Sunday, January 30, 2011

Union City is on the St Joe River, which is a good bow shot from my front porch. My wife Lydia, son Ryan, and I live in a farmhouse built in 1891, with our cat named Gabby and Saidie the dog. I spend my time mostly at work and when I can, in my workshop rebuilding tractors or old farm implements, making the occasional piece of furniture, or just thinking about the next project. My Dad started me on using old tools when I was about three, by giving me his worn out ones so I wouldn't use his electric drill to put holes in the yard. My brothers and I spent many a day augering holes in fence posts, trees, and of course the ground with an old brace and bit. We could have all the bent nails that we wanted and any scrap lumber that was lying around
was quickly stripped of bent nails, and after straightening the nails, converted into go carts, tree houses, boats, or whatever the three of us could think of.

I stayed with the old tools but I have bought a fair amount of "Tailed Devils" also. So now I build bigger houses and create bigger carts and boats. As the old saying goes "The only difference between men and boys is the size of their toys"

Depending on where the money was I've worked as an electrician, carpenter, welder, plumber, engineer, and manager. The skills I picked up from some of my different jobs have allowed me to play at all these things while someone else foots the bill. My favorite place to be is in a converted 2 story hog barn, no there weren't any hogs on the 2nd floor, that with stubborn determination, "No I won't burn it down, or tear it down it's mine d*mn*t", where I keep my
collection of old and new tools handy for the occasional use in restoring old tractors, creating toys, building hay wagons, restoring my 1946 Ford 3 Ton truck, restoring antique furniture, rock carving, blacksmithing, and in general fiddling around.

Blacksmithing is kind of the beginning and end of the circle. It takes me back to working with old tools like my forge, anvil, and post vice, while leading me on to new ideas and concepts of decorative artwork and the practical touches of hinges, hooks, and hardware for my woodworking projects.

I'll never be monetarily rich from the results of my blacksmith work, but my wife is proud to show the bird baths, trellises, and rustic artwork, both wood and steel, that I've made. Outside of family presents, my sister has sold a few things at her green house, so the respect I gain is well worth the time spent playing.

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