The great mudhole mystery part 2

So, we’ve gotten no closer to solving the mudhole mystery. We had these grand plans to dig a hole in the center to see where the water was coming from. Just one problem…

It rained like crazy the day before and everything was soaking wet. I was able to dig a slight ditch running to the existing swale and a ton of water ran off, but I don’t know if that was collected rain or something else.

This is what we are dealing with. Maybe on the next trip we will be able to figure more out.

The great mudhole mystery…

Since we got back from NYC we had a chance to get up to the farm for some work. We are just about ready to set the footing blocks for the cabin, which is really exciting.

But, we do have a bit of a mystery.

The area where we have cleared and graded for the new driveway is looking really good. Its about ready for the 175 cubic yards of crushed run…yeah a long driveway.

Most of it is cleared, graded, crowned, and looking pretty. But…..there is a very small section (about 10 feet across) that is always wet.

Leading up to it, and beyond that spot it will be dry as a crust. So dry that dust kicks up when you walk on it. Then, in a matter of two steps, you are up to your ankles in mushy mud. The soil doesn’t look any different than the surrounding terrain, there is no stream, ditch, or hole leading to it but it is constantly wet.

It’s not even in a low lying area, its almost at the top of the hill. I don’t know if that soil is packed too tightly and won’t allow rain water to drain, or if we’ve got a hidden spring.

There was no unusual plant growth around it to indicate a a marshy area…the ground is just wet.

I don’t have any photos of it yet because its been such a mystery that I keep forgetting to take some. Lol

The next trip up there will be dedicated to unraveling the mystery. The only solutions I can see are: dig a pond, install drainage tile, or reroute the driveway around it.

Anyway, happy farming and have a great week!

Everything and nothing..

I’ve waited a while to write another post as we’ve had a lot going on and yet nothing really happening.

Confused? Me too.

Maria and I had a great trip to NYC so that I could participate in filming an episode of Forged In Fire. 

I can’t talk about the show much as of now due to it not airing yet. I will let everyone know when it does in case you want to watch. I can say that it was a great experience and I would totally do it again.

We had a few extra days in the city and we were able to do some tourist type of things. Neither of us are big fans of cities, but Maria was sporting around like a local in no time. We did a lot of walking each day, ranging from 5 to 13 miles and saw a lot of cool things.

This is the beautiful view from our hotel room.

We got a great view of Ms Liberty from the Staten Island ferry.

At the 911 memorial we found the reflecting pools very touching and heart wrenching. There was also a couple nearby creating this really cool sand structure.

We also spent a full day at the Met. Marveling over the history, and the craftsmanship of everything displayed there. It was very humbling to know that these things were created long ago with only hand tools. 

I found a lot of inspiration in the armory section. The knives, swords, and firearms were amazing.

Anyway, we are home now. We’ve had one trip to the farm to work since then. That’s a subject for another post. 

Remember to watch Forged In Fire, not just for me, but for all of the talented smiths that participate.


We have had so much going with other things since we bought our land that things have been super slow getting the homestead up and running. We do just about have the driveway ready for the 175 cubic yards of crusher run to “pave” it. We have had to cut, and dig, and plow, and scrape to get 950 feet of 12 foot wide driveway cleared.

We have been holding off with trying to build ANY structure until we can get the truck all the way back to the building site. We are close now.

This week is the trip to NYC for my competition and filming for Forged In Fire. Once that’s done we should be able to work on the farm more than 2 days a month.

Its hard to believe that we technically got all that done in 8 days work. Even though those 8 days stretched over 4 months.

Once I get done with the show, it will be game on with the farm. Just a tad bit more compaction and then the gravel. And then, we can get some structures up.

Its way past my bedtime as I need to get up tomorrow, complete an order for some woodworking holdfasts that someone ordered today and then stress about New York some more.

We hope you all have wonderful week.


The pure joy of gravel…

With just over a week before we travel to the big Apple so I can compete on Forged In Fire, we have been busy preparing. I’ve been trying to get the shop cleaned and organized in the event that I make it to the final round. There’s a lot to making sure all of the welding tanks are full and that I have all the little supplies necessary to complete a mystery project.

Even with all of that AND both of us working full time, the work on the farm doesn’t end. 

We recently had a friend give us a 14 inch single bottom plow. That was a great gift and has already come in handy. Our first major project is getting a manageable driveway in place. Once that’s done we can start building our temporary cabin/work shed. We’ve got to get tools and supplies back to the work site.

Today we bought a 5 foot grader blade to help with that project and many more to come. We’ll be putting them both to work this Saturday.

Today, I had to give an interview by phone with a production guy for the tv show. He asked a ton of questions for over an hour.

One of the questions that he asked was “If you become the Forged In Fire champion, what do you plan on doing with the $10,000 prize?”

Without thinking, I replied that we need 175 cubic yards of gravel for our homestead.

He paused for a moment and then said “I don’t think I’ve ever heard anybody say something that specific. Normally its ‘take a vacation’, ‘make shop improvements’, stuff like that. Nobody has ever said 175 cubic yards of gravel” with a little laugh at the end.

I don’t know if he thought I was being funny or not. I wasn’t.

As I meet people, and they get to know me, they begin to realize that everything I do is for the homestead. Building that life and farm to create the life that Maria I long for is the end goal for everything.

Whether I’m weird because I get excited about tractor implements and 175 yards of gravel or not really doesn’t make much difference because I DO get excited about those things.

We hope that you all have a wonderful week, and hopefully we will have some photos this Saturday when we get that 1000 foot driveway all graded and ready for that gravel.

Take care and feel blessed,


18 Days until the competition and working on the farm..

As some of you may know I’ve been invited to compete on the History Channel show Forged in Fire. I’m super excited about it, but nervous as can be. I’m confident in my abilities as a Blacksmith and a Bladesmith. I’ve got alot of really satisfied customers…but this is a competition with a time limit, and some other unknown variable thrown in.

From what I’ve noticed by watching the episodes I’ve recorded over and over is that any of the smiths can beat any of the other smiths on any given day. It all really depends on who has a good day, and who has a bad day…I’m really hoping for a good day.

Maria and I did actually get the opportunity to talk with a guy who was on Season 2 of FIF…he helped relieve a good bit of the anxiety about competing, but then made another type of anxiety appear because it made it more real…that it’s really happening. LOL

All in all, we are both excited about traveling to NYC (not our first choice for a vacation spot) because neither of us have ever been. And this should be a fantastic experience.

If you’d like to check out some of the knives I’ve made, or if you aren’t into metal work and want to see some the best hand tie-dyed items I have ever seen pop on over to our Etsy shop for a gander:

Maria has a true talent with dyes and cotton…and I’m not just saying that because she’s the love of my life. Need proof? Slide on over there and check them out…you won’t be disappointed..

Ok…enough about that and on to the farm work…

We haven’t had a ton of chances to get up there to work, but when we do we tend to get alot done. We had a guy give us a single row, 14 inch bottom plow for the tractor and that’s been a big help with removing roots and small stumps. There are just SO dang many of them. Maria has been cutting brush like a fiend with the weed wacker/saw blade combo. We’ve got 1000 feet of driveway, and about 70% of the area where we’ll build the cabin/shed, barn, and eventually house. Now to figure out how to not have the driveway turn into a muddy mess. Things tend to start getting sloppy after a while. Gravel will be necessary eventually…ALOT of gravel. but once the small trees, shrubs, and briars are all cleaned up we’ll plant some rye to have a better root mat that we should be able to drive on. As of now, we can’t burn anything we’ve cut until after April 30. I know that isn’t that far away, but it’s piling up quickly.

This past week we also ran into a slight drainage problem..not huge..but there was apparently a pretty hefty rain storm yesterday and down by the creek there was some standing water in the bottom land and the creek had risen about 2 feet. It was still well within the banks, but it was swollen and rushing pretty well.


From the time stamp, you can see this was on the 29th…nice and dry…..


Same spot, same camera…only on the 1st…alot of standing water…we’ll see how quickly it drains..hopefully fast.


It’s a good thing my boots are water proof..LOL..

