Sunday, August 31, 2014

Sunshine on Sunday......

As I gaze out my dinning room window this morning I can see so many things happening.  The three different American Flags on the different houses all show that there is a gentle southern breeze as they wave in the air.  We were told that we would warm up today to 88 degrees and the southern states are providing the heat. An older gentleman is walking by while another neighbor leaves in her red van.  She back up carefully no to hit the walker in the street.

The neighbor woman in her green van backs out to go to Casey's probably to go get milk or bread for breakfast for all her kids while another white small truck is coming up the way. Button is out checking out the yard for about the fourth time this morning but it is exciting to get outside.  The gentle breeze is causing all of the trees and bushes to sway with some of the leaves are starting to fall. I have not seen the hummingbird this morning but it is early.  The street is not that busy usually but for some reason today everything seems to be on the move. I plan to just sit still for a little while longer.

I apparently have two different kinds of white morning glories as this one looks just like the blue one in shape and size.  The other white one, that people described as a moon flower, did bloom during the rain on Thursday. That makes four different kinds of glories on the trellis.  The first to bloom, the pink one, has not bloomed for quite a while.

I didn't have morning glories last year so you can see why I am a lot hyper with the photos.  This blue one could be seen at a far distance in the yard as I first noticed it while I was out along the street. It is a nice dark blue color with many buds all around it meaning I should see more flowers the next few weeks.

I use this tray to hold water for the birds and the antique chick waterer device sits in the middle of it for no good reason.  The leave landed there as the photographer would not have thought to pick a leaf and place it there. The reflection of the tree behind me creates a sun like shape. I have not had to fill this tray for weeks now.

The conservation people in charge have declared that the ash bore is in Boone county not in Dallas county.  We live a mile or two south of the Boone county line and as you can see Dallas county also has cases of the ash bore disease, at least one anyway.  I sort of knew that it wasn't healthy in the spring but it did make a liar out of me by putting out some leaves but now you can see it has lost a lot of leaves and it really didn't go through its seed developing cycle.  It will have to be removed one limb at a time and eventually next spring I will have to find someone better with a chainsaw than me to take it down.

I have so many zinnia photos that you will have to put up with lots of shots of these for a few weeks.  My wife is better from her summer cold but we will make a short trip in for Sunday school and then right home. The cough she has now is a productive one and she did sleep through the night last night.  Sleep really is the great healer of bad colds and bad colds like to keep you from sleeping. I am hearing from others on the blog that are getting this summer cold.  Our one anchor man today out of Des Moines has the same thing and he had to keep taking breaks away from the desk to cough.  Everyone out there have a great last two days of a three day weekend.  Thank you for checking in to my post. 

Saturday, August 30, 2014


The cockatiels keep themselves busy watching the cars go by the house.  They love being in the window and are awakened by the sun in the morning and make bird calls as the sun goes down. I lost the red bud tree so they don't get to see birds in the trees but they do love to scold the dogs and people that go by their window.  They have my promise to now have a bigger cage as I spotted one that it twice the size of this one.  They do like to be together so I would hate to separate them.  The yellow one on the left is Jack Sparrow who is the father of the the three others.  When Jack lost his  mate he was clamoring to get into the cage with his three offspring. It made it crowded but they all do enjoy themselves. 

 Next to the four is this one last Zebra finch.  He has always been alone as he would nervously pull all his neck feathers down to the skin while in a group setting.  I call him my rehab bird as he is fine all by himself.  I like his little crow that he makes to let people know he owns the territory.  He really likes to have his cage directly next to the four bigger birds and he lives a good life flying around in his cage and eating and sleeping.  At one time I was going to move him into a different cage but decided it might mess him up emotionally again and he would try to pull all of his feathers.

I moved this hosta section to this location a few weeks ago and it really does like its new home. It will become larger next year as it settles in at its new site. I have a lot of things planted in and around this hosta but nothing looks too good yet for me to be taking any pictures of it.  It has two roses near it and iris planted also in the area.

The ditch lily always lets me know when fall is coming.  It starts to collapse and turn yellow.  This batch of ditch lily didn't put out a single bloom this year.  I guess the past summers were hard on it.  The  brick is just there.  I don't even know why it is there but it must have been surrounded by foliage long before I was able to get it out of there.

The fall mums are so great to see and I had picked up two.  I showed the yellow one in a past blog and this one is now starting to open its blooms.  Usually mums winter over for me as long as the weather conditions stay normal for our growing zone.  I really like the color of this one as it turned out to be more than just brown. 

