For the second week in a row, the weather is not cooperating with those of us who just want to fly kites.
Last week it was the cold. You may call me a “wimp” but when the temperature falls below 40 degrees with a north wind (a strong north wind), it is just too cold to be on a beach. On top of that, it rained. We did go to the beach for a while and sit in the truck and watch the foam blow off the tops of the waves. It looked like snow blowing across the sand. After going home, I picked out colors and fabric for my next kite build.
This weekend a winter storm arrived. We got a half inch of ice covering everything. Along with north winds in the teens and sleet. Most of the county was shut down because travel became too dangerous. Temperatures didn’t get above 40 degrees with wind chills making it 10 degrees lower. Things got better after the storm moved on but the ice remains and we chose to stay home and stay warm.
While housebound, I started sewing on a Van Hienen Shield. Instructions for this kite are found on the Kitebuilders.com forum. Each week a new step is published. And the instructions stay online so if you fall behind, it’s easy to catch up later. This weekend is for cutting and hemming. Next is the applique. When the skin is complete, the framing begins.
So here’s to sunshine, more tolerable temperatures and smooth flying winds to come.
Fair Winds All
On this past Labor Day the Mile High Kite Festival was held on Beech Mountain, NC. This is a festival we never miss. First, because we get to see some kite friends that we don’t see more than once or twice a year and, second, because we get to the mountains for the long weekend. (And get away from the mad tourist surge at the beach.) This year was a very unusual kite fly. There was wind. At times, too much wind. The sun shone the whole weekend and the temperature was perfect. However, the wind was gusting into the twenties. Because we fly on the side of a steep hill at the top of the mountain, kites are seldom anchored and left to fly on their own. This was a good thing as no kites were lost to the extreme gusts. The banners that were put out to decorate the flying field took a beating. And some of the vendors tents as well.
This year I flew more kites and took less pictures. Probably a result of having wind. I got my two latest kite builds in the air; the 3do and the Stretch Tucker parafoil. Both of these were online workshops as the in-person workshops were canceled this year. The parafoil flew like a champ. The 3do needs some extra tweeking. Not unusual for a new build. I didn’t realize it until just now that both of my latest applique designs were Oriental themed. Other kites made it out of the bag off and on all weekend. That’s a lot for me to fly on the mountain. Unfortunately, there was no kite builders competition this year. Maybe because I was the only kite builder to bring something. So, by default, I awarded myself “Best In Show”.
After sitting home for a year because of the pandemic, walking up and down the hill was quite strenuous. You never realize the effect of inactivity until you’re inactive for a period of time and then try to pick up where you left off. We stay an extra day after the festival to sight see a little, maybe fly our kites a little and avoid the holiday traffic. This year we mostly napped. We did find a new coffee shop which also had great pastries. I can only hope they stay open and are there next year.
That’s about it for now. Stay tuned for more updates and latest kite flying news.
Fair Winds All.
The beach accesses have been opened. Parking is at a premium as not all the parking lots have been opened. The stay-at-home order has not been lifted but that didn’t keep the people off the beaches. It looked like a holiday weekend with cars parked everywhere and people scattered throughout the public beach.
We, however, had a more private place to fly our kites, away from the crowds, with lots of room for kites. We love putting up a small personal festival when we fly and this kite fly was a combination of a test fly and a kite show. The afternoon couldn’t have been better, with good winds, mild temperatures and plenty of sunshine.
The first kite up was the newly finished Sun/Moon Giant Hata. Instead of fuzzy tails, it has a combination of ribbon tails and a streamer tail. The wind was in the teens and I was afraid it may be too high for this kite. But after some bridle adjustments, it went up and hung in the sky. A very satisfying fly for the first flight.
Then next kite up was the first flight of the newly purchased Killips foil. It was a little smaller than we expected and was so easy to handle. And it really made a statement in the sky. We’re looking forward to its next flight with some color coordinating line laundry beneath it.
So after successful first flights, it was time to add lots of color in the sky. One of the things I like to do is put up kites with a common theme. It could be having the same sail pattern or having the same colors or being of a common style. So for this fly, I decided to fly all of the HQ Xylon kites. There are four in this series and only one is still available. This just makes me even happier to have all four and fly them all at once.
The last kite up is a real show stopper, a large flo-tail delta. The tails seem like water rippling in the sky. And the colors draw the eye and cause the casual strollers to stop and admire it. And take pictures. That’s what makes it so satisfying to put up several kites instead of just one or two. It draws people’s attention and makes them smile.
So here’s to having more days like this day, to fly more kites and create more personal shows. And for the state park to open up soon so the community kite flys can begin again and there will be more of us to share in the color in the sky.
Fair Winds All
Things are changing here and for the better. The past couple of weeks the weather has been so erratic. One day the temperature is cool and the wind is from the north. The next day it warms up and the wind is from the south but very strong. Then there is rain and thunderstorms moving through. Then back to chilly temperatures with north winds again. The better thing is that I have gained access to the beach and have a place to fly kites. I just have to wait for a day with moderate south winds. You see, our beaches face the south and are lined with houses and condominiums. Winds from the north are blocked and swirly. Not the best for kite flying.
But the day finally came and I did something that I’ve wanted to do for a long time. Put up a show of White Bird dragon kites. They are some of the most beautiful round-headed dragon kites I’ve ever seen. Unfortunately, they have been out of production for many years. But I have made it a calling to find as many of their patterns as I can. I have quite a collection and have always wanted to put them all up. I could have done it this time but I settled for flying six at once. And then just sitting in the sun, enjoying the weather, the sound of the waves and my kites.
These past couple of weeks I’ve also gotten some work done on my Giant Hata kite build. Finished all the pockets and sleeves and got the binding sewn all along the edge of the sail.
After framing and bridling, you truly realize how large this kite is. It practically fills one wall of my living room. Now to decide what kind of tails to make and it will be ready for a test fly. Hopefully this weekend there will be a beautiful day with winds from the south and a chance to try it out. And put another show of color in the sky above the beach.
Special thanks to Don, Jeri and Brett of Kites Unlimited & Bird Stuff, etc.
Fair Winds All