Monday, February 27, 2012

Leap week, 02-27-12 Did you Write?

Leap week, 02-27-12 Did you Write?

It is that time of the week again. It is a place to tell about what is going on in your life and in the process, what is going on with your writing. By posting here every week, whether you write or not, hopefully the shame of not writing will get you to open something so you can say you wrote.

As to what is writing, it really can be anything. We know that new writing is writing, but so is editing. Critiquing is also a form of editing so it counts as writing. Poetry, synopsis, query letters, technical writing, blogging, writing assignments, world and character creation are just some of the list of what can be writing. Bulletin board posts and E-mail can also be writing if they are very wordy and pertain to writing or story. If you have to ask, the answer is yes. You might also not consider some of this as writing. It is really up to you.

AS for me, I can honestly say I wrote, but nothing like what I should have done. I did nearly as much today as I did the whole week. Fitting in writing time is a challenge. I am about a third of the way through this story and I really need it done by the end of next month. At this rate, I doubt I will be able to do that. There is a whole bunch of editing to do between THE END and the end of the month.
I can say I got some good ideas to fix some bothersome scenes this time. Some of what I came up with during the week has aimed me at my planned ending. I still have to get there, but I am aiming in the right direction.
The basic way I write is I will develop a series of scenes to hit and then try to work my way between them by adding whatever it takes to hit them.
This week, I did a whole lot of editing, rewriting, and swapping scenes so my 1200 words is actually less than I really wrote. I am happy to say I am getting closer to my next key scene.

On the story idea front, I have 44 stories in my compost pile. I got several new ideas during the week. I also lost several. What I hate is that fleeting thought that would be a good story idea that is gone before you finish the momentary work you were doing. Those have a different disappointment than the ones that are strong, but you cannot write them down in time. Sometimes you can recapture the handle of the strong thought, but never the fleeting one.
Until today, I was an idea ahead for the month. I was looking at actually ending the month with extra posted ideas. I had to pump up my tires today on the way home so that killed any chance to add a new one today.

I went to the Renaissance fair this weekend. I accidentally followed my tenancy of wanting to see everything NOW and walking the place at full bore. My guess is that the grounds have about half a mile of pathway. I have had foot problems for years so my range is not great. walked the entire place, taking pictures of everything. I started the second time around and my camera locked up on me. The image disk was toast so I had to use a new one. I then rushed to retrieve my pictures. I never gave a thought about stopping to watch the programs, RESTING, taking my time. when I finished the second time around, I was hobbling and had to leave. I should have sat and rested even then but did not think of it. The walk out to the car was torture. I did enjoy myself otherwise.

Using the above as a story idea. They say that they have a time machine. He had studied the medieval period and really wanted to see what that period was really like. He went to them with the big fee they said they needed for the trip and made his appointment.
It was several months before they were ready for his trip. He studied more of the time period so he would gain more from his visit. He was taken to a different part of the state and settled into the seat of a really strange machine. they gave him a shot of something they said would make the trip easier to handle. They turned the machine on and it started making all sorts of sounds.
He woke up and he was dressed in period clothing. He slowly got up and a group of men told him that he was to return here before dark. Stay within the walls of the enclosure so he does not get into trouble.
He wandered around and there was food, weapons, artists. Soon there was thousands of people all around. merchants called out about their wares. He ate, examined the work, talked to people, asked questions. Something was really wrong but he did not know what it was.
As dark approached, he got all twisted around. He found himself some place else.
He found a hiding place to wait out the cold night. He woke and it was dawn. He felt better than he did yesterday. he saw civilization and walks in. He finds he is at a fair, not in the past. he enjoys the fair since they had given him plenty of money. He finds he has enough to get home. He never could find the people who ripped him off, but he laughed about it for years later.

As to the question of the week,

I can honestly say



Sunday, February 26, 2012

week 833 Wood Working

Year 12, Week 7, Day One (week 633) (January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.) 02-25-12 Saturday

80 degrees, partly cloudy skies, some sun, a moment of weeping cloud, light breeze enough to carry the heat away. This weather report was brought to you by the City of Pompano Beach Department Of Tourism.

No woodworking planned for today. I had two projects planned. One was to go yard sailing, and the other was to go to the renaissance fair that is running in my county.


Boy did I go yard sailing. I got a major load of stuff. At one yard sail, I got an electric grill, a little scan radio, and some wooden beads. The grill works and heats up really fast, but the radio's batteries had corroded and I think it did too much damage inside the electronics. At least the battery compartment was trashed. No problem.

Electric Grill.

At another yard sale, I got a whole bunch of pans, a chess game, a Jeopardy game, some kitchen utensils, and a couple of shirts. I stopped at this one twice since it was right across the street of my mom's house.

cooking utensils. In the second picture, there is a spreader with a giraffe head as the handle.

two piece loaf pan sitting in a Ttuppeware tray, and a microwave loaf pan

Chess and Chinese checker set, Jeopardy game.

At a third yard sail, I got some expensive pieces of Tupperware and a couple dragons figurines.

Tupperware brand tray set. These will be a present for someone. I also had some lids for the small cups and the bowls. also two dragon figurines. The one on the right is wrapped around a rock.

More tupperware.
At another yard sail, a guy had a two piece mechanic's tool box with tools for sale. One guy purchased it for forty bucks. He was interested only in the tools. He sold the tool box itself with a few tools in it, for ten bucks. I got my truck and brought it home. It is in excellent condition. Now we have to figure out what to do with it....


I got to the fair later than I normally do so I had to park a little farther back than normal. I had a good marker for what lane I was parking in.

Map of the fair grounds. Lower right is where you enter. Upper left is the newer section

I had planned to put on a weak imitation of a costume but had mom take a picture of me and it did not look like anything. I gave up on that. I even left my sword in the car. I just looked like another tourist.

I walked the fair grounds twice. It is usually a figure eight arrangement with a tassel off the bigger loop. I start with the small loop which includes the food court, then do the big loop which also has a food court but stretched out a bit farther along.
At the neck of the two loops is the kettle Korn stand. I always gets some of his popcorn first thing when I get to that point, and then get more for going home. I started with their small.
The big loop meets a lake and there was a spur, the tassel, that heads off to the left. I saw the tassel and there was almost nothing there. I felt a tiny bit dejected that the fair was smaller than it normally was. that is usually where they have the jousting. I headed along the lake of the big loop and found the fair was a whole lot bigger. They added two spurs on the other side of the big loop with the jousting area right between the ends. They had the pirate village on the spur along side the lake and they had live cannons sitting there. They would be fired later in the day.
I went by the blacksmith area where it always is, and there is a guy who plays a singled string violin type instrument. He uses a gourd for the body and a stick for the neck. It is pretty music even for a one string violin. He is extremely skilled. He showed me a gourd ukelele he finished this year. It had excellent sound. On my second pass, I purchased one of his CDs.

