Chicks with Hammers!

Chicks with Hammers

chick with hammer

Chick with hammer

This Saturday is one of my very favorite mountain festivals. I’m talking about the one-day, small mountain-town festival: Fire-on-the-Mountain in Spruce Pine NC.
Yes, this takes over half of the downtown area with forges and anvils. The ringing of multiple smiths hammering on projects from jewelry to architectural ornaments is a joy to the ears.
The all day-demonstration tent has bleachers for the crowd of blacksmith enthusiasts to watch artists explain the secrets and techniques of their specialty.
But my absolute favorite activity to watch is the hands-on forging tent that is operated by the nearby Penland School of Crafts. This hands-on experience is open to anyone who wants to try their hand at smithing. There are instructors for Penland to heat the iron and to guide your hammer blows, but you get a chance to hit hot iron. And take home your own creation.
It is especially fun to watch the kids take to the anvil. I’ve seen five year old smiths hammering. Their technique might need a little more practice, but they really concentrate.
And this is where I get to see Chicks with Hammers.
Yes. I admit to being easily charmed by cute girls. But watching little girls learn blacksmithing is amazing! Their safety equipment doesn’t slow them down. Their level of concentration is as high as anyone. And they really work at swinging the hammer with both hands. There is something so darn cute about Chicks with Hammers.
O.K. So I’m easily charmed.


Fire on the Mountain – April 27, 2013

Toe River Arts  Council

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A Goat for Christmas


Yes. You can give a goat to someone you love this Christmas! The easy way.

Don’t worry. You will not have to figure out how to gift-wrap a goat. There is an easy way.

You can give your loved ones the Baa-iley the Goat book.Baa-iley the Goat book

This little book tells the true story of Baa-iley the Goat and her adventure in helping to restore the grassy balds of Roan Mountain.

This is an original story and illustrations by Baa-iley’s friend Rosalie Russo.

Ten dollars of each purchase price goes to the Baa-tany Goat Project to help preserve and restore the grassy balds of the Roan Mountain highlands.buynow-button

For information on more ways you can help go to

But Wait! There’s more!

Make it a bigger Christmas: Adopt-a-Goat!

You can actually Adopt-a-Goat for a month. Help keep these scientific-restoration goats in good shape through the cold winter by adopting them during the winter. Imagine your goat all warm and well fed, snuggled in the barn thanks to you.

While the icy winter winds blow and the snow swirls through the mountain passes, you will rest better knowing that because of your generous gift, the goats are warm and happy.

Because of your gift, the goats will be healthy and ready to work all summer a the Baa-tany Goat Project to restore and preserve the grassy balds of Roan Mountain.

Fire-on-the-Mountain 2012

A great day in the mountains!

Downtown Spruce Pine was alive with working forges and ringing anvils at Saturday’s Fire-on-the-Mountain blacksmith festival.

Of course my favorite was the Penland School and the Arthur Morgan School hands-on tents. I really get a kick out of seeing young  smiths.

Young blacksmith trying his hand at the Penland School tent.Brian Oesch from Arthur Morgan School in Celo, NC instructs a budding smith.

How could you do to top this day? Deep-fried Oreos!  Thanks to the Spruce Pine Volunteer Fire Department for  desert.

Don’t miss your chance on the anvil. Mark your calendar: Last Saturday in April, 2013.

‘see you on the mountain.

Art Studio Tour – Toe River Arts Council has Christmas Ideas

This weekend December 3 and 4 is a great time to get some Christmas shopping finished!
The Toe River Arts Council’s Studio Tour is a wonderful event. It combines natural beauty of driving through the heart of the Southern Appalachian mountains and meeting artists in their natural habitat (their studio).
Watch out for trucks loaded with Christmas and lots of traffic at the choose-and-cut Christmas tree farms.

Toe River Arts Council

Toe River Arts Council:

Artist Studio Tour Map:

Mountain Art – Studio Tour

It’s that time again. Time for the Toe River Arts Council Studio Tour.

Nestled in the heart of the Southern Appalachian Mountains are Yancey and Mitchell Counties.  There be artists there!

Two plus days of meeting artists and seeing their work in their native habitat. Not restricted be gallery rules and limitations. This is wher you can see where they are at their creative best.

Here is a link to the huge 30-page Studio Guide The maps are on pages 25 – 29.

CLICK HERE > TRAC Studio Tour June 2010 Guide.

  • Start early.
  • Take a friend/navigator.
  • Bring snacks.
  • Have fun.

 ‘see you on the mountain!



Mountain Art – Blacksmithing Festival

“Fire on the Mountain” this Saturday! This is one of my favorite town festivals.

  1. Small town in the mountains of North Carolina = Spruce Pine
  2. Manly Arts = blacksmithing. (Not horseshoeing! That is a farrier. Blacksmithing uses real imagination.)
  3. Family Encouraged = Kid friendly, hands on blacksmithing! How cool!

This Saturday, April 24, is the Spruce Pine, NC, “Fire on the Mountain” blacksmith festival. Plenty of time to see everything: 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.

Tip 1: When you get there, sign the kids up for the Penland School’s hands-on forging. Since this is a favorite, the line gets long in the Penland hands-on tentafternoon even with four anvils ringing.






Tip 2: Check the demonstration schedule and record when your favorite demon

stration is scheduled at the main tent. There are hourly demonstrations throughout the day. Fascinating. This is the How-To. Learn how the artists make their metal sculptures. Check out the vendors and load up on the blacksmith hammers and anvils and forges so you can make your own art when you get home.

    Hand-made origionals     

 Tip 3: Explore the lunch offerings from the street vendors or the downtown restaurants or picnic right on the street while you watch the demonstrations.


Tip 4: Broad brim hat. If it still gets too hot for you, check out the art galleries on the upper street. This is where the best of the art is displayed.

garden sculpture

Tip 5: Be sure to check out the great video on their web-site: Toe River Arts Council – Fire on the Mountain

‘ see you on the mountain.


Goat vs machine – Grays Lily

Here is a quick 4 minute video with Jamey Donaldson, Research Biologists and Manager of the Baa-tany Goat Project.

You will learn one advantage the goats have over the machine in restoring the grassy balds of Roan Mountain.

Learn how the goats create an advantage for the rare Grays Lily.

If you would like to be a part of this restoration project, download the Goad Adoption Form.

You can adopt a goat for the 2010 season. You get to name the goat and receive a certificate of adoption and a lock of your goats hair. Pretty cool.

But there are a limited number of goats for adoption.  Adopt yours today.

Check it out here:  Baa-tany Goat Project Adoption Form.pdf

And I hope to see you on the mountain.


Baa-tany Goat Project and Jamey Donaldson

While you are snuggled up by the fire (again), waiting out another snow storm, here is something to get you thinking of warmer days and getting on top of a mountain.

Here is a short video with Jamey Donaldson of the Baa-tany Goat Project.

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Go here for the Baa-tany Goat Project

Go here for the Friends of Roan Mountain

If you have questions email me: