Larry.s Creative Zone

Larry.s Creative Zone

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Stuff for Saturday.......


I have lost my touch with  my violets.  I still have a lot of them but I can't keep up with them.  I think the difference of summer conditions in the house compared to the winter conditions means I have to readjust my care of them. I have to water when needed rather than be on a weekly schedule.  I had to remove all of them from the large window in the dining room as the sun was bearing down on the area tin which they were sitting.  I  have never had to do that before.  It was 102 degrees F.  outside and the sun is now at an angle that it bears down on them in the afternoon.  I may have to find a new area to place them. 

I do have some starts to be repotted and I can get my numbers in the collection back up to where it was.  I have the bunch of five planted when young in a bowl shaped planter doing very well.  I need to move them into new individual pots. I have a few starts that could be placed in pots too.



I have a Russian Olive that was given to me years ago.  It was intended to be planted out in the woods for the birds to enjoy.  I was young and just planted it in my yard because it was free.  The bush does have thorns on it and it grow in front of my wife's studio window.  I usually prune it back each spring so she can see out of the window.  It is either changing color now because of the drought or perhaps it is because of the fall weather that is suppose to arrive in the future.



Here is another shot of my Susans that I took the other day.  They keep coming back each year regardless of our weather conditions.

Things to do over the weekend will be varied and not too stressful. I am going out to trim back all of my rose bushes after I finish blogging.  I may be able to pull one more blooming session from them before the first freeze. I have a couple of free growing volunteer mulberry trees to cut down that are getting big enough to look bad.  I have a large trunk of dead silver maple tree on our porch roof that I need to remove.  It fell the other day and my wife and the dogs were really concerned.  At first it seem to my wife that it must have been a sonic boom by the way it shook the house.  Actually if fell perfect from the very tallest part of the tree and landed horizontally on the  porch roof.  I don't think there is any damage as it just scared everyone.

We are planning to run up to Ames to the bookstore this afternoon.  It will be a challenge as a college football game is going to be going on later on during the day.  We will have to take backroads to get to the bookstore and stay out of that traffic.  ISU is playing another Iowa college school, UNI, so it will be crowded for the game. It takes an hour for people to be able to leave the stadium after a game because the roads can't  handle the crowds.

Other small jobs are to be done today that I don't get done on week days.  It is good to have some days off.  Thanks for stopping by today.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Tough Flower......Tough Cat


Most plants don't take the heat. I know the coneflowers hang tough with the heat to a certain degree.  The blackeyed Susan is tough.  All summer I could go out an take shots of this plant.  Right now as everything is shriveled up and gone, it continues to show its colors.


 Long tail, long legged, and very thin describes our new visitor neighbor cat. I call him Tiny Tim.  He loves attention and eventually will send me falling to the ground as he walks under my feet at all times.  I don't think he is very healthy and my wife has been giving him special soft food to help him out.  There is a possibility that he came from a Siamese mother. 

Whatever he is, he is aggressive towards other male cats. He is territorial and has driven Tom Tom from the porch and the property.  We are concerned about Tom Tom but we figure he has moved up the street  to another neighbor who feeds cats.  Tiny Tim has a sister who comes over sometimes to get some food. She is also very thin and is black and white.  Both of them lay in the shade in the grass to stay cool.

I am an associate today following a nice young man from class to class. It is hot in the classrooms again today.  The one teacher keeps a thermometer is his room and it read 84 degrees F. at 10:00 in the morning. It is an early out at 1:00 which is three hours from now.  It will be time for a second shower when I get home.

Thanks for stopping by today. 



Thursday, August 29, 2013

Thursday's Things.......


I finally have my first bud on the white marigolds.  I was out with the little dog last night and I saw that these were really dry and shriveled.  So at 10:30 last night I got out the garden hose and watered all of my pots of flowers. The extreme heat tends to keep you from going outside and checking on the plants.  When I get some blooms you all know that I will take many photos throughout its blooming period.


The sedum was doing well but it did take a fall a week ago.  I should have staked it or buy a wire form to hold the stems upright.


I carried a full bucket of  water for it last week and plan on doing it again this evening.  I didn't get blooms last fall but maybe I can get them this time around.


