Friday, February 28, 2014

Friday's Findings.......

I call it Friday's Findings because I am struggling by the end of the week to have new photos to share. I have a few more photos of AJ so I will be post another.  I just now noticed the truck on his shirt and the Cars character at his feet.  His dad was crazy about vehicles so I am sure that he will have a few toys like that around.

One of my sets of blogging friends said they had been on the bald eagle site and they too saw a person going by down below. I have the capture program on my computer called Grab.  When I get it opened fast enough and can hit select fast enough I can grab a section on a live shot to get a still photo.  I have been practicing and I caught one yesterday.  I think the person is cross country skiing.  I don't know if he is headed to work at the Fisheries building which is right next door or if he is on one trail that heads off onto a wooded trail nearby. He is the little guy just above the head of the eagle.  They now have two eggs, a second one was lain on Wednesday at 5:30 in the afternoon.

The internet is a good thing and it is a bad thing at times. I was searching for material about a small village, Hopeville, that I lived near when I was first born. I slipped onto the Murray, Iowa search just to see if there was any related material that might help me to get info on the that village south of Murray. 

Somehow I got a reference to go visit ebay about Murray.  I was curious and I found real postcards and some fraudulently made postcards.  The school house that I attended with its glass block windows was never made into a postcard. They were not making postcards anymore when I attend that school. Anyway, I found a picture of the Baptist church that sits south of where my Grandmother Brooks in Murray.  I also saw a photo of another church that I wanted to Grab its photo.  I couldn't believe the postcard was sold during the hour when I returned later to capture it.  It is gone!  The reason I wanted it was that the building had a different entrance in its early years. I wanted to compare it to a modern photo. I wanted to ask the historic site about that photo.  Well ebay can be disappointing anyway as there is no certainty when you deal with it. I guess I should of hit the buy it now and I would not have lost it.

The church photo above does not look like this today.  It is the church that my grandmother attended in her later years and I attended her funeral in this church.  The windows are the same but the steeple has been reworked, maybe even replaced.  I like the original decoration that they had on it. There is now a large addition added on the side for a sanctuary and Sunday school rooms.

My neighbor gave me a coffee maker that she thought was too large for her.  She moved on to instant coffee and didn't want it on her counter.  I moved my new coffee maker to the side for a while and tried it out for a couple of days. I had seen that maker when I bought mine but it was out of my price range. The maker is large, it has a plastic reserve area and the timer is wonderful.  The thing I don't like about it was it was like lifting two large things out to clean it.  The basket was big, the water tank was big.  It is hard to clean and you dispense one cup at a time.  That seems fun but a thermos does not fit under it to get to the coffee.  If we were ever having a large group of people to the house I will dig it out and use.  Otherwise it will be placed in a plastic bag and sit on a shelf in the basement.
I really like how hot the coffee stays in the new maker and that the coffee is stored in glass and not in plastic.

We did our taxes last night, mad, angry, disappointed, and I am glad to have them done. We did break even this year.  I guess the lower middle class should know it's place even though the politicians claim they are one of us. They really have decided where our medium income should be and they will tax it down to that point thus making the middle class unable to just get ahead without penalty. I won't even start on this health care debacle as that too will suck the money from you to keep you at a certain income level.  As of January of next tax year, the big government will hammer down on you and yours if you fellow comrades don't adhere to the joke during the past year.

I am back in the classroom again today.  I hope that I don't have Saturday school but will do it if they decide to have it.  There is a Jazz Band contest going on in the building this afternoon and all day Saturday.  We use to attend those when our kids were in school.  We will warm up to 35 degrees or around that depending where one lives in the state.  It would be nice to see some melting take place before our 4:00 snowstorm hits today.  Thanks for stopping by today.  Take care.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Mystery Box........

My wife and Barney waited for me to come home from work.  Barney was certain that there was something wrong with it as he checked it out for a long time.

We knew what it was.  A gift or a prize from a giveaway.  So far it is just a box of boxes.

Phalzgraff  had a give away via Blackberry Lane and her connections with Phalzgraff. This is the new set of 4 place settings of dishes we are opening.

Phalzgraff does have a facebook page but I can't give you a link at this time as I am one a school server and facebook is not available.

Salad plates and very nice bowls came in the set.

