Larry.s Creative Zone

Larry.s Creative Zone

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Sunday Stills..........


We, of course,  have many photos of our grandson from his visit to Iowa the last couple of days. He did a great job making his grandparents feel special.  The book he is enjoying here is the one we sent him a while back.  I remember blogging about the book and he is learning to count the birds from having it read to him.  He loves to have books read to him. Here he was looking it over all by himself.

Yesterday afternoon the large old guy was out hanging Christmas lights.  I had to do it as we were 53 degrees F.  I didn't want to do it then but weather determined it to happen then.  We dropped temps over night and it is to stay very cold for a couple of days.  When I do put out lights in the past, I tend to do it on the coldest day of the year.  I hung the strands of ice lights on the porch and I hate them.  I know hate sounds strong but they are a very bad design.  I keep reminding myself to never buy them anymore.



I kept hearing things from the front door and thought Barney was being excited looking out at me.  I didn't know my wife was documenting the event. You can see that it looks warm out there even with the snow on the ground.  After I wrapped the one batch of lights on the Austrian pine I got the shovel and removed the rest of the snow on the sidewalks.  I wanted to get it off before the hard freeze came back.  I will return today to the little tree as I need to add another strand of lights on that tree and will buy them today. It is 18 degrees F today and I will be wrapping them around that tree pretty quickly and come inside fast. I will need more than just a parka today.

We said good bye to our kids and grandson yesterday.  We had a great visit with them and it was nice to see how our AJ had grown.  His energy level is strong and he did like to play with us.  We read a lot of books and played with cars and blocks a lot.  He was a fun little guy who made his grandparents happy. He is talking really well now.  He pats three times on you chest and points to where he wants to go or pats three times on the floor to get you to sit beside him on the floor.

It is a really cold day out there today as the wind chills are very low. The temps are dropping more throughout the day.  We will make it out today for church and Sunday school with the Asian kids. A quick bite to eat and we will get home to stay warm.  I hope everyone is staying warm and thanks for stopping by today.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Saturday........



We are returning to see our grandson again this morning.  At this breakfast yesterday he was hungry and ate a good big breakfast. He is pushing in the loose rice krispies into his mouth as to not to waste a single one.

 Have a great day everyone and thanks for stopping in for a visit to my blog.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Friday After..............


It is a good day as we are going to see our grandson AJ today.  We are going to hang out with him and his parents and maybe hit one of those mall play stations.  Breakfast will be consumed first to start the day and the rest will be ab lib.  It is cold this morning, 18 F. and it will warm up to 41 F. by this afternoon.  I hope everyone is safe and warm today.  Thanks for stopping by today.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving Day........


The squirrel tries to hold his own with a strong wind to his back.  He stopped in yesterday during the heavier part of the snow we received and did not stay for very long. I need to fill the two corn feeders for them today.


My new sock of niger seed hangs close to the house. So far only the chickadees are feeding on it.  I am having birds run into our dining room window so I am thinking I may need to move this a little bit farther out in the open.  I do think it is starlings that are running into the window as they seem to be clumsy and a little confused. There is another general seed feeder opposite this one and they can't fly in to get to it without a lot of space.  Mostly the sparrows and juncos eat from that one.




The bluejay stayed on the feeder yesterday and broke its seed open instead of flying off to a tree branch. The weather was bad for a while with blowing snow so I couldn't get such a great clear photo.You can see he is manipulating the seed in his beak.




We still look like winter around here. It actually snow a light fluffy snow during the night.  It was below 0 degrees F. for a while this morning and it is going to warm up a little as the day goes on.  I think low 20's will be our high for today. 

We are home here today for the Thanksgiving day with no company. We will have a turkey dinner  with all the fixings.  Our one son and his wife with AJ will be here Friday.  We plan to see a lot of our grandson tomorrow and get reacquainted with him.  It is a different kind of Thanksgiving this year but all of our holidays like this keep changing from year to year as how we get together with family or no family.  We will stay safe and warm today and finish off the day with good coffee and hot mince meat pie.

I hope all of you have a great day today and also a good Thanksgiving weekend. Stay safe and stay warm for sure. Thanks for stopping by today.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Wednesday's Notes.........


We have a contrasting day today from yesterday with 3 inches plus snow on the ground and more is falling. The feeder has been busy all morning and a large variety of birds have come to feed.  I went out and put fresh seed in the feeder while Button was out early this morning.


