Sunday, August 30, 2009

Dinner Plate Hibiscus.........

My wife's cousin follows my blog and she sent this to me a few weeks ago. The Michigan Bulb Company is selling them in adds in the Sunday Paper. I just saw these potted and blooming at a local discount store. I guess this is the time they need to be planted. I will venture back in a week and see what their price is, as I was in a hurry today.
Thanks for your visit.....

Saturday, August 29, 2009

School's started, where are you?

I started teaching in 1972. I was a scared, ill-prepared art teacher that got a job. I think I went back for three years before I stopped being scared. I became good at it and stayed in the profession for 35 years. I did like the learning, teaching, and giving part of it all. I hated the politics and the eventually decline of actual education and it's learning processes. School has changed so much and only the true strong-hearted child gets an education.
Anyway, this is the second year that I have not returned to school to start teaching. I have another stage in my life to move in to and I am fine with that. In many ways, I stayed in school most all of my life and I feel justified that I did all I could do. I didn't want to die in the trenches but live a new life in a new way. No more dreams of not getting my work done on time. No worries about the entire network going down at the drop of a hat. No endless questions about computer problems, and microsoft word. No more 12 hour days and weekends. Now it is a selfish time for me. School has started, but not for me. I have started a new trend of learning for myself. Thanks for your visit.....

Friday, August 28, 2009

Peace and tranquility....

I know this should be on my photo a day blog, but I am away and wanted to just share this with my friends. Sometimes you just get it right and you don't know how it happened. Thanks for you visit..

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Two for two.....

I bought three of these guys and this is the last one that I have never posted. He loves his goose and they are flying around all over the yard. I like the weathered look that has taken place over the years. I don't have many gnomes or elves but I have three, hiding here and there ready to surprise you.
I gave my mom a coneflower and planted it outside of her back door. She has been gone a year now and the flower blooms on. She didn't appreciate it as much her last couple of years but it was there for her to see everyday. I plan to leave it right there when I sell the place and I hope people will let it grow forever. Thanks for reading....

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Textures to see and touch..

Hostas and Phlox
Field Lilies
Rhubarb and Creeping Charlie
Red Twig Dogwood

Thanks for your visit....

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Going to Maine....

There is going to be a wedding. Our son Aaron and Keegan Wardwell, will be married this Saturday. The wedding will take place on a mountain, the tallest in Acadia National Forest, where it is believed to be the first place in the United States where the sunrise is first seen. I will know the name of the mountain by Friday night and we are flying out to be there for the event.
Our son was out at the Acadia park working as an intern and that is when and where he met his future wife. They are buying a home a mile and a half from the ocean.
We will be arriving on the mountain at five am and after the ceremony we will be going out to breakfast. The kids wanted to elope so they are having an informal wedding with a few people hanging around.
In the afternoon we are going to ride on a lobster boat just like this and head out to an island where we will have a noon meal. Lobster I hope is on the menu.
This is a fall picture of the area and it will be interesting to see if the leaves are changing out there now at this time of the year. The hurricane has been causing some havoc out there as a couple of day ago people, tourist, were sucked out to sea by large waves of ocean water. They were warned but it didn't prevent some loss of life. I hope the weather will be back to normal by then. If you were getting tired of my fair pictures, just wait until I get my Maine pictures. I have never been there before so I am really looking forward to seeing the kids and also seeing the sights. We may have to buy a point and shoot camera so my wife and I both can be taking shots of our trip.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Iowa State Fair part 3

