Thursday, March 24, 2016

Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ According to John

The Dominican Friars of St. Savior Priory following the tones of the Dominican Order.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A change of pace, a change of venue ...

At our last Provincial Chapter I was selected to be the Province Webmaster, which gave me access to a great area suitable for a moderately large layout.  The Rose Gulch and Portland was to grow large enough to have regular service throughout the imaginary greater Portland area.  All great plans have the possibility of grand success and things less than success.

  As this present Provincial Chapter drew near, our Provincial asked that I step down as Webmaster and take on ministry to the University of Oregon at our St. Thomas More Newman Center in Eugene, Oregon.  This change brings with it many great possibilities and challenges.  One good thing is that although I can be happy nearly anyplace, I am particularly pleased to be in the Pacific Northwest again.  I grew up in Seattle and have found my greatest joy in cloudy weather with regular doses of rain.  That's somewhat different from the dry, rainless climate of Oakland, CA.

Anyway, my present ministry in Eugene does not allow for the presence of a layout.  Not only am I physically busier, but there is no useable space to create a rail empire.  Maybe I'm dreaming and will wake soon with my layout still operational, but not likely.  As time goes by I may discover ways to slip in a small shelf or some other minimal way to run the engines I brought with me.

  May the celebration of the great Solemnity of Christmas, which culminates with the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God tomorrow bring you abundant blessings and graces for the New Year.

  PS: If you did not get all your Christmas cards out on time, call them Epiphany Cards, giving you until the sixth of January to complete.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Building Buildings ....

Dear friends of the Rose Gulch and Portland Railroad,

  The time seems right to begin populating the layout with some structures.  Having limited skills in actual modeling I have resorted to plastic models for my first efforts (wooden trestle doesn't count).  Here are some shots of the buildiings so far:

The "block" in the background is one structure made to represent five different businesses.  Relatively simple in design, the hardest part was painting it so that it looked like different structures.  That little bit of red and white barely seen in the background is a two stall engine house that will eventually find a place on the layout.  I did not build it.  The building in the foreground is not much bigger than the background ones, but is a corner edifice, supposedly a cafe with rooms above.  I left it the Korner Kafe with rooms for rent upstairs through the door at the far end.

These two buildings are from different companies.  The one on the left is one of three identical buildings in one kit.  They will resemble each other as their original intent was to represent company houses (Originally they would have all been white, but so boring!).  The building on the right is the Second Class Saloon.  It was more fun to put together than all the previous kits and has details like the stairs and the front overhand that give it character .. on the roof is a ladder, a walkway and two "fire barrels."

 Two buildings that could be storefronts with rooms to rent above.

Another view of the buildings in the first picture.

A view of a different set of company houses. 
These had good detain in the separate window frames, doors and door frames. 
I also liked the little bits of gingerbread at the peak of the roofs.

Another view of the company houses.
Note that they are not finished, as is the case with most of the others. 
Details such as chimneys and weathering are yet to be added.
All will also get interior lighting, if possible.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The difficulty

