Progress on the Triple O

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Friday, April 07, 2017 2:56 AM

Aloha!

 

Just a quick post to report an attempt at a HardieBacker building is under its dusty way and that the foamworking kit is finally on order.  The solar powered pumps for the pond will have to wait.  If anything, the we have more shade over the pond this year, and the guppies did just fine last summer.

In the meantime, we had a recent "Little People on the Railroad Day," which, beyond being a lot of fun, got the clan revved up to try their hand at structure building.

For fun, here are a few of some of the more railroad oriented portions of "Little People on the Railroad Day" that highlight some of the progress we have made...

For starters, this time we used some drop cloths to catch detail parts as we set up.  We also topped off some of our gravel to get level tracks and buildings:

We incorporated Tom's suggestion to use "Charlie," our broken railtruck, as the center for a vignette.  This sort of got the crew to focus on how to populate scenes around the line.

This is the pond area, with my father-in-law's handywork clearly visible behind the water hyacinth.  Adding a siding led to a brief argument with Charles of "Charles' Marine Supply," but after resolving it, did add interest and fun.  This is part of my effort to get folks to think about "What does the Triple O do?"

"Hell's Mountain" in bloom!  We've since trimmed back the daisies to let the sedum continue to come in.  The mountain is scrap concrete and lava rock.  There isa plan to add a mine with a track for mine carts to come out over the siding.  First the fairies will have to move...

OK, I just think this one is cool. 

Cattle ranch...mine...dock...and the theme became "Trains moving critters and folks to a wedding party."  Oh, well, the kids figured out which cars to use, switched them about, and got everyone to the nuptials on time!

 

That's it for now from Sunny Hawai'i! I imagine the next update will include what I shall generously call "handiwork" with my attempt at structures.

Until then, ALOHA!

 

- Eric 

 

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Monday, May 15, 2017 1:09 AM

Aloha!

I will provide pictures shortly, but this week we started foresting one corner, using my "poor man's pine tree," rosemary.  I topiaried two of these over the last couple years into a tunnel, which I now loathe and everyone else loves, and it convinced me to try "bonsai-ing" this stuff.  It lives, it takes aggresive trimming (kids love to trim!), and it is less than $2 a plant.  I also got out the pond foam to hide the last of the unsightly vinyl liner.  Not a perfect solution, but slate is absurdly expensive out here.

Unfortunately, on the train side, the weekend was frustrating.  We had not run them in about a month, and there were many testy rail joints.  Needless to  say, this weekend was one of chasing faults and not enjoying the trains.  This has convinced me to really look into soldering my foot long sectional tracks into longer sections, especially in those areas that really preclude much more fiddling with the track plan due to space or where I feel a stub siding is a long shot.

This week or next, I am going to get some half hollow tile to use as foundations for my building under construction, for a few out in the garden, and as a subradoadbed for some switches.  The latter float on the gravel, and, beyond the stray rock getting wedged in them, also seem more subject than the rest of the road to getting off the level and causing derailments. 

Looking ahead, I've noted some areas that have settled about 2 inches, and I will need to shore up the right of way.  I like the look from the settling, as it makes the terrain less sterile, but it causes more swaying and electrical connectivity issues than I like.  I have used some broken hollow tile, glued wood to it and used it successfully in one are.  I might try this or something similar (foam?) on a larger scale in another area.

Busy this week as we close on Memorial Day, but I will try to show photos of what was accomplised and issues that need addressing later.

Aloha,

Eric!

 

P.S. 15 month old vs. a mountain and my long-suffering sedum.  15 month old won!

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Posted by Greg Elmassian on Monday, May 15, 2017 1:21 PM

Rosemary makes nice trees!

Visit my site: http://www.elmassian.com - lots of tips on locos, rolling stock and more.

 Click here for Greg's web site

 

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Monday, May 15, 2017 10:23 PM
Ah! Saw this picture somewhere when I did some cursory research on the use of rosemary!
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Posted by Greg Elmassian on Tuesday, May 16, 2017 5:08 PM

That picture is from my web site, my site does have about 1.5 million hits, and that Rosemary bush is on a layout here in San Diego. So, you probably saw it from my site, under miscellaneous trees.

https://elmassian.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=128&Itemid=151

Often, I post a question on a forum, and then google it, only to find my post or my site as the "answer"...

Greg

Visit my site: http://www.elmassian.com - lots of tips on locos, rolling stock and more.

 Click here for Greg's web site

 

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Monday, May 29, 2017 3:00 AM

Too funny!  Also, for the funny column, note that my oldest daughter discovered I had bought 3 blue lavendar and 1 "tuscan blue" rosemary, so now I get to see if lavendar can be "bonsaied."  We have had OK luck with dwarf lavendar, but the real stuff, which CINCHOUSE wanted for cooking, has yet to survive a summer.

