Saturday, April 30, 2011

A warm spring day......

and the bluebells are happy.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

A softer looking daff........

The cold weather has caused a lot of my daffodils to be slow to bloom.  It also has helped make the first bloomers hang around for a longer period of time.

My wife and I have art ready to display at our local train depot station and we are going to actually attended another show at a winery near Madrid, Iowa with 19 other artist on Saturday.  It is a celebration day for many towns because of the opening of a bike trail that extends many miles from Ankeny to Woodward.

There is a train bridge near here that has been restored into a high trestle bike bridge that is a part of the trail and that I will share info about later.  The High Trestle Bridge Artists invited us to be a part of their show and it will be fun to see how the two of us do in selling artwork.

A busy two days left to get ready for the show and many roadblocks or diversions keep coming our way.  We will be ready by Saturday though and I will report back on the day.

Thanks for stopping by.................and there is sunshine out there.  It is to be 70 degrees on Friday.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Check it out.........

A creative journey to the center of the tulip.   It is busy around here so I will let the pictures do the talking.   Thanks for checking in..............two art shows on the same day is insane.  I will explain later.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

It's crowded out there.......

Daffodils at my parents home were blooming with great vigor.  They are in a protected area between the house and the garage.  They really are a big bunch.

My sedum will take most of the summer and grow into the fall to finally develop it's buds of red color.  They remind me of little cabbages when they first come up in the spring.

Two tulips hanging out together make a fine abstract composition.  I really like the faded colors on the left tulip but it's color or shiny surface gives the camera a hard time in picking it up as a photo.

Thanks for stopping will be my main subjects for quite a while now as I have not the time to be more creative.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Three prattles.........

The property across the alley from my parents home has an old four by four house.  The renters either found a house to buy or left because of rent problems.  The owner of the house has again an empty house.  The owners decided to remove all of the bushes around the house.  I was surprised to find this wonderful large lilac cut to the ground.  It won't bloom again for a long time if ever  because of the way that they cut it back.  It looks like they might bring in a stump remover to eradicate it.

I have tried to get starts from if for years but this time I succeeded.  There were two new sprouts next to the alley that had come up and I helped myself.   It is so sad that this beautiful mature lilac was not allowed to continue to grow.  It's color was a deep red violet.   I am so pleased to get these starts and know that it will be a couple of years before I will ever see it bloom again.

I have returned to this blog and posted last years photo of the lilac start that I now have.

My dad had built this three season porch on the back of his ranch house.  It has a Ben Franklin stove that sat on the brick foundation.  It was taken to the garage by my mom's orders and I hope the new owners bring it back.  I wanted to show you the siding behind this area.  When my dad tore down the old Victorian that sat on the sight, he did it by hand, saving a lot of the woodwork and interior wood features.  One of the rooms had walls of paneling.  The paneling was all hand cut and created with insert panels.  If you click on the photo you can see it's craftsmanship.  The wainscoting and paneling were left with their natural stain on them and it was almost black looking and cracked.  We decided to revive it with this paint job.

I remember planting these tulips many yeas ago at my parents.  I have always liked them but have never seen them for sale anywhere.  They are actually a little mini sized tulip.  I may have to slip a couple of the bulbs out of the ground after they bloom and bring them home.  The have spread up and down the driveway.

Thanks for stopping by..........rain is predicted for the next couple of days.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Bulbs of spring......

Through the years I planted these for my parents to enjoy.  They really liked having them but really didn't think it convenient to plant them in the fall.  As the years went by, they were a clever surprise each spring for my mom to see as her mind wouldn't remember them being there until they sprouted and bloomed.

It was a bad experience for us in the showing of the house today.  It takes all kinds in the world but I am glad I am not that kind.  There will be more showing and better experiences I am sure.

My first cousin Sharon and her husband Don survived the tornadoes that hit St. Louis.  Their home is fine and Don was working at that airport when it hit.  He is fine as we were all frightened for him.

Take care and have a great Easter weekend.  Thanks for stopping by......

In you hearts and prayers please remember a former teacher friend of mine. He is Scott Chapman. He just became a father for the second time a few months ago and now he is beginning chemo,  headed for a bone marrow transplant.  The procedures are so risky and he is so young and I care so much that things go well for him.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Out in back.........

