It's always amazed me how adding the first round of natural growth, trees, shrubs and the like, completely transforms a scene. Although in my mind the scene is far from complete, I did manage to find a few minutes in the basement yesterday to add some trees and undergrowth to the section between the St. J crossing and what will be the river crossing - an area I've been calling the "Streeters Store scene."
There's nothing particularly spectacular or noteworthy about the scenery - I used my typical scenery techniques (you can find a relatively complete description of these techniques in the December 2021 issue of Model Railroad Hobbyist magazine). Amazingly I still haven't used up all the trees my parents carefully salvaged from my previous layout - but we're starting to get to the bottom of the barrel so I did prep some more Super Tree armatures earlier this week.
One note - I used ready mix joint compound for the road. It was easy enough to apply (I did pre-color it with some Bragdon light gray powder) but found the water and thinned white glue soaked into the road and left visible and unrealistic water stains on the road surface. I also found the the joint compound didn't dry rock hard - making it far too easy to gouge it with fingernails or tools.
I solved both of these issues by adding a thin coat of Ceramic Stucco art compound, which has the added advantage of creating just the slightest texture to the road surface. I still need to do the final chalk weathering and add traffic streaks to the road. The grade crossing is built up from stripwood. The jury is still out on whether to add a working crossing flasher here or not.
I added an old Campbell water tank kit alongside the mainline just short of the crossing. I have a small MofW shed to add alongside the water tank - and perhaps a small pumphouse.
In looking over the blog for the past year I realized I've been messing around with this store kit since this time last year - I'm really looking forward to moving on from this scene!