2017 Hammer In Update.

I hope 2016 treated you well and that you are off to an even better 2017.
First I must apologize for the poor communication in 2016. I was involved in
some other issues, and was a bit late trying to get hold of our host, Rusty
May. I then had problems getting hold of Rusty to confirm dates and make
other necessary arrangements. The reason I had trouble getting hold of Rusty
was because he had had back surgery, then an infection which had kept him
in the hospital and out of circulation. When I was able to communicate with
him, I had a glitch in communicating with Jim Taylor, and things just fell

For that I do apologize.

Hammer In 2016 did happen, albeit somewhat smaller than usual.

After Hammer In, Rusty had a couple of more complications, but when I
spoke to him in early January he was being given a clean bill of health, and
was getting back into his usual activities. He said he was feeling better than
he had in some years.

SO, Hammer In 2017 is on, the dates are June 1 through 4. As usual, we
have NO PLAN and we WILL stick to it. All the usual things, as posted

I am very much in hopes that those of you who have joined us before will
join us again, and any interested new people will join us too. We’re open to
anyone interested in working hot iron, and hope you’ll join us for a relaxed,
fun activity.

Feel free to contact us for information if you need.

See you then!
Jan Manning

Just a quick catch up on Hammer In and Rusty and Jo May.

Hello All!

Just a quick catch up on Hammer In and Rusty and Jo May. I’ve been down to visit Rusty and Jo a couple of times since last fall. The clean-up at their place after the flood has gone pretty well. The big piles of junk and trees are now all gone, as are the big piles of silt and sand that were washed in. It’s back to looking pretty much like our usual Hammer In site.

But sort of not, either. As of last week (April 7) all of the east pasture is pretty well leveled out, and the bank of the river more or less back to where it used to be. There is still the big cottonwood tree on the west side of the pasture, and most of the row of cottonwoods along the river bank, but there is only a little grass peeking through There is a new fence along the road, but no fence along the river. I am a little worried about the river bank. If we have a heavy runoff, as some are predicting. There is no vegetation as yet to stabilize the bank. The good news, I guess, is that the river bed is much wider and more open now, so maybe the runoff won’t cause any problems.

Rusty has told me they plan to reseed the pasture to grass, but has not yet done so. He may wait until after Hammer In to do that. Right now, for the most part, the whole of the pasture is the sandy silt from the flood. It’s possible that some grass may grow up through the places where the stuff is thin, but I don’t expect it to be anywhere near as grassy as it has been. So expect it to be sandy. Also, the ground is not likely to be as firm as it has been. I’m planning to make some longer stakes for my fly for this year because I don’t expect the old ones to be sufficient if we have much wind.

Rusty and Jo are expecting us in, and have been since I spoke to them right after the flood. They are currently living there on the place in a travel trailer belonging to one of their grand daughters. Jo tells me that they have been able to get some money to be able to finish restoring the shop and to rebuild the house, and things should be moving quickly now. Rusty’s shop is coming along nicely, with much of the interior rebuilt, and Rusty now working on his equipment. He was on a trail ride the last time I visited, but they will have a good month to work on things before we get there.

Other than that, things are moving along as usual. We plan to have Thursday as early set up day, hammer Friday and Saturday, eat a wonderful meal on Saturday evening, and do a relaxed break down on Sunday.

I’m looking forward to seeing everyone for Hammer In, 2014

Mola mola,

Jan Manning

Flood at Rusy May’s

Hi Everyone!

Many of you have contacted me, by phone and by e-mail about Rusty and Jo May, where we hold Hammer In, after the big flood of September 12 and 13.  I have not been ignoring you, I just haven’t had any good information.  As it happened, I left to go muzzle loading hunting the morning of September 12 and was out of communication.  I had no idea of the flooding until a full week after it happened, when another hunter told us about it on Friday, September 20.

As soon as I heard about it, just about my first concern was for Rusty and Jo, as I had learned that the Big Thompson had been especially bad, and that the damage was very heavy there.  I admit, it was hard to absorb exactly how big, and how destructive this flood had truly been.

