Saturday, December 31, 2011


Strewn on the bookshelf of the storage room are the remains of old dinosaurs.  The boys are gone and the toys still remain.   I will probably toss them but for now they lay in their own graveyard on display.  It was a thirty years ago when Andy received these as a gift from Minnesota friend. The products are still for sale today in different stores so the company has been successful.

One of my oxalis plants is doing well in the dining room window.  There are not any blooms but it does have a lot of foliage.  I fertilize the plant with the same water as the violets so I am sure it is enjoying the food.

Nothing planned for this day as we are just resting and resting some more.  We usually don't do anything special for New Year's Eve.  I hope you all are having a great day.  We are very warm for winter in Iowa and then a cold front will be coming through this evening.

Happy New Year to you all and thanks for stopping by my post.

Friday, December 30, 2011

What is it????

While strolling through my storage room I found this in a box of school junk.  It really brought back the memories when I found this two colored ball.  They were crucial parts for the computer world and in a school situation it was a curse.  Students loved these super balls.

This shows a better perspective of the size of the sphere.  I had forgotten that computer mice had these balls inside of them for the use of moving the cursor around on your screen.  We had to buy a box of these to replace the ones that the students would take home with them in their pockets.

When you had only twenty computers and you had twenty students to teach in using the computer it was so disgusting to come into the lab and be short one or two of these mouse balls as two people would not be using the computer that day. I wonder if any of you out there still have a mouse that contains one of these?

With the failure of our ice box, I had many red raspberries that were thawed and ready to be eaten.  On Wednesday I ran half of them through an old fashion sieve and made juice for jelly.  We successfully made many jars of jelly with some seeds in them.  So today, with the help of cheesecloth we made up the last half of the juice without the seeds.  One of us doesn't like the seeds but I don't mind them. I have some dramatic pictures of these jars of sugar and juice that I will share on the Photo a Day blog in the future.

Thanks for stopping by my post.  We are headed for the bookstore and maybe Menards today.  Rainy and cold today but we did see the sun shining once.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

A Photo Contest....

The theme for the contest was the Epitomy of Christmas.  

I entered one of these in a photo contest.  The competition is really tough but I have fun sending one off anyway once a month.  I won't tell you which one I sent.  I really had two favorites that I considered but I sent the one. I will connect you to The Retirement Chronicles blog later when all of the contestants have sent in their photos.

Thanks for stopping by my blog.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Death in the kitchen.......

Our refrigerator/freezer died in the middle of the night.  We had warnings as our milk was not keeping well for the many past months.  It wasn't working correctly and the defrosting part was really getting too warm during that process.  In the middle of the night on Monday I discovered the problem with melted ice cream.  I think the thing had been down for four or five hours. We were so cold outside that I could put most of the things that were still worth saving out on our back porch. It was below freezing at two in the morning. The next day my wife baked the frozen pizza and the cookie dough so it wouldn't spoil and we threw away things that seemed too risky to save.

We are living with a college refrigerator right now until the new appliance arrives.  I found myself stuck with many containers of red raspberries thawed.  We kept them cool in the basement stairway for a day and today I ran them all through a sieve to juice them.  We made one batch of raspberry jelly and will make another one tomorrow.  Ironically a few days ago I had taken out a batch of them and made a puree out of them for a cheesecake. Little did I know that I would be forced to deal with the rest of them.  So I was ready to save this valuable fruit.

We had our car refixed on Monday also as the seal on the gas tank was not put on correctly and it was leaking a lot of fumes.  They had removed the gas tank to replace the fuel pump inside it and they had to take it back off again to fix the seal so it was actually tight.

The third thing I am not sharing about right now is the clothes dryer.  We will have a new one next Monday.

I am blogging late for the day but will be back tomorrow.  Thanks for stopping by my post.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Tuesday's a sluggish day...

