Well the season has come to a close. The display is packed away for another year and today I finished up all of the video editing. I have 10 of the 12 videos up and online on Vimeo in our Christmas 2013 Album.
I will have to wait a day before I can add the other 2 videos. Vimeo only allows 10 uploads a day with the free version (or 500MB per week)...
Video can also be found here on our website in the 2013 Video Section.
We are pondering some new ideas for 2014 .. but I think after I get the last of the videos uploaded, the web page updated, a few notices out on the forums and a couple of entries in to contests...I'll take January off... LOL
Okay.. so I'm standing in my neighbors yard shooting some video of the display when this sleigh pulls up (looks oddly like an SUV.. ) and LO AND BEHOLD .. the big guy himself gets out .. yes Virginia.. there is a Santa Claus and he stopped by our house tonight ...
Remember we have always said that becasue we live so far out of town the only people that see our diplsay is Santa Claus and low flying aircraft .. well .. we now have PROOF that Santa Claus has seen our display !!!
Thank you Santa for making this the best night...
Bob and Sandra
Last night we had a vist from Matt Weintritt, a photgrapher from our local newspaper, The Huntsville Item. Matt took several pictures and this morning I got a great birthday present. A nice article from Cody Stark on the front page of the Sunday paper. Thank you to Cody, Matt and the entire staff at the Item. We really appreciate being featured and allowing us to spread the news about our display. Here is a link to the article:
I've decided we need to buy ourselves a Farmers Almanac. It seems that they have an "in" with somebody. Between the cold and rain, this is has been a tough display season so far. Now we are hearing that the weather models are lining up for it to be a "Pipe Busting" Christmas with lows in the teens and and highs in the 20's on Christmas.... YIKES.... (keep in mind faithful readers that where you are, 20 degrees might be a heat wave this time of year. Here in East Texas...not so much).
Our display gremlins are settling down. There is a rowdy one that pops up every now and then and runs around the yard ... but for the most part.. everything is running great.
We are suppose to have a photographer from the Huntsville Item (our local paper) stop by. We are really looking forward to the opportunity of sharing our display with friends and neighbors here in Huntsville and Walker county.
Finally, if you have checked the website Show Status and seen that the display is OFF when it should be On.... Oopsie... my bad ... It seems that somewhere during the setup, I created two default gateways for IP traffic (geek speak) .. long story short ... it wasnt working. So, the automatic show status update to the website was NOT working and always showing OFF. I have resolved the issue and all should be back to normal. (with a little geek pride scraped off my knees...)
Last year we had so many new visitors to come out and see our display thanks in part to the Postcards magazine article about us.
Something amazing happened. Several visitors gave us money for the display. Of course we would never dream of keeping this money. We put on our display because we love Christmas and we love seeing the faces of the people that come out to see us.
So...when our local radio station KSAM 101.7 announced the Make A Smile Happen (MASH) event, we thought what a great place for the money that we received. It stays here in the community and will go to help others.
We aren't talking thousands or even hundreds of dollars here but in the spirit in which we were given the donation, we matched it and passed it along.
Thank you Cooter, Brooke, and all the sponsors for supporting this great event.
Bob and Sandra
Ok.. been a little bit busy, but we did actually manage to have the display (for the most part) going blinky/flashy on Thanksgiving night ...
In the past few days we have added the finishing touches and refinements.. and .. its actually doing quite well despite all of the initial gremlins haunting our display...
I've already started shooting pictures and video (before the cold, ice and snow?) set in this weekend ..
If you cant make it out to see us .. be sure to keep checking the website .. we will start posting very soon ..
Sandra and I got rattled out of bed this morning at 4:00AM when the storm front from our cold front blew in. Of course in anticipation of this we performed what would hopefully be our final yard mow on Wednesday. So we are probably good there.. But ... did we ever get the rain !!!
I am a little concerned at the moment that I will be able to get everything setup. I have been working and 95% completed the porch but that is only a small part of what needs to be put out. The forecast as it stands now does NOT look good for a few days.
But .. I am off all next week so I can work from sun up to flashlight to get it out there .. just depends on how much more rain is coming and IF ..... any of it turns .. well .. lets just call it Christmasy .. LOL ..
So for now .. I'm finishing up the porch and setting up "Christmas Light Central" (in other words.. I wiring up the show computer, getting all the sequences and music loaded and testing everything and checking that the Web Status Update still works and the Transmitter is still good... We have LOR, DMX and X10 to contend with .. so .. there is a lot to check ..
Keep your fingers crossed .. and if you get a chance .. have Santa put in a call to Jack Frost and ask him to knock it off for a couple of d
Well if you had a flash back and said "TOOL TIME!!!" you would be loved .. but incorrect... Its CRUNCH TIME!!! Yes, ladies and gentlemen it's down to counting days before setup begins not weeks or months.
So .. what have we been doing besides NOT posting to the blog, NOT updating the website HowTo's and NOT immediately answering our emails? Glad you asked...
We have been going through each element and making sure that cables are made, power supplies are boxed and ready and that each element is complete and ready to put out. Doesn't look so impressive when you type it out, but it's basically an everynight marathon in the shop.
So stay tuned ...
For those that have followed our display, you know that lasy year we moved the train from under the porch to platform under the MegaTree. The ring is a hay ring (actually turned over) and the base was plywood. The old Bachman "Annie" train ran on the platform. While a good idea, the original design had several flaws and the Bachman train was ... well.. lets just say ... less than stellar...
Welcome 2013... We really loved the idea but had several problems. First was the megatree pole was in the ground. Okay .. nothing wrong there.. well .. the problem was the ground around the pole was not flat and since the lights of the tree tied to the frame being a little off really showed (to my eyes anyway).
For 2013 a couple of things have changed. The megatree and hayring are now an single unit and the platform support was really beefed up. I can actually stand on the platform without it bowing. 5 2x6's across the rails that are u-bolted to the frame then the platform (in two pieces) are laid perpendicular to the cross members and bolted down.
I can now level the frame which in turns squares up the mast for the megatree and using "cane bolts" driven in the ground secure the whole thing. The light strings will come from the top rail of the hay ring, up and over the topper, then tie to top ring 180 degrees.
Also brand new for 2013 is the new train. Thanks to Jim H (California) I purchased an LGB loco and powered tender. In terms of how it runs think .. CHEVETTE vs CORVETTE!!!. I will take pictures after I take it all apart and put it back together for the display then create a "How we did it" int he How To section.
I know its been awhile on postings and updates.. but ... yes !!! we are still working hard...
Bob and Sandra
I think i heard on the news this morning that there is 90 days until Christmas .... (YIKES !!!) really? Considering we turn everything on Thanksgiving night .. that means we are looking at roughly ... 64 days until LIGHTS ON.. and about 45 to 50 days until all the stuff needs to come out of the Christmas cave and setup begins .... Excuse me for a moment ... ARRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGHHHH!!!!
Thank you .. I feel much better ...
Last night we set up the new pixel based leaping arches in the back yard.. Funny thing.. you sit for hours programming and you have it in your head what you think its going to look like .. then... you see it .. real time ... WOW .. That was cool...wasnt expecting that !!!
Sandra (who gets full credit for wanting the arches and green lighting the project) LOVES them .. We came up with a great way to put them out and to store them .. Although time is getting short, we will TRY to get the "How To " done and posted.
Keep watching .. we still have one more big project to wrap up (hardware wise) but it looks like this years work will all come together.
Bob and Sandra Moody.