Ottertail Country

Ottertail Country
Ottertail South

July 31, 2008

Flyin' high!!

I recently had a once in a lifetime opportunity. My boss at work has a friend near Spooner, Wi, that owns an AT-6. That's an airplane built by North American that was used as an Advanced Trainer during WWII. Nearly all aircraft pilots trained in this plane before going to fighter or bomber squadrons.

So this is Dave Schmitz' airplane. It's a beauty!! He acquired it in 1987, spent the next years rebuilding it from the ground up, first flight out of his airport in 1994!! A seven year effort. This plane has a great sounding radial engine, 600HP, 205 mph top end with a cruise speed of 140mph. Here is great info on theT-6 Texan.

My boss has been up in my plane to scout duck hunting areas, and he talks to Dave occasionally. Last Sunday Dave was going to fly to northcental Minnesota to do a fly-over for a local celebration in a small town near Alexander, Mn.
Bill asked if he could take a passenger, yes, no one lined up to go, soooooo.... I got an invite!!

This is a view of the rear cockpit. Looks intimidating at first, but after checking it out for a while, it started to all make sense. Dave let me fly the thing, just straight and level with some minor turns, but that was good enough for me.

Here we are, ready to take off. Check the rivets in the wing... lots of work putting all those in. Enlarge the photo for a better view. I could hardly believe that I was going up in this wonderful aircraft from the late 1930's...

I took a ton of photos and later realized that this one is the only photo I had of Dave!! On the way to Minnesota, Dave asked if I had done any aerobatic flight yet. I said no, but would like to some day. He suggested we try a barrel roll, I said sure. It's a spiral maneuver that really is like flying around the inside of a barrel. Awesome.

Next we did an aileron roll, which is rolling the plane along it's longitudinal axis. It was a little quicker and a little more dramatic. More awesomeness.... Then he suggested a loop and I quickly agreed. It's pulling the stick back, starting a steep climb and then just staying with it until you go right over the top (upside down) and back down until you're level and continuing in the direction you were headed. Hee, hee....

We landed at Alexander, Mn, where we met Chuck Datko and passenger in Chuck's AT 6. Chuck and Dave both fly for T-6 Thunder, a flight team that hires out for events, usually covering their fuel costs. A brief planning session ensued, involving how we would buzz the event from one side, then the other and a final pass. They both have "smoke" on their planes and planned to use it.

Here's what it looks like to fly close formation with another plane. I'm estimating that if you placed the planes next to each other with wing tips touching, moved our plane back until the nose was even with the tail of the other, then lower our plane until our line of sight was just below the belly of the other plane, that would be the general position of the planes during the formation flying. If I'm wrong about that, Dave, please comment and set me straight....

"We've got 4 seconds........ Smoke on....... NOW!" That's what I heard, then the smoke poured out of Chuck's plane and I could tell that our smoke was working as well, judging by the slight fog in the cockpit for a while.

Then we made a pretty tight turn out over the lake and headed back to the celebration for another pass, more smoke, more turns, I was loving this!!

Eventually we parted ways and Dave and I headed for home. Dave wondered if I wanted to see what a figure 8 loop was like. You bet. So we got up some extra airspeed, pulled up into the loop. When we were about 3/4 around the loop, Dave straightened the flight path and did a half roll. This put us heading slightly down in the opposite direction that we had been going. Then Dave pulled the plane up and into a second loop, and 3/4 through he straightened the flight path, did a half roll and ended up heading in the original direction. This impressed me to no end!! If I had the money, I would get a Pitts biplane and learn how to do this..... guess that's not gonna happen. Oh well, I can dream on....

Thanks a million Dave. I had the time of my life on this flight.

I gotta go, Carlo

July 30, 2008

The end of siding.

The siding saga. I borrowed this ladder from Swede. I think that instead of Little Giant Ladder it should have been named Great Big Midget. Means the same only sounds better... I think.

The last day of hillbilly siding (house wrap). The north side almost done.

Here is the piece I had been looking for, the final piece of siding destined for the peak of the south gable....

This ladder formed a 10" tall step ladder which was just tall enough to fit the final piece of siding. Standing on the top and holding onto the roof, that is....

O.K., here we go. North side done.

West side done.

East and South sides done. Woo hoooo!!!!

