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Thomas Powers ICU


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Just a tweak on a rusty barbwire icicle I had already welded up. I don't think I will have any problems getting "watchers" in my shop on weekends.

I plan to start bringing extra hammers to the NMABA meetings to start paring down.  I have tried to work with having backups for my favorite tools; now not so much...

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I really want to thank all my well wishers; the posts, the cards, calls, plastic bags, the "brain warmer" all helped us to keep it together through the start of this saga.     Now comes the work aspect.  My wife just asked me to get the trash cans holder from the front parking area to the back one: 4' diameter 3/8" disk with a raised holder for 2 trashcans.  No dog intrusions in over a decade.  Gonna chain it to my pickup and drag it around...

Officially signed up for hospice; got a call from my Doctor and friend; going to go listen in.

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Didn't get pictures this time. But we had 3 minions and the master in the shop this Sunday.

He did not mention moving the trash can thing, probably because he wanted us in the shop not working around the hose.

There were a few scary moments (not his health, so maybe not that scary after all what is the well being of a minion vs the health of an anvil....)

So there we were, 3 minions under the supervision of a loving, caring master. (again see zen flesh zen bones about grandmotherly kindness for inside joke)

I suggested we work on something as a team so one minion holds while the other two strike with sledge hammers. We had done something similar last week and the only damage was when James gave himself a Gibs (NCIS) smack with a cross peen. Everybody had a good laugh and there was no blood. Anyways we start out and as we work on the sweet supported end of the anvil everything goes great. We are moving metal, we learn how to communicate and work together trying to stay ergonomic and safe. Thomas suggests we switch to working over the horn and takes a pass guiding us as he holds. Everything goes great. 

Eventually we change positions.... I am on the far side of the anvil and it is a bit further than I like and the hammer feels a bit off. So I go get a long handled hammer. I get some comments but explain my reasoning while Thomas gives me a look. I try it any ways and completely miss my first swing hitting the anvil face. I correct my self and start hitting good. Eventually we are back working over the horn and the long handle works out because I am no longer at an odd angle and I have my range.

Long story cut a little shorter there were some miss-strikes and each time there was some silence as we wondered if Thomas would smack us like Gandalf smacking the evil out of Theoden. He didn't the hammer and anvils are fine. We need to make sure we guage our strength/energy levels better but it was good.


In other news Thomas has been having internet issues. So he was off for most of the week got it working Saturday (so he was on and checking everything) and then it was down again on Sunday. I am sure he will be on when he can.


Thom Student to Thomas (I had hit the anvil and accepted what would happen to me. In his mercy he let me keep swinging. But, was that mercy for now I must keep swinging.)

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I'm sure Thomas knows his anvils and what they can handle. Had it been in ignorance you might have got a whack. I'm thinking he appreciated the thought of what you were trying to do. 

Or maybe he was thinking what is a little dent on an anvil to teaching minions. 

Or maybe he doesnt want to waste his time whacking people when there is still time to whack hot iron. 

Or, hope you are learning and having fun inspirational time. 

That's probably it. Glad for the updates and glad he is still teaching and inspiring. 


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   Great to hear you only got "the look", I have gotten same and still survived!

Sounds like a good day was had by all, including the hammers and anvils. After all tools like to be used, just ask them! 

If you get a chance, please tell the master I was unable to get an active sample, as nothing was "open" while I was here. I do have a "chilled" sample for him.

Terry (the traveling minion)

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Not that scar but I was kicked by an alpaca once. It was a strange kick, it tried raking me with he ends of his toes more than hit me with the pad. Duluth Trading jeans protected me just fine and the alpaca got a front snap kick followed by a roundhouse to put it back in a corner so I could get hold of it and explain the errors of its ways. Both instep kicks I wasn't going to hurt or injure it, just let it know who's boss. 

Anyway, that's the only livestock I've been kicked by, an alpaca print of a t-shirt would be strange. No?

Frosty The Lucky.

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Compared to Who . . . Steve? 

