Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Wednesday's Wet World.........

Photos from inside usually look like this with droplets on the window.  This was taken after a very big rain with water on the sidewalk running like a mountain stream.  The ditch is full of water and is almost onto the road and the road itself looks like a lake.  This will make the corn grow if it ever dries out enough to enable them to plant it.

Some of the perils of having people do you  a good deed is that you can be hurried to make bad decisions.   I know that doesn't make sense but I had a lot of help last fall with my leaves, which I do the work myself  myself normally.  These very fine people raked all my leaves to the sidewalk and saved me so much work.  It was getting late when they were finishing and I decided to burn the leaves on the sidewalks.  It was dark and I had about of dozen people around.  While lighting everything up, I caught things on fire.  This Austrian pine survived as its twin did not.  You can see the ends of the pine has been effected by the heat of the burning leaves.  I hope the excess rains encourages it to overlook my mistreatment of it.

The neighbors have all their cats locked up in the house right now.  There was another neighbor who has a dog, who hates cats.  You can fill in the blanks.  This is their white kitty and she sneaked out the back dog door to get a snack at my wife's feeder.  Then she scurried back to her house. I bet the neighbors didn't know she had escaped.  This is the same cat that I photographed playing in a pine tree and exploring the trees and fences in the yard.  She also sits in the window and looks out. Also we now see Tiny Tim in the window.

The birch is putting out its little pods.  I know they have a name but I didn't retain that info.  We seem to keep easing into spring and early summer despite all of the cold. Warm weather is coming next week.

I am following a student around today learning all sorts of things in history, science and math.  I lived the history lesson today as I was 12 years old during the Cuban Missile crisis. Well it is in the middle of the week and we get out early today.  That is a good thing.  Thanks for stopping by today and stay safe.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Creative Tuesday........

The lily of the valley has spread to the other side of the fence.  I am glad.  It is growing in the area of the two nice hostas and I think that will work just fine.  I don't think that either will crowd out the other. The days will have to get warmer before we see any little bell shaped flowers on them.

I am posting a different size and shape of this photo from yesterday.  I wanted to share the view of all the leaves from the apple trees with the evergreen tree behind it. It always surprises me how the leaves unfurl overnight.  These rains have been good for the sub moisture in our state and the trees are looking really well watered.

A nursery person was telling my neighbor that a jade plant could bloom.  If we would distress it enough by not watering it that we could see blooms on them.

I find them hard to keep alive as they get too much water from me.  I have to ignore them when I am watering just to be sure that I am not over wetting the soil.  Rotting is not a good thing in the plant world.

It is plastic.  Plastic does not go away easily.  I hope to finally throw this away one day soon as it keeps becoming visible in the soil out in my garden.  My mom had plastic flowers of this type and I am assuming it came home with me when bringing garden containers to my place when I was closing up my parents house.  Mom was always good at putting artificial among her outdoor plants. She had a long planter in front of her picture window that bloomed all year.  I know that it bugs me that this bud never makes  it to my garbage.

I am in the high school science room again today.  I will either be giving tests or be showing movies.  It will be a busy day.   We are wet and will be wet for a long time.  No tornadoes thus far and I hope it stays that way.  We are in watch areas a lot most days but I think we have moved into the spotty showers season where we never see the sun.   Thanks for stopping by today.

Monday, April 28, 2014

The Red Red Robin......Sits Still

While out taking a photos of the tulips that had turned yellow I could hear the clicking sound that the cardinal makes.  I looked up and pointed the camera in the area that it had been sitting but the cardinal flees at the sight of any movement.   Instead I saw off in the distance this fluffed up robin sitting on a branch among the leaf buds of the apple tree.

I know very little about the American robin's behaviors as far as the pairing and who does what to raise their young birds.  After thinking about this robin which was just sitting there for the longest time, I wondered if it wasn't sitting out in the territory of the new nest nearby. He could have been waiting his turn to sit on the nest. He wasn't that far from the nest that is under the shed roof.  I really don't know if they take turns sitting on their nest. I do know that both male and female feed the young ones once they hatch.  The robin is sitting in one of my apple trees and those leaves really did just come out the past two days. 

The chokecherry tree is the very first tree to be completely leafed out.  It is also a tree that has leaves which turn red in the fall and are the last to drop them.  Flowers will be coming soon and then no fruit from those flowers will ever develop.

