Monday, December 23, 2019

Un poco de esto, un poco de aquello

Well...Big week coming up and first things first.  Little Juvat and his bride are scheduled to arrive later this afternoon at Austin-Bergstrom (site of an exciting time in my life, back when Bergstrom was an Air Force Base) after a direct flight from Frankfurt (another site of an exciting time in my life).

My, oh my, how air travel has changed in the last 40 years.  Non-stop, Frankfurt to Austin.  My lower posterior anatomy aches just thinking about it.

Meanwhile, Mrs J has been doing yeoman's work decorating the house for the Holidays.  (Yeoman's work is defined as "...simply good, honest, hard work. A yeoman was a class of farmer, above a laborer but below a land-owner."  Note the "Above a laborer".  Guess who?


So,  Little J and his Bride arrive today.  Given the long journey, we are going to attempt to keep them awake until at least dark, but it is the start of Winter.  Sunset is 5:40 today. (OK, Beans 5:40:47 to be precise, sheesh!), so a little late Lunch/early Dinner and the trip home should accomplish that.  Plus, added bonus, we can visit with MBD and SIL before they depart for his Parents for the actual holiday.

We share and swap holidays each year.  This year we had Thanksgiving.  But, we get them back on the 26th.  Gotta exchange hostages gifts.
Update: Little Juvat and Bride successfully recovered, refueled with Margaritas and Chuy's Mexican Food and tucked in for the night. Let the festivities begin!

Speaking of gifts.  I finally got this beast completed.  Little J and I are going to finish assembly in my Sister's house while she's at work on Christmas Eve.  Ebenezer Scrooge (whose initials are HEB) is alive and well.  All that's left to do is fasten the legs to the desk frame.

I am anxious for the project to be finished, so I can get back in my shop, and be able to move around in it.

Because I've got other projects that are occupying my time.

As some of you may recall, back in May we had some torrential rain, which washed out our road.

Well, we've finally got all the hoops jumped and i's crossed and t's dotted (or something) and started the reconstruction project.

The picture above was Monday.  Friday came along and this is where we are.

The washed out area is between the skid steer and the base covered road to the left of it.  The good news is I can get to almost 5mph transiting that wash now.  But...that was Friday.  The Pit, where they get the base from, closed Friday PM until January 2nd.

I know the ranchers around here are praying for rain.  I really hope it doesn't in the interim.

But...It is Winter in Texas.  Which can be summarized in two pictures.

Monday Afternoon

Tuesday morning
Why don't you want rain, juvat?

Well...we've still got about 900' of base to lay down still.  Any appreciable rain will turn what is now dirt into what is known in the construction business (I've been told) as mud.

This will further delay the construction of the road.  Which is the requirement before construction can start on ....

The Lair.

The little pink flags are various corners/edges of what will be the Lair

The well and electricity are in, and the site has been staked out.  Pouring the foundation is the next step, but I've been informed that loaded cement trucks are heavy and their drivers are not fond of "mud". 

Go figure.

Hence the requirement for the road base to be completed.  The heavy trucks will help compact it which will be needed before the chip seal is added.  That will be the last step in the project.
The Lair, when completed, will look very similar to this.

And we hope to celebrate next Christmas in it.

View from, what will be, the front door.

Finally, Sarge posted this past Saturday about "Formation Flying" and included this picture.

Which is cool.


I'm in the second aircraft, solo.

And then...

I'm flying the jet with the photographer in my back seat.  He lied to me when he said CINCPACAF had approved the maneuver.  I've still got the note from the Wing Director of Operations to not display this photo in public.

You folks will keep it a secret right?

Merry Christmas to all.  If you celebrate it, Happy Hanukkah.  Otherwise, Happy Holidays.


  1. Quite the temp swing in under 24 hours, glad you're there and I'm here.... :) That's one good looking piece of woodwork, are those electrical outlets in the surface? Right smart! Fingers crossed on the weather for the road and that "Lair" is rather interesting, good luck there. That last photo, Smokes!! How long was that formation held? Got a shiver down the spine viewing that....... Merry Christmas juvat to you and all of yours.

    1. We were in the first quarter of a loop. Their role was fairly easy, as long as they flew formation. Up,down,left,right don’t really matter. Just line up the intake with the helmet and line up the burner cans and make smooth corrections. I on the other hand had to drop the right wing to get it out of the photo guy way. Which meant standing on a rudder to keep my distance.

