This year was an particularly long and cold winter with lots of snow. So much so we had nearly six consecutive month of evening temperatures below freezing. This created challenges from when I started putting up my lights to when I took them down. I had snow on my roof before the RGB’s I had ordered arrived and had to rent a boom lift to put them up. My teardown was significantly delayed as well because of the temperatures and the snow. Usually I get most of the lower Items and the trees taken down in January and get on the roof to get the final bulbs in mid February to early March, but not this year.
This year I could only get to a few of the lights on the lower level; garage door, garage trees, wreaths, house door, and garage gutter in mid February. When it is too cold the lights and decorations just become brittle and break when trying to move them. I could not get to any of the lights that required a ladder because we had so much snow and may of the ground decorations were frozen in and covered over in many cases. I do not like to use the ladder when the ground decorations are in because I tend to be clumsy and break them when moving the ladder around. Many of them were under a couple of feet of snow.
March really gave no breaks, Easter weekend it was -30c. It wasn’t until April 15th that I got a chance so access more of the lights. After a few days of warm weather all the snow had melted from the roof, but the ground hadn’t thawed enough to get the ground fixtures out. Although many of them were appearing from the snow the stakes and the power cables were still frozen to the ground.
I decided to break my rules and be extra careful with the ladder. My biggest worry was the RGB floodlights at the bottom of my large tree, because the are the most expensive, but they are large and easy to see when moving the ladder so I dug in.
When I was taking the lights off the top roof, lots of them had slipped off. I thought the snow had maybe pushed them out of place, but when I went up into the tree I found a Magpie nest and noticed that they had been stealing my light clips to build their nest. Another drawback of taking them down so late. Over the next few days we had some great weather and I got to remove the final ground lights that had been frozen in.
The final step is to pack up all the lights into boxes then re-organize the garage for summer. I have a rule that I need to put all the lights away before I take out my car for summer (and in fall that I must have the car stored away before I start putting up the lights). This is for two reasons: First I keep the lights at the back of the garage in the summer and pull them to the front in the winter for easy access, the other is so my garage doesn’t become complete chaos. I organize all the lights into like categories; White Lights, Solid Colour, Multi Colour, RGB etc. and put them into labeled containers for easy access if needed. Once everything is boxed its time to pull out the car and start stacking them at the back of the garage.
Now that everything is all put away we can start to enjoy the car, our bikes and other summer activities. In October all the boxes will comeback out, the car will go up on jack stands and we will begin all over again.
Now it is time for me to start planning next years display. I’m very happy with the display I had this year, but I do want to replace some of my LEDs with RGBs. I plan to move the garage gutter RGBs to the top roofline as I had a double set on the garage gutter line (this was a result of the RGB strings being longer than anticipated). I also plan to Add RGBs to the Living room window and the roofline above it. These are two changes I will definitely make. Additionally I am considering replacing the 4 colour strings per mini tree with RGBs, replacing the Multi and white lights on the Garage trees with RGBs and replacing the five channel burst up my small tree with cosmic colour ribbons. I will need to figure out what my budget its before committing to these RGB additions. I also want to get a Christmas themed garage door cover, that was on the list for ’17 but had to be removed when I needed to spend the budget assigned to it to rent the boom lift.
My next step will be to modify my LOR Preview to accommodate the changes I am planning, begin tweaking my existing sequences to accommodate the new layout, then start building some new sequences. My plan is also to have up the RGBs by Halloween and have a short spooky show for Halloween.