Larry.s Creative Zone

Larry.s Creative Zone

Friday, November 17, 2017

Friday without edits......

The table was called a turkey legged table when I saw it on Norm's PBS  wood furniture making show. It isn't on anymore but Norm couldn't figure out why they were called turkey legged.  The whole texture pattern created by the rings on the legs does resemble the texture of a turkey's leg.  The table probably originated with my wife's grandparents and we now want to rework it. The legs have metal sleeves on the feet with a glass ball in the bird claw.  It is just like the piano stool only they claws and brackets are much larger. The top that Norm Abrams made on his show was a round one and not a three leaf clover shape. The whole arrangement is an accident as I was putting out things to take up to the kitchen to put above the kitchen cupboards. These things were leftovers that I ended up not wanting to use.

While shooting pictures a couple of days ago, I revisited my storage shelves in the workroom. The ceramic flower pots all glare out at me and wonder why they are not being used in the main house. The long black cat up there on the top shelf is a new thing that I found in a box in the basement of the old house. I should photograph it some time to share. It is a planter I believe that is built into the back of the stretched black panther.

People do like fall but this is what I think of when fall arrives.  Things just die and I have to take away the dead plant material.  I still have mums to clear away. I may leave them for the snow to collect on and then again they may be just cut away.

I spent my morning at the Boone County Landfill.  It is always a strange experience where on goes to get rid of things.  Today I was dealing with tires.  To make the story short, I offered to take all the tires from the now sold farm and store them on my property.  There were a hundred tires on that farm that we recycle and the 21 of them I got were ones that were still on their rims.  Five or six years later they were still sitting out there, with a tarp over them.  I didn't get offers of help from the people that I was doing the favor in storing them and in getting rid of them. My wife said she would go and help me but that was nor really her job. Today I took the truck to the old place and loaded them all into the truck. The second tire that I picked up had water in inside of it and that went all up and down my left leg. The water was rusty and dirty and I was wet then the entire morning.

The landfill has many rules and if you don't have a tarp over your load, that it is an automatic 25 dollar charge. I ended up having to back the load up to a deck area and place them into the back of an old shipping truck.  Those donuts of rubber are now gone.  I ended up paying them one hundred dollars for the load, with fine,  and the pleasure of driving away knowing that I will probably never ever going there again.

Thanks for stopping in today. 

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Middle of the Week.......

Wednesday morning seems to be a typical day but it does seem to be a lot warmer. The sun glows on the clouds from behind the row of houses.

Barney has lost a lot of his eyesight but once in a while he takes notice of the back window view. I guess he sees motion of things and does try to figure out what is out there.  I don't think it bothers him being on a second story window but I am sure whatever he thinks he is seeing is worth while for him.

These bells laid in the grass at the old place and were lost.  I found them while clearing grass from beside the steps.  One bell had come off earlier and was brought into the house. Whatever their adventures were, they have all three have been reunited, waiting for me to reconnect them and to polish them. I really like the sound of brass bells and will make that a winter project to restore the bunch.

One of our neighbors from the old place moved to our city a few months after we had done so.  She went into a retirement building away from living in her parents old house.  We got together today and were pleased of her set up.  She really has blended in to the environment and the people there. She knows everyone and that life style will be great for her.  She shared that she was homesick and yet knew that the move was a good one for her.  After she showed us all around the many wings of multistoried apartments we took her to a diner.  We all had tenderloins and fries with pop.  We caught up on a lot of things as we have both been really too busy to get together for a long time. We were pleased of her place that looks out over a large pond.  She has squeezed in the most valuables of her past and it is a cozy place.

Thank you for stopping by today.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Second Day of the Week....

As I was posting this photo I thought that I will get a lot of good winter photos of this tree. I also notice that my dogwood bushes  were a good visual barrier from all the neighbors.  They were getting really tall so I would not have seen that light in the window before the trim. I am sure the neighbors liked not being able to see us too.