 To finish with a photo of a little color is this one set of tulips that turned yellow overnight Saturday, during the rain and the wind.

It has been strong winds for us the last few days and it did seem to be a relief to have it quiet this morning.  Saturday night it was blowing so much that you could hear it as you slept, keeping me in a semi-sleep state. Last night it did it again with rain blowing from the east so hard that it sounded like hail was falling.  More rain is coming during the whole week so I have quit watching the weather.

I am a high school English teacher again today.  The lower aged groups who are writing stories. They are having a hard time thinking of ideas for a story even though they have been prepared for a week to  so by reading lots of them.  I know the freshmen could  make up any story in a second if they wanted to lie about a happening. They need to transfer that energy into writing, on purpose,  to write a story. Thanks for stopping by today.  I hope all my blogging friends are safe from all the bad storms of last night.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Sunday's Morning Rain......

New England bluebells continue to grow taller as we receive warmer weather and rain.  I have them spreading out into my yard, more each year. 

I have two forsythia bushes and both of them put out pathetic few amounts of blooms.  This particular shrub is soon to be removed and I will put in a different shrub.  I want to change some fencing in this area next to the dog's backyard and I don't even like the foliage of this shrub at this site anymore.

I walked the dog last night and noticed that I should have mowed the yard yesterday on the east side of my property.  It will be a challenge to do so as it gets so thick in the spring. This side yard shown above will need to be mowed soon also.  We are having strong winds today and have already had a thunderstorm this morning.  It will be a day of spotty rains traveling through the state.  The winds have been strong winds the past two days and maybe when the rains are through the winds will be gone. I have daffodils shooting up near where this photo was taken and also tulips.  I have yet to see any new flowers out but it won't be long.

It is Sunday and we usually take the day at a slower pace. We were out with our neighbor yesterday helping her out with some shopping and it was a warm day.  The winds caused it to feel cooler but it was good to be out.  Today we have Sunday school and we will pick up a sandwich and come home for a quiet afternoon.  We will watch the weather to be sure we don't have to rush home as the dogs don't like storms. Button has lost a lot of his hearing so he doesn't suffer through the thunder like he once did.  I think the next round will come late today so we should be fine.  I thank you again for stopping by today.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Saturday Morning........

American Robin (thrush family)

The robin's and blue jays have enjoyed my pan of water that I have out for them on the patio table. They of course drink from it often but also they take their baths in it too.  The robin gets all fluffed up like this after a bath and the shakes itself off.  The water really flies out of the water bowl as they flap their wings in the water. I am thinking to move the pan to another piece of furniture in the near future as they do make a mess on the patio table.  I have a shorter patio metal table that it can fit on and serve the birds for their needs.

As posted on my Larry's Photo a Day blog that I also have a robin's nest.  I forgot to mention that our robin in the US of A is actually a thrush and not one of those cut little orange birds that are also called  a robin in Europe.

The nest is huge and I am anxious to see how things go at this location.  We have a neighbor feud going on right now about the running of the cats so they are all now inside. It isn't me or my wife who is complaining, as you know we feed them. Maybe the robins can get this brood hatched before any cats return.

I found this for the first time this morning while out taking shots.  It may have been up a couple of days ago but it is nice to see tulip buds. It makes us look like we are already in full spring but we are not. I do want you to know that our springs can be very cold and even icey so we are not totally warm day in and day out.  In fact, the furnace is running while I write this and the wind chills were really bad this morning. I wanted to transplant a few tomatoes this morning but that isn't going to happen until we raise at least 15 degrees warmer. Yet, last night we had the window open all night in our bedroom as the upstairs had heated up from Friday's sunshine.  I have closed the window now.

This sedum is cozy in the leaves right now and I chose not to go ahead and uncover it.  It is nice to see it return again this year.  I am now concerned though about four of my five roses. I think I have lost them from our severe freezing this winter.  My wife and I use to visit Grand Marias, Minnesota each summer. We stopped going back in 2001. Outside a set of shops on the main highway was a large bed of planted roses.  We always enjoyed seeing them.  They had one very bad winter years back where even the mulch didn't save them and they had to replace the entire bed of probably 20 roses. I hope that I don't have to do that too.

