November 2011 – Newsletter
This being November, once again we headed to Givhans Ferry State Park near Charleston, SC, for another fantastic weekend at Castra Romana, hosted by our comilitiones in Legio VI FFC. Never one to disappoint, Rusty Myers really provided a superb venue! All of us pictured with the new tent – including Martin Kealey (who was busy leading the gladiatorial demonstrations when this photo was taken) can’t thank Rusty enough for a great time.
We had fantastic weather, swapped tales and admired kits with good friends we’d like to see more often, and realized that we are very lucky to have someone like Rusty as a leader in our hobby. Thanks to all of Legio VI who spent so much time and effort making this a premier event.
As you can see, we finally FINISHED the tent during the November workshop! This was a hectic session, where all sorts of small tasks associated with finishing the tent and preparing for Castra required us to move with a purpose to get them done. Chris Stewart, Chip Lewis, Paul Montello, and Alex Kyrychenko and I were joined by two new, young prospective members – Jesse Hardin and Isaac Delaino – who were attending their first workshop.
The first thing we had to do was erect the tent so we could take a final measurement of the tent poles so we could cut them to exact lengths as well as apply a coat of neatsfoot oil as a preservative/weatherproof. Once we got it standing, our plan was to use a garden sprayer to apply the oil – which unfortunately didn’t work worth a crap. So, off we send Chip Lewis and Alex Kyrychenko to Home Depot for foam brushes and, hopefully, some more neatsfoot oil. Well, of course Home Depot had the brushes, but neatsfoot oil? No way. Fortunately, Chris remembered that he’d seen neatsfoot oil at – of all places – Tractor Supply Company, so to TSC they headed and voila! Two gallons of oil, which we then applied (the technical term is “slathered”) to the tent.
Meanwhile, myself, Paul, Chris, Jesse, and Isaac pulled out all of our loaner kit and pulled maintenance: oiled, polished, removed rust, lubricated, re-inventoried and re-packed it. When Alex and Chip got back, we all fell in and “slathered” the tent with neatsfoot oil – and were done in about an hour and fifteen minutes. Then, we came inside and polished the signum so that everything was in readiness for Castra.
So, we did it! After 17 months of work we are ready for our next project, and I’d like to personally thank all of those who had a hand in its completion:
Jared Fleury (Laudes for his many, many hours of individual work and prior research – would not have had it in time for Castra without him!)
While at Castra, we were very fortunate to have Rusty introduce us to another prospective member, Jonathan Sargent and his wife, Jennifer, from Clermont, GA. He’s located up near Jared Fleury’s neck of the woods, and we hope to see him at a future event or workshop.
Well, the consensus is in – we’re going to build a ballista (stone thrower). Alex Kyrychenko is in contact with an expert on Roman artillery in Russia, who believes that we can construct (considering that we will be able to take it apart) either a 10lb machine using the Greek formula or a 20lb machine using the table found in Vetruvius. All of these dimensions, of course, are driven by my trailer size!
This is going to be a major undertaking, but I know that we’ll devote the same energy to this project that we showed on the tent. Once Alex’ friend supplies us with the drawings and plans, then we’ll start to look at how long (and how expensive) a project this will prove.