Thursday, December 31, 2015

New Year's Eve........

The garden keeps growing inside away from that snowy weather outside. The temperatures outside have been in the single digits at night.  It is normal winter but I really don't like it so much anymore. The spider plant has been planted in the new container all summer and it still acts like it is going to be a dwarf-like plant. Usually they grow uncontrollably and they have to be moved to larger containers.

The house really does not lean like it has a bad foundation.  My wife received as a present small trees for her village last Christmas.  They make a nice addition to the village. I have noticed that I am taking some bad shots lately.  I posted a very blurred image of a junco yesterday and I went back today to replace it with a better shot.  Some days I have blurry eyes and I really am putting up bad shots not realizing it. I guess I need to get an editor with good eyesight.

I tried to take a special effects shot of the tree the other night and I realized I can't do that with my camera.  I had done it in the past but I do it with my wife's camera.  A blog friend posted some great moving lights on the tree shots the other day and I had forgotten that I use to do those kinds of photos.

I did get some new seed bought fot the birds.  I was going to buy the large sacks of corn that people use to feed deer but I couldn't find it at the store.  It was very inexpensive as deer food in a very large sack in comparison to the squirrel food they sell in the small sacks.  I may have to look at Mennards.  In the years past I have seen people buy a dozen sacks at a time and put them in their truck.  I never knew if they were burning it or feeding deer.  I guess I was not completely clear but I was going to feed squirrels away from the bird feeder.

I am really low on photos to use for the blog so I will share a bad shot of the fireplace wall. Yes it leans and yes some of the books need to be straightened. The clock usually is placed on the mantel but then at Christmas it gets to set on the shelf in front of books. The window to the right is the one that looks out to the birch tree and the neighbors two sheds, camper, pickup and the street.

A busy day is planned for us so I guess I need to shut this down.  I hope most people are not as cold as we are.  Maybe Saturday we may have some melting.  I hope so.  Thank you for visiting my blog today.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015


My weather rock that sits on the railing says that it has snowed.  It is so covered with snow I am not sure where it is on the ledge. We again today are getting a very light snow.  Each time in early morning when I took Button outside, I would make tracks.  Each hour after that when I took him out again my tracks would be filled up and not there.  An old dog gets to go out until all of his businesses are done.  It takes maybe three times out to be completely done.  Then an old dog curls up into a ball and sleeps the whole morning on an afghan on the couch.

While checking on my neighbor's out this window I saw a shot with the camera.  The neighbor guy is back from their new Florida home and ended up in the hospital.  I think his wife is still in Florida with the dog.  The rumor mill says that he had unplanned heart surgery a few days ago.  That explains why his adult kids have been hanging around.

If you look carefully and closely you can see the red car backing out of the garage picking up the man. He must be going to have a doctor check up. The car is red and has Iowa State license plates.  It isn't the man's car as he is a die hard Iowa fan and would never be owning any car like that. This is the same neighbor's house that Barney and I discovered, while walking a couple of weeks ago at night, that had someone watching tv in the living room. There was not suppose to be anyone in the house.  If I get a chance I should just walk over when I know he is back home and get the truth of the whole story.

Snow outside and snow inside as the couple ride their carriage through the snow filled streets. The glow in the back is the light projected back from the light that is stuck inside the house.

The stray cats keep coming to the cat food feeder. One neighbor has had a cat have a second litter of kittens.  They are small eight week year old cats. Of course they are not tame.  One of the kittens look like it is a special breed as he is cream color all over with brown ears and a brown tails.  We had one like that many years ago and it was a Himalayan cat. I don't know the exact breed's name.

I will get photos of them some day on a lucky day, snapping a shot through the front door window.

I will be buying more birdseed today.  The juncos and sparrows love this cheap feeder.  I should pick up another one to hang on the other side of the window.  It is sold for less than 4 dollars at the Wallymart store.

Closing the post down today with the internet working up to its old self again.  We are going to be very cold in the nights for the next few nights.  It will be nice to get warmer than freezing but I guess that isn't going to happen now.

I hope everyone is doing okay out there and thanks for stopping today.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

I Am Back.......

I know that you probably didn't miss me.  Our internet was giving us lots of problems.  My wife tried to pay a bill online and things were not right.  I tried to get on my old school laptop and nothing was opening.  We messed with things by unplugging our airport and restarting it. Nothing seemed to be working and I kept saying it is our local phone company's fault.

