Monday, November 30, 2009


The time will come when I will see that there is nothing left to do but sit in the dining room and drink coffee and eat cake in front of the window while watching the birds and squirrels eating at the feeder.
                                                 L. D. Burgus

Thanks for reading ............

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Old windup train.......

This is pathetic looking but I can put new paint on it.  It doesn't have it's wind up key anymore.  The front of it has fallen out and is lost, so all I have is a shell of a memory. I have a blogger friend about my same age that said he also had this same train.  It had a small circle track and had a wind-up key to make it work.

The coal car is in the best shape but it does have some rust on it. This is a thin metal and has been painted with a stencil.  The caboose looks better here that it real is. It is missing one set of wheels.

The other train that I will be sharing is in great shape.  This was a metal, hardware store bargain for the time.  I am sure it was in 1955 that I got it from Santa.
It is going to be another busy day tomorrow so you may never see another blog for a couple of days.  I am getting sick and tired of the project but we have a dead line as a new dining room table and six chairs will be delivered in December.  That is another story, about buying wood furniture, that I will share some day.  Have you ever heard of poplar wood or rubberwood?   Thanks for reading.......

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The toy box gets emptied......

 My neighbor was over today having me do some framing jobs for him and the guy was digging through my box.  I haven't even had time to dig through it but he was looking for something for his train collection. I am a nice guy but he was dreaming to think I was going to give him anything out of that box.  Anyway, I took a few things out and shot come pictures after he left.

I shrunk this down as it isn't quite in focus, but time isn't abundant for me right now.  This was a toy given to me one Christmas from my parents, probably in the 60's.  The car doesn't go with the house trailer, as it is gone, but I had a Volkswagen car that looked like it to hold up the trailer.  At the hitch, you can open the bottom of the trailer and I could store the car inside.  I am sure this came from a hardware store as that is all we had in this area that toys would be for sale.

This is a good view of this toy.  You can't see it but there is a cute canopy on the front window.  The car is from another one of my happy collections.  I buy them one at a time as I see them, a couple per year. I think I blogged about my two Cadillacs that I bought a while back.

As a farm boy I was really interested in farm things.  The white plastic sheep is from a small, very cheaply made plastic barn with animals.  I was very young but I remember how hard it was to keep it together as a structure.  The horse and pony is from my second farm set that I received as a Christmas gift.  It was a two story metal barn with horses, cows, sheep and chickens.   There was even a dumpster device for shipping the pretend manure out the side of the barn and a stantion that my cows could stand in to be milked.  The barn is gone for sure and the plastic fences, but I am slowly gleaning the different little farm animals out of different boxes around my parents house.  I may have to make a small barn from wood someday if I get enough of these things back together.   Believe it or not, as a kid, you could open up a Sears and Roebuck cataloge and find in the toy section three different farm sets, and I remember looking at them for hours.  That had to be in the 50's as we still lived in our very old house at that time.
The tractor and wagon is not mine but must have been purchased for my kids to play with when they visited.  I see there is string attached to the hitch as I bet Grandma got tired of helping hook it up to the tractor.  She probably tied it on for one of the guys to make it stay in place.

Gosh I am old.   I will be working on the  rest of the toys and will be getting them cleaned up.  The guy admired my tank car of my train set and thanks be to God that it didn't have a Pennsoil label on it.  I would have had to call the cops to get him out of my house if it had.  The car had Sunco on it and he was very disappointed.  Ok, thanks for reading.........

Friday, November 27, 2009

Collection show and tell.....

One of my silly collections began in my mind back when I was a kid.  We were very poor and our cedar tree was decorated with a few trinkets and aluminum garland from the hardware store.  One year  my parents bought a set of glass blown ornaments like the one above and a whole world of fascination  overwhelmed me.  The color, reflection of light, the form, all of it fascinated me.

So as an older adult, I started a collection of glass blown ornaments.  The rule is that they are not to be the very expensive Radko ones, but that they are the less expensive ones, that I find along the way.  I really prefer that they have an old traditional style and nothing modern.  I went to a high end store the other day and all of their ornaments are now pink flamingos and green frogs and motorcycles, not traditional at all. The one above reminds me or our yellow cat.

