Larry.s Creative Zone

Larry.s Creative Zone

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Tuesday's Things......


We are a half a block away from a farm field so we always have a yard rabbit.  I lost last years rabbit to a mishap with a car but one just seems to show up to take its place.  This rabbit thinks he is a lawn ornament as his standing still protection mode seemed to last forever.  I clicked a couple of shots and he didn't even flinch.  I assume we will have corn in our field again this year so the rabbits will have to travel over to the far fence row to have their baby rabbits.


I had an old garden thing going on in the orchard a few years back and these grape hyacinths were planted in a circle out in the grass.  I would like to move some of them later this week and get some established closer to the house.  I sometimes miss seeing these as they come and go so quickly.



This forsythia is going to be removed from its location.  It has never bloomed well. I am sure it has been in the spot over 30 years.  It will be replaced with a redtwig dogwood.  I have another forsythia elsewhere and I will probably leave it as a foliage shrub because it doesn't bloom either.  A block away on main street there are two of them that bloom with great gusto.  I don't have the touch to make it work on my property.



I am watching and waiting for the fernleafed peony to bloom.  I hope we get through our rainy season before it opens as the rains are hard on the blooms.



I discovered this peony out under the redtwig shrub.  It was buried under leaves and looks pretty sad.  I will move it after it blooms as the shrub is crowding it out and will eventually kill it.



I am hoping for blooms from these iris this year.  They have been in the ground two years and nothing happened but they look like viable plants this year.  I bet I will see blooms.  A school coworker brought bags of them to school when she cleared a garden area and I just threw them into a circle with the thought of moving them eventually.

I am back in the middle school today.  We had threatening thunder and lighting most of the night last night but it seemed to stay north and south of us.  I see we had a sprinkle judging the dust and rain spots on the car this morning.  We do need the rain as things seem dry still after all the  other rain that we did have.  Thanks for stopping by today.


Monday, April 29, 2013

Monday's Return........


One of the reasons that the pollen count is high today is because of three different trees in the state.  The birch was sighted as one of them and as you can see this seed pods against the sky background are out and shedding.


I shared a different view of this tree yesterday but this is one when the sun was under the cloud. The bark doesn't glow as much as when the sun shines on it this time of the year. The leaves will eventually shade most of the bark.

We missed a rain storm this morning as it went north of us but we are promised more chances of rain all week.  We are suppose to hit 80 F. in the city some time this week.












The Bishop's Weed is up and growing out along the base of the birch tree.  I have peony bushes under there too and they do bloom while the forsythia also there puts out a pitiful few blooms each year.   I am going to remove one other forsythia elsewhere and start up my redtwig dogwood.  It will be a better plant for that area once I get the old one cut out of there.  The old forsythia has been there about 30 years.






I guess I will share at least one daffodil a day.  I have so many shots that didn't take but I did get some successful shots.  The white doesn't pick up well with the automatic setting on the camera.  I have to take about five shots to get one in focus, even with the macro.  White must not put out the right heat level for the sensor to pick it up.

I am a business teacher today.  I get to take a break from the middle school wing today.  I will be back there soon.  I was looking at the calendar and there are only 24 or more school days left in this year.  I think I am ready for it.  I am glad to be working but the year was a strange difficult one for some reason and I will be glad to be out of the classroom for a break.  Yes, those of you who know me, I will be going back onto the custodial summer work crew after a couple of days off.

Thanks for stopping by today.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Sunday Shots........


I saw a wild violet blooming in my neighbor's yard that was violet.  All that I could find in my yard was the viola colored ones with the blue and white mix.  I have a lot of violets but my purple ones must be later in blooming.  I will have to keep an eye out for them.



When I use to order bulbs from a cheap company they would include a few small bulbs in there as if you were getting a great bonus.  Most of them didn't survive but this one has survived.  It  seemed to squeeze through the leaves on the ground. It reminds me of a windflower but I really do not know what it is.  They probably bloom under my leaf cover before I remove the leaves each year as our frost date is May 15th.


My birch tree continues to stay healthy and away from the beetle desease.  I don't think there is another birch tree in town other than the clump birches.   The limbs on the birch are always a mystery as they grow out and then spiral down.  I have to keep them trimmed back a little as I can get hit in the face from them while mowing.  My river birch is really bad about sagging down into my mowing level lashing out with its limbs to give me cuts and bruises.

