Melting metal for casting. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
by Glen Swartwout
Metal is useful for many tools. When kept well oiled in our ‘marine’ environment, these tools are one of the most precious and lasting sources of utility and value we have. They are precious. We paint bright colors on their handles so we do not lose them or forget to bring them home to a dry space when we are done using them. Otherwise, like other material things, they melt back into the jungle… and are lost, sometimes forever.
On first glance the metal element is known as a specialty of the dwarf race, and thus also of particular interest to the earth hobbits who trace a good portion of their lineage to the dwarves. They use metal implements to dig in the earth and harvest its riches of soil and rock, and even sparkling green olivine (peridot) crystals found at The Shire (just look closely at the greenish sand on the surface of the driveway!). Metal, of course, is also classically abused by the orcs with their indiscriminate digging and scraping of the earth, often leaving linear scars and rectangular patches of ground flat, barren and… boring. Dead. We hear that they call these places ‘subdivisions.’ It all sounds scary to a poor hobbit… But enough horror stories… We have glorious tales to tell of the hidden truth within the metal element. Read the rest of this entry
Phoenix sculpture burn at Rebirth at The Shire.
by Glen Swartwout
The Shire is located adjacent to the Burning Land of Mount Doom, otherwise known as Kilauea, the most active volcano on Earth… The tropical sun, also shines its celestial fire down upon this land, providing a year round growing season, balancing out the sometimes intense rainfall that keeps it a lush, green, flowering tropical paradise, and providing frequent rainbows, many double rainbows, and even magical moonbows that shine like mithreal silver.
Fire is a useful tool, particularly in a place with an abundance of moisture. Ohia is an ideal firewood, being the sixth densest wood on the planet. Of course we only harvest dead ohia trees! Fire can be used for cooking (yum!), heating water (ahhhh!), drying bananas and other fruits, as well as smoking fish and meat for food preservation. And with forethought, all of these functions can be served by a single fire, with a beehive lava rock oven (with an inner layer of cinderized lava rock used as fire brick, and an outer layer of black rock). A single small fire can efficiently heat a massive heat sink of rock and mortar for all-day cooking heat, and embedded air and water pipes can carry this heat, or smoke and heat, as needed for adjunct drying, smoking and water heating processes. Read the rest of this entry
Pahoehoe lava flow in Hawaii (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
by Glen Swartwout
Dwarves and earth hobbits have an affinity for digging holes in the ground. This is very useful for harvesting rock and soil, planting trees, building gardens, roads and paths, as well as providing material for rock and mortar construction of foundations and pillars, or dry laid rock construction such as traditional Hawaiian stone walls. The essential process of harvesting these useful materials is one of sorting.
Basaltic pahoehoe lava takes so many forms, that an astute hobbit or dwarf will always keep their minds even sharper than their digging tools, to see what treasures they may unearth… Naturally, when an orc digs out the same material using a diesel guzzling behemoth, all of these materials are broken and smashed together, and usually buried again without much thought… Read the rest of this entry