It is drippy, foggy and cool outside.  I have walked Barney and now I am out in the backyard with the little dog snapping a bit of spring activity. The wind did determine the direction of lean for the hyacinths.  It has done well considering the strong wind, frost and heavy rain.

The flag iris is up and maybe this year it will bloom.  It was so crowded and shaded that I had to split it and moved the leftovers to another location.  The creeping charlie is up already and the wild violets can be seen in the background.  The pond looks good right now but I have plans to fill it in and turn it into a bog garden. I can't maintain it and the liner leaks.  If I can get some swampy plants in there I won't have to work so hard at it.

I see a leftover tennis ball that Barney abandoned last fall.  He isn't great at playing ball as he is thinking we are throwing it at him not throwing if for him to fetch.  The variegated iris is coming on strong.  I have never seen this bloom so it is good to see it sprouting up with great vigor.

We are headed to church tonight for Good Friday services.  It is a bit soggy for Easter weekend but the sun surely will show through sometime this weekend.

Thanks for stopping in.........and Happy Easter to you.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Fernleaf peony......

With all the cold temperatures and the wind and the rain, the fernleaf keeps growing.  It is a very early bloomer so I am not surprised to see the flower buds already developed.  I have three different stands of these plus a fourth start in the backyard.

I am hoping that the one in the backyard is a start from the neighbor across the street.  I asked too late to get a start of it, as it was his mother in law's plant, he had moved it out a few days before I asked.  So he gave me a root that was laying on the ground.  I don't remember the details but I am just going to watch it.  It was a multi-petaled bloomer while mine just have single blooms.

In just one day the transplants were standing tall.  I buried a lot of the roots into the soil and I may still add more soil around them.  I am just glad they are thriving.  For a person who was planning on planting just six plants, I will have to find some neighbors to give some of these to for planting.

Thanks for stopping by......

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Spring promises.........with evidence.

Wild violets don't seem to care about the cold as they have started to bloom.  The rains have encouraged them and the longer days of daylight help bring them out.

I was cold and shaking when I snapped these so the focus isn't so great on this one.  I would love to enjoy these plants when there is warmer weather.

The old peony bed is responding to the rain and the cold isn't bothering them either.  This is a showy garden once the foliage fills in and then the peony blooms pop out.
Thanks for stopping by..............

Monday, April 18, 2011

Working with the greens inside......

It is time to transplant these tomatoes to a larger container when they start to look like this.  I have Roma and Beefsteak tomato plants in here.

Wally mart was trying to unload these trays that were suppose to be used for Christmas balls.  For a dollar I bought one and took off the lid.  I thought I could fill it deep with soil and they could root down into those round indents.

Here they are after being transferred to the new container.  They look a little drunk but in a couple of days they will be standing up straight. I will retake it when it looks better.

They look straighter this morning but will wait to photograph them.

Della and I took two violets that were crowded and created five plants from them.  I know it sets them back for a little while but they couldn't stay crowded up in multiples.

I also put seed in a container for cilantro, dill, peppers, and basil.  It is old seed that I thought would still be good so I tried to start some of it.

Thanks for stopping by..........Monday looks like it will be dry again.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Saturday stuff....

Wet and cold is all that we can seem to have for weather these days.  The wind has changed from the east and is now from the north so it will be 36 degrees F. tonight.

My wife and I finished our second composite group of 2009 seniors.  We have it down to a science to create this display of single senior graduates with their names below.  Scanning and using photoshop to get them ready. Adding the names, printing and then cutting each one out for the composite.

Last years class is done and now the year before that is done.  We have one more to do which is this years graduating class. We haven't received the digital photos of the class yet so we can't start on it yet. The school was glad we could catch them up on their obligation to the public to display graduating class photos.

I bought soil today to use to transfer my tomato plants into larger growing containers.  They did so well with the grow light and now they need more room for their roots.  I will post before and after on another day.

Thanks for stopping by.............until tomorrow.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Daffs are doing great........

I like the orange center of this daffodil.  It is a very small flower standing strong against the wind and the rain.

I transplanted this clump from my parents home.  It has done very well for just being planted last summer.

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

What is it ????

The buds of this shrub looked like a magnolia.  It was planted in front of the school where I work.  As I walked by it today, a student had snapped off one of the blooms then threw it down on the ground.  I brought it inside to revive it.

The common magnolia that we have in central Iowa does not look like this but it may be just another variety. I am willing to hear suggestions of identification of the bloom.

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

Thursday, April 14, 2011

I will rake another day.........