We are home today and that is where we will stay.  I saw the sun shine a few minutes ago but we are overcast again.  Another large rain last evening fell but we are told today and tomorrow we are suppose to stay dry.  I have some orchard mowing to finish that I started about four days ago.  I may just wait now and mow it when I start over with the main part. I need to find some more buckets to collect apples that are falling from the trees.  I hope all are doing well out there and thanks for stopping by today.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Thursday, no Friday, That is True.........

In movies sometimes you see them depicting people coming through with big machines that clear roads in the forest or jungle.  In cartoons they depict it as a monster eating up things as it moves through the green, tearing and chewing things up as it goes.  Our town has a tree trimming ruling about sidewalks and streets having their foliage and limbs trimmed back.  It is an impossible ruling as either one doesn't have the money to hire people to trim back tall trees or the safety to the owner is at high risk climbing to clear the branches.  The original ordinance was created because farmers would bring their grain trucks and equipment through the streets and no one wanted them to get hit by a tree.  They all have big trucks now and they travel only down the main street and not any side streets in town.

Last week the city became wise and they hired a team of experts to trim up the whole town at the city's expense.  Other small towns maintain their trees without cost to the owners and they do it regularly so it really isn't a difficult task.  But when you haven't had trimming done for 10 years it seems to make sense to hire someone.  I maintain my alley every couple of years as requested and that isn't a big deal other than the people to the south of me never do so it is like driving from a clearing in my end to a jungle at the other end.

There were 8 or more men working on the task as they came up Cedar street towards us.  They had one man who had a 12 foot device with a cutter on the end of it to trim back and cut off major branches out in the street. That way they could meet the height ruling. There was a bucket for serious stuff and there was a crew that walked the sidewalks.  I was glad to see the street work getting done but the sidewalk thing was a bit ridiculous.  As you can see at the top of the photo that I now have a sliced off a maple tree with one side being removed.  I had trimmed it so no one, me included, would be hit in the face.  I guess it didn't meet the 9 foot rule.

I didn't think they had cut on anything else but you can see the attack on the redtwig dogwood bush.  It really wasn't sticking out on the sidewalk but they must have thought it was going to do so soon.  The crew had two choppers to grind up the  branches into chips and that was great.  They were loud sounding but they did the trick quickly.  They even had a couple people with rakes to get up all the small sticks and leaves.  I can trim up the maple on the other three sides to match the work they did to the one side,  I know the tree will bounce back with tall branches again.  It will force me to turn it into a palm tree for awhile as it grows.

I was glad that my birch tree wasn't near any sidewalk or street as I take my time in trimming it back.  I was told by the one friend that I needed to get all that bottom stuff off but it isn't coming off. I like the tree as it is. I usually trim it up so I can walk under it to mow without taking off major branches.  I worked hard to get that to live for 30 plus years so I am not about to chop it up so some one can stand tall under it.  Those who like that rule can do that to their trees and they don't need to come to my house to stand under my tree.

The hostas that I divided and moved to the new fence area are doing well.  If I had been creative I would have put a different variety every other one but at the time I just needed to get rid of all the extra hosta plants.  I also put a daylily down on the corner and moved a regale lily down there to get them both into full sun.

My Stella went into dormancy for a while but it is now putting out some new blooms.  It is under a tree partially so it isn't getting enough sun to keep it blooming all summer.  I think it doesn't like all the water it is getting. I could move a part of it some time  soon.

The final shot for today is this view of a morning glory vine.  I had to retrieve the step ladder from behind the fence and this vine was threaded through a lot of it.  I had to unwind it and I had put it up on top of the roof area.  I guess the vine had another idea of where it wanted to be.  As you can see it is now winding itself around the gate.  I guess it will work out.  I just would wish that it would start to bloom soon before the first frost.

My wife has been fighting off a bad head cold the past few days.  It just doesn't seem to go away.  She is getting a lot of coughing with is as it is causing irritation in her throat. I keep telling her to rest and rest some more.  It is hard to lay down and sleep with the kind of cold that it is.  We are taking a short quick trip to the grocery store and will be home again today.

For those who are dry I hate to share this but we had a large downpour of rain again last night.  We really are catching up on the lack of rain in the past.  Water standing in the neighbors driveway seems to be a common daily sight.  Thank you for you stopping in today for a visit.  Take care everyone.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

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

In one day, with the help of a rain, and the bucket is full of the apples that fell from the tree.  They are larger ones that all that have been falling the past two weeks.  My other apple tree is holding on, keeping its apples and I will have to pick them.  They can stay in the tree longer until I get more time to pick them.

