The New Novel is done (The Left-handed Sword)

It took me seven years to write it and just a few days I go I finished the final edit.Yay!
I am so proud of this book. It was a lot of work.  Now I need to find a literary agent and it’s needs a cover design.  I will keep you updated on this.

One interesting thing when it comes to writing a novel. This is true for me anyway. But my notes and ancillary materials end up eventually to be twice the size of the actual novel. It is finished at 79k Words.  But all the various supporting materials, notes and more have to be at least twice that.

Will’s Telescope Book is available for pre-order on Amazon

I am Proud to announce that my latest book is now available for pre-sale on Amazon. This has been a wonderful  project for me. It all came out of my love for astronomy and telescopes. My desire is that this book helps other people also discover the joy to be had with a small telescope.

See it With a Small Telescope – 101 Cosmic Wonders including Planets, Moons, Comets, Galaxies, Nebulae, Star Clusters and More.

Pre-order it on Amazon here: http://amzn.to/2gF7mrv
If you order it be sure to send me a message so I can give you a thanks!

Trip to Cranston street Armory in Providence RI

I have a big list of castles in America that I want to visit. I have already done some of them. This one is not too far away being in Providence RI. It is a very big armory. And it is currently not being used. It needs to be renovated and that is going to be expensive.

The Cranston Street Armory

It was built in 1907 and it has been used continually until recently, mostly by various military units like Military Police , Coast Guard and National guard.

There are two things about this Fortress that make it stand out. First off it is enormous. Very big for an armory. If I remember correctly the main area in the middle ( a large hall) is over 2 acres in size. One of the pictures here shows what appears to be two structures, one on the left and one on the right. But those are just the towers on each end. The trees block our view of the center of the structure.

The second remarkable thing about this Fortress is the beautiful yellow/orange stonework. It is remarkable.

You can see more pictures of this fortress on my website here: The Cranston Street Armory

 

Taking Blacksmithing Classes

Not too far from where I live there is a historical society that has a whole lot of amazing stuff including a real blacksmithing shop. It was a functional shop in days gone by. And it is still functional although now it is used as a part of the historical society. And it is used for classes.

I am taking Saturday Morning classes there and I have already learned so much. They have a lot of resources including a permanent forge and portable forges.  And a whole lot of great blacksmithing tools. The place is great.

I will keep you updated on what is happening there and I will post more pictures of the shop and the various stuff they have. If you are into blacksmithing you are going to love this stuff.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One thing that I really love about what has been happening lately is that Blacksmithing has made a big comeback. It is an art that almost died out. But it is back. Not so much as a needed craft but just as a wonderful hobby that a lot of people are interested in pursuing.

 

Coal or Lump Charcoal for forging

Blacksmithing is experiencing a renaissance. This is for a couple of different reasons. First off there is the internet! That has changed just about everything in the world.  Now you can learn about all kinds of things including blacksmithing. Everything is on youtube or google.

Secondly video games have had a tremendous influence on blacksmithing. There are so many games that have swords, knives, armor, shields and all kinds of medieval period weapons. And in many of these games you have to blacksmith the stuff up! Yup, it’s true. Video games have helped with the Renaissance of blacksmithing!!!

Now to my point. Coal for forging used to be difficult to come by? Who the heck was buying coal. Years ago I couldn’t get small amounts. And by small amounts I mean 50 pounds or less. I could get 100 pound deliveries but sorry. I just can’t keep that much coal around.

I even went as far as making my own hardwood lump charcoal for forging. that tutorial is here:

 

How to make hardwood lump charcoal for forging

 

But nowadays you can very easily get small quantities of coal. Yay!

The decision now is what kind of fuel should you use for forging? I have done a video showing some options and what the benefits of each are. Want to see a forge in action with a couple of different types of fuels? Check out my youtube video right here: Coal vs Hardwood Lump Charcoal 

 

The New Blacksmithing setup

I now have a new blacksmithing setup. It is a covered area and I like it a lot! There  are a couple of nice advantages to this new setup including being sheltered from the weather. There was a point on my first day of using it when it started to rain, but it didn’t matter. That was nice. And being shaded means I can see the hot steel much better. You have to be able to judge the heat of metals when forging them and the color is important.

I will also be able to make better videos now that the area is shaded. Yay!

And I have a nice work triangle where it is very comfortable for me to grab metal out of the forge and bring it to the anvil without moving much. It is much more efficient and much more safer.

If you want to check it out you can watch my  youtube video here:

The New Blacksmithing setup

New Medieval Word for you

I received an email from a french translator who is working on a translation of some documents (French to English). She was looking for the english word for the person who walks around the castle or town  either lighting candles or putting them out. Well.. I am disappointed in myself for not knowing it. The best I could come up with is “Lamplighter”.

A lamplighter was a person who went around city streets (most notably in the Victorian era) lighting gas lamps.  They sometimes had ladders and they sometimes had a very long pole with a lit torch on the end of it. Kind of a neat and quirky thing from the past.

Well, she got back to me with the word. It is “Chandler”.

A chandler was a candle maker.  But, a chandler often also had the responsibility to take care of the various candles in castles, keeps and wealthy  homes. Make the candles, light them, put them out, replace them as needed.
Now there’s a quirky little job from the past.

Oh and the word “Chandelier” comes from this job. In those days a chandelier had candles in it.

 

Getting ready for a new bee season

I am gearing up for a new batch of bees this spring and I am so excited.  Today me and Dee stained one of the new beehives. Tomorrow we apply a sealant to it. Soon it, along with another hive will be the home for bees. Yay! Here are a couple of pictures.

I will keep you updated on the progress and I will create a tutorial for all this stuff. We are taking two Brushy Mountain hive kits and assembling them, getting them ready for bees. Purchasing them like this saves a lot of money and requires a little bit of easy work.

I will be creating a youtube video for all of this at some point soon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book Review: Exploring English Castles

Exploring English Castles is available on Amazon

I was doing some research for my interactive castles of the world map when I stumbled across this book.

I  sent the author an email and asked him if I could get a copy for review. And he sent me one. My thanks go to him for that.

And I was so happy that he did because this is a terrific book. I Love it.  It is broken down into two sections and in doing so it covers two very important aspects of castles.

In the first section it covers the basics of  castles including their history, how they were built, how they changed, developed, fell into disrepair, and came back into prominence over the centuries. This is all good stuff if you want to learn about castles.

And in the second section we get a specific look at nine different castles. And we also get stories about them. And this is where the romantic and magical aspect of them comes through.  The author has chosen these castles because they represent the whole of castles in England and they each have remarkable stories to tell.

And these stories cover all of those wonderful things that we have come to think about when we think about castles including King Arthur, Romance, betrayal, murder, intrigue, sieges and much much more. This is some wonderful stuff.

Yes, castles are big stone structures and architectural marnd vels. They are quite wonderful in that aspect. But they are also the endeavor of humans, and being so means they have lots of stories to tell.

And this book captures it all very well. If you are a fan of castles and all that they represent from the architectural to the romantic and mysterious then this is a book well worth getting. I recommend it highly! It is loaded with fascinating castle facts and castle stories.  Five stars.