November 4th thru 7th
Gumbo and a Movie Night at T14
We had scheduled our second “official” fly-in for the first weekend in November. Remember what I said back in October about the rains not usually starting until November? Well… they started - in spades! The bottom fell out of the sky on the prior Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. I drove up to the land on Thursday afternoon and found standing water everywhere. Walt L. had driven out that morning and couldn’t pull off of the driveway without spinning in the mud. It had dried up enough to drive over (albeit in 4 wheel drive) when I pulled up a few hours later, but the place was completely waterlogged.
The runway, as always, was firm enough to handle any load. But the runoff ditches were mostly full and it was not safe to exit the runway in many places. We were sure that we’d have to cancel the event.
I wasn’t ready to throw in the towel, however. I had friends who drove up from Baton Rouge in their RV, pulling a PPC behind. I decided to throw caution to the winds and wait another day before calling it.
We quickly realized that the usual gathering area was not usable. It was much too wet with a small lake in the center of where we’d normally have tables and tents. After a little brainstorming, we decided to move about 100 ft. further where it was completely grassy and MUCH more firm. The only problem was that there was no electricity in that area.
No problem. I sent Walt to Home Depot to pick up 300 ft. of #8 electrical wire and some outlets. Using some unused shelving units that I had, we quickly constructed an outdoor power panel. We wired it into the shed’s panel, put in a breaker and - VIOLA! - instant electricity.
It turned out to be a great success. The land did an amazing job of draining faster than I thought possible. By Friday evening, it was more than dry enough to pull RV’s onto the grass and park. I had quite a few friends who drove up from all points. Unfortunately, we were severely disappointed by the number of fly-in visitors. I guess that everyone thought we would cancel the event because of the heavy rain. That didn’t happen, though. It went off almost without a hitch.
We called it our “Gumbo and a Movie” fly-in because I had promised to make one of my famous cajun gumbo’s. I make a mean seafood gumbo and is slap-yo-momma good. Rachael also fixed a mess of vittles and Mona, the true-blue cajun wife of one of my coonass friends, made a delicious dirty rice. In addition to all this, we had fresh venison!
We were flying our PPC’s early on Saturday morning while Walt L. watched from the ground (he won’t get in “those darn things”). It was the opening morning of deer season. At the northwest corner, where I’d previously been baiting hogs, stood a good-sized buck that was completely ignoring the powered parachutes and people who were landing and milling around on the ground. Walt walked to his truck, got out his rifle and put a round right through the buck.
I had heard the noise of the rifle and knew immediately what had happened. He and I cleaned the deer, got it cut up and threw it immediately into the smoker. In addition to all the food that was laid out, we had fresh backstrap that evening.
I was VERY busy hosting the karaoke singing that night. We had a number of friends drive in and enjoy the fun. By the time I made it to the table, all of the %$@#$! backstrap had been eaten and I never got to even sample a bite! I was lucky to get one bowl of gumbo. Those who stayed home because they thought it would be too wet missed out on a great party.
The movie was “Airplane!” and we all watched it while huddled in chairs around a roaring fire. It was a great fly-in and a good way to end our last event of the year.
I was so busy that I barely had a chance to get pictures. Here are a few that were snapped by our friend, Mona, and a few of the movie night.
November 19th thru 21st
We were unable to work out at the land the next weekend because of other commitments. One of the things that I wanted to do when we DID get back out there, however, was to move the pistol range to a more safe location. It was originally located in the same area where we gathered for fellowship. That was just a little too close for safety and also made it difficult to have a conversation with the sound of regular gunfire.
I picked another spot at the far northern end of the property and across the tree line from our camping/common area. We raised a new backstop and moved the target holders and shelter to the new area. It will work out much better as a permanent firing range. It’s out of range and well away from the common area and the trees will muffle the sounds of the guns firing. It’s also well away from aircraft parking and landing zones.
Once we had done that, it was time to level the old range. We brought out Godzilla and Mofo and leveled the ground where the old bullet backstop had once stood. After that, we seeded it with rye grass for the Winter. I also overseeded the runway again with rye grass. I had been seeding the area for the past month with rye grass and it was starting to slowly take hold. The runway has patches of rye showing up all over the place. If we can get it to grow in the bare areas, it’ll provide a good hold for the bermuda when we seed again in the Spring.
The rest of November was taken up by Thanksgiving and then a class reunion the next weekend. We had no chance to do anything more substantial. We did stay out there a few times, but we spent the time relaxing and enjoying our soon-to-be-home rather than working on it - a rare opportunity to just sit, relax and enjoy our time away.