Kayaking and Blacksmithing...

I've been looking into getting a kayak for about 6 months, and finally went ahead.  I got a 10 ft. Sit on top Pelican from REI last weekend.  My only prior experience was falling off of one during some rough seas at a friend's river cottage, so I was basically brand new at it.

Step one was to navigate around my dad's pool.  Did four or five laps without tipping.  So far so good.

Next step was the 5 acre pond.  Made it all the way around without falling out!  I'm off to a good start.  This weekend I'll practice in the pool, falling out and trying to climb back in.  We'll see...

I think this will be a fun hobby, and help me in my quest to get back in to some kind of shape.  I'm off on Friday's during the summer, so I foresee a couple of pond laps in the kayak followed by a hike with a pack around the pond on the horse trail for some cross training.

The other thing I've done recently is get my smithy set up.  You've seen the anvil I got at auction a month or so ago.  A friend gave me an old forge table and hand crank blower, along with some tongs and a hammer.  His family farm dates to the 1850s and these had not been touched in decades.  Another friend gave me an identical blower.  Both blowers were rusted and would not turn.

My brother came over this past Sunday and helped me get one of the blowers going.  We cleaned it up, rewelded the legs, and oiled it.  Works like a charm.  Then we loaded the forge table and carried it over to his house where we reattached some parts with rusted out bolts and put new brackets on the fire pot because it was almost completely unsupported.  Both are good as new now.

I found a log round that is the perfect height for the anvil and have the table and blower set up right where I want them.  I picked up some flexible vent tubing today to run from the blower to the forge.

I got a shipment from Amazon today with a leather apron, hammer, welding gloves, and a book of 40 basic projects to start with.  A trip to Tractor Supply yesterday got me a 40# bag of anthracite coal and some raw steel to start working with.  I begin hammering this weekend.

Two new hobbies that can contribute to health and to practical use as well.

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