Family day at the farm…

Maria and I had the pleasure of having my Dad and Step mom come down from Indiana for the weekend. We spent a great day at the house in Wilmington on Saturday, and then today we drove up to the farm. They hadn’t seen it yet and we wanted to give them the grand tour.

We went for a stroll around the property and explained what the plans were for each area. Yes, I know that grass near the creek needs mowed…next trip. We all took home a couple of ticks each from that grass, they seem to be starting early this year.

Those photos above are Maria and I leading the way down to the creek, and me and my Dad (Mike) discussing the bottom land while my Step mom (Rose) just enjoyed the view.

I guess Maria likes to take pictures of two old farmers talking, lol.

I explained how the creek is formed by three natural springs within a mile of our property and how the water is always cold, even in the summer. I dipped out a little in a soda bottle so they could feel it.

Then, of course, we had to pose for the camera.

🙂

We then headed back up the hill to the homesite. The folks wanted help out a bit with construction so we hung the rest of the tar paper on the walls. I wanted to finish sheeting the roof and paper it, but it was VERY windy today and I really didn’t want to be on that roof holding a loose sheet of plywood and have it turn into a kite. That bit had to wait.

I did have to move Darla Deere (our tractor) so we could move the ladders around. Maria decided to take a little spin with me. I am continuously impressed with that 33 year old tractor. We shade started it in 2 months and it fired right up like a brand new model.

So, it was a great day. The weather was beautiful (other than the wind gusts) we got to bond with the parents by doing a little homestead construction. Then after a wonderful meal at a local buffet (that included fresh banana pudding that was still warm!), the folks went on up to Alta Vista to spend the night and head back to Indiana.

We were sad to see them go, and can’t wait for them to come back to see what we’ve built next.

We all hope that you have a wonderful week!

Chad

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The love of my life..

I wanted to shift gears from my normal rambling on our blog. I normally go on and on about the farm, or knives, or our business and I want to tell you about someone very special.

I’m normally the one who writes the blog posts, so naturally it comes from my point of view. Tonight I want to share my point of view about my lovely Maria.

8 years ago I met the most beautiful woman I had ever seen. We were both living in a semi crappy apartment complex. I was standing out front of the building talking with my upstairs neighbor and along comes this gorgeous woman walking her meat head dog (who I really love now, lol) She knew my neighbor as well and stop to chat. Josh (the neighbor) introduced us, and I was smitten.

I went home and thought about it for a bit and decided that I really wanted to ask her out. But, being a bit shy, I didn’t want to go straight to her apartment to ask. I felt like this would come off as looking really creepy. So I did the next creepy thing. I left a business card with my number on it on her door. She did call, and I asked her out, thank God she agreed.

Our first date was a bit different. I took her to a nice Irish restaurant for dinner and as we were talking I told her just about every stupid and embarrassing thing I had done in my life. She was gracious and compassionate when I spilled my guts.

She told me later on that when a friend of hers asked about the date she said “I found either a lunatic, or a gem.” I am very thankful that she decided to give me a shot.

We began to spend more and more time together. I then realized that I was the one who found a gem.

Our relationship over the past 8 years hasn’t been all summer shine and unicorns. We’ve had fights as all couples do. Some were pretty big blowouts. But we worked through them.

We both realized that we like to do the same things. We both love to be outside, and to make things. We also seemed to have the same sense of humor.

We ended up starting our business together, buying some land, and just last year we were married.

I am now married to my best friend. I can’t imagine doing all that I do with anyone else. She is absolutely amazing!

She’s kind, gentle, caring, nurturing, and beautiful to boot. She can be a girly girl, but then get to work and clear about an acre of heavy brush with a heavy duty weed whacker in just under an hour, not kidding, I’ve seen her do it!

She is looking forward to the homestead plan as much as I am.

Sometimes, when work schedules have me going up to the farm alone, she is the one who runs everything around here. I couldn’t do anything that I do without her. She is the glue that holds this whole operation together.

She embraces my hair brained plans and experiments and allows me to work on projects without judgement or criticism. Did I tell you how amazing she is?

Recently when I had to have all of my wisdom teeth removed, I sang her praises while under the influence of the laughing gas. So much so that the dentist said that she was going to go out to the waiting room and tell Maria what I thought of her. I also told the dentist that I had a dream in which Maria and I were in the movie “Smokey and the Bandit II” not 1 or 3, but 2. In the dream I was Burt Reynolds and she was Sally Fields. Lol, but that’s a whole different story.

Anyway, I just wanted everybody to know a little more about the love of my life. The person that I can always rely on and the person I respect and appreciate more than anyone I’ve ever met.

My lovely Maria

I hope that you all have a wonderful week, and show the one you love how much you appreciate them.

All the best,

Chad

Loving progress, even with a slight setback..

We had a fantastic day at the Old River Farms Spring Festival on Saturday. We met some really nice folks, sold a few of our creations, and had several people express interest in blacksmithing classes. It was a long day, but the weather was beautiful and there was a good sized crowd.

As soon as we broke down our vendor set up and got home, we unloaded all of that and reloaded the truck with our farm gear and supplies. I then got some sleep and headed north to our farm on Sunday.

The plan was to get the walls sheeted and wrap the entire building with tar paper.

