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    • November 6, 2017 1:29 PM EST
    • I leave cars out year round, inside my wooden car barn and there hasn't been one snitch of heat related damage. Now critters getting in and eating the details, that's a different tale!

    • November 3, 2017 6:55 PM EDT
    • while working on layout last weekend the Boss came out with a glass of water, sat down and watched me work. I was discussing things with her about needing another pallet of blocks when she we decided that by knocking off 1 layerfrom 4 to 3 rows , we could save $$$ the extra pallet cost, plus maybe some of the 40+tons of dirt needed. So with new work orderin  hand and a sip of her "water"things begin to take shape

      Looking from the north the layout was to end where the red rake is leaning against the wall, but after counting the # of blocks on hand I had enough to make my rail yard which you can see has been lined out with blocks. it winds up as about 20 feet long by3 ft wide, more than enough for 4 tracks and room for some type of engine facility. The plastic shed is going to be insulated with 1 to 2" foam sheets in hopes that it will be cool enough for RR cars to be housed there. The interior wall has not been brought down to the new height.

      On the right you can see 1 of the 2 oleanders have been removed, but the second one is close to my Ficus tree and the roots are all over the place and giving me fits trying to remove it without killing or injuring the tree I want to keep. Me, Spectracide and my Sawzall will be giving it a go this weekend, if I get a chance.

    • October 28, 2017 6:19 AM EDT
    • I was originally going to do a pondless water feature for the Iron Island as well, but I caved and put in a small pond at the bottom of the river.  If nothing else, it might be another place to add some scenery.  


      I was looking at your sketch and thought that if you placed the top (mountain) part of the water feature along the north wall or in the north west corner, you could more easily view it from the patio, the viewing area, and the pool.  The bottom pond could be located at the viewing area, or you could extent it all the way to the patio.  Of course, I'm just looking at a sketch.  Things may look different in real life.  If you move the water feature from its current location, you could place your access steps from the patio to the viewing area there.  As for the big heavy rock in the viewing area, maybe you could incorporate it into the steps leading down into the viewing area.  Place it next to the steps, throw in a plant or two around it, and tell everyone that you meant to do it.  Borrowed scenery.


      Dieseldude Valley, huh.  It's got a nice ring to it.  You’re a visionary.




    • October 26, 2017 9:41 PM EDT
    • yes,  from the north side of the mountain and then to the patio. I keep thinking about a "pondless basin" at the patio, with a waterfall off into the basin. I need to work out how to waterproof the backside of the falls, and if this area is a prime viewing area, which I hope with the bridges you can see from there, making a pondless basin there poses a lot of problems, specifically how to have it there and keep someone from stepping into it and breaking an ankle. Large sago plants probably have roots into that area slso which will not help with digging the basin.

      Hmmmmm I have not thought about it going the opposite way before, but it might be a bigger,longer feature If I send it off the mountain and then to the north west.  I shall look at things differnetly tomorrow and see if Dieseldude valley needs a river running through it... hurry with your thread so I can copy it get inspiration from your work.

    • October 25, 2017 11:16 PM EDT
    • So Pete, which way does the Babs river run- towards the patio or away from the patio?




    • November 2, 2017 8:18 PM EDT
    • The poor kid was confused as the seeder does say WIZZ!

    • November 2, 2017 8:07 PM EDT
    • Time for a quick update.


      Finally got the garden bed completely removed and planted back to grass.  It is growing nicely now.


      Grandson helped me plant it.  At one point he had the spreader backwards and ended up with grass seed in his shorts.


      Have the remains of this old shrub to burn out.  It has dried out enough now for me to do.



      Also, filling a settled spot in the yard where the septic tank used to be.  Right now it is filled with decayed mulch from the front garden bed.  I will let that decay down more and then pack it in and place soil over the top.



      Lately I have been out with stakes, marking the outer boundary of the layout.  This has really helped me out as some of the dimensions I had on paper didn't really suit me in the yard.  I have a few more to put in, then I'm going to run a line around it about the height of the bench work.  Going to leave it like that for a while and spend some time walking around it, driving the mower around it, and sitting next to it to see how it interacts with my other yard routines.




      More to come,


    • November 1, 2017 6:59 AM EDT
    • Hey Kevin - Just catching up. You've made some great progress this year. Nice work & thanks for posting.

    • October 31, 2017 10:51 AM EDT
    • Thanks, Randy.  Yeah, I couldn't decide on a proper mountain peak so I figured I'd go with something familiar.  What could be more familiar than the Paramountain?


      As for Mount Cheektovegas, it's another one of those goofy ideas that I said out loud jokingly and my wife (my partner in crime) said, "Do it."  I totally blame her for encouraging this foolishness.  She's the best!