This ornament actually reminded me of our border collie.  It is darker in color but really does resemble our dog. I also want them to be well painted with skill as some of them are assembly line work that gets to be a poorly crafted work.

This ornament was a close fit for our white poodle.  I bought all three of our pets at one time at a half price sale after Christmas a few years back.

I have a special tree, that I call the antique ornament tree to put these on and the collection grew enough to merit a bigger tree last year.  This one peacock design looked Victorian to me so I sort of thought it to be antique looking. I found two of these in different colors.
The trouble with the market now is that the Chinese have started to make them to replicate glass blown ornaments, but they are really plastic formed instead.  I have seen some in a metal form also but are perfect antique shapes. They use the same type of metallic glass like paint but they are not glass blown.
I don't get fanatic about my collection.  I watch stores that carry new ones each year and will go after Christmas to hit the sales.  I rarely buy it if it doesn't have some style of being hooked to the past history of ornaments.  I was at an antique store this summer and it has apparently become quite a collection trend as the plain ball ornaments with age are selling for high prices now. 
I will probably share some different ornaments as I go along, as I have old mushroom shaped ones and lots of toy shaped ones.  Of all the collections that I have, this one is the one that is fun, as I buy them when I find them, and I don't sweat it if it isn't happening.  i can just look every season for something new that looks old.  Thanks for reading....

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Day......

A time to reflect, Thanksgiving Day, our whole nation gets a four day weekend, and we eat a lot of food.
I think that we need a time to reflect and to give thanks.  It is a time for us to stop in our tracks and be with friends and family.

It has been a tough seven years for my wife and me.  We took care of Della's dad in our home.  I am thankful for her strength and our joint commitment to do the right thing taking care of her father. We are pretty much in a relationship of concrete to have done that.  It was a new beginning for us to fly to Maine, to be out of our home, and to see life is still going on out there.  I am grateful for her, as she keeps me balanced, slows me down, and to smell the roses.  I should buy her some roses, shouldn't I. We been married 25 years now and it just seems like yesterday.  I am so grateful for her being by my side.

This is a photo of our boys and their wives this summer in Maine, posing for a wedding photo of our youngest son.  I am thankful for their lives and what they have become.  We don't see our guys as often now as they have moved on and grown up.  i appreciate them and their wonderful wives.  It has taken only two years to add two girls to out family.  We are a family of six now. It hasn't quite sunk in yet but we have a lot to look forward to in the coming years.
I am grateful for many things, but I am pleased to have friends all over the world.  It is a pleasure to be able to share life with all of you. To those who are celebrating Thanksgiving, I hope you have a happy day and to those who don't celebrate this day, I hope you have a special day anyway.  Thanks for reading...

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Red hot color......

My favorite mug and our new purchase.  I use to buy amaryllis for people to enjoy and we never really bought any for ourselves. On one of our many visits to the building centers, I grabbed one off the shelf for my wife, and I will enjoy it too.  She probably could get a good painting from the plant once it starts blooming.  
I got into a bit more work than I expected yesterday while tearing down the square tiled ceiling.  I will share later, but let me just say, I got into a very good mess while taking down the squares.  It is all clean now but I sure pushed my limit on patience.  I will be sanding the floor of the dining room today and hopefully that will be the end of the dusty work.  Everyone have a great Thanksgiving Day.  I hope you have plans that are fun.   Thanks for reading.....

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Tuesday tootles....

When I took my walk yesterday, Yellow Kitty was enjoying the weather and was following me around, while I took pictures.  I had to stop and pet her off an on, as that is a requirement when you are sharing her world.

Nest to the porch I have cleared some things off so I could run my miter saw. I can work when it is raining by putting it under the porch roof.  I still love my new miter saw.  Why did I wait so long to buy it?  The bean pot and nail barrel are sitting in a pretty natural arrangement.  Behind it is a clematis that has died out last winter, it grew up half way up the porch post, and then died back again.  I see now that is has sprouted up again here this fall behind the nail keg.  It use to be so big and beautiful. I will move these two out and put them in the basement soon.

