Friday, February 19, 2010

Cheux cheux part deux

For you non French speakers, that's Choo Choo part Two.
As you can see from the photo below, N scale is tiny (that is a quarter inside the rail on the locomotive) but not as tiny as Z scale. Obviously, I picked up an engine (loco for you model train enthusiasts) and a couple of pieces of rolling stock (train cars for you non model train enthusiasts).
My two new pieces of "rolling stock", a 75 ton coal hauler and a caboose. Both fall within the era of the middle 1950's or earlier which is the era that I have chosen for my layout.
I also picked up some pier supports for my bridges. Yep, that's a switch under the bridge. Not real convenient to get at but it works for the layout. It is a combo manual/electric switch and can be controlled by a remote switch controller box.
Duh, switch controller boxes as you might expect. There are eight of them shown here because I have eight switches in my layout. The blue thing in the middle is the activator switch/button. It is a switch that can be pushed left or right (corresponding to the switch direction) and a button because to activate the switch, you must push down on the blue switch like a button to activate it, but only for 1 second.
This photo hopefully will give you a little perspective and a little scale. That is a standard screwdriver lying on the table between the two little cars. The power/speed controller is to the right of them just going out of the photo.
That is where I am at present on my new found enjoyable hobby. Getting ready to do some elevation supports where you see cardboard etc. Hoping to make gradual elevation changes and then to start doing some landscaping and making scale buildings.
Stay tuned for continued progress! I am getting excited about the whole thing. I actually can run the little train around the layout and work the switches and put cars on the sidings etc. Soon, I will be getting the bumpers for the ends of the sidings and picking up more "rolling stock".
Have a little fun when you can and if you don't have one, start a new hobby today!

Friday, February 12, 2010

All Aboard?

When I moved to NW Pa. this is what the area around my house looked like.
And below is what it looks like now.
I really am trying NOT to complain, but after all, I am a Florida boy. Seems like it has snowed everyday since Thanksgiving. Here it is the 12th of February and it is snowing still.
One could get cabin fever. I think that is why hobbies were invented. However, whittling duck figurines or tying dry fishing lures are not for me. No offense to those who find the whittling and tying fascinating and rewarding. Just not my cup of tea that's all.Notice that the deer are almost up to their bellies in snow.
All aboard! Got off of my behind and started doing what I was talking about. Model Railroading 101. Thought that I knew something about model trains etc. Wow was I on the short end of the information on that subject. Since I last touched a model train (of any kind-except the one that ran under the Christmas Tree this last Christmas, O gauge with 3 rails) preferably HO scale (at least that is what I was thinking, how dumb!) the industry, the hobby, and the technology has changed dramatically! And did I mention that it has changed a lot too?
Well, after getting over the shock of it all, I actually started making inquiries at a place called "@ The Bank" where it turns out is the location of Tom's Train Terminal. Cute huh? So I got hooked again but this time on N scale trains. There are many different scales. The 3 most common are: O , HO and N. I chose N scale over HO, mainly because I can't locate my HO set. I know I packed it back in the mid 90's for one of 6 subsequent household moves. It disappeared somewhere in the middle of all those moves.
The great thing about N scale is that you can have a fairly impressive layout in a small (relatively speaking of course) area. I happen to have an "office" which I have claimed for myself [thanks Jude! =8-) ]Above, token photos of my present layout in progress. It is about 38 inches deep and 74 inches long. It has 8 switches, 3 re-railers, and two bridge sections and lots of track! ( the cardboard pieces under the track just before the bridge will be replaced with a hill and landscaping.)
So, to sum it up, O scale cars are about a foot long, HO cars are about 6 inches long, and N cars are about 3 inches long. That means you can get the same type of layout in N scale in about 1/4th the area as O scale.
More later.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

A New Day Dawns, and another and ...