      Which didn’t work very well, and as we came over the top , I had to push awat towards their bellies, i rejoined with them on the downhill side, but the negative G disrupted the photo guy and he wasnt prepared for another shot.

    2. So why the no-no on publishing the photo? I've seen others that show the mighty Eagle doing many-much-more severe stuffs.

    3. Formation acrobatics is the domain of the perfessionals, AKA The Thunderbirds, at least in the Air Force.

      And I mispoke above, we were in the second quarter of the loop, we'd passed vertical and were nearing the top, which is just prior to my having to get out of the way.

  2. That lair layout is beautiful. You have chosen wisely! Up in Lubbock county, they put down caliche on our road one year, and on the corner of the first section, it was really sandy. The caliche and sand mixed up good, and become almost like concrete. That corner never washed out or got deep ruts again. About a half mile further north, the playa lake took most of the road the next year. It was plain dirt for several years after, and was avoided at all costs.

    I reread the Bergstrom Bathroom Break story again. Technically, that bird had 3 flame outs!!!

    I got run off Bergstrom a couple years after it ETS'd to Austin, When Billy Bob was going to visit. I borrowed the de-icing truck to get me to the roof of Uncle Fred's building and fix the AGRIS antenna. I was on the way down to bring up the coax and new antenna when Austin Intergalactic Security shows up and orders me off the AOA. "Really? I'll be done in 30 minutes, would you be willing to give me a bit of time? Ole Billy Bob isn't due for 3 more hours..." "Nope, gotta go. " By the time I moved everything off and put it all away, I would have been done.

    He never got within visual range, theres a hump in the dirt out there, and east of it, you can't even see the tail feathers of AF1. Wasted a day coming back to finish up.

    1. Yeah, our rental house we lived in when we first got here had a caliche road (which is the base of our under construction road now) which was pretty old. It wasn't in too bad shape, although at a certain (harmonic)speed, the bumps in it became very annoying. Once all the construction is done, we're going to put chip seal on it as well as concrete low water crossings in the wash and between the 3rd and 4th high posts on the fourth picture. That should help the road last a bit longer.

      ABIA has lightened up quite a bit. The first time we went through there, lines were horrible, people were nasty and it wasn't easy to get to. With the freeway all the way through town, except Dripping Springs to the Y, it's a lot easier to get to and security procedures are handled a bit better. I even joked with one of them and got a laugh. I left some coins in my pocket so had to get a pat down. I mentioned that he might want to hurry, as with my hands in the air and my belt off, if he didn't we'd both be embarrassed.

    2. A couple of my Homeland Security coworkers found out that even when driving a marked G ride, "Stay away from Air Force One" applied to them. They may have needed a skivvy change after the encounter.

    3. If you have another egress, then low water crossings are okay. If that IS Route Pack 6, then I'd put a couple culverts under it. I hate getting stuck behind water.

    4. We had culverts they didnt work. The water would quickly flow over the road. We could still drive through it, but each time we did the road got worse. When the wash fills up 4-5 times in the 20 years here, we’re stuck but usually ok after a few hours. The low water crossings will allow us to pass without damaging the road.

      Or at least that’s the plan.

  3. We were talking about what a yeoman was just yesterday, the dictionary called them a small land owner farmer. FWIW the black death was the opportunity for many to actually buy a few acres and farm their own place.

    1. The Black Death was the impetus for mechanizing Western Europe, as it killed off so many little folk. Funny how society needs periodic die-offs to flourish.

    2. I've got a large list of people I'd recommend for that cleansing activity.

    3. Beans - sounds like what forests need to be healthy in the long term - fires to burn off all the undergrowth that's sucking up nutrients the big trees would make better use of. Of course, that's only if you aren't part of said undergrowth! And juvat, I also have a list of 'undergrowth' I'd like to see cleared out should we get the opportunity.

  4. May I suggest you look into geotextiles for the rest of your project? Keeps your overlay from mixing with the substrate and allows you to use less (expensive) gravel.

    1. Interesting, thanks. Is there a price difference?

    2. Evaluation is needed. If you need 24-36" or more of gravel, and geotextiles can cut that requirement substantially, there may be a costs savings. Long term, the gravel will hold up better because it isn't mixing with the substrate, read mud, it is laid over. Perhaps lunch with one of the county road bosses in your area might be a good investment.