Yellow kitty loves to scratch up this tree. It and the one post on the garden shed are the two places she scratches.   I was going to use the cat pictures for the photo a day blog, but I have been busy again.  I worked until 7:30 pm trying to be done with the plaster compound on the seams.  I have all of it now sanded and it is smooth except for a couple of trouble areas, that now have had another wet layer put on them.  I hate the sanding of this stuff as it is such a fine powder, but it does sand up smooth and nice.  Tomorrow will be primer paint and sand the floor.  I am getting there.   It looks so nice that I am now really motivated to see it end. 

I saw Susan Boyle on the Today show, as she sang three different songs.  "I dream a dream" will always be her theme as an artist, and I think everyone is thrilled that she can share her wonderful voice.  We all like Cinderella stories and she certainly is one.  All of us can identify as some of the things we dream and want to do, really can come true.  As a retired person,  I am just now seeing a new door opening and a new life style developing.  I don't want it to be a time of sitting down, but a time of getting up, and creating.  Oh, well, I do want a lot of time sitting down and drinking coffee. Also I want it to be a time to really have the time to care about others and help them when I can.     Thanks for reading.......

Monday, November 23, 2009

Outside stuff......

We are back to this fall picture again. Fallen apples, no leaves, and a bench that still needs a new coat of paint.  Fortunately the wood is the special treated wood so it won't hurt it to not be painted.  I need to prune this tree now.  I have a new reciprocating saw, and a very long extension cord so I should get the job done faster.

Projects create waste but great line design.  Some of this is siding from the outside and the rest is the inside  waste wood.


Lastly is this verbena that is hanging in there for dear life.  It didn't do that well this summer but it does like cool wet weather as you can see.  Thanks for reading......

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Took some time off......

I have been gone for a while, but now I am back. I got into some really bad dust, and it shut my breathing down for awhile. I also have been messing with a badly fitted and designed crown on one of my teeth. My entire set of teeth have had to shift to adjust for this crown. I am now better and slept through the night last night for the first time in four days.
As you can see, I am still in a rut with the dining room. I am ready to do the final touch-ups on the mud of the nail holes and seams. It is close enough done that I will be putting a primer on it soon to see if there are any flaws that show up.
We bought paint today, sealer for the oak wood floor, and the new ceiling squares.
I take Sundays off so it will be good to have one more day of healing.

My poor fish is having a nervous breakdown.  Instead of moving him, I took out half of the water so I could slide it away from one of my walls that I am working on and he seems a lot nervous about it all. He looks like he doesn't like the green towel but it is for his own good.
I am not a contractor but I can understand what they have to think about when them bring in the trades.  I have decided that I have to tear out the old ceiling tile and sand the floor before I paint. The dust and dirt would not be good or a freshly painted wall.  Also I am going to put the wood trim on after I paint the walls so I won't have to paint around them.  I will have to protect my fresh sealed wood floors when I paint, but that will be easier than the other way around.  I hope I can get this done soon, as it has been slow work with the asthma thing.  I should be better and work longer hours and see the end soon.   Thanksgiving day is coming, and we are eating out.  That works well for us. Hey, thanks for reading this stuff........

Friday, November 20, 2009

Wallpaper of old......

I can't date the year, but when the previous owners had left this behind in two places in the dining room. When the room was paneled, the owners had a heat duct put in to the upstairs.  The corner of the room was squared up hiding the heat duct, and it too was paneled.  I am assuming that was late 50's early 60's.  This wall paper was behind the duct when I cleared away the paneling.  It also was left under the thermostat as seen above.  Before the paper was turquoise paint.

This is another shot of this pattern.  It almost looks like a 1940's design.

In another part of the house a closet was created in a downstairs room and this wallpaper is still inside that closest.  I really don't have the need to remodel the inside of my closet, it is our coat closet, so it has remained a piece of history for us to enjoy.
Yes it is  blurry but it is the best I could do on such short notice.

This wallpaper was on a single wall in the dining room in 1976 to match a bright yellow shaggy carpet that was already on the floor, covering up the hardwood floor.  The rug was finally removed by my wife and I in 1996 and we refinished the oak floor.

In 1985 I replaced the yellow flowered wallpaper with this pattern.  It was in good shape but we have now put sheet rock over it and this wallpaper is gone.

