I’m opening the doors of the Growley workshop a bit wider with Instagram. I’ve recently created a new profile, @GrowleyPipes , where you’ll be able to see more of my work that’s in process. I’ll be using Instagram to show what’s on the bench, some of the new materials I’m using and even some of the tooling I use to create my pipes.
If you’d like to get in on the process a bit and see the progress of my work while it’s on the way to completion, just head on over to Instagram and look me up!
Well, for those of you who have followed my adoption sale, I wanted to give you an update on what has turned out to be a beautiful and wonderful time in the lives of this Rowley family. Right around a month ago, we headed out China to meet the newest member of our family. My whole family went with anticipation and nervousness. Our bigger girls had never been on a flight this long…almost 24 hours of air-time alone; we had never been away from our home, family and friends this long, and we certainly had never been to China! We didn’t know what to expect….except jet lag.
Minus two times when barf bags were needed…and weren’t supplied, the flights went very well. There were no delays and no changes, and for 4 flights across the world, that’s not too shabby. We arrived in China in decent shape and were greeted by our translator. He instructed us to go have a seat at the “KFC” and get something to eat, while we waited on another adopting family to show up. This was our first interaction with the public where we had to figure out how to order when neither of us knew what the other person was saying. I pointed to some sandwiches and paid the cashier and went away somewhat proud that I had successfully “hunted and gathered” in a foreign land. Now, I know the sign said “KFC” but it just wasn’t. It was pretty terrible, even by fast food standards. And seeing how I couldn’t get them to not put ice in the drinks, we threw them away nervous of the water.
The next day we met our precious little girl. We were among 3 or 4 other families who were also waiting for their children, and ours arrived first. All eyes were on this intensely emotional first interaction. There she was, standing right in front of us after a year and a half of waiting. This moment had been written in time before we even existed. This little girl was meant for our family. She saw us for the first time in person, opened up her photo album we had sent her previously and immediately started making the connections between who she saw in the photos, and who she saw in front of her. We were her family, and she was starting to put the pieces together.
The two weeks that followed were filled with joys, laughs, anxieties, confusion, giggles, tears, frustration, and pretty much every emotion that was created. It was wonderful and trying. It was beautiful and exhausting. And other than my middle one getting a sickness that sent her to a Chinese Doctor, and my youngest getting an infected cut that gave her a fever, there’s not a lot I would change. It was meant to be. We spent our time in China filling out paperwork and touring the area a bit. We went to a local zoo, where we as Americans became more of an attraction to those around us than the resident Pandas. We went shopping where we got to bargain for odd items, and we went out to eat at places where we almost couldn’t recognize the food.
The flights home were uneventful “barf bag wise”. We discovered that if we readily had them available before the flight took off, we never needed them. It’s like expecting it to rain, when you remembered to bring your umbrella. There’s a better chance it won’t happen if you’re prepared.
We got home ragged, tired, safe, happy and blessed. It has taken us almost two weeks to shed the jet lag and get back into a routine, but we’re doing great. The whole family is adjusting to each other better than we could ever have imagined. It was just meant to be, and already we can’t imagine our lives without Ivy-Ann in them.
Recently, I returned from the 4th annual Hutchmoot conference, where I presented their first ever Pipe Of The Year. I could spend about two hours explaining what type of conference Hutchmoot is, and you may still end up confused. So in lieu of a description that will only scratch the surface, if you’re interested, you can check it out here: http://hutchmoot.com/
While Hutchmoot is certainly not a pipe or tobacco conference, the attendees tend to be of the literary and or artistic type, and in being so, a good number of them smoke pipe. I was able to gather with sometimes 15 or more to enjoy a good pipe and excellent conversation. It’s a time that I cherish and look forward to each and every year.
Last year, I was approached by several folks who asked if I’d be interested in presenting a pipe of the year. Having a special place in my heart for this conference and these wonderful people, I was thrilled. Once I had solidified my participation, I began the task of choosing the shape. After much deliberation, I chose a Dublin/Zulu type pipe. While most pipe of the year pipes tend to be exactly the same, I decided to go a different route, making them all the same size and shape, so that they’re easily recognizable as a set, but uniquely finishing them all, so that buyer’s individual preference could be satisfied. Some were smooth, some were blasted, some had ebonite stems and some had acrylic.
The outcome was very fun to watch. I got to see each individual pick their own personal pipe from the lot, and happily take it for themselves. I even had the opportunity to smoke the first break-in bowl with a number of them. It was very intriguing to see why each person picked the one they did, and somehow, each seemed to fit the buyer in a unique personal way.