    3. WSF is correct, Geo textile is the way to add life to your road, at a cost that is affordable.
      If you haven't finished the road, look into getting some fabric to put down before placing your rock.
      The tensile strength of the fabric bridges the subgrade.

  5. Ah, non-paved roads. Down heyah in North Central Florida we have our famous limerock roads, which become washboarded paths from Hell after one or two rains. There's a fine art to learn the proper speed to minimize the vibration. Two slow and it's like someone replaced your driver tires with square wheels. Too fast and the vehicle just vibrates something awful, and pieces parts (like engine mounts, transmission joints, oil lines, Mrs. Andrew's temper, become broken. But hit that sweet spot and it's a semi-pleasant hummmm as you hit mostly the high parts of the washboard.

    Until you hit the inevitable HOLE OF DOOOOOOOOM.

    Hope your new road works out for you.

    So is the old house going away or is it going to be guest quarters or rental? And will it have out-buildings like a garage or new workshop?

    1. I suspect that Limerock is just the Floridian way of saying Caliche. Or Caliche is the Texican way of saying limerock. The old road, also chip sealed, held up for almost 20 years, so I think we got our money's worth. If this one holds up that long, well...It'll be the kid's problem.

      We're going to keep it on the property at least for now. Thinking about moving my Sister into it and then remodeling her cabin for use as a second B and B.

      The Lair will have a Garage. My current workshop is within walking distance of its location so I'll keep that for now. A bigger, better, faster one is also a possibility. Later, after we recharge the cash dispenser.

    2. Those metal frame buildings, like some people use for garages or hangers, make a really nice FOB. And you can put paneling on the outside of the metal walls and get it stuccoed to match the house (plus it helps insulation value, helps cut down noise. If you do one of those metal barn buildings, hang sections of cheap carpet up in the rafters as sound baffling.

      Limerock is just crushed limestone. Small gravel and a heavy 'dirt', washes away too darned quickly. Kind of a pale yellow/orange. And did I tell you it washes away too darned quickly?

      We do have real clay in some sections, too. Which you have to keep watered if it's under your house else it will dry and crack your foundation.

    3. Yes sir, that is caliche. It's a yellow, clay base material. If you build a road correctly, it'll provide a good base. But it's expensive to do it right.

      That clay under the house they call gumbo over in Houston. I heard some houses had drip irrigation all around, and even in the middle of the slab.

    4. We have that gumbo-ish clay here too.

      Also one of the US's main mines for porcelin clay is just about 15 miles east of Palatka.

      Caliche. Hmmm. Big sounding word. To high-falutin' for us crackers, thus 'limerock.'

  6. Here I am, late to the party. My only excuse is that I've been in the Command Post all day mission planning for the excursion north on the morrow. My brother The Musician asked me if I'd ever tried "spiced" stout, acting as if perhaps I would not like it, I corrected him on that and I will report back here on my experience with said beverage. By the way, blue cheese in an omelet has been tried (brunch after church on Sunday) - oh dear Lord, hit me again, wondrous it was. Ham, bacon, onions, blue cheese, with a liberal dosing of Frank's Red Hot (I really do put that sh!t on everything). Yum!

    Merry Christmas to all y'all and be safe. May Love and Peace fill your homes.

    1. P.S. Great post BTW juvat. I actually figured out the title without help of Google Translate.

      Estoy empezando a entender español. Un poco. ¡Feliz Navidad!

  7. Road washout.
    My first thought was that you need a halftrack, but that is crazy thinking as halftracks are collectors items.
    You need a DUKW! Maybe you could write it off as a business expense.

    The desk looks nice and there is always a next project.

    My cavalier comments about arm waving and watch size to the contrary, I am simply in awe of what you did as a pilot.

    Buenos suerte en sus casa nueve y Feliz en Panico Navidad. (The closest I could get to "Freaking" was "Panicking" and I'd need a native speaker to get closer than that.)

    1. Or one of those Hagglund Bandvagons. They float, have tracks, can have air conditioning added.

    2. Beans. That is cool.
      This auction has ended.
      An online currency converter says the price was $18,281.00 USD, and shipping will add to the price.