My neighbor lady said that she had one room that had 18 layers of  wallpaper on the walls,  It was a common practice to just paper over the old paper to clean up the walls. Wood burning stoves would make the paper be sooty or the paper would just get dirty and then they would put another layer on top of the other.  The paper then was cheap paper with low grade colors printed on them.  I can still see my two uncles upstairs in my Grandma's house slapping paper on quickly as they could as if they had done it many times before. I am sure they had.  Even in my house,  I notice my paper had covered up a huge crack and it really didn't show with the paper on it.  
This concludes your wallpaper tour of my house. You can see I need to get out more and quite working on the house for awhile.  Thanks for reading......

Thursday, November 19, 2009


I discovered something a couple weeks ago that I will share with those who use iPhoto on their computer.
First, the problem was that I have over 4000 photos on my iPhoto and while I would search with the screen set so I could see five in a row, like above,  I was not able to find the photos I wanted.  I guess because there are so many in the library, as I would scroll, it would jump many rows at a time.  I have things in the library downloaded in sequence of what goes on in my life, and I couldn't for example fine the state fair pictures.  I could see them blur by but I could stop on them.
Solution, that I found was to shrink the size of the photos so I could see them, eleven photos at a time in a row.  They are really small, but I can see all of the photos on the screen.  They don't jump ahead five rows at a time.
My wife reminds me that I could put them in folders and I wouldn't have had the problem in the first place.  I guess I need to do that to speed things up. 
I made big progress today with the window framing on the inside and I did some dry wall work in difficult areas above and below the window.
Tomorrow things should go faster as the work to get the window frame just right took a lot of definite measuring and cutting and building up where plaster had fallen off.  I will show pictures tomorrow.
Thanks for all your kind words to an old man carpenter.  Moving forward is gratifying rather than moving backwards.   Thanks for reading......

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

What you see is what I got......

This is one of the corners in our dining room. It is pathetic.  The house is over a hundred years old and the condition of this room is bad. There is a hardwood floor in it and that will be fine.  But the walls are in the process of being covered with new sheet rock.  It is covering up the black glue lines of the paneling that had been put on top of all of this.  The paneling was a good fix back then, for a previous owner, but it made the room look like a trailer house.  Some of the plaster walls show water damage from years ago.  That problem was apparently fixed but the wall was patched in a big uneven way.  The wall surface is the old fashion plaster that is rough and sandy textured.  It had been painted turquoise at one time then wallpapered over with fern patterned wall paper. We found a hole in the side of the wall that must have been where the first phone came into the house.  I can imagine it was an old fashioned one for sure.

As you can see my new window looks great, but I have a lot to do to fix this room.  The old paneling has been removed and today I will be building in the window with trim boards so that I can put on the new sheet rock. 
I bought nine sheets of drywall material, and I have three of them up already.  I am hoping to get most of this done this afternoon.  The three I put on look so good. 
The  hardwood floor will be lightly sanded and I will put a new finish on it.  The ceiling is going to be totally removed and new material will go on also. 
The major part of the work is ahead of me, but the hardest part was getting that paneling off of the walls.  I will be patching broken plaster around the window so I can box it in evenly with the wood trim and then apply drywall around it.
This will be a great fix when I get it done.  We still don't know if our Chicago kids are coming for Thanksgiving or for Christmas.  My goal is to be done before Thanksgiving, and I should be able to do that.  If they come at Christmas that will take off the pressure.  Thanks for reading....

Let's go shopping.....

I have drywall to buy, an oak floor to sand, and new ceiling to install and I get a new crown tomorrow. No I am not going to become king, but I have to get a new crown put on a previously cracked tooth. I am actually looking forward to going to get the drywall and pick out the new ceiling material.
The photos of  a good time shopping was this summer at Bar Harbor, Maine.  I will share those today even though I will probably be at Loews and Menards.

A lot of the shops in Bar Harbor are old buildings, but this area was a great set of new shops designed to fit the area. There is a patio area back inside of this two story tower.

I felt a little concerned that I would get yelled at  for taking pictures in shops so I didn't take many.  This store was full of nautical themed items. The model boat was a neat one.