The pattern is called Painted Poppies.

Dinner plates and mugs finish off the set.  We haven't had time to get them into our dish shelves as we need to do some rearranging.  I don't even have a good set up of them as of yet to photograph. Life has been to busy.

 These are such a great surprise. I didn't really expect to win them but they are so great.  We haven't bought new dishes for a long time except for a set we bought at a garage sale in Minnesota which was also a long time ago. We will clear things away and put them in our cupboard and use them for everyday as well as for fine dining.

This shot of the mug is a lot blurry but they will be a good size for morning coffee.  The little label tells us that they were all hand painted so that they will each have flowers with a variance of color and texture on them.  Phalsgraff does have a lot of serving pieces that we will be looking at to add to the new set.

It was very cold again today getting into the car and crossing the parking lot to the school this morning.  The cold does get to be very old and the body starts to reject it by cause of a lot of aches and pains. We have a date to do our income taxes and go shopping for groceries for our neighbor after school.  It isn't going to warm up for that as the high is to be about 6 degrees F.

 I hope everyone is staying safe out there. I know that everyone is having colder and more unusual weather out there than what is normal.  Thanks for stopping by today.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Eagles Have Landed..........

We were without our video cam of the nesting eagles for a whole year.  The two of them decided to move away from their original nest, where the camera had been installed, and start a new nest.  In order to not scare them away the camera remained in the tree of the unoccupied nest for a lot of the spring through summer.  It is now ready to go and the eagles have the new nest ready to go.

It is interesting how they get the nest made from large sticks down to a soft bedding on top. I know they like to reuse their nests year after year but this new nest is not far from the older one.

When you look down you are seeing the ground covered with snow.  I was trying to figure out the Grab program on the mac and I saw someone cross country skiing by the nest.  I could see them going by in the top left corner of the screen.  While view this you can hear the cars go by on a nearby road. The picture shows her looking down at that person as they were passing by the tree.

At one time the bird got up and rearranged the one egg that was lain yesterday.  Up until that point you could open up the site and all you could see was an empty nest as the birds were hanging around there.

At an earlier time I was just getting acquainted with the site the bird bent back its neck and made a call. I am assuming it was calling to get its mate to return so it could take a break.

I just caught a new photo this morning of the eagle's one egg.  I saw the female leaving the nest and in lest the ten seconds I could see this eagle soaring in to land on the nest and he now is sitting on it.

People who watch these blogs continuously know which one is the male and which one is the female.  I know that they say that the female is larger and there is a difference in the coloring around the eye of one of them.  I guess if I would log in on their mail site, I could get that information from reading the comments.

Here is the connection if you are curious or interested in following the site.  It gets to be more exciting when the eggs hatch and the birds start to grow.  They can turn from a white gray fuzzy chick to a grown bird in a manner of days once they get old enough. Just click on the link Decorah, Iowa Eagles.

 I am a middle school math and reading teacher today.  All of the classes are 6th graders except for a couple of 7th grade class. Thanks for stopping by today.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Tuesday's Things.......

A frame job that I finished a few weeks ago is about to be picked up by the owner.  It is a photograph that his friend had created.

We had a fluffy snow that coated everything.  It is a pretty snow but the temps are really cold.  The kitchen thermometer was registering -2.6 degrees F.  It is to stay cold all day and tonight it is to be -9 degrees F.  They say we have 23 days until spring arrives.  It will have to change quickly to reach spring weather.  I need to get tomato seeds planted soon.

The little guy is growing quickly.  He seems to be such an easy going guy who is going to be going into his terrible twos in the next year.  It is fun to watch them grow up and learn so many new things.

I will finish with the wildlife photo of the day.  They are so busy harvesting my seed and corn.  I think there are four of them out there.  I am back in the same classroom and while we look out there are 5 or 6 robins hanging in the shrub right next to the window.  I bet they are soaking in a little warmth from the school building.  They are all fluffed up to keep warm which makes them look very fat.

Thanks for stopping by today.

Monday, February 24, 2014

AJ is One........

