Saturday, May 31, 2014

Saturday's Meanderings........

I thought I should just pull you in to visit my blog with this wonderful iris.  The bud of it I have been watching for some time but I had no idea as to what color it would be.  My neighbor gave it to me a couple of summers ago. In Iowa it takes two years of patience to wait for an iris to actually bud and this one waited to bloom on the third year.  I sometime lose my ability to wait and wonder if it really worth it, but this one was really worth the wait.

This is the next iris that I will be sharing as it is in bloom today but I don't have the shot taken yet.  It is called a black iris but it actually is a deep dark violet that turns lighter after it opens.   I see I have a view of one of my styrofoam cups in the background that I had a tomato plant in it.  When I planted the tomato, I tore out the bottom of the cup and put it over it.  For some reasons certain birds robins like to peck at and destroy young seedlings. So I cover them for a while.  I told you I did get 12 tomatoes planted a few days back.  It took me all day but the trips out each time got the job done.

My orchard area is really just a meadow.  It bothers some of my neighbors but it is only in the far back fourth of my two lots.  The wild violets have taken over as the neighbors pine tree row and my two apple trees shade out the ground.  I am really happy with it.  The grass that does grow, I do go in and mow down but not every week.  Right now since I have been under the weather it hasn't been touched for 3 or more weeks.

The area reminds me of our orchard on the farm, north of the house, when I was young.  Orchard grass would fill in every year and my brother and I and would go out and crawl around in it to make tunnels and paths.  The  grass usually made me a cut up mess but when you are young you don't care as the blades could cut at the skin.

The majority of my wild rose froze out over the winter.  I didn't think the severe cold would ever bother it but it did.  I have an afternoon of clipping out all the dead canes.  It is a very invasive rose so I just mow around it to keep it from taking over my complete yard. Again, I was so surprised that 90% of it was destroyed.  It will be a good time to clean it out and get it restored for next spring's blooming time.  I will try to get a focused photo of it today as more of it is in bloom today.

Speaking of roses, my William Baffin rose looks great this year.  Three years ago it almost died from receiving too much rain from the shed roof.  The past two years we had very little rain.  I had to cut out so much dead stuff from the plant.  This year I was very pleased that it has revived.   I tried to move some of it and that failed.  I will try again. 

I am feeling better each day.  I still have the curse hanging on somewhat as my stamina is taking its time to return.  I mowed this morning the boys, dog's, back yard as it was too tall.  I mentioned maybe loosing Button in the tall grass.  When it was tall you could see by Button's expression that he really didn't like it to be so tall.  I will mow one section each day next week of my main yard until I get the yard mowed.  I had a guy mow it on his rider last weekend and it may get done on Sunday again by him.  I will mow my own as my yard is too over planted for a rider to drive through the stuff. 

Sunday is coming and I hope all are having a better weekend.  We are very hot, humid, and rain is promised frequently.  I guess it will hit Saturday night, tonight,  this time around.  We are still considered in a drought zone but it is looking better.  We are seeing water puddles this year which has been a rare sight for us for a few years.  Thank you for stopping in today and everyone take care.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Friday, Finally!

Happiness is finding a set of blooms that you never expected to see. The vine seemed stunted from the dry season last year but it still put out some great blooms.  I have a small purple clematis that is just now putting on buds.

Happiness is finding one iris that has a normal set of buds on it. I don't remember what color it is will be but I am glad I had planted there a couple of years ago. I think it is one of the old fashion iris.  I am thinking I need to move a bunch of my iris out into the sun.  My trees slow things down and I need to move my beds out away from them.

Happiness is seeing a hybrid iris finally mature and put out a bud that looks like this.  I will be taking shots of this bud in bloom by the end of this day. I was given this iris when my neighbor thinned out her iris bed.  I only have one other hybrid iris and it will be opened soon.

I visited school this morning to get some senior pictures.  I didn't succeed but I have the year book staff person on it to get it done today.  I stopped to see last years senior composite and I can't use it as an example.  When I get my final numbers of photos that go on it the number of graduates will be about 10 less.  I will have to refigure all of the spacing and rows of pictures.

I came home and planted zinnias this morning.  I had a multi color pack to get into the ground and also a pack of red zinnias.  I planted them in two different beds this year.  I also planted some of my sunflower seed.  I was disappointed in the variety that I purchased and the seeds seem to be so small.  I guess they are decorator sunflowers.  The package did say they would get to be 6-7 feet tall.  I may still buy some of the old workhorse kind that puts out big heads of seed.