Out on the corner of my  property at the intersection of the roads stands this white holly hock.  In fact there are many of them there but this one continues to put out one or two blooms at a time.  It is struggling with the dry weather.  I took many shots of this one bloom as I am desperate to find things to photograph.  I am posting another view of this today on my Photo a Day blog.

It was 72 degrees F.  this morning and I didn't get called into work.  I took the opportunity to mow my yard and clean up some of the orchard.  Two hours later after I had started, I decided my clothes were wet enough from the sweat. When I came inside it was already 89 degrees F.   I will do inside projects for the rest of the day as I haven't really had a weekday off for a long time. I guess the two times I did I was having health problems and it was difficult for me to walk.  I am walking a lot better now and have slight pain in my one foot.  I don't know if I will ever be rid of this ailment but I do know that I walk normally enough now that people don't know I have something wrong with me.  I don't have continue pain which was the constant most of my summer.  It is good to feel better and maybe I can say well.

Thanks for stopping by today.  We are headed to 98 degrees today for our high and I will be inside the rest of today.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

For those who watered.........


........they did have tomatoes.   A friend of mine paid a lot of money for water to get these large tomatoes.  Another tomato grower said that she figured she was eating twelve dollar tomatoes.  They do taste good.  I am still getting some small roma tomatoes.

I am posting late tonight not knowing if I will be teaching tomorrow or not.  I am done with the art teaching job and I spent a lot of hours getting her room ready for  her.  I will get a call at 6:30 in the morning if there is a position for me.  If not I will have some home chores to see to tomorrow.  Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Ghost Plant.......


The fernleaf peony has expired in all this heat.  I don't ever remember it doing this before.  We should be having school closing at 1:00 each day the rest of the week.  We are hitting 100's or close to it for the rest of the week.  Tomorrow is the last day for my being the sub art teacher.  It will be a transition day for me as I have to journal all that we did and then explain all the strange shortened schedules with early outs.

I was ill by noon because of the heat but asprin and some food brought me around.  It just slowly heats up until you don't know what you are tolerating.  I am glad that I have only one more day of it.

Thanks for stopping by today.

Monday, August 26, 2013

A Tad Warm on Monday.........


I don't see the spider but his web doesn't have any insects in it for him to eat. I bet he is really hungry.


I was given to me free.  The birdhouse didn't sell at the garage sale.  I don't understand it as it had a price of fifty cents on it.  Anyway, I have it now and it goes with the theme.  I was so busy and the weather was so strange that I didn't get my flowers out in the milk jar.  It was a bad summer for outside work. 


 I posted photos of the white begonia all winter as it bloomed in my east window.  I bet it is getting anxious to go back inside soon as we have ten days of 90 degrees or more predicted.  We will probably have early outs at school all week as there are portions of the buildings that do not have air.  I guess by one o'clock it gets to be the hottest that some of the room will become and so we get out then. My art room sits at the end of a hall where the cold air comes up from the air conditioned end.  So I pull air in with a fan and keep the humidity down.  It doesn't stay cool when the sun shines in the west window no matter how much air I steal from the hallway.

I do get work done with the early outs as I had supplies to put away for the teacher than I have been subbing for the past few days.  She had surgery that will keep her out for another week or so.  If I didn't tell you, she is the art teacher and I am teaching in my old classroom. It is kind of strange to be back in there again.  I find myself flashing back and thinking that I am going to be there all year.  I know that I should be out in another seven to ten days.  She does return to surgery again in a couple of weeks so I will be back in there again.

Thanks for stopping by today.




Sunday, August 25, 2013

Sunday.....





I posted this photo before to show you the apples from one of my apple trees.  Now I repost it show you the potter's wheel that the apples are sitting on in the photo.  I was fortunate last winter to have given to me the  old potter's wheel that I had ordered when I first started teaching at the school.  The year was 1976.  That wheel was the only wheel that I had in the art room for 15 years and then the school let me buy other more condensed versions of the potter's wheel.  At one time before I retired I had six different wheels going at the same time.

The old wheel has a tall seat and it was dangerous for younger kids.  The young ones like to mess around and could get their foot caught between the weighted kick wheel made of heavy metal and the metal frame.  The wheel was also powered and the motor has been shot for years.  It can be used as a manual kick wheel but the new instructor thought it took up too much space in the art room.

I had offered money for it a few years ago to buy it and that just didn't happen.  They said yes to the purchase but life got confusing and I never paid for it and I didn't think about it again. As I said earlier I was asked about it and they readily moved it to my backyard for free.