On Sunday, our grandson AJ hit birthday number 1 and it looks like his cake is on his face.  The stories I am hearing is that he has discovered the world and plans to explore it all.  I have seen photos of him getting into the garbage, kitchen drawers, mom's houseplants and the dirty laundry basket.  I did see one where he was on the first step of a stairs and he is almost walking. He helps his friend at daycare who is shorter than him to retrieve things from tall shelves. He is lucky to have a good buddy to be with at daycare and the place says they are always together.

Our monkey choo choo was a successful a purchase.  It of course plays music and also shoots plastic balls out of the smoke stacks while it is being pushed along on the floor.  In the old days there would be a small cord or string in which to pull it along but safety concerns I assume keep them from  making pull-along toys anymore. It is amazing how fast a child does grow and they change so quickly the first  year.  They go from complete dependency to wanting independence as soon as they can walk. 

I am in the at risk, success center, room today. Each student has a need to either receive help or needs to avoid doing an assignment.  It is a juggling act to get cooperation and also to see success.  I see by the weather we will be having a light snow coming down for about 12 hours.  I don't think it amounts to a great amount of snow,  it just comes right before the severe colder cold that will be here for a few more days.  Our refrozen snow has become an ice mess under foot.  The footprints in the snow have become rough areas to walk across and the melting of any of it isn't in the forecast.  I hope everyone is stay safe where ever you live and do be careful.  Thanks for stopping by today.

Photos today were provided by AJ's father who I too remember when he was 1 year old.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

February 23rd...........

The squirrels seem to want to hit the bird feeders harder than usual.  I decided to throw out a small ear of corn and they really liked that idea.  They liked it so well that once it got almost eaten, one of the took off with the whole ear of corn.

 A year ago today our grandson was born.  AJ is one year old already.  His card was decorated with the same character as was AJ's father really like when Andy was young 35 years ago.  The card plays the wonderful thing about tiggers is a tigger is a wonderful thing.

I assume there is a party in Chicago today and I won't post any photos of AJ until those get to be shared by his dad.

I assembled a frame job yesterday.  A friend of mine made the walnut frame from a salvaged walnut church pew. He needed my expertise to figure out how to mount the mat and place inside the stretched canvas piece.  It turned out great.

I took the photo to show the friend how I pulled off this frame job.  It takes engineering skills sometimes to frame things for people. The stretched canvas item should never had been matted and the frame should have just gone to the edge of the object.  But we did pull it off both the guy making a wonderful frame and me figuring out the final mounting problem. The customer is always right. 

Hardy geranium buds are now forming on some of my indoor plants.  They must have started budding once the days are getting longer.

It has been a busy three day weekend and it almost is over now.  We are headed into an Arctic route again with highs in single digits coming by mid week.  I guess that we have had snowstorms in March so I don't need to complain.  I do feel aches and pains because of the cold weather and sinus pain is just normal when you go out into this cold. The sun shinning right now makes it balance a little bit.   Thanks for coming by today.  Take care of yourselves.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Another View.......

I had a darker version of the windmill that I shared last week on my Photo a Day.  This is the other shot I took having the camera turned away from the sun.  It gives me a good view of the river birch and and the garden shed.  We will be warming up again today before we head to the deep freeze next week.  I don't know when the tilting of the earth will start to change this vortex thing but it should be soon.  We have an ice mess on the local streets and large chunks of snow along the roads but I think a little more above freezing temps will help it out to eliminate more of it. Staying home today unless something comes up to do.

No Saturday school today and I have a small frame job to do.  I am assembling a frame job for a friend woodworker who can make frames but can't assemble the pieces into the frame.  I will finish that job today.  The sun is shinning today.  Except for another journey to the neighbors house I may get some rest today.  Thanks for stopping by today. 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Friday is Here...........

The snowstorm yesterday left things coated on the north side of everything. The large amount of rain and hail we had before the snow was said to be equal to about 7 more inches of snow if it had been in the form of snow we would have been in a worse mess. I heard that they had shut down I35 north of us all the way to the Minnesota border and opened it up again this morning.   We had a mixture on the ground that is now all frozen in chunks with 16 degree temperatures.  Of course this afternoon we will be up into the low 40's in F. temperatures.

I shared on my Photo a Day blog another shot of this cardinal.  The bird was busy flying down into the juniper shrub and picking off the purple berries to eat.  I hear stories as well as have seen on facebook larger number of robins that are out there.