The artist and his CD picture. He is playing his one string violin

I finished my round of the fairground path, visiting three other vendors I really like.
As I was about to start a second pass around, My camera ran into a problem. My digital camera uses mini CDs to hold the pictures. I took a picture and the camera locked up while saving the image. I wanted to take another picture so I shut the camera off and when I turned it back on, the CD was inaccessible. I lost all the pictures I took of the yard sale finds and of what I photographed up to that point in the festival. I only had 35 shots to go on the CD since I had been taking pictures on it all month. I copy the images to the computer so the only images was taken of that day.

I put a new CD in and took more pictures around the fair. I did not go back to the cannons as my feet were telling me that was not a good idea. I skipped a few other things while I was at it.
Other than the Kettle Korn, I purchased two CDs One from the daughter of an artist I love. His work is fantasy, dragons, very good. I looked at one of the paintings and turned to his daughter and said, "That looks like you!" She told me he painted that for her album cover and had refused to show it to her until it was done. She played a little bit of one of her albums and I ended up buying it. She has a voice as pretty as she is.

Destini and the album cover her father painted of her.

When I made my second pass, my camera's battery was giving out-of-power warnings. I skipped a number of pictures I could have taken.

Of the pictures I lost, I had pictures of some young girls doing the Irish high step. I had several pictures of the "pope" and his entourage. I had pictures of the cannons and of many of the booths as I had gone around.
I had also lost all the pictures I took of my yard sailing, along with one picture of me in my get-up. That one was a loss except it was a picture of me....

Last week, One of the yarns I got was a flat yarn. It was in a mottled tan color. I decided I am going to use some of that for my dream catcher. It has a resemblance of leather thong.
One quick project to do is to turn an acorn. According to the story, bad dreams pass through the dream catcher and there is something in the center to catch the good dreams. It might be a sea shell, a bead, or something else. I am going to make a large acorn to act as my dream catcher, and then have my carved leaves also captured in it. I have the string, the leaves, the ring and just need the acorn to work on finishing that.

I also need to work on my tea pot. I should mount the pot itself on the lathe and touch it up a little. I would like the walls a little thinner in the widest point of the tea pot. The outside comes out to sort of a point, but inside it is a more gentle curve. Once I fix that up, I then can turn the tenon off the bottom. That and of course, a whole lot of sanding too. I have some work on the handle and spout to get them ready to be mounted on the tea pot. I also need to get some epoxy to attach them when they are ready. I figure I will sand and varnish each piece before I put them together.

I will see what I actually do tomorrow.

Year 12, Week 7, Day Two (week 633) (January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.) 02-26-12 Sunday

74 degrees when I got out back, 78 mid day and stayed there. The clouds were weeping at home, almost like a fog, but I drove out of that within a mile. Interlocked pregnant gray puffs filled the sky, breaking up enough to let some brightness below a couple times in the afternoon. The strong wind moved sawdust around nicely but seemed to ignore wind chimes or twirling things.

I went to the fair yesterday and only after I got home that I realized I handled it all wrong. I rushed to see everything as fast as possible. When I lost my pictures, I then rushed to recreate the pictures and killed off my feet. What I needed to do was to act like I had all day and watch the shows, sit and watch the people in costume, REST and be off my feet for long periods of time. It closes at like six or seven. I got there after ten and left after one. Darn!!!!

My feet bothered me when I went to bed and they were stiff when I got up. I thought I was getting a blister but there is no sign of it now.

When I had rolled the tool box to the back yard, the beast of the back yard disappeared and I never saw him at all. Scar face was there, but not the beast.


The beast of the back yard was waiting for me. I gave him lots of food and lots of attention. He was gone for an hour and returned when I was getting ready to sit down and just sand. He stayed nearby, actually sleeping at my feet, for a while, something he has not done very often since my mom removed the train set from the side of her yard. I was very hesitant to disturbing him. I was able to do quite a bit of work even so.

My first project was to make an acorn for my dream catcher. I cut some black walnut since it was about the right size. The black walnut was rectangular so I cut a small length and then measured the narrow width and placed a felt tip pen mark on the band saw, and flipped the piece on the side and made my cut at that mark. The mark wiped off with just a swipe of my finger.
I mounted the wood in the lathe and rounded the end. I started rounding the end, bringing it to a point the way an acorn would look. Once I got that to where I wanted, I made a step where the cap started and then shaped the cap down to the stem. My big bowl gouge ended up a bit big for the space I was working, and changed tools several times to get the look I was after. I sanded on the lathe and then parted it off. I still have the waste wood I can use for something else of nearly the same size.
I will sand and varnish the acorn. I might pock-mark the cap with the motor tool, but will decide on that a bit later. I will still have to drill it for the cord to run through it like a bead.

I then decided I had better make a new lid for my tea pot. I took the same piece of wood I cut last week's attempt from, but this time was from the other end. I cut my square, marked the circle and nipped the corners.
I rounded it on the lathe and made a tenon to hold it with the chuck. I then started fitting the part that goes inside the mouth of the tea pot. I got that right by making sort of a cone and placing the tea pot to it to see where the wood would burn. Once I got it just fitting over it and meeting the edge of the rest of the raw disk. I put the pot in place on it with the tail stock holding it in place and was shaping the lid to match it. I turned the gouge wrong and dug into the tea pot a little. I smoothed that out quite a bit, then continued on making the top of the lid. I got another catch and it broke the edge that met the tea pot. it was toast. no way that could be saved.
I cut another disk of wood and tried it again. I decided to make a design change. I started cutting in for the handle kob near the chuck so there was a thick ridge where the pot met the lid. I decided to create a design there so I could make it remain thick and look like it was intended to be thick. That worked. I sanded the results and parted it off. Some hand sanding and having to grind a tiny bit was necessary to make it look good.

I had damaged the surface of the tea pot and planned on re-finishing it anyway. I decided not to touch the inside of the tea pot, leaving it as is rather than correcting the side thickness a little.
I mounted the tea pot in the chuck and got it spinning. I used my bowl gouge like a scraper to even out the slight wobble that you automatically get when you take a piece off the lathe and put it back on. I then worked to remove the worst of the gouges. There was one really bad gouge that I worked some sawdust and glue into, then sanded it until glue that got on the rest of the surface was gone. I stopped the lathe and hand sanded some places several times.
I then turned the vase around. My chuck does not close down enough and I was not in the mood to shape a piece of wood into a jam chuck that goes into the hole to hold the vase in place. I opened my chuck as big as possible and just put the vase against it, and put the tail stock into the tenon which still had the original tail stock point hole. I trued up the bottom, then cut in a ring to hold it up off the surface. It should have been inside a little more but the tool I was using to cut the inside of the ring was a bit wider than needed and that dictated how far from the center the ring would be. When done with the ring all I had was a little stub sticking up that the tail stock was pushing onto.
I removed the tea pot from the lathe, sat down with my dremmel and a grinding bit and removed the post. I then finished the bottom.
I also used a dremmel flap sander to touch up some rough spots, then hand sanded them to remove the flap sander tool marks.
I sanded on the handle and spout. One thing I did for a little bit was to take a strip of emery cloth and stuck one end in the vise and held the other end tight. I then rubbed the handle across the sanding strip, rotating it as I moved it. This rounded some of the corners better and removed some nick and tool marks. I then sat and sanded by hand until I got it looking right.

