Saturday, October 31, 2009

Searching for color......

We are not into winter yet but when we do get there, we become so wanting of the colors of the other seasons. The blue of the snow is pretty and the yellow sun does shine to give us hope, but the first bright green of grass sprouts and tulips will bring us back to life.

My neighbor's burning bush with their yellow slide continues to be bright. The grass is still green.

The last of these leaves are just hanging there. It was a great orange color and the leaves can still hold their color as they lay on the ground.

The last bellflower is gone now but these two were doing well a week ago. The purplish blue helps to fill out the spectrum.

This fish at the zoo has the nicest yellow green colors on it. They do glow on the black and white body. I think one of the reasons I have kept an aquarium is that in the winter you can enjoy tropical thoughts.
As our Sunday warms us up today, I hope to go out and enjoy it. We have had so much rain, and I have spent the weeks getting my basement suitable for the furnace salesman to come and see what I need to heat my house efficiently. He didn't even say a thing about the nice clean basement, but he was a nice guy and didn't say a word about all the stuff I didn't get thrown away at the landfill. A polite man that called me "Sir", it was so nice to hear it being said. He will send me a lot of options for a new system, hot and cold, and I will finally replace the furnace in this hundred plus year old house. I hope you are resting today. Thanks for reading.......

Returning to Bar Harbor.....

and as winter approaches, I will be able to keep returning to the summer fun that we experienced. So many pictures, so much to blog.

In Bar Harbor, there were a set of shops with a center patio. This plant hung on the outside of a gallery that had interesting paintings and jewelry for sale. The plant, I believe is the supertunia that I have seen on garden shows but one I have never owned.
From the info I soaked in, it will profusely bloom as a result of alot of fertilizer. I have seen it on shows where it grew almost a foot high off of the ground.

This is the full view of the gallery with it's great colored entry. The paintings of the artiest had the same color schemes in their paintings too. It must be the Maine palette.

Friday, October 30, 2009


Classical architecture includes many decorative elements from the Greek influence. When this country was growing up as a young nation, it brought everything with it in architectural style. A lot of the houses and buildings were decorated with elements from the Greek Parthenon.
Being aware and a fan of classical decoration, I am amazed at the way the old farmhouses of America had decorations of the classic applied to their facades. The original molding on my house had cornices on it's windows and on all of the fascia of the roof. So when I built my porch, I didn't hesitate to add Greek columns and other classic details.
Inside my home I have always added crown molding with dentil decoration to my newly installed windows. But on the new door, I had an opportunity to add dentils.

With my new saw, I was able to recycle wood from the trim boards of the old door. Here you see a pile of squares, ready for use.

Above the door is the area I am going to decorate. Normally the crown molding is very decorative, but mine is the brick molding that was originally on the door. I removed the brick molding as I wanted the five and half inch facing boards around the door. So I cut out the length I needed form one of the discarded pieces.

After a little figuring in my head and on paper, I marked the areas that the squares will go with the proper spacings. Here is block number one, right in the middle. I have only 16 more to go. I applied wood glue and used one finishing nail, praying that it wouldn't split the wood. It didn't.

Ten dentils on now and it is starting to take shape. You can buy molding like this in strips, but they are usually a lot smaller and they are now making it out of the styrofoam now. I like to reuse wood and work the proportion the works best for the area. On one of my inside windows I have larger dentils than this.

I was really glad that then ends turned out evenly spaced.

There we have it, ready for paint. It looks good but now I will have to repaint the siding to bring it up to new looking also.

Now some white primer paint makes it look finished. I will still paint the door its light green but not today. I can not believe how much warmer the room is now with a well hung, tight fitting door. Thanks for reading..... I got my battery in the mail tody.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Three bushes in a row.....

This is the same photo of the burning bush next to a yew bush that I am always showing to you, including the old door and pan of water that I now have moved out of there. It has been turning red for the past month.

The mystery that I have is that eight feet over from the burning bush are two other bushes, same variety. Every year the one turns red first, and right now the other two both are at different stages.
As you can see the left one is almost pink or orange and the other one on the other side of the mongo pine is still green. I bought these all at the same time but I am wondering if they really are a different variety. The other thought that I have of course is the that the soils are different. When I bought this house, I was told that there were four or five different little sheds all over and they were torn down. I suppose a coal shed could give soil a different nutrition. I dig into sand pockets sometimes and then some places are burn sites for trash from the previous owner. If it really mattered I could send of soil samples to be tested, but I will just live with it.
By the way, I explain on photo a day, that my computer is being difficult. I may just be gone for awhile and I will miss you all. I will catch up to you later. Thanks for reading

Monday, October 26, 2009

Yes, Noah, it is going to stop raining......