Barney in position to bark at cats that he can see through the cracks of the fence. I think he has to be pretty bored to have to look through the cracks.  But the dangerous mean cats of the neighbor have been warned.

Our town streets are still iced over and the snow was pushed off of the streets in large frozen chunks.  I do think that the 40 degree temps will soften some of that and make some of it diminish.  No school today so we may go on an adventure.  It will be warmer in the afternoon and the sun is shining.  I guess Saturday is going to be another bad day for us with the vortex striking our state again.  I know all of my blogger connections out there are having various forms of weather.  I hope that we can all look and see robins making their nest very soon.  Thanks for stopping by today.

Thursday, February 20, 2014


Blizzards are always worse when you are out in them.  It doesn't look that bad out there when you view this shot of the out of doors.  We started out in the morning with dark gray skies.  By 9:00 we had thunder and lighting with lots of rain.  We needed the rain.  Then it started to hail medium sized pieces of ice and then it  snowed.  It was the big, heavy, wet snow that makes driving very difficult.  School was out at noon and as I drove home I couldn't get the car to make any turns or even to stop.  The surface was heavily water coated with thick wet snow on top of it.  I would turn to drop off a bill at the phone office and I couldn't get the car to turn when I turned the will.  I would slide with wheels turned and kept on going straight. 

The snow was heavier than this fluffy snow effect.  The snow is so wet that this tall Japanese yew is smashed down from the weight of the snow. 

Looking out my front door you can see the snow plastered to the side of the column and railing.  The  snow now is dropping off of the trees from its weight and the chunks fall on the roof sounding like we are being bombed by branches. You can see all the holes in the snow from the smaller clumps landing on the ground. 

I guess I didn't tell you that I did make it home safely.  In fact I drove to the post office and then home for lunch.  After that I  went out in it again to retrieve some food that the neighbor lady wanted my wife to prepare for her.  She can't run her gas cooking stove as she is on oxygen right now.  I took it back over after clearing the snow from the car for the  third time. I am now home for good and it is still snowing at 5:00.  Looking out it doesn't seem so bad but the wind is now blowing.  It will be interesting to see what that will do as the snow is too wet to blow around.

I am done with the three days of being the sub for Physical Education and Health.  I had class with every high school student sometime everyday during the week.  We have Friday off so  it will be nice to have a three day weekend.   Thanks to you all for checking in today. 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Wednesday's Wanderings......

I don't think the cardinals are molting.  I just think one of them dropped a feather for some reason.  Bird colors don't always appear as we think, they are a reflected colors in some cases.  Sometimes when you see a male cardinal it can have a very brown color reflecting from its back.  In a different light they appear to be completely red.  This feather is the same.  If I could twirl it you would see flashes of red showing.

When my sunflower seeds are gone from the  variety seed the cardinals disappear.  I bet they eat millet only as a last choice if they are really hungry.  I will fill the feeders this afternoon since a blizzard is on the way.  I have noticed they eat early morning right before a snow and then return in the evening if things have calmed down.  The purple finch are showing up a lot more than they did to the feeder but they hang out at the grain silos north of town eating up the spilled seed corn.

The Austrian pine has grown since I planted the a few years ago.  The one on the other side of the sidewalk caught fire during the burning of leaves this past fall. I am going to leave it for the summer and see what it will look like after the end of the season.  It is sad to see but I could still look good with just one of them out there.

As mentioned earlier, blizzard warnings continue.  Early morning national weather thought maybe Iowa wasn't on the map, but later in the morning Al Rocker did finally admit the storm would travel through Iowa  before moving into Illinois. The early map didn't show any weather over Minnesota nor Iowa.  I guess they were in a hurry to do the weather when they first set up for the morning.
I am in the PE department again today doing the health side of classes and also the weight lifting classes.  I didn't take the lifters to the weight room and they just played basketball.  It is an abbreviated short day today so I will get out of here early today.  I need to stop a second and check on the neighbor and the rest of the day is mine.  Thank you for stopping by today.

PS  I won some dishes from Blackberry Lane's giveaway.  More news later but you check out her blog to see the dishes I won.  My wife is so happy and was sort of surprised.  I didn't tell that I had entered the contest. 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014


The Japanese yew puts out a great display of snow when it gets dumped on like we did yesterday.  Some people clip these into round ball shapes but I like them natural.