I saw another interview of this man from Nebraska who has his geese on parade at the fair. He weighed over 400 pounds and had to carry an oxygen tank with him continually. He started to raise geese for butchering and he started walking his geese. A few years later he now has lost a lot of his weight, no oxygen, and is walking his geese at different fairs throughout the nation. They were showing on tv where the geese are allowed to drink pop out of plastic bottles and he would let the kids hold the containers for them. They won't drink Coke. He also carries a bag of seed with him so if things get really out of hand he can toss out the seed and they all scramble back into formation.
My wife took this wonderful photo of the young man showing this big beautiful horse. While he shows it a little brother follows around behind the horse with a whip, that isn't being used, to keep it running. I think the horse has the rear view of the little guy that just keeps him alert. I saw this manuever being done in the adult shows. He is turning the horse around to run it back towards the judge. This was the 13 and under group that was showing. Click on the picture to appreciate all that is going on there even with the crowd watching.
It was a cold day at the fair and they were tired but I think cold also. The chickens had heat lamps to hover under but not the ducks.
I would be interested in seeing what kind of chicken that this becomes when it grows up. Maybe someone out there owns chickens who know what breed that it is.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

At the fair, part 2

At the exhibit where all the baby animals were shown, a volunteer FFA member would pick out one baby and let people pet it while they held it. This little guy was very loving to her and liked her holding him.
My yesterday's photo blog talked about the goose herder. I cropped these two off of a badly composed picture. Geese have this look about them that makes you think they really are looking at you and thinking things about you. I did notice in my yesterdays photo that the herder had a sack of feed with him and if they got too out of control he could just throw out a handful of seed and they would regroup into a feeding frenzy.
As with the chicks, they had various kinds of ducklings that had hatched out at the fair. When we arrived they were all huddle in a big pile, but once they started waking, they all ran over a hill to the feeders to eat.
When breeders bring their Clydesdale horses for shows they also bring along the young ones to be with their mothers. I don't know this as a fact but I don't think they show the young ones. I saw two of these young horses attached to the side stalls and I believe the mothers were resting, keeping the young ones away from them for awhile. Yes, horses sleep standing up. I will show pictures of that another day.
The size of an adult Clydesdale is remarkable. One is allowed to walk up and down and see all the things that go on in the barns when a show isn't going on. It is an amazing sound hearing one of the Clydesdale clopping on concrete, being walked outside to be exercised, running up and down the concourse. Watch your feet buddy, keep them out of the way.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Iowa State Fair...

State Fair was a movie written many years ago and it was based on the Iowa State Fair. I found that a 1933 movie was made and then a Walter Lang remade it in 1945. The latest one, made in 1962, was the one with Pat Boone as a star in the movie plus Bobby Darrin, and Jose Ferrer. We attended the fair today and above was a painting done by an artist portraying what it looks like at the back side of the Grand Stand. This painting was at the art show among many good artworks.
We had a pretty good day, inspite of the forty percent rain that we did feel on our backs. Fortunately we walked through buildings to avoid the mist and our timing was perfect as we were setting in a food tent while it downpoured for a very long time. It was very cold and we had to find a building filled with a lot of people to warm up, from the crowd body heat in the building. It was 65 degrees most of the morning.
My wife and I took almost 200 pictures so I have lots to show you. I will edit out duplicate stuff and try to give you just the flavor of what we saw. It will take some time sharing them all in the next week or longer, so as not to get too boring. By the late afternoon the sun came out and we were less disappointed about the weather.
In one very large metal building they had inside, new born animals on display. They had chicks incubating and as they reached the strength that they needed, they put them in the larger pen for food and water. Some of the older chicks hatched at the beginning of the fair had wing feathers developing.
There were cattle, pigs, goats, sheep, and ostriches that were being born on a daily basis. These ostrich chicks were incubated and timed to hatch for the exhibit. From the start of the fair three had hatched and there are three eggs yet to be hatched. They are a prickly looking bird when young. The ostrich is being grown in the southwestern part of the state and they sell ostrich meat for profit. They don't make any money off of me but someone must be eating them.
The mothers and newborns were penned up in a way that all could see and yet petting was limited. Before you left the had dozens of containers of bacterial lotion for your hands to use.
My wife took a lot of pictures of a horse show that we just happened upon. We watched various divisions of judging for about an hour. It was a great situation for her to get lots of reference photos in which to paint pictures for her art business. I will get to share these horse pictures and I have a definite story to write about two young brothers who took turns showing this large gray dappled horse in differnt divinsions. The photos of the horses are very important to my wife, but I will be telling you the human story that I watched unflolding while these guys were being judged.
It was nice to get away for awhile and people watch, eat funnel cakes, see art exhibits, view produce, and a butter cow sculpture. The experience was overwhelming with 100,000 people plus vendors doing their thing. We hadn't been to the fair for a long time but we will be returning more often. Thanks for reading....