Acorn for the dream catcher, the finished lid and the unfinished lid I broke.

I took all the pieces for the dream catcher and the tea pot home. I am varnishing everything, giving them a good number of coats until I am satisfied with the finish, then I will prepare to assemble everything.
On the tea pot, I have to determine exactly where the spout will go, and drill a series of holes for the tea to come out. I don't ever plan for this tea pot to be used, but in case it is, it will work.

I had seen some dream catchers at the fair and saw that they did not drill for the strings. They tied the strings around the rim. I will do it that way, using the string tension to hold things in place. I do have to drill holes in the leaves and the acorn for the cords, but that should not be a problem. I figure it will be next weekend before I will be close to being ready to think about assembling the dream catcher.

fair dream catchers

For next week, My Saturday wood working time will be cut short as I have to go to the antique shop where my stuff is on display and pick up my work for the art show. Of course, I will be checking for any yard sales to see if there is anything of interest. that will also cut into my wood working time if there are several. My tea pot and dream catcher are my main projects.
On Sunday, I will have all my stuff from the antique shop, along with anything I bring from home and all the stuff that is kept at Mom's house. I plan to set up a three foot by eight foot table that I will have at the art show and practice setting up my display. That will show me what will make the best display and what will likely stay in the boxes. It will also tell me what needs repair or touch ups.
the following weekend is when I will be having my art show and I will practice my display again. On that weekend, I will sharpen all my knives, get my equipment ready, get my sticks to carve during the show.

For this weekend though, I will have to see what I actually do.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Did you write? 02-20-12

Did you write? 02-20-12

It is that time of the week to report about your life and how it effects your writing. The hope is that if you post here often about not writing, or not meeting your goals, you will be shamed into tackling something just so you can say that you accomplished something. It worked well for me many times.

As to what is writing, we all know new writing is writing. Editing, even if it is the work of others is also writing. Critiquing is a form of writing and therefore counts. Synopsis, query letters, poetry, technical writing, blogging, writing assignments, world and character creation are all writing. Bulletin board and E-mails can also be writing if they are very wordy and pertain to story or writing. If you have to ask, it is writing. Many of these also might not be considered writing. It is strictly up to you.

As for me, I did write. I did a lot of editing of stuff already written on my work in progress. I also swapped a bunch of scenes around to make the story flow better. A few passages were rewritten. I really need to work on new content, mainly pushing on towards the ending. In the end, when all was written and saved, I removed 41 words from my story.

On the story idea front, I had dug into my stack a little this week, but today I came up with four new story ideas. Six total including the weekend. This gives me a total of 45 ideas in my compost pile. A couple of the new ideas really need to be written before they sink too far into the stack.

I decided to stop on what was some rush jobs for my art show. It dawned on me there was no way they would get done in time. I changed to some in progress projects that are not as difficult. Even so, they will be a test of my productivity to get them done. I have only four weekends to get them done, and when you remove all the days that will be aimed to other projects, I really have only two or thee days total to finish them. That is going to be a challenge. Even these really don't have to be done for the show. I would just like a couple more new items to display.

As to the question of the week,

I can honestly say,



Sunday, February 19, 2012

Week 632 Wiod Working

Year 12, Week 6, Day One (week 632) (January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.) 02-18-12 Saturday

64 degrees early morning, 80 degrees in the afternoon, blue skies with broken sheets of haze really high up, sunny, light breeze. This was a really nice day. This weather report was brought to you by the city of Pompano Beach Department of Tourism.


We had the wood turning club meeting. The demonstration was on using a chain saw to prepare some wood for a natural edge bowl. They touched on chain saw safety, a lot of time on how to decide what part of the wood would be best for your edges and the effects of that choice. We went outside and they cut a piece of wood and rounded it into a bowl shape to place on the lathe.
One thing they had was a set of disks that one sets on the surface to get a measurement of the maximum diameter for the bowl and as a guide for cutting. One could use a big band saw for rounding the blank, but since they did not have one, they used the chain saw, just making light cuts along side the line of the circle.
They explained tips such as using a Forsner bit or a chisel to remove some bark where the center of the drive spur will go. the pocket created makes sure the spur is digging into wood, and it also gives it a nest so it won't wander.
The wood they were working with was a three trunk fork. One side had deep indentations while the other was fairly flat. For this project, they chose to use the fairly flat side for their natural edge. the other side would have deep waves in the rim, which might look good too.

I was given a set of wood pieces. I was told there was Manzanita, there was sycamore, Poinsettia, and other woods. A couple pieces that resembled Cypress Knee wood, was highly varnished and appears to have been legs for a table or something that were cut off. There was also a couple gourds.
I really need to just make a whole bunch of stuff. I have the wood for it.


We hit several yard sales. at one, I got some yarn and some knitting needles. just as if I needed them. I already had 96 knitting needles and got another 19 of them. I filled in a gap in my needle sequence and added one set that is even bigger than I had.
I was walking through the church yard sale empty handed, not seeing anything I wanted. I as I walked to the door, I found the yarn and needles in the crook of my arm and they wanted some money for it. I told them it was not mine, but they insisted that I pay for them....

My collection from a couple yard sales. To the left is the jar of buttons and a measuring cup in front of it. Next to them are children's plates. IN the very back are bags of yarn, and to the right and on the very front are knitting needles, stitch holders and a few other items.

There was also a slide and negative scanner. I got that cheap and am letting my mom test it out. Hopefully it will be faster than what she had before.

Mom could not get it working. I worked with it and found that not all the USB ports on her laptop are USB-2 ports which this needs. I swapped ports and it worked perfectly.

At another yard sale, I got a nearly full quart jar of buttons. I can see uses for many of them. I am going to have to dig out all my buttons, then sort them according to style and quality.

Later in the day, I stopped at a yard sale and picked up some metal cookie sheets. I really only wanted one but knew I could find uses for the others.

cookie sheets.

I found a yard sale on the way home and picked up a garbage back full of Tupperware and such. I had looked into the top of two bags and the one I purchased had two things I thought I might be able to use. I did find a bunch of useful stuff. The rest may well be gifted or yard sailed later.

Two views of my collection of Tupperware. I don't have a real need for a lot of this stuff, but got some items of good use.


Mom had a project for me. She needed her palm tree trimmed. I dug out a ladder, a long extension cord, and my SAWS-ALL. I found that I love the saws-all for trimming.
With the chain saw, the blade moves on top and on the bottom of the blade. One can easily get cut on top and on the bottom of the saw blade. It also, by necessity, kind of wide so it cannot get into tight places.
The Saws-all has a narrow cutting blade only on the bottom. I was able to slip it in between things to make the cut I was after. I feel I have better control.
One thing that happened when I started, was that I selected my largest blade. I quickly found it was not cutting very well. I then fell the teeth and they were dull. I got another blade and that one ate wood. That is another thing. Chain saws are harder to sharpen or swap blades when dull.