Staking up the zinnias did work as we keep getting rains and the cord and metal fence posts are doing their job.  We are catching up on all the rain we missed the last two summers. The yard and garden are muddy and ooze water when you walk on them.

I measured the tallest sunflower yesterday and it is 12 feet tall.  I grew sunflowers for fun when I was a young kid on the farm and I really don't remember them being that tall.  I was shorter back then and I don't think any of my plants were ever that tall.  I think the package of seed called them mammoth and I can see why.  I did put a metal post next to it and tied it up so it wouldn't continue to lean to its own extinction. 

 A new shot of the blue morning glory.  I did use a step ladder and I left it  in the area for further use with photography and picking apples. It just continues to rain in Iowa.  We are not getting the 5 inch rains but we are getting all that we need.  I would ship it south and north to all my blogging people but I can't do that.  I don't know if I can get out today as it is a soggy mess and the sprinkles continue.

I will close with this painted lady feeding itself.  It has finally stopped raining as we approach noon today.  I doubt we ever dry out but we will see.  Thanks for stopping by today.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Middle of the Week......

It was such a wonderful surprise to see this bloom last evening high on the top of the trellis. I thought that all I was ever to have in colors  was pink and white.  You can see all the white buds that are yet to open.  When I go outside this morning I bet they will be partially open.  When I investigated further in the planter below there are about six different vine stems going out of the pot.  The interesting thing is that they are intertwined on each other so it made it look like only two vines were growing up the trellis.  I really would like to be surprised with one more color of bloom. We will see what happens.

I didn't play acrobat on the saw horse this time but just used the zoom on the camera to get a close up shot. I do intend to take the step ladder next to the house out there today as I will be needing it for apple picking anyway. Then I can use it to take higher elevation photos.

The reason I was out to the shed last evening was the continual rains have caused most of my zinnas to lean and fall to the ground.  I had to get some of my smaller cheap fence posts and tie up most of them.  I don't know if the stems with blooms will turn back up to the light but I hope so.  This photo was taken a few days ago when a fritillary was out feeding on the coneflowers and zinnias. I really want the zinnias to be standing and also if the butterflies keep coming I want to not have to lay on the ground to take their picture.

The nail keg is on its way to being stored in the garden shed.  I have decided to banish everything that sits on my porch next to the door and start over with the entryway display.  I haven't removed everything yet but I am working at it as I grab something on my way by each time to put it away and out of sight. The begonia doesn't fit in the keg and I will hang the flowers back up on the hook when I take the keg away from the bench.

 I am concerned that the wet soil conditions will cause the large sunflowers to fall over like it has the smaller ones.  I would think the big guys are pretty well rooted in as I remember how hard it is to get the roots out of the ground in the fall. When I clear the garden in the fall I will have to use a spade to loosen them from the ground as they usually are so well rooted in the soil.

The new machine that does the calling for substitute teachers seems to be working well.  I am not able to start teaching until Sept. 1 due to a deal I have with the state retirement program. I keep getting called each morning by this computer guy wanting me to come in to do a sub job.  They can call as early at 5:30 in the morning but so far it has been around 6:00. Unfortunately l will start answering the phone next week and start going back to school.  I had a month long break from school so it was a good time off. 

I hope all is well with all of you my blogging friends and thanks for stopping by today.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Second Day of the Week.....

One of my favorite zinnias in the garden is this one shown above.  The actual bluish center around the center makes it an unusual zinnia as most others are just a solid color from the center outward to the tips of the petals.

It was a dangerous task to get close to the white morning glory.  I had to stand on a saw horse to get the picture.  I am too old and fat to be able to crawl up on top of a saw horse so I had to find something a foot tall to step up on to get to the top of the saw horse. I was too lazy to go to the other side of the property to get a stepladder.  You do know how that goes don't you?

I did get some photos of it once I was standing high enough to get the camera close to it.  The morning glory is structured differently than the other kinds as the bloom is more paper like and flimsy.  It looked like it was made from shear cloth.

Looking inside I thought there might be a little bit of color.  I guess the yellowish green center is the most color one gets with an all white flower.