We shall see how these "trees" work out this time.  For the moment,  they do smell nice!

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Posted by ttrigg on Monday, May 29, 2017 11:38 PM

PVT Kanaka

but the real stuff, which CINCHOUSE wanted for cooking, has yet to survive a summer.

That means you just need more!

After multiple failures with 'minatue pines' (they only got about 3~4 hrs of direct sun per day) SWMBO brought home a dozen Thyme 'trees'. The first Saturday of each month she would harvest (trim) them to shape. After 15 years they are still going strong. Truth be known, I really need to trim them back, they are starting to interfer with coal tipple.

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Friday, June 02, 2017 1:07 AM
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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Thursday, July 20, 2017 2:03 AM

Aloha all!

 

Just a quick update as we ponder our next effort...I finally attacked our track plan a bit, replacing some stub sidings we weren't using with another passing siding, as all hands deem passing sidings "more fun." As an upshot, I got to operationally test some turnouts I had to repair (one had a pinch in the rails; the other had an issue with the frog.  Both had a date with my Dremel.).  Success!  I guess I am learning something after all...We will wire these for multi-train operation later.  Of course, monkeying with the track had second order effects as I had to push and shove the rest of the track to get everything to line up correctly, and I had to repostion our POLA loco-shed.  Oh, well.

Plantingwise, I found purselane seems to grow in our climate conditions, with clippings even sprouting.  This has addressed our ground cover isse in our forest are.  In that same region, the lavendar is barely hanging on, but that means this time I can buy the rosemary I meant to buy in the first place!  Our heather seems to be on the verge of dying, and our poor thyme did not survive a transfer mandated by the track move.  Based on the August 2017 GR article discussuing mulch, I am wondering if my low plants get cooked from the heat reflected off the stones.  

Our next project will tackle some of the settling.  As we've planted, we have replaced gravel with soil, we have moved the gravel elsewhere to fill low spots, especially in areas I have designated for urbanization.  We have so much planting to do, this should suffice in some areas for years to come.  Over by our little pond, however, this won't work unless I build up the pond's walls.  I don't want to do that, and, actually, I enjoy the sense of a changing, rolling terrain the limited settling provides.  Anyway, I stuck a bunch of "boulders" under the track to serve as a retaining wall in one area.  Functional and attractive, I think!  In another area that has sunk about 1-2" and runs for about 48", I think we are going to engineer something out of bricks, then cover that with a foam sheet we can texture and paint.  I had some ideas I gleaned from this site and another forum I think I can apply.   I'd hang a photo for a scope of shot, but PHOTOBUCKET no longer allows third party posting.  

All is well, the trains are rolling, and we are still having fun!

- Eric

 

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Posted by ttrigg on Thursday, July 20, 2017 3:09 AM

PVT Kanaka

 

 I am wondering if my low plants get cooked from the heat reflected off the stones.  

 

Very possible. In my case I found yellowing of the leaves on the underside close to the stem. I substituted a darker crushed rock to solve the issue, with a bit of extra watering.

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Friday, July 21, 2017 12:42 AM

Thanks as always, Tom.  I have to make a stop by the hardware store and local nursery this weekend, and I'll see what they have.

 

- Eric

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Monday, August 07, 2017 1:49 AM

OK,

Lots going on in parallel on the Triple O!

  1. We are attacking the settling, using Tom's recommended board-scribed-to-look-like-a-timber-retaining wall method.  I will also make the form for some concrete culverts, both to spot fix a few areas and to get some basic skills in pouring concrete forms.
  2. Attempts at making buildings are going forward, with my HardieBacker monstrosity on site and a rehabilitation of my father-in-law's water tower in progress.  The latter involvled cutting off the legs that had fallen vicitim to cattle dog, constructing a pump house / support structure around a foam core (foam...much easier to work with than HB! Still needs to be developed skill...)
  3. Reforestation continues apace with rosemary.  The purselane is developing into a nice, dense mass that at least evokes a green rise.  I'll take it!  We are also experimenting with sea urchin sedum.  Sedum is sort of catch-as-can out here.  Sometimes you sedum in da store, sometimes you don't!
  4. Mulch is on hand for an effor to plant a yard around our new "house."  We are waiting for dwarf elfin thyme to appear on the local market.  With the avocado tree keeping the temperatures down, I am hoping the mulch may not scorch the thyme like the rocks may have, assuming that was part of the issue.  

On the downside, Little People on the RR Day did not come off as planned last Friday.  A cartoon and the arrival of the kids' playmate preempted the effort.  I have had, upon reflection, a good run as the center of the children's universe. Still...

