Thursday, January 09, 2014

Where Things Are Now

A little over a year ago I wrote about the start of my barn.  I have to admit that I got a bit discouraged when things didn't go as I planned or as quickly as I planned.  I decided that my ambitions were a bit lofty for the resources available at the time and scrapped the barn plans before I really got started.  In June of last year.  I chose to build a 12x12 lean-to shed instead of a 24x36 barn.  I also chose to build the shed at ground level instead of on a post foundation.  I'm sorry to say that the shed is not yet finished.  I still have to mill some 1-by lumber for the remainder of the siding and roof decking.  I've been clearing more of the area designated for my runway and the suitable trees for milling are now sitting by the mill.  I plan to cut them up in the near future and continue the construction.  Here are a couple of shots of the shed.  The post in the middle on the front is temporary until I get the corner braces installed.



I acquired a new piece of equipment last November.  It's a very tired, well used 1970 John Deere 350B crawler/loader with a backhoe attachment.  With it's help, progress on the runway clearing is progressing nicely.




Also in November I added a wood-burning outdoor forced-air furnace.  It still just sitting on the pad which I managed to pour between the rain showers during the week of Thanksgiving.


I have way too many irons in the fire and everything seems to be a priority.  I work when I have the time and there is never any shortage of things to work on.  Speaking of irons in the fire, I have plans to build a propane forge and eventually convert it to using wood gas.  Like I say, too many projects, too little time but at least there IS progress!




Monday, January 06, 2014

Frigid cold...

I know what cold is.  I lived in Michigan for the first 20 years of my life.  I remember wind chills in the -30s while waiting for the school bus on top of a hill with no wind breaks to be seen.  It's one of the reasons I ended up staying in the south after I left the army in 1986.

It is COLD here.  We have been caught up in what the media is calling a "Polar Vortex".  The thermometer on car instrument panel said 13 degrees and never wavered from that on the 50-mile drive to work.  Wind gusts were blowing the car all over the road.  I'm thankful we didn't have snow!  It's not supposed to be like this in Alabama!

I feel for the folk up north from Idaho to Maine.  It is outrageously cold there, -20s not mentioning the wind chill.  May God bless you all...

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Life changes...

Well, as you have all probably noticed, I haven't really been maintaining the blog as I once did.  Again, there have been some serious changes in my life.  Last year around Valentine's Day I met a wonderful woman whom I married on April 26th of this year!  I now have two new children, a warm-hearted 11 year-old boy and a beautiful 8 year-old blonde angel.  We don't live in the house highlighted in this blog, but work is still progressing.  I am at "the farm" daily, taking care of business and we all spend weekends there and take care of business together!

Missed the fly-in...again.

I just realized that for the second year in a row I missed Mark Smith's annual ultralight fly-in in Mount Vernon, Indiana!  I was aware in mid-June that I wouldn't be able to make it this year but just now realized the event, which is held the last weekend in June, has now passed.  It's a great time and I hope I can make it next year!

Monday, July 01, 2013

A bit of progress toward the runway.

Over the weekend, I cut down 17 trees that were growing in the area that my runway will occupy.  Most were under about 6" in diameter, but I had a couple of Oak logs that were large enough to mill into lumber.  I also had a pine log or two that will be large enough to make some siding for the house.

It's good to see progress towards the ultimate goal, but these days it is few and far between.  In the coming months I'm going to be cutting down a bunch more trees.  When I turn the larger trees into lumber and burn the smaller ones to dispose of them, the cut and fill and grading of the runway will begin!  It's been a long time in coming, but the end is close enough now that I can see the light!

Below is a view looking from the east side of the house towards the end of the runway.  In this picture I still haven't dragged the logs off to the burning pile.  See that single tree in the "V" shaped opening?  That is near the end of the runway.  My phone camera doesn't show much depth but that will be near the end of the runway.


The picture below was taken after all the trees were taken to the burn pile.  Oh yeah, you can see my newly acquired tractor in the photo as well, a 1988 Ford 3910.  It's a great little tractor and the clearing I've been doing wouldn't have been possible without it!




