I Type This Website
Many people have
asked how I am able to type in all the stuff on this website,
considering I'm a stuffed animal and don't have any fingers.
The picture above shows how I am
able to "Dance" on the keyboard to hit the various
keys. Of course, when I'm not posing for a picture I fact
the computer monitor screen so I can fix any typos when I land
on the wrong key
|After typing a page
I'm usually very tired, so I jest natcherally take a long nap to
rest up. Then I can save up enough energy to go upstairs
and get something to eat before my real nap.
Sign of the Day
course, with that sign comes the difficult decision of whether
or not to test the paint to see if it's really dry.
of Naps Us Guys Take
are lots of kinds of naps that us stuffed animal guys take
during a normal week. Most common are the before- and
after-meal naps that keep us from getting fatigued. These
often happen by accident while we're watching something on TV.
The worst name
for a nap is "Catnap." That name implies it has
something to do with a cat, and most of us don't especially like
Then the odd
thing is the word "Dognap," which is usually used in
reference to when a dog gets stolt out of somebuddy's car or
nobuddy ever "Catnaps" a cat, and if they do so by
accident, then they usually let it escape as soon as possible.
Then there is the
"Rat nap," which is a very short nap while waiting for
dessert after a large meal.
nap" requires you to hang upside down in a cave. None
of us guys ever take that kind of a nap.
nap" usually means that you take a nap through winter and
wake up in the spring, but that's too long of a nap for any of
us guys, cuz we would miss a lot of meals and TV.
nap" is the kind you take when you're all done with your
meals for the day, there's nothing good on TV and you're jest
waiting for breakfast.
Split Rock City Railroad
Construction and Operational Information About the
|August 31, 2003, We
finally got a good rain yesterday and last night, so Jim went
out this morning and laid a little bit of track, probably about
25 feet, but it was reel muddy, and the wheelbarrow full of
crusher fines used to ballast the tracks was like a big glob of
wet cement, so he came in early after deciding that there was no
reel hurry to finish the tracks.
I managed to take a picture of
all the paraphernalia it takes to make them tracks come out
right. On the left is the 2-foot-long level with a
3/4" wood block under one end. That establishes a 3%
grade when the level bubble is centered in the little
window. A lot of the tracks are 1%, some are 2%, but
in order to get around and back down enough to get under the
little bridges, 3% was needed in some places.
At the site of the solder joint
(I finally learned how to spell "Solder," but it sure
doesn't look right), he puts a couple of wet paper towels over
the tracks to keep the plastic tie strips from getting melted
turns on the torch. Then he puts on some liquid or gel
type acid flux to clean things and make the solder stick, then
by heating the rails and brass joiners, it gets hot pretty fast
and the solder flows inside the joint and comes out both ends if
he does it correctly.
He lights the torch with the
thing in the photo at right, that I call
a "Sparky-Do," cuz it makes some sparks when you
squeeze it together, and that lights the torch. That's a
lot easier than using matches. Then he puts a wet paper
towel to cool the track before the tie strips melt. The
new kind of solder doesn't have any lead, and it takes a lot
more heat to flow correctly, and those plastic tie strips don't
like that much heat.
He had some trubble finding some
old fashioned lead and tin solder, cuz the cops don't let you
use it on water pipes anymore cuz you could get poisoned if any
of the lead gets into the water, and then you would be
sorry. Anyhow, he found some at a place that sells Stained
Glass supplies, cuz nobuddy cares if you use lead solder on
stained glass, cuz if you eat any of it, that's your own tough
luck, and you'll probably get poisoned that way,
of the Yard So Far
picture at right shows the yard and how far the tracks have
progressed. You can see that the track is heading into
Fearsome Gorge, under the 4 little bridges. The ground is
still muddy from several rains lately, so work within the gorge
will be delayed until things dry out a little bit. The
track work to date is about 60% completed.
Delays Construction for 3 Weeks
September 6, 2003, we left on vacation to New York and the east
coast. See all the action by clicking on Sparky's
New York Trip. Then click on "Back" to
return here, or at the bottom of the New York Trip, Page 9,
click on "Return to Sparky's Back Yard."
Today is Johnny
Appleseed's birthday. He was born on this
day in 1774 in Massachusetts. For that reason, I'm going
to take it easy today and take several naps. He planted
millions of apple trees all over the Midwest. Click on his name
fer more information.
He had two
cousins. The first one was named Johnny Aspenseed, and he
planted millions of Aspen Trees all around Colorado.
His other cousin
was named Johnny Weedseed, and he is responsible fer all the
weeds we see all over the country. The picture at right
shows a weed-gathering machine during harvest.
Completed October 1, 2003!
The final solder
joint was completed today on about 360 feet of track.
