July, 2010

 

We usually have a big party at our home on the 4th of July.  This year, we decided to forego the festivities and spend the holiday working on our airport.  We wouldn’t get as much done in July as I had business and family commitments that would take up much of the month.  But we made some substantial improvements to the runway in July...

July 1st thru 5th

I wanted to finally get started burning the pile of wood that we’d shoved in the pit the previous week.  I drove out on Thursday afternoon and set the whole darn mess on fire.  It made one heck of a fire that lit up the whole countryside.  The massive pile of wood would eventually smolder for over three weeks - even through two very heavy rainfalls.

 

Along with the pile of wood in the pit, I also set one of the piles of dead trees on fire.  After sitting in the sun for almost two months, it went up very quickly and burned just as big as the wood pile.

The bottom fell out of the sky on Friday afternoon and it was too muddy to bring out the trailer.  I had purchased a finish mower off of Craigslist and managed to go and pick it up and bring it out to the airport just before the rain started.

 

On Saturday morning it was dry enough for us to go out and start working.  We took the big pile of tires that we’d accumulated and placed them out as runway markers.  We painted the runway threshold tires bright orange and the side tires were done in white.  They did an outstanding job of marking the runway.  We’re pleased with how they look.

 

I hooked the finish mower up to Mini-Me (the Ford) and started down the runway.  It did an outstanding job - for about 3/4 of the way down the runway.  Then a bearing seized and the idler pulley broke off.  I got a new one at Tractor Supply and got it quickly working again.

 

The newly fixed finish mower did a great job - as can be seen by the pics above.  It cut the grass as neat as could be - such grass as there was.  Unfortunately, we still didn’t have a lot of grass coverage over the runway, so the low cutting mower REALLY threw up the dust.  By the time I was finished, I was covered in a layer of dust so thick that I could have easily been used as a summer garden...

On Monday, the 5th, a truck towing a big trailer showed up.  Being an avid Craigslister, I’d bought a used 14x40 ft. building a few days earlier.  I plan on using it as my office building after we get our home built.  Until then, I guess that I’ll use it as a weekender home so that we won’t have to keep living out of our camper trailer.

 

It’s a project for later in the future, but I didn’t want to pass up a good deal.  So I had it delivered and set up where I expect the office to be located.

 

Rachael and I had been up flying in the Starduster when we saw them pulling it down the road.  We’d returned to the airport and had shown the delivery team where to set it up.  After they left, we took off again and got a pic or two of the building and the recently cleared land from the air.

The holiday weekend was also the first weekend that we brought our dogs with us to the property.  Cessna (my Husky mix) and Max (my German Sheppard) were ecstatic that they got to actually run around a large property.  They’re “back yard” dogs that spend their lives in relative comfort - being let out daily for our walks down to the lake.

 

This was definitely a fun trip for them and they spent the whole holiday with huge grins on their faces.

 

Cessna is my “shadow”.  She is rarely more then 10 ft. from me and loves to ride beside me in the cart.  Max would rather run along beside us.

 

Although they’re “city dogs”, I can tell that they are going to love living in the country when the time comes.

While I was in Wal-Mart over the weekend, I noticed some high intensity garden lights.  These lights were supposed to be up to 10 times as bright as regular accent lighting.  On a whim, I picked up their whole supply and brought them back to the airport.  We set them up with the idea that, if they’re bright enough, they might make it possible to depart after the sun had set.

 

I was VERY pleasantly surprised.  Not only are they bright enough to allow for night departures, but they’re MORE than bright enough to allow for night operations.  I estimate that they are a bit brighter than FAA mandated low intensity airport lighting.  We made some modifications to raise them higher and give greater light penetration.  <edit> There have been quite a few night landings and departures since we put them up!   (The picture doesn’t do them justice)

July, 2010 - the rest of the month

 

We had a family obligation in Louisiana the next weekend and a business convention the weekend after that.  By then, the month was pretty much over with only the last weekend left.  For us, that meant OSHKOSH!  I have been making the annual pilgrimage up to EAA Airventure every year since I’ve become a pilot.  Rachael has gone with me every year since we’ve been together.  She happily camps out with me underneath the wing of my Comanche.

 

This year was different in one HUGE respect, however.  This year, Rachael flew ME up to Oshkosh in HER airplane - a Cutlass 172RG.  She had obtained her pilot license in November of 2009 and got the Cutlass for a Christmas present.  She did all of the piloting and did an outstanding job of “landing on the pink dot” upon our arrival.  We had a great time camping out, enjoying the airshows, attending the seminars and workshops and perusing through the vendor area.  It was a fun and relaxing time, but we missed out on almost a whole month of work at our airport.  We vowed to return to work in earnest in August.

*** A little July Addendum ***

 

Although we didn’t work AT the airport for most of the month, I still spent a lot of time working ON the airport.  Shopping on Craigslist (again!), I found a brand new 5000 gallon water tank that had been brought to a Caddo Mills lumberyard by one of their vendors.  The chemical vendor had decided to use a different process on the wood, so they wanted to sell the tank.  I got a great deal on a brand new (and more importantly - unused!) tank.

 

We took a day and picked it up on July 18th and moved it out to the airport.  I set it on its side out of the way in a corner of the property.  It was just another “project” that would be attended to at some later time in the future.

 

However, I now have a water system.  Although there is city water available, the water line ends about 1/2 mile away.  I was quoted some incredible amount to run the line over to my property - from where I’d STILL have to run my own water line to where I wanted it to go.  I decided that, since I already have a good water well on the property, I’d do my own water system.  The tank should provide a more than adequate water supply for normal usage.