Wednesday, June 30, 2010

John and Mary Pappajohn........

They donated their private collection of 24 sculptures to the Des Moines Art Center.  On a four acre spot in downtown Des Moines the pieces have been installed.  My favorite is the thinking rabbit.

Art should be able to speak for itself.  If some of them didn't,  I sure am not going to defend them. I didn't take pictures of a lot of them as I deemed them not necessary.  The family must be moving from one place to another as these were all in there very large yard.

It was a long day yesterday but we did cool down.  I thank you for stopping by...........

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Various Vibes......

Plastic or concrete?

Somethings just happen you know.  I have a plastic swan because I couldn't find plastic flamingos. I thought it would be a little kitch like for me to do.  So the plastic swans sits in places as a humorous accent.  While cleaning off my mom's front porch area with all her planters filled with two years of weeds, I decided to bring home her concrete swan.  I never had the opportunity to ask her where it came from and my brother too is gone, he might have had a clue about it's appearance on this porch.  I just brought it home, hernia making and all.  It is extremely heavy and I took the dirt out of it to lighten it a little. I will repair and paint it eventually but for now it just has a  new home.

It is a bad combo that I didn't intentionally create.  I had an area of coneflowers that flourished and in the front of them, I haphazardly put in this daylily.  I didn't probably know it's color at the time because it wasn't blooming and I bought it at the Iowa Arboretum sale.

I messed up the growing environment of the coneflowers by putting in a recycled wooden fence to the south of the bed. It cut down on the sun that they needed, so they started declining.  The daylily started spreading more each year and ended up crowding in among the few remaining coneflowers.  Thus I have this strange color scheme.  If I have time I may mess with the situation this year and thin out the daylilies and move some of them elsewhere.

We are painting on the mural a lot these days as we are backed up to a deadline now.  It is going good but we have a lot of distance to go.  I am a detail person and I want you to see the  lines in the siding of the trolley and the brass of the handles.  I keep studying train wheels and I think I have what I want. My wife is doing landscape and sky and clouds and trolley seats and we just keep humming along to the beat of a deadline.  We work well together and each just does the parts that they run into at a time.  The trolley is actually a background to a lot of things that will be placed on the loading dock and a conductor checking his time schedule.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Art Festival, did I say it was HOT?????????

Each year there is a large art festival where  artist from around the nation come to sell their work.  It started at 10 in the morning on the streets of downtown and there are about 180 exhibitors. I won't go into great detail but did I say it was hot?  We had wind and storms the night before and the high today was around 94 degrees with heavy, very heavy humidity.  We attended as early as possible because we knew it was going to be unbearable. Everyone else did the early attendance thing so it was hard to  walk anywhere.  Downtown streets are hot normally but with the clear sky and warm weather it was exhausting.  We enjoyed seeing it all and I will share more later.

One of my favorite exhibitors is the guy who builds these things.  It is a wind powered sculpture with all parts turning.  The price tag in in the thousands so I don't bother to buy bulk in them.  He has gears and ball bearing parts that makes everything move with such ease.

Did I mention the heat?  It was so hot that  Darth Vader had to sit down in order to survive.  There were six of these guys roaming the streets to advertise the  oncoming Star Wars concert coming to Des Moines.  Darth does his breathing thing anyway, with a microphone, and he was really out of wind in this  hot outfit.  I will show other pictures of him later with his fans. I have some really fun shots of people behaving naturally.  Me, I was just chasing them all down the street and taking shots as fast as I could, that is normal isn't it?

In the middle of this festival area is a giant grass green park full of donated Papa John's 45 million dollars of sculptures. I will show that later, but the downtown of Des Moines is trying to perk up a lot.

This is an amazing building that I shot as a backdrop for the festival.  That curved glass part of the building extends all the way around to another matching part of the building.  It was so hot that once we were through with this area we found shade and followed the north side of the buildings back to the car.

I will close with a view of the other half of that building and a whirlygig in front of it.  The show had paintings of all kinds such as photography, pottery, sculptures, jewelry,  and furniture. 

