Catching up and moving into summer

Its been a bit since my last update – mostly because work has been taking up a lot of my mental energy.  Our 3 way merger has evolved now into a 5 way merger and the time frames have not changed (actually compressed a bit) – that is not leaving a lot of left over brain cells for the weekend.  But this week was not too bad and I have coffee in hand and I thought I would capture what has been happening since the snow disappeared?

First off – my Dad and I have been working diligently to de-clutter and organize his workshop.  We have gotten rid of some things that were no longer needed and have come up with new organizational schemes for materials and tools – so we are utilizing the existing space much better.  We moved the electric welder over to my shop (still need to put that back together at some point), added a lot of eye hooks in the ceiling as a mount point for a new and really slick chain fall hoist from a firm in Japan – it is totally sweet.  You can lift several hundred pounds with just finger tip pressure pulling on the chain and it is very easy to control.  It makes moving around some of the new sheet metal tools my Dad has bought very easy.  Below is a picture of the kind of stuff we are doing – getting things organized has made it a lot more pleasant to be in the shop along with the new lighting and heating system too – it means it is getting used several hours a day vs a few hours per year!

Sticking with that theme – one set of shepherd’s hut wheels has been converted by one of the crack welders at Leo Cavelier’s (actually Cavelier Welding now) into the frame of a hut and they delivered it.  I decided to do one hut at a time to capture lesson’s learned and have one less thing to deal with at a time.  It came out really, really well and looks super neat.  I am working out the framing design now

Skipping backward in time, Tenley came out during the snow to visit Carlisle – I was super busy at work and didn’t get to take much time off (brain has short circuited – I can’t remember now – I must have taken a day off??).  Regardless, that was super fun and we unpacked my artwork – some of which I had packed away for 10 years plus and had forgotten about.  We did layouts and her expert color eye was put to good use deciding what should go where – thank you Tenley!   (last weekend we actually hung things up 🙂   Oh and the furniture I ordered arrived too – two pull out sleeper sofas and a rocking chair.  All very nice looking and comfortable

Over the Memorial Day Weekend, my niece Margaret walked her graduation for her Masters degree in Leadership from Saint Mary’s College (she still has to defend her thesis this summer – apparently that is their standard structure – they have an offsite in Santa Cruz designed into all and everything).  CONGRATULATIONS MARGARET !

It went very well, with her mitre board decorated with “One Degree Hotter” – which was very appropriate since it was HOT.  Even in the early morning, the sun was blasting us – we only lasted till a few minutes after Margaret got her diploma and then we left.  Over half of the guests were clustered in the shade under the trees on the walk way up to the graduation field – barely able to see but cooler – so we were not the only ones feeling it!  We went off to the Lafayette Park Hotel to freshen up and attend the reception in the Library that Tenley set up.  It was very nice and I had a lot of interesting conversations with folks.

From graduation, I drove down to visit Jeff, Meghan, Mason and Owen (the Scott’s Valley Fohls!) in their new house.  Man, it is totally great!  The house is older, so it has the kind of quirks a 100 year old house will pick up but there is tons of light, the neighbors are nice, really nice family outdoor space on the decks and room for outside stuff on the lawn.  Plus  the barn is super cool and adaptable to what ever without being too fussy

I arrived on Sunday, so we went to Roaring Camp Railroad on Monday (Memorial Day) to ride the steam trains through the redwood forest and they were also having a huge US Civil War re-enactment with probably 300 re-enactors.  It was super neat.  We rode the steam train up the mountain, where a group of teenagers re-enacted a skirmish between the Confederate and Union forces.  Man where they having fun and they were so, so into the interpretive process – once their battle was over, they rushed up asked everyone on the train what kind of questions they had.  They wrapped it up with a competitive volley competition – where each side fired a volley to see who could be the most in sync.  I  was very impressed – both were good, but definitely the kids being the Confederates were better – they were spot on.  It occured to me that since the Confederates “lost” the skirmish, putting the more disciplined kids onto that side was probably planned out – it takes more organization and discipline to act out losing!

There was also good food – we had hot dogs of course !  Then there was time to watch some Blacksmith demonstrations (the Blacksmith was very good at explaining what he was doing to the kids and I bought a steel dinosaur for Owen and steel 6 side die for Mason).  They have a print shop which I briefly visited – it was pretty neat.  But then they had the big battle which started with the artillery blasting at each other from long range and quickly escalated to back and forth infantry battles.  Surrenders, lightning raids, rescues gone wrong – they had it all.  Over the course of about 40 minutes they battled back and forth (I noticed more than one “dead” soldier managing to die with their hat over their face to avoid sunburn).  At the end, only the two wounded flag bearers were alive and they marched off the field together.  A sobering and very well done interpretive battle – they wrapped things up with a lot of explaining what we had just seen – it was very well done

Regarding the trains – the steam locomotive is super interesting – it is all wheel drive, with geared bevel gears on each  wheel truck and a super short wheelbase to allow it to make tight turns and go up steep inclines.  We went up a 9 degree slope at one time which is one of the steepest, if not the absolute steepest, inclines in North America (anything steeper becomes usually a cogwheel rail system).  The locomotive is a Shay design (named after the designer) and a lot of thinking went into it – all the drive equipment is on the right hand side of the locomotive – so all the steam pistons, drive shafts, gears etc… is right there and easy to service.  They told us they have a Heisler locomotive and to repair a cracked gear they had to take the entire train apart – since the drive line runs through the center of the train.  According to the conductor, who was explaining things as we went along, the expectation was that the locomotives were essentially viewed as disposable and would only last 10 years in the field – when they broke down, often they would be shunted off to a siding and abandoned.  But because the Shay design was so easy to work on, they continued to be maintained and so the majority of the logging locomotives that are still around in North America are the Shay design.  Here is a link to the official history of the Camp and their locomotives 

Here is the link to my own channel – I took a lot of video from Roaring Camp

I am not sure why Youtube picked the frame below to use as the ‘splash’ – because the video is about the family eating lunch at a picnic table and only at the end does a quick pan around the area -weird.



Here are some of the photos – somehow I was not in the same place as Mason and Meghan most of the day – sorry for the lack of photos there!


Finally – what have I done recently?  well I finished a coffee table that I made out of the wrecked rear mag wheel from Skip Barber’s Formula 5000 car and I fixed the broken side table that I have had hanging around for long time – it now stands fully upright and can support a cocktail again without spilling.  I forgot to take pictures – so I will have to do that and post them at a later time

Have a good weekend everyone!



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