I have a low spot at the end of one of my sidewalks where the sidewalk has settled into the ground lower that the rest of the side walk. The sidewalks were made in 1920's so they are old but still good.  Every few years I will remove the dirt that has washed down the sidewalk from the top of the property every time that it rains. The past couple of summers I haven't been physically able to remove it from the three sections of sidewalk.

 I was moving hostas around and dividing some when I walked by the area.  I took the spade I was using  to see how deep that it was and you can see a lot of good Iowa soil had washed down the sidewalk. I have plenty of low spots in the yard to spread this dirt once it gets dried out.  The rain we had last night has probably saturated it all to mud. It is one heavy load as the tire was squished as I  tried to  push the  barrow to this location.

I call this photo "Ghost Kitty" as she lurks around and never lets me get close to her. I can see her peaking around the shed and flowers to keep an eye on me. She is tame with the house full of people next door who own her.  She is blurry in the photo as the camera focused on the ladder in the foreground.  I see she is out wandering in the area again this morning.

I will finish with a shot of having all my zinnias in a row.  I have one pink zinnia among all the orange and lavender ones.  It is lighter colored than what the camera picked up but it is neat to have the different one out there among the others.

Feeling weary today but that doesn't mean that I don't have work to do.  It is soggy from an hour long rain we received  in the middle of the night.  People in other parts of the country are dry as a bone and we are soggy and muddy.  I don't think I can mow this morning to finish up my yard.  I guess I sort of mowed with wet grass yesterday as the humidity was so high that dew clung to the grass through the noon hour.

I had  a recorded machine call this morning to come in to substitute teach but I had to turn them down by pushing number 2.  I have a thing going on where I can not start subbing again until Sept. 1st.  I won't be doing the heavy duty time this year of many days a week like I did last year.  We may go shopping this afternoon as I have need of framing supplies and maybe a gallon of paint for the house.  A bookstore would be nice to visit if everyone is up to it.  Thanks for stopping by today and everyone take care of yourselves.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Cucumber Heaven........

I bought a cheap container of  three vines in a plastic pot and this is what I get.  It cost me around a dollar which is going to make my endeavor worth while. I planted them later than I should have but having them in the fall for salads is not a bad thing.  They are selling a single cucumber for a dollar in our area supermarkets.

The cucumbers are growing at the base of the sunflowers.  I took this shot to display how tall the one sunflower has become.  I didn't think it to be a good shot but if you look at the photo for a while you can see it standing very tall. I am waiting to see if the sunflower on the left will catch up to it. The tomatoes on the left foreground are just now putting out fruit.  You can see the one tomato in the foreground that is ready to be picked.  They will go good with the late cucumbers in a salad.  A lot of the romas we will freeze and eat during the winter in sauces.

I can now see what the other color of morning glory is going to be.  I will have to get a step ladder to photograph that white bud when it opens.  You can see the rains have caused it to set on a lot of buds both white and pink.

I bought two of the small mums a week ago and I will get to see some fall color from them.  Mine that usually grow out at the corner of the lot didn't survive the past two winters.  I bought a brown mum also and we will see if they will winter through this time.

I had to tie up a lot of the zinnias last evening as they were laying on the ground from high moisture in the soil.  It was horrible out there but I did do a hurried job.  Our temperatures are in the 90's and the humidity is very high also.  Barney doesn't like to go out in that kind of weather and I have to take a leash to get him to go at all during the day. I didn't complain about the mosquitoes but they were also out and about poking holes in me everywhere.

I am leaving the blogging now to go outside into the 74 degree F.  temperatures to start mowing a very tall grassed over yard.  It really did get out of control which is so different from last summer when the yard was brown and crackly.  I don't have much else planned for the day but I am always spontaneous and think plans are stressful.  If I plan too much then I get discouraged.  Mowing will be good and I have a few weeds to trim again that came back back from the past.  I hope that people who need weather changes do get them.  My blogging friends are either begging for rain and other want the rains to stop.  Thanks for checking in on the old Iowan at work and play. 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Sunny Sundays are Great.........

The bud of a sunflower is an interesting sight. The eventual opening of the bud is like an explosion of its green curtains revealing what is inside.   The rains have the ground so wet that three of my younger sunflowers were not standing anymore.  One is totally disconnected from its stem and the two others are now being held up by steel fence posts.  I have empty buckets that have almost 4 inches of rain in them collected from the past two rains.  I know that Friday night we were getting quite a quiet downpour with very little thunder and lightning. Our upstairs bedroom roof has a roaring sound as the heavy rains come down in the area.