Lots going on in parallel, but the trains are really running great, and they provided a wonderful backdrop for the summer.  Pictures of my latest efforts to make them run better (the settling solutions) and to make a better backdrop (the plantings) as they are warranted.  

Have a wonderful week!

Aloha,

Eric

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Monday, August 21, 2017 12:37 AM

Aloha all!

OK, per my Q&A post on the subject, thre first "timber" retaining wall is in!  What a visual improvement!  Now, if I could get over my reticence to try to solder my sectional track, I'd get the operational improvement, too...I've gotten lots of ideas how to proceed, but, for the moment, jiggling joints is OK by me!

The rehabilitation of my fatherr-in-law's water tower is effectively complete, besides some touch up paint and some shims to level the tower..  The legs fell victim to the dog and kids, so I mounted the structure on a "pump house."  I had intended to make a foam core and scribe stones.  Botched it.  Then I planked the sides and intended to scribe a foam base.  Botched the base.  I shaved off the excess foam, mounted it on HardieBacker, made a fill pipe, and called it a day.  Beyond the door, I do not intend to add much detail.  The cattle dog has discovered the amazing cooling properties of the nearby guppy pond!

Anway, here is the project's start:

And here is its effective finish: 

I am much enamored of the sticks-on-foam method I used here, and I plan to experiment with it a bit more.  I have a need for a tool-shed / siding isloation switch for which I think this would be very applicable.  Given I have no workshop, no storage space, lots of people interacting with the garden, no hobby shops, and limited skill, this may be a good way to start getting something - ANYTHING - out on the road that can last!

Reforestation is at a standstill as I wait for my preferred rosemary - tuscan blue or verbano.  They seem to be the most treeish.  At least the sea urchin sedum is not dead. Yet.

As for a final follow-up, we place some mulch over the newly planted strawberry beds.  The plants did not fry.  We will continue the experiment if dwarf elfin thyme ever shows up in the area again.

 

Finally, I thought it would be fun to close with a series from earlier this summer...

Cue "Jaws Music..."

The predator lurks...

An innocent railfan surveys the surroundings...

THE ATTACK!!!!

But, don't worry, this story ends with a rescue!

No actually offspring or railbuses were injured in the capture of this story.  In fact, no actual railbuses were even derailed!  Got to love LGB!

At any rate, have a great week, and thank again in indulging me and letting me use this blog as a way to keep me honest and (wait for it) on track with this project!

Aloha,

Eric

 

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Tuesday, November 07, 2017 1:43 AM

Aloha,

 

As summer bleads into fall and winter (time to get out my 5 mm wetsuit for diving!  72 degree water...Brrrr....), I thought an update was in order on this "build log."  To be honest, progress was a mixed bag.  On the one hand, we addressed some niggling issues with electrical connectivity and with settling, installing scale retaining walls to address the latter.  We also experimented with materials for buildings, though I made less progress in urbanizing than I'd hoped as RR time had to go to repairing a loop coupler on the kids' battery powered loco and some other locomotive repairs (one is ongoing.  I now get to learn to replace idler gears in LGB's 0-6-2T!  What could go wrong?).  The biggest disappointment, however, came in the reforestation department.  The lavendar bloomed and bit it.  Half of the 6 rosemary trees followed into the compost bin.  The heather struggled mightily then succumbed.  The mulch allowed strawberries to take root and flourish, which brought back snails and slugs.  Snails and slugs love strawberry plants, apparently. Worst of all, white flies found my purselane, which had formed a nice mound of green simulating a cut.  No more purselane.    You can get a sense of it below:

At least half my dwarf lavendar died to make sure a little bit of everything got off to the compost bin.

The return of cooler weather, though, will bring with it another go at reforestation.  Sedum and native succulents seem to be doing OK atop Hell's Montain, even spreading in the case of sedum to the mountain's base.  Experimentation will continue, one $2.00 plant at a time, and I hope cooler, wetter weather will give things the chance to root before the summer.

On the upside, the effort continued to keep folks entertained.  We had another little people on the railroad day, and, of course, the Triple O delivered many a libation over the last couple months.  I also had a chance to get some 1:1 motivation at the Colorado RR Museum and chat with the volunteer running the garden RR.  Having been inspired to at least think about kitbashing (Why do used bits cost more than whole used locomotives?), I picked up "Next Stop Honolulu" at a revisit to our historic line last weekend.  A quick skim showed, with regards to Hawaii, anything went and thus anything goes!

 

OK, I don't like to end on too negative a point, so here is a shot of part of the RR where plants did seem to grow.  The flowering things are impatiens, which a.) don't die, b.) serve as a nice view break, and c.) look nice.  Native Akulikuli is growing over the tunnel complex,  "some kine tree thing" and Thai basil serve as trees, our roses are recovering from white flies, and blue daze is, if not thriving, at least surviving.  

