If it were autumn, I'd be talking about the wood stove. But, the weather has for the most part broken, so except for an occassional evening fire to ward off a little chill, the stove is done. We have also managed to put by most of a winters worth of wood for next year.
No, the fire I'm talking about is coal and smoky with the smell of hot iron. About a month ago I found my long awaited forge blower. A Buffalo "Silent 200". Located practically in my back yard, it was well worth the $80 it cost me. Now the possibility of incliment weather won't stop me from forging metal. Back in the scrounged hair dryer days there was always the possiblity of electrocution in the back of my mind. Even though I've had it, my plate has been too full to do anything. Whenpeople start telling you about free firewood for next year, firewood becomes the priority.
Well, today Pelenaka asked me for a second closet rod in her closet. I thought there was a pair of closet rod brackets in the hell box, but, I sure as hell couldn't find them. The shop is full of scrap pipe and dowels, but, no brackets were going to mean a trip to work on my day off. Then I tought, "hey wait woods, there's I pile of quarter inch round stock in the scrap pile". So a couple six inch pieces, flaten out and shape leaves on the ends, crank them around the anvil horn. a little twist to the leaves made them stand out slightly from the wall. which allows for some bend in the 3/4" dowel rod. well it worked. Not as pretty as I would have liked. Shortly after the first leaf was shaped the fire didn't seem to do what I wanted. Either the metal seemed not to heat, or it was getting so hot it was burning up. Being the first fire I was coking off alot of raw coal. Later when the fire was out, I found a clinker the size of a golf ball. Biggest one I've ever pulled out of the forge. To those that don't know. A clinker is a big chunk of impurities from the coal. They all melt out and settle to the bottom of your fire. When they form the wreak all kinds of havok with your fire. Doing things just like happened to me today. Even worse when you are trying to weld, which becomes impossible. Maybe my next upgrade will be a comercial firepot with a clinker breaker. Then you use the breaker to bust up your clinker and then it falls though and out of the fire.
Or maybe, I'll figure out how to build one. I'm sure it was some blacksmith that built the first clinker breaker. Maybe I'll follow his lead.
I've pondered starting a second blog for some time now. I honestly feel as a country, no, make that a civilization, we have lost our moral compass. Part of the problem is how we define heroism. Those members of our society that deserve recognition as extrordinary. Somehow over the years we have come to look to wealth or fame as requirements to be a hero or heroine. Sorry to say in spite of a youth spent being forced to wacth "Lifestyles Of The Rich And Famous", Robin Leach has never shown me anyone worthy of being called hero. Also, while thier are many fine personalities in hollywood, and many strong figures in the sports world, many as shown by Tiger Woods and Jesse James aren't really worth the effort expended upon them by our society. So, I have decided to point out fine examples of heros from the past. Men and women in my mind worthy of the term.
So let me start with a fine example of what makes a hero in my mind.
I came accross Eugene Bullard several years ago. I had just watched the WWI epic "Flyboys". The movie had a character that was an african american pilot flying for the french. The world not being the friendliest place for people of color in the early 1900's, I had to know if this was a real person or just Hollywood taking liberties with history. A quick google search showed the truth. What I found was a man. I mean a manly man, One worth showing our son's as an example of what is great. A man who took cicumstances and made them suit him. Not letting circumstance control his destiny. Facing death with and danger with courage. Doing the right thing in spite of great odds. Later living life as an average person and dying in obscurity, largely forgotten to history for most of us.
I have to say, if I was fighting in the trenches or just standing on a street corner, Eugene Bullard was the type of man I'd prefer to have standing next to me.
I've just asked my librarian to get me his biography, "The Black Swallow of Death". I will come add more when I'm done reading. Until then you can read more on wikipedia