Tuesday, November 06, 2012

The Barn

I was just looking over some of the pictures from July 2007 to now, mostly the images that document the construction progress of my home. Of course, the house looks basically same on the inside and the outside as it did in 2009. This can be somewhat discouraging, but as usual, a chain of events is in progress to help me get to the point where I can really start to finish up the house. I'm building a barn out of Southern Yellow Pine that I'm harvesting from trees on my own property. Last month I cleared a spot for the barn and poured footings and installed posts. Last weekend I milled my first beam, a 6 x 8 timber that will be one of six used as a foundation for my barn. The main reason I am building the barn at this particular point in time is that because my house has become full of "stuff" that I own and had to be moved somewhere as I moved my possessions from my ex-wife's home to my place. Now that stuff takes up the bedroom and most of the upper room. In order to have room to work on the house, I have to move it all somewhere, so my first project building with wood that I mill is a barn. Then I can store my stuff and concentrate on finishing the insulation upstairs and start to think about siding out the outside and paneling & flooring on the inside. I'm ready to make some significant progress. It's taken me years too long to wrap this thing up. I'm ready to be able to concentrate on preparations for ultralight flying once again, which was the reason I first created this blog. Funny how things tend to come full circle, isn't it?





Friday, June 29, 2012

No fly-in for me this year...

I just realized that this weekend is the annual ultralight fly-in at Mark Smith's Posey Patch in southwest Indiana!  I'm a bit bummed that I won't be able to go this year.  I thought about it earlier this month and decided not to go, but now that the day is here, I wish I had chosen differently.

I have been busy doing other things, like milling some lumber for my hardwood floor with my brand new TimberKing 1400 bandsaw mill.  It's a lot of work, but it's really cool.  The sawing isn't the hard part, it's the cutting of the logs into sections, getting them on the mill and stacking them to dry that will work you to death!  At age 50, I'm in good shape, but I have some issues with my back an shoulders and the work required causes me some pain, but still, it's a good way to stay in shape and have a useful product when it's all said and done!

All-in-all, I'd rather be flying more than anything else.  Believe it or not, the sawmill is all part of the flying "plan" so to speak.  I'll be cutting the pine near my chosen airstrip site and milling it for lumber to build more of my house, to mill siding and interior wall covering, and to build... get this... a hangar!  Once all the trees are cut I can call in the earthmoving equipment to cut and fill in the required places and I think I'll be able to get 400-500 feet in length to be able to fly from my property!  Sadly, this is a couple years down the road as I have other things to deal with first.  Still, it's a dream and a plan!  We can't really live well without them, can we?




Monday, June 11, 2012

I had the opportunity to visit a local small sawyer on Saturday.  He was sawing some small black cherry logs on his old Wood-Mizer LT30 sawmill.  It was a great experience and the only time I have actually touched a band-sawmill.  The lumber was going to be beautiful when it dried.  I wish it was going to be mine!

Friday, June 08, 2012

Post and beam barn? Why not?

I'm having grand visions of constructing a huge post and beam structure now that I will have a way to cut large timbers for cheap.  I'd like a huge gambrel roof barn, but I think I'll have to settle for something a bit smaller and simpler.  I've ordered some books on post and beam construction and I'm hoping they come in today!  You know that it has been said that the first 40 years of childhood are the toughest...

Monday, June 04, 2012

Forget the chainsaw... How about a bandsaw?

Back in the 90's, I did a lot of digging for facts about portable band-sawmills. I came to the conclusion that I didn't have the funds to buy one, nor a good source of trees, nor a customer base to support the cost of owning one. I also had too many costly hobbies already and I could barely afford to keep enjoying them.

Again, in the mid-2000s, I did the same thing and came to the same conclusion. It's now 2012. I now own 60 acres of trees, I'm building a house in the country that exists without siding, needs a wall finish and floor finish on the interior. A few weeks ago a storm blew over 6 or so large pecan trees on the property of an acquaintence of mine and he has agreed to let me cut them into lumber for only the cost of a few of the boards. Sounds like a perfect time to make the investment in a mid-sized bandsaw mill to cut lumber.

I have done about a month or so of research and after narrowing it down to three different models from three different companies, I have chosen to buy a TimberKing model 1400. I plan to order it today and expected delivery would be sometime in early to mid-July. I don't even have the mill yet and already on facebook there is a friend of a friend asking if I can saw some wood for him! Isn't that a blessing! I'll post more when the mill comes in!

Here's a link to a video that shows the same model in operation... TimberKing 1400 in action.