We had the new fresh coating that actually made it look better out there.  Now the animals can put in new prints in the snow.

My bridge to the pond is almost covered with snow.  The tops of the posts sort of show how much snow we had.  The bridge itself shows the true measure of the amount of snow that we received.

I am not back into the classroom today but I am back into the gym today.  I am doing high school physical education.  They had free basketball today, no exercises before as the day is a shortened day.  I am tired anyway and hope to get home early today.  We need to pick up meds in a neighboring town and groceries for the neighbor.  She has a long list for us. In spite of the threat of another snowstorm on Thursday we are enjoying today's warm weather.

I see our yesterday's weather has hit the east coast now and it is big news now.  We didn't get recognized for all of our snow yesterday but Illinois seemed to get a bad storm.  I guess the storm didn't start to fall until it got to the Illinois border.  Well, anyway, I hope all of your are doing ok out there.  I know some are not having normal weather right now but I hope it doesn't last for very long.

Thanks for stopping by today. 

Monday, February 17, 2014

Walking Down the Street............

Jeep tracks in the snow is all you can see when you look down the street. It is Monday and we had our new batch of snow fall all morning.  Early morning it rained that froze a good coating of ice on things and then it started a thundersnow.  It looked like rain as it fell.  I had to go to the neighbors to check on her this morning and I didn't really want to thaw off the ice first from the car.  I took an umbrella and walked over across and down the street.  I have never used an umbrella in snow but it was nice to not be covered like a snowman.  I let Barney back in at breakfast time and he was covered with a white layer of snow.  It snowed two inches in less than an hour and then snowed more.

I wasn't going to use the motion shots anymore but the look of the juniper shrub and the pine tree in the back didn't prove to have a definite point of interest. When I saw what the snow was doing I though it worked better,  unifying the photo.

I call this my "building from Sochi" photo.  I am sure Russia wished that they had received our snow.  We added three maybe four of more inches of snow.  The beat-up feeder doesn't have seed in it right now so it looks like an abandoned Swiss chalet.

It keeps looking promising but it has yet to bloom.  I am glad I got it to finally bloom.  It was all foliage for two years and in the summer I just took it to the basement and left it alone.  I didn't really have any hope for it. The stem has shot up after putting out leaves and now will have three blooms. You can see the snowstorm going on in the background.

No school today as the two hour delay would not have helped with the road conditions.  It has now  warmed up enough to melt some snow.  I did get called to go in to work today but they did cancel it by 9:00.  I was busy the past days and photo deficit but I am now back.  I had a day off and used ever bit of time for other things.  I should be able to stay strong now as I took a lot of photos this morning.  Everyone take care and thanks for stopping by today.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Things Are Just Things........

adjective: ephemeral
  1. 1.
    lasting for a very short time.
    "fashions are ephemeral"
    synonyms:transitory, transient, fleeting, passing, short-lived, momentary, brief, short; More
    "last year's ephemeral fashions"
    • (chiefly of plants) having a very short life cycle.
noun: ephemeral; plural noun: ephemerals
  1. 1.
    an ephemeral plant.
When I watched the movie version, the claymation version, of The Little Prince I learned of the word ephemeral.  The Prince had made friends with a rose, a plant.  When the prince met a character who looked like Mark Twain, the man told the Prince gruffly that his rose was ephemeral. The Prince was very sad as he had full belief that his relationship with the rose was going to be permanent and thought the rose had mislead him by making him thing the flower would live forever. The story goes on and on reminding the boy that people come and go and he should look up to the stars and see all his close relationships smiling down at him. 

I now have declared "THINGS" really are ephemeral and in my older age that I need to rethink keeping  all this stuff that I have.  What brings this great discussion up is because of
the happening last night when the above green mug fell and shattered.  My wife felt bad but I didn't.  It really was only a brief walk with history as I remember my parents having orange mugs like this and my grandma had various colored one.  I found the mug in the dirtiest, filthiest old box in my father in laws run down, falling down garage.  He probably got it at an auction in a box of junk and he just tossed it aside like junk. It really was pride that I had saved it and cleaned it and used it a little.  It became a water glass for the bathroom sink. 