It will be a warm day today.  October 12 last year it hit 80 degrees and they are saying we will hit it Tuesday or Wednesday.  That should make the northern part of United States melt a lot more.  I was glad to get some of my yard work done yesterday.  I don't like to rush out and mow right away until I am cutting all of the grass at the same time. I figure I will be doing it often enough without cutting just the high spots.  I would like to fertilize my yard this year but I will wait to see who has the best price on it later this month.  I like how the grass does grow thick enough to take out creeping Charlie.

We had smoked hamburgers at the neighbor's house yesterday so we have had our first cooked out hamburgers for the season.  She fixed a chicken the week before but hamburger is the official warm weather food.  I have tulips that will bloom by the end of the week but they are later this year than usual.  I will have to dig or till an area for my tomatoes but they won't go out until middle May.  I hope my plants appreciate the larger containers and the fertilizer that I am feeding them.

Have a good Sunday and thanks for stopping by today.


Saturday, April 27, 2013

Saturday's Chores.......


It is transplant day at my house.  It is time to get it done. Can't find the right containers but I will find some thing that I can plant them in to give them room to grow some stronger roots and bigger stems.
Two hours later......
Since I forgot to post this I can now say that the transplanting is done.  They went limp for a while but they were replanted into good Iowa top soil.  I get the soil from out on the corner drainage area from the street.  All the washing of top soil comes down the ditch and drops off as it goes by in front of my house.  It is good rich dark soil and some of it was filled with composted leaves so it works really well.



I thought I had a rhubarb shot and here it is.  It a week old as the plants now have green leaves unfolding.  I know I have mention a hundred time about not having moisture but these plants will actually put out many stems and probably will again after the first harvest.



All of my hardy geraniums survived the winter in the house.  The plant above has two more buds on it ready to bloom.  The others in the bird room are very much alive but have not set any buds on them.  It won't take them long to do so once they get outside.  

I picked up all the large sticks this morning and will do refined clearing as time goes on.  I had to carry away five buckets full of torn up sod that the city snow plow dug up in the winter.  I have a wider road now and less grass to grow as the plow wandered over about two feet into the yard removing grass.  I have a couple of more buckets of sod to carry but got physically tired so I quit for a while today. Maybe I will return later this afternoon.

We are 58 degrees right now and will maybe hit 68 degrees F.  later this afternoon.  Thanks for stopping in today.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Spring is springing......


They hyacinth is about to send forth some color.  The spring weather we are having is great.  We were in western Iowa yesterday to a funeral.  It was a beautiful day out there on a sad day.  We have not driven west for a long time on I-80 and it was great to see the new things going on out there.  Adair, Iowa has hundreds of large windmills all along the interstate.  The sit up on the crest of all of the rolling hills there and the south wind was making them all turn.  It almost seems like a science fiction movie that one is in when you see all these stark white windmills scattered as far as the eye can see.


The peony plants are not poking through.  They will be larger than the tulips soon.  The tulips along them are up and will bloom and by the time those blooms are spent, the peonies lean their foliage over them.

As we traveled to Woodbine, Iowa for the funeral we were required to drive through and on top of the loess hills.  It is a beautiful area of Iowa with rolling hills of a claylike loose soil.  They farm the soil as well as build houses up inside the crevices of the hills.  The hills were becoming green and the day was clear and warm.

Going into the little towns that are north of Council Bluffs and Omaha is an unusual experience.  A lot of the towns like Woodbine and Logan are built along the hills and their history still shows in their structures, businesses and the streets..  I live in a small town but while visiting these other  towns they have a different identity  The people their seem to be held in cities of days gone by.  The Lincoln Highway goes by the two towns as it meanders into Omaha.  The train also follows through the areas as I am sure heads south to Omaha. They are there because of the highway and the train and were early first suburbs of the big cities south of them.  Originally I am sure that agriculture was the main industry but now I am sure everyone commutes to work.

