The blacksmith may be not on every corner these days, but he is alive and well at my twinsters’ ranch in Green Mountain Falls, Colorado. Her son, Joseph, was taught the art of blacksmithing years ago. He learned this skill well from the master smithy at Rock Ledge Ranch in Colorado Springs, CO. A beautiful tourist attraction for those interested in the history of the farming folks that settled the area.
He began in the shop as a teenager, and now, well into his 20’s he is accomplished in this art/trade. He was asked to make flower crooks for his sisters wedding this past June. With the help of his Virginian cousin (who is a greenhorn), they crafted twelve beautiful flower crooks. Two of these lovely pieces of hand-wrought crooks made their way back to my gardens here in Virginia.
It took all afternoon to make these pieces of art. Yet, I did not tire in watching these two smithies craft plain steel bars into lovely pieces of useful art. Joseph was teaching Gordon as they were making the crooks. It was fascinating, and even this Primary Farm Operator was learning a few things! In fact, Joseph being the fine teacher he is, let this ‘ole PFO have a few whacks on the anvil! What an amazing song is sung with the hammer on the anvil!
In addition to teaching us the craft of blacksmithing, Joseph also shared some interesting and fun sayings used in our daily talk that is attributed to this craft:
“Knock the daylight out of it.” A term used of the master blacksmith to an apprentice. To take a bend out of the metal the apprentice would place the bend upwards on the anvil—and hit it. This straightens the metal and removes the daylight between the metal and anvil. So, in other words—‘Straighten Up!”
“Too many irons in the fire.” A reference to having too many pieces of metal in the fire, which could cause some of them to burn because of too many.
“Loose your temper.” Tempering is a process of metal. After hardening it, it is tempered to make it a good balance of hard and flexible. If the temper is lost, so is the usefulness of the piece.
“Strike while the iron is hot!” That’s a blacksmiths life.
“It has a nice ring to it.” Refers to the sounds a good anvil makes when struck 🙂 !!
The beautiful finished crooks!
Here is a beautiful poem written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow for your enjoyment: The Village Blacksmith
Thank you, Joseph, for your time, talent, teaching, and contribution to this blog post.
Homemade is Best!
Be it food or metal!
Know the farmer and the Smithy! 🙂