Waiting in line before we can set up at Double Decker Arts Festival in Oxford, MS. Artists are allowed onto the courthouse square at 7:30 AM or so, but you if you want to park and unload anywhere near your booth location, you have to get in line by six o'clock so you'll be one of the first vehicles allowed onto the square. We got in line a little before six o'clock and were still about twenty vehicles back from the front of the line. Our van is a couple of vehicles behind that yellow box truck.
Our neighbor, Jerry Joe, has a one-man logging crew doing some selective cutting on his property up by the gate. The logger also cut down a few dead trees that were leaning toward our power lines. I was glad to see those trees brought down by someone who knew what he was doing.
The Bear Creek Cemetery Pavilion building was our polling place. Many cemeteries in these parts have buildings associated with them. They often serve as an unofficial community center for people living in the area. They are also used on Decoration Day (Memorial Day), an all-day session (including a pot luck meal) when folks with loved ones buried in the cemetery gather for its annual cleaning and sprucing up.
There was an old wooden building on this site, but it burned down several years ago. This metal replacement serves the purpose, but doesn't have the same charm.
Jo changed the elements in her kiln. She did the majority of the job herself, but needed my help crimping the wires from the controller onto the elements. That job requires brute force, a strong grip to get the metal sleeve connectors crimped securely.
Kiln sitting in messy kiln room. Ready to have controller wires connected to new elements.
There are six elements. Both ends of each element must be connected to the controller. This is accomplished with a jumper wire.
Detail of element pigtail sticking out of the kiln. An old connector is still on the end of the wire. It must be cut off and a new sleeve crimped into place. Then, the wires are crimped onto the pigtail. The controller wire is stranded, but the element pigtail is two pieces of solid wire twisted together. This make crimping securely more difficult.
All element wires are connected. The piece of yellow wire that is still dangling connects the the kiln's pyrometer.
Jo flanged up the job Saturday afternoon. She's test firing today.
Sometimes you do something so incredibly stupid that when you look back on it, you cannot believe you really did something that dumb. Jo and I simultaneously went brain dead, wrecking our show canopies in the process.
After bringing the canopies home from our last show, we decided they needed to be set up in the yard and washed off. The tops were covered with "mud", a thick layer of dust that a heavy dew wetted and then the sun dried. The sides were still a little damp from the dew. Hence, we set the canopies up in the yard and hosed them off as we've done many times before. We finished this chore late in the day, so the canopies needed to remain set up overnight and dry the following day. Again, we've done this many times in the past. There was a fairly gusty south wind blowing. Neither of us thought about the wind increasing overnight. Neither of us even thought about staking the canopies down like we always do at a show.
The wind did increase overnight. Although I wasn't there to watch, I'm sure the wind partially picked the canopies up off the ground. While airborne, a canopy leg or two shifted, coming back down at an angle and bending the fitting it was attached to a little. After repeating this process several times, the fitting bent a lot and failed completely. One corner of the canopy collapsed, bending other fittings and poles. The end result is what you see in the photos.
Seven fittings were bent. We ordered replacements from the manufacturer. Three leg poles were also bent. I will fabricate new ones with thinwall conduit purchased from the hardware store. The ends of several poles are bent out-of-round. I'll have to figure out some way to make them round again. The tops suffered a lot of stress and strain when the frame twisted. We found one small rip which we taped. My fear is that the tops suffered works stress damage and will leak badly, especially at the seams. I guess we'll find out the first time we're set up in the rain.
The irony of the situation is that we had a couple of days of really strong wind while set up over at Bella Vista. Thunderstorms move through overnight while we were set up in Springfield. The canopies came through those events just fine -- because they were anchored. Yet, we come home and damage our show canopies by setting them up in the yard without anchoring them down. Doh!!!
Update: The replacement parts arrived. I fabricated new leg poles. Jo and I assembled the frames. Everything went together just fine. Our canopies are ready to do shows again. The only thing we have to worry about is the condition of those old tops.