We went to the Spagetti Works for lunch and then traveled to another alternative art show at the State Fair grounds. It was inside and air conditioned.  My wife met a fellow art blogger and her husband there who were selling work and we saw neighbors and old teacher friends. That is another blog.  Thanks for stopping in for a visit............

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Dirty pictures! No dirty things.........

I mowed today at my parents home and worked on some finishing details in the bathroom remodel. As I cleaned things up and put things away I went to the garage to see if there was anything there that I just had to bring home this time around. I remembered my wife collects blue things, bottles and vases, so I went to the back of the garage and grabbed the old Pillips bottles and a couple of other things.  What amazes me is the frame of mind that I am at the time in as I just throw it into the back of the car, dirt and all. I could have at least taken a garden hose to it before I brought it home.

I had found in a box in the attic of the garage one of those ceramic flower pots shaped like a grandfather's clock and also a mushroom shaped terrarium.  I know the mushroom terrarium shape is a bad design but it was the 70's.  I think I will plant it just for fun.  I watched a lady on PBS doing them in large glass jars.

The Phillips bottles came originally from the old house or old garage that use to sit on the property, so I do know they are old.  The planter is from the old days when we lived out on the farm, and that has to be in the 1960's.  They had 30 or 40 years of dirt collected on them.  There was still white powdery material inside the bottles.

So I now have a new ceramic piece to add to my collection of 60's ceramic pots and my wife has some new, old shiny blue bottles.

I also brought home a concrete swan planter.  I will share that later.  I had a choice of a plastic swan or a concrete swan.  While weedeating the front flower bed, I discovered two more cheap roses hiding among the tall grasses, thus I dug them and put them in a bucket to bring home.
I had to clear away planters that my mom had used every year on her front porch.  I dumped wonderful potting soil and tore up a rotted flower box and threw away a faded humming bird feeder.  It was a sad thing for me to deal with today but it is done. The planters had all been growing weeds after two years of not being in use. My mom was so proud of those flowers, and would sit out in a lawn chair and watch traffic go by while admiring her flowers. It is all done now except for a very large planter that I will need to deal with later.  I may bring that dirt home as it is full of commercial soil that I could recycle. I don't think the wood will be recyclable.

My wife and I are headed to downtown Des Moines today to see the large art festival sponsored by our Des Monies Art Gallery.  It has grown to be the third largest in the nation and artist are juried into the show from all over the country.  It is going to be fun until it reaches 94 degrees hot, so we will go early.  Another art show also is held at the state fairgrounds, inside, air conditioned, and that has a lot of exhibitors.  It is going to be a super day.  Sometime we go back on Sunday to get a second chance at the viewing of so much work.

Have a good weekend and thanks for stopping by.........

Friday, June 25, 2010


I thought the soon to bloom regal lilies looked sculptural as they were on the verge of first blooming.

Two days of rain kept me from checking on them but they shot open very quickly.

The creeping bell flower is on it's last days as you can see the flowers are bloomed out all the way down to the bottom of the stems. They have increased in size somewhat but I will mow back a little once they are done blooming.

The mural changed some more to day.  The cow catcher for an electric trolley sits in an unusual place.  The highlights on the thing have to be added and the front end is getting to look more like the actual parts of a trolley.  The cow catcher actually was probably there to keep the debris out of the way as it sat underneath the front of the car, which I like to call the bay window.They would switch that to a blade in the winter, but a thick bank of snow wouldn't allow it to pass as the electric street car just wasn't that powerful.

The change for us outside is the hundreds of mosquitoes.  Out town does spray but not until it drys out a little bit more.  I wouldn't dream of sitting out here at the table.  I did grill  the supper hamburgers but it was a challenge to keep moving and swatting.

The last change for the day is the raspberry patch.  It doubled in size in one year and now I have to pick.  I did mention the mosquitoes and they do love to live under the berry leaves.  I am looking forward to our pie from these.
Mowing continues and I head to Osceola to face that lawn and do more work on the house.  I have to mow when the rain is not.  Everyone take care as the weekend is almost upon us.  Thanks for stopping by............

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The wheels on the trolley go round and round........