Of course, things didn’t go quite as planned. When I arrived I noticed that something seemed, off. Then I realized that about 3/4 of the plywood I had put on the roof was missing. Apparently there had been quite a storm while I was gone. Once I located the sheets of plywood, I realized that the ones that had come off were the ones that I nailed down vs using screws. When I was finishing that project on the last trip, I had run out of screws and had them temporarily nailed in place. Those nails didn’t hold.

So, to add to the plan, I had to go back and re sheet the roof.

This wasn’t as bad as I initially thought it was going to be, but it was added work.

I did get the walls all sheeted. I also got all three windows installed as well as the door.

These photos show as I got the walls done, but you can see the sheets of plywood scattered in the brush where the wind had peeled them off and sent them sailing. Most were in good condition, but 3 sheets were damaged and couldn’t be used. I had to cover the roof with a tarp to keep the rain out and will have to complete it on the next trip.

Here it is as it stands now:

So even with a little setback, I was still able to make some great progress. Next trip ill have the roof finished out and start to tin the roof.

We hope that you all have a wonderful week!

All the best,

Chad

Come see us!!!

This Saturday, April 21st we will be vending at the 6th annual Spring Festival at Old River Farms. They are located at 8711 Old River Rd, Burgaw NC.

It should prove to be a good time for all. There will be great food, and music.

Come on down and see us for some great tie dye and smithing items.

The weather looks to be beautiful and there will be tons to do for the kids.

So….come on down!!

All the best,

Chad

Loving what we do..

Occasionally I get an idea in my head for a knife, or any project really. Once that happens, it won’t go away until I can bring it to fruition.

The other day, I had an idea to make an old style Howie with a brass strap on the spine. Supposedly, the purpose of this was for fighting purposes. The softer brass on the spine could potentially help you grab an opponent’s blade and disarm them. Whether that works or not, I have no earthly idea, but it looks cool.

The big challenge was securely attaching the brass to the steel. It has to be a functioning knife, not his some silly wall hanger.

To accomplish this I cut a sharp, narrow fuller along the spine of the knife and then folded the brass around it. Pounding it down tight, causing the brass to form to those channels.

I used 5160 spring steel fore the blade, and curly maple with a slightly charred finish for the handle.

Maria and I always enjoy a good challenge. This definitely turned into one, but that’s half the fun of smithing is figuring out how to turn ideas into items.

We hope you all have a wonderful week.

All the best,

Chad

OH, to have a hot shower…

Hey everybody, if you’ve been following us for any amount of time, you will know that we now have the roof sheeted on the cabin. The next step is of course, walls, door, windows, insulation..etc.

However, I am always trying to think and plan at least 2 steps ahead. After the last weekend, I have been thinking about a shower set up.

We don’t have running water or grid electricity out there, so water supply will be a refillable tank and power is a generator.

I’ve been thinking about building an elevated stand for the tank, installing a 12v pump, and a tankless propane water heater. There will be a half wall for a bit of privacy, but it will be essentially an all outdoor shower.

I normally try to wash up with cloth and tub after a long days work, but when you are that sweaty and dusty there is nothing better than a nice hot shower.

Right now its all in the planning phase, but I have high hopes.

If anybody has any pointers or suggestions, please feel free to throw em at me!

All the best,

Chad

A little more progress and being tired!!!

We finally got back up to the farm this past weekend, I realized that it had been since December that we’ve been up there. Dealing with the day job and the wisdom teeth issue (completely headache free since then, btw) and being generally busy made it tough. And I missed it terribly.

Anyway. I got up there early, put down some old carpet for the road bed, and made a lumber run. I got all of the 2x6s necessary for the trusses, and the plywood for the roof.

I was able to unload and mark all the boards by the time Maria arrived. She and I set up an assembly line of sorts and had them cut in what seemed like no time. Then we started building trusses.

We started hanging them one at a time as we built them. That was a very slow process, even with two of us.

There’s my girl, she really likes to take farm photos with the selfie angle. Lol

That guy in the back almost looks like a cowboy with a drill instead of a six gun…hmm

Late in the day, Maria had to return home. So after that I was on my own. Then things got difficult.

I continued to build trusses, but instead of hanging them one at a time I built them all and just set them up. Then I went back and stood them up, braced them and then secured them. It was still slow but it seemed more efficient for one person.

At the end of the day I was 3/4 done and I was absolutely exhausted. I crawled into the camper and passed out. After about 11 hours of sleep, I got up, had a fantastic breakfast (as usual when I’m cooking at the farm) and did some stretching. I then got back to work.

I finally got the rest of the trusses up and secured. The real fun began after that!

If you’ve never sheeted a roof by yourself, and you’re looking for a challenge…then give it a try. I’ll be perfectly honest, it whipped my ass!

I did get it done, but wow, was I tired!

I closed up the camper and packed up just around dark. I then made that 3.5 hour drive back to the beach. And that was a job in itself.

I spent the next couple of days at the day job pissing and moaning about how sore I was. But at home in the forge I was able to make my first friction folder. I’m pretty proud of how it came out. Its got a 4.5 inch blade and a leopard wood handle.

There she is, prior to finishing the handle. Its all sanded, it just needs to be oiled.

Anyway, this one ended up waaaay longer than planned.

As always, we hope you have a great week! And hopefully a week and a half from now we will have the cabin dried in! Yay!!

All the best,

Chad