Larry.s Creative Zone

Larry.s Creative Zone

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Stripes and stuff.......


The stripes make a candy stick look very sweet and good to eat.  The thing that bothers me is the peppermint is so strong.  It is like the punishment for craving the sugar in the candy.  I eat them and always wish that they would cut down on the bite that they put into it.


The last time we had a snow the squirrel took advantage of the overhang on the feeder.  It kept the snow off of his head while he feasted.



I found a new area in the house that needs to been cleaned out and straightened.  Old magazines are great to have but not to store.  The National Geographics are old but the Life and the Look magazines are keepers.  I didn't photograph the rest of the cupboard as it has many things that make it looks like a real mess.

We were out and about this morning for a while but it is starting to rain.  We are suppose to have very bad weather and I still just wait and see.  They have been so wrong for so many times that they have lost my trust.  Maybe there will be snow.  Thanks for coming by today.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Mixture of Things..........


The birch and the silver maple branchesput out a great line design almost covering the cold winter sky.



The gang of 4 Eurasian Ringed Necks were at the feeder again yesterday.  I don't have ground corn but the millet must be of interest to them.  It is neat to see them fly up  and away at the same time which they seem to do each time they visit. They resemble the pigeons as they fly around in flocks.  I do know that when the nesting season starts that they scatter out in pairs. 




My thistle seed sock is almost empty.  I have not had success with any other kind of feeder but this one works well.  Juncos, chickadees, finches and the one titmouse enjoy the seed.  The seed scatters below as they pull seed through the webbing.

Yep, I declare being retired and I still have been teaching half days most of the week.  I think I should come out of retirement so I can quit teaching.  I don't have any more assignments now at this time. I hope to keep it that way. I am in the business room this morning and I have the rest of the day off.  We turned cold yesterday and the wind does seem to keep blowing.  Eventually it will blow in some snow.  I know a lot of you have snow yet and we will join you soon with white stuff on the ground.  Thanks for stopping by today.


Thursday, January 29, 2015

Remnants of Winter..........


The last of the snowbank that was in the front yard remains.  It was where the snow was piled from my driveway and it hasn't been so warm to make it go away completely. The grass seems almost green as we have had plenty of moisture for it all summer.  I won't tell you the forecast for us as they have been wrong most of the week.  I think snow may happen again but I won't report it until I see it.



Someone in a person's family use to correct letters and send them back to show them all their mistakes in writing and spelling.  I see the past few days my fingers were doing the walking to all the wrong keys.  I am glad that no one out there will be sending it back corrected.  I did get a lecture a few years back from one women overseas about the use of its and it's. Ironically she was making a lot of other errors on her writing of her blog which evened the score in my mind.  When you are away from the classroom for so long and then pick up writing again the rules haven't all stuck in the brain. From my experience yesterday, watching a teacher tell about adjectives, I see that I couldn't identify them very well.  I am guilty though of using way too many of them.  My mild bout with a virus did sort of mess with my body and mind so I can use that excuse for sloppy keyboarding skills.








Neglect is a good thing for this kind of cactus.  I sat this on the floor many weeks ago before Christmas under the flower tables.  I was cleaning up a water spill.  A few days ago I look down to see it and it was all withered and dry.  One good dose of water and it is looking better than ever.  i would not be surprised that it will now set on more blooms.









 What was I thinking?  I made this funny shelf-like thing because I didn't have a fence that was long enough to fill the space.  Maybe this summer I can create something that looks like it belongs there and it won't look like this.  If you click on the photo you can get a good look at the birch tree behind it.

We are headed to the pharmacy this morning and then I have a half day of teaching in the afternoon.  Sixth and seventh grade English.  I will have to bone up more on my adjectives.  I was in the room yesterday, half day, as an associate and today I teach.  The teacher had the horrible coughing part of the virus that is going around and I am sure she is off to see a doctor. I said I was going to retire and so far I am down to doing half days.  They don't hire for quarter days so I will have to stop to get to the end. Thanks for stopping by today.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Wednesay.......