When we first moved here it was an adjustment as to how private we should live.  I walked by the sliding glass door and the neighbor guy, young, was in his large window. When he saw me walk by I noticed that he jumped and ducked out of sight.  He has gotten use to the idea that we like to see out and our double glass door curtains are going to be opened in the daytime. Within a few weeks I noticed that they now just leave their curtains open most of the time. I guess we are old but not too scary to them anymore.

A project in progress is this old piano stool. I have had it for over 40 years and never refinished it.  I am thinking that it may get a coat of paint as the wood is really not in good shape.

The claw feet are metal, which I can't identify the kind at this point. I need to research that as I would have thought they would be  brass. The glass ball inside that taloned feet seems to be soundly fastened.

The bottom of the seat doesn't really look like it is made of a fancy wood.  I may have to strip that residue finish to see what it is.

The metal bracket has the words "gerts" and "Chicago" cast in it. As with most pieces that I restore, I work at it before I decide how to finish it.  I could see the seat refinished as a natural wood and maybe the base being black or brown paint. I have to glue most of the joints as that has all vanished.  It holds together well because of its design but I wouldn't want anyone to sit on it until it has been repaired. I could see it slowly squash down with weight on it, spread-eagle.
It isn't the money thing that I keep the hardy geraniums over the winter.  It is that when they are so much alive and healthy I can't just let it die.  So, I now have three of theses sitting on the back of my workshop bench.  I turn on the shop light once in a while just for them and they will survive for spring. The other two sit in galvanized buckets and I really do need one of the buckets.  I will find something else to use up at the old place. As a footnote, I did let one other geranium freeze and die of natural causes.

It is Tuesday and we are warming up a little bit.  It will be nice to be outside with a light jacket. Thanks for stopping by today.

Monday, November 13, 2017

It's the Berries.......

I mentioned earlier that the berries were forming and immediately realized the bush was a burning bush. It isn't such a great looking shrub when it loses its leaves. While looking at winter pictures of it I had decided that bush needed to go.  Now I see that it is not very old and needs to have room to grow.

I am glad we have the shrub.  I really am bothered by the neighbors all having nothing in their yards. There is a young couple up two houses just hired a nursery to plant a lot of trees and shrubs. I am happy to see it to help break up the starkness of our neighborhood. It reaffirms to us that this house was good for us as the previous owners bless it with a lot of good plantings.

I took the shot as a challenge to see if I could get a good composition with it.  The yellow lightbulb must go but it just haven't happened.  I replaced the entrance bulb that was yellow with a spotlight bulb to light things for the dog. There are neighbors who have blue lights to commemorate the brutal killing of police officers a year ago.  I am believing that this color was use for repelling the bugs in summer. I really like the two lights on the garage as they do resemble carriage lights of old.

The woman of the house in the past liked quilts. She had prints of P. Buckley Moss pictures of Amish themed artworks. Moss would paint lots of different scenes that would include quits. We don't have any prints of her's but we do have loads of quilts from my mom's leftover collection.  I am assuming the quilt decoration placed at the peak of the garage gable is a part of the movement in which people place quilt block designs on their barns.

My wife and I are undecided as to what we should do with this.  Our house is different than most up and down the street.  It really is a country cottage design but the two artists need to figure out what to do to replace it. Most all the other houses are modern high pitched roofs with multiple garages making them a modern style.

The downstairs space has been rearranged one more time.  It doesn't look like this anymore. I still have more plants than I really need to have. The walkout basement doors are really nice and it will be great to see all the things that I have planted for spring just outside the patio.  The actual sliding doors are cheaply made and we will wait until next year to replace it. We will probably regret that decision as winter sets in but it seems to be something we can put off for now among all the other things we still need to do.