The differences probably are not that great and yet they have the Missouri River near by and the nationalities are much different as the state of Iowa was settled by many different groups.  In my early years of teaching I lived in Sidney, Iowa south of there.  The people really thought they were Nebraskans.  They listened to the Omaha tv stations and radio as well as centered their lives around the big cities.  I do remember feeling like I was not living in Iowa during the four years I live there.


The chive plant is coming up in one of my flower gardens.  I really don't remember putting it there but I do tend to scatter plants in different places to see where it will grow best.  I will eventually rake out the leaves by hand but as of yet that has not happen.  I need to deal with some yardwork this weekend.  It is going to be warm and I need to straighten sod from the city crew's wandering snow blade that hits the side of my yard.

It is Friday and I am glad for that to be happening.  I hope everyone has a good day.   Thanks for stopping by today.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Thursday........


This move of iris also looks healthy.  It is a planting under my river birch tree.  My pet cemetery is near there and I thought it would be nice to have flowers growing there.  The roots of the birch seem to be good at getting enough water as the grass seems to grow unter the tree without competition for moisture.  That is why I planted iris near and under the tree.


The globe alum are popping up among the vinca and hyacinths.  I bet my next week the alum will be blooming.

We had a stray white dog show up in our yard late afternoon on Wednesday.  It looked like a Westie but found out later that it had some terrier in it.   I saw the dog hanging around and it looked like a housedog and not a dog that would normally run the streets. We had three different identification tags on it but all were tags that were difficult to find identity.  The ARL one was the most frustrating as it gave a number that led me to menus and more menus of choices that never did give me to a person to talk to inorder to find out who owned the dog.  I had the number on the tag but no one at the other end of line to match it.

 I started walking the streets with the white dog hoping someone would recognize the dog.  I had no takers north of our house.   I headed south and three people standing outside who I knew tried another telephone number off of another tag. They had never seen the dog before either.  The second call finally gave us results.  The had an 866 number and the computer finally shared the dog's name was Gerdie.  It was first identified being from Grimes, Iowa.  Then they gave one of my friends the number to call to talk to the owner.  The owner had just moved to our town and Heidi answered the phone.  She and her husband didn't know she was gone.  The wind had blown open the backyard fence and they thought she was still in her yard.

Once we talked to the owners, I walked her to her home a block and a half away from where I was standing in the street.  Her owner, was standing at the door watching for me.  The man was on oxygen and could barely walk.  He was so grateful.  Gerdie had left their yard and walked up the street two and half blocks.  The way she acted towards the neighbor cats, she may have chased a cat all the way up the hill.  Maple Lane and her husband are always rescuing dogs so I felt good about imitating their works.  I was so glad to find her home.

Off to the Omaha area today for a funeral and then will be home by early evening.  I hope you all have a good day.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Wednesday's Middle.......of the week.



The cold does not appear to be bothering the daffodils.  I need to get to the other side of the house and see how the bluebells are doing.  It was too cold last night.  We were below freezing last night and the day will warm up a little.  They are saying 80 degrees F.  is around the corner.  I will believe it when I see it.


It looks like spring when you see this planting. The days are certainly brighter with the earth continually tilting our way.  

I am in the study hall again today.  Tomorrow we drive to Woodbine, Iowa for a funeral.  A friend that I have worked with for a number of years had her husband pass away.  It is about a two hour drive over there from where we live.  One could say that we were at Omaha as I am sure it is just a few miles more and we would be in Omaha.  The computers are so good at telling you that it will be a 2 hour and 6 minute drive.

I hope you are having a good day.  Thanks for stopping by today.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Accountability.........


I did get this birdbath cleaned and now you can see it has fresh water compliments of the rains. I said that I would and now you can see the evidence in the photo.  I don't see birds in the bath but maybe if I put a rock into it that they can land into the middle of the bowl it might be more friendly.



I think all of the kinds of daffodils are my favorites.  I was going to say that this was my favorite one and then I thought about the solid yellow ones and thought they are pretty special too.



Two years ago I helped the neighbor clear out and replant her hybrid iris collection.  Two years later I think I shall be seeing blooms.  The leaves are so much larger than the regular iris.  I think all of my iris survived the winter and they really appreciated have the rains this spring.