I am reposting an archived photo of my Grandmother Brooks' creations.  The reason I am doing that is that I wanted to share on new thing that I found among my mom's things.  It is a tightly rolled small bundle of newspaper. It was tied with string. As I took it apart I discovered that it was my grandma's original pattern to her wonderfully stuffed chickens traced out on newspaper. She and a neighbor bought a chicken that was already made and she took it apart to get the pattern. 

The chickens were photographed on the walnut table that my grandmother had given to me my senior year in high school.  It is a common table and yet is made of solid walnut, and she replaced it with a modern formica table with chrome legs.  She received the gray vinyl covered chairs that went with the kitchen table and she was so pleased to own it.

An archived photo of a chicken from the zoo we had visited.  She was busy looking for something good to eat among the gravel road.

While watching "This Old House" today, I thought of my own renovation project.  They were working on a three hundred year old house and had replaced the windows with restored originals.  My old house of one hundred years had two long narrow windows.  I could not restore them as they had been taken out and replaced with bad larger window.  All I could do is find a paned window that would make the room look better and also blended with the style of the house in it's present form.  I have replaced most every window in the house with the same style of window so it is uniform in design.  I have two windows yet to replace and that may come this summer.

The new window has been great for keeping the house warmer and we can watch the birds from the dining room table now.

I hope your day was a good one.  We had to return our car to be looked at again after the replacement of the fuel pump.  It seems that they didn't get the seal tight when they installed it and we had gasoline fumes continually which also set off all the sensors related to the emission system and the gas cap.

We also went in to buy and replace two major appliances today.  Buy today, deliver tomorrow they say, but we won't see a delivery until next Monday. Don't believe them when they say they have a great deal as that only happens when they have your products in stock.

Thanks for stopping by my late posting today.  I sometimes think that it is the last, I won't continue but no, I keep on posting.  I know that I am getting bored with my own stuff so I need to get out and shoot some new and different things.  We have no snow so it isn't very pretty out there.  I may have to go out and take ugly scenes.  Later.........

Monday, December 26, 2011

Away in the Manger......

A few snaps that I took in the afternoon on Christmas.  We had a quiet day out with Della's brother and wife at a restaurant for early brunch and then an afternoon of rest. Playing with the digital seems to be my indoor recreation but bird watching out the dining room window has become great. Even though we have no snow and the birds could find things to eat out there, they have enjoyed our feeder.  We feed them the leftover seed from the trays that the indoor birds don't quite finish.  It has bits and pieces of dried fruit, or fake dried fruit bits, that are too big for the indoor birds to eat.  The cardinals are really enjoying those as well as the other millet leftovers.

The school has given me a new MacBook laptop to use as I do work for them on there website.  They have extras right now and I don't have to check one out at the library each day when I sub. I am back at the dining room table sitting and working.  I haven't done that for a while since my laptop lost it's screen and I have to be at a desk with it and a extra large screen in which to work.

We have a day off today and it seems too busy out there in the commercial world to venture out.  We would like to hit the bookstore but most people are off work today and that would be very crowded.  We finished our belated Christmas cards this morning and will find cheesecake and mincemeat pie to snack on when we feel like we are starving.

I hope all is well with everyone and the day is going well.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christrmas Day

It is in the forties today and the sun in shining here in Iowa.  The same weatherwise is in Chicago today where our oldest son lives. The youngest son is in Bucksport, Maine today and it is ten degress and snowing there.

I hope you are having a good Christmas day.  Thanks for stopping by my post.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

The last of the last....

These two will be picked up today in the morning. The framing will have been all delivered or picked up and we are done with all the framing.  The seed corn sacks were quite a challenge to sew, glue and stick to the black core backing. If we were counting all of our labor the lady would not have afforded this job. It is the reason we want out of the business as people ask for the impossible and think it is all magic when they receive the results. We make it look too simple when it is not.

When I delivered the horse framing yesterday I was able to see a new house full of many old antique furniture.  I will share that surprising and great tour that I took later.