It is that time of year when folks start looking for ways to gift one another ... sometimes just to gift the self.  I used to find this part of the season lots of fun, for I somewhat enjoyed the challenge of searching for that perfect gift that would both fit the person and let them know how deeply I cared for them.  Doing this for my parents was a real challenge, after all what could they possibly appreciate that they could not easily have gotten themselves.  That required paying very close attention to these people that I "knew" so well.  Familiarity sometimes blinds one to the mystery of the other as person.  The same was also true of my siblings, although often they gave away hints in the early parts of Advent concerning their hopes for "Santa."
Well, it has been several years since my parents departure from this life and my siblings' needs for the future are in many ways beyond my ability to respond.  The recent deaths of family members puts a pall over the season and leaves an emptiness that cannot be filled with tinsel and colorful packaging.  It is at times like this that it becomes apparent that narrowly focused attention on presents, both given and received, cannot be all there is to it.
Why do we struggle to buy gifts for one another on Christmas??  Is it because of custom, after all I have no memory of ever doing anything else at this time of year?  Is it simply because of the great deals one can find this time of year?  Is it a one-upmanship, trying to show how great we are for the people who touch our lives??  No, I am quite sure that for the most part it is an effort to let one another know of the love we have and hope to nourish.  Love is at the center.
But what can my buying a bunch of flowers, a blanket, a painting, a potted plant or some toy really say about love??  Is it not deeper than that?  Does not gift giving, in itself, indicate a deep desire for every good thing for the beloved?  Isn't that what true love is all about, not just a warm fuzzy feeling but a deep desire for the good of the other combined with actions that make that good more possible?  So I guess during this season it is not so much what I can buy, but what I do that makes a difference, that manifests my love for the other.
It is not by accident that the season of sharing is intimately tied to the greatest gift of love we have ever received: the gift of God's only Son taking on our mortal flesh and being born as a man among us.  It is not by accident that the whole period before the celebration of His birth is called Advent, for it takes a lot of preparation to accept the wonder of God's love in the birth of our Savior.  We await His coming in the flesh and we await his coming in glory.
The first happened in history and is sometimes not grasped in all its fundamental human loving, earth transforming fullness.  With the advent of Jesus the Love of God was made so intimately personal, touching the very core of human experience.  It is in and through the Incarnation that the profound desire of God for our good is revealed and made manifest to a world that was so very wounded and darkened by sin in all its selfish and destructive manifestations.  We still need to embrace that gift today as our world drifts farther away from the true meaning of the season.
The Second Advent will happen at the end of time.  It is then that we will become overwhelmingly aware of God's love and either fully embrace it forever because we have been preparing for it all our lives or hide from it and refuse to embrace it because it is so foreign to those who have abandoned the good in their lives for so long that they see it as oppressive and foreign.
I hope and pray that those who read this will make of this season a time to renew their relationship with God and the good he has bestowed on us in Christ Jesus, that they might choose to live that love in their relationship with others.  May this Advent bring forth an abundance of grace and peace for a world that is so very much in need of the Good News in Jesus Christ.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Some Progress

Dear friends of the Rose Gulch and Portland Railroad.  It has really been a long time since my last post.  Sorry for the gap, but life does move on.  There have been a few changes.  The yard has been finished, save scenic work.  In the above picture you can see (left to right) the two main lines and the six yard tracks.  All turnouts are controlled by the use of Tortoise Switches activated from the control panel.

The track is composed of dual gage HO/HOn3 track around the periphery with a 2% grade up to the back side of the layout.  There is a long siding up here in the middle.  At the far right you can see there is a "Y" which allows turning whole trains around as needed.  There is a narrow gage spur off the upper track which will lead to mining/timber areas.  The far side of the "Y" will connect via a shelf and bridge to the other layouts on the same floor.  Thus it will be possible for us to make very long runs and all will have use of the "Y" to turn around.

As you see in the above picture, the mountain is not finished yet.  On the left see the track leading off to the "Y" and the HOn3 track leading through the mountain and around this side.  On the lower level there is what looks like a tunnel entrance, but is actually just a spur for storage.  The track to the left of the tunnel actually goes through a tunnel and comes out in front of the mountain just at the start of the yard.

This gives you some sense of the length of the yard.  If you look closely at the main lines on the lower level on the left you will see a crossover.  This allows trans on the lower level to turn around without going up to the "Y".  All the track except on short common section in the lower area is standard gage, thus the HOn3 trains cannot access this area.  Only the track you see on the far left (upper area) and the far right is dual gage.

Here you can see the other end of the layout, with the control panel located about mid-way.  The far end will be city when I get around to building it.  The track and a couple of turnouts still need to be installed in what will be streets.  The wall behind the layout will eventually be blue and the fascia at the back (only partially installed until scenic work is finished) that is presently painted blue may get treated with scenic backdrop ... but that is a long way off and a lot of saving-up.

You may have noticed a lot of SP&S equipment.  It seems that the Rose Gulch got bought out, still retaining its distinctive look, but surrounded now with SP&S and the roads that will eventually swollow even it.

Model Railroad Trestle from Western Dominican Friars on Vimeo.

I almost forgot ... did you notice the trestle??  This magnificent structure was created by a friend, removing the Styrofoam  2% incline and replacing it with all those individually made bents.  The above video gives you a feel for it.  Enjoy!

I hope you enjoyed this little visit.  I hope to have more in the future.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

And then it grew!

Dear friends,

In my last post I mentioned setting up the modules and getting everything ready.  Well, the administrator of the neighboring rail empire kept insisting that I add more and more.  It has now grown from a simple 8x9 layout to a 6x40+ layout. It will have a huge yard and many sidings and businesses.

The view from the south.

As you can see it stretches off into the distance.  At this end it will have a mountain with some logging and mining along a narrow gage track.  Circling the entire layout will be dual gage rail.You can see some of it in this picture.