It is a nice snow so far as it coats over all that brown and gray.  I know that it is going to cause travel problems today and maybe into tomorrow.  The yew bush always looks great with a lot of s now on it.

The flocks of sparrows and juncos are hungry.  I have a couple of chickadees darting in to grab a seed and one cardinal is visiting the feeder.  Nuthatches are rare to see but the downy woodpeckers are now hitting the suet.

I shovel for Button so he can go outside and I pushed away snow this morning for the birds as they were having to dig into the inches of snow to find the millet.

I put up a niger seed sock this morning on the feeder and it looked funny hanging there.  It is now hanging next to the dinning room window and I have a few photos of chickadees. No goldfinches in sight but if it hangs there long enough they might learn to feed from there. I can see now that I need to trim back the phlox and put away the one orange pot so they are not in the photo. I do see some seed must of fallen on the planter as there is a bird on it.



It is interesting to see that those who are the first to get their grass mowed in the summer are also those that get out and push away 3 inches of snow in the driveway.  Since it is snowing they will have to do it again this afternoon.  Marge is doing the plowing today as her husband is at work and she is recovering from a knew replacement.




Grandma and grandpa had to go shopping yesterday for a special grandson.  He is 21 months and just chatters on the phone about all the words that he does know.  It is amazing how they reach a certain age and their brain starts to organize all those word sounds into real conversation.  Most words are responses to questions but his parents have worked hard on the words, "grandpa and grandma." I am sure he won't know us when he sees us but Friday he will have a chance to get to know us again. He watches a lot of Pooh Bear and also Thomas the Train.  His dad was hooked on Pooh Bear as a kid from books but AJ has ready available netflix movies to see continuously. Oh yes he has a way of saying chocolate cake that is cute and said with glee.

I have chores to do today but I am going to sneak in the painting of our double kitchen window and the wood mug cupboard that surrounds it. In the old days I am sure the surround was called a "what not shelf" but it holds are mugs now with three small shelves on each side of the window.  It isn't a big endeavor but I thought it would take us closer to our eventually finish of the job.  I have a feeder on the railing of the steps so the birds will entertain me while I paint.  I will have to keep the camera out of there as to not to get paint on it.

I appreciate your stopping in today and I know lots of you are reading my posts but not commenting.  I am glad to share and hope I don't get too boring.  Thanks for stopping by today.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Tuesday......


Through my window to the world I can see the sun is shinning.  It isn't in the picture but the light of it is there. 

 
The shadows in the bay window show how strong the sunlight is this morning.  The lace curtains put out a greatly defined shadow.  It is nice to see the sun after those early days of snow that we already had.


I can see that I need to put things away around my computer. Here they are dust and all. When I have something in hand, many times it gets carried to my desk and then I start piling in on the top shelf.  I certainly could dust that area more quickly if I would put them away where they belong.




Looking up to see if the other tray will have food, the junco twists its neck.  I think I have more juncos at the feeder than I do sparrows.  It is a good change but I wonder why the sparrow population is down.  I need to add corn to my two squirrel feeders as it is mild out there today.  It is cold but the winds have quit for a while. 

I hear the tv telling me we will get snow in the night putting a new blanket of white on everything.  I really think they are ignoring the chance of Thanksgiving day being a bad weather day.  Our one set of kids are coming on Friday bringing our grandson with them.  It will be so great to see him. 

I hope all are doing well today and that sunshine is in your picture too.  Thanks for stopping by today.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Monday with a Touch of Winter.......


We have dropped down to below freezing again after a few warm days.  It is 25 F. degrees which now seems warm after all the temps in the teens. I noticed I have just a couple of things that need to be brought in to the basement but all outside work is done for me. 



The neighbor's white shadow is checking things out on the patio.  Our smallest dog sometimes has to get up at 2 in the morning.  When he goes out he finds the scent of cats or rabbits that he has to check out before coming back inside. Sometimes he is making circles all over the patio and also checking the patio chairs for a scent.









A silly shot taken while the dining room table was covered with the contents of 7 drawers from the kitchen.  All of the material that needed to return to the drawers has been done so by my wife and the dinning room table is clear again.  We finished the painting of all the bottom rows of cupboards and drawers and everything is done.  We are going to take out all the pots and pans and reorganize that but that has not happened yet.