I always walk Barney on wet days as he has killed out areas of grass and he gets so muddy running back and forth in those areas. So we started walking this morning and on the first block I was remarking to myself, What a sunrise! But then I could also feel this lighter than mist form of water hitting my face.

Someone mentioned once that you must have great sunrises, and we do, but the neighbor's houses are always in the way. I have to trespass to get a picture. So I didn't snap any shots, but then a block down I turned and there was a rainbow. I was so surprise and when I turned to the left, there was the too bright sun showing me it was the cause of the rainbow.

I was amazed to see such a sight in October. I was reminded that maybe this one day, we won't have rain, and we didn't.

Thanks for reading....

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Here today...... gone tomorrow.......or the next day!

My squirrel seems to be pretty pleased with himself, capturing so much water. Maybe he is happy that it has finally quit raining for a while.

The Minnesota birch started to drop leaves two days ago. I could sit in my living room and look out and see yellow leaves dropping, straight down, like weights. The very next day it started to rain, and things changed with this tree.

It took two days of really heavy rain but we ended up with four plus inches of rain. I know from the past that the birch can loose all of it's leaves over night, when it is raining.

To prove me wrong, it took two days. As you can see below, I have a beautiful yellow carpet of leaves.

The birch came from a ditch in northern Minnesota as a small five foot red-barked stick of a tree.
It should have been in the late seventies. It has to be over thirty years old by now. I get a lot of compliments on it. One neighbor down the street stopped and smiled and said you got that from up north. Fortunately it is the only birch in town so it hasn't contracted the dreaded disease that is taking out groves of the them up north. I hope some bird doesn't migrate through and bring the disease to it.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Easter Egg Plant

I blogged about this plant in early spring. My neighbor lady, grew this plant when she was a young girl in Council Bluffs many years ago. A couple of years ago, she sought seed and started growing it again, sharing her seed with me. This is what it looks like as a young plant.

It almost has a look of a weed, the leaves are rough to the touch, and I think of a nettle plant when I see it. Because it is a novelty plant, I potted up some of these guys and gave them away.

You can see in this photo that the cute little round leaves turned into a different shape. The blooms on the plant are nice little umbrella shapes. You can see the egg shape starting to develop. This plant is a photo from a cousin of mine who lives in Osceola.

This a mature egg on the plant and if you look closely they green part on the end of the egg is very much covered with thorns. The size of the mature egg is the size of an egg.

When I first grew this plant, the eggs did not get very big and they turned multiple colors. Each egg was either red, green or yellow. When I researched the seed just recently on the net,, it said they are to only turn yellow. Then I looked up on Parks Seeds and their seed says they will have cream, yellow, green and red. I don't know if they have genetically reverted back to just yellow but I liked the multiple colored eggs better than just yellow.

Because I had shared the egg plant with my cousin in Osceola, she is going to be sending seed to Arizona to her teacher son, to Ohio and out East somewhere else.
I would like to share the seed once I know that it is dried out. If I get it to dry out well, I will be glad to ship out seed to anyone willing to trust me with their address. I will let you know when I think the seed is ready and then if you want to email me then, I will send seed. It is a fun thing to grow and people think you are crazy when the see the plant, but that is the fun of it too.
And if you don't want to mess with me, Parks Seed has them for sale.
Thanks for reading......

Friday, October 23, 2009

Sedum, dusty miller, and verbena.....

The cool wet weather revived a lot of the last of the garden plants. The sedum started to turn yellow, but the dead buds have taken on a nice color.

Sometimes this plant, dusty miller is over used in planters, in fact it isn't in vogue right now. It is a striking plant though with it's white to gray color that silhouettes well against the dark greens of flower foliage and creeping Charley.

Hey there are a couple dianthus flowers peaking into the picture. These verbena plants were some my wife planted in front of our business sign. They responded to a little cool weather and some moisture. We are getting probably a couple inches of rain today, as it has been raining off and on almost two straight days now.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

What is actually out there?

