Category Archives: General Backyard Stuff

Late Summer Flowers

I love the tail end of summer, when the garden is growing nicely and the days are cooling down. There’s still some weeding to do, but it’s less than in the spring and early summer. Earlier this year my wife was commenting that there weren’t as many flowers and that the layout looked “brushy” and less attractive than last year. The alyssum hadn’t grown as well I think because of a lack of rain. But the last few weeks we’ve had quite a bit of rain and now it looks like this:

Too hot to run trains

As usual in Kansas in the summer, it’s too hot to run trains again. I’m working on some repairs of stuff I’ve brought inside and to replace some things that disappeared this summer. Namely, the family-picnic that was out behind the station on one of the hills.



Drained Pond :-(

I’ve had various problems with my pond since I first installed it. Partly my fault, as it is probably too shallow (18″) and not quite big enough. Plus, I was using the cheapest pump/filter setup possible. I rectified the filter issues by switching to a much higher capacity, non-submersible filter that I installed in the train shed and plumbed to bed fed and return water to the pond via PVC piping.

While I was in California, the old pump–which I’d reused for the new filter setup–died. So I bought a newer, more powerful pump, set it up, and thought all was copacetic. Unfortunately, sometime between the install and a couple of days later, one of the PVC joints on the pump lines let go and the pump happily drained the pond and then killed itself trying to run dry.

I’ve now fixed the pipe and installed the replacement pump. I’ve also added some pond dye to try and help keep the algae down… We’ll see.

Maintenance Work

The last few weeks have been spent working to address some of the stuff that’s happened to the layout over the winter:

  • Several figures needed to be repainted, reset on their bases, or otherwise repaired.
  • Some roofs needed repainting
  • Cleaning buildings of mud/rain splatter
  • Sprinkler repair
  • Getting the last of the leaves out of the tunnel

Plus there were other things to take care of:

  • Weeding
  • Re-leveling/settling track
  • New plants

Continue reading Maintenance Work

Steam Up Siding

When I started my layout, live steam wasn’t even a gleam in my eye. I planned on analog DC to start and a possible move to DCC later. But I’ve got the live steam bug now.

to make steaming up more convenient, I’ve decided to add a siding where steamers can be serviced and steamed up more easily. Not done yet, but here’s a start.

Kansas Wind

Well, it was a little windy (gusting to 50) here the other day. Several buildings blew over. I’ll need to find a better way to anchor the town buildings, as even though they are large and have relatively low centers of gravity, the wind here is crazy.

Unfortunately, a car got broken and some pedestrians were knocked off their bases. I’m in the process of fixing the car and adding pins to the base to better hold the people.

Too Busy (and Cold) for Trains

Wow. What a couple of weeks. With Christmas coming and things very busy at work, it’s been almost impossible to find time to go outside. Add to that the fact that it’s been in the teens and very windy, and I haven’t been outside much at all.

I do have a new project I’m working on: a town facade and shuttling trolley for the top of the bookcases in my office. But that’s not far enough along for me to even have any pictures.

I Love Summer

Haven’t posted in a while… work, kids, other hobbies, etc, have me pretty busy. Bought an M998 (HMMWV) that’s eaten up a lot of time, but yesterday I was running trains and thought “This looks pretty good, I should take a picture”

Another slow period

Nothing much exciting is going on with the railroad at the moment. I’m working to fix some of the buildings that have deteriorated due to the weather, and weeding. I did add some dirt to bring up the level of the “land” so I could get more ballast on the track. But it’s mostly just been running trains and admiring the view.