I will finish off with another silly shot of my mom's salt and pepper shakers.  I had to throw away a lot of the collection but I kept back some of them that were good memories. 

I am in the At Risk room with students who need encouragement to get their homework done.  The have had years of experience of avoiding doing school work and their abilities to shade the truth is a great skill.  Keeping them behaving well is a goal and also a time for me also to encouraged them.  Some have bad habits because they live with them at home. A positive help and gentle affirmation does go a long way with the students.


I don't think I have work tomorrow so it will be good to be home in the daytime again.  It is very cold again and the body seems to have to readjust to that.  i hope everyone is well and thanks for stopping by today.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Sunday, Checking In........


A warming trend is welcomed as we seem to have had an early winter.  The day was warm yesterday and the house furnace rarely turned on during the day.


The snow is mostly gone now but more will be coming late tonight.  The flower bed doesn't get raked as I like to leave the leaf matter on the beds.  The one ditch lily is still looking green but that won't last for long.

The birch tree expresses for me what it looks like most of the winter outside. I have taken a lot of photos of the birch this year and the layers of snow on its branches will be its next stage for me.

We didn't look this gray yesterday though as the sun was shinning and the sky was clear.  It could of been an early fall day with it being so warm.

I hope all of you are having better weather at the time being.  I know there is a lot of snow that needs to be melted up in the northeast. We will have cold air back in the state by late tonight.   Thanks for stopping by today.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Hanging Around a Lumberyard.......


How many trips does one have to make to get a "do it yourself" job done?  I think there is always for certain at least one more trip to buy those things that don't fit, wrong color, or need a special tool.  The bottom part of the kitchen cupboards consisted of 7 drawers and 5 doors.  We bought five sets of new hinges from the one drawer at Menards ,of which should have been all the same hinges.  Two sets of them were the wrong size.  They looked just like the others but they were for a wood door that was thicker than our doors.  Doing the job I figured will require me to put in 30 screws to hold the hinges and 20 screws to attach the doors.  More screws, 10 of them, are used to hold on the door handles.  One set of the hinges didn't have the screws in it.  Finding just the right size of screwdriver for them is always a challenge and I don't seem to have the right screwdriver to the larger screws that hold the handles in place.  I made do, knowing that I could go back one more time to get just the right sized tool to make it happen. 

It was a good return trip today, even though it was crowded, as my wife thought of more things that she needed.  New silverware trays, utensil trays and shelf paper, now called shelf and drawer liner.  We found all these things in the section where the fancy new kitchen cupboards are sold along with fancy counter tops. This house would look strange with that kind of kitchen even though we would like a new kitchen.  But for this house we are just glad to give our cupboards a new paint job.

While clearing out a "catch all" drawer I found the shell casing.  I was a little concerned that I had lost it.  During my dad's funeral they had a 21 gun solute.  It was a neat thing that they did for veteran's.

Afterwards a first cousin of my dad's walked up and handed us four boys a shell casing from the firing of the guns. He was a part of the firing squad.  I was glad to find it laying in the very back of the drawer.  I took a photo of the casing along with my dad's belt buckle and one of his rings with a jade stone.  My dad did the cutting and polishing of the stones. He bought the Mexican crazy lace at a rock show along with the jade stone.

I will finish off blogging soon as I am so late in doing so.  This was an outside shot I took as the neighbor's jeep is about all the color out there to see.  I am sure Paul will be enjoy using his plow once the snow starts to fill up the streets and alley.

I should have the bottom part of our kitchen cupboards done today and then the next part will get my attention.  We have a grandson coming to Iowa on Friday so we are getting ready for that.  AJ will bring his parents along to help him get to all the planned activities.  He has traveled many places during his long life including out of the country but this will be his first trip to Iowa.  Needless to say we will be so glad to see our Illinois kids.  Thanks for stopping by today.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Taking a Break.......


I am not taking a break, just the bluejay is taking the break.  I do have to get out and take some more photos as I have run out of shots.  It had been too cold for me to do much of anything.

I spent Wednesday and Thursday in the kitchen working on a new paint job for the cupboards.  We both worked on it.  The old home built cupboards were difficult to work with as I had to remove all the hinges and handles in order to sand and repaint them.  All of our drawers had to be emptied and that is all sitting in the dinning room on the table, chairs and counter.  My wife insisted that I didn't need to share everything to the world including the sight you see in the dining room.