Friday, August 21, 2009

Friday's A Front Porch Day

On our 25th wedding anniversary, the neighbor lady gave us this friendly fellow. He sits on our front porch and is on duty most all of the time.
I was going to use these photos for my photo blog but I think that the three pictures that I took look good on this blog. I worked on the building of this porch last year at this time, and I am still not quite done with it. The columns are recycled and the rest I built from scratch from all of my understanding of architecture of this house's era. It is a little too fancy for the house but in that era it was nothing for people to take their plain Jane houses and add very decorative porches. That is what I was intending to do. I don't have the spindle decoration up or the fancy rails installed but someday I will.
I figure that if it looks good this far that I can get back to completing the porch when the mood hits me. Research has shown that a light blue painted ceiling under a porch keeps insects from nesting up in there as they think it is blue sky. I painted mine the green with white added to create a similar scheme with my shutters on the house.
I like the look of this classic architecture and some houses like mine have columns decoration on the main corners of their house. I have renovation work to do on the back of the house that is much more of a priority so I will return to the porch some day. The pictures of the whole porch are scattered through out my old blogs. I probably have over talked this porch already so this will probably be it.
Due to a lot of different circumstances we still have not made it to the fair, so today it is. It is suppose to be 75 degrees and no rain. It will be crowded but we should see a lot of things and people too. Thanks for reading......

I didn't put pictures of the whole porch on the blog as I am testing the device below to see if it will pull up the similar blogs about the porch. We will see what happens.

Link within didn't do it so here is one of the connections I could find.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Time for tea......

My wife and I are suckers for new things. We bought these at the Crown Center, a Kansas City Mall, near the Hallmark Cards headquarters. It was a very nice Chinese woman who sold us the whole deal. We have tea from China to put into little inserts and you pour your hot water over it. Oh yes, the red mug is mine. We are big tea drinkers but it will be nice this winter for a change. Also hot chocolate would be good in them also.
The phlox are almost gone. I may have used this photo before but I spotted it in my documents and I really like the color of it.
Peaking through a tree and some bushes I can see this scene. Everything is at its last for the summer but the color still looks good.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

New collection of things....

This is another new thing I brought home from my Dad's garage. It was originally brass and may still be but I need to clean it. I found people selling this torch on the internet for forty bucks. That paint on the handle is original. I am still on the look out for the heating rod that went with it. I have a story to tell about The Little Prince story or book and about this torch but that will be another day. My posting is late.

I also found this in my Dad's garage and brought it home. My brother who passed away last August, worked construction jobs here and there in town. So I am assuming that he found this somewhere out there in Osceola, Iowa during a construction job. It was in a bucket with a lot of scrap concrete. He must have brought it home as he couldn't throw it away on the site. I can tell you that it really is a strong, high fired, paver. I know that the town's main street was at one time all brick, and this may have been from that. Research, just like the History Detectives do on PBS, will eventually give me a good story I am sure. We are either going to the State Fair tomorrow, or go work on the bathroom remodel job, or just stay in town. The joy of retirement is you keep your schedule flexible. If I stay home I have to trim more trees and mow the yard. Thanks for reading.....

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Fiddle Faddle.....