I'm excited! please fogive the cheezy music in the video...

Thursday, May 24, 2012

I'm trying to decide if I want to start milling some lumber from my property or other wood that I've discovered and I'm kicking around a bunch of ideas, including buying a bandsaw mill or a chainsaw mill. I have kicked around building my own chainsaw mill using hardwood. This is what I've come up with so far...

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Encouragement from afar!

Today I had a message in my inbox from a person named Lars with a message subject of "You". Normally I don't even open a message like that, assuming that it is spam but fortunately, I did open this one. Lars is a guy who lives in Berlin, Germany. He says he has read my blog from start to finish. Wow! That is quite a bit over the last 8 years! Lars sent some encouragement my way to continue plugging away at my goals for home and airstrip completion. I appreciate his comments very much and consider them a blessing!

Lars is currently working on building an Easy Riser ultralight in his apartment. He didn't say how close he was to being finished, but after I requested them, he sent pictures of the glider he designed and constructed. The workmanship looks excellent! Keep it up Lars and thanks again!




Thursday, March 08, 2012

The "Post Delete" exercise went well!

Successful removal of post in the center of the room. The roof structure didn't move a bit. I'm rather pleased with my back-woods engineering skills!

Friday, March 02, 2012

Not quite yet...

Well, the intended post removal did not happen last night. I got called by my praise band friends to run sound for their practice. They are going to be doing something special at the church on Sunday and they needed my assistance. Unfortunately, I've got plans for tonight and tomorrow and church on Sunday so I probably won't be able to see if it works until Monday. Once again it seems that life is getting in the way of much forward progress on my house. I was supposed to have all the insualtion installed in the upper room already. Oh well, life can't stop just for the house, can it?

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Will it work?

I have a support post right in the center of my 2nd story room. When I designed the house, I intended for the room to be a recording studio/music room. Because the upstairs has the best view in the house, I'm thinking it's going to be a bedroom. The post didn't present any problems with the room as a studio, but as a bedroom, it's a big problem.

Over the last two weeks, I turned the roof support structure into a truss that I'm hoping will be able to handle the roof loads without the center post. I couldn't seem to find a structural engineer who didn't want to charge me an outrageous amount, so I decided to engineer it myself. I'm not really qualified, but I'm very mechanically inclined.

I finished constructing the truss last night and now that the glue has dried, tonight is the night I'm going to remove the post and see what happens. Last night I cut away the part of the post that attached to the new truss, but not removing it's supporting ability. I was able to make the post move slightly by tapping it with a hammer, indicating that there doens't appear to be much weight on it. I guess we will see tonight!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Praise and Worship at Centerpoint

I was invited by a new friend of mine to attend a praise and worhip service at Centerpoint in Prattville last night. It was really an awesome, powerful expression of God's people. I was happy I went and look forward to the next time! Thank you Athenia!

Working, working, working....

Had a productive Saturday working on the house. Of course as it the routine on Saturday, I had to go into town for breakfast before anything. I like to eat a Waffle House, which just happens to be very close to the Home Depot where I buy building supplies. I got up at 7, but didn't leave until 8. By the time I ate, put gas in the truck and returned with building supplies, it was 11:30. Oh the joys of living 25 miles from anything!

I worked constantly from the time I got home until about 5:30. I completed one small section of siding on the shed dormer end wall. Hopefully, this will take care of the water infiltration that has been plaguing me since I constructed the upper floor. I know it doesn't look like much for six hours of work, but working by myself slows me considerably. At least I'm making progress!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Life gets in the way!

No wonder why progress on my house is so slow! Wednesday night I attended Ash Wednesday service at Robinson Spring UMC. Last night I fixed a plumbing leak for a dear friend of mine who didn't have the ability to fix it themselves nor the resources to call a plumber. Tonight I'm going to see the movie "Act of Valor" with several of my biking friends. Tomorrow at 8AM there is a scheduled 71-mile bike ride. At my pace, that's about 7 hours when you add up the rest stops. That's a whole Saturday of work time shot and I have a leaky roof that needs attending to! Sunday there is church, a relaxer bike ride at 2, then I've been invited to a Praise and Worship service in the evening. When do I work on the house?