The view from the North

With this view you can see the dual gage track, which winds up a 2% grade to the shelf at the back of the layout.  This shelf is very important as it will eventually connect with the layouts that you see on the opposite side of the room.  This requires a bridge across the entrance from the South, complete with flashing RR crossing sign and an alarm that will sound if the door is opened while the bridge is in place.

Another view

This is again from the South and shows the HO layout in the NW corner of the room.  Access from that layout will be possible to my layout through a narrow gage layout, across the doorway and up the wall to my layout.  Three different DCC controllers are involved.  Digitrax and two manifestations of NCE.

Left end of the layout
Right end of the layout

The two ends are almost mirror images.  The major differences being that the left end does not have a WHYE required at the right end for the connection to the other layouts.  Additionally, the left end will not have a mountain as such, but will climb a ridge behind a city scene with a few industries nestled in the basin.  The right end will be mountain with a dry stream-bed running through Rose Gulch (have to keep the name in there someplace - after all, I now have a significant number of rolling stock with that name on them).

The Yard and connecting rail
of the adjoining Empire

Looking through the opening in the wall on can see the narrow gage yard with the dual-gage track running through.  In the middle picture on can see the rolling stock of the narrow gage railroad.  This road is set in the late 1800's.  At the right the dual gage rail passes through the wall of the room to travel behind the wall toward the other end of the narrow gage railroad and the beginning of the other standard gage railway.

The Great WHYE

This is more of a picture of the track going behind the wall, but it is also the Whye that allowed trains to turn around on the narrow gage railway and for engines to turn around for the standard gage railway.  When my layout is complete they will be able to turn around the longest trains they can muster as I will have both a WHYE and a reversing loop.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Golden State

Today was to be a day filled with pounding and drilling, nailing and screwing as I tied all the modules together and leveled them in preparation for the first laying of new track for the revived Rose Gulch and Portland RR.  I'm not even sure it will retain that name.  Well, no work was done because Fr. Leo and I went on a journey.

The first part of the journey involved "Just Trains" in Concord, CA.  I was thinking about going out there some day to pick up another grade set so that I could have two smooth inclines, one up and the other down.  Fr. Leo was working on the curved trestle that keeps demanding so much attention, bending model timber into the perfect curve in preparation for attaching ties and then rails.  He had proceeded as far as he could when he said it would be good to go to "Just Trains".  I was all for it.  I ended up buying more than the incline kit: An HON3 car for the other railroad, some DPDT mini switches, and some terminal blocks.

We then decided it was time for lunch and the guy at the store suggested we visit the Polish Street Festival in Martinez, CA. It was "on the way" so we decided that a real polish sausage would be just the thing. It was a good choice. The sausage was delicious as was the potato pancake. I also had a brew which was also delicious. We also enjoyed some polish dancing and music - no, neither of us danced, there were young dancers doing traditional folk dancing.  Leaving Martinez, Fr. Leo suggested we should visit his old railroad club, a place he had not frequented for four or five years.

The club is actually called the Golden State Model Railroad Museum.  They are open to the public and have operating sessions open to the public on Sunday from noon to five in the evening, from April to December.  I suppose the winter months are difficult to heat because the layouts are very expansive.  If you just wanted to look, without much in the way of action, they allow viewing Wednesday from 11am - 3pm, Friday from 7pm until 10pm, Saturday from noon until 5pm, and Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day from Noon until 5pm.

There are several different scales represented: N-Scale of the Tehachapi Loop and Donner Pass.  There is also an Nn3 layout representing the line from Lake Tahoe to Truckee.  Accross the aisle is a huge O-Scale Santa Fe Western layout covering an area in and around Point Richmond.  Also represented in O-Scale is the Oakland, Antioch & Eastern interurban electric railroad.  In On3 is represented the Eureka & Empire railroad, winding up from the Eureka interchange yard to the lumber town of Empire.  In HO-Scale the first thing one sees is the local and inter-urban trolley system.  Also represented are the Southern Pacific, The Western Pacific and the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe.  Both passenger and freight services are represented.  In HOn3 is represented the California and Nevada narrow gage railroad.

