Larry.s Creative Zone

Larry.s Creative Zone

Monday, June 26, 2017

Monday's Moments...

The geese are restless as they move around the yard. I discovered the other day that the heads of the individual plastic goose can be adjusted by turning it. Barney was out and about among the geese yesterday and you can't fool him. He knows by smell that there is no life in those bodies.  He just moved through and around them while traveling to the other side of the yard.

A tradition of ours on the weekend of the Arts Festival is to eat downtown at Spaghetti Works. The place has been in business there a long time and has one interior overall in the past 15 years.  Saturday is the first time I thought about the dragon on the wall, and I am thinking it is plastic or styrofoam. It is one long dragon extending from the front window to the back of that upstairs dining area.

A part of this place is the old truck which has the salad bar on its back truck bed. It helps to make salad exciting but we did notice that the salad plates for the place have shrunk. It is a blurry photo.  The truck reminds me of the one that sat in a garage in southern Iowa at the "John and Iva" home. My brother and I went exploring a kids into the garage and were so surprised to see it sitting in the garage. We of course sat down in it and tried the steering wheel. My dad told me later that some antique hunter offered him $75 for it and took it away with a smile. That truck was just like this one.

The salads are good there but have been reduced in kinds of things. They have large jars of so many kinds of bread cubes and bacon bits at the end of the salad display.

I still have a huge chunk of this lasagna sitting in the refrigerator. It is one large serving. When I was younger I would have downed all of it easily. Their garlic bread is so great with butter on all sides and browned in an oven.

The place is a large, high ceiling with a tin ceiling painted black.  The pipes have to be exposed and the colors are done to be decorative. The old fashion adds and wooden booths makes one feel they are going back in time. The Coke sign advertises that you can buy the drink in glass bottles. I guess originally you could only get it in a glass at a counter.

Sunday afternoon sky seemed pretty quiet but today we have rain clouds everywhere. An early morning rain did soak up things and rain clouds won't be gone into around noon. We have things to do to keep us moving for a long time.  We will get things done.  Thank you for stopping by today.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Saturday's Event.....

We visited the Des Moines Arts Festival on Saturday.  It was chilly on certain sides of the displays and very hot on the other side.  Downtown Des Moines continues to grow.  It is amazing as to how the city dug itself out of the dumps and rebuilt a very modern looking city.  There are still old building standing but the new ones keep popping up yearly.  The one in the background that is being built was more fascinating than al of the modern sculptures that have in the park exhibit.

It takes a lot of steel to create a form in which to build.  The whole structure right now reminds me of a Japanese pagoda but that will change when they start to wrap sit with outside walls.

Streets were closed down for the event but the street going by this building has been blocked for quite some time.  It was strange to see it with no one working but the festival probably limited them from doing any work with all the people who would be around on Saturday.

 We traditionally go to the downtown Spaghetti Works for lunch after touring the art work. It was not busy as the downtown farmers' market was blocking the street.  By one o'clock the cafe started to fill up as people waited for the market to leave.  We parked almost three blocks away and hoofed it. More photos to follow in another blog.

Have a good Sunday and thanks for stopping by today.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Weekend Beginnings........

 A clear sky with cool temperatures is a given.  Summer is upon us and the sun will be up soon to warm us. The grass is wet, so the back patch of grass will have to wait for me to cut it until it all dries out.

My hardy geranium that wintered over has to be moved to another corner of the deck. I have been so busy that I didn't know it was blooming.  I bought new starts of this same plant for the tomato patch this week. Its foliage is so neat. The name of the plant next to the geranium escapes me for now but it is a miracle that it made it through the winter in our old house.  It probably would be better if I repotted it in better soil. The flower on it is tropical looking and the name will come to me eventually.

The lilies from the old place are doing well in their vase with water.  Two of these are Asiatic lilies and one is a daylily.

The zinnias are up.  I am frustrated, as I know that I didn't get them in the ground soon enough.  It will take all of July to get them to start blooming.  I also can see that I sewed them in the ground too thick.  When they get a little more sturdy I will try to transplant out some of them to make a second row. I really had to  keep them moist for quite a few days, morning and evening, to get them to grow. Our natural rains now have really made them stronger and I have quit watering things for a while.

The light shinning on the blue spruce gave me a shot that I just had to take. Between this spruce and the neighbors balsam pine, the birds come and go a lot in both of the trees. For some reason the cardinals and blue jays have moved on and I don't see them any more.  I am sure some of the larger trees down the street and over probably make better nesting areas for them.