Before and after trimming the back of the palm tree.

The trimmings from the palm tree

I dug out the piece of Tababulia I had cut and prepared last week and mounted it on the lathe. I first made a tenon on the back to help hold it. I then swapped ends and started hollowing it, leaving a post in the center with the tail stock holding it in place.
I am essentially leaving the bark in place and removing the wood inside it -- a bark bowl. I made one before and people liked it.

Partially hollowed bark bowl. I have to go deeper.

I have made some cutting bits using planer blades. I have a cutting system where there is a bar handle that has a hole in it with set screws to hold bits. I then made some bit holders to fit into the hole, and then made some bits from pieces of planer blades for hollowing the wood.
One of my favorite is a square bit, essentially a rectangle. I cut straight in with it and it scrapes the bottom of the bowls nicely.
I was hollowing with that bit and the end of it snapped off near the screw that holds the bit in place. My guess was that it hung over the holder too far, not supported enough.
I had two other bits made. One was a D shaped bit. I tried working with that but found it would not stay put, it rotated. I realized that the bit has to held straight by butting up against the holder to keep it from turning.
I had one other bit. It hung out way past the end of the holder and came to a V point. I sat down with my dremmel and a cutting disk and cut the blade shorter. I then sharpened it using a grinding bit on the dremmel, then a grinding stone. I did not quite get it sharp enough.
I used the bit a little but found that I could not get the holder held in place well enough because the allen wrench I was using was stripped. I will grind the end tomorrow until I get to sharp edges again.
As I was cutting with the bit, it fell off and dropped to the ground. I ended up having to put my lathe and stuff away before I could find it, hiding in plain sight...

broken bit and newly made bit in bit holder.

Done with the lathe for a while, I dug out the scroll saw. It had been a while since I used it. the scroll saw is easy to use for simple shapes.
I took my ring for my dream catcher and used the scroll saw to remove the inside ring. That ring could have been used to hold a picture such as a picture frame. I decided I wanted something a whole lot thinner for this project.
The scroll saw is designed so you can unhook the blade on top, slip it into a fine hole or, as in this case, inside a frame, and then cut without passing through the outside. To use a bandsaw for this cut, I would have had to cut the ring to get the bandsaw blade inside.
I cut the ring is three steps. I would cut a distance and turn out to free the wood because it was trying to pinch the blade. I then cut more and removed the section, then finished it.
I took out my band sander that is connected to my angle grinder and removed the little bit of wood I missed, and evened out the inside of the ring. I then touched up the outside and the edges to smooth them out. I did some hand sanding but it will need a whole lot more care. If my bark bowl was not still on the lathe, I would have put the disk sander on the lathe and worked it there as the wide radius would even out the ripples inside a bit better.

My dream catcher ring with carved leaves in the middle. I had removed a inset that was inside the ring to make this look lighter and more proportional.

About that time, at about noon, I decided it was time to clean up. I had done something to show for my day, even though it was not really enough.
During the week, I realized that I needed more than four weekends to finish the dragon, or the face vase. I decided I would not even try to get them done. there is a lot of finishing to do after they are carved. Four weeks is not going to be enough.
I plan on going to the Renaissance festival next weekend. That is one whole day of no wood working. I plan to go to the antique shop the following weekend to get all my woodworking and hope to do a test of my display to figure out what would be the best way to arrange everything and see what is even worthy of showing off.
The following weekend is the art show. I will test my display again and then pack everything carefully for the art show so Sunday Morning, I can load up the truck and go.
All this means is that very little substantial wood working will be done over the next few weekends. I will have plenty of time after the show to work.

Tomorrow, I should fix the allen wrench so I can tighten the bit holder. I want to finish the turning process on the bark bowl. I want to clean up that ring and then drill it for the webbing.
I want to do some turning on the tea pot and do some more work on the spot and handle. It would be nice to be able to start assembling it. I would have to get some epoxy for attaching the pieces.

I will see what I actually do tomorrow.

Year 12, Week 6, Day Two (week 632) (January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.) 02-19-12 Sunday

60s in the morning, 86 in the afternoon. blue sky with high spilled milk in the morning, puffs appeared in the afternoon, enough to block the sun the rest of the afternoon. A strong wind with powerful gusts moved sawdust and other things around, knocking empty cups over. This weather report is brought to you by the City of Pompano Beach Department of Tourism.

After petting the beast of the backyard, I trimmed a tree palm tree in mom's front yard. My Saws-all did wonders after I got a sharp blade on it.

I tried to finish the bark bowl. I turned it around with the c chuck inside the mouth to finish the bottom. An after thought was that I should have used the Cole style chucks instead.
I was getting the bottom the way I liked it when it came apart. The bark broke in three pieces I tried to fit them around the remains of the wood and it just would not fit.
I then decided to glue the bark together and make a bottom for it. I got everything just about right, using a wire as a clamp. I am not sure what happened, but there was a movement and the bark came out of alignment and a couple small pieces fell off the edge. I decided there was no way I could make it work so I tossed them.

Broken bark bowl. Piece in front is what is left of the actual wood.

I mounted the sanding disk on the lathe and worked on the ring for my dream catcher. I thing I have it rough sanded enough. I then took a square 12x12 blank I made for a bowl or platter. I ran lines from corner to corner, then drew lines to the centers of the board, I placed my dream catcher ring on it and got it about centered. I transferred the lines of the blank onto the inside of the ring. After measuring, I rotated the ring a quarter of a line, and marked it again. I now have the ring divided into sixteen spaces. I have to do some research but those will be holes for the dream catcher lines to be tied to.

I used the sanding disk to make corrections and round the handle for the tea pot. It is hard when you cannot quite get it in the right position to sand the spot you are after. I will have to use the band sander to clean it up, then loads of hand sanding.

I decided to make a new lid for my tea pot. I dug out a piece of Mahogany and cut a square. I then started turning it round. I had seen there was a crack it in near the face and pried that off with a chisel. There was another crack deeper into the wood but I figured it would not be a problem. I started the top of the lid and made a groove for the chuck to hang onto it. I then put the top into the chuck and started shaping the underside of the lid. I first made an extension, removing wood around it, to fit into the tea pot. I got that right and started working on the rim and the top as much as the chuck would allow me. I ran into a little problem.
You remember that crack I mentioned? It just happened to land on the edge of the lid and a piece broke off. It ended up unsalvageable that went into the garbage.
I will try again next weekend.

I was about done for the day. I slowly packed things up while talking to my brother.
I stopped at ACE HARDWARE to get some small toggle bolts and when I got home, I put up the pot holders I got last week. One bolt ran into the concrete around the window so I had to drill a new hole in the wooden pot rack so it would be held up. The metal pot rack is only held by one toggle bolt. I will have to add something else to help hold it up.
In the process, I broke one toggle, lost one screw, and broke one drill bit. The broken drill bit still drilled well enough.
I got them up and some pots hung. I have changes to make to my arrangement, but it does make for some more room.

