Thursday, April 30, 2015

Tulips and Bob Cats........

Our town is being invaded by hungry machines digging and replacing culverts.  The way to school today was an interesting one as I had to zig zag through the blocks to get here.  They have three or four crews working at a time and they  must  have started working at 7:30 this morning.  It is going to rain for the next few days so they may put in a long day today.

I am in the special education room today following a young man to different classes.  It will probably seem like a long day as the shifting and helping gets to be a very busy day.  Picasa again gave me a decorated shot of my one lone marron tulip.  The barberry behind it always makes it stand out to enhance its color.  The metal sculpture is one that was created by one of the students in shop years ago. 

We are looking for rain for a few days but I want it to hold off for this day anyway so I can get work done at home after school.  Thanks for stopping by today.  

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Caught in a Bad Place........

The tulip sits behind my dog fencing and up against the honeysuckle shrubs.  The only thing I can do is take it's photo and really can clear away the mess that it grew into with the dead sticks and trunk of one of the honeysuckles.  It makes for an interesting informal photo showing the great colors of this tulip.

The pear tree isn't a great looking tree but this year I am covered with blooms. The bees, which I have seen in real, are all over the tree.  I can't seem to get a photograph of them but I did have a burst of memory to use my macro setting. I had to prune back a lot of this tree as the bottom branches were filled with fruit the last couple of years and the limbs broke off. I don't think I have seen this in such full bloom for 4 or 5 years.

I was bragging about all the blooms on the apple tree last week but I was too early to say it.  As you can see it developed many more blooms than ever before.  I think it was three years ago we had frost that took out every blossom.  It was on the apple tree that I saw bees buzzing around from flower to flower.

Here is another progress photo of my bleeding heart plant.  It is in the shade a lot of the day so it will take it a while to fully bloom out.  I noticed yesterday that it could use some water. We are getting small rains and I could help it out a little with a bucket of water.  My new wheel barrow sits under the eave of the garden shed and I have a lot of water in it to use. When it gets closer to mosquito time I won't be able to leave it out.  I am hearing that the ticks are out and about in the timbers already.  I suppose all the mushroom hunters are picking off ticks when the return inside.

I have a half day of work today so I will be heading in at noon.  It is an early dismissal day so it won't be a strenuous day.  I may have a little work to do for others after the 2:15 dismissal but maybe not.

I hope everyone is having a better spring and that green grass will come you way.  I need to mow and will do so in shifts the next few days.  My neighbors shame me by having mowed twice already but I don't worry about it.  They must have a lot of free time on their hands.  Thank you for you stopping in today.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

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

A nontraditional tulip is in bloom with great color.  Not quite in focus but closer than some I have been taking. I am just now posting as I am at work at school today.  The school net was down for almost 3 hours.  I am playing catch up now as without the net you have nothing.  I have spent free moments trashing photos off of my desktop and that was a much needed job. I cleaned things up and put saved valuable photos into the right folders.

New hosta starts transplanted from another location are looking really good here.  The ground must have reached a good temperature for most all of the hostas.  Some are slower than others but most of them look like this in size.  I have a brand new, different hosta that I will share when it gets big enough to show its best view.

Picasa decided to decorate this one for me so I will share it framed and looking good. The tulips are looking spent here but the petals are still hanging on in this photo.

The New England bluebells in the back yard which are slower to bloom than the ones on the east of the house.  They are more in the shade most of the day.

The small potted rose is doing well on the inside of the house.  I gave it new soil and it has perked up giving about 5 blooms.  I have to decide if and when I will plant it outside for the summer. I will also have to fine a place, where, to plant it.  I am not sure about what would be a good location for outside growth.

I still have not trimmed back the hardy geraniums.  Blogging sort of keeps me conscience of my to do list when I post photos.   I may get rid of more tomato plants today as I want the one who receives them water them for a while and they can plant them when if finally gets warm enough for them.

The lilacs are still not quite in full bloom.  I know the cold weather at night is hastening them from being fully in bloom.

I am teaching high school English today with work in reading and poetry analysis.  Most of the classes are seniors and they sure are getting anxious to be out of school.  The graduate in two weeks.  I too am seeing the end of substitute work and will be home by the end of May.  I hope everyone is well and thanks for stopping in today.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Monday's Mania.......

I have a very large old shrub of white lilac.  It is hard to photograph but this one broken down side piece allows me to shoot a close up shot.  The white as with all white flowers is hard to get a  focus, especially when the wind is blowing.

When I do look up I can see the lilac is still only partially opened up with all the little blooms. In the good gardener world, I would prune off all these tall branches and make the smaller ones come up from the bottom.  I have two of these shrubs so I could trim one and leave the other to guarantee that I had blooms for next year.

I shared a clearer photo of the dove on my Photo a Day on Sunday.  I have to clean my lens and figure out why I am getting blurry photos.  I know that birds move their heads, sometimes constantly, but this should have been in focus.  It may be I am getting to shaky to take good wild bird photos.  I promise myself to work on it. I do know that when it is an overcast day I can't get great photos through the dinning room window.