This group has been in more-or-less continual operation for over 75 years!  The whole display is amazing on many different levels: size, complexity, variety, detail, history and the folks who greet you upon visiting.  A Highly recommended visit!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Moving has it's drawbacks

Dear world,
   It has been a while since I last wrote, but do not think I have forgotten you.  In the last several months many changes have happened.  The all began when I was privileged to be elected to our Provincial Chapter, the gathering of brethren throughout our Western Dominican Province to elect a new Provincial (major superior), enact legislation as needed, and make appointments to various offices in the province.
  It would be good to check out the website for the results of many of these appointments, but the one that had the greatest effect on me and the RG&PRR was my appointment to the directorship of the Province website.  With that appointment I became responsible for a great deal of internet activity, beyond the website itself.  It thus seemed wise to move me to a more central location in the province.  I am now living at our house of studies (home of friars beginning their process of formation and education as Dominicans), St. Albert Priory in Oakland, California.  The railroad had to depart with me.
  Fortunately it was in sections, and not completed in any sense of that word.  Here are the "modules" as they were reconstituted in the attic of St. Albert.
As you can see, the track is still in place, but the "modules" are not put together.

The area in the attic is substantial.  I have access to about 28 linear feet of space.
If you look, you will see extra wood and other material on the floor.  They are the pieces that either were not needed or I could not figure out right away where they belonged.  Fortunately the wonderful crew that dismantled the layout marked the pieces very well.  They went back together very quickly.  In the next post I will show you what became of the modules and the plans for the future.  Right now I need to get ready for evening prayer and dinner.

Blessings to all!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A most rewarding experience

From the 3rd of January until late last week I was a member of the 24th Provincial Chapter of the Western Dominican Province (Province of the Most Holy Name of Jesus) gathered at St. Albert Priory in Oakland, CA.

St. Albert Priory is the House of studies for the Western Dominican Province.  I began my own Dominican life in its hallowed halls.  I still remember with fondness the daily rituals of Office, Mass, meals and recreation ... even our common work days and bellman duties form a good part of the rich tapestry that the initial formation period offered.  Then there were the classes, initially offered at St. Albert and then in facilities leased at the GTU in Berkeley.  Some may remember that I was known for "Vincent van go!"  Visions of one of my classmates running to try to catch the van as I drove off -- on time -- for our journey to DSPT are both amusing and sad .... 

I look around and see so much good that has happened at this Priory.  The priors and masters of Students and Novices came and went, but the heartbeat of the community rode out the changes remarkably well.  At one time we were known as the most liberal of Dominican Provinces, then after Vatican II we were looked upon as ultra conservative.  I believe we are probably seen as liberal again, although there has been very little that changed over the years.  Our formation has remained on bedrock, our academic formation is even more rooted in St. Thomas Aquinas, we have not wandered as some other have ... the world just seems to keep changing around us.  A good thing??  I do not know.  I do know it has all happened while also deeply immersed in the world in which we live.

There have been a few bumps.  After all this is a big family and it would be really remarkable if there were not a few odd characters, slackers and downright contrary personalities.  There have been causes for great joy and great sadness.  I would not change this ride for anything in the world.  I am absolutely convinced it is a gift and manifestation of God's love for his people, and especially for those who chose to answer God's personal call within the ranks of the Dominican Order as manifested in the Western Dominican Province.

This present 24th Provincial Chapter continues the long tradition of Dominican Government handed on by Dominic himself.  Every four years elected representatives of the province gather to elect a new Provincial, appoint friars to certain internal ministries, and adjust the particular laws of our province to reflect the current conditions and needs of the province.  This Chapter has been, in general, a joy to me.  It is my first, and the charity, insight and wisdom of the brethren has been most edifying.  The desire to guide our brother as best that any laws can in the way of truth with constant care for the ministry of the word seemed to permeate even the simplest moments -- mind you there were many dull portions, as is natural when the details have to be thrashed out and coordinated with other legislation to make a cohesive whole.  Thank God for secretaries!  They are a real blessing!

There are a few more things to take care of before the last six (diffinitors) can sign off on the finished work (the ACTA).  I ask you to join me in prayer for the successful conclusion of our Chapter and a positive response from our superiors in Rome.  May God be praised, the people filled with blessings and Jesus be preached in all corners of the world!

Olean, Bradford & Warren Railroad

Over the years the Olean, Bradford & Warren Railroad HON3 layout has continued to blossom.  Since its arrival at St. Albert Priory (Dominican House of Studies) in Oakland, CA it has been carefully attached to a fourth floor wall, had a run-around behind the wall added, a spur into a storage room to protect the motive power from curious fingers, and the addition of some impressive building fronts.  Rolling stock also seems to continue to grow through the creative hands of the chief engineer.