We are headed to an Art Festival this morning.  We live so close that we wont' be so tired from the event. There is a second event going on at the State Fair grounds, in an air conditioned building, at the same time.  The one show is outside, downtown, in a sculpture park.  It is a juried show of artist from all over the United States. The work is a little bit more abstract or wild than the normal central Iowa kind.  The one at the fairgrounds is of artists mostly in Iowa or surrounding states. The kinds of work there do seem more like the work that we create.  We live so close now that we can come home and rest from the downtown show and then go back in the afternoon to see the other one.

I wish you all to have a good restful day. Thanks for stopping in my blogspot today.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Summer Blooms........

I have one set of coneflowers blooming right now. This one had been in the front flower garden and I dug it up and moved it to the back of the house.  The root structure of the plant held together well so it did't effect it at all as it was in midbloom when I dug it. I have white ones blooming in the front yard now too.

The now moved ceramic tile is up and going again.  I had lain it on it side to put in the car and the dirt on the bottom fell out.  I had to replace the soil at the bottom and reset the sedum at the top. This is year two for this plant and it likes where I placed it in the backyard. I sprinkled fresh dirt on the top of it early on and I think I may need to do it again incase there are spaces in it at the bottom causing gaps and collapse.

My one neighbor Judy has large, tall tomato plants as she planted her tomatoes a month earlier than me.  She said that they bloomed and stood still in growth for a while during the drought time.  My short plants have two out of six now with blooms. The buds here look gray in the photo and blurry. We got almost an inch of rain last night again so they will be happy plants.

When I brought this piece home with me in 2009, I took everything apart. The mirror and bracket come off with a simple screwdriver. The bottom set of drawers sat in our art gallery the rest of the time alone while the other two parts were in storage.

My mom bought the piece for six dollars at an auction and it had been my piece on the farm. I had stripped the dark varnish off of it when I was 16 years old.

Moving the three parts to the new place was successful but two brace pieces of wood were not found by me.

It was an "old man" moment as I made two new plywood strips and assembled the vanity in the guest bedroom as seen above.  Here in this photo I found the oak braces, in the one drawer. We must have used the drawers placing things on top of them.  When we emptied the drawers they must have been in the back.  When the "2 men and a truck" moved it, they wrapped it in plastic and never removed the drawers.

So yesterday afternoon, I removed my plywood pieces and restored the original parts of the piece to support the weight of the mirror and bracket.

So after all of that assembling, removing the plywood ones and restoring, I emptied out the box sitting next to the dresser. It was like an explosion of colored glass vases as I emptied the box.  We really don't know where they are going to be displayed. We have a lot less places to put things than we had in the old house of many rooms and built-in buffet.

I had a close up view of the pulls and lock covers, all made in brass, but the shot was blurry. The pulls were made with a sturdy design so all of them are there and all the keyhole covers are there too.

My hardy geranium of old looks just like this new one.  I guess I can't stop buying them.  I placed the geraniums among the tomatoes, herbs and marigolds.  I didn't have to water anything this morning.

Thanks for stopping by this Friday. I wish everyone to have a good weekend.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Thursday's do!

A welcomed downpour yesterday morning helped to wash a lot of dirt and dust away from everything. The rain was so hard that it shut down our dish reception for five minutes.  It kept me from having to water things yesterday and I am now debating if I need to hose the plants down again today.

Morning coffee on the deck would have been a chance to get a shower in too.  It is a good way to clean the deck without any hard labor from me.  We have our other two chairs on our downstairs patio below the deck.  We really have not had time to enjoy either place.

 I do work out on the downstair patio with cleaning up furniture that I have moved from the old place. My wife's friend decided that she didn't want either chest of drawers that we had moved to the garage for her.  I cleaned up the one and will use it to sit in a large downstairs closet.  It will hold my mom's quilt collection. The other one, which is a dresser with mirror, will be placed in our basement guest bedroom. Going with the flow has been the best way to get through the things in life.

The top view of my raised bed has changed the past week.  The tomato plants are really growing strong and the herbs have doubled in size. I have some small marigolds in the back that seem rather puny. I don't know if they are ever going to look good. The yard still has spots of yellow which the neighbor says is the clay in the soil.  Rich top soil was gleaned and sold off 15 years ago as a common practice with builders. I have a couple of yellow places in my yard in front that may merit a full bag of potting soil being placed on it to bring on some green grass.

