Saturday, November 30, 2013

Prized Shot......

I have remarked so many times that I haven't been seeing the female cardinal.  So days ago I took this shot and I think that I never posted it on either of my blogs. She didn't stay long and I am sure if she ever comes back that I will try for a better picture. 

My small violet starts are growing.  I keep plastic loosely laying over them to keep the moisture in the soil.  I am not have a lot of success with the larger violets but I have a dozen of them again.  Only two of them are blooming.

This is my daily shot of my male cardinal.  I have to keep track that I am giving you a new one each day rather than posting a duplicate.

Our weather has really improved even though cold is still uncomfortable. We are just a warmer cold now. We hit the bookstore yesterday and it wasn't too crowded.  We headed to a major grocery store to pick up a few things and the place was in the middle of a major remodel.  It was weird with building going on all around the store and the hanging ceiling is gone.  New shops and enlarging new spaces where they can will make it a better store.  They have been at it for two months and I think the will not be done for another two months.  We don't regularly shop there but it was close to the bookstore.   Oh yes they had a narrow tunnel like opening to get into the store. That was strange as I doubt that they can handle the large crowds they usually have with they had two large double doors. 

Check out Larry's Photo a Day to see what is with the blue Christmas balls.

Two days left from my nine day break from school.  I think we will just hang at home today and I will keep doing small jobs. I hope everyone has a great Saturday.  Thanks for stopping by today.

Friday, November 29, 2013


The nuthatch is such a fun bird to watch while he is at the feeder.  He is a hyperactive bird and can be seen crawling all over, up and down the feeder itself.  I would like to be able to photograph this bird walking down, up side down, the main post that holds the feeder.  Their feet are designed for them to crawl up and down and around tree trunks. I did see him dip into my suet feeder but he wasn't that impressed.

The house sparrows really prefer to be on the ground.  I have a feeder hanging near our dining room window and they do hit that hard feeding from it.  They like to shuffle their feet in the seed and it makes it land all over the ground.  As you can see the three sparrows are cleaning up the mess on the basement outside door.

I don't know why this guy is so friendly but I have so many pictures of him.  I think I will just share a picture of him each day.  He looks like he is becoming more brown on his back now that it is winter. It is nice to finish a blog with a colorful photo so I guess he will be the one.  The female still doesn't come around that often.  I forgot to tell you that I bought some good birdseed the other day.  I placed about two cups of it on the feeder with my leftover cockatiel food.  He was there in less than four minutes.  I have read that they smell seed and he sure did dig in right away on the sunflower seeds.

We are going to take the day off today and spend sometime being nonworking people.  A day off for slumming is good.  We may venture off in the car for awhile this morning but be home the rest of the day.  Thanks for stopping by today.  Have a great Thanksgiving weekend.

PS.  Are house sparrows also called English sparrows  or is it just that house sparrows came from England?

Thursday, November 28, 2013


Happy Thanksgiving to all my family and friends. It is a special day to take time to be grateful.  My wife and I became grandparents for the first time this year and AJ is such a special little guy. I am grateful that there are so many in blogland that are there to support and to listen to each other.  Life has so many ups and down but the blogspot people have an extra group to lean on and to support. I think we are all grateful for that.

My wife and I will share a meal at a Machine Shed where they feed people for donations.  It is a Thanksgiving meal and the donations will go toward the Wildrose camp. The place helps young people year round to reclaim their lives from their troubles.  We will be joined with my wife's brother and his wife.

I wish to all of you a Happy Thanksgiving.  I hope your day is special with you large families and your small families too. Whoever you have to share the day with, I hope we all will be grateful for God's blessings on us.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Wednesday's Wanderings......

My wife is making apple pie today along with a pumpkin pie.  I will be involved with the peeling of the apples.  I may go ahead and peel a second batch of apples to ready them for the freezer.  Then they can become a pie at a later time.  We are not cooking anything for Thanksgiving special but we like to have pie as part of the season.  We won't have any visitors this year.  My wife usually makes mince meat pie at Christmas time.

I have some newer pictures on the digital and they won't come off until this afternoon so I will share more ceramics.  I bought this rooster at the same antique mall as the duck I shared yesterday.  I again say that I miss that mall. It did close a few years back but I don't go to Osceola, Iowa anymore anyway.  The chicken is not a planter but a free standing ceramic piece.