I remembered that I had taken some photos at various stages of construction, taken from the window in the west room upstairs in the house. So I went looking for them and here is what I found.

Then I found this aerial view. You can see the garage roof if you look close, so I threw it in as well. The only external items on the garage now is a little caulk, paint the entry doors, put up the last outside light.

I gotta go, Carlo

July 29, 2008

Recently, during a lull in the action around here, I got out the rake, shovel, level, wheelbarrow, etc, and went to work on the deck. It has slowly been getting more out of level each year as the frost raises it in winter. It goes down in the spring, but never quite enough. I jacked it all up a little and cut 5" off the eastern most posts, and about 2.75" off the others. Then I lowered the deck back onto the posts.

It hasn't been that cleaned out under the deck in a long time. Now the light pole and umbrella post are standing up straight and I can stand to go out there again...

Trying to decide the final location of the new outdoor boiler. Thinking of between the big shed and the lilac bushes, closer to the bushes than the shed. The guy did not show up to do the digging this weekend, but the pulp wood did get delivered on Saturday. I'm going to wait a few days to see if this humidity leaves. Then we'll get going on the sawing and splitting.

Monday night I got the gravel we will need for making the base for the boiler and wood storage area. I hope the skid steer guy gets here soon.

This hay mower is on loan from a friend. I'm trying to get it set up to use with the old Ford tractor. Today I worked on the hitch pole and got it so I could attach the mower at the right distance behind the tractor. I did a little mowing tonight, but will have to do something about lowering the hitch so the PTO shaft is straighter. Always something...

It looks pretty sad there in the weeds without it's hitch pole. Oh, well, better days are ahead.

I gotta go, Carlo


July 20, 2008

Wedding, part 2

I guess we left off in the last post with the start of the 'photography session'. As we know, getting nice photos requires a little powdering of the nose and such...

Bryn was doing a little experimenting with my camera. This one was on sepia mode and turned out kind of nice.

Hailee lost interest in photos and found the piano at the side of the church. She likes messing around on the piano and she gets a lot of use out of the one in our house when she gets up here.

I lost interest in the photo session and wandered out into the hall. Most of Jim and Carol's family was there.... I guess they were all there and they wanted a photo! We did a few and they turned out nice.

We all relocated to the Cedar Shack for the festivities to follow. I guess Chris was happy that his best man, Jake, made it to the reception????

Phillip was taking his dinner seriously, even though his chair could have used a booster.

Chris and Ashley cut the cake, which was good looking and GOOD TASTING! Of course the feeding each other a piece of cake got out of hand and they both ended up wearing some of the frosting.

This is quite a photo of Gary, Bryn. I was amazed to see it when I downloaded these pics. This is one photo you need to double click to see the large version.

This fearsome trio seemed to hit it off again. They were all wearing the ribbons from (silverware? napkins? what?) around their wrists.

I think Jordan and Weston ate too much cake.

We took Hailee home to Chris and Ashley's house, and Rose and Bryn joined us there for the night. Next morning the bubbles from the wedding provided an hour or so of entertainment.

In the end, she resorted to trying to eat the bubbles in mid-air. That didn't work that well but we all had fun.


July 18, 2008

A June 21st wedding.

We headed to Arkdale, Wi, to witness the wedding of Christopher and Ashley. A beautiful day, a little hot, but not bad. Lots of friends and relatives gathered for the occasion.

Hey, there, Kristi!! Looks like you're enjoying it so far.... Adam, how did the kabobs turn out last week??

Hailee looks like she's taking this quite seriously! She did a great job of marching up the aisle, standing where she was supposed to, until she got tired and walked back to Ashley's mom, where she layed her head on grandma's lap and took a little nap standing up....

Here is Ashley walking up the aisle with her mom and dad.

And here she and Chris are reciting their vows. It was a very nice ceremony and it went off without a hitch. Oh, wait, there was a hitch!!

And here are the newly-weds! Both looking happy and ready for anything.

The greeting line was long and noisy, with lots of talk and laughing. Here Bryn and Rose are congratulating the couple.

Outside the weather was great, the bubbles were many and we were moving into phase II, the 'photos'.

Back inside we did a little photo session of our own. Hailee seemed to be having a great time.

Bryn, Donna and Rosie.

Here's a good place to stop for now, more to follow later. Thanks for a great day, Chris and Ashley!!