Not to be outdone, a friar from the local area has joined in establishing a rail empire at St. Albert.  Just a few paces from the Olean, Bradford & Warren is a still unnamed HO scale layout in progress.  The layout is on two levels on a framework that seems to be about twenty feet long and about eight feet wide with a crawl-under access to the central control area.  The layout is powered by a NCE DCC system with access points around the perimeter as well as in the central area.

I cannot yet determine the nature of the layout and have not spoken to the engineer in charge, but the double main line with sidings and a significant yard would allow for moving both freight and passenger service.  I will await future developments as they present themselves (and I am able to observe .. distance makes things difficult).

Below are pictures of the Olean, Bradford & Warren Railroad and the other layout .. connected at one point so that some exchange can happen and it is possible for the new route's motive power to be stored in the OB&W storeroom.

Take note of the new buildings to the right on this scene of the rail yard.

These Log cars sit on the upper level waiting to be taken to the mill.

The Mill is ready to accept logs.

The engine house is now empty, waiting the return of the 4-4-0
Meanwhile below near the main line, work cars are ready for duty as needed.

These trestles have always impressed me.
It is quite a task to deliver cars and pick up loads through this
switch-back of bridge-work.
The new HO layout is on two levels
This is just the start of the project

Everything can be controlled by the NCE control
The framework is solid.

Complex crossing poses electrical problems that took a while to overcome
This crossing involved both ascending and descending trackage crossing each other.

The upper yard is significant and will be expanded
to include a turntable capable of holding a "big-boy"

The Layouts are connected along the wall with careful attention to granting control to each layout without creating shorts or dueling controls.  I am sure that both OB&WRR and the new one will add their own details in the future.

Meanwhile, this writer is happy to have been a part of the 24th Provincial Chapter of the Western Dominican Province meeting at St. Albert Priory from January 3 to January 22, 2011.  A smaller group of friars continues to meet through the end of the month to tie up and loose ends and adjust assignments after making provincial appointments.

May the friars of the Western Dominican Province, always faithful to the the teachings of Holy Mother Church, continue to grow in grace and peace.  May our vocations flourish and our existing friars be filled with zeal for the truth and its proclamation to a world torn by relativism and misinformation.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Sometimes the tiny appeals

Today I had the pleasure of attending the 7th Annual Gears expo at the Armory in north Portland.  The craftsmanship and, in some cases, the artistry of those machinists was something to behold.  There were all sorts of steam, gasoline, ice and fire, propane, and air powered engines and contraptions.
Small v-8 engine
This little engine has it's own tiny spark plugs and other essential parts all crafted by the man whose hand shows in the picture.  As you can tell, the engine is not much bigger than his closed fist.  And it really runs!

This show was an eye-opener to me.  For although I was very much aware that there were people with such skills (i.e. Fr. Hugo Moschini, OP), I was amazed by the sheer number of participants and the variety of presentations.  Some more of this sort of thing can be found at


Saturday, August 28, 2010

Building Community can be fun!

I had a most wonderful experience today. The retirement center across the street from Holy Rosary had a Block Party. Everyone was invited, both residents and neighborhood folk. As a matter of fact there were all sorts of people from all over the city. People from local businesses and even the local ladder company dropped by for the food and entertainment. The burgers and dogs were delicious! The Executive Director of the center is a wonderfully gregarious man by the name of Gary Warren. He should be applauded for this great community building effort for both the residents and the greater NE Portland area.

(You may notice that the name of the retirement community bears a strong resemblance
to the home town of a certain Religious Order founder. Not by accident.)

There was a group singing (I fell badly that I did not get their name) when I arrived, singing songs that I remember from my younger years, but which I would not immediately sense would be in tune with a retirement community until I reflected for a moment that the residents were not all that much older than I, and some just within a few years. They certainly brought back memories.

Celtic Showcase Benefit

Speaking of entertainment! The above advertised Portland Metro Youth Pipe Band marched into the midst of the gathered people and performed a beautiful series of Scottish tunes. They were remarkable! I certainly hope that their fundraiser works for them as it seems that they make very good use of the gifts they receive in their service to the greater community. These young people deserve as much support as possible ... maybe even some day representing Portland in International competition.

