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Posts Tagged ‘blacksmith’

Trust me – it all comes together by the end.

Around these parts, the Hopkinton Fair is the big one.  Oh sure, the Hillsboro Balloon Festival gets its fair share of notice, but if you really want to be with it in south-central New Hampshire, Hopkinton is where it’s at.

I do enjoy county fairs as long as they aren’t just some schmucks fading get-rich-quick scheme of renting out a bunch of tilt-a-whirls and giant slides.  It almost makes me sick to think that people still believe they’re going to knock over every single one of those lead milk bottles or somehow defy the laws of physics and drop a ping pong ball right smack dab into the (undersized) opening of the goldfish bowl. 

I run past the midway as quickly as I can – it’s the only really successfull strategy for avoiding the barkers. (Which is another thing that mystifies me: why are all the barkers toothless, oily-headed men sporting six o’clock shadows and last weeks clothes?  I guess ‘sex sells’ hasn’t quite filtered down to the ‘Hey Rube!’ crowd yet.)

I don’t waste any time with the midway because I go to county fairs for different reasons.

I go to the fairs for the Shaved Llama Butt.

And the giant sheep testicles. 

That sack up there? I swear, no lie, it is the size of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s HEAD.  My wife asked me if I was jealous and I said ‘Hell No!. I’d need to buy M.C. Hammer’s wardrobe just to have something I could wear!

There were also giant pumpkins –

(794 lbs. The state’s championship pumpkin weighs more than twice this one)

and Llamas done up to look like poodles –

This is Cassandra. She has an appointment with the orthodontist scheduled for tomorrow.

I also make sure to check out the local clan meeting. Here’s the Grand Imperial Wizard of the local klub preparing to discuss Obama’s candidacy –

 and his loyal followers –

These next guys were not invited, although me an’ the boys have got a nice mess o rope and might go looking fer ’em later, if ya know what I mean…

 

Not truly funny, but I can’t help it. Sheep in clan outfits always get me going.

I was turned on to Agua Clara while there, one of the live performances. These guys started out as street musicians in NYC, doing a unique version of Andean traditional flute music merged and melded with just about everything else.  Very cool, soulful, underpinned by those mournful pipes. You can listen to most of their albums here.

Did you know that the US Olympic Swim Team tested their new speed suits on sheep first? 

Well, now you do.  See?  Not all animal testing is a bad thing.

This is Mr. Billy.  He just wanted to say ‘Hi’ and, if you happen to have any old newspapers, aluminum cans or plastic flowers lying around, he sure would appreciate a meal.

We ate plenty while we were there, although we didn’t have any chicken. But I had to get a picture of what this vendor claimed was about an hour’s worth of sales of B-B-Q-Chicken:

There were live performances of other art in addition to the bands.  This guy was doing sand scultpure –

And the best we saved for last.  This guy was doing real old-timey blacksmith stuff.

He had a tiny little fan-assisted forge,

 a traditional anvil and a sketch pad.

You can’t really see it on the sketch board but he’s making a candleabra that is designed to sit on a flat surface as well as hang from a hook. This way, if you need to take the light with you, you can sit it down somewhere while you’re delivering that calf at 3 AM or making sure the sheep have their hoods on.

The blacksmith and I got into a fairly nice conversation about his design technique and how making things by hand really forces you to create a design that serves more than one function, in BOTH its construction and usage.  So you end up with a light source that can hang and stand and it will also serve as a nice cudgel should the need arise. At the same time, this guy used two iron bars and four (hand-forged) rivets to build the entire thing. Probably took him all of four hours to make (based on an old and proven design), for which he received $750 the last time he sold one.  And yes, his order book is full up.  Discounting raw materials, at that rate he’s making about $100 per hour.

In the end, he happily agreed with me that truly, ‘the old ways are the best ways’.

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