Anvil 12/19 Year of the Plague

In our backyard there is a 275 pound anvil. In the garage is a forge. Owning an anvil without a forge is like owning a millstone without a mill.

Why would a couple living in Queens with a 40' x 40' backyard have what you need to do blacksmithing. In this case we acquired these large tools as shipsmith tools. These tools were never really used for their origional purposes. The 275 pound anvil has been a wonderful tool for 30 years to split wood into kindling. So when the three of us drove upstate to purchase Devin's anvil, the fella with a yard full of anvils helped me get it into the trunk of our Volvo. Imagine the ramp I built from our car trunk to the ground to get the 2 ½ foot horned anvil to the ground. Very scary. Homeric.

And the forge is a “rivet forge” purchased from the same upstate guy. Portable by strong men , used by iron workers to heat iron rivets. A rivet forge is about the size of a small round barbecue – but made of heavy iron – strong enuf to be fired up – bellows with a long wood handle. Got the rivets hot enuf to be inserted in iron beams and hammered to hold the Empire State together.

It all started at Mystic Seaport Museum. E.B. White explains a small boat sailor's small world. The size of your boat determines the distance to your horizon. With Devin a babe our 25' Pommery – with a pop-top - The Long Island Sound was our world and we were Magellan. More harbors than J had vacation days – each one an adventure to enter for the first time. With Devin added to our crew at the age of minus 9months we would jump overnight to Greenwich or two nights to get to Milford – and Connecticut cousins. And a jump to the Connecticut River. A bit more and New London. Next harbor might be 20 miles. Cruising on a 25' boat is little jumps. We had no electronics. No radio, no depth gauge – and this was before GPS. I read cruising guides written by earlier small boat adventurers. Photos of the harbor entrances, discussions guiding the new sailor - “watch out for the rocks on the left”. We had many beautiful large charts and winters to plan the summers.

At the end of the Sound, 100 miles from home the Sound opens up to the ocean. And Jody had a client on Fishers Island. Fishers Island 6 miles long with perhaps one mile open to the public.

Special places to stay. On Fishers we were eating at a windmill converted into an eatery. (This was before cell phones.) A cop runs in, “Doc, kid got hurt during the game”, they leave.

Across from Fishers just before you leave the Sound. We have reservations for a couple nights at the Mystic Museum. A real adventure up the Mystic River to the Seaport Museum – scary the first time.

The Mystic Museum is a boat museum. Several docks and several large ships for visitors. Amistad, a slave ship. And visiting boats tied up at the same docks – between the exibits. Great staying there with a child. During the day, people looking around and at us on Pommery. Down another dock was an exibit, a whale ship. And one of the few exibits with some action was the shipsmith. “Bang, bang”, the hammer as he models a hapoon. Hammer and fire – the smiths were always chatty and kids were welcome to hang out – most stuff in a museum is pretty boreing to kids but, “Bang, bang” and fire. For several years Dev hung out there. Even got to know the smith.

So when he was around 12 we spent a day driving upstate and got the anvil we have in our backyard. It's great for splitting wood and making kindling.