I snapped a picture through my new door. After downloading it and looking closely, one can see so many things. It certainly isn't a set up, prearranged photo, what you see is what you get. Can you find the following more difficult objects?

neighbors cars
view of a tractor tire, very partial view
Taurus car
Yellow clump birch tree
cream colored old door laying on the ground
two ceramic bird houses
apples on tree
neighbor's house
garbage sacks, black with recycle cans ready to be taken away
lawn mower handle

Ok, it's kind of silly, but when I first looked at it, I thought I didn't need to show it, was kind of embarrassed with stuff that should be put away. After a while it grew on me. I is just a typical view out of a house in Woodward, Iowa.
I have a large number of photos of the leaves around my house and I just want to wait on those. I have to paint my door soon, but it is all done. Going to a dentist to light up my life today and I have a lot of framing to do. Thanks for reading......

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Stripes and circles.........

Worked outside yesterday,on the door, went to get more supplies, and rested. I looked out the kitchen window during lunch and saw this wonderful design. The field lilies are going down now and soon it will all be flat.

You are going to start calling me zinnia man, but I had a couple of these to fill in space for today. I am working on getting the interior part of the door done today, and and it will all be sealed in. I was going to recycle the old door to the kitchen back door but that part of the house is old. So the door opening is really small with strange dimensions and I can't make that opening bigger. I won't throw the old door away as I may need it for an outside building that I may build someday.

The different values of watermelon to red are great. All of these flowers are now totally dried up. I may share the view. Thanks for reading......

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A work in progress.......

Sixty five degrees today so today I have to put in the new door.

What you are seeing here is my old door. It is very deceptive as it looks like a normal door and everything seems good with it. The thing you don't know is that some idiot had to bring in a fiberglass shower through this 32 inch door and he had to cut one of the inner frame boards that supported the hinges. It was a good thing that it allowed him (that really would be me) to get the shower through the door, but it messed up the door. Eventually the door sagged about an inch and a half and during the winter the air would just blow around the door. I tried to fix it but it was easier just to buy a new very tight door.

Getting the door out took very little time, but the widening of the door opening for a 36 inch door was complicated. As you can see this is the hole. I love the effect that took place with the camera as you can see all the way out to my dead tomato plants, waiting their turn to be cleaned up and posts taken out for the winter. You are seeing a porch roof at the top.

I really dig the mess one creates to get stuff done. It takes more time to get all the tools assembled and find just the right tool that helps one to yank out nails and to cut up wood. I bought a new reciprocating saw for work on my parents home, and it was a life saver today. I had to cut an inch away from a doorway stud to make the new door fit. There are two stud pieces on each side so the roof isn't going to fall in, with an inch of wood taken away from one of the boards. I know that I have spread drywall dust and sawdust all over the art gallery so all of the paintings on the wall will have to be taken down and cleaned. All of them, 30 or more of them.

I am not done but I did have the door in by the end of the day, with door knob installed and everything square. The door is tight fitting but we were so use to this door that flung open because it was so crooked. It is a good, tight door and I am glad.
I will deal with removing siding and put a lot of the same trim back on the house. The top board of course is too short so I will need to replace that. I am not sure if I will decorate it as much as it was before. Maybe in the spring I will have time to fancy it up some.

I started at ten in the morning, and shut down for an hour after lunch to regroup my mental state. It was getting so frustrating for a while that it was best to stay away. But when I started up again, things went well and I finished a little after five. I took a half hour to clean up and put stuff away. I am tired but glad I got it to go so far. It is not suppose to rain tomorrow so I can get it done.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Mindless Monday.....

I had seen two oak trees along the road but couldn't get the shot, but this one I did take. I don't think that it is an oak tree. It might be a maple. We have some neat oak trees in our area, but not a lot of them. They have been planted by settlers and so we have some groves of them on some of our rolling hills.

Since this is a creative zone, I will share some macros that I took to see how it would work. Those of you who have this setting you know that some colors react to it and don't put out a focused picture.

It is a lot of yellow. As we traveled to southern Iowa today, there were a lot of trees that have turned to beautiful colors. We don't have the timbers like those out east as the colors are spotted among brown trees, as we do have a lot that don't change with great colored leaves.

I thought maybe you might need some green with red to give your eyes a rest from all that yellow. We are going to warm up today to 67 degrees, which is actually our normal temperature. I should get some work done on various out door projects. Have a good Monday.
Thanks for reading.....

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Birch and a Barrel.......

My clump birch never sprouted out other trunks so my clump birch is all alone. It may be a mistake but it has really thickened up and has such great textures from it's bark.