      For the "flame generator," I totally went low tech (pretty much what you'd expect from me).  I actually just used the canister from an old tiki torch.  First I read the directions completely, then I did just the opposite.  According to the directions, you should keep the wick cut low and straight to prevent lots of smoke and flare ups.  But who wants a volcano that doesn't smoke and throw fire in the air?  So, I raised the wick up quite a bit and mushroomed it out.  Thats it.  Instant volcano.  I do wish that the camera would have captured more of the smoke.  It actually does put out quite a lot (Mental note: the next camera I buy should have a "smoke setting").  When I built the volcano, I lined the inside with cement.  After seeing how much smoke and flames it throws out, I also lined it with a steel sleeve.  


      It does actually ooze lava as well.  And yes, it's another "Kevin low tech junior high science fair effect."  Before I can finish the lava ooze, I need to color all of my cement rock work.  Unfortunately, the weather is changing here and I probably won't get it finished this season.  But, as the saying goes, stay tuned.  I'll get some pictures of the lava flow in the spring.




    • October 28, 2017 10:18 PM EDT
    • Turning out nice Kevin!   And that is spot on for the paramount logo.     I think your right, winter really feels like it's knocking at the door.  I'd say you got a good bit done for the year. You even managed to go crazy on a cool bobber caboose during the monsoon season this year.  I'm interested to know a bit more about Mount Cheektovegas.  Is the flame generator in it permanently?   How is ignition worked out. will it ooze too?

    • October 28, 2017 5:37 AM EDT
    • John Caughey said:

      One of our cement mountain men did it, I believe.

      I'm rock rich, so I never followed  it up. I did see some nice effects on google images...


      Ok, thanks.  I’ll do some research on it and see what there is to see.

      I've got another idea in mind for staining the cement, but I’m running out of time this season to attempt it.  Looks like I'll have to wait till next spring.  Oh, the suspense.




    • October 26, 2017 1:20 PM EDT
    • " Rooster " said:


      I'm wondering what Nico see's in this picture !



    • October 26, 2017 10:45 AM EDT
    • " Rooster " said:


      I'm wondering what Nico see's in this picture !








    • October 26, 2017 12:53 AM EDT
    • One of our cement mountain men did it, I believe.

      I'm rock rich, so I never followed  it up. I did see some nice effects on google images...

    • October 25, 2017 10:30 PM EDT
    • John Caughey said:

      Nice progress.

      You should look into Acid Washing for a color treatment. Be good to do it before you plant too much, should you go that way...

      Enlighten me.  I've never done any acid washing.  I did own some acid wash jeans once, but I think they're out of style now a days.  I looked it up and found something about acid coloring concrete.  I'm guessing that is what you are referring to.  Looks like a technique you'd use on a concrete floor.  Have you done any acid coloring?  From what I read (very briefly), there seems to be a lot of prep and cleanup involved, but if it's worthwhile, I'd be into it.  What do I need to know?  Details, details, I need details........




    • October 25, 2017 7:22 PM EDT

      I'm wondering what Nico see's in this picture !


    • October 25, 2017 1:10 PM EDT
    • Nice progress.

      You should look into Acid Washing for a color treatment. Be good to do it before you plant too much, should you go that way...

    • October 25, 2017 12:23 PM EDT
    • Mother nature has been generous with the nice weather this fall and like the old saying goes, "You can't lick a dead horse on the mouth."  Or is that a "gift horse in the mouth?"  I dunno.  In any event, we had another great weekend and a golden opportunity to move more dirt.  And, since we needed to raise some low spots in the yard, why not finish off the mountainous regions of the layout as well.


      Earlier in the year I moved tons of cemetery dirt to form the bases of Mount Keverest and Mount Cheektovegas.  That dirt was basically fill dirt and has finally settled.  This past weekend we topped everything off with some top soil and started planting rocks and plants.  With any luck, the plants will do as well as the rocks.  My ideal situation would have been to finish all of the cement/lath rock work, color all of it and then add top soil.  But, I'm running out of time this season.  Sometimes you just gotta go with the flow.  So, it looks like I'll probably be adding color to the cement mountains next season.  For now, they are cement colored.


      Here's a shot of Mount Cheektovegas with the final load of top soil and some plants.  I buried in the bottom of the volcano so it blends in better with the rest of the mountain.  The sedum I planted at the base of the volcano is burgundy red and looks as if lava scorched it (thats my story).  I used a green sedum in the middle and some other kind of green plant (very technical terms, try to follow along) at the bottom.  The hill is definitely planted a bit sparsely, but it's what we have on hand.  I'll also need to do some rock hunting next season.  By the time I took these pics, leaves had already started taking their annual fall death plunge.



      The day after completing Mount Cheektovegas, Mother Nature provided a ceremonial sacrifice.  As fate would have it, Mr. Squirrel was seen digging in the base of the sacred mountain.  A real big no no.  Mister Hawk was summoned by the Mountain gods.  I'll save the picture for another time.  Moving on....



      Mount Keverest also received the dirt/rock/plant treatment (no sacrificial ceremony, sorry).  I also fixed the "rock" cover that hides the waterfall top.  Now it looks less like a giant mushroom top and more like rocks.  Again, everything is cement colored for now.  There's always next year.










      That is all.......