It is still in it's box.  I will remedy that soon and get it onto the tree.  I must have bought it on super sale last year.

It is a busy day today and I hope everyone is getting all their last minute things done.  We are done shopping as of yesterday and we have to wrap presents for each other, then we are done.  Della is making mince meat pie and I have a couple of things to make and then we head for Christmas Eve services tonight.  The boys are with their in laws this Christmas and we will be getting together with my wife's brother and his wife.

I hope everyone's plans are working out and that sometime during it all you can just rest and enjoy tomorrow.

Thanks for stopping by my post.

Well the lady called and said she really didn't need the framed seed sacks until next weekend, so we stopped holding off our plans waiting for her to come.   

Friday, December 23, 2011

Friday's Post.....

I took a photo of the two trains that surround my one Christmas tree.  The foreground ended up being too out of focus to be effective as a good photo.  I cropped it then instead and am showing the light shining through the trains' different cars.  I really like the colors of yellow, red and orange all in a row.

This would be a train wreck if were on a track but that would mean that both engines would be actually traveling in the same direction, one backing up while the other is moving forward.  Maybe not, I am not too smart with the behaviors of electric trains. Maybe some day I will buy one that actually works, larger than this size and I can learn more about the mechanics of them.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Photos on Parade.......

A repeat sharing of the photo of my Italian snowman.  My sister in law Linda gave me this a few years back.

It is a busy time of the year and I have one last day today to be at school.  Yesterday I had to pinch hit for a teacher who was vomiting in the bathroom and just had to go home.  The semester tests  in Math were all laid out for me so I just acted like I knew what I was doing.  He was very ill and contagious I am certain but I resolve not to pick it up from him. Today I am giving the rest of the Math finals.  We are giving the tests in one and a half hour blocks so the students have ample time to finish their tests.

We worked on our framing of the two burlap seed corn bags last night.  I am out of school early today and so will be back at it hoping to have them done before the sun sits tonight.

I am glad you can stop be to visit my post.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Wednesday's Wanderings...........

I swapped a violet of this one for a multi colored one with my wife's cousin.  It is my goal for both of us to get some starts from it.  I haven't started to do that but I will do it over Christmas break. 

We have only one more box to ship today and it doesn't go very far so we will get it there on time.  I think we will hand write our cards this year, no letter, and we will send them when we get them done.  The timing is not critical for me with me as being in school everyday time is limited. They will be lucky to hear from us or maybe not so lucky.

We like doing letters but sometimes the year's happenings seem too hard to explain or the events seem not something you want to share.  In the old days people just wrote one or two sentences and that will be good for us now. "We are fine, the kids have jobs, we are not dead yet!"

I remember when I was young we were told that we would be the caboose or the last person in line.  When I went to the post office on Monday I was the caboose as there were  many people in front of me and I was the last in line. Tuesday was the same situation, I arrived and six people in line to ship boxes.

One lady in line was in such a hurry she had thrown things into a cardboard box and was writing the address on the outside among all the large printing.  She also didn't have the top flaps sealed.  The post office person circled the address and put arrows around it and then offered to tape the lid shut for her.

Thanks for stopping by my post.  I know everyone is very busy so please be careful out there and take time to rest between the rushing moments. I am a techie today installing computers and trouble shooting for those who are having computer skills problems.

Frame jobs.........

I have a couple of these seed bags to frame in shadow box frames.  The woman's mother was a descendant of the Bergstrom's who owned the company.

Two crochet pieces that are completed except for the hangers on the back.  Christmas presents for a woman's kids who live out of state.

A framed print that was done by my wife.  We sold the print at the art show and the woman wanted us to frame it for her daughter's Christmas present.  It reminded her of a horse that they lost a few years ago.