Next week, I need to make a lid for the tea pot I want to do a little more turning on the tea pot, making the center of the pot inside a little thinner to remove some weight. I also will have to finish the bottom of the pot which still has a tenon on it. I will also have to do the holes for the tea to go into the spout, and then attach the handle and spout. There is a lot of sanding to be done to everything to make it worthy of looking at and holding. It will get loads of finish to make sure it can take a little water, though it is not really intended for use.
I am also going to the renaissance festival on Saturday so there will be no wood working on Saturday. There will just be enough time after yard sailing to get my act together and head to the fair. I have no idea if I will be going alone or not. If I go alone, I may spend a lot more time there. If my mom goes with me, when she wants to end will make a difference. My main interest at the festival is to see what the vendors have. I also like to spend time watching the artists who work. A blacksmith is always there, a glass blower usually is set up, and a guy who makes little glass figurines using glass rods. They have others at some time or another, depending on the year. I sometimes buy something besides Carmel popcorn when I do the fair.

I will have to see what actual woodworking I get to do next weekend.

Monday, February 13, 2012

2012 February 13, Did you write?

2012 February 13, Did you write?

Another week has passed and for many of us, another week of coming with reasons (excuses) for not writing. Others of us will have reasons for not writing as much as we should, and then there are those of us who will meet our goals for the week.
Posting here every week gives you a "diary" of sorts of your writing exploits. It is a place where a good number of people will see it.
As to what is writing, we all know new writing is writing. Editing is also writing since many of us write by editing, editing is also writing, even if it is on the work of others. Critiquing is also a form of editing and therefore counts as writing. Poetry. synopsis and query letters,, technical writing, articles, writing assignment, blogging, world and character development are all forms of writing. E-mails and Board posts can also be writing if they are very wordy and pertain to writing or story. In essence, if you have to ask if it is writing, the answer is yes. You might also decide some of these don't count. It is up to you.

As for me, I did not write as much as I wanted to. I had planned on some heavy writing on Saturday and ended up instead beneath my truck with my brother, replacing the starter in a store parking lot. The wonderful design of my truck provided so that the attaching wires were six inches shorter than needed to easily take the thing out. My brother found way to make the next time, which I hope I never have to do, much easier. That killed my planned for heavy writing time.
Even so, I did get to write five pages this week. I am up to page 22. Well, I have a word and page count at the end of the document so I know how I did over the past couple weeks and that is the only thing on page 22. I plan to zap half of what I have later which is my plot line, and the other half will require heavy rewriting. I know where I want to go, but have to explore the situations to get there. I am making headway. adding nearly 2000 words this week is still pretty good considering.

On the story idea front, I am at this second, two story ideas behind as I don't have time to write tonight's story idea and I missed Saturday's story idea. I have 42 story ideas in my compost pile. On Saturday, I remember at least three story ideas fading out of existence as I did not have anything to write them down on, and I remember one on Sunday also. I hate when that happens. I also remember that they were not spectacular. I never "edit" on whether an idea is worthy of posting when I come up with them. My editing is only when I sit and write them, which is why my compost pile as 42 ideas in them.

As to the question of the week,

I can honestly say

YES, I DID WRITE (though not as much as I wanted to)


Sunday, February 12, 2012

Week 641 Woodwroking

Year 12, Week 5, Day One (week 631) (January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.) 02-11-12 Saturday

64 degrees early morning, A frigid 70 degrees when I got out back of Mom’s house and a tropical 71 degrees when I left. We had constant and gusting strong winds. What wet weather we were supposed to have, left the coast as I was heading to Mom's house. It was drying out the rest of the day. We had broken clouds periodically, but they kept fixing them. I actually saw sunshine twice but they quickly repaired the clouds to solve that. Some clouds looked pregnant at times, but they did not come to term. In the evening, as the sun went down the clouds disappeared and we had clear and starry sky. This weather report is brought to you by the City of Pompano Beach and Sunrise departments of Tourism.

We went yard sailing. One "Trailer park" community had a yard sale. there was three or four homes involved. I picked up some costume jewelry. Some will be used for decorating some art work, while others will be gifts.

Costume jewelry Mom has the glass sea shell container

My nephew handed my mom a laptop computer to give me. It had a little problem. While I thought it was an operating problem, I later found out later that it might be a hard drive. I played with it a little to figure out what exactly the problem was, at least enough to describe to the computer guys I took it to later in the day. I decided to hold off on the repair.

ASUS laptop computer

The beast of the back yard wanted company and some attention. I spent some time reading a new wood turning magazine I received this week while spending time with him. He had been flighty as of late so having good time with him was nice.

I got started on my work quite late. I took a piece of Tababulia (golden shower tree) I received last year and decided it would make an interesting container. It has really thick bark that has partially separated from the wood when it dried. The inner layer of bark thinned out when it dried so there are gaps between the wood and bark. I plan to turn away the wood inside to the bark. I cut the log where the trunk bent. I thought I would fill the gaps with glue and sawdust, but one thing lead to another and that never happened.

I decided to make the spout for the tea pot I started last year. I decided how long it was going to be and how it was going to aim. My first project was to drill the spout out. Since I did not have the technology to have two drills meet in the center of the wood, I had to drill straight from the center of the lip to the bottom of the base.

spout blank already drilled, ready to turn the end centered on the hole.

Once that was drilled, I did some rounding on it at the lip end. I did not go deep, at least not yet. I then changed the centers and turned the base of the spout. Again I did not get deep as I was not sure how much I needed to go. Somehow I did not have the spout exactly centered for either operation. they were equally off centered. One side is flat while the other was starting to round.
I plan to do mostly hand grinding from now on. I will be able to get the shape I am after and even things out. The turning told me where the centers are. I may bandsaw a bit near the lip to reduce the cutting also. This will save some time.

partially shaped spout. The side it is laying on is flat and that has to be corrected

I decided I had enough for the day and packed up my equipment. I felt sad I did not accomplish anything, but it was just not that kind of day.

My truck was having some starting problems for several weeks. I figured out tonight that I would have been able to diagnose the problem sooner if I did not have the radio blaring.
I drove to a computer store to see what it would cost to get the computer fixed. I was not ready to put out that kind of money at his time. I will check some local stores and see what they have to say.
When I went to start my truck, the starter motor started spinning and continued to spin when I turned the key off. I had to disconnect the battery to get it to stop. I did that a couple more times with the same effect. I called my brother and he decided to come over and have a look. Confirming what the problem was, we went and got a starter, began the process of removing it. We found we could not get to the wires to take it out. The truck was too low to get beneath the starter and there was no way to maneuver it at arm’s reach. We went to his house to get some jack stands. The sun was going down when we pulled up upon returning. A couple hours later, after we broke two broke wire connectors, we got the truck running. He did the worst of the work and he really struggled. While we were working, I started feeling chilled and grabbed a jacket I had in the truck. Near the time when he finished, he was feeling the chill. When I got home it was already 57 degrees, on the way to the 40s.