"Made in the shade" gives me evidence that the cardinal is enjoying the seed.  He is on the wrong side of the feeder.  We have been having three young cardinals visiting the feeder and I hope to eventually capture some of them.

The bleeding heart is showing signs that I will get some blooms this year.  I have never owned this kind of plant and I only remember seeing them back when I was a kid living on the farm.  I believe the plant grows larger each year and I think they tolerate Iowa's winters pretty well. I would have to check my blogs in the past but I think this is the third year having this plant to get a bloom.

I am in the Spanish room this morning and then will be doing government and economics in the afternoon.  I never know who I will be when I arrive in the morning as some don't call in to be sick or gone until the early morning.  We are to warm up to 69 degrees F. and that will be great.  I was going to start mowing my yard today but I guess I won't be home for that.  Maybe tomorrow I can stay home and get outside work going.   Thank you for checking in to my Monday's Mania posting.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

One Jay, Two..........

I filled the feeder, top try, and I ended up with quite a show.  The two blue jays seemed to come and go enjoying some new seed. I wonder if they are a pair and that they are feeding newly hatched birds. They seemed to be too friendly to not be a pair. We also witness three different young cardinals eating on and around the feeder.

A splash of color that keeps giving me different shots each day.  The colder weather has helped them last longer as they spent a lot of days closed up from the cold air.

Three young doves spent time on the  patio picking up loose seeds from the bird feeder.  The maple trees are starting to drop some of their seeds already this spring.

It is a sunny day today with a mild breeze. It appears that we will be having warmer weather. I am late posting today while watching Miss Marple with the Body in the Library on the tele. It is a relaxing afternoon and will get a little rest for the rest of the day.  Thank you for checking in today.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

It's Saturday for Sure...........

The neighbor's flowering crabapple tree is in full bloom.  The rains don't seem to bother them much as the tree put out thousands of blooms. The weather seems too rough for flowering trees right now as we are getting a lot of wind and rain.

I am keeping a couple of smaller feeders filled right now and they hang in the dining room window.  They didn't hit these two as much during the winter when I was filling the big one everyday.  I will probably keep filling the larger triple trayed one but just not as often.  We have young cardinals that like to go to the big one so I will put out food when I think of it.

The ornamental chokecherry is in full bloom now.  It has a great aroma.  The next tree behind is an ornamental pear tree with the real pear tree behind it.  Because the first two are bred to not have fruit, the flowers and the foliage are what one appreciates with these two. The chokecherry turns its leaves to a dark red in the fall and a lot of people ask about it.

The pear tree has less blooms this year than usual but it doesn't mean I won't get pears from it.  You can see the blurred view of the crabapple across the street in the background. As I keep pruning back the pear tree it is getting to begin looking like the old pears trees we had on the farm. They are too tall to trim away their height so they get to be tall spikey looking old trees.

This is a progress report photo of my lilacs.  They are just now starting to open.  The rain won't ruin them when they are in this stage.  I see the post office has a big bouquet of them at the counter right now.  I won't be going in there as I stood next to the same kind of bouquet while mailing something last year and it put me down allergy wise for quite a few days.  I am sneezing right now as I think about it. The blooms in a closed room are a lot stronger than when you are in the open air.

We have no plans today during the day so we will be home doing odd jobs or resting.  I have two framing jobs, one large collage, and another three cowboy posters, that are haunting me.  I need to start on them but am being too busy at school to get on them.  We do have a free meal to receive at church tonight.  It is given for the volunteers that work in our church. We will be out in the evening for a while anyway and by then the rain will have stopped.

I hope everyone has a good weekend.  I hope the weather has settled down for all my blog friends inall the different locations.  Thanks for stopping in today.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Friday's Final Finish........

I have hope that this will be another good year for apples.  The frost never really ever happened even though it was probably in the forecast three times. The tree was in full bloom on the south side and the north side is now just opening up.  I guess it needed more warmth and less cold air blowing on the buds.

The iris borer caused me to be in a panic last summer trying to rescue some of my older plants.  I moved small parts of them that were not effected by the borer and here you can see my little nursery plot. I don't think I lost a one of them but it will take another year to get them to bloom again.

I named these tulips my Iowa State tulips.  I don't remember planting them but I do think I was trying to find tulips that reminded me of the Rembrandt tulip.  The weather was calm in the afternoon and we did have sunshine for a while.  Sometimes too much sun makes it hard to photograph flowers but the contrasting colors made it work great.

Picasa turned one of my color photos into a black and white one.  I suppose the various contrasts in values made this into a great professional black and white photo. I am a fan of black and white but I am wondering what the application that does this has for a criteria.

I entitle this "Impending Doom."   We do need to have new passageways under the road for the water traveling down the ditch.  I am more than critical of what they will be doing to the ditch.  I find it difficult to have a city government that doesn't communicate with those who live in the community.  I went out and photographed what is at my corner and checked to see if I was going to lose my corner flower garden and shrub.  If I go by where the stakes are placed I will be good.  It just the thought that maybe dirt will be piled on top of everything while they are working.  At this point what they do to the ditch will be an eyesore and maybe even a hazzard for young children. I am hoping that when this is done that the ditch won't be lined with medium sized stone.