  8. Merry Christmas to all, and good luck with the road!

    1. Thank you, Sir! Your latest Grey Man edition is next on the Kindle Queue. Mrs J has put together a wine cruise for our wine maker friends and 45 of their clients right after the first of the year. So, I'm building my reading list for the trip. I'm looking forward to it.

      Merry Christmas to you, your family and the other bloggers you hang around with up there in North Texas.

  9. I had a home on an unpaved road.
    Fortunately, one of the neighbors had access to a grader because he was one of the major road building contractors in California (before the state turned completely blue).
    The biggest issue was potholes.
    He informed me ...and everyone else on the road ...that speeds less than 5mph would help immensely in preventing potholes.
    Too bad only a few paid attention to him.

    Then there was that other neighbor, who turned out to be a true ass weasel.
    I won't tell that story here because it will only piss me off.

    1. There's always someone like that isn't there, Skip? My upslope neighbor is the guy building my road. It's in his interest to make sure it handles the water well.

  10. Ah, roadwork. Out here we're a stoic lot so we got "good road dirt" and "bad road dirt." Don't go in for all that limestone caliphate stuff.

    Also out here there's Navy form and "well bless your heart" form.

    I know, and I'm sorry. Just couldn't hep' m'sef.

    Great post, best wishes on the road and the lair, and Vrolijk Kerstfeest!

    1. Well, since every place I've ever dug a hole in Texas, more than a few inches, caliche appeared, building roads with it seems to fit.

      en een gelukkig nieuw jaar!

  11. Two stories generated by this posting (fun read, BTW. Thanks)
    1. When we were training in the Talon in USAF experimental test class 62FZ, we were learning to do loops etc. in totally unauthorized formation practice. My buddy Jack and I were bobbling along together going up with what? Four or five Gs? Anyway in the same vertical relationship to terra firma, his front canopy came open and then of course, OFF! Oh bother! I suspect if they had call signs back then, his would have reflected this forever.
    2. Bergstrom is where we went from George AFB, via Minnesota and other easterly TACANS, for our TAC EVAL in 1965. My wife's sister's husband bought a farm there and the ensuing sadness brought us together and soon to the marriage ceremony. It is a long story, but briefly, strafing and loosing control.

    Here's something from Google translate for Sarge. Enough Spanish rendered already!

    즐거운 성탄절 보내시고 새해 복 많이 받으세요

    1. 😁
      대단히 감사합니다! 당신에게도.

    2. Loosing control isn't a big deal, provided you've got altitude to recover. A strafing run doesn't provide that. I'm glad that some good came of that sad situation.

      Merry Christmas, Dave to you and yours. (In English)

  12. Nice post, juvat - the lair is going to be nice. I'm jealous, wish I had at least a part time place in the Hill Country. Like the desk as well - really good looking. Puts my feeble attempts at woodworking in proper perspective!

    Here in NC, most of our 'unimproved' roads are dirt or clay or sand (lots of sand even far inland in Eastern NC). Close to the coast we get beds of oyster shells. And the red-orange clay in parts of the state can really wreak havoc on foundations as well... good luck on the road project!

    Merry Christmas to all! Und Frohe Weinachten, Hauptfeldwebel!

    1. Thanks Tom. The desk was a challenge, I would have to push it to one side or the other of the workshop to work on it. Which was ok when it was just the wood, but once I started putting the finish on it....well a lot of work shirts are now in the rag bin. But, as always, that first application of finish bringing out the wood features. Always the most favorite part of the project.

      Merry Christmas to you also.

  13. Great division pictures. Best I ever got was a flight of 4, with pictures of only the other 3 of course. I missed a 6 plane flyoff from deployment because I chose to bring my son on a Tiger Cruise. It was a good choice. As for the Lair, is that a new place for you and the missus, or Little J? I probably missed your explanation in another post. If so, gomen nasi.

    1. It will be our home, Tuna. I would have gone with the cruise also. Flying is fun, Family is important.

  14. You should like your Lair. Tilson built the house we have been in just over a year. I remember when it was just pink flags marking the boundaries of ours. Adam was the individual who oversaw the building of our house; he was doing some of the builds in the Fredericksburg area. Emsil me on the side if you have any questions.


Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)
Can't be nice, go somewhere else...

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