Now today as I sub for a few weeks I was asked by the absent teacher to give four of the classes pot throwing lessons. It is just like jumping back in time and I again am demonstrating throwing on the wheel.  The difference now is that I need to build those back muscles that it takes to do the activity.  I am sore from Friday's demos but will get stronger each day.


We are going to go through a seven day heat spell in Iowa.  It will help our northern friends to get rain but it will be a long week with everyday school early dismissals.  We went through school the past week when it was 88 degrees F.  as this week will be so much hotter.  Above 90 degrees every day with heat indexes of 104 degrees is the predicted conditions of the week, every day through the weekend.

Have a good Sunday and thanks for stopping by today.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Saturday..........


The summer has been an unusual season and fall is just around the corner.  The hollyhock is such a sturdy plant that gives the garden a country garden look. I do like how it keeps spreading its seeds and the plants increase each year.  They bloom on the second year of growth and then continue to bloom every year after that.  I couldn't be happier to have them as all the flowers struggled again this summer.   I see that my hibiscus will not bloom this year as buds are not forming. 

My struggle with knowing the difference between zinnia seeds and marigold seeds has been resolved.  I still do not have a single bud on my large white marigolds. They too seem to be effected by the summer weather.  I keep them watered and maybe by frost they will bloom.


The common discussion at school is the size of the fruit and tomatoes on the plants this year.  The pears and apples are everywhere but they are extremely small.  Right now the pears are hard little fruit and I am waiting to see if one can get a bite into on without hurting one's teeth. 

An adventure planned for the day is having a bookstore visit and picking up freezer bags for green beans.  A friend who waters her garden continually is sharing green beans with everyone.  We will snipped the ends and prepare them for the freezer so we can enjoy that great taste of fresh green beans later on in the year.

Thanks for stopping by today. 

Friday, August 23, 2013

Friday.......


The orange hardy geranium continues to thrive.  I had to water last night as I could see some things were starting to look dry. 

I am glad it is Friday and will look forward to some weekend activities. I hope all is well with you. Maybe I can catch up some of my blogger friends this weekend.  Thanks for stopping in today.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Thursday's Things......


I was surprised to see the creeping blue bells blooming again.  The large bed in the front of the house died out about a month ago.  The tomato plants get to be watered and this plant is glad to get a second chance to bloom.


The hosta is trying to regroup after a planter fell onto it from above.  The dry weather has slowed it down but I have been watering it to give it a boost.

This guy seems a little disgusted about his bucket.  It is rusting away and he does carry water winter and summer.


From green to red the tomatoes keep ripening.  I don't have many but a friend gives me large tomatoes from her garden.

Day two of being an art teacher back in my old room.  It doesn't take much to get back into the swing of things.  Kids haven't changed much and it scares me that I might be caught in a time warp.  I have to remember that I get to walk away from this room in a week and a half.  It has been sort of a rocky start as I have to go out and beg for info about what is going on.  I have two principals and a counselor that seem to be too busy to provide me with schedules and other materials to get the job done.  I thought we had an abbreviated day today but we didn't.  I am not sure why as we always had the first two days of school shortened. 

Friday is coming and I will be glad to get some time off.  Thanks for stopping by today.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Wednesday.......






Out by the weathered windmill is this volunteer hollyhock.  They keep spreading as long as I don't mow them down.  This one grows among the grass and I mow around it.





The pears are small this year as the second year of drought has caused them to produce small fruit.



The surprise lilies are about to be gone.  The aging process and the heat will cause them to dry up soon.

I start back at school as a substitute today.  It has been a difficult summer but I did survive it.  I will be subbing for the art teacher while she recovers from surgery.  I should be in the art room for a couple of weeks.  I will get to teach two classes of pottery which is going to be great fun.  First few days of school are always rough with short schedules and heat.  I know a lot of the students from last year so that will make it easier for us.  Our school had a good jump in enrollment  this year.  That is a good thing as most smaller schools continue to lose students.  We have grown larger every year for the past five years.

I  had a long day as a janitor yesterday as I stayed two hours longer to help get the building ready for an open house for parents a kids.  It looked pretty shiny and clean by the end of the day.

Thanks for stopping by today.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Struggle......


The clematis hangs on to a fragile existence with most of its vines shriveled up.  I did see some small blooms on this vine a couple of months ago.