I had a busy day outside. I repotted plants into bigger containers and worked with weeds. I also had heard a rumor that I was going to get sighted for some branches hanging out into our alley, so I was out and in twenty minutes I got all those offending branches taken care of for the city. Actually the branches were some quick growing mulberries that came from our town cops mulberry tree down the street. Our town of 1400 has a paranoia about trees, mowing grass into the street when we don't have curbs or gutters, and keeping the alley clear. We are so small that if we had a fire, they wouldn't need the alley for my house, they don't even have a hydrant except for a block away on the main street. The council is funny as the school built a new very expensive gym too close to the street. They got all bent out of shape. What were they going to do, make them pick it up and move it back 4 feet? One council man said the public would not tolerate the costs of reworking the gym, duh?? They gave them a variance.
I got distracted, I wasn't going to write so much. I bought the new ceramic pot above at Kmart for $4.50. I put the succulents in it for now and some Minnesota rocks. Kmart moved out garden stuff and put in school things, so everything was seventy percent off.
I found an old bonsai pot and planted a cactus in it. The cactus has tripled in size since I bought it and so it was time to get it out of it's original pot. I used some aquarium rock on the top of the soil. I remember that my Grandmother Burgus had a very large collection of cactus in her bay window. I don't know where they would get cactus in the 40's and early 50's but she had a large variety. I suppose people traded them back then and they migrated with them, I don't know.
In the backyard, the hostas are through blooming and I like the look of the long stems swaying back and forth. The phlox are starting to get the white plague on their leaves. They are about done anyway.
In honor of my neighbor who threw his cactus into the alley to die, I picked up one of his beer bottles in my alley bushes and planted it next to the cactus. Thanks for reading.......

Monday, August 17, 2009

Monday mindlessness......

A genetic puzzlement that I have discovered with this zinnia. All of the flowers on this plant are the same as the one on the left. The right flower is on the same stalk, same stem and is this multi-petaled bloom. What's with that??
It has been a very good flowering season, I can not complain. We could have been scorching hot and lost a lot of the flowers. But this is the very last day lily for my season of 2009.
Nala our cat has been gone for some time now but her little statue and wheel barrow are collecting apples from under the tree. The apples have something that has invaded them at the stem and won't be useable this year. I guess I didn't get them sprayed soon enough in the spring so the damage was already done by the time I started spraying. The apples are very clear on the outside, it is just that when I slice the apples they show a planted egg from some insect. I love the statue of our cat. Thanks for reading........

For all you gardeners out there, our Kmart had all of their flowerpot containers on sale for seventy percent off. They have moved the school stuff in and moved the summer garden section out. I found a ceramic Japanese designed container, large, for six dollars. I am going to put my two succulents in it. I saw a gosh awful large, very large mushroom ornament for sale and it was walking out of the store when we were leaving. I teased my wife that I wanted that. No not really. I know everyone's seasons are a little different but maybe your Kmart is doing the same. Its worth a look for a good deal.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Three Sunday shorts.......

Jack Sparrow is in good form and let's me take his photo without making a fuss.
Fall is coming, you can tell because the foliage of the field lilies are fading and dying out.
I did get my beets weeded, not to perfection but I really doubt they make it to maturity. It is shaded in the morning and they just didn't take off. Have a good day off. Thanks for reading.....

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Grandma's Table.....

