Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Class of 70

 Hi everyone,

Jubilo left a comment on my last post - "Where have you been?"...that's a fair question.

Just five months shy of turning seventy years old I have...

gone back to college.

After retiring, I took a year off to simply loaf around and have fun - including toy soldier fun.  Then, last winter, an idea started to crystalize, and that idea was to go back to school to get a degree in visual arts, you know - drawing, painting, sculpture, art history, etc.  So, this past August I enrolled at nearby Hagerstown Community College in the two-year visual arts program.  At the same time I got a student worker job in the Student Activities Office of HCC.

It has been all I hoped for and more.

I ended my first semester this weekend, and did very well in my classes.  My job is the perfect "old retired-guy job" that I was scouting around for.  I work three hours a day Tuesday through Friday.  My work schedule accommodates my class schedule.  The job is really fun and my boss is an absolute peach.  The office positively exudes "school spirit"...it's a real kick.

That's the student center right behind me, the building where I work.

This is the Kepler Visual and Performing Arts Center - where I take most of my classes.

This is one of the pieces that I have in the winter student art show.

One of my favorite duties is updating the fourteen bulletin boards on campus.  I actually do have OCD, and it shows in the way I keep the boards.

My daughter asked me if I'm making friends among the students; the fact is, that I'm making friends among the faculty and staff, which doesn't surprise me at all.

Right now, I'm planning on stretching this collegiate experience out as long as it stays fun, that's why I'm only going half-time...instead of getting an AA degree in two years, I'm shooting for four.

Between work and classes, I've been pretty busy - at the expense of playing with, or posting about, toy soldiers.  This blog will probably be pretty slim pickings until summer, when I won't be taking classes.  That being said, I am looking forward to getting back to toy soldiering, just as I'm looking forward to getting back to school after the holiday break.

I hope you'll continue to check in from time to time.

Gaudeamus igatur, and...

soldier on!


Saturday, December 11, 2021

"The whole shebang"

A common fixture in Civil War encampments, both Union and Confederate, was an awning made of poles and foliage called a "shebang" or "she-bang".  Easy to erect from materials nearby, the shebang offered cool respite from the hot sun.

So simple and straightforward is the concept and construction that it's still 
found on the battlefields of today

I decided to make a 55mm shebang for use with my soldiers.

First I needed a base to mount it upon.

I salvaged a sheet of thin plywood from an old file cabinet that I once had. At the band saw I cut a piece roughly 6"x6".

Then it was to the belt sander to bevel the edges.

This late October day was wonderfully, and unseasonably warm as I made my way out to the lilacs with a small pruner.  I harvested all of the sticks I'd need for the
uprights and crossmembers.

Four holes were drilled in the base to receive the upright poles.

Using hot glue the framework was assembled.

A thick layer of paint went on the base and a handful of sawdust was applied for texture.

Winslow Homer is my favorite Civil War artist, and here, in "Home Sweet Home" a shebang can be seen in the background.

With lichen applied as the boughs, the finished product finds the corporal of the guard reading the morning orders.

"The Sutler's Tent" by Winslow Homer

And that's the whole shebang.

Soldier on!