I look forward to preparing the 2nd Annual Rabbit Room/Hutchmoot Pipe of the year!
Here’s a look at the pipes:
Thank you all for your interest in my pipes. And, for those of you who bought a pipe during this sale, you will forever be a part of our adoption story. I can’t thank you all enough. With a few final arrangements to make, we are only a few months away from traveling to pick up our little girl!
Over one full year ago my wife and I decided to adopt a little girl from China. There are millions of children in the world today who don’t have someone to tuck them in at night, who don’t have a chance for education, who simply don’t have someone to love them. At first, I was very hesitant to even consider the possibility of adoption because I felt that if I started learning about it, my eyes would be opened to the overwhelming tragedy that exists. I knew that if I let my mind open to the pain and reality that’s out there for these orphans, that my heart would break, and I knew I couldn’t save them all…
…but I did let myself think about it. And I realized that no, I can’t save them all, but God can use me to make a big difference in the life of at least one (or maybe two!). And that was the beginning of a major heart-change in my life.
If you’ve ever looked into adoption, you probably know that it can take a very long time. In our case, there’s a good chance it will take a year and a half. And if you’ve looked into international adoption, you probably know that it is very expensive, up to a full year’s salary in some cases.
Well, I’m very excited to say that we’re getting very close to bringing our little girl home from China, and, financially, we’re getting close as well. I’ve been using the sales of my pipes to help fund our adoption, and I’m hoping for one final push. So with all that said, I’m running a huge sale on all of my available pipes for the month of September. To that end, I’m taking a full $100 off of each and every pipe.
So whether you want to help support my family and me by taking advantage of this sale, or you simply want to buy a nice pipe at a great price, I would be greatly appreciative of any sale made this September.
Thanks for your time.
In 2012 the History Channel aired a three part miniseries titled, “Hatfields & McCoys“, staring Kevin Costner as William Anderson, leader of the Hatfields. In this series, Kevin smoked a small pipe that has been given the name of the Devil Anse. It’s certainly not the most elegant of pipes, as should probably be expected for the role it has to fill, but the frequent appearance of this pipe, most likely paired with Kevin’s stellar performances, has made the shape a bit of a buzz in the pipe world.
Since I’ve been making pipes, I’ve had more requests for this shape than any other in my repertoire. The thing I’ve found most interesting about it is that most folks have their own take on what the pipe actually is. A common theme seems to be that the Devil Anse pipe is a nosewarmer, meaning extremely short. I’ve always held that Kevin probably isn’t clenching this pipe at the tip of the bit, leaving most of the pipe showing outside. I’ve thought that he stuck a good bit of the pipe bit and stem into his mouth. While I’ve doubted the nosewarmer theory, I of course do my best to make the pipe the customer wants, which is why there are some variations on my site.
But still, I wanted to know just what the pipe actually was, so after a little research I’ve found that my initial thoughts of this pipe were true. This is a very small pipe indeed, but it’s a good deal longer than most people tend to think. While I can’t seem to find a true profile of this little mystery, this still show it fairly clear.
So, until Kevin calls me up some day and sets up a time to go smoke a pipe, this is the closest I’ll probably come to knowing for sure exactly what the Devil Anse pipe should look like.
I’ve been in many conversations where people talk about how their pipes gurgle, and it astounds me, not only that so many pipes gurgle, but that so many people put up with it! To me, a gurgling pipe is no different than a car that backfires. If a pipe gurgles, (in my opinion) it’s just not “running” right.
Sure, there are all kinds of arguments that can be made for the smoking style, or humidity of the tobacco and so on, but to me, that focus is a bit off. I don’t consider myself an expert smoker by any means, and to add to my novice, I tend to favor heavy aromatic tobaccos. What that means is that I probably smoke too hot, too fast, and too moist….yet, I never have to swab out my own pipes mid smoke, and I never have to deal with gurgle.
Yes, smoking style and humidity are factors in what can make a pipe gurgle, but they’re not the only factors, and certainly not the biggest in my opinion.
It’s a known fact that tobacco has moisture in it, and that heating the tobacco up causes that moisture to come out, almost like a steam. The problem begins when that moisture finds things to collect on on it’s way out of the pipe. If it finds resistance or constriction or even rough edges, it will build up and roll back into the bottom of the bowl where it will cause gurgle.
So when you’re looking for a pipe, look for one that has an open airway. The air flow should more resemble that of drinking straw than that of a coffee stir straw.
Say “NO” to gurgle!