Maybe it's time to review my priorities... but then again, don't I have them in the proper order? I will not abstain from church unless I'm sick. I won't sacrifice my health for the sake of the house (I've done that once already). And all work and no play leaves Glen slightly depressed and feeling sorry for himself. Hmmm, it seems quite apparent why the house isn't closer to completion, doesn't it?

Maybe I'll just opt for the Sunday ride and work on my leaky roof. A suitable compromise? Not really, but probably the most prudent thing to do. I'm getting tired of mopping up water and replacing insulation.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Home progress once again!

No need to go in to the details, but for one reason or another I have been doing very little work on my house. I have installed some additional foundation supports here and there and still have a bit more to do in that area, but I'm once again working regularly on the house.



Here's a shot showing the framing for the windows in the end gable. The view from these windows will overlook the entrance to my property and provide more natural daylight to the room. They will be picture windows, that is they won't open.



Here's a shot from last night showing the upper room with one of the walls insulated. I'm doing some structure work making a truss out of the roof support structure allowing me to get rid of the post in the middle of the room. This was always the plan, the post was there to expedite construction. Once the post is gone, I will have 18' X 22 1/2' of unobstructed space, hence the name "The Upper Room". Originally designed to be a recording studio, Since it is looking so nice, I'm thinking pretty heavily about making it my bedroom.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Back at it

It's been a while since I posted... maybe a bit over a year? Lot's of things have changed in my life, but I still haven't lost the passion to fly! I took about a year off (maybe more) from working on my house. It was literally draining all of my energy. I was burned out on the whole deal. During that time I joined a church then left. Met a lady and started a promising relationship that didn't pan out. I joined another church, bought a used 2003 Acura TL, started dating my ex-wife again, and now I'm starting to continue work on my house. Oh, I forgot to mention I lost about 55 pounds during that time.

I'm sure I could fascinate y'all with the details, but honestly, many of them are still painful and I really don't want to broadcast ALL of my life to the world. I guess I'm going to start back documenting the progress of my house, if nothing else, for the memory of the huge undertaking that I probably should have never started! Maybe I'll look back in 20 years and say "Oh my, what on earth was I thinking?!"... who knows.

I didn't take any pictures of the work I did this weekend, but I'll start with my next posts. I started to install the additional foundation supports that I always knew were going to be needed. I dug 4 holes under the house and poured footings. I found another break in the interior water supply pipes from the extreme cold we had this winter and I repaired it. The wall where all the plumbing runs isn't insulated from the cold yet, something I intended to do long ago but didn't get around to.

Major things still left to do: Wire the upper story, insulate the upper story and stairwell, Install siding on the outside, hang sheetrock on the inside, build and install kitchen cabinets, install floor coverings, build remaining deck and roof over the deck for my semi-wrap-around porch. Then there will be all the little details that will keep me busy for years. Who knows when all of this will get done. Who really cares?

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

I Cannot Do This Alone

A poem by Dietrich Banhoeffer


Oh God, early in the morning I cry to you.
Help me to pray
And to concentrate my thoughts on you:
I cannot do this alone.

In me there is darkness,
But in you there is light.
I am lonely, but you do not leave me;
I am feeble in heart, but with you there is help;
I am restless, but with you there is peace.
In me there is bitterness, but with you there is patience;
I do not understand your ways,
But you know the way for me...

Restore me to liberty,
And enable me to live now
That I may answer before you and before me.
Lord whatever this day may bring,
Your name be praised.


Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Oh my...it's cold!

We are having quite an extended cold snap here in the south. Yesterday it was 17 degrees at my place when I woke in the morning! Usually on days like that, it will warm up to the 40's or 50's and then get cold again at night. Yesterday the temperature barely rose above freezing. It was 34 degrees when I went for my walk at about 5PM yesterday evening and was below freezing when my walk was finished.

Tuesday is always a good day to do laundry for me. I load up the washer with jeans and when it fills up it just fails to start. A humming noise was all that could be heard from the motor. My washer is in a portion of the house that isn't yet heated...I didn't know what to do. The pump wouldn't even work! So here I am with 30 gallons or more of water and blue jeans in the washer that are going to freeze solid overnight! I said a little prayer asking God to let my washer last just a bit longer. After several minutes of letting the warm water sit, I jog the timer around to different position. After doing this about a half-dozen times, the mechanism starts working. Praise the Lord! I could hear the ice inside moving around but after it all melted everything seemed normal.

