New Sparky Chronicle Logo, Said to Impart More of a Masculine Look Photo of Sparky with a Frosty Fizz Cola and Crunchy Critters Candy Bar A Website Chronicling the Day to Day Struggles of a Stuffed Animal Who Believes He's Alive!


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How I Type This Website

by Sparky

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.

This is me typing on the keyboard

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

This is where I rest after typing a page

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.
Dumb Sign of the Day
"Caution!  Dry Paint" Sign
Of course, with that sign comes the difficult decision of whether or not to test the paint to see if it's really dry.
Types of Naps Us Guys Take
Click To Download
There 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 cats.

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 back yard.

Notice that 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.

A "Bat nap" requires you to hang upside down in a cave.  None of us guys ever take that kind of a nap.

A "Bear 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.

An "Elephant 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.


Sparky's Back Yard
Page 9
by Sparky

The Split Rock City Railroad

Featuring Construction and Operational Information About the Railroad
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 when hAll the tools Jim needs to lay train trackse 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 This is a "Sparky-Do" that lights the torch firecall 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, too.  

Overview of the Yard So FarOverview of the track laying as of September 1, 2003

September 1, 2003, The 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.

Vacation Delays Construction for 3 Weeks

Beginning 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."

September 26, 2003.  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.Weed gathering machine that collects seeds for Johnny Weedseed

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.

Train Tracks Completed October 1, 2003!

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 together.

Happy 16th Birthday to SparkyThe only birthday cake Sparky got for his birthday

Sparky's 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.

The next morning The new Bulldozer was immediately put to work filling the wPicture showing Sparky's birthday partey where he got a brand new Powerful Bulldozerheelbarrow 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 & Gloria

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 wheelbarrow.

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 placTrack retainer made from plastic deck boarde 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 table saw.

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.

Sparky's Backyard Photo Album
Shot of the entire back yard from neighbor's deck
1. View of yard from next door
Back yard view from west side
2. View of yard from west side
Photo of Bulldozer cleaning the track
3. Bulldozer cleaning track
Track cleaning locomotive
4. Track cleaning locomotive
Bulldozer pushing crusher fines into wheelbarrow
5. Bulldozer filling wheelbarrow
Bulldozer leveling pile in wheelbarrow
6. Bulldozer leveling pile
Steam shovel finishing cleaning out corners in trailer
7. Steam Shovel helping out
Bulldozer done leveling pile in wheelbarrow
8. Bulldozer done leveling pile
Track crossing sidewalk
9. Track crossing sidewalk
Bulldozer leveling ground for town buildings
10. Bulldozer leveling ground
Bulldozer cleaning extra dirty track
11. Sparky cleaning track
Last solder joint ceremony
12. Last solder joint ceremony
NOTE:  That's about it fer this page! Check back in about a week to see more progress in the yard. ---Sparky
Different Kinds of Electric Trains
Big Boy Locomotive, the heaviest and most powerful steam locomotive ever built.  This one is on display at Steamtown.
Those 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.

A well-to-do-railfan 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!!

Sparky's Favorite Invention of the Day:
Apple cutter that cuts up apples with one stroke
Today's 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.



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