Those curtains are ugly in our opinion and we do want to replace them. They are bad looking from the back side also.  It is great to have a studio/family room and guest bedroom and bath downstairs. We haven't put it on priority as we are still settling in upstairs.  The back corner of the area has a furnace room that has given me a great workshop and storage room. Our son and his wife with he grand boys are coming for Thanksgiving.  They will have a large space to stay and a lot of room for the kids to play.  Our son last saw this space covered with boxes wall to wall. I will be anxious to see what he things now with it all put away and it looking livable.

The guest bedroom looks like this looking through a back storeroom door. It has the best rug in the house and the space is large for a bedroom. We have missionary friends in Africa who are interested in using the space next summer.  They specifically like that it has its own entrance and they can come and go with some privacy.

I am taking a day off from going to the old place today.  Our temperatures will be warmer tomorrow and that will be better.  We woke up to frost and fog this morning.  Our day will be warmer at 43 degree F. by the afternoon.  It is more pleasant right now.  Thank you for stopping in to my blog today.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Sunshine is Predicted.....

We had two locust trees down on the farm in southern Iowa. They were horrible trees with large thorns and distorted shaped limbs. They dropped limbs, leaves, sticks with thorns continually.  The locust that we have in the front yard is nothing like those trees.  I assume they have bred out the bad qualities to give one a decent tree. On the ground are the leaf bunches that have fallen to the ground.

I have a blanket of the leaves on the ground now. I think I will let them dry up before I deal with removing them. The don't tend to blow around so I can leave them for now.  The two bradford pears in the front yard are not thinking of dropping leaves. As my one neighbor says, they hang around too long.  I guess that is why he cut his two down. I am keeping my two trees.

It was a surprise to see these bunches of branched leaves falling from the tree. I know the old fashion locust would do that during a wind storm. I still can't forget the throne of the old trees as the barefooted boy would always step on one at least once in the summer.

I have a formal portrait of one of the clusters.  I think now it is called "over kill" with my handling of the locust tree.

The potted mandevilla did not bloom this year.  I should repot it and give it one more chance. I could just toss it too as it takes up space where I don't have a lot of space for a plant hospital.  We will wait and see what happens.

Normal Sunday activities for today. It really is warmer than a few days ago.  The light rain is almost done now and we won't need winter coats for now. I thank you for stopping by today.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Reality Check.....

As the earth keeps tilting I have to now say goodby to the early sunrise shots. The sun is showing up behind the house next door.  I will just have to settle for the special effects that show up in the sky because of the sunrise. Having not lived here at this time of the year I really didn't know what things would look like. The southeast end of the house is directly in line with the sun in the morning and the reverse of course is true at night with the northwest end of the house.

The neighbors, up two houses, have the large tree   just now has its leaves changing. I am yet to know the kind of tree that it is an even though it looks like a silver maple, the leaves should be yellow by now.

The maple tree to the left of the blue spruce is almost done dropping its leaves.  I am not a fan of its shape but I am glad that it is there. The tree grows out as if the top of it had been broken off during a storm. With the leaves gone on most trees, I can now see layers of five rows of houses looking northeast. I may just mow the leaves from the maple as it seems to be easier than raking.

The kids keep growing up and the pictures need to be updated in their frames.  I finally got the new ones in their proper frames and the old ones were placed loosely into a photo album.  The album really needs to be organized but even to have one is good for us. We normally have kept boxes of photos.  On a cold windy winter day we can get them all placed in the book. The youngest one looks a lot like his older brother but we can see some differences as we look at the shots of them both.

We are venturing out today as the now normal warmth doesn't seem to be too bad. We are to get rain this afternoon. We will still visit the bookstore today and come home for a quiet afternoon. I tend to back off projects on Saturday and do treat it as a day off. I am settling in with my mind that our outdoor work is almost finished. I wish you all to have a great day and thanks for stopping in today.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Camera in my Pocket......

I am going to leave my camera at the hallway bench at all times.  When I take Barney out in the morning and see a beautiful sunrise, I want to take a shot of it. This morning I didn't get this wonderful shot. It was gone in seconds.  The pink in the sky was reflected on every single cloud.  I am thinking the colder weather is going to bring us more great sunrises.