I ventured over to the neighbor lady's house and planted for her a package of zinnias next to her two wagon wheels.  The ground was sandy from them doing construction projects and sidewalks so it was easy to dig up and ready for the seed.  I asked her to hit the beds later in the day with her sprayer with water as she appeared exhausted and wanted to go back in and watch her soap opera.

I am feeling stronger each day.  As I chip away at the small projects I am feeling better about catching up on my spring stuff. We will move into the warm season soon so I need to have everything planted now.  Next is to get the backyard mowed for the dogs.  We may loose Button in the tall grass if I don't get it mowed soon.

Thank you all for stopping by today.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Thursday's Things......

The spirea bushes that I have on this property are all older and were established when I bought the place..  I do have this one row of them that I put in a few years after I moved here.   The neighbor was moving an established row of them because he didn't like its location.  He moved the whole row back about 4 feet. The moved row looked great but today an addition of a house sits on it and it doesn't exist anymore.  Mine have done well.  I keep thinking I want to trim the whole thing down and give it a fresh start for next year.

The Asiatic lilies are popping up everywhere.  I see that the Stargazer that I planted new last year is coming up again this year.  I have lost a few Asiatics in the backyard because of invading field lilies.  The dogs also help me keep some of the field lilies back as they tramp down a few in spring until they get so big that they can't walk into them. 

I took this shot before I was sick.  I shared it on facebook but then never did share it here on one of my blogs.  The columbine is always one of my favorite wild flowers.  I know that I bought this one commercially but it is the same plant that grows in the wild.  I would bring it up from our timber as a kid and plant it on the north side of the farm house.  It grew for years there and may still do so today.  The new owners may have let it grow or thought it to be a weed.

I found a photo of my batch of robins in archive.  I really don't know if I posted it but here it is.  I would like to see them do another batch in that nest.  I have a starling making a nest in my mulit condo type birdhouse right now.  When I am up for taking shots of it and also have the patience I will get a shot.  I  just noticed the bird yesterday checking out the different holes of the four houses on the pole.

The neighbor girls do leave evidence of their may activities.  We lose some privacy at times in our backyard but they are also fun and active and doing things.  The bicycles will be flying and the scooters scooting.  Balls will be thrown and the twins and older sister will always come to the fence to pet Barney.  We witnessed the other day Barney going over to the corner of the yard and gave out a grunt to call them.  The girls always come running to see him.

The day looks like a good day to get out and see what is happening around the garden shed.  If I can dig a few holes, I will put in some tomatoes.  I will get some sunflowers in the ground and we will see how far that takes my strength level.  My mind is also adjusting to the idea that I don't have to squeeze my chores around an 8 hour day. What I don't get done, I can do more tomorrow as I have another 8 hour bonus to the day.  Thanks for stopping in today. 

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Middle of the Week...........

I was able to retrieve my wheel barrow from the farm.  It had been down there for two summers and I finally made the right connections to bring it home.  The continued rain and illness has kept me from using it only once.  I had filled it with sticks from the trees that were scattered all over my yard. The water inside of it show the many rains that we have had and we sit around with water puddles because of so much water.

My two weigela shrubs are liking all the moisture.  This is the larger shrub that is covered with flowers.  I was surprised to see it out and captured it a day ago on one of my short walks.  They do have a pleasant smell and the color is great.  I call it my red weigela but in reality I think there is a redder one out there on the market.

The pink one that I have is a lot smaller in size.  I broke a limb off of it last year while mowing and it seems to be doing fine anyway. I should move it about two feet away from the bigger one but that would be too much work. I will probably trim back the bigger one later in the summer.

I posted a brown and yellow iris on my Photo a Day blog.  It is a cemetery iris and so is this one.  It looks tuckered out but the wet foggy morning and the rains keep it from rolling out all the way.  This iris is bluer that the one that I first posted a few days ago.  They are small. I have read that our hybrids were bred from this size of iris stock.  I was surprised to see this one out as they just bloom out overnight.

This iris too has very few blooms on it.  The color of it reminds me of the ones that I brought from my parents' property a few years back.  It isn't as it was given to me by a school coworker.  The ones that I brought from Osceola are in a different area and I haven't been over to check on them.

The last of my indoor hardy geraniums are going outside today.  I will move one out off and on all day until I get them all outside. I didn't lose any inside but outside  the two that were hailed on are going to have to  regrow.  The plants are alive but were beaten up badly.  The pink one that I showed a photo of a week ago is now one stem with another stem broken off and put back into the soil for restarting. 

My wife baked biscuits this morning and I cut up some strawberries this morning.  We bought the berries way over a week ago but my becoming ill put the process to a stop.  I was eating crackers for about three days but I am back onto normal food.  The strawberries were still good and we bought topping yesterday for them.  Our rhubarb too was hard hit with the hail but I have a neighbor who has a large protected area for his that I can get some to make cobbler.  That won't be for a few days. 