I was given this walnut table by my Grandmother Brooks. She had lived a hard life and she still was always a survivor and hard worker. When the opportunity came about, where she could receive for free, an new table and chairs, she jumped at it. She replaced this walnut table with my brothers small formica-covered, chrome table and gray vinyl chairs also made from chrome. She had first owned the walnut table as it had been given to her when she was first married. That was early 1900''s. It was a used table when she got it and she had it as a dinning room table in her old house on the farm. They moved off that farm in 1960 and through various family situations ended up in Murray, Iowa.
I remember many things about that table with it filled with dishes of food at family dinners. She had some make shift boards for it to make it large, but I never saw those after her move. She must of left them behind. I also remember her cutting things with a large very old knife. It left marks but she didn't care just a long as she the task she was doing was done. At her later years she started making crafts. She always sewed clothes and made the aprons with rick rack, but she liked making crafts. Purrty things she would call them. One day I was at her house and she was using that table to cut toilet paper rolls in half. It was the cheapest toilet paper you could buy of course. She was making some kind of thing where two doilies sandwiched a half of toilet paper and you could pull paper from it like a kleenex box. They of course were decorated with plastic flowers, but again she was hacking away with her dull knife on the table.
When I took the table apart to refinish it when I was 19, I found the town, Woodburn, Iowa stamped on the bottom of the leaf runners. I was thinking it had a patent date of 1897 on it too. That doesn't date the time of the making of the table but just reports that it did have a patent back then.
The one leaf of the table was made from the burl of the tree. That is the swirl pattern you see in the grain of the leaf. The burl is the area where the walnut tree, which was large, had many growth areas of branches and stubs that created that pattern.
My Grandma Brooks and a neighbor lady, bought a large cloth chicken at a craft sale. My Grandma took it home and tore it apart for the pattern, and the rest was history. With her treadle sewing machine she made hundreds of these large and small chickens. I don't remember her buying the smaller hen pattern but she made just as many of those. She sold them to everybody and she got so much glee making money on the side. She even took a chicken with her to the hospital when she had surgery for colon cancer. Nurses bought them from her at the Methodist Hospital. The large and small hens were the last things that she made before she died in 1972. She was so proud of her work. She received scrap cloth and made what she thought were racey hens, with there unnatural colors.
That table speaks history to me. Seeing the food, the relatives around the table, and the small short Grandma with a large dull knife whacking away at fruit and vegetables and cardboard for her hen bases. I need to refinish it again, but those knife marks are always going to stay right where Mabel Zella Wheeler Brown Brooks had put them. She would be pleased that I am still using that table, just as pleased as she was getting to own a set of chrome table and chairs. Thanks for reading....

Friday, August 14, 2009

Windstar Memorial Garden...

As a part of our spring cleaning I finally got rid of the 1995 Windstar Van. It had set there with major mechanical problems. The van had given us such good times with trips to Colorado and to Minnesota and Kansas City. It was like driving an airplane. The bucket seats were so comfortable and I moved wood, furniture, windmills, garbage, and large groups of teachers to various workshops. At the right place at the right time a man paid me one hundred dollars as a gift so he could scrap it and sell it's parts. It was so rusted out underneath and the one brake literally had broken loose. The rack and pinion was gone. Ok, I loved that van and it is gone. I missed the stimulus plan by four months.
I was going to seed grass over the spot that is between the sidewalk and the street and then I thought, why not a few annuals for just one year. I planted it with zinnias, bachelor buttons, and some basil plants. I didn't expect it to work. I didn't even till it, I just used a hoe and made rows in the soil.
Our weather, this year only, proved to be on my side as it rained every four or five days all of May and some of June. It made the seeds sprout and grow readily and the weeds were minimal.
I had some red petunias left over from the plantings in my group plantings in pots. They were stuck in just to get rid of them. No real plan as I put this plants in the garden. I had to go back a buy some extra zinnias as the fall harvest seeds weren't enough. They were Martha Stewart's brand of ivory white zinnias.
I mentioned in an earlier blog that the land between the sidewalk and the street really belongs to the city. I am required to take care of it and maintain the trimming of any trees. If a storm knocks big branches out of one of my trees into the street, the city takes a blade on a truck and pushes it back into my yard for me to take care of. If the tree dies, they will pay for taking it down and if they think that a tree is dangerous they take it down with out informing you of intent. I had a large silver maple on the corner of my property and I went to work on day and came back finding it laying in the street being cut up by the local woodworking man. He said the wood would work well for some of his secondary wood in furniture.He also said that they were going to take the other two large old silver maples, down the way on my property. My neighbors heard wind of that and went to city hall on that one and their pleas were heard. They never took those trees, at least not for a couple of years.
Needless to say I wondered if I would get into trouble by putting a flower garden out there. This is a small village sized town and we are full of old houses but we have adopted the rules of cities as big as Des Moines. That is why I though I would probably be asked to mow it down.
So here we are in August and the area looks great. I have been taking dozens of macros of the different colors of zinnias and bachelor buttons. It has a lot of neat areas to look at while you walk around it, seeing rows of color and different heights of flowers.

It has turned out to be a successful project. I liked taking progressive pictures and it was hard not to show before it was time. Thanks for reading.....