I've been postponing working on the washer. It doesn't spin well anymore and I believe it needs an new transmission. That's right, washing machines as well as automobiles, have transmissions. I don't look forward to working on appliances but I guess I'll have to put it on the priority list along with everything else!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

It's here, the time off that I looked so forward to. I have plenty of things to do, but I don't really want to do any of them. Well, there are things that I think I would always like to do, but the opportunities don't really present themselves in my current situation. I think that there is never any doubt that I would like to go flying. If I had a completed airstrip and a serviceable ultralight, It's questionable that I would brave the 50 degree ground temps that would probably turn into 30 degree temps aloft plus a 40 MPH wind chill factor from the open cockpit!

A significant chapter in my life is coming to a close. I was informed earlier today that my divorce papers are ready for signing. After 34 months of separation and many failed attempts at reconciliation, there is no doubt in my heart that the time has come. Still, a person who has the ability to be honest with himself can't help feeling bittersweet. I'm no exception.

A dear friend of mine has invited me to go ballroom dancing with him and his wife. It sounds fun, but I don't know how to dance. This particular night, there will be three 30-minute lessons for people of all skill levels. For more than 20 years I have wanted to learn how to dance, but this is one of those things in which the confidence that I posses in most things just crumbles to pieces and I feel very self-conscience about even taking a lesson! I will get over it no doubt, maybe tonight if I go, but in any case, I will eventually learn how to dance if the good Lord allows me to live that long!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The tree and the ditch revisited

Here is a diagram of what I thought happened in my car/tree encouter before I saw the tire tracks after work. After seeing the tracks, I can't explain how I didn't end up in a creek, upside down about 20 feet below the road surface. It's like the car was picked up when it was backward, moved 50 feet forward and turned around another 3/4 of a circle.



Wednesday, December 09, 2009

The tree and the ditch

This morning I got out of bed 10 minutes early for some unknown reason. I get in my car and head toward work in the dark. About 3 miles from my house I round this corner and there are a couple of trees in the road, spanning all but about 3 feet of the road. I'm going about 60 and the roads are wet from the rain last night. Even though my car has anti-lock brakes, there's not enough time to safely apply them. I head for the 3-foot gap and make it, unfortunately my left rear wheel slipped off the road and started the car spinning in a clockwise direction on the other side of the tree. I spin about 3/4 of a circle on the road, about 1/2 more off the road in the right-side ditch about 100 feet past the tree, all the while praying for safety. The car comes to a rest almost 90 degrees to the normal direction of travel. I get out and inspect my rare Thunderbird SC 5-speed for damage. In the dark, it appears that the damage is minimal. I start walking back towards my house because I don't have a cell phone. When I get about 100 yards from the tree, I see headlights of vehicle appear over a hill. I wave my hands frantically trying to warn the driver about the tree. They slow down, but drive right past me. When they see the tree, the vehicle stops and reverses to where I was standing. They man in the truck asks me if I hit the tree. I told him that I made it past and was in the ditch. He says he has a winch and was wondering if it would do me any good. I tell him that it would be great. I get in the truck and he is listening to gospel music. We drive to the car and I spend a few minutes on the wet, muddy ground searching for a place to hook the winch cable. Then I get in the car and the winch has no problem pulling me back on the road. I inspect the damage again...my right front fender is squashed a bit and could be fixed, but I'll probably just replace it. I thank the man and introduce myself. I won't post his name to honor his privacy. I ask if I can pay him and he tells me that if I call the sheriff and report the tree being down, that would be payment enough. I thank him once again and get in my car and drive off. On the way, I stop at a country store and ask the attendant to call the sheriff for me and he agrees. The rest of the drive was fine and I even got to work on time. I give to God all the praise and the glory!

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

God's simple plan of salvation

My Friend, I am asking you the most important question of life. Your joy or your sorrow for all eternity depends upon your answer. The question is: Are you saved? It is not a question of how good you are, nor if you are a church member, but are you saved? Are you sure you will go to Heaven when you die?

http://www.godssimpleplan.org/gsps-english.html


Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Compassion International Child

When Kristy and I went to the Mercy Me concert in late October, at the end the of the concert the guys in the band did their pitch for Compassion International. I had heard the pitch several times in the last few years, always wanting to sponsor a child, but not having the means to do so at the time. This time, conditions were just right. I had just finished paying off my car, freeing up $156 a month. Of course, I already had allocated the funds to something else but I felt Jesus tugging at my heart and remembering James 1:27 (paraphrased) "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." Kristy and I ended up with two different "child packets". One was from a South American country, Ecuador I think. The other was from a child in Ethiopia. Kristy made the choice of the Ethiopian girl named Terefech. Here is her picture. She looks so sad.