I shared a glass plane a few weeks ago and here is the train that I also have in my glass candy toy collection.  Found in the attic where many thieves had been before.  I assume they were the ones who stepped on it and did damage to the back of it.




I guess I will share only antiques today.  The brown mug is from the early 1900's era when dishes with many basic colors of glaze were applied.  The mug itself is a strong clay piece and they then immerse it into glaze completely and then fire it. This is not a piece from fiestaware but it is at the same time frame as when the fiesta was brought onto the market.








The famous bay window of my grandparents in Murray, Iowa.  Our family has started a family facebook site and everyone is sharing photos.  It is fun to see how many photos were taken in front of this side of the house.  My dad is saluting as he is off to war.  He had served a year or more in Washington, D.C. and now is being sent to Belgium by boat to enter the Battle of the Bulge.  I am estimating in my mind that it was 1944 but I have nothing to refer to at this time to verify it.  I guess I have letters sent home from overseas that I could dig through to find out.

Everyone in the family remembers all the plants that my grandmother had it that eastern bay window.  Cactus also sat there.  It is a lot like my dining room window where cactus also sit among the flowers.







An unknown manufacturer of this plate makes it to be a mystery to me.  I had a set of dishes in the Minnesota cabin that we bought back in 1974.  I know that it is a replica in style of the blue willow but I have never seen anything about it in antique books or on the net.  I have a few plates and a serving dish. It is just a mystery set of dishes that maybe someday I will discover what it is.














My final photo for the day is an archived photo of the oat sprouter that I own.  I talked about it earlier but never offered up a full view of it.

I am working half day today as an associate.  I will follow into class rooms to watch and help any that need help from this special room.  It is the middle of the week and we may take a journey some time this afternoon.  I hope all are well and thanks for stopping by today.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Things of Tuesday........


Sunday morning I was able to capture a couple shots of two cardinals that were at the feeders.  I had not seen them for a while even though the female had been hanging around. You can see he is cracking his seed open right there on the table rather than flying off to a tree branch.

I was shooting random shots last night just to see what I could accomplish with the camera.  The lighting on the glass items isn't as good as daylight from the window would have been.  The old ink bottle was found out in a burn area with a lot of leftover cans and bottles.  The glass insulator came from southern Iowa probably 40 years ago on our farm. 

The glass lidded piece was one of the items I found in an auction box along with the ivory billiard ball.  That took place when I was still in high school at a farm south of Osceola. The glass is frosted and I figure it was a powder container or a candy dish.








Getting around to do things takes times but I finally did get it done.  A neighbor girl from out on the farm sent me this photo a picture her late mother had taken of me and my dad. The year is 1954 and I bet I blog about the shot later on this year.  The neighbor girl is in her upper 70's now and I am not so far behind her in age.  It is a shock to see a photo that I didn't remember was ever taken.  I have revisited an album of my mom's that I now need to scan most of the pictures in it.  The shots start out being from the days before my parents married and there is even a shot of my mom holding her box camera.  I think her brother and she had each a camera of the same kind.  All will be shared later on this blog and other ones that I create.


As a Christmas present from my wife I received a coffee mug.  When I opened it I thought someone was stealing my artwork and producing products with my image.  They sort of did do that but only one was created and my wife ordered it.  The"Brave New Journey" was the first painting I did right after I quit teaching the first time.  I painted about a dozen paintings and then life became too interesting demanding and complicated for me to ever paint again. 

I post this because I am going to try to retire again.  It is time to leave that experience behind me.  I turned down a second long term job earlier and now I am going to reduce the time I am there.  I told them that I might do some of the half days for them because they are hard to fill but by the end of March I will probably be gone. They were so good to me when I really needed to work but I know they are in good hands with a lot of younger subs now working.  They didn't have more than 3 or 4 people to do the work when I first started.

No work today and half days Wednesday and Friday.  Today is a good day to rest.  I still have small jobs everywhere that need attention but I will get around to them when I feel like it.  Thanks for stopping by today. I hope everyone is safe and warm where ever you are living.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Starting Out the Week........


The longer beak and larger size makes this a male hairy woodpecker.  I enjoy them at the feeder as they feed no matter what the weather might be.  During a raging snow storm they are out there.  During a nice warm day they are out there too. Many times the smaller downy will share the space at the other suet feeder without any concern.