We are having a restful Saturday today.  We both need down time and quiet time. I don't think we have any more errands to run as we did that after school yesterday.  I hope everyone has a good weekend. Thanks for stopping in today.

Friday, April 25, 2014


Our little grandson is now walking 10-12 steps at a time. You can see him in the video appreciating that he can move around faster to get into things.   He can walk and smile from ear to ear as he walks towards the camera. Little kids this size really do need to develop the leg muscles and balance to really learn how to walk.  They still are so excited when they walk.  AJ's little friend at daycare is a couple of months older and I am sure that helped to get AJ directed towards the need to walk.

 Tomatoes are tough.  I did my repotting into these peat pots.  While at school yesterday the whole batch of plants wilted because the soil had become completely dried out.  I water everything a few minutes later after I saw the destruction from the drought.  By late evening most of them had raised back up but a few looked like I had killed them.  I could pick the wilted one up and it fell like a destroyed weed.

This morning, the moisture finally soaked in and every single plant was up vertically and I couldn't find which ones that were the most sick.  I need to replant them one more time to a larger size now but I haven't made a decision what I should put them in.  I wrongfully threw away the larger plastic pots of old during a week moment a few years back. I guess I had decided that I wouldn't do tomatoes ever again.  A farmer really does need to keep growing things. What was I thinking!!!

Last year's rhubarb looked like this as it was so dry that the creeping Charlie was growing better than the thin stalks  of rhubarb that you see.  I will photograph the crop from this year in another  few weeks

This is an archived photo of my lily of the valley.  I noticed just yesterday that the soil warmed enough to make them shoot up their first shoots. It is amazing to me how these things can grow and bloom so quickly.

High school science is my many teaching assignment, but I did take the first hour social studies students in 7th grade.  It was the high school teachers free period so I was used to cover that one middle school class. They couldn't find enough subs so they will be putting teachers during their free periods into that classroom.  It is good that Friday has arrived.  I am showing movies about Birds in science today and that is fun.   I hope you all have a good day.  Thanks for stopping by today.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Thursday's Things....

I took a shot up in the air to get a line design in the sky.  The apple tree could use some pruning.  I would have to get a step ladder to reach it but some of these branches could be eliminated. If I had a lot of time I could hit every branch to refine the harvest.  Last years harvest was great so I am anxious to see how things turn out this  year.

I need to ship another painting of my wife's out to New Zealand today.  This is a partial shot of the calla flower that my wife painted for this nice lady.  The lady had purchased a painting with three lilies in it and she requested my wife to paint a single flower to hang in an arrangement.

Our grandson really liked his new book for Easter.  His dad called my wife to share how he just chatters away and of course he clammed up once he saw the phone.  My wife did say he let out a loud chatter while she was talking to Andy.  The little button does chirpy sounds which is to be pressed at each turn of the pages. I succeeded in getting the Easter books sent out to all the kids so they would arrive a day after Easter.  Better to send than to never send I guess. I forgot to add that my grandson took 10 continuous steps the other day.  He is impressed with himself when he walks across the room.

New England bluebells are such a great flowing plant. I can see that they have buds on them already but the foliage needs to mature more before the little bell shaped flowers open. I remember one set of plants that we had on the farm as a kid and the plant would poke up among the orchard grass and I would pull the grass away to see it each spring.

I am an associate today following a student into many different high school classes.  It is to be my goal to get him to finish up his late assignments so he can bring his grades up to higher than a low grade or non passing grade.  I had Wednesday off but will be working today and tomorrow. I am going to be a high school science teacher tomorrow. Thanks for stopping by today.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Wednesday's View.......

My window that I look out of to see the progression of the seasons shows a view of strong sun from the west.  The shadow of the old house is prominent.  The yards are greening and the birch is putting out their green tassels. The weigela in the foreground will soon block the view to the ground as it will leaf out and bloom in a few weeks.

 A blurry shot of wild violets was taken yesterday while I was looking for another fernleaf peony.  I had just been thinking that I hadn't seen any wild violets up but there they were under the leaves next to the peony.

It too is blurry but I discovered that the peony that is covered with leaves develops faster as you can see the buds on them.They must have been warmer under the leaves so it budded while the ones in the open have no buds yet.

I don't know why the shots I took in the afternoon were mostly blurry but I guess the strong sunlight messes with the automatic settings. I should have stood with my back to the sun and shaded the plants that were being photographed.