Beautiful sunsets from the gulf coast

Took these over the Thanksgiving holiday at Englewood Beach, Florida. Several different nights.








Sunday, November 29, 2009

Holiday at Englewood Beach, Florida

Deep sea fishing was one of those things that are like going to a NASCAR race at Talledega...I'm happy I did it and I see no need in doing it again. It was fun. We caught about 12 small fish yeilding about a pound and a half of fillets. The most amazing part of the trip were these dolphins that were following the boat on the way out of the harbor. Beautiful....

video

Monday, November 23, 2009

I'm back at it again

Well, after being lazy for months, I'm starting to work on the house again. My good friend Frank is coming over once a week to help me. He'll be over tonight to continue closet framing upstairs.

This weekend I installed the final window on the first floor. Of course when I framed it up (months ago) I framed it wrong so I had to modify the opening a bit. I did most of the work with a chain saw from the inside of the house so, of course, it made a huge mess. I knew I was going to have to buy a vacuum cleaner eventually and since I have a rug over the subfloor (which now had sawdust all over it) this was the time to buy it. I was amazed at the amount of dirt that a cheap vacuum can gather! The rug looks much better now as does (what will eventually be)the living room!

I guess I'll buy a camera for myself for Christmas so I can take some pictures. Words by themselves are so boring!

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Opening day - Cotton Patch Gospel

Tonight is the first of eight performances of the "Cotton Patch Gospel", the last published work of the late Harry Chapin. I have been practicing as a guitarist in the orchestra and I hope I'm ready. I'll let y'all know how it goes.

On another note, I lost my cell phone. I don't have service, but I had all my contact phone numbers on it and I used it as my alarm clock. Since my Cannon camera quit working, the cell phone was the only camera I had. Now I have no camera. That expalins why there aren't any recent pictures on the blog, doesn't it!

Time to go camera shopping!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Wrenched some more on Wes' car on Saturday. Had to remove the lifting chain from the new engine, put the hoist in the truck, go out to the back 40 and set the old engine on the ground, next to the Cougar parts car. Went back to Wes' Tbird and proceeded to bolt the engine to the transmission and the torque converter to the flywheel. In retrospect, it was the easiest hookup I've ever done. Just a gentle shove to the transmission and it was in place, ready to bolt up. Even though it was just a few bolts, I still ended up with about 2 1/2 hours on the job, including moving the old engine.

Then I went to Sharla's house to paint on the repairs that I still haven't completed. I spent about and hour and a half there, then I went home to watch a few college football games.

On Sunday, I attended Autaugaville UMC, whcih is the new church I will be joining. At about 1:00, I went into Millbrook to volunteer with a group of people to "spruce-up" the West Elmore Christian Outreach Ministry Extension (W.E.L.C.O.M.E.) center. about 20 people from Millbrook First United Methodist showed up to demolish, clean, repair and paint. I didn't do much, but I did go through a tube of caulk while plugging up cracks in the block walls.

I went home after about an hour and a half and took in a couple of NFL games. Not much else on.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009



After Wes's engine spun a rod bearing and started to knock a couple of months ago, We picked up a used one with 86000 miles on it. Hopefully it will work well. Here, Wes is installing the flywheel that we forgot to do while the engine was on the ground. At the moment, the engine is sitting in the engine compartment, but hasn't been bolted in yet. Wes and I will continue next time he visits.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

I worked on clearing the airstrip about 2 hours today. Progress is certainly being made. I stopped at a local equipment rental place on Saturday and learned that I could rent a tracked Bobcat skid-steer with a bucket for $225 a day. If I pick it up at closing time on a Friday, I don't have to return it until they open on Monday. I think this is what I'll do instead of hire someone with a bulldozer. Here is what the airstrip looks like at the moment:


The start of runway 24.


Midpoint of runway 24. Those trees at the end will be removed to provide clear access to the end of the runway.


