It’s been a very busy late spring and summer season for me. Having retired in May, I started to check off an extensive list of projects around the home and grounds that needed to be done.
Having spent all of the spring and early summer months on completing those I now have turned to updating, repairing, and adding new items and songs for our 2022 display, working essentially full time over the last 2 months.
The first task was to completely relight our 40 foot train with several thousand LEDs. The train was commercially manufactured and was only one season old when its LEDs started to fail. I reached out to the company’s owner, who I have dealt with over the years, and was informed the year I purchased it their supplier had LED issues, and although they sent me white LEDs for the wheels of the train, they did not respond to my emails when I informed them LEDs were failing on the cars and needed replacement as well.
I reached out to another vendor I have known for years and ordered several thousand LEDs along with the plastic colored lens clips that secure them to the frames. I had to cut and solder jumpers to get the LEDs to fit the frame, so it was a very tedious and lengthy job, but I now have LEDs on the train, purchased from a vendor who I know stands behind her products, which should last!
Next up was the tear down and replacement of the shed that houses “Bruce” our talking Spruce tree. Once again there was water intrusion, and I needed to replace some of the electronics that controls Bruce’s mouth movements and speech.
After replacing those damaged circuits and servos I turned my attention to getting a new shed which this time I had built by the Amish, one I knew would be waterproof!
The shed arrived and I installed the sensors, speakers, microphones, and then the tree with all of its electronics. I then took the time to stain the shed to match our house, and it came out great!
Next up was to replace the servos that control the mouth movements of Cricket and Corky, the dolls from the 1980’s who are housed in a vignette next to the parking area. I eliminated the Hi-Tech brand servos and went with Futaba which I had switched to using in our elves a few years back. They were installed and those 2 dolls should be singing for years to come (I hope!).
While my elves (that pop out of the large presents) had no issues with their servos, one of the actuators that raises and lowers them from the presents failed, and the other was making noise, so I ordered two new ones and replaced those, finishing that up this past week, and they are now good to go.
I just finished up my third new song to add to this year’s display. I added one traditional (Melle Kalikimaka), one current (TSO’s Appalachian Snowfall, which was a challenge to sequence due to its tempo and all the instrumental parts) and one for children (I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas whose tune is currently still stuck in my head).
Yet to do is install pixels into a set of 3 new items that I hope to add to the display. The pixel shipments have been significantly delayed due to supply chain issues, so fingers crossed I will get them in the next month or two so these items can be added to this year’s display.
This year’s family night will as usual be the second Saturday in December, from 6:30pm to 8pm. The last 3 years our family nights have been impacted, the first 2 by Covid and unfortunately last year by a winter storm (despite which some actually drove from Rochester to attend!). Bottom line I am looking forward to good weather on that Saturday this year. It’s due!
We are looking forward to seeing many of you at our family night this year!