I finally called the company and they sent me to a tech help line.  They were not in the same town as our supplier.  The did say to always unplug the the airport, don't use the on and off switch. They didn't really help us out.  Maybe they call the town where the net is supplied though.   Finally around 11 in the morning my wife's old mac was starting to respond but my laptop was not.  My laptop is a very old one that is loaned to me from school and it has all sorts of filters to keep everybody off of places that are inappropriate.  So the internet is filtered through the school and other areas before the computer is allowed to work.  About another hour after the internet was working for my wife, the school tech guy must have gotten out of bed and decided to reset the school server.   I am back.

This isn't a completed porch extension but that which I have done is doing its job.  The ice coming off the roof would have been coming off of the house roof and draining down the side of my house. The new roof is working. This next spring I will finish it up and match everything together so it won't be noticeable that they were ever two different parts.

Eave troughs will stop this kind of thing also, or at least slow it down.  The ice is actually from the runoff of the melting of the past snow storm, not the present one. The neighboring old model T garage is in the background.  I am glad to say the new neighbors have moved into the big yellow house.  They have two dogs.

My other neighbor to the north is so good to his dogs.  It is very cold and we are having a break in the snowstorm when he walked by yesterday with the dogs.  Today the same guy came over and snow blowed open my sidewalk.  It has stop snowing now but it is blowing around.  We were in the area that got 6 to 10 inches of snow and ice crystals.  Snow bound in for two days now and I really am not complaining. I may go get the mail uptown later today.

I snapped this photo of the side of my back stairs.  I liked the geometric shapes of the structure that I had built.  The funny thing is the creeping Charlie is still alive and well as seen in the photo. You can't kill it very easily.

I was also having trouble with my wife's camera today.  I had messed up the settings by mistake while changing the batteries.  I took shots and then had to go back and retake them again when I discovered the stupid thing that I had done.  The juncos like the nijer seed that I blended in with the other seed. The juncos and sparrows were piling on causing the supply to go down quickly.

I also was taking photos away from the house at the feeder. The cardinal is not lighted well as he sits on the middle floor of the feeder.

Another day inside and I still am busy.  The clearing of the snow for the smallest dog went on every hour yesterday.  Today it is settled a little and Button doesn't mind walking on top of it.

I kept getting chilled from being out there scooping even though I dressed with a lot of clothes.  It is nice that it has stopped for now.  A little snow, an inch, is suppose to be coming tomorrow.

I am glad that I am now online again and thanks for waiting for my blog.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Monday Morning.........

The squirrels have gleaned every last apple.  There was one squirrel still looking around while I was out there. I think they are all gone.  They seemed to like the shriveled up apples as I saw them carrying them away the past month. This view of this apple tree bothers me as I see I really need to get it pruned back. This is a good time but it is too cold for now.

The sparrows are hungry a couple of days ago.  They seem to fly in large groups.  One group eats while the other half of the batch waits.  The are a nervous bird and they fly away at the sound or sight of anything threatening. The next half will fly in right away to take their place.

 Out of the first three movies, we have seen the first one.  That first one, number 4, was made in and released in 1977. I hope that they improve in quality as the years move on through the next two. I was only 27 years old at the time.  That was a long time ago and another lifetime.

 The snow on the hill doesn't melt while sitting in the dining room. We didn't get the village up until late so it will stay up probably through January.  We haven't added to the village for quite a few years.  Our oldest son picked up the barn and another house at a garage sale for his mom a few years back.

It is a nice place to visit and you don't have to put on your winter coat to be there. We put it all together in a three day period.  Getting the boxes up from the basement was step one.  Step two included my wife getting the snow down and buildings arranged.  One more session involve myself getting the lights inserted into the buildings.

The gifts for our Chicago area kids are now packed into bags readied for the visit.  We won't know for sure when they all will be healed up and now the weather is going to prevent driving for a while.

We are getting our snow today.  The amount will be at least 6 inches but I am certain it will be a great amount.  I had Button and Barney out at 6 in the morning and we already had a coating of sleet everywhere.  It was snowing an hour later.  We have no reason to go anywhere so we will have our own snow day today.