I really think it looks more like a hen when I  view it from this angle.  Some people may know what breed of chicken that it is but I don't.  It reminds me of the small Bantams we use to have on the farm that the neighbor gave to my brother.  The were a very small chicken that took care of themselves year round living in the machine shed.  The chicks each spring were the smallest little creatures. Zoos that have small farm themed areas usually have a few of them running around free in their barnyards.

It is very cold today, especially this morning, but it will warm up to 24 degrees F.  this afternoon.  Tomorrow it will get up to 33 degrees so we do have a warming trend started. The sun is shining though and the snow storms look like they will have headed into the Atlantic Ocean by this evening.  It will be nice if it stops raining and snowing by tomorrow.

Fall is completely gone now and we are into a full winter season.  The phlox did a strange thing this year.  The leaves are frozen on the stems and they are still green.  I suppose if it warms enough for them to thaw that they will then turn to a dead withered look for the winter.

It is a day of doin odd jobs all day and also taking it easy.  I brought in the last of the  patio cushions and umbrella yesterday and shoveled some snow off of areas so the dogs can better get around in the backyard.  No one in the neighborhood cleared their walks for some reason of this past snow.  I guess the next snow will mean we will have to get on it.

Thanks for stopping in to visit my blog. Take care all of you.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Neighbor's Bungalow.........

I live in a very old house and most of the houses around me are a lot newer than mine.  Mine was built in the early 1900's while the bungalow next door was probably built in the 20's or 30's. I have always liked the look of a bungalow house so it is nice to see one daily.  This house looks large but in reality from the front view it is a narrow house.  It makes it a house with a lot of small rooms unlike the big wide ones that they made then as well as they now do make again. This picture shames me to go out and take down my patio umbrella which I will now do before nightfall.  I will be bringing in the cushions to the chairs as I flipped them over yesterday to let the snow melt off of them.

I don't go to southern Iowa anymore but there was an antique store there that I really liked to visit. I bought this duck planter at one of the booths inside a antique mall there.  The mall is now closed but I did buy a few of these cheap ceramic pieces.  The duck itself wasn't glazed that well now that I take time to look at it.  The orangebrown color on it looks like a leg rather than the brown of the bottome of the duck.

Sculptural form of it is actually done very well.  The glazing was done quickly.  I am not sure why I even like them but they remind me of the things we had in our house when I was young. I share the donkey and cart planter often and I am sure this duck was up on the post at least a couple of years ago.

No work again today and it will give me another day of healing.  We both are so much better but the cold and congestion has continued for about three weeks.  I am 95 percent better. It will be a long break until school starts back up next Monday.  I think it will be good to be off and get some rest.
Thanks for stopping in today.  As the storms we had head eastward I hope all will stay inside until it passes. 

Monday, November 25, 2013

Monday's Gaze...........

The ever available weather visual monitor sits in the snow.  I debate each year about the removing of it and taking it inside.  It has been frozen down some years to the ground so it had to stay outside. I am hoping that it will warm up again and I can lift it out of there.

It is a two day school week because of Thanksgiving so I didn't have work today.  I would be surprise to get called tomorrow either as the staff isn't allowed to take time off before a holiday. If a staff member is sick they will probably gut it out at school.

I am so much better health wise and will get things done around the house this whole week off. I have a walnut frame waiting for me to finish and assemble.  I have picky little jobs that seem to never get done.  I have plants to be trimmed up now that they have come inside.  The hardy geraniums always go into shock and die back two thirds.  I need to trim that all off but will do only a few at a time.  My moratorium on not taking geranium pictures is still on so in a week or so I will shoot some hardy geranium blooms to share again. I do have blooms already but I will resist taking their pictures.  Especially with all the dead leaves sitting on them.

The Christmas angel was never put away this year.  We left it on the buffet all year to enjoy.  I know Thanksgiving has not happened yet but I have a few plans on getting up the trees this year. We put them up for our own enjoyment and we can share them with everyone on our blogs.  So far there are not any Thanksgiving plans.  We will go to Chicago in December and no one will be coming back to Woodward.  We may get together with my wife's brother and his wife but plans really haven't been made. We will probably buy things on Wednesday to cook just in case we are stuck in because of a snow storm.  It sounds like a week of periodic snow all week. 

