools on. This one is the cutter, its used to cut the steel you are working with.

Strike While Its Hot

I’m hoping in the near future Scott will let me try my hand at forging. It is very intriguing.


Ironwood Farm

This is such an exciting place to be with so many learning opportunities. Since we arrived last Thursday I have: finished building a chicken coop, built fencing, installed gates, fed sheep, pigs, goats, cows, chickens, and our self’s with all the yummy food they have here. And I have also learned a bit of Spanish from one of the interns from Peru. Her name is Julie; she is really nice. I finally milked a cow and a goat for the first time.

This is me helping Z with the boat he made on irrigation day. I had to rake out tons and tons of leaves from the irrigation canal that day; I was pooped. We had to open up different canals from up to a 2 miles away to get water to the fields we seeded.

Help From Dad

Here are some shelf’s I made out of spare doors Chris had laying around:

This is the adobe floor I helped with and sealed:

Handmade Adobe Floor

I think this is my next project I am going to tackle. Its a corn sheller. As you can see it needs a little TLC.

We went to a local bar for St. Patty’s day were Chris was playing some Irish tunes on his guitar. The bar had some awesome beer by the way.

Falling Into The Music