For those of you (two, or maybe even three or four) that keep trying to find new stuff here on the old blog, I present the following musings, writings and opinions.
Many things have transpired in the past 8 or 9 months of my life (if you did not know) that I thought that it is about time that I updated some. If you don't already follow Jude's blog at ( then perhaps this is a good time to mention it again. She is the blog maven in this house, not I. However, I suppose that you are here to hear from me not Jude.
In order to put things in perspective, Jude and I have moved (yes, lock, stock and barrel) from the high semi arrid foothills of the continental divide (Rocky Mountains-Manzano Mountain group East slope) to the extreme NW "chimney" of Pennsylvania just South of Lake Erie to a city named Cambridge Springs. George Washington actually traveled through this part of the state before during and after the revolutionary war period.
After getting used to being homeless for a period of about 4 months, Jude and I found our home. It is a 3 story house fully finished with a 2 1/2 car detached garaged situated in the woods on 6.5 acres of beautiful rolling land with a creek running through it. The property is about 7.5 miles from downtown Cambridge Springs, Pa. and about 16 miles from Judes' mothers house.
Thank goodness the deer let us live here. We bribe them with dried corn and fresh vegetable leavings. It seems to work for everyone involved. The deer family (5 of them) seem to be fairly happy with the arrangement and every once in a while let us look at them close up. They are a skittish lot though. It's okay though, we live within their territory and abide by their rules.
I am developing a love/hate relationship with snow. We were the recipients of 46 inches or so of the lovely white in about a week. Snowed just before Christmas and then many days following.
I was lucky enough to have to travel the 30 odd miles to the Erie airport in a full blown snow storm/blizzard at 4:30 a.m. and then back home. There was at least 10 inches of snow on Interstate 79 and the snowplows had not been out yet. Near white out conditions confronted this Florida born driver and I almost drove completely off the Interstate two times following tire tracks onto the exit ramps. Luckily I realized what was happening before we got completely off and was able to steer back onto the Interstate without mishap. I was never so happy to get back home in my life. Even our 365 foot curving uphill driveway didn't present much of a challenge.

Stan (our 4 wheel drive van) motored right through it all with grace and assurance. Way to go Stan!
Photo of our dependable 4 wheeled steed.

I must say that a trip from St. Petersburg, Fl. to the airport in Tampa, Fl. and back, does not even come close in comparison. (Perhaps during a hurricane the tension may be there, but then, why in the world would you be going to the airport during a hurricane?)

Some of the remnants of the fluffy white stuff on the parking pad in front of the garage.
So far, not really a bad time even though the long time local residents say that this was the worst single snowfall event in memory (50 years according to the National Weather Bureau) and that it is highly unusual. Just what we needed for our first North West Pennsylvania winter.

Well, so much for the update portion. There are of course many other things that have happened but are not to be noted at present. Perhaps in future postings.
Should be a token poem inserted here. Mabye even a modern American Haiku.

invoking pictures of trees
log cabin warm hearth

Thanks for tuning in. Have a little fun when you can.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Holey Macaroni!!

Holey Macaroni pastaman, Roy is writing something on his blog!! What has the world come to? Well, to tell the truth, I have been rather lazy, no really! I haven't been feeling like typing out words and editing them and posting them. I suppose that I have been rather selfish Dan. I therefore apologize to the thousands of people, wait, make that hundreds of people who read, no, no. Make that tens of people who read my, wait, wait, make that you few folks who hang on no matter what and read my blog, such as it is. We together can change the world and make it, wait, here I go again thinking globally and acting locally. Do you suppose that that is a formula for some kind of change? Hmmm, could be perhaps. Maybe I should copyright that, it might catch on and be used by all kinds of people, why, maybe even national leaders. Who knows, the sky is the limit!! That's not bad either. Kinda catchy if you get my drift Conus. Probably time for a token photograph now.

For those of you that don't recognize the above photograph, it is the North end of a Northbound horse, cropped and badly I might add. Photo by R.Kirby (cellphone) from the window of his car as the drivers side mirror was about to become a horse pacifier. For any that are interested still, the horse is named Chris. Don't ask me where it came from, but that is his name. Trust me. There is more livestock on parts of the road that I travel to get into Mountainair, or Wal-mart or wherever I go that is not at my house. (another token photo is inserted here)

Yes, this is a bull (boy cow for those who are not zoologically up to speed). No bull!! He really is on the road. Not behind a fence, just free range. Well, mostly free range. His owner likes to keep him and his kin within the fenced boundry for the ranch, hence we have a gate and a cattle guard. Luckily, Jude only has to get out to open the gate and has to do nothing to the cattle guard. If you don't know what a cattle guard is, then how long have you been here in New Mexico anyway? Google it. You will get pictures and everything. What wonderful things Wikipedia and Google are.

Well, tomorrow is Mothers day and I hope you tell your Mother how much you love and appreciate the effort she went through to bring you into the world.
Now the obligatory poem from yours truly.

To Mothers with LOVE

Mothers run the world you know, they really do.
Seems that there is nothing that Mothers wont do for me or you.
They do without so that we may have nice things.
Why they even teach us songs to sing that gives our hearts wings.
And the only thing that they wish in return for their unconditional love,
is an occasional "Thanks Mom, I love you." given with a hug.