Tomorrow, I really need to show some production in some way. I don't have many weekends before my art show and I want to have something to show for it. If the dragon, face vase, dream catcher, and tea pot were not finished, it would not be a real problem, but it would be really nice to have them on display.

I will see what I actually do tomorrow.

Year 12, Week 5, Day Two (week 631) (January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.) 02-12-12 Sunday.

46 degrees when I got up, 55 degrees when I got out back and 64 degrees when I left at two. Puffs, feathers and sheets filled the sky and got thick enough to block the sun for most of the morning. It was only in the afternoon that the sun finally came out and made things warm. this weather report is brought to you by the City of Pompano Beach Department of Tourism.

Noon sky facing west toward the ocean.
Tree on left is a Mango tree in blossom.

I had a later than normal start this morning because I got to bed two hours later than normal last night. Right after I arrived, Mom and I went to check out what was supposed to be a big yard sale.
Following the address in the paper, we went to what was a farmer's market. All sorts of foods and such. Samples were offered all over, but I chose not to sample most of the time. I purchased some apple bananas, which are small bananas. the price was pretty good. I picked up some green ones and let them ripen in the next week or so.

We were leaving and then saw the sign for the yard sale. It was on the other side of the road, they had the address wrong.
This was inside. there were a number of things that were interesting, but I walked out with a pair of wall mounted pot racks. One was made of metal and the other was made of bent wood. We thought it was of plastic but when examining it after I got to Mom's house, I saw the grain of the wood showing through the paint on the surface that was against the wall. My brother suggested that I strip the paint off and let the wood show.
I saw there were some surface rust on the metal one so I gave it a coat of black paint. It looked a whole lot better.
When I got home, I tried to mount the metal one on the kitchen wall where my pots hang already. I found out that the wall is wallboard with concrete block about an inch behind. Even with anchors stuck in, the screw would not hold the metal pot rack. Some of the problem is that the pot rack is held in place by only one screw in the center. It needs wood. The wooden one had two screw holes, and there were others, and since it was wood, I could add even more, but I decided to wait on that. I might get a sheet of plywood and stick it up on that wall for the screws to go into. I will see some other time.

Pot racks, white one is made of wood. I painted the metal one on the bottom to cover some surface rust in a few places.

I finally got outside and the beast of the back yard wanted company again. I gave him some. I even got up several times and he stayed put, even when my brother came, which is kind of unusual. It was only when my brother started moving around a lot that he took off to his hiding place.

I dug out the lathe and put my sanding disk on it. I bandsawed the spout of the tea pot to remove wood that I did not want to grind away, and then used the disk sander to shape it. After I had the shape about right, I used the dremmel to shape the lip and the base of the spout. I have a lot more sanding before I can mount it on the tea pot.
I also worked on the handle. I showed it to my brother and he made a suggestion on the shape. I did some re-shaping, but did not do any rounding. that would be next. I need to make a new lid for this tea pot as I did not like the old one. It had shrinkage cracks. The body of the tea pot is Florida Mahogany. The handle and spout is made of Honduras Mahogany. They look different especially when finished.
I still have some wood turning to do on the tea pot itself. I think I can reduce some wood on the inside, and I still have to work the base. I will attach the spout and handle with epoxy and have to have a hole drilled for the tea to come out the spout.

Except for not having the lid on this is about the arrangement of my tea pot.

I took sawdust from the disk sander that has accumulated over time. I added a little water, and then some glue. I made that to a paste consistency and worked it into the space between the bark and wood of the Tababulia I want to make as a bowl. Afterwards, I figured out that I should have poured the mixture in before I added more sawdust, so that it would get deep into all the folds of the bark. I might do that next week since I have plenty of sawdust left. What I added to the log was still damp when I left so that will be dry next weekend.

I accomplished little today because of an extremely late start and a lack of gumption. I will suffer for this as the art show approaches.

I have a turning club meeting this Thursday. I won't have anything to show for it.

I will have to do some heavy carving next weekend. I don't have time to waste. I only have four weekends to be ready for the art show. It really does not look like any of my projects will be ready. I expect to lose at least one day for the renaissance fair that is in town right now. I need to spend one or two weekends practicing my display, setting up a table the right size and seeing how things are going to look, then packing them in opposite order that they would go into the display. I want at practice it at least twice to make sure I can do it quickly. I have done it without practice, and with practice and it helps with practice. There is a time limit to get things set up. the less deciding I do at the show, the better.

I will see what I actually do next weekend.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Did you Write? 02-06-12

Did you Write? 02-06-12

It is that time of the week again, to report what is going on and in the process tell about your writing. The idea is that you post regularly and repeated "I did not write" will bother you enough to open something during the week so you can report positively in these notes.
This note is really for those who write once a month or a couple times a year. If you force yourself to write because of this note, it could become a habit. Not all habits are bad. For others, reporting that you did not meet your goals might cause you to buckle down and write more intensely.

As to what is writing, we all know that new writing is writing. Editing, even if it is the work of others, is also writing. Critiquing is a form of writing so that also counts. Poetry, technical writing, blogging articles, writing assignments, synopsis, query letters, world or character creation, are all writing. E-mails and Bulletin board posts can also be writing if they are very wordy and pertain to story or writing. In essence, if you have to ask if it is writing, the answer will always be yes.

How much writing counts does not matter either. it could be THE RIGHT WORD or it could be a whole book. The amount does not matter as long as you open something.

As for me. I am not writing as much as I feel I should. It is surprising at how long little things take to be done.
almost every timer I open my work, I end up spending time editing what I already have down, before I get around to add something new. I should concentrate on new content and let the editing sit until I am done with the actual story. it would be worth more to actually get the story done.
As it is, I added four pages, 2400 words. I did add several fresh scenes this week. That feels good. While writing this passage, I thought of a key scene that was needed and wrote that out roughly. I will build on it in my next writing session. This story is drifting away from my original concept, but fits what happened in the first story which was nothing like the original two page short story I wrote that seeded it.

I have 45 story ideas in my compost pile. I don't have time to write the idea for tonight, but since the month is young, I am not bothered by that.
I finished last month's story ideas last week. I did well last month on the story idea front. I wrote 32 story ideas for a 31 day month, they covered 31 pages and ended up with 18618 total words. That is not bad.

As to the question of the week,
I can honestly say,



Sunday, February 5, 2012

Week 630 Wood Working

Year 12, Week 4, Day One (week 630) (January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.) 02-04-12 Saturday 72 Degrees, solid boulders of cloud puffs. At one point in the morning, I was trying to determine which way the clouds were going and it looked like they were going in opposite directions. One batch was likely a lot higher than the other. Some of the clouds were sad and wept on us. None of it was hard enough in our area to warrant our wipers. In other areas on the way to mom's house and leaving her house, I did have to run wipers. Early morning, the sun did peek beneath the clouds for a long moment, but then the clouds ganged up and snuffed it out. This weather report is brought to you by the City Of Pompano Beach Department of Tourism.

