Tiny trees, trains, animals among adornments of Taneytown home NORTHWEST -- Taneytown * Union Bridge * New Windsor * Uniontown



Taneytown residents Wesley and Audrey Hoy have built themselves a backyard wonderland.

Tiny flowers, trees and plants escort visitors up the winding driveway, past the stone house on the right. A wrought iron sculpture of a rabbit that is trying to train a bush to take its shape greets you at the driveway turn.

Behind the rabbit topiary, up a small incline, sits every child's fantasy yard. But it took an adult to make it a reality.

A G-gauge prototype of the White Pass, an Anchorage, Alaska, ore-transport locomotive, circles an oval fish pond filled with fancy goldfish. The fish hide beneath lily pads dotted with pink and white hyacinths.

The train follows one of two routes: a low route, which passes through a tunnel below pond level, or a highland route, which rests on a handmade trestle bridge. The bridge crosses over &&TC rock-lined river that begins at the fish pond with an exterior waterfall. A pump at the bottom of the river's decline recycles the water back to its source.

The miniature flowers, trees and plants now have purpose. They are in scale with the train, making the scene more realistic.

The 330-foot Back Achers Railroad is operational, but is not completed. It is a continuing project that the Hoys began last fall when they dug the pond. Everything else has been created since April.

Now that the river is functioning, Mr. Hoy will increase the railway length to 600 feet and wind the track around and over the river.

He hopes to dot the railway with small towns that he will build by hand and Mrs. Hoy will paint for detail. A church and a water tower already add character.

The Hoys have proved themselves to be an artistic duo. Since January 1990, Mr. Hoy has been carving animal figures out of wood. Miniature replicas of deer and life-sized replicas of various fish, a cat that has caught a fish in its mouth, a deer, a lion and

various carousel animals demonstrate his diversity and creativity.

There is nothing special about his tools, he said. "I use anything from a chain saw to a little fine grinder, whatever works for me."

A carousel giraffe stands in his living room and a gray stallion stands in the den, stretching from floor to ceiling with its front legs raised. Mrs. Hoy has painted the figures, adding the finishing touches to give the animals a touch of realism.

Mr. Hoy has made the carved figures for relatives and for his own pleasure. He declines to sell his creations, although he has had many offers to do so.

He also declines to sell his glass sculptures from the hobby he has performed the longest, about 20 years. When he purchased a kit from a catalog to put together for his wife and felt he could do better, he began with stained glass and made lamps. He found that using foil and solder worked well for him to keep the glass pieces together instead of using lead. This Tiffany foil system was first used by Louis Comfort Tiffany, who in the late 1800s created his own kind of iridescent glass called Favrile and made limited-edition glass lamp shades. Louis Comfort Tiffany was the son of Charles Lewis Tiffany, who founded Tiffany's of New York.

After soldering the foil to the glass to hold the pieces together, Mr. Hoy rubs patina along the foil seams to give it an antique look.

His biggest undertaking was a 24-inch replica of a Tiffany dragonfly lamp shade made of almost 800 pieces that he cut and made by hand.

He liked working with the glass sculptures so much that he wanted to try carving patterns into glass as well, so he bought a sand-blaster, built a cabinet for it himself and put them in the backyard.

He originally used sand to blast the image, but found that the finer grains of aluminum oxide better suited his purposes. He has since updated his equipment to an incubator-looking containment machine.

Mr. Hoy designs a pattern and places it on the glass. Then he blasts the aluminum oxide into the seams of the pattern to cut the design. Since he has to cut from the back of the glass, he must remember that the piece closest to view when the glass is turned over must be carved first.

To create the effect, he only cuts one section at a time. He takes a piece of the pattern away after he has cut it out. When the glass is turned around, the layered pattern gives the design a three-dimensional effect.

Mr. Hoy is retired from Lehigh Portland Cement Co., where he worked for 35 years as a maintenance supervisor. He loves to work with his hands and solve problems. He has never taken a class to learn his crafts, but credits books and training videos with his success.

With Mrs. Hoy's creativity and artistic savvy, their home has become a showcase of talent.

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