One last set of blooms from the honeysuckle vine. The colors of the plant are so wonderful.  Next to this I have a set of terraced places going down the side of the house.  It is full of clay soil and each place has asparagus planted in them.  From what I saw from this spring the asparagus does not really grow there very well.  I am planing to find a flowering something to go on those 8 terraced locations.  I probably will have to buy dirt to put on top of the clay.

I have some native kind of furniture that I brought from the old place.  I am going to strip them of their many coats of paint and then use them. I know that this came from an old boiler room in the old school building. I first worked in it when I started teaching.  They tore the old building down and the janitor made sure that I got the shelf. The building was built in 1908 and I could imagine the piece coming from a country school. It was a taller shelf as I can see it has been cut off at the bottom.

The other primitive piece is also from the old school.  I don't know exactly were but I think it held paper for the copier machine. I grabbed it from the dumpster when the old building was being emptied. I have one more piece that is a table.  I haven't moved it to the new place yet.  It is a table that I am thinking was a teachers desk.  It has the railing around the back and sides as one sees in old country schools. The table has the same many coats of paint on it and it has a drawer. We used it in the basement laundry area for clothes baskets. I will share the photo when I finally get it moved. All of the pieces will be made of strong wood but not necessarily a hard wood.

We planted cannas in our front flower garden.  There was a need for some height in the plantings but I am not so sure they are going to get very tall. In the old days you had to buy the dry bulb for these and wait for them to catch up while rooting.  These are potted and grown in a greenhouse so they established quickly.

I trimmed unwanted growth from the flower gardens at the old house on Wednesday.  I had a truck full of branches and yard waste to take to the city burn pile. Do I keep mentioning that I really like having that truck?  It was loaded  high and I took it all away and discarded with ease.  I didn't get done with that but three sides of the house are cleaned up.  I have probably another truck load to do on another day. Maybe tomorrow I can do the rest as I habie to meet the furnace, A.C. guy tomorrow as a followup of what we bought for that house. There are some things that I do want them to remedy.

It is Thursday and I am working at home today.  I watered plants already and we just had a short downpour while I am blogging.  Where did that come from? I am working in the basement today working on various things including emptying boxes and arranging the furniture for our downstair studios.   Thank you for stopping by today. Everyone take care.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Middle of the Week......

Our second story deck gives a great view of an incoming storm. We did get a lot of rain from that storm front and I won't have to water the gardens today.

A softer version of the above photo shows the sun reflecting off of it while the clouds move in to the area. We have seen lots of rain on the deck and a full rainbow in the southeast.

A visit to the old home gave me a chance to pick some of the first bloomers of lilies. I am headed up today to cut out unwanted plants and small tree starts in the gardens.  I do have to keep the place up even though we are not living there. I don't think it rained up there so I can cut things and truck things out to the city wood dump.

The hydrangea is in full bloom now.  I didn't get a chance to look for any young starts of it to dig but there is plenty of time to do that. I know that it spreads a lot once it has established itself so I will have to work at that on the town lot.

It has filled up more as we keep unpacking boxes.  It is temporary storage too as I get other shelves hung on the wall.  This was in our old dining room and this wall seems to make it seem more like our house with our things in it.

Our grass had gone dormant in places so the rains are so welcomed.  I hope the second rain we get tonight will give us a lot more. Our neighboring Saylorville Lake needs to be filled up a little fuller.  Thanks for stopping by today.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Second Day of the Week......

The gift from the previous owners are starting to entertain me a little. I have decided to move them around in the backyard every time I mow. I pulled them out from against the fence as they looked crowded by the bushes.  I don't get the negatives from the real Canada bird so I can let them roam around in the yard. I like how the one's head is up like he is the sentinel.  Our big grocery store near us had a pair of Canada geese raise a large batch of young ones.  We see them walking around in all the grass areas around the store or over by the water drainage area where there are lots of cattails.

I saw the sliver of the moon this morning out front of the house while I was out with Barney.  I immediately went to the back yard deck to take a picture and there is nothing to be seen.  The clouds were covering it.

I kept going in and out to watch for it to show up again while helping with breakfast. It just wasn't going to show up anywhere with all those clouds.

Then I found the moon and snapped this one shot.  It was gone in an instance as the closer dark cloud moved in to cover it up again. It really is a sliver of a moon right now. If you need help to find it, the moon is exactly in the center of the photo both from side to side and top to bottom.

