Sandy, that was very thoughtful of you to remember. Thank you.
I wish I could say that I'm adjusting really well. And I am, along many dimensions - certainly I can be thankful for my health, and that of may family. Financially we are ok despite the governments' concerted efforts to the contrary (that's a wisecrack - no threadjacking allowed!). But where does the time go?
For one, I am no project manager. Designer, fine. Builder, fine. But figuring out how long it would take? Dear glory. We had a slight further slippage of about 1/4 acre of a sloping field that I own, so I went ahead an pulled permits to get that stabilized and drained - and then the water authority stopped me because they are concerned about damage to their old asbestos cement water line running near the slipped area. Let's not get into that either, suffice to say it may end up in court, not because I want it to, but because they want it to so they can say they were forced. It's a 6", 120 psi line, so the consequences of a break are no joke. But I did start on one aspect of the adjoining project, which was to drain my natural spring into the new borough storm drain boxes so the road shoulder (that the spring had drained down since time immemorial) stopped being a muddy swamp all winter.
And that shot my summer, because now you work your way back up from the catch basin, up the badly eroded waterfall, to the idyllic pond that the spring feeds, and it all needed rebuilt. Retaining walls, a paver patio and.. wait a minute, how did the outlet get to be 1/2" higher than the inlet? - It's 165 gal plastic preformed pond. Why's the top of the pond not level anymore? Oh glory... That has taken me since June 6 and I still ain't done (after estimating a couple of weeks...). Not to mention I need to put a shed up this year, and I still need to come to terms with the water authority and get all that done.
I rebuilt my utility trailer with my middle son through spring after two weeks of flu in early March. We've had an unusual amount of time with the grandkids, at least we've done some stomp rockets and gliders and stuff.
But hobby time has been almost zero. I think about rockets WAY more than I work on them. And even at that - over the winter, my brother-in-law and I started building a 1/24 Bf-109E Airfix kit. We thought we'd be done by April; I'm just now finishing the cockpit. We just get a couple of hours every couple of weeks with his schedule. He loves that plane, and it certainly was a potent fighter, but it ain't my cup of tea, I'm doing it for him. In between steps I picked at @hcmbanjo
's Breakaway, but it sits forlornly on my bench craving attention. My careful preparations to mke the tube meetings as inconspicuous as possible came to naught so now I need plan "B".
And of course I still consult for my former employer, that sometimes really chews up a week.
Rocketry wise, I did manage to contact First Energy about their Little Blue remediation. This has a LOT of promise and I think I need to get with the local NAR/Tripoli clubs to make a joint effort to secure this field. This would innclude any clubs in the Pittsburgh-Chester, WV, East Liverpool Ohio area at the very least. The site is currently under environmental remediation, and get this - in hilly, tree-covered western PA, here is a relatively flat area that is a mile
wide, over two miles
long, and due to the remediation measures, THEY DON'T WANT ANY TREES ON IT!!!!
Yup, it was a fly ash slurry containment pond, and so there is a rubber liner, geotextile, and a foot of earth. The First Energy guy said they cannot have anything risking puncturing that membrane, and so crews go through periodically removing any saplings that start. For us, if we were to secure an agreement, it may limit us on possible ballistic energy etc. But he actually loved my idea - he was quite enthusiastic about linking up with schools, the STEM aspect, field trips, etc. But as it stands now there are some legal hurdles. and another owner (Energy Harbor) that has purchased the Shippingport Nuclear Station and the (non-operational) Bruce Mansfield Generating Station (the one that generated the fly ash for Little Blue), and are now part owners of Little Blue. We are officially on the list, though, as a possible future use. The remediation goes through 2028, but I think with enough effort there is no reason why we couldn't fly there with the proper agreements.
My build pile has grown slightly. I grabbed a Bullet Bobby during Chris's Christmas in July sale. So in addition to some repairs on my Mercury-Redstone, I have Bobby, the Breakaway, the ACME Spitfire, and... and...
Well, when I was a kid, I had started designing my own rockets using the old CG and CP-by-cardboard-cutout method. I had this real beaut, a 4FNC 3 engine "D" cluster. Got it built, but life intervened, and it never saw paint or the sky. I never did know what finally happened to it. So earlier this year, I grabbed some parts for it - a Sunward mount for 3 x 24 mm motors into a BT-80, a couple of BT-80 tubes, a Sunward BT-80 ejection baffle and an Estes blow-molded nose cone. I think I want to replace the 70mm long engine tubes with 95mm tubes. This is to be a heavy lifter, not a high flier, and I really am looking at doing some interesting calculations to get it right - speed off the rail and all that; payload/engine combinations, cameras, other electronics, maybe even that French kid's fly-me-home system if it'll fit. Apogee sells clear BT-80 segments, so there is just so many possible things to sit on top of the booster.
But that will require some more study time, which, to be honest, I love... if i can find it. I've only covered the first two chapters of "Topics in Advanced Model Rocketry" and don't have the calcs mastered yet, but by glory it just calls to me... If I can get through the sections on drag and trajectory analysis, I'll be a very happy camper.
But yeah, the first year has been tough. There are a million things I like to do, but there was a ton of big things we'd necessarily put off until I retired. I still help my widowed mother-in-law, and even if I had no other projects, taking care of this place is no joke. But I gotta get off, it's bed time.
Thanks again, Sandy for thinking of me. I was going to necrotize my own thread eventaully and gripe, you made me do it!