Can you spot the new thing that I have added to this garden area?  I have four or five of the wagon wheels from my wife's farm home place. I put them in storage for my wife's brother and now with the move they will need to be distributed or placed in the storage unit of my her brother's. I took one out of five of them.  I really don't want any more but I could take another. I didn't plan the arrangement as it was so very cold that I just rolled it down the hill and leaned it against the stairs. Before I start the next photo, I just glanced and see there is something else in the background that is new to this garden area.

It doesn't seem to be in focus but it is almost done. I need to go to the store and get more wood buttons to cover counter sunk screws. I bought a sack with 16 buttons and apparently I needed 20.  They were inexpensive this way.  I could have bought a bag of 50 for a lot of money and I was glad to find the buttons at the craft store.

The piece has three coats of paint. I have noticed that it will get scuff marks easliy and I think it will look just like the modern furniture that is for sale at the stores.  I am not going to take sandpaper to it and fake any wear and tear marks on it but I am going to just let it get ruffed up naturally. The grandkids can put scratches in it and I will enjoy looking at them,

The support boards between the end legs works so well to keep the legs in place and the three shelf boards really strengthen the whole thing in to a sturdy piece of furniture. The painting of the boards was a real difficult thing to do though as every crossed piece of wood liked to form drips as the paint was being applied.

I did look for a before shot and found this one with it upside down. The legs were like this for 30 years or more unbraced and when the table was moved for vacuuming to take place they were always wobbly or bent off at an angle. I think that the transformation is remarkable considering I was thinking I would just lean it up on its side in the storeroom, never to be used.

I went out yesterday, all bundled up to keep warm, and planted a daylily. The soil was almost at the stage of being frozen so it was good to get that done.  I also planted a start of an antique rose that was from the old place.

When I bought the place in 1976 the rose was growing as a large wild bush on the north side of the kitchen.  It was growing around the corner of the kitchen so that building an addition on top of the major part eliminated most of it.  The plant that was growing around the corner ended up spreading to the west edge of the kitchen keeping the rose going. I am sure the rose was planted during the early 1900's when the house was built. I had a large root of it to bury yesterday and the stem on it had three very much alive sprouts on it. I hope that the new clay soil will keep it alive over the winter.  With any transplant, I can only try to replant things and hope that it works.

I looked long and hard to try to find the picture of the old fashion rose but didn't find it.  I did find this shot of our dog Button that we lost now over a year ago.  He gave us 18 years and we cherish all of the memories. He was so special to us and we still think of things about him as we move on.

We are in an Arctic freeze for most all of the day. We may sneak out for a quick grocery run but we will park close to door. Thank you for stopping by today.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Thursday's Things......

The clouds seem to keep the sun covered on this cold morning.  By the time the sun appears it is being covered mostly by the next layer of clouds.

As I travel to the old place I have to cross a dam that is separating two lakes.  Big Creek is a very old lake that would have attached to the newly created big lake, Saylorville. I don't think Big Creek was a natural lake but it is a lot like our state parks that have lakes that are man made ponds.  They put a dam between the two so Big Creek will never be flooded when the larger lake raises to a high level. With all this explaining of things I want to share that I did see a flock of pelicans remaining on that small lake yet in the first week of November. They were off in a distance and it looks like a snowbank on the water. I was surprised and yet I see other photographers in Iowa are picking up shots of them on the Mississippi River.

I could humanize the story and say they must have missed the plane. I can predict that when the waters start to freeze over they will have to quit resting and eating and start flapping their wings. We have Canada geese that are flying in formation now that are really just moving from one farm field to another. It is hard to know which geese are heading south but I think the central Iowan geese don't leave. The geese tend to migrate along our two rivers, Missouri and Mississippi. I have a very old book that has a title "The Land Between Two Rivers" that came from a country school library. If the Saylorville had not been built the migrations would not have ever been viewed here.