The regular peony bushes are just now peaking through the leaves.  I normally take the leaves off of them in the fall but didn't get it done.  I think I will gently remove them today as it will help them mature.  We have had ice storms before during this transition time of the season and we have even had snow on May 1st, but I think I can do it today anyway.  I feel they are pretty tough in cold weather. 

It is Wednesday and I didn't have work today.  I have a lot of small things to do today and avoiding the afternoon rain will be one of them.  I need to do some caulking on the north side of my house as the dry summers have dried out a couple of areas between the roof and the side of the house.  It doesn't normally leak in except when we have strong north winds.  The last rain did cause some drips and I had to move my computer out of the dripping area. I can stop the problem before the next spring rain for sure. The little guy above was given to my wife from one of her sweet little Sunday school girls for Easter. He is purple and he seems to be celebrating all of the time. I hope you all have a good day.  Thanks for stopping by today.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Yes, it is a Phlox.........

My mystery plant that shot up a few days ago is a phlox.  I know because this is an established phlox plant and they look the same.  I had a hard time growing phlox for awhile but I tried it again a few years back and now it is invading the garden and the yard.  I don't mind that problem as I can transplant some of them and others I will just mow over and eliminate them.  The globe alum which one plants as a bulb is very invasive as it spreads by seed.  I don't think I have worked with a plant that was a bulb like plant and yet sends seed out to make new bulbs.

This fernleaf is up and ready to go.  It blooms early in our spring season and this particular one gave me one bloom last year.  We will see how well it does this year.

Another peony shown here looks like a group of palm trees.  I haven't cleared leaves everywhere but I should have a couple more plants up now.  They do mature all at the same time as they respond to our increasing daylight each day. If I carefully remove some leaves I will find the others, I just haven't done it yet.

I do have flowering cherry bushes right now.  I don't get excited for two reasons.  Most years the bees don't get them pollinated as they are so early when the bloom. Secondly the cherries on a bush plant are so small that all I can do is juice them for jelly.  One works very hard to get juice out of them picking the small little pieces of fruit that are fifty percent seed with very little juice or flesh on them.

I am a floater today in school subbing in 8 differnt classrooms.  As a teacher goes out to evaluate their peers in every classroom in the building, I cover for them. It will be a hassle only getting to the classrooms on time as I see the schedule places me in opposites end of the building five times.  The three minute passing time is not good for me to even pretend to get to the classrooms on time.  We ended up missing the rain that Iowa received yesterday but it did warm up again.  We are cooler today but 68 degrees is a great temperature to be at during the spring. Thanks for stopping by today.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Monday Morning............

This will make me feel guilty enough now so that tonight I will move the bricks. There are probably ditch lilies under them trying to come up through the ground. I am shutting down the pond by filling it in with any extra dirt that I have.  I may work harder at  by getting a wheel barrow and moving some dirt piles into it.  The bricks line the edge of the pond and I plan to turn the pond into a bog garden instead. I think I will keep the edging around the area in tact. Mostly dirt but keep it like a swamp so cattails and maybe some cannas.  It will still look good with the bridge going over the bog instead of a swampy green pond.

I really don't think this lilac has matured enough to bloom but I sure wished it would.  It is the red-violet one that I dug a start of it down in Osceola my parents neighbors place.  I have had it about four years now so I would think it will take off.  I do see that a rabbit had a bite off of it this winter with a very clean cut of one of its branches.

The globe alum is up and I am looking forward to seeing them bloom.  I see that the plant has seeded itself out into the middle of the yard.  I may try to  transplant those starts to another flower bed rather than mow them down.

I saw a show where they said the older people really do get their brain cluttered with a life time of things.  I don't know what this plant is.  It will come to me just like I keep digging out former students names that I have seen today.  It is a day or two later but I do figure out their names even if they graduated 12 years ago.  I would think I would know what had been planted here but I will wait.  My mind will figure it out.  If it is a weed I will be sad but it reminds me of a phlox.

I will finish off with a little color.  In my Photo a Day blog I tell how I will be taking these guys back out side in the near future.  I am ready to get them outside and the birds are ready to be set back in front of the window.

I am in a special education room today for high school students.  It will be a busy day but I usually enjoy working in here. We have a morning rainstorm on its way and I can watch it rain from the wall of windows in the room.  I hope everyone had a good weekend and thanks for stopping by today.

