Thank you dear readers, for being patient. It has been an eventful winter. Spring is shaping up to be even more eventful. The shop has been re-tooled somewhat, and the process is ongoing. Our side business has now become our full-time endeavor. Martens’ and Sons LLC is now licensed and operating. We have had some interest in our coathooks and are going to start another run of production. Our Yule season was very productive. We made many presents and gifts to give to our relatives. We also received gifts for ourselves and I will show you some of them below.
We were sick for the entire duration of Yule. In a way that I have come to expect during the past year, nothing has gone quite as planned. What I have learned most, is roll with the punches. Life is a far more endurant boxer than I am. I will not go into detail on our symptoms, however if you have had a bad case of the flu, you are in the ballpark. We also had a few things go wrong.
The pump stopped working during this time. Fortunately we got that running again with a new capacitor and pressure switch. I try to do most things on my own, sometimes you have not the tooling or skills and knowledge to deal with certain problems. Especially where modern wells are concerned. We had to re-run some plumbing in the house and install a larger filter for sediment. We had to repair and replace a dryer and washer respectively. During all this time we have been well fed by my wife Alex and our oldest daughter Isobel. Isobel wanted to make a few gifts this year for the Christmas time celebrations. She purchased some kits to build wind chimes and painted them. When she assembled them and looked at her list, she realized she was short a few wind chimes for some notable members of her list.
We had some lumber and stain already, we got ourselves a piece of copper tubing and some outdoor thread. This was a spur of moment project but despite the illness we managed to complete them. Isobel put in a lot of hard work, and the effort shows I believe.
We also had to cut our tree and trim it. We have had a tradition for three years now of cutting our own living tree, and watering it. With the arrival of the new year we burn up the tree and thank it for biding with us for the darkest time. Sometimes we get letters from the elves and respond to those.
The forge was not idle this entire time. I worked a coil spring into straight 7/8″ round bar for different tools and weapons. I have made some small tools like a nail header and a drawknife. Yet, I also have not run it much. Winter was an icy, wet time this season. There was a lot of feasting this year, which has been needed. Snuggling was had as well, which also was needed.
I like building fire in the winter, when it is wet and cold. A fair bit of time was spent on cutting encroaching brushwood this winter. Our tiny bit of farmland is valuable to us. We filled in the old charcoal pit some with the ashy remnants of this wood. Other bits were burned over our garden area to reduce the grass to root nubs and add nitrates. It has already been growing back despite the cold. I hoped in winter to have the hills flattened and receiving raised beds before March. We managed to accomplish our raised beds in the month of March. Fortunately we have a long growing season here. They are all full and seeded. I may do an article on them in the future.
It is now the middle of April. How much time has passed. I have missed writing for you. In the intervening time, I have not been idle. While we have been taking care of family affairs, we have expanded our goods a little. We made a trip to the local Tandy Dealer, which is Fred’s Leather, in Lake City. They are really wonderful people. They also sell leather goods too, as well as all kinds of things from Tandy.
We have belt orders in progress. If one of you would like to purchase one, send us an email. we can get measurements. While we are working away Monday to Friday, we have lots of work on the list at present. We may not get to you right away!
In addition- we have done a lot of work to the smithy. I wanted to show a few highlights. First, we built a new, more portable hearth, or forge. This is the box where we build our fire and heat our work.
Also I welded up a new anvil. This one was constructed from semi-truck leaf spring material. It was cut, welded, and ground. It came with an injury bad enough to go to the emergency room. Perhaps I will tell that entire story another day. Suffice to say, while the anvil is not entirely complete, it is serviceable. Even in the tool’s unfinished condition I have managed to do some nice work. Steel is superior to cast iron in every way. While I was given some council about having “dead spots” in my anvil; that is, areas with no rebound. I am happy to say, this has not been the case. This little thirty pounder rings quite beautifully.
The hearth and anvil have done wonders for my peace and happiness. Working on better equipment makes work feel light. When it has all been made by your own hands, it feels even better.
Thank you for your patience, dear readers. I hope to write again to you soon. Until then, fare well where ever you go.
P.S. I said I was going to show some gifts! Here are a few photographs:
This was my wife’s birthday present. It was a much older knife, made by my brother and I. After it sat and rusted for awhile, I thought Alexandrea would like it. I cleaned and finished the forging. I got two knives from it, but only finished this one so far.