Universal slap upside the head..

If you’ve been following along with us, you know that I’ve been contemplating a career change as we look to make the move to the farm (at some point).

I explored a few possibilities, but came back to teaching blacksmithing. As I said before, I had a friend ask me months ago about it and I kind of put him off. But it kept coming back to me. I then started seriously thinking it out. I was worried about whether or not I would have any other students than just him.

Then, the other day, I was grading a training exercise when another co-worker who works in another divisionof came up to me and said ” My 18 year old son watches Forged In Fire religiously, and now he thinks that you are some kind of celebrity now, and was really excited when I told him that I know you”. Then he delivered that universal slap upside the head by saying ” He really wants to learn how to be a blacksmith and would love to learn from you, just let me know what you would charge and I’ll pay for it”.

Well, if that wasn’t a sign then I don’t know what is.

So, I’ve got the majority of the paperwork in order, put together a lesson plan for the first basic class, and ordered a few small supplies.

I will hold that first class with 2 students. When, I don’t quite know yet, but soon. I have decided to pick up a couple more anvils. Even if, for some weird reason, I don’t keep teaching, I can still use the anvils.

I decided to go with the NC Tool company for the anvils. I can pick up two 77 pound anvils for just under $500

There are a number of brands out there, some good, but some bad. The main point I look for is steel vs cast iron as they stand up to abuse better and have a better rebound.

My current anvil is a NC Tool company “Cavalry” model at 112 pounds. I am super impressed with that joker. I have beat hot steel on that thing for hours on end, including using a 10 pound sledge hammer with a 12 inch handle (don’t ask, but good luck swinging that beast one handed for long!)

That’s my everyday shop buddy!

So, just a little more equipment to acquire and then I can get the show on the road. Slowly, but rolling.

So I guess thefarm point, is that sometimes, even when things seem off track, there can be a sign so obvious that can walk away with a concussion if you don’t see it coming. I didn’t see mine coming, but I’m aware of it now.

Hope you all have a beautiful week!


Evaluating the next step.

Awhile back I posted about a possible career change and making that leap. I had thought about possibly going to Auctioneer school. I’ve always been fascinated with auctions and that chant. The problem that I’ve come up with is that even with the lessons and exercises provided, I just might not have the aptitude for it. And you know what? It’s ok.

I’ve been doing a lot of personal reflection lately. Involving thought, meditation, prayer, and personal honesty.

I really believe that it is time for me to move on from my current career. At the time that I started it and for the last 13 years it was a good career. Overall it still is, however, it’s also a career that is dangerous and stressful. It is one of those careers that if your heart and head isn’t in it 100% then you can become a liability to yourself, and your workmates. My head is still there and I’m in the prime for performance, but my heart isn’t in it anymore. Before I become a liability and make things more dangerous I think it is time to move on.

The Auctioneer route was a thought, but my skill set doesn’t really mesh with that. I realized that my first step is to take stock of my strengths and skills. Here is the basic list:

1. Leader (currently supervising now)

2. Teacher (also currently doing that now as an FTO “field training officer”)

3. Blacksmith

I was discussing these strengths with a good friend and he suggested I teach blacksmithing. Wow, talk about a lightbulb coming on! I like teaching, passing the knowledge and experience that I have on to others to help them succeed has always been an enjoyment.

So I have been studying some and exploring the possibility. This seems very viable. Its also very portable so moving to the farm wouldn’t really disrupt things.

The issues I have to work out are:

1. Lesson plan.

2. Creating different classes to offer for further skill levels.

3. Advertising.

4. Pricing.

5. And the biggest, just starting.

I have another friend who actually asked me a few months ago if I offer instruction. He has been curious about the craft for awhile and after seeing me on Forged In Fire he started asking. At the time I told him that I hadn’t really thought much about it. I think that once I develop my plans I’ll teach him some for free and let him be an evaluator for the class plan. The advantage to this is that I know he will give me an honest opinion and critique.

I’m definitely going to give this one a lot more thought and Introspection, but I really like this idea. The most difficult hurdle is pricing for instruction. I would keep classes small (4 students at a time, max) so that each student gets the necessary attention.

This feels right. Not 100% convinced yet, but that could also be the anxiety of making that big career jump.

Who knows? If anyone has any input on lesson plans, pricing, or anything else, I welcome all comments.

The safety and liability side of it has been figured out, now I just need to figure out the rest.

All the best,


P.s. I don’t normally write two posts in a day. Sorry if I seem a little chatty. Writing seems to help me process things in my head.

Creating a park and some sneaky #$@%&* deer..

We had a good weekend of work on the farm this trip.

We had been wanting to get a “road” cut down to the creek. The brush is thick everywhere on the property, but just at the bottom of the hill to the creek it gets particularly heavy. The trip before last I had cut a road with the bushhog and chainsaw down to the creek. The terrain down there is much different than the rest of our property. The soil is comprised of more sand than clay and the vegetation is different as well. When the logging company came in and stripped the parcel a few years before our purchase, they couldn’t log within 30 yards or so of the creek because of that soil. The good side to that is that the trees there are bigger, creating a heavier canopy and preventing the briars from taking over. Because of that, between the trees was mainly just tall grass. Once that road was cut, I couldn’t really maneuver the big tractor and bushhog around down there. And that tallare grass was a tick haven!

Anyway, we took our normal suburban riding lawnmower this trip. Maria turned into a slalom, road course driver and mowed all over that bottom land. The amazing thing is that when she was done it looked like a park! We joked that we should open it up as a small campground.

How nice is that?

Now we can use and enjoy this area without being carried away by the ticks.

Now to those dang deer…

Sunday I spent all day driving Darla (our John Deere tractor, Darla Deere) I continued to rip out roots and stumps in the house/barn area. Then, I decided to run the cultivator down the driveway again before I packed up to head back. I really want it to be as smooth and well groomed as possible before we start spreading gravel. Well, after moving dirt with the rake, I swapped out for the grader blade to smooth it. It was really looking good.

Once I got that done, I went to take a little break in the camper (ok, the air conditioning, lol). I was only in there for about 20 minutes with the generator running. I then decided to take a walk, get some good photos and then start shutting down and locking up.

When I walked out to the driveway and started taking photos, I happened to look down and saw a fresh deer track! I was 40 yards away with the generator running!

It wasn’t very big, but geez…you talk about sneaky!

Broad daylight, me nearby, engine running….and that deer tip toeing by. Next trip I’m putting the game cameras back up. I’m super curious now!

We hope you all have a good week.