The cars are distracting, but not all of the streets allowed parking. You can see that these are original buildings that have been built back at the beginning of the town.

These were kind of crudely built but they had a lot of them for sale. I may try to make some of them out of a dimensional wood as I do like the design.
Well in the real world, I will be back at it being a  carpenter.  I have a lot of the dirtiest work out of the way and the rest will be making things look a whole lot better.   Thanks for reading.......

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Pop Art Creations......

As an art teacher, I was attracted to the graphic design part of computers. I taught computer graphics back when the color classic Mac computer was new. I used two different programs and the last one was called Enhance. It was the baby program to Photoshop so it was easy for me to move in on to the Photoshop program CS2.
I am having a tough day today so I thought I would just play with the one photo of an orchid and turn it into a Pop Art art work. It went well enough that I made two of them.
I received an email from my first cousin today. Karen was an only child so she grew up with us four boys as a close cousin. She lived on a neighboring farm a couple miles away from our farm. She and her husband just lost their 38 year old son Alex. He collapsed and died while at work. They all lived in Arizona, so I can't be there to just be there. Her one other daughter is married and lives here in Iowa.
I have had enough experiences with loss of people in my life, but it is never easy. I feel helpless as I am not there to just sit and listen to my cousin's hurt. I worry for her and her husband. I am hoping I can somehow be her sounding board over the net. The net seems cold for such a thing but I think if it is kept one on one that it can happen.
My creative endeavor is different for me, but creating seems like the thing for me to do today. Thanks for reading.....

Rockefeller's Bridges.....

On Mt. Dessert Island, the history of the wealthy lives on, in the now Acadia National Park. In Maine, the Rockefeller's had purchased most of an island along the ocean shoreline. As I researched this to get my facts straight, the web says that  others hung around and owned property along the coast, and their names were Morgan, Ford and Vanderbilt. To show off his island to his many guests, Mr. Rockefeller built carriage trails and bridges, in order to give his guest carriage rides around the property. Eventually the Rockefeller's donated the property to the government for a national park. When you own so much it is hard to liquidate it.

We hiked up to see two of the bridges and I think that they were build just alike structurally. They are amazing bridges made from stone.

At the corners of each sides of the bridge are these round towers, four of them, that go from top to the bottom of the of the side of the bridge.  They are amazing designed and the craftsmanship is wonderful. I am sure he hired a crew to come in from overseas to build these bridges.  There are many of them all over island.  Oh yes they had to build the roads at the same time into the hills of this island.

At first when you read this, you think it says 1994, but no it actually is the date of 1924.

Look to the far side of the bridge and you can see the circular tower of stone that I described from it's top view.

It was  beautiful on the day that we hiked up to these bridges.  My youngest son, the one in the black shirt, was our guide. He loves this area and interned here in this park a few years earlier. He and his new wife live near here seven miles or so.  Others in the picture are my oldest son's wife, in orange, and my dear wife light blue on the right.


Another back view of people, the photo shows you actually how beautiful it is in this area.  My oldest son is on the left, youngest son in same black shirt, and Patricia, my oldest son's wife. Their faces are actually posted on the sides of this blog.
I have found that the summer gave me a lot of photos that I just haven't begun to edit and share.  I think it will be fun to jump back to the summer as we start to watch the snow to blow around here.
Thanks for reading....

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The final days......

I started on Wednesday to put the siding on, without any interruptions from outside forces.  It was cold, but the initial start is always slow as I had to cut around gas vents and a telephone line.

On Thursday I picked up the tools and finished the siding half way up the wall. I have it all sealed in now and tied it into the old siding up in the gable area.  I will finish the siding this spring when it warms up, but for now the dining room is all sealed up on the outside.

I am going to rest for a few days before dealing with the interior situation.  My wife and I have discussed it and made a few plans but want to wait until Monday to regroup and make a final plan on  how to proceed. Since I am doing the work, we have the freedom to move and decide as we go.

As I cleaned up the final items and put everything away, I looked down and saw some final glimpses of green and yellow.  The pattern of  faded glory of field lily leaves create a nice design.
Thanks for reading......