Thanks for stopping by today. 

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Sunday Burrrrrr........

The spare room has a great window where you can look out to see a grand expanse of the neighborhood.  The redbud keeps the view blocked all summer but now one can see out to the southeast.  I can't also see out all summer as the cockatiels get to sit in the window and view the other birds in the trees.  The squawk warning sounds when dogs or people walk by on the sidewalk.  It is a good time for them until it gets to be too cold for them to be next to the window. I move them back a few feet so they can still see out but they don't have the harsh cold glass making them sick.  I now have my summer plants in front of the window now.

This junco posed for me while picking up his last seed for the evening.  There have not been a lot of birds out there yet,  Maybe the timber birds will take a while to move into town as heavier snow will cover their seeds on the trees and bushes.

It is too cold out there but we will venture out sometime  this morning.  The sun is bright but we are still sitting at 8 degrees F. this morning.  Warm up will come to 21 degrees F.  I know we need to bundle up for the weather. 

I know a lot of my blogger friends are cold this morning and others are now becoming cold.  I hope all have something good to eat and something warm to drink as we move into this season.  Thanks for stopping by today.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Looking Out.........

My view out of the window this morning shows what has become of Iowa.  It was 8 degrees F, -14 degrees C., when we checked our thermometer.  It usually is the second thing that I do after letting the dogs out is to check the temperature.  It was actually 8.4 degrees F.  and you look twice when it is a single digit.

The birds were hitting the feeder this morning.  The juncos are down from the north country and the sparrows are always around.  I feed recycled food from the cockatiel's feeder trays.  I will go by some real seed soon to bring in more birds. We didn't use to have juncos.  I don't know if they decided not to go so far south or if they didn't use to come into town.  I had to look them up in the bird book to see what they were as they are so different that the sparrow.

This cardinal has been hanging around the past two weeks at the feeder as we were getting colder.  We haven't seen them for awhile.  I guess I did see the female out at the garden shed eating some seeds form trees a few weeks ago. I shared this and one other photo on my Photo a Day blog today. I will be glad to see how many pair we will have at the feeder this year.  Only one pair last year but the year before we had three pair.  It all will depend on who all is out there feeding the birds in the neighborhood.  I know the neighbor lady near here does feed them, because I sometimes fill her feeders for her, but my flat tray feeder is better for cardinals.

We are not done with this cold illness but it is better.  I still will be doing very little today trying to get all of the lung stuff gone and the stomach pain straighten out.  We have been eating selectively things that don't upset our stomachs and also that don't taste too strange.  When I go back to drinking coffee I know that I am cured.  I posted a Christmas mug the other day but I have only been drinking tea.

With it being so cold I don't think I will venture out today.  I may sweep off the side steps but the feeders were filled last night and I don't have far to bring in the garbage can.  No traveling though is even planned.  Thanks for stopping by today.  Most all of my blogging friends are cold today.  Everyone try to stay warm.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Fluffy Friday...............

The snow is soft and fluffy.  As Barney gets older, he has decided that the cold it the worse thing about it.  He seems to dislike the cold and comes back in a lot quicker than on a warmer day.  We had an inch or more of the fluffy kind with ice underneath it from yesterday's freezing rain.

These are two archived photos of two of our  seasons, contrasting the one season full of color and the other with not so much color.

It is getting closer to the season where we dig it all out and enjoy it.  Then in January we put it all back into the boxes and wait for spring. 

I am a yo yo sub today coming and going into the sixth grade English classes and then filling in all the spaces with band.   It is cold out there today and we now contend with the snow and ice on the ground.  It became a true winter as of last evening and it still will be all day.  All I could think of was when is it going to warm up?   Thanks for stopping by today. 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Checking In........

Have a good day.  Thanks for stopping by today.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Birdhouse.......or What?

A leftover garage sale item that was given to me sat outside to attract birds.  It didn't happen and I bet the snowman scared them away.  I am certain it is suppose to be an inside decoration but I am going to let the snowman enjoy the winter outside.  As you can see in the background that the ash tree has dropped all of its leaves on the ground.  The State Department tells me that the ash tree is a destined to be dead soon.  I am hoping I can get a couple more years out of it but I do think I saw the green beetle out in my flower garden this summer, not realizing then what it looked like. It was a long shiny beetle, that didn't look too dangerous at the time.

