Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Grocery Store in Murray.....

When I was a kid on the farm, my parents had little money and we got by just like all the other farm people. We grew our own vegetables, butchered to have beef and pork, milked cows, and went to this little store for groceries. It was a two aisle store where my mom would buy oatmeal, flour, sugar, spices, and other products that you just couldn't make or grow yourself. It was Tindal's Grocery, and there was another grocery on the other side of the railroad track but we never shopped there. My mom bought our pad of Red Chief lined paper there for school and our pencils. We sometimes splurged and bought 12 cent bread, sliced lunch meat, and cold cereal. At the wooden counter was a cardboard box full of bubble gum pieces and a cash register that didn't give you a receipt.
The town of Murray was established in 1868. It may have been larger than it is today, but it has always had a population of 6oo or 700 people. The railroad help to establish the town and the Morman Trail went through it on the East-West main street. I will share more about that history later. Many children died from chicken pox and 180 of all ages were buried at Mt. Pisgah northwest of Murray a few miles away from town in Union County.
The style of this building is typical for it's time and I have seen some stores just like this that had gasoline pumps that sat directly under that roof. It made the building tricky to walk in the front door but that is where they placed the pumps. The pumps were an afterthought as I know the buildings were not originally gas stations. The architectural structure can be seen all over the United States, typical of the 1800's. Out West they went up overnight when towns were being built.
This building of course closed when the newer large grocery stores were established in neighboring, larger towns, around the 1960s. The other grocery in town survived that and was still open until recently. I am not sure, but I think it has been closed. Miller's were one of the last that operated it.
Today, it says that old grocery building now sells livestock feed out of it and I do remember when they sold seed corn out of it. I am glad they are using it again as it had been abandoned for many years.
I told you, I could never do a wordless, Wednesday. Thanks for reading.......

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

John F. Kennedy Airport......

A jet taking off among the clouds while planes await their scheduled times of departure. I had my new camera and we were returning from Portland, Maine and eventually were to return to Iowa. The scheduled wait was over three hours long, but delays put us there for over four hours. I had to take pictures.
I hadn't flown in 26 years. I hadn't flown since 9/11, but it is so easy to do. Once you have gone through the experience of the x-ray machines, and the identification questioning, and figuring out carry on rules and all the other procedures that are normal life at the airport, I know now that I can do it again.
I feel badly that we as a country, have lost our ability to trust anyone. I am glad for the discoveries that saved planes from being destroyed before leaving England. I am glad that we can prevent injury to everyone's lives. I know we have prevent tragedy because of the procedures here in the United States. I regret that we had to get to this place in history.
The cloudy day was beautiful. The planes seemed like downed birds, resting, waiting for their next adventure. All of them are going in different directions. Some are going all the way to France. Others are going inland to small airports, like Des Moines, Iowa. They land in the dark, late at night, and reload, red-eyed passengers ready to return on the plane to their original destination.
My wife and I took a diversion today and went to the Science Center, to see a movie in their domed theater. It is a wonderful technology. You are sitting so close to the screen and it surrounds you. We went to see Star Trek, for the second time. The first time it was on a flat screen, this time we were on board of the Enterprise so to speak. You are there, on deck, watching out the windows of space. In a dome like that you feel like a character along side of the other players. If you are an old trekie and have not seen this movie, the writing of this is remarkable. The story line is fast and the action scenes are continuous. As you know Captain Kirk came from Iowa, so we saw the large space camp in the middle of an Iowan cornfield. The special effects are tremendous and one is exhausted from experiencing it all. Thanks for reading... Oh yes, I forgot to say, as we came home we saw these same clouds, and that is why I dug out the JFK photos. Tomorrow......

Monday, September 28, 2009

Golden Oldies.....