The ditch lilies are almost done for the summer.  The foliage is gone and a few hardy plants are staying on to show a splash of green.


I keep watering the plants next to the house but they don't seem to grow any larger.  It is hard to wet down the entire area to give it what it likes to make them grow big.


The dianthus does respond to the extra water but the foliage is small and the pot never did fill out the pot.

Today is my last day as a custodian, painter, floor man and garbage man.  It has been a hard summer with my health slowing me down and yet I did see so many things that I helped to get finished.  All of the hallways are shiny and clean.  The painted shower rooms and waxed floors are really looking good for he first time in years.  The repair work was fun and I did learn a lot about new things in the mechanical world.  I am able to run a lot of different cleaning machines that take a lot of brains to work along with the muscle to manage them. 

It will be a panic day as we have a lot of picky things to get done as they have kids and parents come into the building the night before school starts. We need to be shiny and clean everywhere so that is what we will do all day. 

Thanks for stopping by today.  I start teaching as a substitute on Wednesday, that will be a shock to my system for such a change of work.  Managing and teaching students is a challenge but I did do it for almost forty years in total. .


Sunday, August 18, 2013

Hot Summer Orange.......


The orange hardy geranium is showing off today.  I have kept them watered since they sit my the faucet and rain barrel.  The yellow in the shot is the camera reacting to all the bright red orange color.  We are going to warm up in Iowa again and the week is predicted to get bad by Friday with high temps.  We have been have low 60's F.  nights.

Thanks for stopping by today.  

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Saturday Check In.....


I had this put together a few evenings back but once completed I saw a piece of lint floating inside the glass.  I hate when that happens.  I know it happens a lot of times when one is in a hurry.  Also when you slip the glass and artwork into a frame from the back a vacuum is created and it can suck in particles of anything into the picture.


I left the hole exposed on the inside of the frame.  I am not sure what the perfectly drilled hole was all about but I thought it would add conversations about the frame by others who see it.  I have never put a finish on barn board material before but this was a satin finish varnish.   It did leave some shine on it but I really wanted it to keep the wood from flaking off it red paint while the framed item was hanging on the wall.


Snake patrol duty today for me.  I have garter snakes that are hanging around the basement stairs on some days.  The day the gas meter person was here apparently there were two of them on the stairs.  She wrote me a letter to have them removed.  I will try to caulk up any cracks the they might be living in and also will fill in a space that they like to sleep in between the door and the support board.  It was a strange letter that I received and yet if you have a fear of snakes I do know one would not go down those stairs. Actually there are far more than two as they seem to be young ones that were birthed this spring.  Hard to catch a snake when it is a small six inch creature.  I can't pick them up with the dog pooper scooper when they are that small.

A day of odd jobs to do around the house will be my only goal today.  Barney gets a bath today whether he likes it or not. I have a frame job to start today but will not work too hard on it.  Thanks for stopping by today.

Friday, August 16, 2013

A Sculptural Form......


The hardy geranium tends to put out blooms inspite of the weather. I have quite a showing of the different varieties.  This almost seemed like a rose and a rosebud.

I am still here but it takes time and some free time to blog.  I didn't have much of either and have been somewhat down physically after I get off work.   Work ends as a janitor on Tuesday of next week. My body will definitely heal a little more then.  Thanks for stopping by today.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

I Have Them Picked...........Aronia Berries






I will give them to my neighbor today as I grow them for her on her bush on my property.  It is a long story but she will make something from them.  It is a part of here Native American tradition to eat them in jelly or sauce.

Thanks......

Monday, August 12, 2013

Same shot, but different shooting.........


I know that I have taken this shot before but the blackeyed Susans just stay in bloom.  We had a half inch of rain last night which was a bit of help to a very dry land.

I went out and harvested the aronia berries for my neighbor and my tomatoes. Some of my tomatoes do not have the black rot and I am glad to have some good ones from the effort that I made. 

Thanks for stopping by today.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Yesterday's Project..........


I worked some on the frame job that you see here. The barn boards are left over from a tornado destroying the barn.  My neighbor lady strongly urged me to take a bunch of the boards at the time and she has me making a frame from them quite often.