Off to ponder getting at those idler gears!  Have a great week!

 Eric

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Monday, November 20, 2017 12:05 AM

Aloha and Early Happy Thanksgiving!

Lots happening on the Triple O.  The last two weekends proved too windy and rainy for beach activities, so the crew (or elements thereof) and I took to the garden.  Pictures will follow later this week.

Rosemary trees have gone back into the "forest," and I have noticed that as dust and debris settle into the rocks, my sedum seems to be grabbing little toe holds here and there.  At least one of the 3-4 species I have tried seems to be working...Today, for fun, we also planted some out-of-date seeds we got free from our nursery.  At worst, we get nothing.  At best, some greenery for the railroad and the kitchen.

We also turned-to on the bridges spanning our gorge.  Shifting tracks had caused the mainline and trestle to misalign.  Rather than break the trestle free (I had accidentally cemented it in place when I installed it.  Ooops.), I ran a stringer along its length.  The track now sits on the bridge again.  This left enough space on one side to run a walkway along its length.  Of course, as soon as my daughter and I got the glue down, it rained, the wood swelled, the walkway buckled, and we learned another lesson.  Suprisingly, the glue remained in place, and by noon today the good folks of Pu'u'o'ma'o (Green Hill when we are in Wild West theme) had a safer way to cross.  We plan to install a safety rail next.

I have never like the approach to the neighboring truss.  The Triple O doesn't have much going for it  in terms of "realism," but I loathe "flying tracks."  I am happy to report my oldest daughter used a handheld hobby saw to cut some timbers and assemble some cribbing.  Looks much better.

Meanwhile, the I broke out the foam cutter and some scrap wood to build a new steeple topper for the 1st Congregational Church of Haluku'ilio (Dog Wallow in the Old West), an old PLAYMOBIL builiding I have on my shelf.  Not overly detailed, but a good enough solution and good way to develop what the ancients called a "skill."

On the downside, "Gustav," my LGB 0-6-2T, remains down as I ponder how to get at his fried idlers.  Tonight, just as I sat back to enjoy dinner, a beverage, and a sunset, "North Star," a BACHMANN 4-6-0 started whining and stopped moving.  This leaves the Triple O with no prime movers and only one operating American locomotive.  Frustrating, but I suppose this is the price I pay for starting with 30+ year LGB and gambling on a used BACHMANN starter set.  Got to do some headscratching on how to proceed.

Anyway, again, let me extend a Happy Thanksgiving to all!

 

Aloha,
Eric

 

 

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Monday, November 27, 2017 12:16 AM

Aloha!

 

I trust all had a Happy Thanksgiving.  All was well here, if "cold" in the low 70-s...

Anyway, as promised, photographic "proof" of some attempt at progess follow.

     First, the little steeple top. To be clear, the old PLAYMOBIL buildings only come out for special occassions and then go back inside.  They also come off the shelf if I need a diversion for the crew during inclement weather, which does, in fact, occur.  I opted to use foam for its price, ease of cutting, and forgiving qualities.  I did purchase a block for this at a craft store.  I shaped it with a HotWire foam knife, and after  gluing back on some "over shaping" planked it over with craft sticks:

    

I sealed the lot with exterior paint, before painting the front and back blue.  100 grit sandpaper serves as roofing material, and bit of a shattered epee became my roof topper (the second function beyond staking plants I have found for broken epees).  I think the reverend is quite pleased, even if his congregation seems a bit tardy this weekend:

Meanwhile, my much simpler if rain addled efforts to put a foot path over the trestle seems to have held up well.  The Triple O's work crew was pleased with the results:

And "North Star's" crew posed shortly thereafter...and shortly before she ate her own gearing for lunch...

Saftey railings will have to wait.  They will not survive Kid-zilla, even if they would make life better for the good folks of Pu'u'oma'o!

A new chassis for the 4-6-0 is on the way.  "North Star's" gearing failure coincided, happily enough, with a sale at BACHMANN (Whatever will I do with all those spare wheels and rods?), and this week I am going to get up the nerve to cut that part holding 0-6-2T "Gustav's" two sides together so I can replace his idlers.  The part is not structural, barely visible, and standing between me and getting the old fellow back on the rails.  The Triple O will have a prime mover before long!

Have a wonderful week!

Eric

 

 

 

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Posted by ttrigg on Monday, November 27, 2017 3:56 AM

"Saftey railings will have to wait."

I was going to ask. Well done. Keep expanding your skill levels.

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Tuesday, November 28, 2017 12:13 AM
Thanks, Tom. I...and to some extent we...keep trying!

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