Midpoint of runway 6. There will be some fill required on the right side near the end. The higher side of the clearing will be cut away to provide the fill and eventually the runway will start very close to my front yard. All the trees that will interfere with the runway will be removed on both sides.


These trees at the end of runway 24 will all be cut down. As you can see, I've already started.


As it stands right now, without any cut or fill, it appears that I'll have 300 feet with both ends clear. It will certainly be tight on both take-off and landing but I believe it will be do-able!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Working on the runway!

On June 30th, the spot that will be my runway looked like the pictures below. I've been putting in some hours clearing this small spot in hopes that it will serve as my ultralight runway. After this weekend, I'll post a picture of my progress, but it is substantial. I have only owned this property for about two years and I've been concentrating mostly on building my home. I've discovered that this spot has about a 4 foot elevation difference from one side to the other over about 100 feet. I hope this won't really be a problem because the only solution is a bulldozer.

I stepped off the distance from one end to the other and came up with about 370 feet plus or minus 25 feet. I could possibly gain another 60 feet on one end after removing some trees that would interfere with my wings when taking off.

I have learned that the local radio control (RC) airfield was 568 feet. I have successfully taken off and landed on this field. It has tall grass on either end of the mowed area and from what I can remember, the landing roll was a bit long and I went into the tall grass on the end before I stopped. Keep in mind, the grass on the runway itself is almost like a golf green, short and smooth. I'll have taller grass on my strip so I'll probably stop in a shorter distance. Who knows, might be the right time to get brakes! Somebody suggested that I have two different lengths of grass on my strip, short for takeoff and longer for landing. Sounds like a good idea. Airstrip progress photo coming soon!



The runway looking towards 243 degrees (runway 24). All of the trees you see at the far end will be removed to allow a clear approach to the short field.

The middle of the runway looking towards 243 degrees (runway 24).

The opposite end of the runway looking towards 63 degrees (runway 6).

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Ultralight People

Well, I've been doing a bit of reflecting on my time spent at Mark Smith's fly-in. It's really strange. Many of the people who were at the fly-in I've met before. I remember their faces but not their names. When you have to ask, it can be embarrassing. If you still don't remember, it can sometimes be so awkward that you decide not to ask again. During the year I communicate with them through the Yahoo Quicksilverultralightowners group, but won't actually see them again for another year, or two or more.

Take Lester for example. I spoke to Lester at length at the fly-in. I didn't know his name and I didn't ask. I didn't learn until I got back that he posts as Bobo_MX on the Yahoo group. I'm certainly familiar with his posts, but I didn't associate a face with a user name. Isn't that strange? I'm sure a bunch of people at Mark's associated faces with user names and given names for the first time this weekend. Dan Umbarger is one whom I now associate with his Yahoo group name of "BOATDOC54". He said it was his first time at the Fly-in, but I would have sworn that I've met him before. Oh yeah, by-the-way, My Yahoo group name used to be RustyUL. It's now gr.weldon and the group doesn't display my actual name, even though I think my profile setting says that it should. "Norm in Cherokee Village Arkansas" told me his last name several times. Do you think I remember it? NO! I guess I'll just use the excuse everybody else does...I'm getting old, which is true.

It would be helpful if somebody could put together a list (a blog even) of peoples names, Yahoo group name, the city they live in and a picture of the airplane (or airplanes for those who are extremely blessed) that they fly. I know that some people are a bit leery of the perceived security issues, but you would be surprised how easy it already is to find somebody without anything more than a name and possibly a state. I think I could easily associate a name and face with an airplane. What do you think? Post a comment and let me know! I'd be willing to start another blog if a good deal of people would like to send their information to me. It would be like a ready reference to people who post on the group. I suppose I could even withhold real names if people wished. Like I said, let me know!

Back to the issue of people you only see once a year. It's amazing how you bond with some people even though you only see them very few hours over a long period of time. As I said in my previous post, Ultralight fliers are a really different type of people. They live different types of lifestyles and tend to be almost any age. Just about every single ultralight flier that I have ever met has been very warm, open and receptive. I know we think that it should be that way with everyone at any time, but for whatever the reason, that isn't the case. Ultralight fliers can disagree about everything...and I do mean everything. As long as they agree that flying ultralights is where it's at, they can be great friends at the flying field. They may not want to (and probably don't) associate with this person any other time, but the sport of flying brings them together. It is indeed an amazing thing.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

At Mark's fly-in, Dwight told me that I needed to set aside one day a week to work on my runway. I'm beginning to think that he's right. Up to now it's been house, house, house. I think I need to direct some of my work toward the ultimate end of flying. The fly-in re-ignited the flame. All I really need to do is cut down a five or six dozen trees and mow the lawn and I possibly could have 300 usable feet. If the strip is open on both ends, I'll should have no problem taking off and shouldn't have too much difficulty landing.