Happy Mothers Day. Thanks Mom, I love you. ((((((((hugs))))))))
Thanks for tuning in. Have a little fun when you can.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The sun is shining, cough, sneeze, wheeze...

Tis that time of the year, sniff, when the juniper (junipers?) is (are?) in bloom. That also means that the air takes on that mystical quality of fog as certain gusts of wind drive the clouds of pollen from the libidinous juniper bushes (trees?) that festoon the hillsides, lowlands and just about every nook and cranny in this part of New Mexico.

The juniper encrusted view from my bedroom window.
(Yes, that's snow from last snow event.)

Unfortunately, I am one off those individuals who suffer from pollenosis (among other allergies) and manifest this immune system disorder in a variety of ways, usually all at the same time. Let me take this opportunity to say "Thanks Mom and Dad!" Yes, tis the season of sniffing, snarfing, coughing, wheezing and wiping of the eyes. The sniffing and snarfing part drives Jude to distraction. It makes me rue the day of my birth, for I am the one that brings this wonderful gift of full blown mucous distress into her otherwise calm existence. Oh, and one other note that I must add here is that my affliction (or maybe I am an affliction upon others) brings mood and character altering aspects to an otherwise calm Roy. Not the most pleasant aspect of my personality it seems. I get rather stupid and unreasonable all of a sudden. I just simply cannot understand that but Jude insists that it is indeed true.

Here I am at a much calmer place, but notice if you will,
that the Juniper are still lurking in the background, just waiting to attack!

Even with all of the physically challenging endocrine system malfunction (well, actually it is functioning just the way nature intended for it to.) life seems to be going along breezingly well. Yesterday was a Raku firing day at Tomas Wolf's house and including Luna (Tomas' greeting committee of one) there were eight of us (Nick and Pete were busy in the back putting up a portal and were therefore not included in my count of 8) wandering about oohing and aahing and trying to duck and avoid the plumes of smoke from the "kilns" set up around the main kiln and the driveway. All in all, there were about 6 different "kiln" devices in operation which seem to put out various amounts of smoke and heat.
The day was warm with a breeze blowing carrying most of the smoke away. Lots of comraderie and banter accompanied the whole process. Tomas very patiently answered all questions and explained each step in the process from the preparations to the completion. Some beautiful pieces were turned out as a result. Actually, all pieces turned out beautiful! If you are interested in seeing photos of pieces as well as Jude's newest creation, tune into

From the humble, the divine.

Clay dug from the earth
lovingly arranged in sublime forms
allowed to dry.
Painted designs of colored earth transforms
monochromatic soil,
the heat of the kiln performs.
Humble elements from earth emerge divine!

Well that is about it for now. Thanks for tuning in. Have a little fun when you can.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Lost In Space

Since my last post, it seems that I have been lost in space. Valentines Day was the 14th of Feb. and here it is the 28th. Exactly 2 weeks and no post! Good grief, where does the time go? You may suppose that I have been having fun because you know time flies when you are having fun.
If that is what you were thinking, you would be right! A lot has happened since the 14th. I wont bore you with all of the details, but just enough of them so you understand what has been happening.
Shortly after Valentines Day, Jude and I went for a late Valentines getaway. Jude found this bed a breakfast place called the Cottonwood Inns up in Taos, NM. We got a little different perspective on the Rio Grande River going this way. The Rio Grande that we are used to seeing is a sluggish brown meandering shallow ditch as it flows through Belen and Albuquerque. But on our trip we found a different river.

Yes Virgina, that is actually white water suitable for rafting.

The Cottonwood Inn is about half way between Taos and Arroyo Seco. It is owned and operated by a really sweet couple named Brantley and Shantal. Shantal keeps chickens in a nice large enclosure. I think she has a special relationship with them that folks without chickens might find a little unusual. She lets them out to wander the parking area and side yard of the Inn every morning and talks to them. They furnish fresh eggs for all of the cullinary delights for the Cottonwood guests. Shantal loves to bake and she makes the best fruit scones I have ever tasted.
Jude and I stayed in the Territorial room which is on the second floor and takes up most of the upstairs space of the main house. It is quite beautiful as you can see.

View from the bedroom area.

Also there is a killer hot tub IN the room.