Study hall duty again today.  I am not a fan of middle school students but I do like them.  They are going through some tough times at that age and the world expects no more from them that what was expected of us when we were at that age.  The difference is that at this place in time, middle school students challenge everything and obey only after the third correction.  Most directions need to be questioned by them if they are listening at all.  Rewards seem to be a demand rather that earned. I will survive.

Thanks for stopping by today.


Monday, April 22, 2013

Monday.......


The creeping Charlie and the fernleafed peony are doing well.  I am anxious to see the bloom on this one as it was planted there a couple of years ago.


The drought killed off the majority of my red raspberries.  I have scattered live ones among all of these dead canes.  I need to remove the dead one when it gets to be a little warmer.  What a mess that will be as the thorns are still sharp on the dead canes.


The fernleafed in this area is a little slower in coming up compared to the one south of the house. I think I now have five different places that this is planted.

It feels better outside now even though we dip down and cool off in the evenings.  Spring has definitely set in for Iowa.  Grass will need to be mowed in a couple of weeks and flowerbeds will be cleared during the next couple of weeks, when I find time to do so.  I am looking forward to it all and being outside is so great.  I took the last of my Christmas decorations down yesterday as the lighted deer were still in public view.  They are now leaning against my gas grill and will be taken to the basement when I do my first grilling.

The neighbor lady and her son have gotten into smoking meat instead of grilling meat, so we were able to go over and taste some smoked chicken.  It is an electric smoker and she cooks in on low heat for 3 to 4 hours.  It was very good and I am glad we could join her to taste her first smoking.

I am in study hall to day and it is Monday.  Thanks for stopping by today.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Blooming Potential........


The waiting continues until there are blooms.  The hyacinths are planted among vinca and also globe alums.  They will bloom first and the alums will be up soon.




The tomatoes continue to grow and I have not replanted them into be pots.  I should have a week ago but it will happen soon.  I can't nail down the time but I will go look for the pots this afternoon.

We will be 63 degrees warm today and that is great.  Rain is going to hit again tomorrow.  Thanks for stopping by today and have a good day.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

A Progress Report...........


In spite of the cold the New England bluebells are trying to put out its  flowers.   I saw daffodils that got hit by the frost  this morning at the school.  They were bent over and looking sickly.  The blooms were out because they are in a protected sunny area in the afternoon.  But the 31 degrees in temperature took its toll on them.   I don't have daffodils blooming yet but there are a lot of blooms on the stems.  We will have a clear cool day today with no rain.


The sedum is one of the first things to come up and one of the last things to actually bloom.  The moisture in the ground should mean that I will see blooms and good foliage this year.


One of my things to get done soon is to cut a bigger hole in the house for the birds.  The birdhouse was made by a student at school and tossed into the dumpster.  I  rescued it and put some paint on it. I added a better base but I never changed the size of the hole.  I think it is too small of a hole even for wrens.  Apparently the student thought any size of hole for an entry would do.

I am spending my sixth day at school today.  The needed coverage for a Saturday school session.  No staff member wanted to do it so I asked and received the job. The kids are here for four hours, reading, studying or whatever they need to do in homework.  They refused to serve detentions after school and after so many times of not meeting the time limit, they get assigned a four hour Saturday school.   I think serving 25 minutes after school would be a lot easier.

My wife and I are going to hit a bookstore in the afternoon and get out of town for a while.  The rainy week and cold hasn't been fun but we could have had it a lot worse.  It just that the weather teased us a little to show us what normal is like in spring and then it went away.

Thanks for stopping by today.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Missing Automobile.........


Those of you who have been around my territory know this car. I have photographed it so many times as it sat across the street next to a cornfield.  It is a 1949 Pontiac that has set there and has been mown around for about 6 years now.

I have always been fascinated with it's decorative design features.  The front and back of the car has this decorative band on it that reminds me of a waterfall.  Paintings with large waterfalls in them were everywhere back in the days that it was designed.  The guys who designed this car had to have thought that as they placed the Indian Chief's head projecting out like it is carve in rock with the water flowing down and around it.  The strange thing about it is the space theme in design was incorporated as the top view of the Chief's decoration looks like a early designed spaceship for one of those old classic space movies .