Today I am back at school teaching middle school English.  I will be putting all the handles back on drawers and doors after school today and attaching the doors with brand new hinges.   Maybe by evening I will have it all put back together again.We will work together on Saturday to get all the stuff back into the cupboards.  When all is done for this section we will have only the bottom set of cupboards done.  The above cupboards will require a lot of time as they all have bad hinges and need to be sanded.  The above cupboards will not have to be emptied to do the doors. That is good.

I am ready for it to be Saturday.  We may not venture far as freezing rain is in the forecast near us.  Otherwise it is suppose to rain.  I heard on the radio this morning as I was getting out of my car that they think it will get up to 36 degrees today.  Melting would be welcomed.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Things for Thursday......


The planting of the oxalis into a large container was a success this summer.  The cold winds came in early and caused them to flatten a bit but they did survive.  Now they are doing well in the house and I have hope the new sprouts will stand tall and the slanty ones will die away leaving it looking healthy again. The green is so nice to see this time of the year.




Squirrels can seem to be so crafty and clever about things when it comes to getting free food.  These two don't seem to be so smart.  They were so busy trying to chase each other away from the corn feeder that they neither one ate at the feeder most of the day.  I think they were equally threatened of each other so they both stayed away, thinking the opponent must be at the corn.





















By late afternoon the one got to be brave enough to come and check on the feeder. He didn't eat much from it or take many kernels in his cheeks back to his den.



My son and his wife enjoy feeding birds in their Arlington Heights backyard.  It seems that not many people are feeding in the neighborhood as they get mobbed with birds once the new feed is put out.  They have many of the same birds as we do but I think they have a lot more cardinals.  They live in an older development  where the trees are mature so the birds have plenty of places to be unlike a new development would be.  Our grandson AJ isn't quite 2 years old yet and he already is a birdwatcher. 














This guy never did make it up the tree to get any corn. 








I have a lot of downy photos now so I will just show one each day.  The starlings also really like the suet cakes and they also take time to take loose seed.  I don't know what starlings eat but they do pick through the lot of find things to eat.

I have started a kitchen painting project which I might share as time goes on.  The whole mess should be pulled out of there and new cupboards put in but for now they are getting a fresh coat of paint.  When I bought the place in 1976 the seller was a "spray paint happy" guy and clear coated plywood doors were painted an offensive green.  He dumped and poured paint together to paint the outside color of the house and I bet he put white, yellow and green together to get the first color on the cupboards.  The cupboards have had a few different coats of paint now after 34 years and it is now going to get the last coat of paint from me in my lifetime. White and light blue will be the end result.  No pictures until all of the old is covered up and only new can be seen.

Thanks for stopping by today.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Middle of the Week.......


It takes a mess to organize the plants in one's life.  I needed to repot a lot of things and and I just did it all at one time.  I had the fluffy potting soil going everywhere and while trying to break up a clod of dirt in an older pot it scattered all over the counter.  That is why I just do it all at one time.  Clean up was not that bad but I dread the process.  I had new violets that needed to be put into real flower pots and I had the new spider plant that needed to go into a larger container.  The jade plant had been in its original small pot since I purchased it and it really did get large enough to fit into the black pot.



I haven't had a spider plant for a long time.  They sometimes get too big and get frozen off outside before they are brought into the house.  I will take better care of this one.  The plant came in a plastic container decorated with Halloween decoration designs.  Spiders and Halloween go hand in hand I guess. It was a low price and I can now watch it grow all winter in my inside garden.






The past few days were very cold and now we have yo yo temperatures. Nebraska is warm and we will warm up a little and then the Dakota air is suppose to swing in and make us cold again.  The weekend will seem like a heatwave as there is talk of above freezing temperatures.  We continue to have flurries off and on in spite of what the temps are reading.







Yesterday's downy did not have a red spot on its head but the one that shows up at the suet today does have red on it.  I have to take five or six photos to catch the red on the bird as it keeps dipping in and out of the suet.  I will share bird with red spot another time. I would have thought I would have a couple more kinds of woodpeckers at the suet by now but nothing yet. 






I am home again today and it is going to be good.  I have small things to do all day and they amount to a large project by the time the day is done.  Weather is not threatening and that is good and being outside to do things is ok but I don't have much to do.  I put up the fresh corn on the squirrels platforms and the feeder has been restocked.    I  hope everyone is doing well out there and thanks for stopping by today.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Tuesday..........Things.