The frustrating thing about the trolley mural project is not having a clear concise picture for a reference.  I was using my toy train set for awhile and the wheels on that were not proportioned correctly.  I worked on them today and I am getting closer to liking what I have done.  We have a mid July deadline so we will be working more regularly on this.

This is my fuzzy reference that seems to be working.   I am not a train fanatic so I don't know exactly the engineering of these things.  I can't fake it, so I will give the best impression of what I see.

A side story that I recently heard from the town policeman.  He said that their are trolleys that were used for the base of houses in the town of Perry.  Just like when they take a mobile home and build around them, apparently they had cars that people built around.  A week ago, he said that a house burned down in Perry and it had a trolley in the middle of it.

The frother guess was probably the best guess so far.  I should have laid the spoon down with it to give you a frame of reference.  The wire it is made up of is all rusty and I am not sure it was good wire when it was first made.  I can't imagine even using the tool in beating up batter or eggs.  I suppose the wire could have had a coat of paint on it too when it was new.

Thanks for stopping by............

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Wednesday's batch for what it is worth........

My chokecherry tree took a hit a few days ago with all the wind and rain.  It was a v shaped tree and now has one straight trunk. 

The city told me to get some things trimmed and I have not as of yet.  I won't have to trim these though as they came down all by themselves.

I was deciced to run a fence wire to the edge of my tomato rows and tie them up to the fence.  It was easier to go ahead and use the tomato cages.  I have so few tomatoes this year that I can stake them with two metal post per plant so the should be secure.

Because I had decided to run them next to a fence row, I planted them too close to each other.  I think if I can get them staked well because of the weight that they get on the branches, I should be able to have the same effect.  The two of us will not use this many tomatoes but we like to share them with the neighbors.  I had leftover seed of Early Girl and of Roma so that is what we have in the garden now.

I will retake the photo of the tool with another normal sized item to show you what the actual size of it is.  I too thought it looked like a rug beater  head but when you see how small it is you will change your mind.

Thanks for stopping by.........

Tuesday's tidbits........

My side porch has this planting that is starting to fill in more fully with growth. I like these new geraniums with the pansy like flowers.  It reminds me of the one that I have on the front porch that I blogged about before called Martha Washington.  I don't know the name of this one but it's reds are different.

It has a nontraditional foliage on it which is darker green and fringed.

I have some striking photos of this regal lily but I am trying to pick from them one to enter into a contest.  I will just show you this single bloom of my third generation regal lily.  Grandma Brooks, my mom, and now it is at my house.

A bonus section to my blog, which is called, "What is it?"  This was in the old house my father had toen down 40 years ago.  I want to call it an egg beater.   The handle is in good shape with it's maroon painted handle but the wire configuration is all very rusty. I would never dip it into any food item today.

I finally worked on my tomato plants, covering them with their cages today and I will need to get the posts around them soon. I can't believe those little sprouts turned into mature tomatoes. My wife and I have been busy painting and it makes the news now when we are not having rain.  My last little kitten was taken home yesterday by one of the neighbor's 6 year old twin girls.  I asked the one if she got bit and scratched and she smile and shared all of her wounds.  She is so strong-willed that she wasn't going to let a little bleeding get in the way.  Her twin sister proceeded to take it from her and picked it up by the neck and helped transport it to a crate in the house. The mother is a feral cat and still hisses at me when I go to feed her but I am intending to get her tame and will keep feeding her even though her kittens have all been kidnapped now. My goal is to take her on a visit to my vet.  The owner's have the kittens in their living room and the mother is outside with me at the garden shed.  I will let you know when I get her tamed.
Thanks for stopping in.......

Monday, June 21, 2010

Monday updates........

A weathered warrior created from the weather.  This is my very first fancy daylily with bugs and all.

Two petunias in my wife's raised flower bed. The veined one is really striking against that bright red one in the background.

After Button's surgery for a growth and two wart removals. I can say he is really back to normal.  The Vet called Saturday and said the biopsy showed no cancer.  She was hesitating to say absolutely no cancer and yet she said she believed that the growth was manifested from an injury inside his gum line from something he did to himself while he was eating.  It was full of white cells and not a cancerous growth.  Needless to say we were pleased to hear this about our 12 year young little dog.  He still has the stitches sticking out of his eyelid and his  knee and inside the lower part of his mouth, but jis doctor said they would dissolve in a couple of weeks.  He is back to his usual routine managing the going ons in the household and keeping his people responsible for the care of himself and Barney.