The interior design has a dashboard and steering wheel that reminds me of the early space movies also with circular openings and space like switches and dashboards.  The logo of Chief Pontiac on the side and chrome work on the car makes it a real classic.



One of my former students owned the car and she had it in storage in that field of her mother's farm.  Now another one of my former students has bought it from her and he plans on restoring it. I don't think he has ever restored any car of this age so he will have to learn as he goes.

While I was at work one day, they took the old blue car away.  The car is gone.  It now sits on the opposite side of town in its new owners yard.






Thursday, April 18, 2013

Bluebells.......


We have had rain continually for two days.  I bet these buds have shot up more but it will stop someday and I can venture out for more shots. We have had a least 3 inches of rain.  The new automated measuring devices get too full and they dump automatically so the weather man says they are having a hard time getting accurate measurements of rainfall.  I guess they work better when it stops raining so they can empty and then the rain has to take a break and then restart to reset it.  I know they sell those large rain gauges with big numbers that they could use to get to the truth about rain.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Growth Spurts.......


Our rain is going to last for a whole day.  It rained throughout the night and it will be raining most of the day.  We really need it.  The variegated iris might bloom this year as the soil will be full of moisture.  The tips of the leaves show a frost or freeze that we had a few weeks ago.  The flower for this is a light lavender flower and the foliage actually outshines in color the bloom.


They hyacinths are late this year but they should put out a good size bloom each of them.


This was a successful move of iris.  I moved them in the middle of the summer and that was the wrong time.  I think they will do well here as they had been in the shade of a tree.  I don't know the color of them but I sure will share when they bud and bloom.

The sound of thunder and rain falling is so wonderful.  I am in the study hall room again today and it is raining hard,  off and on.  It gives the water a chance to move on before the next large amount of rain drops.  It is dark today and probably will be all day.   The national weather put a graphic on top of our state this morning but didn't point out that we were in a severe weather area. The line actually didn't go through Iowa.  Fortunately the local weather people are more concerned and accurate about that thing.

Thanks for stopping by today.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The street gang..........


This is another view of one of our neighbor cats having something to eat.  We are up to five different cats coming over for food.  We know when they are not being fed as more come at the same time than just Tom Tom, who has taken up residence on the porch.  


Tom Tom takes a nap after his fill of cat food. Sitting on the car makes his abilities to stand guard easier.


Another one of our visitors is this petite yellow cat.  She is over a year old now and is bashful.  She is less bashful when food is brought out to her.


I can't find the adult photo of this cat but he hangs around a lot for food also.  In fact he has an offspring that looks just like him, only smaller in stature, that also hangs around once in a while.

From the north we have a beat up yellow tomcat and a soft long haired gray and white tomcat.  They don't venture down much unless their food supply is really low.

I am a study hall keeper today.  I took my wife out for her birthday last night and we had cake and ice cream when we got home.  I hope she had a good day.  The place where we ate Macaroni's is always good with their service, good food, high prices and fresh bread with olive oil, great salad.  When the food is great you ignore the prices.  They also have good coffee which is not always the case with most restaurants.

Thanks for stopping by today.


Monday, April 15, 2013

Abstract Design.......


I stumbled into some art work that I had done in a design class many years ago.  Creating work with the design elements of simple shape, color, texture and line design.  It sometimes is more difficult  because it is not representing any real object.  Balance, informal, can also be complicated.


Pattern and color forming decorations can be fun.   I taught students to experiment with tempera paint creating free designs and varied color schemes.   This was a demonstration piece that I created for students to model from when they started a design art work.

I am in the middle school science room today.  They are setting off their volcanoes today, outside of course.  The will place menthol mints into shaken containers of pop and watching them erupt in foam.  It was so cold outside this morning that we had all of the experiments done in less than ten minutes.  It will be a little warmer this afternoon.  I am also working with three classes that are doing science fair work.

Thanks for stopping by today.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Outside there is rain and sunshine.......


The wind blew hard last night causing the rain to make noise on the window panes.  It wasn't a lot of rain by the end of it but a third of an inch is very welcomed. I have taken many shots out of this window as you can see that the grass is becoming green and thick.  The light was very bright at the time the poto was taken but it is now cloudy again.  Thanks for stopping by today.