My son's had a Great Grandma Stevenson who I had met but they never had. She lived to be 100 but she died before they were born. She had a sister and her name was Maimie Stevenson. I always heard stories about her as Aunt Mamie. Mamie never married, but served in the military as a nurse in her early years. Then she became a missionary to Madagascar. She spent most of her adult life there working among the people. She was a go getter and was willing to tackle most problems. It was said that she once performed a appendectomy to save a life, as there were not doctors around at that time. She would return for furlough like most missionaries but in the most part she like living there.
When she finally retired, she came home with suitcases, a large steamer trunk, that opened like a giant bookcase, standing on end, and this barrel, pictured above. My late wife's family received most of her stuff, delivered to their garage, when she died. No one wanted to go through it as mice had been in the big trunk and one could smell it. The steamer trunk and barrel sat in a barn for quite a few years. Myself being curious was the one that volunteered to go through it and I am glad I did. The barrel smelled badly but it was filled with a replica grass hut, an old very nice quilt, metal spear heads, many woven baskets and mats, and travel stuff she had collected through her travels. There was one carving that looked like an evil spriti. I have the set of very old postcards from Egypt. That had to be in the 1920's I believe that they were made.
The trunk had more baskets, carved sculptures done by natives, jewelry, and other objects that were historic. It had all these little drawers that you could pull open.
The barrel sat in my classroom until I retired and I used it to tell stories as well as kept the grass hut in it. I pulled it out and had students draw it. So I brought it home and it now is my rain barrel. The lid has printed by hand the name of M.Stevenson. U.S.A. Iowa. The curious thing is that barrels were probably a popular way to ship things back then, That barrel may have started out in the United States, gone to Madagascar, and then traveled by boat home again.
I don't know why I am the way that I am, but knowing that it is so old and well traveled is a marvel to me. I like old things and I like that I can know and follow the history. Thanks for reading......

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Saturday is here, finally.......

Saying good-bye to the country roads to the landfill. It is done! Well, the throwing away of major items from my basement is done. I made two trips on Friday, one big load and another one was bulky stuff that emptied out fast. I feel educated on the things of junk now and I know how to work the garbage landfill system.

This is the farm field right next to the landfill entrance. The hay has been baled and the trees are changing color in the distance. I like how the alfalfa hay stays green right up to when it gets so very cold and snow piles on it.

Another abandoned farm north of town. I find it sad that a lot of the original farmers have died or retired and sold out and moved south. Most of the farmstead home areas have been bought up for very little money, not the farms, but the houses and land around the house. The result is you have people who have no intention to keep up the buildings, they have ten or eleven junked cars parked all over, and the weeds are growing all the way up to the front door of the house. I would say that 20 percent of the homes on farms are very well kept up and look really nice. The result in southern Iowa is that most of those kinds of homes and out buildings have been torn down, the areas are cleared and there is no sign of any farmstead.

Silos were very important at one time as hay was made into silage and the milk cows would eat that all winter, or the beef cattle that were being fattened for market would eat the hay. Today, the majority of the silos sit empty. Large corporations feed cattle in large lots and very large dairies do the work of a few small farmers. I really like the old silos that were made from ceramic, clay fired, brick like in this silo. It has a nice color to it and they liked to make decorations at the top and sometimes diamond shaped designs in the sides.

The owner of our local cafe is a farmer and he was telling me that the corn just isn't drying out enough to be picked. His registered at 23 percent moisture content three weeks ago and he said it is still the same today. Natural gas is used to run warm blowers on the seed corn to dry it out and he said that it is too expensive to do that. Until it either gets very hot and sunny, or very cold, the corn will not be picked. Thanks for reading.....have a great Sunday!!!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Thursday's Thoughts.......

I harvested a lot of these zinnia's to keep for seed. It was about two days later they started turning brown, and now they are all dead and shriveled up. I can now go out and get more if I want as the freeze killed the entire planted area in two days. I need to cut them all off and put them in the burn pile.

I am framing this set of pictures for a friend of mine, a fellow teacher. I cut all the mats for these and now that they are done, I see the whole meaning to this and to the thought about family. The bottom set of pictures, in the horizontal picture is the woman having me frame these. Her wedding picture shows her and her now late husband. Below that picture are the pictures of their kids and their weddings.
Above to the left is her parent's wedding pictures and her grandparent's wedding pictures. Vice versa are her late husband's parent's wedding picture and his grandparent's wedding pictures.
I don't know that I could do that completely on my side and I don't think my wife said that she had any wedding pictures of any of her side, that their weren't any formal pictures taken. I remember seeing one of my grandparents on my Burgus side in a Murray Centennial book, but I will have to quiz some cousins to see if anyone has the original. I have the picture of my mom's mom and dad when they were married. My grandma was 15 when she got married. My own parents have a formal picture taken right before Dad was to go off to war in Germany. They had been married a year, but my Dad is wearing his uniform in the photo. I am sure that was taken in case he didn't come back from the war.
I will follow up in finding that wedding picture of Grandparent's Burgus. That will be a good email adventure, sending out inquires all over the nation.