No work for me for the whole week so it would be nice if we could get out sometime this week.  Iowa is use to have mild winters and then some years harsh winters.  Harsh winters are actually the norm here so we don't really complain.

I wish everyone to have a great day today.  Thank you for stopping by for a visit.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Pile on the Snow.....

The prediction is said that we will add 6 or more inches of snow to the old layer.  It is to start on Monday at 6 am. How they know the exact time is always a fascination to me.

I don't have a lot of seed left for the birds but I will feed them for as long as I can. Maybe I can borrow some from a neighbor.

My garage sale item, birdhouse, had a sun on it as a decoration but it fell off.  The snowman design won't come off so during a snow it looks normal now with real snow on its roof. All summer it looks really strange.

When all else happens we can sit and eat apples and oranges in our dining room window and watch the snowstorm.  Our Chicago area family was too sick to come on the day after Christmas.  Our son was diagnosed with pneumonia yesterday and I was glad they all stayed home. We seem colder today and will stay in as much as we can. We are enjoying some time off and are eating turkey dinner leftovers for a while.  I hope all are well out there and thanks for stopping by today.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

The Saturday Special.........

The fake cardinal on our fake wreath seems to look a little mean.  I remember one year when a male cardinal tried to attack this fake one telling it to leave his territory.

A real female cardinal was attacking the suet cake yesterday.  It was picking out things and throwing them on the ground and would stop to eat what she found that she liked to eat.

A hairy woodpecker was at the suet cake yesterday also.  He showed up only one time but maybe he came back when I wasn't looking.

Frequent visitors to the feeder are the downy woodpeckers. Some have the red markings on the head and others do not. I had run out on suet for a couple of days and the downy birds were upset about it. They kept coming and I kept looking for the one that I bought a week before then.  I did find the new one and they were on it like bees to flowers once I had put it out.  It is funny how they drop the prices on suet a whole twenty cents during the winter.

Button doesn't have much hearing anymore and his eyesight is limited to one eye.  It has made him more dependent than ever which is understandable.  When we were writing our Christmas cards he wanted to be involved.  I usually just sit him on the chair next to me and he just settles in for a nap.  He actually naps easier since he doesn't hear the things going on around him.  He would have nervous poodle behaviors and be jumping all around if he could hear us coming and going. He is such a sweetheart and we baby him all of the time now.

I officially have a collection started of nutcrackers now as my wife bought me a second one for Christmas.  Button is sitting close by to me here also.  The painting in the background is one of Duluth.  I did it many years ago.  We were at the harbor point and looking back to the hills behind the old part of Duluth.  I should try to photograph it and share it sometime but taking photos of glassed artworks is difficult.

We watched the first of the Star Wars movies on the dvd laying there on the arm of the loveseat. The first movie was made in 1977.  That was a long time ago and far, far away from now. It was interesting to revisit that movie and have the memory banks pull out things that I had seen years ago.

Our grandson and his parents didn't make it for Christmas.  All three of them have horrible colds.  We will hit next weekend or even the next weekend to see them.  I think last year we saw them on the fourth weekend after Christmas and that was just as fun as on Christmas day.

 I will look at this design of Winnie and be reminded of our grandson.  In many ways he is a lot like Winnie with his fun attitude and a smile always on his face.

Our weather doesn't promise to be too good in the next couple of days.  More large amounts of snow by Monday.  We are going out for a quick trip to the Wallymart to pick up essentials and will come home for another nice quiet day.  I hope all are well out there and thanks for stopping by today.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas Day.......

The night was lighted with a full moon and the moisture in the air seemed like a fog on the ground. Hoar frost seemed to develop and we woke to a beautiful Christmas morning. We tried to sleep in but the little dog knows when it is time to get up.  He doesn't like the sleeping in part as he has to go outside and then go back to the couch to start his nap.

The hoar frost made the lilac and apple tree of the neighbors seem like they had been  sprayed with a coating of ice crystals.

The snow we received the day before was a remarkable amount.  It is still with us.  I cleared the car off twice from all the snow yesterday.  Today it is just a great looking white Christmas day.  We just talked to our son who lives in Maine and they are not wearing coats today.  It is like 58 degrees F.  and there is no snow on the east coast.

The birds are hitting the feeder today.  When I took this shot I was thinking there was only one junco on the feeder but I see now that it had company. I have shots of a pair of cardinals but I need to save them for a share on another day.

