Sunday, May 30, 2010

What Did You Do Today?

We went to church, and then I planted my garden... finally, and with the help of the Boyo. He's getting better and better as the years go by, and it was so much fun digging in the dirt with him, planting seeds that will feed us later on this summer.

Some people were camping and came to church today anyway. That is their tradition on this weekend.

Some people were BBQing with friends and family.

Some people travel. Some just party the weekend away.

I wonder how many of them thank a member of our armed forces, past or present.

I wonder how many of them go to the cemetery and visit the grave of one who has died for this country.

I wonder how many of them remember what the Memorial stands for this weekend.

Some people spent the day hunkered in full combat gear in the desert, under fire. Or sweating it out on patrol somewhere.

Or dying in the line of duty.

Many will spend the weekend away from festivities, BBQ's, picnics, and family. They are wearing uniforms and are tasked with the job of keeping our freedoms safe. They sacrifice so that those at home can continue to live free.

Thank you to those who remember. It was an honor to serve you.

Thank you to those who served. It was an honor serving with you.

Thank you to those who serve today. Giving me the freedom to work in the garden with my son.

Thank you isn't enough. But thank you.

Semper Fi

More Later

Friday, May 28, 2010

Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Don't Care

Yes, yes. Another political posting. Skip it if you want to.

They are finally repealing the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy for the military. Or at least getting around to it. As a former Marine I just have to say, it's about time!

When I served, gays were not allowed to, and women not allowed in combat units. Well, I was a combat field Marine, so I spent lots of time training to blow up the bad guys. The men and women (yep, we had a couple of them) in my artillery unit trained hard and became the best at what we did. When the subject of DA,DT came up, which was pretty rare anyways, it seemed like almost across the board we really didn't care about a fellow Marines status. It was a non-issue. We didn't care if the person next to us was straight or gay, male or female, black, white, asian, native american, purple. It just didn't matter. We were all camo green.

What mattered was if they would stand and fight when the time came. If you could depend on them to do their job and uphold the traditions of the Marine Corps. What mattered was that you knew that when the crap hit the spinning air mover, they would have your back and you would have theirs.

I'm almost certain we had a couple of guys who were gay in our unit. We didn't care. They were good Marines, and that's what mattered. We had a WM (woman Marine) who was in the Comm platoon (communications). She was an awesome Marine. Knew her job and did it very well. But when we had field training, she was not allowed to go with us because of her gender. Ironically, I think most of us felt that we would trade her any day for a couple of the other comm guys that were perpetually lost when it came to their jobs.

It is time for the military to accept those who want to serve for who they are. I am all for the UCMJ, and all for the traditions of my Marine Corps. Our policy was always "Don't Care, Just Do Your Job", and that worked great.

More Later

Friday, May 14, 2010

My First Forged Knife

Well, my first FINISHED forged knife at least! Second off of the anvil, but the first I am calling a learning experience! (Don't get the blade too thin, you've got nowhere to go!)

Anyway, here it is...

I know it isn't perfect. I can still see some marks I'd want to buff out if I were selling it. But this one is for my use to test the blade. I've got it sharp, but still need work on my sharpening skills. So I might take it to have a professional edge put on. Then I'll test the heck out of it and see how well the edge holds! That's always fun!

I have many ideas about future railroad spike knives. And due to the generosity of my mother-in-law, wife and kiddos, I have over twenty more railroad spikes to craft into knives!

Gotta go to work now.

More Later

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A Night at the Forge

Dad came up for another blackmithing class last night. It went very well! I decided to forgo the finishing of my tongs (as I can do these later) and started working on the classic beginners blacksmithing project of forging a railroad spike into a knife.

I got the basic forging done, hardened and tempered the blade and now have reached this stage...

(a before and after shot)

Now I can clean up the blade, do the final shaping and sharpen it to as close to a razor as I can! It's not jaw dropping great, but I'm pretty pleased with it for a first one! I'll be doing many more of these I think, as I had a ball doing this one!

Dad, in the meantime, completed his first tomahawk! He forge welded a piece of high carbon steel between a piece of mild steel that he had curved around, then tapered out the blade. Here it is just before we hardened it...

He's going to temper it next week, and our instructor had a piece of hickory that will make a fantastic handle. All in all a pretty impressive work! I think I may try one next week!

This blacksmithing thing is quite fun!

More later

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day

Today I am most thankful for the mothers who matter the most to me.

First is my wife, the mother of my kiddos. I am truly thankful that she chose me, chose to have kids with me. They are the light of my world, and without the Wife, simply would not be. Today we celebrated her!

Second, my own mom. Without her, I wouldn't be. Thanks to you Mom, for raising me with Dad. For the man I am today would have been much less without your influence.

Third, the mom of my Wife. Thanks for your amazing daughter. You must have done something right, because she's incredibly special. (And she obviously has good taste!)

Love to all of the moms out there. Thank you for being great moms!

More Later

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Blacksmith John

Turns out blacksmithing is a hoot! We've had four classes now, and they have all been instructional and fun. On the way there last time, we saw this...

A nice way to start the evening. Then it was on to class, where we made steel very hot and tried to form it into something.

I've spent the past couple classes making a set of tongs.

This is me cutting out the bad weld I made to try again. I'd like to say that it went great, but for some reason, I just could not get the two parts to stay together. After the three hour class was done, and I had fused those two pieces at least five times using various methods, I decided to just make the other half of the tongs out of a new piece of metal. It took about twenty minutes.

Next class I'll rivet them together and have my tongs! I also hope to start a railroad spike knife, as I have a great many ideas about making those! I'll show you one when I get one done.

That's about all for now...

More Later