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Carolina, Chicopee & Central Illinois Railway

A cup of tea please, with dirt on the side!

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I cannot take credit for this scenery tip,as others have done this before me. Just wanted to share with my readers.

I was inspired by scenery techniques but various contributors at to use tea leaves and natural dirt material for ground cover. Tea leaves, you ask? Yessir, tea leaves! I found Lipton loose tea leaves for $4.18 for a 1/2 pound box at my local grocer., so I bought two boxes. We will come back to the tea leaves later..

For the natural earth material I simple went to my recently tilled flower bed and scooped up some material in a bucket. This material was already very dry, so moisture was not an issue. Crush clumps of material in an old bowl using something round, like the handle of a screw driver, or if you have an old mortar and pestle, that will work too.

Small (hand-fulls) scoops of material were screened over a hand made sieve. I made my sieve out of a frame of scrap wood and attaching (in my case, stapling) old metal window screen to the bottom of the scrap wood frame. The window screen was equivalent of an AASHTO #16 Sieve, which is a pretty fine sieve. (16 holes per linear inch, 256 per s.i.)

The resulting material passing through the sieve was a fine earth material perfect for steep embankments and woodland ground cover, which I am showing you here.

Back to the tea leaves. Crush the tea leaves in a bowl in the same was as you also broke down dirt clumps during the sieving process. the tea leaves and dirt material can be mixed together in a separate bowl in increments as needed and spread out over a scenery glue medium.

The results turn out really well, I hope this helps folks out there in search of cheap fall/winter scenery.

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