Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Our Time at Stratford Hall -- Great Blacksmithing & Great Company!

We had an amazing time at Stratford Hall this past weekend.  We were part of an incredible blacksmithing line-up that featured a colonial horseshoeing, blacksmithing, and smelting.  But, this was not just any blacksmithing event -- it was held on a historic and beautiful property.  Plus, we got to spend the time with some wonderful folks!  What could be better? 

It was a real treat to forge alongside these fine smiths.  Our good friend Steve Walthall demonstrated his farrier skills and smiths Steve Mankowski and Lee Sauder built a smelting furnace and turned iron ore into a bloom of iron and then into an axe.  They even gave the finished axe to our son!

It's a bit of a running joke that I tend to ruin my historical accuracy when I am in colonial attire interpreting for Jeff because I can't help but grab my camera throughout the day.  It's all true....but the light was great!



Monday, May 27, 2013

Celebrate Fairfax Festival Photos

If you happen to be visiting the Greenology Tent at the Celebrate Fairfax Festival ( on June 7th-9th, please check out one of my photos on display.  I was recently advised that I am a finalist in their photo contest.

And, our older son's photo is also on display in the Youth division!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Roses

By the end of the afternoon, I've worked at two jobs and am more than a bit tired.   I rush out to visit a sick child just home from the hospital, only to find out upon my return that the dog has chewed up my drop spindle that I just had outfitted with brand-new yarn that afternoon at Mount Vernon.  At these moments, it's good to take a moment in the garden... with the roses......

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

This Weekend -- 3 Blacksmithing Demos at Stratford Hall!

This unique event offers a rare opportunity to observe Colonial iron making, blacksmithing and horseshoeing all in one amazing venue!
Three separate but related blacksmithing demonstrations will be proceeding in parallel in the shadow of the beautiful historic home, Stratford Hall, which was the birthplace of Robert E. Lee and the home of his important colonial ancestors, two of whom signed the Declaration of Independence.  

 All of these interesting demonstrations are aimed at educating the public on the importance of ironwork to the establishment and growth of colonial America. 

Lee Sauder and Steve Mankowski will build a smelting furnace using clay and sand that will be fired and used to smelt a bloom of iron from little more than charcoal, iron ore and sheer will.  That material will be forged into a colonial axe similar to the ones used by our Founding Fathers.  

Jeff Dunkelberger, and his wife Caitlin Garvey, will demonstrate and interpret traditional colonial-period blacksmithing.

Steve Walthall, an award-winning professional farrier, will demonstrate and interpret many aspects of colonial horseshoeing.  

Rounding out the event will be Richmond-based Falling Creek Ironworks will be exhibiting and discussing archaeologically significant observations and research from the oldest ironworks in Virginia.

Cost of the program is $10 for adults ($5 each for groups of 3 or more), $5 children, free to children under 5. Admission includes a tour of the Great House. For more information on this program, please visit 
or phone 804-493-8038. 

Monday, May 20, 2013

Claude Moore's May Market Fair, Day 2

Many, many thanks for another wonderful day at Claude Moore's May Market Fair.  We had a great time and the fair was its usual fun, with great artists, good food, fencing, kids' activities, and even garden plants (I am headed out to the garden in a few minutes to find a home for some herbs, peppers, and a few other plants I couldn't resist).  We were especially blessed that one of Jeff's students was able to join us for the day.  We are so thankful for those of you who came out to see us....some friends even brought food and watched the kids for awhile!  Thank you! 



We'll return to Claude Moore July 20-21st for their next Market Fair.  We hope to see you!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Claude Moore Market Fair, Day 1

We had a good time today at Claude Moore's Market Fair!  The weather wasn't the best, with some rain showers, which made for a quieter day, but that also meant we could really visit with the folks who came out to see  us.  We got to chat about all sorts of things as we made colonial nails, modern bottle-openers and J-hooks.   While Jeff was forging, I also took the opportunity to see what else was going on around Market Fair.


Learning about piracy in the 1700s: 


Spinning, knitting, and weaving on a tape loom made by Paul Parrish, who sells the looms at his booth: 

Music and turkeys (and geese, earlier!)

Windsor chair-making:  



And, of course, blacksmithing: 


We'll be at Claude Moore tomorrow, 11-4:30 for the final day of the May Market Fair.  Please come out and visit with us.  We'd love to see you.