I should be out there raking the leaves and picking up sticks but my blogger friends demand to see the blooms of the season. So taking pictures is all that I can get done. Tomorrow maybe I can rake.

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

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Spring memories.........

As a young boy on the farm, it was my chore to fetch a bucket of water from the hand pump out next to the garden.  Money was tight and even though we had running water in the house,  it was actually water that had been pumped up from a farm pond.   We had indoor plumbing and washed with that soft water and washed dishes in it, but we did not drink it.

To go to the pump I had cross our lane and  open a gate into our garden area.  I would walk up a path to get to the well.  Along the way in the spring time, the area became magical.  Once through the gate, on my right was a long row of grape vines and to the left was an old metal container that held flowering sedum.  The plants out there were from a previous owner of the farm and they had planted many different things that would spring up out of the grass.  I could watch the grapevines develop leaves and see the sedum put out its flush of yellow blooms.

The daffodils were the most magical to me as they didn't seem like a real flower.  They were all yellow with the yellow trumpet and the leaves were lily like.   To a farm boy seeing them sprout out of the then short orchard grass made it seem mysterious.  As time went on, tulips would sprout and bloom and the parrot tulips also would bloom.  They were wonderful with all their rich colors displayed. It was always a concern of mine as to who the people were that planted them. How and where did they find such wonderful things to grow?  The crab apple tree that was planted next to the pump would fill with pink blooms and later snow onto the ground it's flower petals. Eventually everything would stop blooming and we would mow down the orchard grass and all was just a memory until the next spring.

Forsythia bloomed profusely in southern Iowa and it was always a joy to see the large bush next to my sand pile showing off it's bright color of yellow.  I do remember one spring when it was in full bloom and it snowed in the night covering it up with a blanket of white.

Above is my birch tree and one of my forsythia bushes.  This is the best they have looked in years as I normally don't get many blooms from my bushes.

I have many stories I would love to share about the kids I work with at school.  Sometime I will share about this genius boy who just knows so much while being stuck as a sixth grader.  He made me smile and glad I could meet him.  I taught all six, seventh and eight grade science these past two days and I hope to have a rest today.  Their energy levels are high and they sap me dry after while with all of excitement of life.  I need to sit down and sip coffee for a day and get some work done at home.

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

Monday, April 11, 2011


If I were like some people who put things in a bucket of the things they want to do before they die, I would have chickens.  My reality check says that the bucket of ideas is not going to happen. I am lucky to enjoy what I do have to do in my life and I will appreciate it.  I am stuck in the city for the rest of my life.

It doesn't stop me from buying books like this one from the discount pile and to enjoy knowing the info and learning about the different breeds of chickens.   When I was a kid on the farm, one of my brothers brought home from a neighbor,  Banties, Bantum, chickens and I really enjoyed having them around the farm.  Every spring there were new batches of the tiny chickens out there following the mother hen, picking in the dirt for things to eat. A few years back my memory banks were jolted as I saw them at the zoo.

The book was printed in the fine country of the United Kingdom and it also has crafting ideas with recipes for egg dishes.

I also have the memories of my mom raising brooder chickens for cleaning and eating. I never realized that chickens that they raise to butcher are a mix of cleghorn and game chickens.   That is another whole story.  We also had Cleghorn laying hens on the farm and I collected the eggs daily as well as recieved my flogging from the chickens in the nest.

Some cities allow people to have portable chicken crates that you can move around on your property but not in Iowa.

I will be subbing for the next two days in a Middle School Science room.  The teacher has parents who lost their home in the tornadoes in northern Iowa. They lived in or near Mapleton, Iowa.  I hope that all turns out alright for his parents.

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

Saturday, April 9, 2011


I can taste it now, sweet and sour rhubarb cobbler, maybe with some nuts and apples added in to make it taste so great.

Have a great weekend.......thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Spring is here......

but it is never a sure thing.  I remember as a young boy when it snowed on May 1st.   This is one of the last year's hopeful transplanting that did survive.  A fern leafed peony that is sprouting up from the mulch. This variety is so much earlier than the regular peonies.  The regular ones have sprouts that are about an inch high right now.

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

Saturday, April 2, 2011

On Eagles Wings.......

Check out this live video as these two bald eagles hatch and raise their young.  One egg hatched early this morning. I am sure there have been others but this is a first for Iowa.

Have a great weekend.