Hot tub

Down pillows
and down comforter just add to the luxurious feeling. If you are thinking about a weekend getaway or a week on the slopes, this is worth looking into! There are also great little coffee houses and restaurants in the area to take care of most varied appetites. And the shops!! The Taos ski area, Arroyo Seco, Taos, and surrounding villages are rife with specialty shops. Small little quaint buildings that have been refurbished and restored into great little spaces that fill up the senses and delight the eyes. From potters studios and galleries, to hand made clothing and artworks to general merchandise and antiques.
If you choose to go to the Taos area for any reason, make sure that Arroyo Seco is on your itenerary, you will not be dissapointed. The Taos cow coffee house and Firenza Gallery are just two of the stops you must make.

Standing across from the Taos Cow coffee house, looking both ways down the main drag.

Walk the entire main street of the village, visit the church, talk to the residents, have lunch. It is a great place to relax and see some special things. Take lots of photos as you will want to look at them time and again. If it sounds like I am writing a travel brochure for the Arroyo Seco chamber of commerce then you get the idea that it impressed me. (For those of you who are a little Spanish challenged, Arroyo Seco means "Dry Ditch"). Just go and see for yourself.
One of the great things that happened while we were there was the placement of Judes creations in the Firenza Gallery.

Inside the Firenza Gallery

They loved her wallets, clutches, and tote bags and wanted to carry them in their gallery. Judes wallets, clutches and tote bags on the front counter by the door.

Jude agreed and when they asked if she did anything else, she pulled out a painted and altered denim vest for them to look at and they fell in love with it and wanted to carry them in their gallery too!
Well, that is just a little of what has been going on. That along with working on the house, doing some finish work that never seems to get done, has been taking up my time.
I hope the last couple of weeks have been kind to you as well.
Thanks for tuning in. Have a little fun when you can.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

On the occasion of Valentines Day

Today, being the day of love according to the calender, is dedicated to all the ladies in my life present and past. So here are a few poems that I have written to you. I confess that perhaps one or two of you have never known that they were written for you. I hope you forgive my silence, but know that fear of criticism kept them hidden. For those following my blog, I love you and hope that you find these pieces either inspiring or topical.

When I'm Alone

Sometimes at night when all alone
I sit and ponder the things that mean so much,
Children, you, and home.
Then to my heart I clutch
Memories, childhood, people I've known,
and lessons that have shown
to me so much
of good things that I can touch
when I'm all alone.
(April, 1980)

It Fills My Soul

Love doesn't think twice,
It just reaches out and whispers across the distance
and can come all at once.
That beautiful flood that fills your soul
that touches you in those innermost spots
where bazillions of starts explode
in that exquisite passionate place
where the universe begins,
where the "me" exists and no one has tread
like some night blooming jasmine
unseen by light
brought on by the night, exploding like a living fireworks display
to fill that dark place within with light
and imbue desire where there was only the lonely,
calling the primal there
waking the animal
beginning a hunger that can only be filled by one.
(June, 1996)

Those Words
I love you. It comes out without thinking, sometimes in a whisper. It comes out so easy, but sometimes, hard. We think that if we don't say it often enough that it will not be true or the other person will think that we have stopped loving them for a time. It reinforces what is already there, making it real. Once in a while, there is a panic thought that if we don't say it, it really isn't true. Hoping that those words will make something that isn't become something that is, forcing the issue. I love you, those words like the rain, falling so gently like raindrops upon the lips, but like the rain, sometimes becoming like a flood, large heavy drops almost bruising, rising in passion until the fervor is quenched, lessening until once again falling like gentle raindrops. Those words,
easy, real, unreal, meaning nothing, meaning everything, saying one thing, meaning so many things.
Words that are feeling, not merely just an expression of a fleeting moment, but an expression of a lifestyle, an inner being. I love you, sometimes said in hopes that it will make the other one understand our heart,
as if they do not
already know.
Said to allay the fear inside that maybe the other one does not feel the same way
and that if we say those words often enough, they will start to feel that way. The easiest words to say, yet impossible for some to say. I love you, said alone suffices and that is all there is that needs to be said. Sometimes it is just inserted, usually at the end of things said, or interjected, almost as an afterthought, as if it can cover the weak parts. It says that sometimes I may hurt you or disappoint you or say something that you may misunderstand but I hope that you remember that I love you no matter what and that I hope that you love me too. If we could read minds we would never need, those words, I love you.

(December, 1996)

In order to disclaim responsibility that anyone else might think that they have incurred, I am the sole person to blame for the content of any poems you might find on this blog site (unless I pass the blame on to the author of anything else I might post here) but all of the poems that appear on this site are my own unless indicated as I give credit where credit is due.

Thanks for tuning in. Have a little fun when you can. Happy Valentines Day to you.