The tracks were
then filled with crusher fines (Scrunched-up rock gravel) and
leveled. The track cleaner
locomotive was then run around the tracks 3 or 4 times to clean
oxidation and corrosion off the rails to ensure proper
elecktrickal elecktrishickal, contact to get power from the
tracks. Then a short train was run around the tracks for a
dozen times or so to check for problems. There was only a
couple of times that the locomotive went off the tracks in a
curve, so that will be corrected by checking for track problems
with the bends, which can result in the rails being too close
16th Birthday to Sparky
16th birthday passed by several weeks ago, without notice,
because we were on vacation, so when we got home, we
went and bought him a remote control Powerful Bulldozer
to help with his construction projects. The
picture at right is the only birthday cake he got.
morning The new Bulldozer was immediately put to work filling the
wheelbarrow with the
remaining crusher fines still in the trailer, then he
used it to smooth out the crusher fines placed around
the tracks, helped clean some heavy corrosion off of the
tracks by pushing a polishing pad around ahead of the
track cleaning locomotive, and leveled the area that
will be the location of the little town of
"Split Rock City." --Jim &
October 4, 2003.
The photos below show the latest updates on Sparky's back yard.
Photos #1 & #2 show to
opposite views of the back yard, taken September 5, 2003.
Some of the track has been completed.
Photo #3 ( October 4, 2003) shows
me with my New Powerful Bulldozer pushing a cleaning pad over
the newly completed tracks to clean off oxidation and corrosion
on some of the rails that had been salvaged from our previous
railroad in Broomfield.
Photo #4 shows the track cleaning
locomotive that Jim sends around several times to clean off
remaining oxidation. The rear wheels drive the machine
forward, and the front wheels run backward and have tires that
are like reel fine sandpaper, and they polish the rails to
assure better power transfer.
Photo #5 Shows me with my
Powerful Bulldozer pushing some of the last of the crusher fines
gravel into the wheelbarrow.
Photo #6 shows the Bulldozer
leveling the pile in the wheelbarrow.
Photo #7 shows how my Powerful
steam Shovel had to be brought in to get the last of the crusher
fines out of the corners of the trailer and into the
Photo #8 shows the Bulldozer
finished leveling the pile of crusher fines in the wheelbarrow.
Photo #9 shows the track crossing
the sidewalk. It is held in place
by 2 strips of special plastic deck boards so wheelbarrows or
wheel chairs can go over it without hurting the track. The
picture at right shows the profile of the strips, made on the
Photo #10 shows my Bulldozer
leveling the ground where some of the buildings for the little
city will be added.
Photo #11 shows me cleaning the
track from another angle.
Photo #12 shows the ceremony
celebrating the last solder joint in the track. Left to
right: Lil Benny, Dexter, Scooter, Peanut, Leroy, Big Joe,
Scruffy, Rusty, Hiram, Sniffy, Ty, Spinnaker, Antonio, and
that's me in the cool recliner chair.
Backyard Photo Album
1. View of yard from next door
2. View of yard from west side
3. Bulldozer cleaning track
4. Track cleaning locomotive
5. Bulldozer filling wheelbarrow
6. Bulldozer leveling pile
7. Steam Shovel helping out
8. Bulldozer done leveling pile
9. Track crossing sidewalk
10. Bulldozer leveling ground
11. Sparky cleaning track
12. Last solder joint ceremony
That's about it fer this page! Check back in about a week
to see more progress in the yard. ---Sparky
Kinds of Electric Trains
of you who are familiar with the popular HO size trains know the
price ranges of many locomotives and the rolling stock.
For about $100.00 you can get a pretty good locomotive or a
whole pile of rolling stock.
As the size goes
up, so does the price, but not necessarily proportional.
The trains we
will be running out in the back yard are known as "G
Scale," and that is normally referred as 22.5:1, or roughly
1/2" per foot.
A nice G Scale
starter kit can be purchased for around $150.00, including a
small locomotive, a few cars, a circle of track, and a power
pack. They have a Thomas the Tank Engine for about that
price range as well as numerous Christmas specials.
On the other
hand, if you prefer something more deluxe, a medium locomotive
can be had for around $500.00. If you want a Big Boy
Locomotive like the one shown in the picture above, head for
your bank to take out a loan. The current price is
hovering around $13,500.00. That price includes the
tender, of course. Shipping would be extra. And you
better hurry, cuz there are only so many of them being made.
For that price
you will receive a locomotive and tender that measure together
nearly 4 feet in length and weigh around 48 pounds. You'll
need a loop of track about 60 feet in diameter for that length
of locomotive, and I imagine it will pull more than 10
cars. Somebody reported pulling 40 cars with one.
owns several of them and runs them together to pull very long
trains. Put a few more dollars with that kind of
investment and you can own the real thing, but you'll need an
even bigger back yard!!
Favorite Invention of the Day:
favorite invention would have to be the apple cutter shown in
the picture above. You jest stick it on top of the apple
and push it straight down and, jest like magic, your apple is
all chopped up and ready to eat.
Of course, us
stuffed animals aren't strong enough to use it by ourselves, so
we get one of the old folks to cut up the apple for us.
You can get one
of them at the grocery store, and they also have one that cuts
up potatoes to make French Fries, but you have to use a potato
for that, cuz if you try to use an apple, I don't know what kind
of Fries you'll end up with.