Gotta go ... Time to begin preparing the evening meal for the friars.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Agony and Yearning

My dear friends,

Over the last few weeks my mind and heart have been grappling with the continued attacks on the Church over the handling of priests who have abused others. On one side I am shocked and saddened by the public description of the abusers and their superiors. On another level I am just furious over the injustice done to the victims. Not just their abuse, but what seems to be a long-standing dismissal of the possibility they might have needed a response from the Church at the time the abuse was discovered, a response greater than a request that they keep quiet about it.

Then there is the way-out-of-proportion dumping on the Church over practices that, in their day, were normative for almost every area of society. I have a problem with the modern media which seems to make no distinction between a man who abused pre-pubescent children and an adult abuse with other adults, or even older teens. There seems to be no recognition that the best psychology of the day until very recently believed that abusers, no matter who they abused, could be healed. There also did not seem to be any understanding that, up until very recently, the children would be permanently injured in their ability to relate to others throughout the rest of their lives.

Of course there is also the deep pockets theory concerning lawsuits. If one cannot get anything, legal or civil, from the perpetrator of a crime, punish all those individuals or institutions who, according to our understanding now, should have known better and had some relationship of superior or employer to the perpetrator, even after fifty or more years. Lawyers who sue for great profit disgust me. I do not blame the individuals who were hurt. They could very well have simply asked for help in dealing with the past, and have had justice and mercy on their side. Lawyers turn it into a feeding frenzy, like sharks in bloody water.

The greatest evidence of this all being just another way of discrediting the Catholic Church was the lifting of the statute of limitations for such crimes (in California), JUST FOR CATHOLIC CLERGY. All others remained protected by a statutory limit created in realization that there is very little that can be proved for or against a crime after many years have gone by. It is even harder to get at the truth when the people involved have died. Yet some self-serving lawyers smelled a good deal wherein they gained enormous return for themselves and did very little to actually help the victims.

The present and continuing legal attacks and public smear tactics are an injustice meted against a Church that did indeed need to become aware of a major problem. But that same Church has changed dramatically and is probably much safer in head and members today than many other groups who continue to deal with children and vulnerable adults. The public outcry was a needed moment in history, not just for the Church, but for those other groups, large and small, who have similar if not worse problems in their recent past. Unfortunately for the Church, She is seen as a rich source of cash and as a monolithic unity that is easy picking for any lawyer willing to stretch the truth and smear the good name of many who have had no part in the abuse of a tiny portion of its members.

I hope and pray that true justice will be done, that victims be healed, and those incapable of being healed of their evil ways may be restrained for the rest of their lives. I also pray for that mutual forgiveness that is the root of our understanding of Christ's message of love.

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespasses against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The little things count

There are many things that seem important in building a layout. For me it seems the complexity of the rail arrangement helps keep it interesting. This included the way the track is placed on the layout, but also what kind of track ... recently I have been toying with the idea of ripping out some of the code 100 track and replacing it with code 83 or even code 70 rail.
This would give a nice visual distinction between main line, siding and yard tracks. As I am just in the beginnings of putting stuff together this is still a relatively easy option to consider. I must admit that if I had not received a wonderful gift in a Dremel tool I would be less likely to think of such things. With the cutting wheel of that tool I can easily fit in replacement rail that leaves little or no gaps.
Some have asked when I might be getting to this project. As things have started to take an upturn in my life, I can imagine being ready to tackle it withing a few weeks. Now if I could just get all this pesky ordinary life to open great gaps of time, I think I would be even more eager to begin. Life goes on.
I should be getting new pictures in about a month ... that will be when anything I do might actually begin to show. Meanwhile, happy Advent! May all your rails be smooth and your engineer lead you down the right track.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

A mountain starts to grow

Dear Readers,

I have not been very busy on my layout for some time, but over the last two days I began the process of building the mountain I had evisioned when I first began to build. It is a simple mountain. It is made of plaster cloth that was laid over crumples newspaper, then the newspaper was removed so that the tracks would be clear again. It seems quite sturdy. I will be adding foliage and "rock outcropping" as time and energy permit. I thank Deacon Len for the awesome rocks that will be a part of this mountain.

You may also notice, in this short video, that I have two engines running in opposite directions. This is not by accident. As I have been playing with DCC, these two engines are very simple versions of DCC equiped engines and they serve my purpose for now.

I had hoped to do more with DCC, but find that some of the equipment is a bit pricier than I want to spend on what should be a simple fun hobby. Meanwhile, the mountain needs a lot of detailing ... that should keep me busy for a while.

Until the next time .... Blessings on this feast of St. Benedict ...