Category Archives: Garden

Winter Quiet

I’m working on indoor projects at the moment, as the weather hasn’t cooperated for outdoor/train running time. A couple buildings are being fixed up (and a new one built) and I’ve managed to make some more progress on my crossing gates. I’m also working on a Z scale on G scale flatcar, that will be pulled by my LGB loco while a Marklin Z scale loco goes around it. More when it gets warmer.

Dead Fish

¬†ūüôĀ

Came home from Christmas with the family in Nebraska to find that my Koi had died. I suspect ammonia poisoning–though they’d been in that tank for almost a month, it was pretty small for three medium sized Koi. Now I have to decide if I’ll put more in the pond in the spring, or just leave it fish-free.

Fall Slow Down

Things have slowed almost to a stop on the layout. Mostly because I’m almost done, but also because I’m so busy. There’s just not enough time to do much more than keep the weeds down.

I have purchased another building for the motorcycle factory: the side building.

Logs from pipe

I built some logs for my logging wagon from ABS pipe.

First, I cut it to length. Then I applied adhesive to the outside, in lines parallel to the length of the pipe.

log-texture-closeup3

I smoothed the application with a toothpick–catching any drips.

log-texture-closeup2

I cut pieces of sintra to fit the ends, then inserted them. Then I filled the ends with adhesive.

log-end-closeup

Once it was all dry, I dipped them in outdoor paint–a dark slate, almost black color I have.

log-texture-closeup-painted2

Next I applied a dry brushing of lighter browns and then washed with a darker brown.

log-painted

Finally, I painted the ends light brown to represent¬†fresh-cut wood and added some¬†light brown spots along the “trunk” to simulate where branches were removed.

chain-binder-closeup

I think they look pretty good. We’ll have to see how they stand up outside.

logs-on-wagon2

Scale Kudzu

Well, I think I’ve found at least one plant that I won’t be planting on my layout again: wirevine.


This stuff is amazingly tenacious and ridiculously invasive. I planted a single 3″ pot of it last fall, and it’s gone crazy. Not only did it cover the cleared area where I planted it, it jumped (over and under) a paver, climbed two dwarf Alberta spruce, became intertwined with two other ground covers, and keeps trying to cross the right of way despite regular applications of Roundup. And places where I’ve pulled it up, apparently roots and all, it’s come back. All in about 8 months.

But if there’s someone else out there who needs to model Kudzu, this is your stuff.

Building Repairs / Refreshes

So, in the Kansas climate (summers in the 100s, winters in the 10s) buildings really take a beating. It’s now time for me to bring some in (into the air conditioned house) and work on ones that have deteriorated.

My oldest building is this Piko station. I enjoyed building it–it’s one of the few “new” kits I bought, but it’s definitely in need of some work. The base is a piece of Sintra laminated to a piece of acrylic, which seemed like a good idea at the time but has started to separate. Also, the “street” lights need work and the interior needs to be cleaned out.

First I’ll tackle the lighting: the LEDs in it are cool white. And after three years they’ve started to dim. Which means that it’s time to trade them out for new, warm white ones. That includes the interior lights, the light that highlights the passenger and station employee, and the two exterior post lights.