I wrote about my Grandfather Burgus on the last blog and we went to the reunion that had familes who represented 13 children, who he was one. I wrote about my Grandfather selling a farm, and then buying two others. He lost one of those farms due to depression, but lived on the other farm for a while. When he sold the farm to his son, my Uncle Donald, they bought this house in Murray. I have dozens of photos of different family members on this porch or in the yard next to the bay window. The house was sold back in the 60's and it has stayed in good shape to this day. I truly believe the bay window and the porch has kept this house from running down as it has enough good features that one would want to take care of it. The houses on both sides of it have been torn down. I remember there is a screened porch on the back side of it too. I will later write about that Greek pediment porch and all of the influences from across the seas on our architecture.
I haven't been in this house since I was 8 or 9 years old. I was playing with a "cootie toy" in the living room and an older cousin and his wife talked to me about it and Jackie the wife wanted to help me put it together. The older cousin, Roger Burgus, grew up to be a researcher that, with a team at the Salk institute, created medicine to help stop the effects of dwarfism. He worked with Jonas Salk, the guy who created polio vaccine. Roger later worked on cancer research but suddenly died of a heart attack at the age of 60.
We had a great time at the reunion. I want to share about it on another day. I never felt getting old so much as I do when I attend these and see distant cousins who are also approaching their 60's with grandchildren. The last ten years have been aging years for me in appearance, but seeing others getting old makes it more real. Thanks for reading.....

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Burgus Reunion.......

My Grandpa Charles Thomas Burgus and his wife Grace Elizabeth Turner Burgus, built this house north of Murray. They had ten kids pictured below when they were grown up. Five girls and five boys, One boy and girl in the picture are twins. They all lived in this house and as time went by as older children left, my grandpa sold this house and farm and from the sale, bought two different farms, one near Murray so some of his kids could go to high school. He eventually lost that farm near Murray because of the depression and they lived on the second farm farther south of Murray.
The reason I am sharing all of this is that I am going to the Burgus reunion tomorrow. My good wife is going too and we will represent my Dad's family. Two of my brothers are out of state and my mom and dad and one brother are gone.
The original Burgus reunion was a very large gathering. As my Grandfather Charles was one of 13 children, and that set of 13 would bring all of their familes to the reunion. When I was attending the large picnic, the above group was all married with kids and so they all were there. The other 12 brothers and sisters of my Grandfather Charles were also there with all of their families. It was a large group, and it was back when most people didn't move very far away from their home area.
Times have changed. Everyone in the above picture is gone. Just from the families, children of the people above, there are only four children, me and three cousins that still live in the state of Iowa. All the rest of my first cousins and two brothers live out of state, all over the United States. Jobs are out of state, job transfers, and some just don't want to live in Iowa. Everyone has scattered.
The group that meets now will be 20 to 30 strong. There could be more but the rest of the familes are about the same, most are out of the state. As I attend this group now, I try to get to know what group or branch of the 13 that they represent. There will be good food, good conversations, and some of us will remember what we can. Thanks for reading......

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Keeping up with it all......

We worked on the house today. It is an hour plus to drive there so we got a little creative by taking pictures on the way down. I stopped the car along the interstate, bad idea I know, and turned to snap the lovely Iowa landscape. Wow, motion of a big truck going by. I will share the Iowa landscapes later.
It is amazing how the young flowers, the last to bloom, just stand out there among the fading friends. Our trees are not turning yet, but they will soon. I must start collecting seed. The neighbor lady cleaned out most of all of the final tomatoes. Nice to have them gone.

My new miter saw was such a blessing to my life. I don't have to fight for a good corner anymore. I finished the two frame jobs that I needed to get done and they are ready for pickup. We have a friend in a neighboring town who painted the wolves and eagle. He does such a nice job and we enjoy the friendship we have as fellow artist.
I have the weekend off so I can heal up the aching muscles from dry walling and plumbing. I mowed a yard today and took a few pictures. I just don't know if I can ever show you the before pictures of the bathroom I am working on. Maybe I will show you the finished product. Have a good weekend every one. Thanks for reading.......

Friday, September 25, 2009

Friday's forest flowers......

A study of line..... a dot that moves in a direction.....
I have milked this stand of flowers for months now. It will soon be gone but spring brings us hope.
A group of palm trees right, no, I will need to get these rhubarb stalks harvested soon as they are loosing one leaf at a time. The rains have given us a good crop from this second year plant.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

A short book review.......