We went yard sailing. There was a rummage sale at a church that we go to regularly. Sometimes they have craft sails. This one is like a yard sale. I tried to use control but opportunity took over. I picked up five cook books. One that I was really interested in was THE PERFECT HOSTESS COOK BOOK By Mildred O Knopf. It was originally published in 1950 and this is the sixth printing at 1958. Old books are always a dream. They are before "open a can of..."'

The books I got. The cover of the family circle book was just plain red except for on the spline so I opened it to show the cover page

I also got a insulated carafe and a 42 cup coffee maker. The coffee maker even has a paper that tells how much coffee to use. I plugged it in and it works.

42 cup coffee pot and insulated caraf

Later in the day, I stopped at a thrift store and picked up a box of knitting needles and yarn.
During the week, I counted out all my knitting needles and came up with 92 of them (I also got six metal crochet needles) Today I got seven with this batch of yarn so that gives me ninety nine needles.
Another time during the week I decided I would try to make a set of knitting needles. Except for like two gaps, I have all sizes of knitting needles from zero to 13in just my long needles. I have a number of needles in original packages and I have a bunch of small needles too.
Along with my knitting stuff was a beginner's book on knitting. There is a two hook method for casting on where it starts from a slip knot. That is fairly close to crochet and eliminates a lot of guesswork so when I get to start on trying knitting, that will be the method I will use. I have to wait a while as I have some crochet projects that have priority.

Yarn and knitting needles. The bin at the top of the picture was what they were in, and that plastic package on the bottom is a cross stitch kit.

I sanded on the bird I made last week and gave it some varnish. That helped the way it looked.

I gave the beast of the back yard a lot of attention, but we had to go after about an hour so he left disappointed. I will have to give him attention tomorrow.

I went down to the antique shop. I did a minor re-arranging of my display, and let him know that I was going to retrieve my stuff next month for the art show. I had both birds with me and the head of my first big bird broke off. I need to make a cleaner bearing surface between the body and the head so the dowel is not all that is holds the head on.

My camera uses mini-CDs as the film. They are a good permanent copy of the images and can be read in any CD player. There is a problem in that since there are moving parts, things can go wrong.
I got home, took a picture of something and then plugged the camera into the computer to get the pictures I had taken. the CD had an error and refused to be read. Luckily, Today's pictures were the only ones I lost. Even so, I pull pictures off the camera each day and put them on the computer so if a CD fails like it did today, I would not lose too much.
The only pictures I lost were the ones I shot at the Antique shop and a couple shots of my dragon and face vase I shot just to show the owner of the antique shop.
The only change of my display was there were from the pictures I took last month was that I moved a few items around and retrieved two more pencil cups. I am finding they are quite useful. I will make a whole bunch more of them after the art show.
One project I did this week was to make "emergency" pencil cups. I had some pill bottles that are about two and a half inches in diameter and about for inches high. I happened to have a fine tooth saw in the house and I cut off the top at the shoulder so it ended up near three and a half inches tall. It is tall enough to handle regular pens and do-dads, freeing up one of my taller pencil cups for taller items. I also made one for at work since I had emptied another of those bottles. Other kinds of plastic containers work nicely too.

Tomorrow, my main project is to carve on the dragon. I need to have visible advancement from where it is. I likely will work the tail quite a bit. I will cut in for the plates, or fins, on the spine of the tail. The back of the dragon won't have spines unless I make them small. I also need to undercut his belly quite a bit to free his legs and tail, make his position more understandable.
I could make headway on the face vase very quickly by cutting some wood away directly below the eyes. That would pinpoint where the noses are. I would then simply have to cut the ridge between the two faces to define the face fully.
What all I do will depend on my moods. I plan to leave fairly early in the day so I won't get a whole lot done.


Year 12, Week 4, Day Two (week 630) (January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.) 02-05-12 Sunday

74 degrees, nice breeze, sky had a high haze that filtered the sun, with sporadic large puffs. The sun brightened some as the day went on but the haze remained, giving the sky a milky blue tint. This weather report is brought to you by the City Of Pompano Beach Department of Tourism.

I sat down with a book and petting the beast of the back yard for nearly an hour. He slunk off to the back fence when he was done and I finished my chapter a bit later. He was happy for the attention I gave him.

On the stylized bird, I had broke the head off accidentally yesterday. Today I drilled out the dowels and then cut a new dowel. I glued the head back on and hopefully, this one will not break soon.

I had a broken plastic knitting needle. I had decided to make it a pair of crochet hooks. I put a cutting disk into the dremmel. I then shaped the hook of the first one. I went a bit too deep on my first attempt and was able to break that off easily. I cut the broken end off and made a new hook. It was strong and looked good I then made the second hook from the other part of the needle. I hand sanded the cut. I have not tested the hooks so I do not know what corrections I will have to make.

The front hook was too short so I added a handle. The back hook has the #10 end cap that the knitting needle originally had.

I put the grinding bit, referred to as a saw, into the dremmel and started grinding wood between the hind legs of the dragon. I finally day-lighted some wood at the tail. Getting the grinding bit into the space is kind of tough, but I tackled it from three different directions.
I also used my strip sander on the project to level out some of my cuts. The strip sander is about an inch across and an inch high and has a sanding strip powered by the angle grinder that the strip sander is attached to.
I worked until I became a little uneasy about the wood I was going to need to remove.
I learned long ago that if it feels like I am about to make a mistake, I stop for the day and tackle it on another day when I am starting fresh. This is a safety thing where I don't remove the wrong material or make the wrong cut or gouge.
This dragon is at a peculiar position. It is tilted and twisted. Thinking about it, I need to work on the legs as their position is key to getting the form right. Thinking about it, I think I have one leg wrong. What I think I have is the knees of each leg bending in opposite directions. It was something I worried about but did not see how it was wrong. It would have helped if I put my body in the right position. One knee should have been going up, then down to the foot. Instead I have both knees going down to the ground. One knee bends to the front like a horse and the foot is forward. The other knee bends like our knee and the leg goes backwards.
This is known as 20-20 hindsight. I will have to look at the leg next week and see if I can work out how to save it. I might not be able to make it right, but I might be able to make it look good.

Left side and right side of dragon. Not really a lot of visible differences from last week. The left side shows the back of the head and you are looking at the tail and rear leg.

The bottom of the dragon. The head is to the right and the tail is to the left. You can see the gap between the two rear legs where I was shaping the belly and bottom.

I did as much as I wanted to do on the dragon and decided to call it a day. I should have done a whole lot more. I have that face vase I could have removed some wood on. I also have the dream catcher I could have worked on. I have plenty of wood that could have been turned and small carving projects. I could spend eight hours a day woodworking if I had the time and gumption.
The renaissance fair is starting down here next week. It goes for five weekends. I would love to go early just in case I can go twice. If I do go next weekend, that will cut heavily into any woodworking time I might have for getting ready for the art show. I might forgo that next weekend, especially if the weather is wrong.

I will see what I actually do next weekend.

Saturday, February 4, 2012


In the midst of an editing project, I saw the following prompt and knew I had to be involved. How could I resist? 

