September 2011 Newsletter
The vicious heat wave we’ve suffered all Summer finally broke in September, which meant that we had great weather for our second Anabasis at McIntosh Reserve Park near Whitesburg, GA. As many of you know, I was hoping that we could conduct this event at our new site – Castra Calvus – but I was unable to get an access road cleared on the site so I had to switch it back.
Even though the change to McIntosh was made as a stopgap solution, after conducting the event there at our now “usual” campsite I am more and more convinced that this is probably a great place to keep it. McIntosh Park is very close to Chris’ home, offers easy access, and even though the weekend we held it the park also hosted its annual fall festival, there were no crowds to contend with at the actual campsite. In fact, although a neighboring campsite had a couple of folks, they were about all we saw and were no real distraction.
The event itself was attended by Chris Stewart, Alex Matras, Rusty Myers, and me, and we had the usual relaxing overnight experience complemented by, if I do say so myself, some really good period Roman military chow. Rusty experienced the pickled onions for the first time, and I thought he was going to make himself sick eating them.
As usual, Rusty had a great idea for the conduct of the event itself. As many of you know, I had to make a weather call on Friday afternoon and rescheduled the start for Saturday morning. Rusty and I worked on the tent Friday instead, and he liked the idea of relaxing together and doing some workshop tasks on Friday followed by an overnight camp on Saturday. I have to say I agree with him, and unless there are a lot of objections I intend to keep Anabasis on that schedule, regardless of the location. Those who can will gather at my house on Friday, we can socialize and do some work if we want, and then deploy on Saturday.
Anabasis has proven itself to be a really fun and relaxing event, and I look forward to the next one in March 2012.
The September workshop started us on the beginning of the end as far as the tent is concerned as Paul Montello, Alex Kyrychenko and I prepared the way for the final task of attaching the doors to the tent. I cut about 350 linear inches of 2” wide strips to make the bindings for the door/roof seams, and Paul and I punched all of the holes in them so they’d be needle-ready. Together, the three of us meticulously measured all of the door dimensions and cut them to size – a risky undertaking but one that we were able to execute with no mistakes.
After the doors were cut, we then had many nugatory details remaining to ensure the doors themselves were ready to attach to the tent – little triangular pieces of leather inserted here and there; short lengths of tunnel-stitched seams to complete; all of the necessary door edges punched to enable their attachment, etc. All in all, a great deal more time and effort than I believe any of us thought it would take to actually have the doors ready to stitch.
Following this cutting and prep work, we then tested a door attachment method by joining one door base to the wall/roof of the tent, proving that our chosen method of double-needle stitching of these bound seams was going to work. After that, all of us were pretty beat so we called it a day.
Based on this work, there is no doubt in my mind that we will finish the tent at the October workshop, especially if I can manage to do some individual work on the thing prior to our next get together.
All four doors are complete in every respect – this shows that one door is partially attached to the tent, with three remaining for the October workshop. The final step will be to buy the wood for the tent poles themselves, and their cutting and shaping to size. After that, we’ll erect the thing and give it a good coat of neatsfoot oil and be ready to go for Castra!
We have a new member of the Legio – Chip Lewis, a dear friend of mine and newly retired Colonel, US Army, who has decided to settle here in Peachtree City. Chip is a fellow infantryman, graduate of West Point, and keen student of military history. He visited us during Anabasis, liked what he saw, and has already ordered and received his caligae from Ade Wink! I know that we’ll all enjoy having Chip at our events due to his superb ability to educate the public, as well as his absolutely hilarious sense of humor. He’s already made plans to attend the Italian Festival in October, where I know we’ll all have a good time. Welcome to the Legio, Chip!
I’m open to suggestions – some folks have mentioned constructing an artillery piece – my vote is to keep making tents since we have it down to a science! You all tell me and we’ll start making the plans.