I showed a picture of our house on the East side but the trees were blocking the view of the bay window. I put this in and created the decoration about four years ago. When I add the dining room window, I want to duplicate this look. I don't think I can build a three foot bump out but I may try to at least build it out a foot so there will be a good window sill for plants and other things.
Have you ever noticed that I tend to exhibit all my flaws. It makes me cover for any bragging I might do. I bought a wonderful new door, 36 inch wide, to replace at our gallery entry. That sounds good doesn't it, but I have only a 32 inch door in there. The neighbor lady was over and saw it laying on it's side and said that won't fit. I have bought the wrong size. I could take it back, but I think the wider door would work better there and look better there too. Sooooooo...... if you do any carpenter work, you know that I am setting my self up for a lot of work to make that hole bigger and to make it structurally sound. That four inch difference will probably cost me four to six hours of work, probably more. I hate it when I make mistakes like that. Thanks for reading anyway.......

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Landfill adventures....

To start off my story, I will show you the area in which the landfill of Boone County exists. An area is found where the company can dump garbage, dig up dirt elsewhere and place dirt on top of the garbage in layers. This photo is taken way above on top of the landfill, looking down into a deep ravine where the road is constructed for the trucks to bring the dirt up the hill. As a positive, you can see that these trees directly on the edge of this site are not effected.

When I arrived, in my late father-in-law's Dodge truck, I had to drive onto a lane where there is a large scale to weigh the truck, load and all, and me too. I had an appliance, an old humidifier and that was an automatic ten bucks more, please take it over and put it with the old air conditioners. I saved ten bucks also, as that is the charge if you have an uncovered truck. The reason is, that they have a man or two out there paid to pick up the blowing debris, especially plastic bags that come from the deliveries. Once I was finished being weighed I was told to follow the road up the hill. The hill of course is actually a garbage hill that is man made.

As I got to the top of the hill, I noticed that I was following a commercial garbage truck, and the place was crawling with them all over, just like a bunch of ants. You can see I am facing three trucks leaving. If you click on the above photo you can see that it reminds one of driving on the moon. Our clay in the soil drys out powder white.

About two miles from this site is the Des Moines River. We never had sea gulls in Iowa until they built a dam south of here twenty miles and created a lake. So the gulls have followed the river and now live for garbage. It was very cold that morning so they were all just sunning themselves away from the dump site.

Across the valley from the gulls this is what you see. The trucks and my truck too, backed up to this ledge and dumping their load. The machine on the pile has this massive heavy roller on it that smashes, compacts everything. When it is driving on the soil road, it leaves holes in the ground like waffles.
When I first got there, we were all taking turns. There were three trucks side by side, emptying their loads and it looked very intimidating. But garbage truck guys are nice guys and I just blended in with my little Dodge. When it was my turn to back in, I had been able to wait until there were no trucks left. I blindly backed up until I came to a place on the side where others my size and kind of load had dumped. There were storm windows, old furniture, and glass and cardboard everything. As I started unloading two trucks joined me so I wasn't alone.

A close up of the sea gulls by the sea of garbage. I really had not expected to see them there, but when I first drove into the area, I saw three of them flying overhead. Welcome to Iowa, birds.

When you are done clearing your load, you drive back down to ground level, you wait in line to get weighed again, to see how much your junk weighed. A nice man, but impatient man, who probably hates doing this over and over again, figured up my charges and sent me on my way. My trash didn't weigh over 500 pounds so I was charged the base fee of seven dollars, plus the ten for my big bad appliance, which I think he thought was a de-humidifier, which has a compressor, but not a humidifier, which has no compressor.

All I can say about all this is that we need to rethink packaging. I know we use trees to make cardboard, but we are growing a plethora of trees to make these products. If a plastic water bottle takes 1000 years to disintegrate, how long does it take a plastic milk carton, or laundry detergent bottle to go away. Cardboard can decompose in less than a couple of years.
Somehow, we need to put more of an effort to figure this all out and still have our convenience.

That landfill will be there for hundreds of years, maybe more. We haven't had these around for very long. We won't know how they will even behave. I know that the landfill in southern Iowa, where my parents' house is, they think they will be done using up all the space in two years and they will have to look for a new location. That one is just as scary as this one when you drive up onto it. I really have no answers, I just want to put some ideas for us all to think about. Thanks for reading.......