Here is a before photo of the area to be reworked.  I won't go on to explain what comes next. 

I am an associate today in the special education room today.  It will be a relaxed day if all goes well.  We are to have a rain on and off all day today.  I hope everyone is well.  Thanks for stopping in today.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Lily, Lily..............

This Asiatic lily is coming up to my surprise.  I had tried to move it and thought that it was rotted and gone. I guess I was digging up a different lily.  This looks like it is coming on strong. The spreading old fashion roses that grew in this area did partially die out the last two summers,  just like my wild rose at the back of the house.  There are parts of it that are still alive so it will rebound.

The winds have died down now so maybe I can go out and get more pictures with more of them being in focus.  We had freeze warnings for last night and again they didn't get it right.  We were in low 40's when I got up this morning.  It won't warm up  much but I am glad we didn't have a hard freeze. The day before it was 29 but it wasn't reported as only the in town temperatures are mentioned.

This is another shot of the buzzards that were flying around a couple of days ago.  I cropped it into a fancy dancey shot with the bird blending in with the foliage.  They were big birds but my camera skills for that kind of thing were lacking.  I couldn't show how large they were without zooming in and then waiting for the camera to focus.  The birds didn't hold still for me.

I am expecting to see open blooms on the lilacs today or tomorrow.  They are getting to be close to showing good blooms.  The smell is not there yet until they open.  My lungs don't like the smell anymore which is tough when they smell so good.

There are white lilacs almost in bloom also out in my back yard.  I can see them but I don't know if I can photograph them as the shrub is old and very tall. The neighbor to the alley has almost killed off the large planting of white lilacs.  He has chopped at them to keep them from hanging over into the alley and the mess is still there.

The ornamental chokecherry tree is putting out great flowers right.  If you stand in just the right direction there is a really sweet smell that comes from them.  The tree is next to where I park the car so it is great to come home and smell it when I get out of the car.

I lose track of what pictures I share.  I find myself blogging and publishing and then checking to see if I pulled a repeat of shots.  If I do I just edit it and go for another photo.  We have a town called Pella in our state that celebrates "tulip time" and this  year the tulips have come up way too soon.  The show of tulips are two weeks too soon but people will still go and celebrate the festival anyway.  They plant thousands of bulbs and the show is so great to see. I don't post links that often but if you want to explore their site just click here at Pella Tulip Time.

I have the day off from school today and I am glad.  I have a lot of small jobs to get done and maybe we will take the neighbor on an adventure. Walmart and KFC is a great adventure for her and we like that we can do that for her once in a while. 

I have sticks to pick up again and a day lily to plant.  It takes a while for me to water all the tomato plants in the house but I will do it today.  I have things to clear before a friend comes to till the garden and outside stuff just needs to be checked on and done.  It is cool out there but I can wear a coat and a stocking cap. I hope all of your are doing well.  Thank you for stopping by for a read and a peak of my photos.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Middle of the Week.......

This photo has blurry foreground buds but look at that sky.  It was a very good sky to photograph with subtle white clouds and a great spring blue sky.

While I was shooting photos three rapture like birds came soaring over, circling around as if they were looking for dead animals to eat.  I guess they could capture live animals but they remind me of a bird that would land along the side of the highway for road kill.They were large in comparison to a red tailed hawk. 

I was able to capture a dandelion that seems in focus and look what is crawling on the flower.  I didn't see it until after I took the shot and I was glad to see everything was in focus.

We were below freezing last night so I am glad my neighbors didn't plant my tomato plants in their garden.  They were thinking about doing so a week ago and my wife told them they were too small.  She knew that they were really jumping the gun to plant them this early.

The color of these tulips are so great.  Notice the cold air keeps them from completely opening.  I hope it makes them last longer.  As you can see in the back right there are yellow ones that are falling apart already. Taking these shots are so difficult as the wind is still very strong and there seems to be a blur in the photo no mater how hard I try.

At one time in the orchard area I had planted iris in a circle.  In between the iris I planted the tulips that you are seeing on the blog.  In the middle I planted a few grape hyacinths. They keep coming up each year but they have not multiplied.  I keep thinking I will dig some of them and move them into a more protected area.  Once the blue balls fall off the foliage they tend to blend back into the other greenery.  I forgot to mention that the iris are no more as they rotted away in a two year period.  Back then I thought it was too much rain and now I now it was the iris borer.

The hostas are doing well as they sprouted up and out very quickly.  I transplanted a lot of them last summer and they do seem to be coming up as planned.

I am a seventh grade English teacher today.  I avoided taking a pe teacher job, stalled maybe I should say and then this middle school job popped up. I was very willing to pick up the job. Another person got the pe job and I know he needed work also.

It is 12 noon now and I finally finished this blog.  It is an early out today so it will make it a good day.  I hope everyone starts to warm up now and we can get on with spring.  Stay safe out there those who are getting flooding and stay warm to those who are still experiencing snow.  Thanks for stopping in today.