I need to get some fresh photo material but for now I will just keep sharing the female cardinal.  I did have two male cardinals hitting the feeders yesterday but those shots are still on the camera which is at home while I am at school.






Being low on material I will dig out this one more Christmas ornament.  I have a purple colored one in the same shape.  The peacock would be more of a Victorian type of decoration but I doubt that this was ever a traditional ornament of the past.

With teacher's children becoming ill with high temperatures there is a need for many subs.  Teachers themselves are catching whatever is going around and they need subs.  I am a high school history teacher today with classes of freshmen and classes of seniors.  Opposite ends of the spectrum with immature kids with mature kids off and on throughout the day.  We have sunshine to day and will be in the 50's today temperature wise.  That usually happens when the east coast gets blasted.  I hope all the coastal states can survive it all and that warm weather returns soon for them.  Thank you for stopping in today.  Take care.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Sleek in Design......


The chickadee colorings would make a great design on a jet airliner.  They are so streamlined in appearance.  I don't quit know why this one was standing still for me but I guess it was watching all the activity that was going on at the other feeder.



This old bird feeder is not of a great design but all birds seem to really like it.  This blurry shot of the sparrows show how much they like it.  The cardinals seem to like it as well as the nuthatch birds.  Of course the squirrels really enjoy eating out of the tray and when I put shelled corn in it they do hang around for a while.  This morning a squirrel was pulling one kernel at a time out of the tray and then would crawl up on top of it to eat it.








I have been getting some really poor shots of the birds during the gray days but  this morning the sun gave me a chance to get some great shots. The female cardinal feathers has a reflective quality to them and the sun seemed to make her more colorful than she really was.

It is a rainy and snowy kind of day.  Our ground is wet but the snow isn't coming down yet. I see a lot of my blogger friends are having snow.  We will start a cooling trend again and should be below freezing again this week.  Thanks for stopping by today. 


Saturday, January 24, 2015

Easy Going.........


I looked out last night to see if the feral cat food feeder needed to be restocked.  It is warmer weather and the wanderers are out to eat food.  To my surprise there was the largest cat I had ever seen eating at the feeder.  It was a very large fluffy furred racoon.  I like seeing pictures and videos of racoons but I don't like them around the house. This one looked like it was a large mother racoon and it did get startled when I turned on the porch light.

I, in one way wanted to get a picture, and in another way I was being too appalled about the wild animal on my porch.  I had noticed something was messing with one of my suet feeders a couple of days ago and now I know what it was. I am sure it is living in one of my hollows of the old silver maple trees.  The number of racoons being hit by cars on our major four lane highway near here should of reminded me that they would be out and about in town too.


I know that woodpeckers are always on the lookout for insects in tree trunks but I find it unusual that they check out the wooden boards that make up the pole for the feeder.



Here is another shot of one of the Eurasian Ringed Neck doves.  Birdwatchers did record their coming to the United States as they first were found in Florida some years back.  Now they are recorded as being in most states. They are a quiet easy going bird just like the mourning dove but are smaller that the mourning dove.





I picked up an Iowa gardening magazine to see what the new and  upcoming plants that are for sale this year.  While there, a horticultural person gave advice on the growing of violets.  I find myself that the growing medium that plants are in when you buy them is only for starting plants. I find even my poinsettia dies too soon if I don't put it into real soil.

The gardener recommended to repot the violets into a good soil as soon as you buy them.  If you can't keep the starter mixture damp continually the violet will either die. But too much moisture will rot them.   It is hard to keep the balance just right.  The person also recommended to repot your violets twice a year to keep them from getting long stems.  I don't change the soil or mess with them if they are blooming but it is something to think about.  The violet you see here needs to be put into soil but it hasn't stopped blooming since I bought last fall.

It is Saturday and we are predicted to have a mild winter day.  Things may change by evening but for now it is nice out there. No plans are in the works as we both seem to be needing rest.  An easy going Saturday seems to be the big picture for us today.  Thanks for stopping by today. 