Another butterfly fix for you to see today.  There were a couple of them out there again yesterday along with a painted lady butterfly but I didn't have the camera with me.  Rains have also caused some of my zinnias to lay on the ground.  I wove them in with the standing ones hoping that will keep the up vertical again.  I may have to get string out and tie them up with the ground soil being so wet.

I was asked the question how I was identifying the female Eastern Tiger Swallowtail.  The net told me that in most cases that the ones with the blue coloring are females.  I find that the ones that have a lot of blue on them like the ones in my Photo a Day header are a lot of blue on the inside bottom parts of the wings and then they also have those few blue spots on the back edge of the outside of the wing. It was funny that they said "most times" meaning that it isn't a definite thing that they are female.

The neighbor who gave me a start of this plant later told me that they can put out a bloom.  They remind me of the aloe vera plant and I thought that would be a fat chance that would happen.  Well, it did happen as you see there is a stem and bud showing on the plant. It did not like direct sun as that would burn it so I have it sitting under my grill shelf protecting from sun and too much rain.  I don't have a drain hole in the granite ware pot as I don't want to damage the pot.  I will bring it in soon so it won't have to worry about getting too much water on it. I am anxious to see that the bloom will look like once it is open.

I had mentioned that my daughter in law had lost her father late Thursday night.  They are in the Chicago area. We had not heard back from our son but we see on the net a memorial service was held for him Saturday morning and visitation was afterwards.  We had considered going out but thought outside visitors would be confusing for the family at this time especially for Andy and Patricia. It is  six hour drive for us.  Now that we see all of the memorials are done we will just have to call and also hope the flowers get to them.  Nothing will be on time but they will receive them as our gesture of love.

Our son originally had planned to come home for his 20 year class reunion and I am sure he was glad he dropped those plans.  Patricia is such a sweet daughter in law and we are so sad for her and AJ lost his grandfather.  I am such a distant grandfather but we will have to work on that.  It is a close family and I am sure they are all pulling together but loss is always so difficult.

The hardy geraniums are regrouping and the red and white look so good together when I look out our back door. The rains have really taken their toll on the orange petunias and the phlox have lost most of their petals now with them being washed away.  You can see pink phlox petals on the patio in the background.

Hopefully we will have a quiet Sunday after Sunday school and eating lunch in town.  It has been hot and very humid for the past few days and today will be another one.  It is bad out when I don't want to walk outside to shoot photos.

Thank you for coming by today and visiting my blog.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Soggy Saturday Stuff............

The orange zinnia seems to be the dominate flower this summer as both patches are filled with them.  With all the rain it is great to have such great color to see.

Speaking of orange, the tomatoes are going to finally ripen.  I was late getting them into the ground being ill but they are going to make it.  My neighbor lady who planted from my  stock of plants are all mature and she is canning tomatoes.  Het garden went it when it was cold and frosty about three weeks before I put mine in the ground.  I had picked one of these tomatoes earlier to see if it would ripen in the house and it has but at about the same rate as this one in the garden.

Following the unintended orange theme, the first hardy geranium did capture by the camera as blurry orange.  It usually shows yellow in the lighter areas of the flower.  I just dead headed a lot of the blooms in this window box planter.  The blooms you see are just now starting to bloom again in the next cycle of growth.

 It isn't that orange in reality but the new iris I picked up yesterday is looking that color from this photo.  They had five or more  varieties of iris, now packaged with only one rhizome per package. There use to be three rhizomes per package for sale in the good old days. They one I bought is in great shape and not all shriveled up in the package.  I will try to buy a couple more kinds the next few weeks to replace some of my lost iris.  This has been a great month to move iris and replant as the gentle rains are keeping things alive and well.

I will cleanse your visual palette by showing you this magenta color of zinnia.  I think it will stop raining soon and that will be good. I need  to walk Barney as he won't go out in the back yard alone when it even looks a little bit like rain.

We received sad news from our son yesterday that his father in law passed away.  He had suffered from a stroke earlier the week before and he just did not recover from it. We are so sad for Patricia our daughter in law and her mother.  Patricia comes from a strong Chicago family and the three brothers and she will band together to support  each other and their mom.  I don't know of the age of the dad but it seemed he wasn't that old in comparison to those who are living for so long these days. 

We will have a low keyed day today as we both seem weary.  It will help when the sun comes out and it dries a little bit.  Southern Iowa is having a lot of flooding in places and the rains do keep coming.  I hope all of you have a great Saturday and thanks for checking in today.