The inside ceramic birds seem to be doing well enjoying the heat of the furnace.  The window in my computer desk area seems to give a good view of the weather with its bright winter white light.

Where did the summer and fall go as now I look out and this is a way too familiar of a sight. The corner of the t intersection has the redtwig dogwood shrub showing. I am reminded that I have yet to  trim it back.  It can be done in the winter.  Some articles in garden books and magazines share people's technique of cutting them down to the ground every fall.

If you click on the photo you can see a new ramp that has been added to the house.  I have known the woman there for years, a former student,  but I never talk to her.  I am wondering who the ramp is for and that maybe a parent is going to move into the house with her. It is a really nice looking ramp and was put up at about the same time as I gained the view of the new storage shed in front of the corn field across the street.



It is about time for a "donkey and cart" report again.  I bought the new vine for it and so far it looks good.  I don't know if it will do anything but grow taller.  If that is so, it might not have been the best of the choices for plants. The person at the nursery knew nothing about the plant so I just used my gut feelings about the choice.  I glued the ceramic planter together a couple of years back from a great fall that it had and I still am very careful when I move it.


I am home today so I can get some projects done.  I turned down an associate job to get some work done at home.  I took a shot of the phlox plants next to Barney out back and as you can see they do hold their green for a long time  Eventually they dry up and turn yellow.  With drifts of snow they make a great photo.  Right now they look like an area I should have cleared in the garden.

I didn't get the tomato garden cleared this fall but I did get my one batch of wood scraps burned. I also burned a thumb in the process but it is ok now.  Once the snow comes there are just regrets for not getting things done. I don't have any people inspectors breathing down my neck about it so I don't worry about it either.  I will try to get my snow stick up today.  I will share info about that later.

We had a light snow a few minutes ago but now the sun is coming out and it looks like a great day.  We are at 8 degrees F right now but we will hit the 20's eventually.  I am glad to not be going to school today.  I hope everyone can stay inside today, even those who are in Florida, as it is cold outside everywhere.  Thanks for stopping by today.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Monday............a Little Cold.


The sparrow is looking me over but he really does not want to leave the millet that he is standing in on the feeder.  They snow has finally been cleared by birds digging it out of the way to help them find the seed.


The sun is shinning but it isn't really warm.  The weather computer that tells channel 8 the temperatures for Woodward is in my science room that I am teaching in today.  It officially says we are at 14 degrees F.  There is no wind right now and that is a good thing.


I bought an electric heater for the bird's room so they won't get chilled.  That is bad if they catch drafts or are too cold.  The benefit for the birds also helps out the hardy geraniums who think it is now still summer.  The geraniums were in a reblooming cycle when I brought them inside.  They did take a little shock from the shift into the indoor climate by dropping a few leaves,  I will take some time and remove them one by one to make the plants look better. 

 I kept getting called to come in to substitute today and I kept rejecting them.  I finally accepted the middle school science job even though I truly just wanted to stay home today and work on projects. The secretary called me personally and not the machine.  I hate to leave them hanging with that many jobs to fill so I did the one that was essential.  Some of the associate's jobs they just won't find workers for and they have to fill in with other staff.




I hope all are well, all my cold blogger friends.  I can't see that most of you are not missing out on the Arctic air.  It seems to have spread across the nation.  Everyone be careful and thanks for stopping by today.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Sunday Evening Sharing.........


Saturday's snow came and the squirrels were not bothered by any of it.  Today that ear is just a cob with all the kernels being removed from it. I will replace it soon as there are a lot of squirrels out there to feed.



The juncos seemed to be dominating the feeders today with a small scattering of sparrows checking in to eat.  This feeder is next to the dinning room window and the birds are so busy eating to notice me with the camera.

The furnace hums along as it keeps our house warm. I am not looking forward to tomorrow nights temperature as they are predicted to be in the single digits. 

I have to shovel out the snow so Button can use the backyard any time of the day.  I had to shovel Saturday evening late so he wouldn't be too bashful to go out the door.  We didn't end up with a large amount of snow but I had to scrape ice off the car this morning. The snow through the night was a light fluffy snow which had built up on the car roof.


















The house is warm and the fish seem to be in a tropical site.  They are cold blooded and really don't care how cold that it is. I don't put a heater in the tank for the goldfish so they stay just room temperature.

Thanks for stopping by today.