As we get closer to Christmas we find ourselves busy with all the last dealings with the charity frame jobs that I completed.  Della had some commissions that need to be picked up. We have to pick up supplies for our last frame jobs, the seed corn sacks, and then we will be close to the end.  I am mailing two boxes today and we have one more to ship tomorrow.  They should all get there by Christmas. Well the Maine box is debatable about it's arrival on time but when it hits the state the sled dogs have to finish the journey.  I am just kidding about that, but the one year when we used LL Bean, a company in it's own state, the packages were late.

I am subbing as a shop teacher today as well as a tech person.  It is best to go with the flow and not to expect anything but a day of variety.  Thanks for stopping by my blog.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas Ornaments........

My first fascination with ornaments on a tree was with our own tree as a child.  It was always on a cedar tree that was badly shaped and most years it was brown.  Cedar trees grew wild and we would spot them years in advance and watch for them in our timber.  If they grew big enough that would be our chosen tree.

My dads first cousin Galen and his wife June were antique buffs who had most everything in there house old.  I learned to like antiques and the history of furniture from visits to their house.  I also discovered antique ornaments that June had on her tree.  She had the glass shaped ornaments in shapes of fish or candy canes that slipped over the electric bulbs.  Her tree was always an old fashion one but she did have a purchased real evergreen tree.

I want to share a bargain book that I purchase a few years ago. It is a small book about six or seven inches square. It is a fun one and it covers some of the history of the sale commercially of Christmas ornaments.

This is one of my favorites in the whole book.  It is on the cover but also is described in the book.  It is called "Northern Flight" and was made by Waterford.  I don't imagine that I will ever see it for sale anywhere as it was their specialty item many years back.

Decorations evolved from glass blown or paper to plastic.  I remember having one of these in our house as a kid with a reindeer hanging in it.  I found pieces of one down on the farm after the house was torn down.  I have a glass blown Santa that looks very similar to this on on my tree right now.

The book covers a lot of different products that were made by different companies.  I find it interesting to see how the present day companies are busy trying to copy the old antique ornaments that I found in this book.

The ornaments that June had on her tree were similar to this but they didn't have a hanger on them.  They were like this fish design but they slipped over the bulb.

I would like to share every page with you but that isn't going to happen.  I found the book a few years back and I really have enjoyed looking at other books that are for sale at Barnes and Noble. The big time collectors have so many things that were made throughout history.  I won't collect just for the sake of collecting, but I do like to get ideas of what is out there and what oldies look like so if I do see one that I like, that I can buy it.

Thanks for stopping by to visit my post.  Snow in Kansas and we will see what direction it will travel. Snowstorms do have minds of their own.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Sunday's Snow White Doves.........

Thanks for stopping by and  have a great week. 

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Saturday's Token Posting........

It has been a busy day and I am just checking in with the photo above.  I think that Sunday will be a good day for us to get some rest.

The plastic ornament was one of my wife's that she had in her family.  One major ornament company that made glass blown ornaments actually shut down that production and started making plastic one's like this in the 1960's.

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

Friday, December 16, 2011

Finally it's Friday.......

This poster went out last night to a happy customer.  The actual poster is great but they printed it with nothing square with the world.  I am not sure why the top is narrower than the bottom.  I think it is suppose to be a reproduction of something old and it's original was not copied straight.  The bottom of it is not straight across but meanders wider between the lettering and the edging on the right side.

I think it is suppose to look like a piece of cloth with Indian beading around the edges of it. The cloth isn't perfect but just laid out informally with the top being narrower than the bottom just like a blanket would be unless one stretched it out and pinned it perfectly.

It caused me great grief because I was thinking my mat cutting was wrong when in reality it was the poster.  I finally asked the owner for permission to just mat it with a straight mat that is even all the way around with the frame and have the picture be just a floating object inside it's box. 

I worked late last night cutting frames and am on a schedule to get more glass and frame all day Saturday.  Maybe by Tuesday I will be free from all of it.

I am a techie today.  Thanks for stopping by my post.