Thanks for stopping by........

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Is it Saturday already????????????

It is nice to have this plant blooming again after it's two year vacation.

This is the first kitten that returned to its original owners. I had it tamed a little bit so one of the little girls just grabbed it and took it home.  The mother and her last kitten has returned so we will continue to feed them.

This is a cool photo with the sun shinning through the leaves.  Lilies for a few weeks and then day lilies.

I spent a day at the house in Osceola.  I have lots of stories to tell and pictures to take about things that I found.  Blue bottles, leather post cards, boxes of old license plates, a suitcase full of country school books and much more for me to share about as time goes by.

Thanks for stopping in.........

Friday, June 18, 2010

Friday's findings........

After getting this potted I noticed the geranium is called Martha Washington. It seemed fitting as it is a traditional red color and goes well with my Roman revival plastic urn.  I found two of these in a dumpster at school a few years back. I wasn't too proud or too rich not to go diving.

My wife added to the Burgus Sculpture collection the other day by presenting this one to me as a gift. I haven't seem my real rabbit for a long time but it may have gone across the street to live in the hay field.  When it is placed in an appropriate position, I will photograph the newest sculpture among plants for you.

Cactus grows wild west of Omaha, but here in central Iowa it has to be brought in and cultivated.  My neighbor lady who has moved to a nursing home has this very old cactus bed that always amazes me when I see it.  It freezes out each year in a sense that it gets all brown and collapses but come spring it comes back to life.

The ants were crawling all over the blooms as well as me while I was taking photos. I have some of this started in a pot but need to find a hot dry south side of the  house to plant it.

Violet slip update. I had four out of six successfully start. The other two might make it but for now I need to get some good violet mix and get these planted in pots. I put them in there and covered it with a recycle hamburger bun sack and walked away.  I did check on it's moisture a few weeks back but it seemed to stay moist with the plastic bag over it.

My Grandmother Brooks had regal lilies at her house in Murray, Iowa.  Every year she counted all the blooms and she had it tied up with hay baling twine.  It was ugly twine, jute like,  but her blooms were great.  My mom moved it to Osceola and now I have it in Woodward.   I scatter planted it on the property and two places out of three were good locations.  Flowers are due to arrive soon.  I staked mine up with old rusty sign brackets.

A scattered blog today, but I think I have covered it all for today.  Thanks for stopping in......

Killer Cat and her mother moved away today and my hand is doing better.  I miss that little kitten and hope she comes back.  Ha!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Killer Kitten......

The neighbor's three kittens have been living in my garden shed area. I had tamed one of them some and the little girls of the neighbor came over and first caught the one that I had tamed.  Yesterday the doorbell rang and the one little girl of the three girls from over there told me that she caught the calico one and had taken it home.

I was out feeding the mother and this little tike Wednesday evening.  I noticed this last little kitten was sitting  quietly after I put the food out so I reached down and picked it up. I thought it would be nice if they all were together over there as a litter. It went crazy, scratching and placing it's mouth over the end of my index finger.  It was not as bad as a cocatiel bite, but the kitten bit down hard placing deep holes in my finger one on top and one on the bottom. Needless to say I bled very well and I put the kitten down instantly. It is going to be a very sore finger for awhile.

I called the father instantly and warned him that the little girls can get themselves into trouble and they needed to be warned.  I think it can just grow up some more and be tamed rather than trying to make any attempt to take it away as a kitten. 

I was concerned that they were in such a hurry to take them to their  home anyway and now that they are older I think this one really will defend herself.  I don't need to have the news catch hold of a girl getting mauled by a kitten on my property by her dad and mom's cat. The mother cat isn't really tamed but they wouldn't admit that to me when I questioned them about it.

On another note, we seem to be getting more rain. My grass has started to seed as it never dries out long enough to get it  mowed.   Thanks for stopping in.......