Little Known Tidbit.

David's picture

Well I suppose I need to fess up on a little secret I've been keeping. To speak the truth, it's not a secret at all (which is why I'm telling). Just a subject that has never came up, and there was really no reason for me to just blurt it out. But it's one of my new hobbies that I recently picked up, and have been thoroughly enjoying it ever since. A hobby that has brought me a good amount of satisfaction and peace. It's a hobby that can, and will be, taken with me when I begin homesteading. Which is why I am blogging about it.

It was a few years back, when we were living in the cottage at a camp called O'Reilly Lake Campground, that I made the conscious decision to embark on the beginnings of my new hobby. Phoenix was a wee little baby back then, which offered me a good amount of time to myself. Time I used to read, ponder and prepare for our homesteading adventure. Among my many pondering's, thinking about life on a homestead, I wondered what kind of days I might be expecting to have. What my evenings would look like. Spending most of my life in a big city or towns large enough to get lost in, I never really had an issue with finding something to occupy my time. But what about a homestead. I have no doubts that surely I'll be busy with the going-on's of all that's involved in a homestead. But even so, all the research I've done gives me the idea that I will have some 'spare' time. What will I do with it? Ok, I'm pretty sure I'll have plenty of crafting projects that I'll be itching to get to, but what if I can't, or I'm just too tired to even craft? I figured a good book would be my ticket for some r&r. But ya' know, I've been reading a lot lately and it hasn't seemed to have the effect that I was needing. Unless it was a really, really good read, it wasn't enough, at least not enough for the long haul. I had the feeling I was going to need more than a couple of books to ease myself out of a hard days work.

I thought about maybe having a stiff drink to ease my tired bones. But I don't think that would be a practical solution for me on our homestead. Cans or bottles of brewsky, in my opinion, don't have any place on a homestead. A couple of bottles of whisky and wine make more sense, but I think they are best saved for special occasions, and should not become daily drinkers. They would just go too fast. Now, I do plan on experimenting with making mead, but that's a whole other thing. Maybe chalk that one up in the 'craft' department. Who knows, maybe my mead will, in fact, be a good resolution. But until I cross that bridge, I'm just going to accept that alcohol is not the answer.

Well what about smoking? Now, I'm not a big fan of cigarettes. I suppose you could say I'm not a fan at all. They are expensive, I'm not particularly fond of the smell of the smoke, highly habit forming, and I really don't see myself getting any pleasure out of smoking one. What about a pipe. I've had a few acquaintances that were pipe smokers, but other than that I don't know any. There is quite a bit of craftsmanship that can go into a pipe which intrigued me. From what I could recall, the smoke was actually quite pleasant, and from what I could tell from the acquaintances, they didn't seem all too concerned on when their next smoke would be. I pictured myself on my homestead, puffing on a pipe, and decided this could actually be what I'm looking for. I mulled over the dangers of tobacco, but felt that with any vice, moderation is key. And a tobacco pipe seemed to make the most sense.

My first step was to acquire a pipe. At the time, we didn't have any extra money to scrape two pennies together, so I did what I do best, ... Make it myself. Not only was money tight, but even our internet usage was tight. We were using a prepaid internet card, and with Patricia needing the internet for school, I really had to watch my minutes online. I vaguely remember doing any research on making a pipe. I think I was only able to find a picture showing the parts of a pipe. Anyway, I was mostly shooting from the hip, and took a blind stab at making one. The wood I used were a couple of oak blocks, that I think were kids building blocks. And I hate to admit it, but I can only assume they were from Phoenix's toy box (I don't know where else I would have gotten them from). It was just a simple cylinder block and a cube. I drilled the bowl from the cube, and the stem from the cylinder. I drilled another hole into the bowl to accept the stem in a mortise and tenon fashion. It was a nice tight fit. I put a small taper to the mouth end along with a rim to hold with my teeth, and other than rounding off the bowl, that was about it.

And really, that was about it. That was in '08 or '09, but I never touched it until this past Father's Day. I waited for two reasons. First, we just didn't have the money to spend on something like pipe tobacco. And second, I wasn't too eager to start smoking. I intended on it being a somewhat of a celebratory thing when we started homesteading. And so it sat untouched for two or three years. And then, in 2011 after raising a garden, building the cob studio and everything else in between, Fathers Day came along and I decided it was time to celebrate. Although we weren't exactly homesteading, in that time, we lived and worked as though we were.

For my first smoke I had to do some research. It's not like a cigarette that you light and start puffing away. No, smoking a pipe takes a bit of skill and know-how. There are a number of valuable tips to smoking a tobacco pipe. I am not going to go through all the motions,as I think I blabbed on enough. But I will tell you that my homemade pipe worked just fine. I won't know how good it works until I have a proper pipe to compare it to. Which, by the way, I happened to come across a pretty nice briar estate pipe recently. I haven't smoked it yet because I want to wait until I get some quality tobacco to go with it. The tobacco around here is pretty scarce, and all of it is just your basic stuff.

Anyway, I'm happy to say that I absolutely love my new hobby. And yes, it is a hobby and not a habit. A pack of basic pipe tobacco costs about $20 and lasts me for months. I'm currently smoking an aromatic tobacco, but that may change with my new estate pipe. I only smoke once a day, in the evenings. Sometimes the days are consecutive, and sometimes it'll be two weeks between smokes. There's nothing that really determines my smoking schedule, other than possibly that particular days toiling's.

Not only do I enjoy smoking my pipe, but I also take pride in everything else that is involved. From start to finish of packing, smoking and cleaning my pipe, can take anywhere from 1-2 hours. Not because it needs to take that amount of time, but because I take my time and fully submerse myself in the whole experience. For me, the entire process is like taking a deep breath of stillness. (You don't inhale the smoke, mind you.) By the time I hang up my pipe I'm relaxed and peaceful. Sure, any nicotine will do that, but only a pipe will give me a truly satisfying experience.

Oh, and Patricia doesn't mind my pipe smoking in the slightest.

Here is a picture I took of my pipe a long while back.


Criddles's picture when I visit will you show me, then you can make me a pipe ;)

You are sooo talented...I like the smell of pipe smoke too. The different flavors...cherry!!! I don't like cigs either and for both of our parents smoking cigs Im surprised none of us picked up that habit!

OK.....I want a pic of you puffin on your pipe now!! I would probably cry when I see it because I can not picture you doing something like that. But I still want to see!!!

Love YOU's!!!!

By Criddles
David's picture

Heh, I think there's been a few things you've seen me do already, that are far more exciting than smoking a pipe. And I'm still a little pipe shy so I won't be taking any pictures, but I sure would like it if you came and visit me up here in the bush. We can talk about the good ol' days, around a nice campfire with the Woodsman.

There is this kit on the market called a briar pipe kit. It's a pipe stem and a block of briar wood. The block is already set up for smoking, but the shape of the pot still needs to be carved. I'd sure like to get my hands on one of these, so if you purchase a kit, and bring it with you, I'll carve it for ya.

By David
Criddles's picture

Oohhh!!!! I gotta work on my passport first....then save up for a trip. I would like to stay a while so I gotta get some time in with work too. But yea definately when the time comes I will look for one of those kits!

By Criddles