I spent substantial time trying to get some hard information on how Rusty and Jo had fared with this flood, but it was frustratingly elusive.  The road was closed on the east side of the bridge, and the National Guard was turning people away who did not live in that area.  The phone was out, and people were hard to contact, and often had little information to pass on.

I finally was able to contact Jenny Seery, Jim’s younger daughter, whose family is living in Jim’s old house.  She had gone to Rusty’s as soon as warnings had gone out.  The river was rising fast and in the 20 minutes she was there it had come out of it’s banks and was over the pavement on Hy 34.

The Mays had managed to get out with the horses, and a few other important items, and not much else.  But, I did find out that Rusty and Jo had gotten out, and were OK.  The place, however, was right in the worst of it.  Some of you may have seen the video which was broadcast, I guess nation wide. (Video is below) Water over Hy 34 and up to the window on the front of Rusty’s shop.

I learned through the grapevine that there was going to be a work party to help clean up on Sunday, October 6th.  There was no question that I would be there.  Frankly, I did not know what to expect.  I wasn’t even sure if the National Guard was even letting people in yet.

Getting in was not the problem, but I will tell you I was just not prepared for what it looked like when I dropped over the hill and into the river bottom on Hy 34.  Water had been up several feet over the whole bottom.  All the homes and businesses there were flooded, and many in such bad shape they are essentially condemned.

Once I got to Rusty’s it was rather strange.  It looked like his place and it didn’t.  The house and shop were there, like usual, but there were sheds stacked up against it on the west side.  The trees along the banks of the river are still there, but there was junk washed up against them five or six feet high.  There were places where the bank had washed away, mostly down at the east end.  The little park across the river was nothing but boulders and gravel.  Having been through both, Rusty is certain that this flood was substantially worse than the Big Thompson flood of 1976, and his place sustained a lot more damage.

The power of the water was just incredible, and the devastation just indescribable.  They had been able to get a big front loader on Saturday, and much junk had been moved and something of order had begun to develop around the place, but the amount of debris and damage was hard to take in.

About 30 people spent the whole day working, and much progress was made in getting sand, silt and loads of other debris cleaned up.  There was a small bobcat loader and a big front end loader, both of which did huge amounts of work in moving the junk around.  There were many tree trunks and branches which had to be sawn up and hauled out.  All of Rusty’s horse fixtures, sheds and corrals were pretty much destroyed.  The big shed against the carport on the west side may have saved things, as it diverted the current away from the house and shop, but getting it moved away will be a job.  While the machines did a lot, there was still a lot which needed to be done by hand.

Rusty plans to stay there, and recover as much as possible.  He’s still not sure how much of his leather working equipment is salvageable as the building has been posted for “limited access” and is full of mud and debris.  But he is adamant that he will be there, and that he is planning on Hammer In being in what used to be his east pasture.

They are planning on another work day on Sunday, October 20, weather permitting, and anyone who is available and willing to join us is welcome, and there is plenty yet to do.  As of now, shovels, crow bars, wheelbarrows, chainsaws and the like are the tools of choice, though I will try to post here if that changes.

Rusty asked me to thank all of the Hammer In folks for their concern and best wishes, and says he’s looking forward to Hammer In next June.

I’ll post more here as there is anything new to add.

Jan Manning

Here is the video

May 06 May 05 May 04 May 03 May 02 May 01

What a wonderful time

Well, this years event, was great. We were worried just a little about the river, but it didn’t lick the bank, so we were good. There were a lot of folks, and great smiths. I’m looking forward to next year.

More Coal Info

From: Jan Manning
Sent: Monday, February 07, 2011 4:00 PM
To: Jim Taylor
Subject: Oleo Coal


I just got called back from Oleo.  The coal IS here.  It is $32 per 50# bag.  If 5 or more bags, $30/bag.  I suspected if you wanted a LOT more, they would break it a bit more.  They also have the commercial coke at $25/ 50# bag.  As expected the shipping cost more than the coal.

Here’s the link to their home page.


Mola mola,

The Manning Unit