In my free time the next few days, I am going to address these invading vines. I need to trim it all back before spring so it can invade the stairs and the deck again next summer.

It is cold today with the warmth of the day being 33 degrees F. at noon and then it gets colder again. I spent yesterday morning in the cold, working on things outside so I am getting a little adjusted to the shock of its bite. I am old enough to know that I have to dress for this cold now so it does make my life better. I don't run out without a coat anymore. Barney is impatient when I go for the coat and hat before putting on his leash but that is the rule.

I wish everyone to have a great day.  Thanks for stopping by today.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

A Visit to the Trees........

I worked at the old place today and was able to grab some shots of the silver maple tree. I had only my wife's photo but it did seem to take some great shots.

The old tree is getting to be too tall.  I didn't get the tree down as planed but will offer to take it down if the future owner wants me to do so.  I am concerned that it will fall on the front of house. I don't have a buyer yet nor is it on the market at this time.

I used my wheel barrow today to move some soil from one part of the property into an old fish pond.  As of now the pond is completely filled in and the liner bricks, 22 of them have been removed.  It was one of my most physical jobs to do.  I had to finish it today as a major cold front moves in tomorrow.  I kept plugging along even though I was exhausted.  I even got the twenty two bricks moved out and stacked neatly in two piles. I my use those for creating a sidewalk or patio addition.

The truck has been so helpful in getting things done.  I switched wheel barrows today moving the old bad one to to the old place and the newer one back home. I decided to crop out the license plate from the photo  so it looks strange because of it. Thank you for stopping by today.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

A Blah Start of a Day.......

It is a blah day.  The sunrise was not inspiring.  The temperatures are just above freezing and the wind chills will make it uncomfortable. These really are the many days that we have before winter hits.  The benefits of the nice fall weather really doesn't hang around for very long. We did have a beautiful sunset last night with many spotted clouds a lots of red and yellow colors.

Looking up the way from our back deck we get to see this mature tree. It was left to grow when the developers created housing units in a soybean farm field. Both neighbors of the tree get to share the leaves.

I identify the yard as the ones who own the tree and the people who have a lab and dachshund.The two dogs are best friends even with the big difference in their size.  I don't see the dogs outside very much as they are two houses down.  When I do see then in part of the yard they are chasing and running together and both are concerned that they will never be let back into the house. When I hear a lab barking, I know it is their dog wanting to get back inside. Sometimes I think they get themselves in trouble and they are banished during a meal.

The remodeling of the old library table is coming along fine.  I feel like I am rescuing a table that should never had been cut down.  I was a young kid at the time and thought it would be unique shortening the legs to make it into a coffee table. At the time the furniture was modern looking and boxy in shape. This made it blend in to the furniture. My appreciation of an antique oak library table would be changed today. It originally was covered with blackish stain to keep people from seeing the grain of the wood.

After I constructed the shelf for the bottom of the table I found I couldn't get it back into its position.  I wasn't surprised but I though I would try to get it back in there.

The inside brace of one end had to be unfastened so I could slip it onto the other side of the legs.  I learned how to counter sink screws with this project as I had never don't that before this project.  I found wood buttons, caps, to cover the heads of the screws making the look be closer to Arts and Crafts styling or Craftsman.

Because it is a remodel to save it from its first repurposing style, I will paint it. I know that it can be stripped off again but for now I am tired of seeing it as an oak table top. It has been a coffee table for forty years and now will be a decorator's piece.  The grandkids will love playing on it just as Andy and Aaron did. The braces on the legs and the cross bracing with the three boards makes it a very strong table.  It had wobbly legs before I did this. In its original form the library table had three vertical boards on the ends of it and a wide single board that extend the length of the table.

We were taking a short cut to a location near Des Moines yesterday and the remaining Canada geese were out and about.  We have certain flocks of them that now chose to winter over in Iowa and I am betting the ones we saw were just some of them.

Thank you for stopping in today.  I wish you all well. Have a great day.