Sunday, November 15, 2015

The Forge: the Parable of the Marshmallow Roaster

YW was a field trip to President Wadsworth's forge. All the Young Women  made marshmallow roasters out of 1/4" square key stock.

This forge is fired with propane, so there isn't any smoke, and the forge comes up to temperature quickly.  The stock was inserted into the heat and hammered to form a point, cooled and the other end was heated several times and the handle was formed. Another heat and a decorative twist was made, another heat and it was straightened and peened with a wooden mallet to soften any sharp edges...

I don't know how meany heats it took to transform the plain piece of steel into a beautiful and useful tool, but President Wadsworth made it into a parable of sorts for the girls.

He told us all that the heating and pounding couldn't have been pleasant, if the steel could feel, but it was necessary to effect the transformation from plain stock to useful tool. 

In much the same way life's fires and pounding change and purify us, and help us to be changed into something beautiful and useful as well.


This was actually in 2014....I have to clear up the old drafts:

The blackberries are getting ripe.  This is a fun and novel state of affairs for me.  I know that is it silly in a way, and that possibly in a few years that blackberries will be as exciting as oatmeal and all that I will see is a thorny invasive weed.  

I know that his is likely to happen, but in the mean time I am enjoying having a hardy and natural growing berry patch.  It is human nature for the newness to wear out, but it hasn't happened yet.

Today Annie popped out of bed like toast and put on her walking shoes and out we went into the cool morning.  We had a nice walk, and towards the end as we were walking back we passed as scroungy patch of berries.  We walked on 

Pounding Iron

     Anvil and railroad car spring 

    Air powered trip hammer 

   Multitude of tongs and tools 

These pictures are almost a year old, and I have been both busy and remiss in getting anything posted, but this was a nice experience, and it should be shared.

This is Scott Wadsworth's shop. Annie and I went up to Roseburg last June and he gave us the two dollar tour.  This collection was what was once a railroad roundhouse blacksmith shop and forge. It is super well supplied with all kinds of tools.

One of the most impressive is the trip hammer.  Normally when you think of a blacksmith working, you think of a single guy with a 3 pound single jack.  But that wasn't the norm.  Most smithy's had at least two guys, one for the hammer and anvil, and once for the bellows and blower. When you attempt to forge weld a piece of iron, you have to bring it to a white, sparking heat - almost melted, then you smack it against the anvil to know of the slag and flux, place the pieces in position and smack them with the hammer.  This has to be done in about 3 seconds - literally, or the iron cools to bright yellow and it won't weld.  So it was really handy to have an extra person there to hold the pieces in alignment while the other guy smacks them.  The trip hammer is even better as it can strike harder and longer than the strongest guy.  

The roots on the Starck side go back to a blacksmith shop in Berthoud, Colorado.  Great Grandpa
Starck was able to keep the family afloat with farming and working beets, but Dad said that the basis for their success was the blacksmith shop.  I think it was Uncle Ted that was working at one for several years and came home one day to reveal that it was for sale.  Great Grandpa bought it and several of the boys went to work in it.

I thought you might be interested in it

Sunday, January 4, 2015

A Brand New Year- 2015

Our first celebration of Christmas and New Years in the PNW has come and gone.  Zipped right on by and left us on the spring side of winter (This is my own reckoning .  The astronomers say that December 21 is the First Day of winter, but I think that it comes on Thanksgiving or some years Halloween.  When it is cold and getting dark early - that is Winter.  The Winter Solstice is the First Day of Hope.  Not traditionally celebrated yet.  But I have hope.  :)  ).

We spent Christmas in Vancouver with Michael and Jenny and the kids. We had a great time with them.  The kids are full of energy and talent, and their home is filled with a spirit of cooperation and support for each other.  

On Christmas morning we got up and found all the kids at the top of the stairs, waiting obediently for permission to start opening presents.  Once permission was received, the party began - in a mostly orderly and surprisingly thankful frenzy.  They are sweet kids.  One of the things that impressed me is the presents that they made for each other- scarves, fingerless gloves, pillows - it was really sweet.  And maybe the sweetest part is when Jenny said that they did all this work on their own.  They procured the cloth and yarn, helped each other to sew and crochet presents for all their siblings. 

It was a restful time and we enjoyed our stay.  The house that they are renting is laid out much like their house in Colorado, and has the feel of both the Colorado and North Carolina houses, so we felt right at home.  The Wii got a lot of play, and I can see that we need to get one to keep the troops happy on rainy days.

 I left my SD card and all of the Christmas pictures with Mike, so I will have to have a short blog update when I get them.
New Years was shaping up to be a blockbuster busy hyper- celebration, with both Andrew's and Michael's family scheduled to come to Riddle, along with several Schofield families.  But Annie was struck down by the dreaded bronchitis bug that she has been so successful in avoiding since I retired. 

Even with the Life of the Party sleeping quietly for most of the day, we had a good time.  I think that we stayed up until 12:30 in 2015.  Their wasn't much loud laughter or light mindedness - mostly tylenol and cough syrup on New Year's Eve, but on NYDay she felt a little better and Andrew and Caren and kids came up at various times and we had a good visit.

 On a sadder note, Joe McNamara passed away on January 2, 2015 after a long illness. Joe is my sister's husband, and our thoughts and prayers have been and will be with her and her family.