I hung out at the Woodsmith Store a week ago and they have a wonderful variety of books. If you are a gardener they have a good collection. If you are a carpenter or furniture builder, they have a very large variety of books. I, of course, got it forty percent off, but it was published in 2000 so it is an older book. His philosophy about gardening is impressive. I have read his work before in garden magazines. He speaks of it just as an artist speaks about creating art. Charles Schultz once said when he created his Snoopy cartoons, that once you start and you look up and two hours have passed, you know you are doing what you are suppose to be doing. Druse says the same thing about gardening. Once you reach your garden and you start, the time flies by and the worries go to the back burner. Once you start talking to another gardener, the time also flies as you are in your element and nothing else matters for that time period. I am sure writers can say the same thing, or quilters, anyone who is in their creative medium.
I thought this was a neat idea to plant evergreens in a row and then use them as a background for flowering trees. If you can make a conscience effort to do this you are sure to have a wonderful show.
His writing is actually second to the illustrations as I am an artist and a gardener. I do the visual thing first, but I know this is a good book because I want to read it too. This winter, go to your library and check it out. He makes you feel less crazy when you get so involved with the creative things that you do. He encourages us to create and don't ever stop as it is the breath of life.
I was creative today getting my plumbing aligned and working. I also had another great experience at the landfill. I am not a fanatic environmentalist, but I do care about our earth, and we are really doing something wrong with the many things we possess and then throw away. The many man-made hills of garbage of years of throwing things away, makes the landfill look like a ghost-like landscape. Dirt coverings over large piles of trash combined with dirt, layer after layer. I hadn't been there for a couple of months, but the area we had been, was down a very steep hill, is now all filled in and we traveled up a hill. Ok, I am not going to solve this I know, but I still have to share it a little. We need to possess less things, for sure. Thanks for reading.......

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

More power.........

I whined and complained for two paragraphs about how I couldn't take framing pictures much longer. I have done it for over 24 years as a side home industry and I just have reached my point of no return. I showed you the pieces of a bad cutting miter saw, bad blade and a failed frame was the result of all that effort. So much work and such bad quality. AAAAchhhh!
In the middle of the night I got up and scratched my" feel sorry for me" paragraphs and went back to bed. With my dear wife's encouragement, we went to Menards today, and I bought two new eight foot pieces of frame molding and a new miter saw.
Look at that below, a perfect miter cut. All eight of the cuts when placed in the strap clamp, closed in and became a perfect frame. That is a beautiful picture to me.
I also have to admit that I read the directions for the saw assembly, because I could do it any other way, as the machine is complicated. I was pretty sure that I understood it before I started as I was tired of the failure.
So I quit being so grumpy and I got two frames done that are overdue and will head south today and work on the bathroom from my greatest nightmare. We are going to go on an adventure and take a trip to the landfill today also. I hope we come back alive. Thanks for reading.......

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Monday pm, Tuesday is coming.....

Here in my back yard are the waste pieces from a frame that I was cutting. It ended up being not scuccessful but a new saw blade will solve the problem. I will try again another day.

Our fall sky was also affected by the rainy day we had. Barney continues to be on the job, protecting us from the evil cats on the neighbors porch. Last night I watched a cute little yellow kitten come over into Barneys yard and go to the bathroom next to his yard. She quietly walked away and Barney discovered what she had done. He was so upset and started barking wildly that she pulled that off without him noticing.
Our leaves are hanging on right now as this silver maple will be the last to drop it's leaves. It will be yellow soon. I will retake the photo as it changes. The seasons continue..... Thanks for reading.......

Monday, September 21, 2009

The final colors.......

The little phlox flowers are falling off now. This was taken a few days ago and now they are mostly gone.
This is a petunia that thinks it is a rose. It is peaking out from some weeds and grasses. There are a lot of foliage plants around there also. I just read in one of my garden magazines that I should be plucking starts from the foliage plants now for next year. I don't think I have a great place to keep them alive for the entire winter or I would try it.
One lone petunia left in one of my planters. The fall weather is hitting, cold at night, and we are dry so things are fading fast. The light has changed a lot around here also and birds are flying south. I tried a little informal balance on this shot.
Thanks for reading......

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Book sale buy......

My wife and I went to a large book sale a few weeks back at a larger auditorium. They were donated books and then resold to the public. Some of they should have been sent to the landfill and others were great. This book I had seen at the Woodsmith Shop in their book section. I didn't think ideas were good enough for $35 but when I found it at the book sale for $3.00. I thought it would be a good resource book. I have a lot of scrap fencing material and this book encourages me to make something with them.
A lot of the materials are recycled so that it makes it a good deal. They make benches out of tree trunks and chairs and benches out of different found items.
I had a class make a pig out of chicken wire a few years back, but they put paper on it and painted it black with a white belt. The chicken wire was quite easy to work with as long as you didn't over work yourself until you get sore hands. Gloves would make things safer but harder to mold.