I am a transition teacher today teaching reading in sixth and seventh grade. I also have three sections of math in sixth grade.  The remaining cold symptoms seem to be back again in my body today.  I think I should outlive it before long.

Thanks for stopping by today. 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

On the roof?

The mystery of the disappearing suet holder was solved while I was up on my roof this summer.  Apparently a raccoon decided to take it to the roof and clean out the suet while up there.  I have trimmed all the branches back from the one pine tree so the racoons don't visit my roof anymore even though I think they do stay inside one of the large maple trees during the winter.  As you know the cornfield is so close so they can get back into the country very quickly and find their summer residence in the timber to the east.

One of my student's clay houses sits in a wooden box on display on my fence.  I plan to bring it  in to the garden shed this winter and let it last a lot longer than it would if I leave it outside.

A final photo is of the last of the color outside on the burning bush.  I am greatful that the Japanese yew will stay green all winter giving the garden some color.

I am felling so much better than I was three days ago concerning this cold.  I haven't had a severe one for a long time and this one was severe.  I did teach yesterday and was pretty zonked by the end of the day.  I am back today in the same position and I can face it with a lot more vigor.  I am giving quizes over the Tell-Tale Heart today and a vocabulary quiz also.  That will be three of the seven classes.  Speeches in three other classes and then a study hall at the end of the day. 

My wife and friends are headed to the Art Center today to lunch and view artwork.  My wife has been teaching adult art classes for a while to a small group and they are all really have a great time with it. The Des Moines Art Center prides itself in being a contemporary art museum so they will find many abstract things to look at in the collection.  The classic historical section does have a few famous works that are not contemporary.  Its leaning toward a contemporary style means the work can be pretty far out there sometimes.

I hope you have a good day today.  Thanks for stopping by today.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Monday's Mindful...........

Even though we have had a few hard freezes this sedum is still green.  It is some of the last green that I can find out there in the yard.  The stems have given way to the freezing and I am sure the rest of the plants will turn brown soon. 

On the west corner of my property the moss loves to grow on the very old sidewalk.  It is shaded there because of the pear tree and some spirea bushes.  The water runs down the hill from the neighbors property so it stays wet as the sidewalk acts as the drainage ditch.  

There is very little green to see in this shot.  One of the students in shop class made this iron man and gave it to me.  He can't be seen very well but in the fall he has a subtle appearance as he blends with all the dried leaves.

I am back a work today moving slow but for sure.  I brought coffee in a thermos and a handful of tea bags to keep my throat from drying out with the cold that I had.  I feel 80 per cent stronger and it will be an ok day in the middle school 8th grade English classes.  It isn't my favorite age group in this particular school but I am up to the challenge.   I see speeches are scheduled for some of the classes and cupcakes, which are related to their speeches, are sitting around the room ready for eating during the speech.  It looks like it could be an ok thing. 

I hope everyone is ok out there.  I knew bloggers for a while from the tornado area but they did drop off from the blog world. I hope they are ok.  When we had our tornado in town 8 years ago, we had this very same weather.  It was very warm and humid and it was colder in the northern states.  That mixture of the warm and cold created far less tornados but the one we had went on for miles closing down an ISU football game as it kept moving northeast.  The freight train sound is one you don't forget as the tornado comes up your street.  I do hope there aren't any more people found dead out there.  I see the storm is stretching almost to the end of the United States up to Maine where our youngest son lives.

Thanks for stopping by today.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

What I missed this summer........

I didn't get the zinnias planted this year and I really liked having them growing in the garden.  It was a busy tough summer so it will be ok if I look forward to planting them next spring.

No morning glories on the trellis this year. I usually plant seed and have volunteer plants that come up and bloom. Not any morning glories in our summer heat would have grown.

The drought kept my mums from sprouting  and growing this year.  I didn't see any of my plants this year and I may have to buy new ones.

I did see a monarch butterfly for a few days but other wise there were no butter flies this year. I bet the migration went through Nebraska this year and we sure didn't see one coming through here.

No moss rose in a granite pan this year. I guess I was under the weather enough that I shut down all thoughts about it.  I do know that one wouldn't want to buy plants when the heat was so great for so long.

Sedum did bloom but never made it to full red this year.  I am glad the plants are still alive and it will come back next year.