Sunday, April 20, 2014


I hope all of you will have a good day on Easter Sunday with family and friends.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Sunshine on Saturday.....

Yes, we are getting some leaves unfolding from some of our trees.  This is a chokecherry tree that is my earliest tree to leaf out. It puts out flowers but never any fruit. I guess they are bred to be an ornamental tree only.

This surprised me as I wasn't expecting to see it up yet.  It looks like it has a lot of moisture this year as canes of rhubarb are already forming.  I can taste that cobbler already. 

I also was surprised to see this plant being up.  The fernleaf peony will be the first to bloom in my yard weeks before the regular peony bushes. Those who follow me know that I have four or five plantings of this and it seems to be doing well in any of the areas they are planted.  I worry about one of mine as I think we are going to get a new culvert put in at our intersection and I may go dig it before the crazy people come in and tear things out.  The peony isn't that close and yet I can see them being sloppy by piling dirt temporarily to the side and then scrape it back up again. 

The surprise lilies are shooting up also.  They are the ones that put out lots of nice foliage in spring.  Then the green all dies down and the sprouts of lilies on tall stems shoot up to bloom in June or early July.

I will finish with a funny shot today.  I had taken a couple pictures of the chair and my little helper seems to have something left behind in the photo.  Tiny Tim is always friendly and helpful with all that I do outside.  We are going to have a warm day today.  I will pick up more sticks and rake a few leaves away from some of the beds.  I don't think we are done with cold but this whole week is forecasted to be warm night and day.  Thanks for stopping by today.  I wish everyone a Happy Easter.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Tiny Tim.......

I also posted about Tiny Tim on my Photo a Day blog with a different photo.  I am in a rut theme wise. I am out of time so this is all you get for the day.  Anything else I would put up would have required lots of written copy so I will wait on another day to post more and new things.  I was three different teachers today and it caused a lot of confusion in my life and brain.  I totally forgot to blog.  Thanks for stopping by today.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Green Report......

The stella o d'oro day lillies are showing strong in the cold ground.  I never get the name right and have to look up the spelling every time I post things about that lily. I have a few leaves to rake away near this growth but I am going to wait until it warms up some more.  We were right at freezing temps this morning.  I know the fernleaf peony is right next to this but I want to keep it protected. I am very concerned about a couple of my roses as they are still looking dead without any growth or greening of any stems.

The variegated iris is coming up in the south garden area.  It is warmer back there and it did bloom for me for the first time last spring.

These iris look healthy too.  I am not sure what I have planted there but it may be things that I moved out into the sunnier part of the garden.  If they bloom out this summer I can decide to segregate them more into different areas. It is just a nursery area, at least that is what I think I have here. I did it but don't remember what I planted.

Barney tolerates me shooting a picture as he is busy checking the backyard for squirrels, cats, neighbor dogs and even a stray rabbit.  A good guard dog needs to be selective in what he barks at while being out side. 

He has been taking a vitamin for his bad back legs and we really are noticing a change in him.  He still sleeps a lot but his activity level has increased and he seems to be running with that same old vitality that he had when younger. 

I am home today as there was not needs for a sub today at school.  I welcome it as I have been physically tired the last two days.  I just drug through yesterday's classes.  Today I will do things with less stress added to the jobs. 

At the present time I have loaded in the car three antique dining chairs and three tv sets.  My wife's friend who we helped move to Des Moines from Minneapolis had a collection going on in her apartment.  She lives in senior citizen housing.  It is a nice place and she likes it there.  She feels very safe there.  People on the floor keep giving her things, like their old tv sets.  She can't get them to work and after the third was brought to her she asked for help. I told her I would get them out of there for her.  She also had the tree chairs of my parents on loan and she gave them back to us. She received some nice chairs and a table that matched so she didn't need the others.  I think I will unload one tv at a time and see which works and which won't.  One was a small one that I gave to her which sat on my work space next to me while I framed things.  It will go back there.  The other two could end up in the landfill if they don't cooperate.

Running errands this afternoon in the Jordan Creek Mall area so I bet we hit a bookstore this afternoon.  Worked three days so it is nice to have a Thursday off for a change. We may pick up noon lunch if things go well.  Thanks for stopping by today.