We have had a turkey dinner with all the fixings today and will have mince pie for supper.  It is a quiet day but a very pleasant one to be at home and well fed.

I trust everyone has celebrated this day in their own unique way. I wish you all a great weekend and thanks for stopping by today.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Peaceful Times.....

It is getting close to the time when we can just relax and enjoy Christmas day.  Our shopping is done.  We came home through drenching rains that turned into hail, then snow.  Our Wednesday ended with a coating of light snow on everything and ice spots everywhere.

We will try to go in for church this evening if the weather doesn't get to be too bad.  We have had to stay home in some years so we will be in the wait and see mode.  My wife's village churches will all be lit up this evening for Christmas eve.

We usually have a snack-like meal after Christmas eve service.  Crackers and cheese, sausage, egg nog and maybe a sample of the Christmas day pie.  Crab dip has become traditionally served also with our crackers.  We did find some at the store yesterday.

A lot of last minute wrapping will go on today and my wife bakes a pie. If plans hold out our kids from Chicago area will be out for Saturday and Sunday.  We will find out if we can pick up the grandchild as he has grown so much the past year.  We are getting excited for the reunion.

I wish you all a great Christmas eve as we ready ourselves for tomorrow. I hope a peace will come over your home and the entire day tomorrow will be filled with good health and happiness. Thank you for stopping by today.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

THE middle OF THE WEEK............

The angel band seems to be actively playing but a couple of them have lost their musical instruments. Their positive attitude covers for their lack of instruments.

A white bear on the tree was a  gift to my wife many years ago. He has a great smile and seems to like being out of the box for the season.

A purchase a few years ago at a Michael's craft store.   The craftsmanship isn't exact but the results are still really great. The designs used for the decorations remind me of the painted eggs that are done in different European countries. I have a bell-shaped one also that I really like.

No work for me at school today so the day is planned for a lot of final chores.  We are going to plant ourselves at a mall this late morning and try to finish up on all our purchases. We have rain which makes it seem strange for Christmas shopping.  It will be nice to be away from school these next two days and to just finish up all the loose ends on the list.  I hope all are doing well at your houses and thanks for stopping by today.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015


The beginning of the task is to bring all the boxes upstairs.  They are not so heavy but the most I can carry at once is three at a time.

Once everything is upstairs then the fun begins.  We get the snow all arranged and then my wife begins creating her village.  Once everything is in place then I step in to do the lights.

I can't always get a focused shot because of the need for low light so the lights inside the buildings will shine out. I took a few quick shots and I was surprised that they didn't look blurry. This will be the last of any decorations to be displayed.  We leave the village up through January as it a little bit more than a Christmas decoration.  I have a first cousin that leaves up a farm set of buildings year round to remind her of the history of the area where she lives.

The tree that had lights on it only was altered last night.  I had a batch of cheap plastic balls for an outside tree.  I decided that it wasn't that decorative for the work I put in it so I didn't do it this year. I brought up the box and selected a few to put on the tree, that might fall down.  It took less than 15 minutes to hang them and the results were great.  I leave the lights on with this tree all night so those who are out and about can enjoy it.  It also is a great nightlight when you take the little dog outside at night. The dining room glows with the lights on at night.

I am frustrated that I can't find my box of brass sleigh bells.  I haven't seen them for a couple of years.  I know what the antique wood box looks like. I can always go back and look at them in a blog I did about them a few years ago but I want to see them in real life again.

I picked up a job today for a high school pe instructor.  I waited for a while but no one seemed to want it.  It isn't a full day of work and 4 out of 6 of the classes that I cover will be classroom health classes.  The end is coming to the getting things done around here.  We shipped off a painting and two boxes of presents yesterday and that should be the end of that.

The Christmas card situation is what it is. It gets done when I can find a free time to do it.  It will be a half letter day this year rather than a full sheet.  Maybe I will fill it up with photos of the grandson.  We bought presents yesterday morning and we will go shopping again when I get off work today.  I an assuming that I won't get work tomorrow so we can work on the list again tomorrow.  We are both feeling a lot draggy right now but we will bounce back.

All the weather seems different but it is normal as we never have the same winter ever.  We had a foggy morning today and it will warm up some today.  I hope all are doing well today.  Thanks for stopping by today.