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    • January 9, 2020 11:30 AM EST
    • That's some colorful plants!

    • January 9, 2020 11:26 AM EST
    • Great pictures


    • January 8, 2020 7:59 PM EST
    • Nancy wanted some pictures (possibly) for an article on tallish succulents for the summer issue of the Garden Railway magazine. I offered to get my good camera out and take a few pics of some of the planting she's done on my railroad in case they are useful to her. No way to know if she will want any of these pics but I enjoy photography so figured I'd take a shot (pun intended):





    • January 3, 2020 11:11 PM EST
    • Well, Jim, Jasper was named for them thar red rocks in em hills up yonder 


      You, Nancy and the rest of the crew are gonna fool around and create a damn fine looking railroad if you're not careful.  Looking great.

    • January 3, 2020 10:19 PM EST
    • Today, Nancy et al worked on further details for the rock fall, as well as building up a rock wall in the Jasper area.


      The following pictures show what the rock fall looks like now, with a bit more rock fleshing it out, more small stones to provide realistic ground texture, and some planting of trees and ground cover. This is the "transition" area so the trees are  from the "forest" area and the ground cover is more desert-ish.



      A bit closer look at the planting area:



      And the rock fall itself:



      On the other end of the layout, in the Jasper area, a rock retaining wall now separates the upper area from where the sawmill will be built. A lot of the reddish stone in this wall is actually called "jasper" rock. Imagine that!



    • December 26, 2019 9:37 AM EST
    • Cool videos, Jim. I think I’ve said this before, but I love to see a train pulling a string of scratch built cars. Great job. What’s next? 

    • December 25, 2019 4:28 PM EST
    • Shoot, I thought you would have a video of Nancy throwing rocks at the trains!


      Seriously, it is really shaping up!



    • December 24, 2019 6:06 PM EST
    • A few videos, just for fun:



    • December 23, 2019 10:05 PM EST
    • Drat...I would've loved to have seen your take on a rail-mounted buzz bomb launcher!  Merry Christmas!

    • December 21, 2019 10:20 PM EST
    • Fixed the track. No more buzz bombs...



    • December 21, 2019 4:10 PM EST
    • Late to the game, but I figured it was a launch rail for your his train mounted buzz bombs!



    • December 21, 2019 4:08 PM EST
    • Jim Rowson said:

      Lighter rocks would make my back happy!


      HA!!!!!  I make the crew schlep the rocks!  

    • December 21, 2019 3:28 PM EST
    • Lighter rocks would make my back happy!

    • January 8, 2020 9:09 AM EST
    • I have some green chicken wire buried and cascading over in some spots . 1st it gives the critters an escape .. I just haven't spent enough time to find the right plant to work in the micro climate were the water feature is.. 

    • January 7, 2020 3:36 AM EST
    • Thanks gents.   Hard, but satisfying, work.  As for flat stones that could hide the edge and survive the foot traffic, we never sourced any locally that were affordable relative to other household and railroad priorities.  We are hoping that we the relatively narrow lip of the new pond will not be the solar collector of its predecessor and that plants will eventually hid or creep over it.  If nothing else, if it settles like the last one, maybe at that time paving stones will make the purchase cut!



    • January 5, 2020 10:11 AM EST
    • Teaching valuable team building skills and having fun doing it, now that's what dads do best.  The pond looks great and I'm sure the guppies appreciated their new home.

    • January 5, 2020 8:29 AM EST
    • Oh goodie, goodie, not only do we get to play with choo-choos, but we get to play in the mud too. 

      Ain't you the best Dad ever!!..........

    • January 5, 2020 5:35 AM EST
    • I finished the edge of my pond with flat stones.


      Looks good. The fish should be happier.

    • January 5, 2020 3:12 AM EST
    • Aloha,

      We are still bickering about the Mik.  We did, however, spend the last three days in the garden replacing a pond that had proved too shallow for the fish we wish to keep, taking the opportunity along the way to correct about 4" of settling and even adding our version of our sub-roadbed!  Oldest Daughter has taken to aquarium keeping, and I had promised we would get this done after Christmas and in time for spring "tub pond" stocking.  Promises must be kept.


      Lake Inferior looked like this:

      It worked, but we never found a way to cover the rubber lip of the vinyl liner, the pond foam being the best we could do.  Plants that dared creep onto that vinyl sizzled, so we did what we could.  When a friend gave me a pre-formed pond with a narrow lip, twice the depth, and equal or more volume, I had all I needed to proceed.


           Between Thursday and Friday evening, the crew set up temporary homes for and removed the guppies, water hyacinth, dwarf lily, and a sorry Cryptocryne sp.

           Friday, we removed the liner, placed, and leveled the new pond:


      Oldest Daughter noted the pond is a bit warped towards the shallow side, so we did our best.  It was free!


           Today, amidst occasional downpours, Oldest Son and I started shoveling buckets of stuff left over from previous projects to fill in around the pond.  As we had decided to use this as an opportunity to correct the settling, we had to come up with more concrete bits, dirt, and rocks, than we had on hand.  He hit upon using some half hollow-tile that used to hold the old liner in place as fill, and we decided it would be better employed as a sub-roadbed of sorts.  He grabbed a small level and went to work as Oldest Daughter integrated in new rockwork to tie our landscape together:



           Youngest Daughter took the Kid-zilla watch, which freed me up to do the heavy lifting and crew assignment deconfliction.  They did join us for a run to the nursery for dirt, cinders, and some plants (to include sedum for the new rockwork, false heather to be "trees," and marigolds to...well, they look nice!).  Kid-zilla took a nap, and his siblings set-to:

           After that, we replaced the rest of our gravel to serve as weed barriers and to fill a couple holes, cleaned our tools, and reconnected the track.  The end result is below:

           I had told everyone the guppies could not go home until everything else was done, which was a pretty evil "Dad trick," but all hands held to their respective roles, and they all got to be part of the big guppy release!  I should mention we did fill the tub prior to the climactic event.


           I know we will now spend 6 weeks cleaning rail joints, but I think the visual impact of the change, the better supported track, and the new fishkeeping options will make it worthwhile.  On to the Mik!