Sunday, December 27, 2020

Getting Back At It

At the start of the Ohio "Stay at Home" orders back in March things looked promising for work on the layout. My workplace had furloughed nearly everybody for a few months and I had a lot of time on my hands. Things were looking good for layout progress!

Then one of the quirks of the pandemic stopped my primary plan to build a staging loop, all the hobby shops I frequent online were all out of turnouts! I had planned on buying Atlas turnouts because my Fast Track tools only take Micro Engineering rail and I already had a large stash of Atlas c83 flextrack for my staging yards. Apparently I wasn't the only one with the same idea of getting extra train work in during this time!  I pushed ahead and built the loop benchwork but by the end of April the weather had warmed enough to begin some outdoor projects. 

Then in early May, Abby, our rescue Greyhound finally reached a point where she had to be put to sleep due to cancer impacting her ability to walk and function. After 11 years on earth she can run all the races she wants on the other side of the rainbow bridge.

Abby "Coupon Lady" the Greyhound

Not much later in May my Dad passed away. He lived a good "second" life for 16 years after a major stroke nearly killed him in 2004 but time catches up with all of us in the end. Below is a classic family portrait of three generations of the Ellis men taken back in 2008 which I'm sure he'd get a laugh out of seeing that photo again.

Three generations of Ellis men, the future is in good hands with the youngest?

It's safe to say I lost any desire to work on the layout for a long while, which I hope explains my absence from the blog. I know I'm not alone in saying 2020 has been a difficult journey for many of us.

This is not to say there weren't any bright spots this year. In the summer we added two new members to the family. We adopted a bonded brother/sister pair of kittens from a local rescue group. They were in bad shape when they were discovered on the side of a road in the spring, but the rescue group did wonders saving them. The orange kitten ended up losing an eye but as you can see they both recovered and are loved in our home. Now named Magnolia (grey) and Mo (orange),  it is my hope they are also kind and loving to my train layout! So far only Mo has taken to exploring the layout and unfortunately since he's missing an eye he does occasionally blunder into things.

New kittens Magnolia and Mo

Recently Brendan has been slowly prodding me to get back to work for which I thank him greatly. The hobby shops must've restocked over the summer as I was able to place an order for what I needed. I recently received all of what I needed to lay track in the staging loop which will represent Mingo and Terminal Junctions. I also decided to order Micro Engineering c70 turnouts for all of the Pine Valley engine terminal. 

Pile of turnouts for Pine Valley and the staging yard loop.

Why purchase c70 #6 turnouts when I can build my own with Fast Tracks tools? Don't get me wrong I enjoy building turnouts and for the most part they are good performers. But right now it just comes down to getting stuff done and enjoying some progress after a long hiatus.

One project we've resumed is painting all that pink foam. It's amazing how a simple coat of black or brown makes an area seem a bit more real and less like a pink Candyland.

Brendan painting the Pine Valley engine terminal a greyish black.

Stay tuned for more!