My wife and I spent the morning at the old house working on a project that I was just putting off for too long.  We are taking apart an old upright piano.  I found a person on the web who created a movie to show  how they all come apart.  We worked a couple of hours and did get a lot of it taken down.  We have another day to finish the job.  I know some people will cringe when they hear we are ditching it but that is the only solution.  I know it took four or five men to move it in and I am betting it would tear up my floors now to try to take it out. I have to open up the youtube movie again to see how to take the rest of it apart.

I have lots of things I need to do today as we keep on moving in or unpack all that has been moved in.  My wife's office/studio is almost completely installed now and she can start working in a studio again.  I appreciate you visits to the blog.  See you tomorrow, maybe.

Monday, June 19, 2017

First Day.......

An evening sky is becoming clear with spots of clouds yet to move out of the way. My neighbor's tree takes centerstage of the composition with a highlighted small cloud sharing the sky with a gloomy fluffy cloud.

A different view from on my back deck.  It is like an observatory out there with a wide expanse of the evening sky. We have yet to have the time to go out there and sit in the evening. I must happen some time this summer.

I hung my romanesque birdhouse on the stairs.  It really is more decorative than functional.  The thing is though that some wren spent a lot of time filling it with small sticks.  It was filled from the bottom to the top of three to four inch long sticks. It took quite a while to get it cleared.

Out on the patio the oxalis has regrouped and is thriving again.  It had been in the old house all winter and died back during the move.  I don't know if bunnies eat parsley but I decided to put it in a pot and place it on the patio instead of putting it out among the tomato plants.

We attended a celebration party for Elva and Leona Wolfe Sunday afternoon.  It was held at the community center of Murray, Iowa.  The town is almost all gone but both sides of main street was packed with cars. Leona and Elva each turned 90 years old in the past months. The wedding anniversary was also near to the date as they have been married 69 years.

Leona is a first cousin of my dad's.  Their three kids were schoolmates of mine and we all have kept in touch.  Their son was in my class and the  two girls were close behind in ages. Leona was my mom's best friend even though my mom was older than her and had been her country school teacher.  Elva told me yesterday how much he appreciated my dad and that he learned how to fish with my dad.

It is Monday and we do seem to have a lot to do today.  I have completed mowing and trimming today and will now cool off for a while.  The weather is clear and hot today.  The yesterday's sky seem to be putting out many different kinds of colors and kinds of clouds too.  Thank you for stopping by today.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Sunday's Shares........

Our former owners built a planter in the front yard.  In reality, it is the only planter in the many yards up and down the street.  I decided we needed to make a bigger impression with it as it is the only planter. Should I say, we are being self conscience, as we are new to the neighborhood. My wife picked out the flowers and to the most part got it planted.  I added some cannas and, my wife placed  more flowers to the sides on Saturday. I will keep you updated on the progress of the flower garden.

This is the place where the bleeding heart and New England bluebells are planted.  Once they are gone they were cut back. There are coneflowers there and some oral bells.

The locust tree is planted next to the planter.  I really like the tree's foliage. My memories of the old fashioned locust trees on the farm were not good ones. The two old locust trees had big thorns.  The parts of the branches would land in the yard and bare feet would walk on them. The thorns were larger than a rose thorn.  I remember the seed pods too that were all over the yard in the fall. This is not a great looking tree in the winter but it is a strong sturdy one and seems very healthy.

My neighbor saved grass clippings for me to use as mulch for the raised bed.  I have six different varieties of tomatoes planted and the flowers are accents.  The neighbors to the northwest have plants that are twice my size but I will catch up with them.  The bed is in the hot sun all day and that really does make a tomato grow better. I had too much shade at my old place.

A closer shot makes them look bigger.  I am pleased that all of the tomatoes seem sturdy and have rooted in well. There was a stray plant with one of them that I bought so I did get two plants for the price of one. I planted it separately and it is doing fine.

We are headed to southern Iowa this afternoon for an anniversary celebration.  My dad's first cousin and her husband are celebrating their 69th wedding anniversary. Also they both had 90th birthdays the past two months. My mom was a country school teacher and taught Leona at a country school. My dad is the one who was related. His dad and her mother were brother and sister. The kids are all second cousins.

I attended school with their three kids so it will be good to see them again. Of course all the kids are in their 60s.  We will celebrate Father's Day with a meal out on Monday as the day will be too scheduled to have that happen today. We will stop at the cemetery on the way home where family is buried at Murray.

I wish you all to have a good day and thanks for stopping in today.