Prompt: Write a fantasy fiction piece using these words: Forest, Fortress, Flying, Forever, and Brimstone.
Word limit: 1,500
Deadline: Wednesday, February 8th at 9:00 pm ET

OK, so it's due on a Wednesday, big whoop. The thing is, after a long day of staring at the screen yesterday, I saw the notice for this prompt, and whipped out the story below in 2-1/2 hours. It is, surprisingly, exactly 1500 words, including the title.


The Serpentine Dance

“You smell that Vigo?” Calpurnia said to the boy stalking the forest beside her. She put an arm out to stop him, and took a deeper whiff. He copied her, and then he had it too.

“Rotten eggs,” he whispered, turning to look at the dusky skinned enchantress with the unusual amber eyes that were always filled with a flickering play of light. “But stronger, like something died.” He pointed ahead and she nodded, her eyes fixed on the clearing through the trees where the rising moon picked up a shimmering sheen in pools of water.

Brimstone,” she said slowly, crouching down to peer through the brush and tussocks of the marsh. “When the swamp wyrm leaves the muck, it always smells like brimstone.”

“Should we get any closer Mistress?” he asked her, kneeling at her side, trying to peer through the brush.

“We must, if we want to find the nest,” she told him as they slipped on in the gloom, the rustling of breezes in the trees giving away to the drip of water off hanging moss. The canopy overhead closed in and hung low. A feeling of brooding gloom and despair came over the place; such a change from the forest they had just passed through. Somewhere ahead a bird cried something between a croak and a squawk, and great wings flapped as it lifted to the air. They caught a glimpse of it as it was flying away in the distance, long neck outstretched and legs tucked beneath as it dodged gnarled and twisting branches festooned with strings of saturated moss.

“It comes,” Calpurnia said with surety.

A frog plopped into the water at his feet, and Vigo started, but he fingered the beads at this neck, rubbing the bone amulet at the end that had protection symbols carved into it. He was only two and ten, an age between boyhood and manliness, and very much afraid of what he had to do. But he had been apprenticed to the Zül Fortress enchantress for five years now, and he owed his life to her. Orphans of the pale skins were often sold into slavery, but she saw the promise in the blue eyed, blonde haired boy, and had taken him under her tutelage.

“Get ready,” Calpurnia snapped, and threw back her hood. Ahead of her, rising from the mire with water cascading off its coils, he could see the dark gray and green armored coils of the swamp wyrm. Something hissed, loud and strong, almost metallic sounding, like one hundred teakettles on the coals of the banked fire at her hearth. The plated and fringed head of the creature, its open mouth full of dagger size curved teeth, rose up before them, three times taller than the height of their biggest warrior.

Vigo almost wet himself in fright, as his shaking hands pulled the hand axe from his belt.

Calpurnia’s hands went up, fingers tracing sigils in the air, and eyes gleaming like bronze in the firelight. She knew this dance well, for it was one that her mother had taught her, and the tune her grandmother had crooned often when she was but a babe in arms. The tattoos that wound around her thin arms began to pulse and shift in a pattern that made one dizzy if watched too closely, and she swayed her body as she began to chant, the song a lulling one of old. The bells on the fringe of her mail girdle began to chime in time to her sinuous motions as limbs akimbo and torso undulating, she mesmerized the beast.

Vigo turned his eyes away, lest he too fall under her spell. He waited for the signal.

“Get what we came for now boy. Be quick, I can’t hold it forever here.” She wove the words right into the hypnotic song as her shimmering form kept the swamp wyrm busy watching her serpentine dance. Young Vigo began to circle the wallow in the fen that the creature made its home. The tail of the beast snaked back and forth in the water, and he had to dodge it several times as it slapped overhead. He could see the tiny, almost vestigial back feet of the thing, with their little webbed toes like ducks, and the plated ridges of its back. He was so cautious of not being knocked into the water by it, he almost walked into the web of a blackleg, the hand-sized olive green spider with the most poisonous bite known to the people of the Stygian Lands between the mountains and the sea. He tangled in a few strands and it ran down the sticky netting toward him, so he had to use the axe blade to cut himself free before it dropped down onto his head and shoulders. That cost precious minutes that too distant Calpurnia could not afford to loose.

Pushing on, he was already two-thirds of the way around the wallow and despairing of finding the nest, when he spotted a mound out in the middle of the muddy murk. It was heaped and rounded, unnatural looking, and topped with bones of old kills. That had to be it! He began to wade out, but the pool turned deep, so he kicked off his boots and swam, axe in his belt again. He must not fail, no matter what was in there, he must not fail!

Calpurnia was already growing tired, for she was not young anymore, and the far reaching enchantment along with the dancing and singing took a lot out of her. The air around the creature was stifling and fetid with its reek, and she was growing short of breath. She dared not stop or take her eyes off it for fear it would turn on Vigo, and then all would be lost. If he found what they came for, Zül would be protected forever from being overrun by outsiders. If they failed, their bones would join others in this fen, whose spirits lit the nights with their glowing energy. None had brought home such a prize for ages, but then, the blue eyed son of a pale skin hunter had not come to them in many generations. Vigo must succeed. He must!

She continued to concentrate on chanting and swaying, fighting off her weariness with thoughts of what this thing they sought might do.

Vigo reached the nest just in time to see the great head swivel his way. Calpurnia raised her voice and danced more vigorously, enticing the creature once more to pay attention only to her.

Several smaller heads that reminded him of the giant before his mistress rose above the surface as he scaled the slippery mound, which was riddled with holes. A couple of them hissed and he did his best to ignore them as he chopped with the axe and dug deep within. They would not have teeth yet Calpurnia told him, so the mother would chew food for them. He came across several shell shards and tossed them aside, until he found a round, leathery, long and oval intact egg, bigger on one end than the other. Fighting to pull it free, he almost lost it several times. Triumphant, he stood atop the mound and held it up, pale green and dripping, so Calpurnia could see it.

“Thank the gods,” she said and slumped forward, before the big head came down and opening its mouth wide, snapped her up.

Vigo waited, trembling, but staying still as he had been told to do, while the serpentine coils of the thing began to squirm and propel it around the mound where he stood with its last egg in his arms. He had his axe in his belt in case it did attack him, but his mistress had said it wouldn’t touch him as long as he held the egg. He was afraid when she was eaten, for they had hoped not to have to go that far. But she said to have faith, and so he quieted his nervous thoughts and waited until the eyes of the beast went from coldly appraising reptilian green to the amber intelligence he knew so well. The head came from the water, and lay at his feet.

“Leave now,” said the voice in his mind, as he stepped gingerly onto the big body and used it as a bridge. “I will see you again in the morning, when it sleeps.” He walked its length onto the firm ground, and disappeared in the trees, praying that Calpurnia was right and she could fight her spirit free of the great beast to join her body that he knew was supine in bed at home.

The boy who was now a man, as well as a warrior mage of his adopted people, ran through the forest with a dripping green egg in his arms, bringing back the first moat monster the Zül would have to train in many generations.