Friday, January 23, 2015

Friday's Finally Here........


It is old and wobbly and I had to do some repairs.  It hasn't had a thorough restoration but it seems to be holding up.  It is upside down right now and you can see the past repairs to keep the base of it intact and to stop further cracking.


The underside of the top of the stand also looks the worse for wear but it is holding together too. The cardboard pieces are there to tighten the contact between the wooden pole and the top of it.  I am sure the wood has shrunk and that the contact of the pole to the base was nonexistent. It now is a tight fit now again.

I don't know the actual name for it but my grandma purchased it at an auction for a quarter. She wanted it for a plant stand and I could see it holding a large fern in a parlor.

A neighbor man and his wife took her to Humeston, Iowa to an auction in one of the old fashioned sale barns where they also auctioned animals. They would hold up items in the ring and the crowd would bid on them.  She asked the guy to bid on it and she only had a quarter with her.  She did get it. That had to be back in the 1960's.

It was a mess in color as it was covered with the dark stain and dirt with scratches.  She had me paint paint it powder blue with a dark blue circle top all over the bad finish.  I was in high school at the time. She had it for quite a few years and did put plants on it.

How I ended up with that stand I really don't remember.  I think my grandmother was giving things away once she found out she had cancer.  She had a brother who loved antiques and she couldn't say no to him when he would come around.  I also got an antique walnut dining room table from her as she had it hiding upstairs so her brother couldn't see it. She had received a formica top table and chairs and she love them.  On a visit she wanted me to hurriedly get the table, in pieces at the time. out of her house so she could be sure that I got the table. She loved her brother and could not say no to him.




 While blogging yesterday, four morning doves came to the feeder area.  I had not seen one all winter.  My brother in law who lives in another town said he had them at his feeder all winter.  I was beginning to believe that they migrated but I guess they had found a better place to eat.




Now I see from this photo that they were Eurasian Ringneck Doves. I guess they seemed large to me as I haven't seen them for quite a while but the morning dove is much bigger.  They did fly in as a group of 4 which I never usually see.  A pair will frequent the feeder in summer maybe two different pair but not all fly in together.


I will finish off with one photo of the last of the ornaments to be put in the box. Everything is in storage now and no more trips for me down the basement stair.  This is one of the Hallmark ones.  The little bear at the reins seems to be hanging on for dear life.  I don't know if they are collectible but I have had this one for a lot of years.

While delivering boxes yesterday I hit the side of the water heater control box.  I had to go  down and relight it after we found that there wasn't hot water to wash the noon dishes.  It is an old water heater and it took a couple of tries.  I was concerned that I would have to get a new thermocouple for it like the furnace but it just was touchy with its setting to keep the pilot lighted.

I am off to school this afternoon to be a health teacher.  A half day job doesn't bother me as long as I didn't have any other day long plan for the day.  The half days are easier to get as those who are really needing the work want a whole day of work and won't accept the half day assignment.  It will go fast as I see the guy has a planning period in there so it won't be a tough day.

We are not as warm today and will probably stay that way for a while.  Rain may be in the picture this afternoon and a chance of snow over the weekend.  I hope all are doing well out there.  Thanks for stopping by today.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

A Trio of Shots........


A feeder with a tail would be my title for this shot.  I hung this feeder over in the bush so the squirrels would not bother my main feeder so often.  As you can see the shelled corn is good and the guy on the other side is helping himself.


This one ear of corn didn't last the day.  I think most of the squirrels were so glad the I had found ear corn that they had to have a go at it. My wife caught this picture a couple of days ago.


I am still experimenting with the new camera and am always trying out some of the settings to see what they will do.  It has a panorama setting that I want to try.  I remember when those cameras were the rage for a while. I will have to drive out to the edge of town to capture any sunset.

Thursday can be a good day.  We don't have any plans and I will mess around putting things away and straightening up from Christmas.  Button has a heart medicine that we need to pick up so we will get some grocery shopping done this afternoon.  We go since we are out there anyway.  We are cool again today but no snow is in sight.  Thanks for stopping by today.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Middle of the Week.......