Making frames like this gets to be a lot of work as nothing is straight and boards are warped.  The barn sat behind  her house 20 yards away and it was taken by the tornado along with a garage and another attached small building.  The location is actually only two houses away from our house in her backyard.  She didn't lose her  house but the one garage near her  house was just crushed.

It is Sunday and I hope everyone has a good day.  We keep seeing chances of rain but we don't even believe them anymore.  Everything is either south or north of us.  Have a good day and thanks for stopping in to my post.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

At a quick glance......


It looks like a flower garden if  you look at it with a quick glance.  I see all the creepy Charlie stuff and a few stray trees in there.  I also just noticed that I have not moved the angel guy back down onto the bench.  I had planned earlier in the season to move the little bench but a snake was living under the bench part among the rock legs.  I never got back to moving it. 

I saw this morning that a lot of my neighborhood people grow the surprise lilies.  I really like having them and they are new plants for me the last couple of years.  I didn't dig them from any other garden.


My wife's knockout rose is coming back strong.  It took a long time for it to rebloom but it seems under a lot less stress than the last time it bloomed.  The first blooms of the year was during a heat wave. Some of the other roses are setting buds again probably for their final blooms of the year.  It is August already.

It is a low active day for me today.  I have a few things to do but need to give my body time to heal again.  Thanks for stopping by today.


Friday, August 9, 2013

Friday's One Contribution.........


Every tomato has black rot on the bottom of them.  I was told that I needed to spray them with calcium weeks ago.  Oh well, too late.  We can cut the bottom of them off and still eat the tomato in a salad.

Friday at work is over now and I am ready for a restful day.  I spent another day in the shower rooms working on floors and painting walls.  One room almost done and three to go.  I start as a sub in the art room classroom on the 21st of August.  I have to dress differently when  I play the role of a teacher.  Thanks for stopping by today.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Thursday's Things........


The hostas that I had moved because they were being crowded are now looking better from their division and move.


The new hardy geranium has settle in to the planter and seems bigger now.  It is so pastel that the camera didn't quite want to catch its true color.


The tree gave us enough apples for five pies last year.  Let's hope that we can find some that are not full of insects this year.  This little guy seems really bruised from falling and ants on the ground trying to eat it.

It is Thursday, thanks for stopping by today.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The middle of the week.......


The jungle and the surprise lilies.  I can't believe my weeds are not pulled, but it is what it is. I poured a whole bucket of water on these stems hoping to make the blooms mature with healthy size. We had a rain on Monday that wet the sidewalk.






The verbena was a great purchase.  I didn't know how well it would grow but it is liking the attention that I am giving it. I don't randomly hose it down like they probably do at The Home Depot.  They are dumping a lot of their plants for low prices.

We had a hot day yesterday and today is to be only 81 degrees F.  I am still working in the four locker rooms and they seem to be cooler than the regular classrooms.  The wing is not air conditioned so being where I am is a good thing. Chemstripping off old wax around the borders of the rooms is hard and also dull work.  We are almost done with that and will be doing the final sanding on the concrete floors before we put a shiny sealer on them.  The floors had not had the wax removed for over 15 years so it was a horrible job to get that material of the floors.  It will be done probably by Friday.

Thanks for stopping by today.  My wife is almost finished with her summer cold.  I am done with it.  My inflammation situation seems to come and go and I have more good walking days now than not.  I am going to beat this miserable condition. It just chooses to flare up whenever and I have to just not be walking around much.  I have a lot of pain on those non walking days but it is getting better.

As my friend Claude says who is from France,   Ah, tomorrow!!!!!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Underplanted and underblooms........


My large urn has a few of these planted in them but they only bloom two flowers at a time. The wild clovers in there make a great filler for the plants.  I see there is another bud ready to bloom.


My wife and I made a wonderful tasting rhubarb and raspberry cobbler on Saturday.  The stems of the rhubarb did give me enough for the cobbler but I doubt we will get another harvest.  The raspberries were actually left over from last year that we had in the freezer.  The combining of those two flavors makes a great cobbler.  I saw a recipe on tv that called for cinnamon and brown sugar with white sugar.  It worked well. 

Survived Monday's workday and am heading back today.  We have a machine that has a special attachment that scrapes off many layers of old wax on concrete shower room floors. We sweep up that old wax like sand from the beach.   It is a great invention to take off years of layers of wax off of the floors. We have three done and one is left to be finished.

Take care all and thanks for stopping by today.