We have willow that grows wild and if I could get to the river bank I would harvest some. They made this by weaving a circle base as if you were making a basket, then worked it up to create a ball. The book is written by Geraldine Rudge and called Garden Crafts. There are a lot of ideas using ceramic tile pieces. Some good ideas and some bad ideas in there also. As they use to say when I was a kid in school, and a student read their report. This is the end of my book report. Thanks for reading......

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Harvesting lots of color......

This is the first of my Iowa photos that I am going to take for all you out there, in other parts of this wonderful globe. I was babysitting the neighbor's dog across the street and this field belongs to her. The land in the foreground was turned into a hayfield this year. It has had three cuttings of baled hay from it and now there will not be any more growth this year. It may be plowed and turned into a corn or bean field for next year. That is called rotating the crops. Beyond the fence row is a field of soybeans. They are a green crop most of the year and when they reach maturity they turn yellow and sometimes drop off all of their leaves before the farmer combines them.
Along the fence row with all the weeds and small trees was a historic train track that ran by electricity. It was actually a trolley, and ran all the way south to the capital of Iowa, Des Moines. People took the train to work or shipped eggs, milk, and other produce to customers in Des Moines.
You can see in the distance a high wire electric line and you are actually looking up one of our hills seeing an Iowa sky. We see cornfields, bean fields, alfalfa and sometimes oats or wheat all around our town of 1600 people.
The tomatoes are all turned and ready to be picked. I am giving away some and we are freezing some. The neighbor lady is a salsa fanatic so she will take a couple of buckets of roma tomatoes.
These peppers are the ones that I started in the window sill this year. They are called a banana pepper and I don't like them as much until they have turned color.Then they are sweet and good. They are not the same flavor of a bell pepper but they are fun to grow.
I won't tell you about the apple crop, but peeling apples and getting only one good one out of five is quite a discouraging situation.
I took this earlier in August and the rhubarb is much larger now. I will be pulling that and freezing that for a winter cobbler, to be baked once in a while. We like winter here on a good day, but we are not too excited about it right now. Thanks for reading......

Friday, September 18, 2009

Touching base......

Life does get busy and sometimes it just plain bogs me down. I have seen so many things that I should be shooting for my own enjoyment as well as sharing but it just didn't get done. We had a red sunrise a couple of days ago that was the color of the above geranium. One doesn't see a red sun that often. I just couldn't get motivated to cross the street, early morning, and trespass on my neighbors property to take the picture. Oh yes, I would have gotten properly dressed to go outside, Oh well.
This is my plant teaser. Most of you know that I am not a predominately garden blogger, I have too many interests to do that. This plant is one that puts out these egg shaped fruits, you can't eat them, but then they will turn to different colors. I blogged about this in the spring but am just going to show you the plant in progress. I will show more as the colors develop and of course write more about the story of it.
I don't know the scientific name of this, but this burning bush is turning already. The sumac along our highways normally get very red, but I think we are so dry that they are going to be brown, not red, this year. I am a late blogger today, but now is better than never. Thanks for reading......

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Taking care of business.......

It is one of those days, one of those blogs, one of those far out times, when there just isn't going to be a theme. I have to take care of business.
I know you are sick and tired of me talking about what I am doing with this house, but I had to build a unit for the bathroom and I just did it in the past two hours. You can see my trusted orange power tool. As they say, with that saw, we can build it!!! My wife was involved also to hold boards while I nailed and glued it together, but pictures of her will not be posted, per here request.
I don't know what the new owner will do with this storage unit, but it is my solution to fill the extra space left over after the shower was installed. It is in two pieces and I will paint it with a very good enamel to hold the particle board material together, forever and to waterproof it.
One or two of my blogger friends are showing modern sculpture and surrealistic paintings. I thought I would share this sculpture that is in my yard. When I was teaching, there was a tradition by some of the guys in shop, to just start welding pieces together and make a free standing something. They had not a clue what they were doing, but people do have a natural way of good design if they don't think about it. Anyway, every year, a new batch of guys would go bonkers and make one of these and I would put it into the regional art show. One year, the sculpture was spray painted blue and it won Best of Show. This one in my yard was one of those that had been left behind and the maker or makers didn't want it. It isn't my favorite but I needed to have a piece of that history. I need to move it into a planted area. Someday I will do it. I might paint it also.
Lastly, I had the pleasure of babysitting my neighbor's dog, Penny. She is young, very energetic, and wild. A terrier could really be called a terrorist. She is a sweetheart though and while her mom was having special medical tests, I would go over and walk her and play with her in her back yard every once in a while all day.
The beer bottle is not mine, but it is a plastic one. I could throw it a few feet and she could run in circles for hours so to speak, carrying it around and chewing it to pieces. I was exhausted by the end of the day, but she and I got a long just fine. Thank you for reading.......