I am feeling better.  That isn't a firm rubber stamped confirmation that I will be out there working normal but I can feel the strength coming back more each day.  I am doing small little jobs that I normally would do in all one day but I am chipping away at some of it.  I planted seeds into two window box planters of morning glories.  The dirt was already in them so it was not a big task.  I cleaned up the broken glass from my gazing ball on one side of the garden.  If the yard quits being so soggy I will go out and pick up the other parts from the other side.

The sun was out for an hour or so this morning but we are now back to cloudy again.  I have an urge to find an area to get some zinnia seeds in the ground and plant some sunflowers.  I don't prepare the soil for sunflowers as they grow like thugs want they get started and don't really care for manicured dirt.  I have small tomatoes that could go into pots or in the ground but that soil is not ready and I am not going to be able to ready it.  Maybe next week those kind of things can get done.  Oh yes, I got a hummingbird feeder put up yesterday.  The hardest part was finding everything to make the mix and putting the feeder back together. 

I hope all is well out there as we head into late spring and are busy with all that we do.  I appreciate your stopping by today and wish you well.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Tuesday's Things...........

One iris refused to die when its stalk was broken by hail.  The joy of the problem is that I can watch them open up its blooms in the house while in a vase.  I also can get more shots from it. 

The season is so confused this year that a lot of things are just now blooming and other plants are not starting their flowering stage.  I was surprised to see the spirea looking so great.  My poor garden needs a gardener as their are little trees popping up through them everywhere. Thus I couldn't show you the whole length of five shrubs in a row. I have told myself that the gardener will take an area at a time and rectify the problems in the garden.  It just isn't going to happen over night and I can pace it one problem at a time.  I did want you to take note of how lush we are in Iowa right now as you see the area where the neighbor has yet to mow the grassed in area in one part of his yard. It looks to 6 or more inches tall with plenty of weeds growing in it. 

I am waiting on this tree to see what it is going to do.  This is my redbud tree.  It looks dead but the branches don't snap off as dead.  I guess it is waiting for some full days in a row with the  warm sunny days.  I hope that I can give you a comparison shot soon.  The pin oaks did finally shoot out some leaves and the ash tree in the back is just now putting out small leaves.  I thought I had lost them to our severe cold.

I was told by Far Side of Fifty to wait and see.  I did wait and you can see this dead looking rose is alive.  Three others are not pretending to revive but this one was closer to the house and was blanketed with many leaves.  From past experience this rose is not on a stock root so it will be blooming again. I see I need to get some clippers out and clean up all the dead leftovers.

I have small projects that I will tackle today.  I have morning glory seeds soaking in warm tea water to get them ready for planting.  I am going to plant them in a window box size planter here next to the house and as they mature and I am stronger I will take them out to the trellis by the garden shed. I may do two planters and also have one next to the trellis on the side porch.

I did plant one lone tomato in a patio pot yesterday and it really needs some hot sunshine. I may plant a couple more tomatoes in pots for the patio.  I haven't talked to the neighbor about her tomatoes that she planted so early in spring, but I bet she has to replant most of them.  I plan to poke holes in the ground with a hoe handle in order to plant a bunch of sunflowers.  I saw a Amish woman who put whole heads of seed out on here feeder in the winter. I don't think I need to prepare the soil for a sunflower as they are more like a weed when they get to growing.

I think I am totally done sub teaching as I called in to say that it just wasn't even a possibility at this point of time.  I do need to return to pick up  senior photos composite materials.  They hire us each year to create a composite to go into the archive display of past graduates. I don't know why they were so slow getting the photos together. If they are slow then we won't worry about ever meeting a deadline on it. We already missed graduation.  We will work on it during the month of June.

I am eating normal things now and walking.  I am better.  I will not rush what I can't control anyway.  People who see me rushing and working fast in the past don't know that I am feeling like a 100 year old man.  I think I have moved back to a 80 year old man this morning.  It would be nice to feel better and younger than 65 years old but most of you know I won't be doing that. I wish everyone well this morning and thanks.........for stopping by today. 

Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day....

On Memorial Day, as a kid, we always had a family reunion in Macksburg, Iowa.  It is a very small old town and was the area my maternal grandmother and great grandparents lived. Nearby were the towns of Lorimor and Winterset. It was the only time each year we saw that set of relatives unless a funeral would happen. All my great uncles and their wives lived in the area and their families all seemed like distant relatives when they really were not. I felt like a stranger to the cousins as they were living in such a different part of the state.