We hope that everyone has a great week as things start to green up for spring. Whenever they tell me the episode of Forged in Fire will air I’ll let everyone know..I’ll probably be shouting it from the roof tops…LOL..until the next post…..take care.


We humbly ask for your vote..

As some of you may know, Maria and I have an Etsy shop where we sell her hand tie dyed sewing projects and my hand forged knives and other metal work.

Etsy is having a contest this month to give away $10,000 to the shop that gets the most votes. The money is designated for small business improvement and we could step up our business greatly with a prize like that.

It doesn’t cost a thing to vote. You can vote for as many shops as you like, but only one vote per shop.

So, as the title of this post says, we are humbly asking for your vote. If you decide to help our cause and would be willing to share the link in a repost blog or any other type of social media we would be truly grateful.

Thank you for reading a nd following our blog. We are thankful for each and everyone of you. We all know that the greatest asset to a homestead is community. And this community is a true blessing.

We hope you all have a wonderful weekend.

Chad and Maria

The old girl is working well..

We finally got our old tractor up to the farm. I had confidence in her abilities, but had no idea that she would work as well as she does. In about an hour I was able to clear as much as it took us in 4 other visits.

She was running strong, and with the brand new bush hog deck from County Line products she was eating brush like mad.

We had a friend help us haul her up there and I felt bad for him because it was a 3.5 hour drive up and there wasn’t really anything for him to do while Maria and I did our normal clearing activities.

We didn’t stay that long to work that day because TJ (the friend) needed to get back to work the next day.

I did want to cut a little more but I unfortunately hit a pretty solid stump hiding in the brush and the shear pin on the pto shaft did what a shear pin is supposed to do. It sheared. Since we hadn’t brought our own truck with us, we didn’t have any spares meaning we were done for the day.

Notice the end of the pto shaft?

Tj being a trooper. He’s a great friend and really helped us out. 

So, we are going back this weekend with a pocketbook of shear bolts and really put the old girl through her paces. We hope that everyone has a wonderful weekend!


A little pre-work snow fun..

I know A lot of folks got some snow over the weekend and there are a ton more in the northeast that are going to get a blizzard in the next couple of days.

Maria laughed about the snow we got. We found it funny for a couple of reasons. One of them is that since is from Maine and I’m from Indiana this little dusting wasn’t really a concern as it seemed to others around here. The southeastern coast of North Carolina doesn’t get much snow at all so people have a tendency to freak out.

The other reason we found it humorous was that the local weather man was pretty adamant that we would only get some rain…not an inch of snow.

So, we had a little snow ball fight where I inadvertently whitewashed Maria on the side of her head when a snowball hit the side of the house as she tried to duck. She wasn’t mad because like I said, she’s from Maine and knows the rules and risks of the snowball battle.

I sure do love that woman! I have known that for quite a long time, but when she came home for lunch the other day, still dressed really nice in the dress that she decided on that day and walked through the back gate to where I was working in the forge. The reason I realized how much I love her is that as nicely as she was dressed, she came through that gate toting the two new front tires for the tractor that FedEx had dropped on the front porch. She is the best ever!!!!

So….my true love, my soul mate, my best friend and I are taking that tractor up to the farm in the morning and putting it to work…

We hope that everyone has a great day and be sure to let the ones you love know what they mean to you.


Tractor prep update..

In our last post I told you all about our new tractor.

We’ve got a little update on getting it ready for the farm.

Maria initially named her Debbie, but since we know someone named Debbie it was a little weird talking about her so we renamed her Darla (the tractor, not the friend lol) Deere.

We are still waiting on a couple of parts, the starter and muffler, but I got a lot done today. I removed and repainted a bunch of panels and brackets. I fixed and rewelded the linkage for the throttle. I installed a work light to the fender and wired it up. The battery cables needed a little love so they now look a lot better.

We took a ride to Tractor Supply today and drooled over the three point implements that are available. And then we picked up a few things for Darla. Some new locking pins, a towing shackle, a new top link for the three point hitch, and some cans of paint for her rattle can therapy. The paint alone has her looking like she’s ready for the county fair.

We have to borrow a trailer to get her up to the farm, so once we do we’ll have some photos of Darla in action.

We hope everyone has a great week.