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The final curtain call....

My agapanthus did not bloom again this year. I bought these plants three years ago. I had seen them in a magazine and they bloom like a fancy lily with phlox flowers. It bloomed last year, but we are now at the fall and it just didn't bloom. I will replant next spring after they have spent the winter in the basement. I have read that they grow like weeds in California but I have to get the right conditions going to have them bloom in Iowa.
The last of the phlox are faded but still look great that is those that are still around. I had a red phlox, a special one, that put out one bloom this year. It lasted two days and is gone. The mildew got to it so I will move it if the fall is the right time to do it. I will have to look that up on the internet.
My camera continues to read this as a much more orange flower than they really are. The have put on one last small batch of buds so I will see flowers for a while before I bring them into the house.
I trimmed back my mom's rose down in southern Iowa, and I was blessed with many new buds and blooms. I bought this rose for her years ago and I don't have a clue what it is. I will dig it and bring it home to my house.

I am trying to get a good set of photos of the monarch migration that is going through our town right now. The weather is warm so they are landing on the tops of my maple trees and I can't get a picture. If it were cool weather they would be clinging to the south sides of my bushes. I have one good picture of one butterfly right now, and that isn't enough evidence of a migration. I can look up into the sky and see five, six at a time soaring as they land on the treees. I will share when I get the pictures. Thanks for reading........

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Ceramic world......

Remember this is a creative zone, so I am sharing something off the wall. Actually they are on the fireplace mantel. My wife and I love the Lladro ceramics but we don't own any of it. But when we shop, we pick up pieces that have been created with the use of the pastel glazes, that are of the same coloration and style.
To be honest, our friends in China are so good at taking a product that is poplar in the US and copy it perfectly. The collection on our fireplace mantel is much larger than this and someday I will share the figurines.

Monday, September 14, 2009


Obedience is a tough thing for humans. I can still remember having to obey my parents when I thought their decision was so wrong.
At the dog show, they have a contest for all breeds. The dogs who take training classes learn how to be put into a spot and the owner walks away from them. This is the true stay command.
As you can see the dogs are lined up with their people and you can observe that they know what is going to happen next. You can see they are distracted a lot by the people walking by and the sound and the other dogs around them.
The dog owner is a trainer, one on one, and they have worked with this a lot to get this to work. At a command by the judge, the people are told to walk away from their dog. I don't remember seeing this but I bet the owners have to say a command to their dog before they walk away to the other side.
The fallout of what dogs stay is minimal. The white thin dog in the second picture was asked to leave, I don't know why.

This little guy, was the first to fall out of line, he just followed his owner to the other side. You can see in his face that he just didn't want to be away from his person.
This next guy was sweet. He is a Burmese Mountain Dog, and he first moved a couple feet forward, then stopped. Then he moved about ten feet forward and stopped. Then he slowly walked all the rest of the way to be in front of his owner. The owner had to keep her dog quiet and kept from moving so as not to spoil the whole contest. He did stay still. At this point I think you should pick out a person in the line who was holding there best pose in the still position.
Before this contest started, we had spent some time with the owner of the dog above, who we did not know, and she told us this white standard poodle was a rescue dog. She told us she doubted he would do very well but she had been practicing. I had previously photographed him, and he ended up being the winner of the contest. Once they started the contest, he stayed still and didn't move for the entire period. Some of the dogs lay down to rest and some stayed but just looked around. It was an interesting contest. Dogs are so willing to please their owners, even if it is something like this. Oh yes, I watched one similar to this last year, but in that contest the owners literally walked out of the building, leaving their dogs in the ring. That is true obedience!