All who are gone now are buried at Moon Cemetery outside of town down a dusty gravel road.  As a kid we visited the cemetery where my great grandparents were buried.  Also there was buried my grandfather Brown who I never had met and my Uncle Marvin's first wife who died of TB when young leaving my uncle with four kids. We would lay our glass jars of peonies or iris on the graves and I could build a little on my family history.  I haven't been there since 1972 when my Grandmother Mabel Zella Brown Brooks was laid to rest next to her first husband, my grandpa Brown. 

After all of this writing, I guess I am reminded of the old cemeteries of Macksburg and Murray by the iris shown above.  The smaller iris of old would be laying or standing in containers the white, the yellow and brown ones, and the purple iris. My cemetery iris that I have collected have not bloomed.  The one you see above was protected from the hail storm.  I haven't been able to go out and see if the others are ok. 

I went out yesterday to check on my baby birds and what I saw was a lot of destruction from the hail.  This rhubarb shows what happen to it.  I lost a lot of stalks of buds of iris as they were snapped off in the high wind and large hail.  I should have at least a couple of buds that will bloom from each kind but I was going to have many blooms this year.

I was very disappointed to find my robin babies have flown away already.  One blogger friend told me that it doesn't take long from the time they hatch to the time are big enough to leave the nest.  I took the last photo eight days ago so you can see they matured fast. I don't know if they will reuse this nest.  I hope they do.

I won't dwell on my health but I am some better.  My wife is a wonderful person who has kept me alive.  I hope that I am well enough that she can get rest now and not worry so much.  My antibiotic is working but it is going so slow.  I am not back to full strength and am limited at about everything that I would like to do.  I expected my body to just bounce back and it isn't doing it very quickly.  I won't be back to school ever for this year as school will be out before I am well enough to return.  That is ok by me as I probably caught this thing from someone there.

On this Memorial Day, I think of all those that I have known who were in the service when they lost their lives and those who survived the wars and have now passed.  Their sacrifices are so little recognized.  I don't ever want to forget them and thank you veterans today who served for our country.

Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Spring Shots...........

The grass is awaiting my attention in my flower gardens.  It is pleasant to have it as we had so little rain for two years and it is nice to see lush growth.

Rest in peace Blue Globe as your pieces of glass await me to pick them up off the patio.  The hail hit the windows hard when the wind blew and the larger ones did do some damage.  I have so many pictures of the blue globe and maybe I will have a replacement someday.

When it warms up this afternoon I am going to take a short walk out to see my baby birds and a quick look of things that are growing.  My neighbor's son mowed my yard on Saturday and that was so great.  With a lung allergy infection the humidity and spring pollen just doesn't help out things so I won't be mowing yards for a while. We are suppose to get a very humid day.  My recovery is coming.  I had something that you just can't take a pill for and make it go away.  I feel so much better but I am far from my normal strength.  I hate missing spring but getting better is on my main  list to do.   I appreciate the concerns of all and am glad I can get back on the blog.  Have a good Sunday and thanks for stopping by today.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

A Great Guest Photgrapher.......

I am back with the living.  My wife went outside and took shots while I have been down.  I thought I had beat the allergy attack on Monday.  I taught all day on Tuesday but knew I was in trouble by that last period of the day.  My body just could not fight it.  I lasted until Wednesday evening and then my wife took me to the emergency room.  I won't go into detail but I ended up having an infection  or maybe two that caused sever dehydration and high fever that wouldn't go away. I am better and yet have much more healing to do.

I did miss out on a lot of stuff as my wife brought in pictures of what is going on out side.  The plants sort of survived a big wind and hail storm on Tuesday night.  The iris above came out after the storm.  Our hail was a quarter size and was noisy.  It beat up the geraniums that were in pots and we are still covered with leaves.

I don't want to use up all the great photos my wife's but I have been gone for a while. This is a short iris that I have which reminds me of a tall hybrid one.  This year we had the rain and we have blooms. I worry about my baby birds out there as I can't get out there but maybe by tomorrow or Monday they won't be flying away without one last photo.

The globe alum took a great hit from the hail storm.  I have some mor time to get more photos once I am more on my feet.  I miss being on the net but wasn't able to muster the energy.  Thanks for stopping by today.  

Tuesday, May 20, 2014


The two colored leaves on the iris seem to be loving our weather.  I haven't seen any buds forming but I bet they will.  It put out buds and blooms last year of pale blue flowers.

This two toned hosta is coming through and will be large once it is all up out of the ground. The ground should really warm up with an 80 degree F.  day today.