My wife's capture of the titmouse bird is the featured first photo today.  I also have it on my Photo a Day blog.  It is something special for us to see as I don't think I have ever seen any around here before now.  I remember when the juncos started to come into the feeders a few years ago but the titmouse is a new one for us.  Once I saw that top notch on the camera viewfinder I knew what it was.  I guess I really haven't seen it yet it in reality as I have only seen this image.


I am doing a wandering Wednesday for me as I have a lot of different things to share.  We removed all the ornaments from our big tree. I wanted to play with my new camera so I left a few things back to take images of them.  This rocking horse ornament is one that was given to our sons back when they were young.  The hair on the guy looks like it is blowing in the wind.  In reality the weathering process has cause the strings of the tail and mane to frizz.  I think it would be neat to make a life sized one of these some day. The tree goes to the basement once this blog is done.


The hardy geraniums that are in the window box are about to be sent to another room  They are in the large dining room window and they are down to this one set of blooms.  When this is gone then it will go.  There is not rebudding going on right now so I don't want to see just a row of geranium foliage. The violets would like some more light.  I do think groups of flowers do better as the moisture in the surrounding pots creates a greenhouse environment.  When I remove it, the nine violets and two other larger plants will still be there.


 If I had a newer computer and a better internet provider I think downloading photos would not take so long.  As a result of downloading time I can set by the plants and dead head them.  You can see it was needing to be done.  I did get some good blooms in the group which was not my plan.  It is like me and weed eater working in the flower garden. It doesn't work well.  I always catch a stem with blooms on it when I am trying for the weeds. Iris are really easy to cut off with a weed eater.





While clearing things for the last time down on the farm I ended up with this antique gasoline can.  I will give it to my brother in law if he wants it, otherwise it is more things to push around at my lot.  He doesn't have storage room so I am the the junkyard so to speak for storage for now.

It is kind of amazing that the painted handle still has the original paint.  I have never smelled of the contents in it to know what is stored inside.  The plastic small cap means someone lost the original cap and it had to have a replacement.  It definite had to be removed before the environmental inspectors arrive on the farm.


Another shot of the can.  I like the little handles on the base which would help in  pouring from it.  It is old because they don't worry about those details anymore.

We are not as warm today and it is a gray day.  The birds are hitting the feeders hard today.  I don't know if they think we are going to receive snow but they are wrong.  Northern Iowa is getting some of the white fluff but we are not close enough to the storm south of us so we won't see snow. 

No big plans today but I never seem to get work on Wednesday.  It is kind of good to rest up anyway and get some work done at home.  I hope all is well with everyone out there.  Thanks for stopping in today.

Oh I forgot to mention that I washed my car yesterday.  I forgot that it had a shiny finish.  The mud, dust and birds seemed to be attracted to it most of this winter. 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Monday's Sky on Tuesday.......


Yesterday we had beautiful clouds above us in town.  I rarely take shots of the sky here as I get all of the buildings and electric wires in the photo.  As the wind blew the clouds away the evening sky turned to red.  It was amazing but I only saw pictures of it on tv from those who live in the country or on the west edge of town.








My dad's old squirrel platform is loaded and ready to go. I am not sure what he used here to make it but for a while I thought it too rustic and had it in the burn pile.  I pulled it out of the pile and it looks good ready for a few more years of use.
















The front feeder is also loaded.  I have thoughts of growing my own corn this summer but then I have visions of the raccoons coming to eat them.  I guess the time element and space used in the garden would make me think it is probably a bad idea.  I will just buy it in plastic bags at the Wally world and pay too much for it.

Maybe I could grow just a clump of it like the colonialists did and grow climbing green beans. 









My wife asked me to look at a couple of photos she had taken while I was at work yesterday.  She wanted to know what kind of bird that it was.  She pulled off a great capture.  I won't tell you what it is right now but it is a common one that we don't see very often.  I don't think I have seen it for quite a few years.  The map of bird areas says it really isn't suppose to be here.  I will share the next photo tomorrow to see if you know what kind of bird that it is.  I am sure some of you can make identification by looking at it with the top view. Make a guess if you wish.


