Monday 3 September 2012

Harvest Time - Apple Orchard

The tail end of a Central Vermont Ry. freight passes an apple orchard on the White River Division. The apples are ready for picking and a local farmer is hard at work making sure none are wasted. This scene is located very near to the Northfield Falls, Vt. covered bridge.

Harvest Time 
Creating a fall agricultural scenic effect
the apples are ready for picking

Well as we are now into September and the apples are ready earlier than usual this year lets look at harvests that are taking place on the White River Division. This short article I wrote back in 2009 with the thought of it being used in some sort of publication. Instead I have decided to add it to my blog. Here we have  the first of two posts covering Harvest Time.

On the White River Division the towns are small and the countryside is large. My original design thoughts included adding as many farm scenes as possible. I have two farm scenes that regularly get a lot of attention and questions by visitors.  The first is my apple orchard, a typical scene I have seen while travelling through Vermont during my fall visits.

Modelling an apple orchard is a very simple project thanks to the products available from Woodland Secnics. My apple orchard is located at Northfield Falls, Vermont. At this location a farm scene exists including a scratch built barn and a farmhouse kit (Sylvan Scale Models) providing a perfect location for the apple orchard out back. The actual area I used for the orchard is 10 by 12 inches. I decided on 5 trees to be placed at the rear of the farmhouse and along the ROW. This sort of scene adds greatly to the visual effect of trains passing in the foreground.

The apple pickers have their hands full if they want to get the crop picked before they all land on the ground. Two tall ladder help with their job.
The orchard's base is a layer of ground goop covered with fine green ground foam. To make the trees I begin with the trunks which are small garden shrub branches that I trimmed to shape. The trunk is covered with sheet foliage (Woodland Scenics medium green F52) which I pull over the trunk till it looks like a tree. I made mine as round and full as possible and also brought the foliage close to the ground. Once all five trees are done I sprayed a light coat of Floquil green (or you could use Dulcote) and immediately sprinkle the apples on as one rotates the trees. The wet paint holds the apples on. I had to be careful spraying the trees...too much spray can discolour the apples being applied. For the apples I use Woodland Scenics fruits and flowers package T47. There are plenty of apples in each package leaving me more for future trees and to sprinkle around the base of the trees emulating fallen apples. These fallen apples are held down with a light spray of diluted glue. I also added a few crates of loaded apples made by Juneco suggesting harvest is well on the way. Tall ladders are also set near the trees.
If you look closely you can find  a full skid of apple crates ready for shipment plus a few part full crates scattered around the orchard.
To speed up the process one can purchase ready built apple trees and just plant them in an orchard setting. I believe Woodland Scenics now make some.

It has been a number of years since I finished the orchard and the trees still look good. I know over time the foliage will begin to dull. I plan on solving this problem by just re-spraying the trees with a light coat of green paint and apply more apples. The apples that would be painted would just blend in and would be apples still not totally ripe.

If you are interested in seeing a S scale apple orchard take a look at a recent post by Trevor Marshall, Back orchard planting on his Port Rowan in S scale blog...well I think it might be time to make an apple pie...George Dutka

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