So there will be another spring.  The iris and lilies will spring forward again and the trees will leaf out again.  We had a light rain this morning and some leaves are still dropping a few at a time.  It is a gray day but we are warm.  The past two days have been warm and it is welcomed.  We have a good day to get more rest as we both get over this viral attack.  We both feel better but not really great at this time.  I haven't had a bad cold for a long time but this one is just like the last one that I had.

I hope everyone is well and you do enjoy this Sunday.  Thank you for stopping by this day. 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Cactus..........A Day Late.

I did get the site created but I did get busy yesterday at school.  I had a break but it was a trying day working a lot of one on one student situations.  The post didn't go up yesterday but it will today.

I seem to have plant friends that want me to be a cactus collector.  I receive a large cactus from the neighbor last fall.  This past week I was given more cactus as a school coworker was repotting and reworing her cactus collection.

Not want to make to many more containers to maintain, I crowded in different varieties into the one stone crockery.  I found some bad looking dirt to add to the container and put a few in with the larger one from last year.

Because there was so much in the sack when I started planting I decided right away I would have a nursery pot of the leftover pieces.  Some pieces were over a foot long and I cut them up to make new starts as well get them into a good size to handle.  One doesn't handle cactus but hot dog tongs work great and a very sharp knife does work in cutting them.

This photo shows the two containers that I ended up planting.  I tried to create some desert scene adding petrified wood pieces and shoreline rocks at the base of them.  The round one is said to have come from Peru.  I recongize the one on front left as the one we can readily find in stores today, in lumber yards actually.

This photo shows the actual height of the one cactus I was given last year. It has grown even though it is hard to see where the growth developed.  The little tiny cactus is like the one we use to have when I was a kid that people would share with one another and grow in pots.

The other part of my collection is the prickly pear cactus that I rescued from off the ground in the alley a few years back.  A neighbor had tossed it out there to dispose of it and I picked it up and put it in a clay pot.  It is doing ok but I don't like how it doesn't keep a good orderly shape.  In reality it probably doesn't keep a good shape either.  When it is a crowded plant it probably stands up better.

I still have my cold and was glad I didn't have to do Saturday school.  I don't plan on doing much as I need to feel better.  My wife and I will go to Walmart with the neighbor for a short shopping spree and lunch but then it is home for a nap.  We are overcast today and going to be 63 degrees F. today.  Scattered showers are forecasted and that could land anywhere in the state. 

Enjoy you weekend and have a good day.  Thanks for stopping by.


Thursday, November 14, 2013

Thursday's Things........

They are gone.  I went out in the afternoon to get some closer shots of the corn stalk bales and there were not any bales out there.

It was a hurried job to get them out of the field as they were baled the day before and they returned and immediately removed them. I did not see them take them away.

The neighbor didn't see them go. She was surprised as she went out in the evening to get another shot and felt cheated.  The farmer must have all his crops in now as he had the time to pick them up right away.  Normally they lay in the field for a week or so before they get removed.

Those who follow me know that the donkey took a gret fall and was broken for a while.  He is back together again and I have put him back into service.  I was dealing with replanting various things yesterday and I though I could get some oxalis growing in the basket again. The base part was not broken so it was the donkey's legs that I had to reattach.

I know the planter is at least 60 years old.  I really don't know where it came from but I remember it in 1953 sitting on our kitchen table with a vine planted in it. It was put on top of a crochet doily in the middle of our gray formica table.  We had the gray padded vinyl chairs with chrome legs. The doily and planter were removed every meal and replaced once the dishes were done. I have seen other planters similar to this on the internet  but none were glazed the same way.  I suppose they were hand painted in a small factory and the workers were given the freedom to paint the colors that they wanted. I like the white-cream colored background of the basket base as the ones I have seen are very dark in color.

On my Photo a Day blog I had shared this birdbath shot with leaves and water in it.  As you can see it is now a frozen pizza with lots of ice.  We  may thaw out a little today as we were just 32 degrees F. this morning when we got up.  It is to be in the 50's later on today.

I am headed in today at noon to become the high school English teacher.  A half day work is good when I have this stupid cold.  It seems to be a mild cold but it just likes to hang on for a while. Thanks for stopping by today and have a good day.  Friday is coming soon.