The flag iris is looking strong this year.  I have three different plantings of this and I hope some of them do bloom.   The phlox seems to be taking over the garden as you see it here among the iris.  I had a hard time getting phlox to grow but now I have problems keeping it under control.

The globes should be out by the end of the week in full bloom.  They keep spreading everywhere and I am good with that.  They don't  crowd out anything but grow along side of things.  The plant is done about two weeks after it blooms and the hostas will move in to take over its space.

I don't have problems each spring but sometimes I get a severe reaction to fresh mowed grass or spring flower blooms on shrubs. It just doesn't happen every single year but it does happen.  I was in the post office yesterday afternoon and the large bouquet of lilacs reached out to my bronchial system.  It was a very humid day and by the time I got home I sensed I was going to have problems.  I took asprin to dry myself first.  I knew if all else fails I can take the dreaded primetine tablet and revive.  I always use that as the last ditch effort. Primetine destroys my brain but it allows me to have immediate draining.  Also my heart goes beating out of my chest.  Anyway, I survived it with a third asprin and staying down the rest of the evening.  I didn't have an attack last year so maybe this one will due me for a couple of years.  I didn't get out and take pictures of my baby birds and I didn't work in the yard so I will need to get photos tonight.   

I am a 7th and 8th grade social studies teacher today.  It has been a little trying of a day and yet most of the kids do behave well.  I will be glad when the day is done though and everyone will have reviewed and studied for their tests.  Thanks for stopping by today.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Monday Morning.......

It was cold yesterday and they were hunkering down to stay warm. I can count only two beaks but I think they are all four still there.  I was getting a thorough scolding from one of the adults as it sat in a tree near me.  I had to have a coat on in the afternoon while in the sunshine.

The lily of the valley is soon to be fully filled out in little white bells.  I don't think they like the cold as they seem to be at a standstill.  I think they would like the soil to be a lot warmer for them to completely bloom.

I have violets everywhere.  The grass isn't much competition right now but once they finish blooming they will get sheared off with the mower and the grass will take its place. The rains have caused them to have a lot of foliage this year. My orchard area really is full of wild violets and it is great to see.

 The red bark dogwood is now in bloom.  There will be little red berries on the shrub once the blooms are gone.

The pin oak is the last to loose its leaves in the spring and once they fall off the new leaves sprout out in their place.  I think the tree was slow this year as I was certain that it looked dead earlier and then a couple of days ago while I was doing my second mowing of the yard, they show up on one branch. It is still alive.  While on the subject of alive trees, my ash tree also is still alive as the leaves are just now pushing out from the branches.  It is also late. 

The fern leaf peony is starting to open.  The larger bud was not the first to open.  I will see tonight after school if this one is more fully opened.

Here is the close up view of the one above shown at a distance. The plants themselves, four of them that I have,  seem to be doing well.  I put a fifth one at the back of the house and it is having a hard time establishing itself.  It has been there a couple of years and only a couple of stems have developed and no buds again this year.  I bet someone will be moving it when it gets to be warmer outside.

I have been moving the geraniums outside.  They are going to get trimmed back when it gets warmer and I will try to root so more. This pink one while inside the house put out a wimpy stem towards the window and it is top heavy as the stem isn't strong.  I can fix that but for now I just leaned the bloom against a drain spout.

I am in the Business room again today and the guy is taking his golf girls to a tournament today.  School is slowing down now as the seniors are gone but there is still time for them to learn more.  It will probably be at a slower pace.   I hope all is well with everyone.  Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog.  If your not  reading, thanks for looking at my pictures.

Sunday, May 18, 2014


I was shocked and surprised to have these four advancing birds poking their heads out at me on Saturday afternoon.  I knew they did this but I didn't realize how quick that they shot those open mouths up at the world.

We didn't have plants die from our cold nights but most of the tulips had their stems damaged and most of them were drooping.  About half way down each stem is a shriveled area as if the cold weakened the fibers in the stems.

As you can see here I brought a lot of them into the house to keep  them alive.  The cool weather has kept them blooming longer but that one 33 degree F. night sure made the stems give way.  I will save the photo of the bouquet to share on my Photo a Day blog in a few days.

Things are showing promised blooms on a lot of my plants.  The fernleaf peony here will be opened soon.  Each of my peony's like this are all at a different stage of development.  This one sits directly in the sun while the others are in shady locations. 

I am getting anxious for the iris to start blooming but they do have a short season.  I have some dwarf iris that will be blooming soon before this one. 

It is Sunday and I am back to work tomorrow.  It should be an easy going day today.  We will be warming up to 70 degrees F. this afternoon. Eating out at Panera and coming home from Des Moines to have a quiet afternoon.   I hope all are doing well out there.  Thanks for stopping by today.