The bird watering dish is glass and it too will never work on any of my cages.  It is impractical as the bird has to reach through bars to get to the water.  I have it as a rescued item because I do remember having two for feeding my green bird out on the farm back in the 60's.  I guess it is the memories it has that it belongs in my museum. When I go  it will have to go to the dump.

The  cereal bowl is old.  It is stoneware and I remember eating oatmeal from it as a kid back in the 50's. I think it was from a cafe of the 40's.  I think my mom liked using them as the oatmeal would be very hot and the cereal would warm the bowl.  That kept the heat in while you piled lost of brown sugar and milk on the food.  I remember it most in our old drafty house down on the farm when it was cold in every single corner and hot in the center of the house. Mornings were pretty frosty and a blanket rapped around me kept me warm while eating breakfast.

 The never ending jar collections too causes me to remember the products and the great colors of the glass are neat.  Rescued jars from a dump are fun as you pull out the prized piece to store on a shelf on in a box.  You can't put all of them in the kitchen window. A resourceful person could maybe sell the bunch for someone else to hold in a box or set on a shelf.  I do still like having them around but they too could be tossed in an instant.

More of the same and they too have not been cleaned in this photo just like the ones above.  Oh, I just noticed the green mug of which is now gone. 

A good thing to keep is the velvet rabbit that belonged to my wife.  The stuff animal does have a higher place in order of older things. I guess things that are hot in the auction market does make them less ephemeral also.

I had seriously thought about making my theme to be "Why did you share that picture?" but I made a pass on it.  As I go through my archives I do think many of them are for instant "show and tell" and not really great to be showing.

The coffee mug that I lost doesn't mean that I have no more prized mugs to use.  This mug sits by my tools for function while I was rebuilding my ever famous blue gate. This mug was rescued from the landfill in the now closed Osceola dump.  I found this mug, three nice bowls and a plate that had been tossed into the garbage.  The truck drove the trash all the way up a very tall incline in order to dump the refuse. Anyone who shops Walmart knows that they are the early forms of what is sstil being sold today.  Free is a factor for my hoarding too as I think the mug has been place high in the cupboards as more mugs have replaced its importance in my collection.

I really need to add this one as this is the mug my wife picked out during our honeymoon trip back in 1984.  It was bought at a shop on the hilly town of Cripple Creek in Colorado.  The guy at the shop took us into his basement to show the silver that still is in seams of the rock all up and down the area.  That mug is a historical ephemeral piece.  Yes it could be gone in an instant but historically is is important to hold the memories and maybe the kids will like to keep it on their bathroom sink.

Yes the flower is ephemeral as it doesn't stick around for only a season but we work hard to keep the plant alive for as long as we can.  We can make new friends with its blooms each spring and know that it will continue to enhance our lives each year. 

I am in Saturday school today so I bless you with too many words.  The head of the city where Mozart played a concert was forced to criticize Mozart's work.  The only real thing he could think of was that he had "too many notes." Mozart asked back which notes should he eliminate. As with me I did have 'too many words'.   My time seems to be taken up with so many things right now that I couldn't take new photographs.  I tried to find my photos of antique valentines but they are buried on the other computer.  I didn't get called in to do this duty today until 8:00 last night.  We went out for a meal at Olive Graden and stopped at the bookstore for a short while. 

The neighbor lady is better as she returned from the hospital a few days ago.  My wife and I are her chief caretakers at first since it was a weekday that she came home.  The dog has been in my care almost two weeks. We have been her emergency person before but I think her three kids might fill in this weekend for us.  Important things like oxygen tanks and taking the pills needs to be attended to immediately and not whenever a child of hers can drop in, so we were there when she first came home to get her settled in again.  I am hoping her oxygen thing can be reduced to zero within the next week.  Her lungs are in bad shape from smoking for so long and so hard that they need to heal from a serious copd attack.  I will check in at noon today to be sure the dog gets fed and that she gets something to eat. I believe a daughter is coming in this afternoon and we will have some time off.  We do know what it is like to need someone to lean on when the need is immediate and we are so glad we can do it.

Thank you for stopping in today.  I see we have the next snow starting to fall.  I hope you all are a safe out there throughout the world. Do be careful.