On Google Earth it looks somewhat like this, but these pictures are about 5 years old. The outline is 500' long and will need some fill on both ends.


Once I get the runway workable, I'll have to assemble the pile of tubes sitting in my minivan into an airplane. I can't wait to get started.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Car almost finished

When re-installing the new EGR tube, I had to remove the DPFE sensor from the old tube to put on the new tube. Wouldn't you know, the plastic was old and brittle and broke where it connects to the vacuum likes. That will be another $35 or so plus the car will throw the check engine light until I put the new sensor on.

When testing that everything electrical worked, I discovered that neither the radio nor the climate control fan worked. Nor the rear window defroster or the windshield wipers. I'll have to troubleshoot and find out what gives but tonight, I just had to call it quits at about 6:30. At least it's drivable and gets much better gas mileage than the 13MPG F250 truck I was driving while putting the car back together. I guess I know what I'll be doing tomorrow night. I really thought this project would be complete by now!

Monday, July 06, 2009

Replacing the AC evaporator core in a Merc Sable

This 4th of July weekend was relatively productive for me. On Friday, I worked on the last bit of roofing that need to be finished. I'm still not done. It gets tricky working 20 feet above the level of the deck. I have just a few more pieces of roofing material to install. After the roofing material is all done, I have some flashing to install where the walls meet the roof. After that, the roof will finally be complete. I figure about 4 to 6 more hours.

Saturday, I started the miserable task of replacing the air conditioning evaporator core in my car. I had to remove the steering column and dashboard completely, then remove the air handling unit which involved 2 quick disconnects (they weren't quick at all), two heater core hoses, and three large nuts from inside the engine compartment. I had to remove the intake manifold from the engine to be able to get room to make the majority of the disconnections. In the process I broke the EGR valve tube and the gear selector display, the little plastic piece that shows what gear you are in. I also lost the two screws that hold the multi-function switch (turn signals, hi-beam) to the steering column.


Screw access panels and glove box removed.



Steering column, radio/climate controls and glovebox removed









Air handler still installed in car



Air handler removed


Bare naked interior firewall!



Saturday night, my wife Sharla and I went to see fireworks in Montgomery. I have to say that it was shameful! I know budgets are tight, but the show didn't even last 7 minutes! We drove 40 minutes to get there, spent about 40 minutes waiting for the show to start...for what? 7 minutes of fireworks? As I said, shameful!

Sunday morning about 9:00, I started to disassemble the air handling unit to replace the evaporator core. Because I didn't want to be taking the dash out again for any reason, I replaced the heater core as well. I then started to put things back together. About 11:00 I started to re-install components back into the car. At 5:30PM, I had to stop because of impending rain, which was the first rain in 3 weeks. When I stopped, I had the air handler back in, the dash back in, the steering column mounted, and the radio/climate control unit back in. I still have to mount the multi-function switch (when I get the screws), install the glove box, re-connect the AC hoses and heater core hoses, replace the EGR tube, reinstall the intake manifold, upper motor mount and put the passenger side tire back on. If I can easily get the old EGR tube to come off easily (doubtful), then we should be talking about 3 hours to complete. I've got about 12 hours into the project already. With the cost of the evaporator core, the heater core and EGR tube, two freon recharges (the first one told me I had a leak), the total will be just about $550. After I already paid $160 for the first freon recharge, they told me it would be at least $600 to replace the evaporator core. This wouldn't have included the heater core. You know how things like that go...It would have been more in the end. Any way you look at it, I saved about $200. If I hadn't broken anything and cheaped out by using my old heater core, I could have saved easily $300 or more. Hopefully when I take it to the service center, it will hold a charge. Then I'll have AC again! Woo Hoo! It only quit working 2 months after I bought the car about 30 months ago.



Engine compartment with intake manifold and other things removed