I was tying them to feed and he took exception as he was herd alpha. We tied all our animals to grain, it stopped fights bullying, food theft, etc. it calms things down during a naturally competitive time. Herd animals get used to it quickly, there's nothing like a bowl/bucket of grain as a reward for standing in their spot while I hooked up the tie. The hay racks were well spread out so nobody had to eat next to or near a bully. 

The alpacas were relatively new to us, we all had to adjust. That boy turned out to be as well behaved as can be expected. If you want reliably friendly and gentle alpaca adults you have to start when they're "cria" Newborn, which means you must be on good terms with momma (doe) which gets communicated to the cria.

This is how alpaca and llama are trained as pack animals, handled daily from birth.

Even as adults they're not hard to get gentled down to reasonably handleable. They respond well to a firm but gentle hand but don't get friendly, if they'll come when you call outside feeding time you're about there. 

One of the real Kodak moments on the "Spring Promise" hobby farm was when the alpacas were new to us, a couple weeks maybe. They were still adjusting to a greatly reduced herd size, new pastures, people, everything, the Great Pyrenes Mountain dog was the only thing they didn't take exception to. Well the buck who was determined to be herd alpha, ayup, same one, was butting the pygmy goats. Deb and I were planning on separating the alpacas for this reason but before we could, the Pygmy herd boss took a hard shot to the ribs. Soooo, she jumps up on a cable spool in the pasture and rears up on her hind feet, stretching for the sky. The alpaca had been crowding her and stood there next to the spool and looked up to see what was going on. 

Deb and I were headed out the door to start splitting them up when 55lbs. of pygmy goat who'd just been challenged as herd boss did what goats have been doing for millennia nailed the alpaca on the forehead full force.

The alpaca went straight to the ground and twitched. We thought he was dead but nope, he was only cold cocked and came around shortly after we got there. That was it, all four alpacas decided giving one of those knee high bundles of mayhem were better left out of herd squabbles. 

We did separate them shortly, you can't stop goats from putting other critters and they're knee high on alpacas and a broken leg is a bad thing si they got their own pasture.

You should see an alpaca after shearing. :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

Frosty The Lucky.

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General Update,

No blacksmithing this weekend. On Saturaday Thomas and Jo Ann made it up to an SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism) event. He sold some armouring tools, chatted a good bit and did a good amount of walking. The weather was really nice and I believe he truly enjoyed the day. 

Some of my favorite memories are of us teach and demonstrating at events like this. We didn't have the forge but I brought out a little jewelers bench, a photo book about Thomas and some tools so it was nice. 

I am thankful for the day and his ability to join in. I thought I would get a call if/when they made it to site. Instead, I look up from my Jewlers saw to see him walking up towards the bench. Smile on his face like he had been caught trying to sneak up on a cat he wanted to startle. 

Such a crafty and cunning man. Did you know he still loaded all of the tools himself. The minions had asked what he was up to and if he needed help.... he didn't hint at a thing. Maybe to make sure he could sell them to the local populace instead of us. :) He did get help unloading the tools at site, setting up the tool display and selling the tools, probably because he had some walking and talking to do. At the end of the day we loaded what was left and they traveled home safely. 

Minion James helped him unload the tools on Sunday. He even got a few for himself. Thomas seemed to have a good pep in his step but was tired and a bit sore. 

I am told his next outing is set for the first weekend in February, to the New Mexico Artist Blacksmith Association Meeting. I will be out of town but James is set to assist Thomas. 

In other news he is still having internet issues. The new phone hot spot and his computer are not fast freinds. :( but I am sure he will check in as he can. 


Thom, Student to Thomas, We walks the world again, slowly and with a walking stick (The better to reach minions with). 

PS. I worry about reenacting the "Last Wrap" Koan because it will probably hurt a lot and he might hit me every time he sees me after that. 

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Thank you Thom! This kind of news makes my day, it's even better than Good Curling! I can envision Thomas sneaking up on me at a demo to surprise me. Maybe ask an In question or make a humorous comment, in jokes between friends. 

I'm thankful the minions are on the job, magnifying the good days.

Frosty The Lucky.

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