I was able to take a lot of shots outside yesterday after work.  I have sort of a junkyard out between the old riding mower and the garden shed.  One can not see it from the road but I do need to get things straightened up some this spring. The old seat from a horse drawn piece of farm machinery lays among tools that need to be put back into the shed.

 I remember sitting on one of these on our old hay rake at home as a kid.  It wasn't removed when they put a tractor tongue on it so the tractor pulled the rake instead of horse.  It now seems unusual to have left it attached but then I didn't think about it. I had a cast iron seat like this given to me from my John and Iva connection.  I think I have been working on it for years to forgive my dad for giving it away to someone.  It was so fancy with curly holes in the seat not like this cheap tin one.

We will be a little warmer today but it isn't going to be as warm as yesterday.  Freezing at night and cool in the day isn't a bad thing.  Snow threats are out there but I don't think they have gotten those forecasted correctly for a long time now.  I am home today and I have lots of nit picking things to get done.  When I spend a day at work like yesterday I feel like I need to get things done when I get home.  All the jobs are small things but if I get them all done I will be happier.  I will scurry around here for a while and then I will take a break.  I can do that when I work at home for myself.

Thank you for stopping by today.  Everyone please be warm and safe.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Monday and Wide Awake.......


We are seeing sunshine and it looks really great.  I haven't become too warm yet so it is a welcomed sight.  I shared a similar shot of the garden shed on one of my posts but this one shows the glare that was happening a few days ago. The cupola is one more thing on my list to be repaired.  In this case the thing will probably have to be totally replaced as I used cheap wood on it when I made it back when the shed was first built. 


When I discovered I was throwing away photos because I couldn't see them clearly on iphoto and on the screen of the laptop, I discovered this number.  I edited this photo a little by lightening it and discovered the bird is in midair.  I don't know if he is coming or going but he is in suspension for sure. I can see one claw is hooked on the one horizontal board so he may be just coming into the feeder.  I am glad I noticed that I needed to get back onto my older computer with the better editing program.

My new camera takes blue photos when I set it up incorrectly.  I had this set on macro apparently while taking the outside shot.  I edited out some blue but now it looks a little lavender.  I have shared the shadow box before that hangs on the fence with the two ceramic houses sitting inside. I removed one of the houses during the summe that was with them and it sits below on a rock next to a rosebush. That snow is now gone with a few little drifts hiding in the shade. I do notice right away when I am taking blue photos so I do get a chance to make the correction.






Another shot of one of the bluebirds that visited the feeder last week. I really had to pay attention to be able to see that bird in the picture as he does blend in with house.  The bird house is overdue for a remodel and repair job. 










While going through the toy cupboard I saw that I have my small car collection piled inside without any organization.  I think I will get some boxes to sort them and place them in there with some better conditions.  I really don't know why I have the two Cadillacs. My grey cells dig up the experience when we were in Kansas City in a mall where they sell everything about cars.  I am thinking that they were on a 2 for 5 bucks sale which meant it would be foolish not to buy just one of them.  I guess it is a his and her set of cars in my collection.  When I was a kid I remember seeing those tail fins on the back fenders of cars.  Our neighbor to the north had a plymouth car with the fancy tail fins on it, making it look like a bird or spaceship.   The car was a salmon pink color which was popular by car manufacturers back then.  I remember a John Horton who had a two door hard top Ford Fairlane, 1957.  in which  they dove taking their trips out west to see they grown kids. 

Fake berries on a fake wreath seems to brighten up my blog today.  I still have one pinecone wreathe hanging on the front door.  It is not so seasonal looking that I can leave it there for a while longer.

I was awakened this morning at 5:47  to come to work today.  I accepted it regardless as to how asleep that I still was at the time.  I set the alarm for 6:15 in case I didn't wake back up to go in to school today.  I didn't go back to sleep but anyway, here I am sitting in a high school math classroom.

 The teacher's daughter is ill and has been for a few days.  Our grandson in Illinois picked up a stomach flu from somewhere out there in the crowd.  We have not checked in on him today but will this evening.  It is a scary time for parents of young children and I guess for older people like me too. 

I hope everyone has a good day and thank you for hanging around my place today.