Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Keep on Trucking.....

Looking out early yesterday afternoon and the invasion of trucks hadstarted.  The trucks are filled with very hot asphalt, an oil and gravel mix.  I counted at least 7 trucks out there lined up ready to back up to the machine that lays out the asphalt in to even layers of  a hot and smelly material. As they empty out the truck immediately takes off to go get more.

Engineers at Iowa State University design these machines for out Department of Transportation and eventually the machines are sold to other states all over the United States. It of course is computerized and buttons are pushed to determine depth of the material and speed. I can't decide if the machine which is attached to the dump truck is making the speed be controlled or if the truck is.  I am thinking the machine's computer determines how fast it it to move and the dump truck is in neutral gear.

 Having reread the information sheet about the schedule we will get a final finish coat over the first coat.  I hope it is thin as the asphalt is probably seven inches thick already and more will make it impossible for my car to get up onto the road when I back out.  I did read that the  homeowner maybe out money to find gravel or whatever material to get the driveway connected to the street. We are not getting curbs so someone will have to bring in dirt to cover up those very uneven, zig zagged edges of the road.  I assume I will be planting grass to cover the dirt. The edge shouldn't be left as is or I will spend my summers weed eating along it.

I took a lot of photos out of the windows as all the machines surrounded the house making a lot of noise.  I did finally go outside and snapped some more pictures, just for fun.  Barney wasn't too scared with the noise but Button was really disturbed about one of the smaller roller machined that was traveling up and down the road.  He had to muster up a growl at that guy for some reason.  I guess it was small enough that he though he could handle it.  Our car sits across the street in a neighbor's driveway so it will be out of the way and so we can get out of the place when we want.  If they put another layer on today we will still be safe to drive the car.  If they don't fix my driveway I will have to go out and shovel back all the gravel and dirt to make a ramp between the road and my drive.

It was labelled to be a stargazer lily.  It doesn't look like my others but it definitely has the fragrance that a stargazer has.  I planted this two years ago and it didn't survive the weather last spring.   I am glad to see it up and blooming.  I don't understand the brown on the leaves.  It may have been the excess moisture but no other lilies have that.

It seems like a slow day for me. I am not grumpy but do seem lest interested in all that is going on today.  We have things to do and I should start the mowing process again.  Jelly making will happen but it was difficult to find the peckin that we needed.  We bought some and now we see that we only have half of what we need.  We will do what we can today with the ingredients we have and then we will return to the store one more time.  We were able to get 9 cups of juice from those cherries. If we were over achievers we could have had twice that amount but there is a limit to the amount of jelly that we need. The birds are really enjoying the cherries too.

We had a redish, yellowish evening yesterday caused by the smoke from the fires in Canada. It is covering us like a cloud.  It looks like a solar eclipse day as we have low light.  Last night we had an orange or redish moon.  Everyone was a lot silly about it but it was fun to see.  Barney and I were able to see it when we walked down the street last night.

Slow day or not, the day must go on.  We will make the best of it and the results will be what they will be.  I hear the roar of the trucks and machinery to the north of us, so I know we will be invaded by the truck aliens sometime soon.  I hope all are doing well and thanks for checking in today.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Monday Morning Begins........

I went outside of the fence to take photos of the hosta row that I planted last summer.  All the hostas are looking good and they are blooming.

Looking over to the left of the fence openings I see a guy who would like to be outside the fence too.  He loves to go exploring outside of the fence but it isn't safe for him.  He has escaped in the past through a gate that wasn't quite shut and he has been found out wandering around in the orchard or out by the street.  He looks up when you find him and he acts like what's your problem.  I am doing just fine.

The hosta row grew quickly with the great rains of spring. This particular host is nice but it will be too crowded by next spring.

Out at the corner the regale lily is doing well for its first time being planted in that area. As I walked Barney out on the sidewalk I could smell the fragrance from these two blooms. 

More art show photos to share today.  I had just seen an artist on PBS that showed an Asian women creating kimonas.  The designs were so similar to this as she had printed many symbolic birds in an overlapping repeat pattern.

At the fairgrounds the art work leaned towards more of craft items. There were a lot of garden metal sculptures and things to hang from trees in the garden. There were paintings also and lots of pottery.

Back at the downtown show I found ways to take a picture of the festival by viewing the reflection in this one building.  If you click on the photo you cans see what was behind me while taking the photo.  This show started at 11:00 and it became very hot in the sun.  It was nice it wasn't raining but it gets hotter in the city with all the concrete.

One last art festival shot for today.  This is always a fun thing to see.  As you can see that the clouds in the sky on this sunny day. If you visit my Photo a Day blog you can see the Principal building.  Then you can return here and spot the Principal building in this photo.

Lots of projects to work on today.  We will juice the cherries today and start plans for making jelly.  I have framing jobs that need glass so we have to go to Ace Hardware for that. More weeds to pull and volunteer trees to cut.  It is a never ending process.  I hope all are well and that tis will be a good Monday for you.   Thanks for stopping by today.

Sunday, June 28, 2015


My field of bee balm has its first bloom opened up yesterday. The planting has taken over the entire corner area of that fenced area. It is so thick and tall that I have to raise my arms to go through my path along the bed.

The heavy rains have made the plants very happy and healthy.  I don't have to weed out the area as it takes over the entire place.  I did get my stray volunteer tree out of there but otherwise it is a full blanket of plants. I did have to tromp down some of it to maintain the path over to the fish tank.

People in Texas call ponds in the ground, water tanks.  My pond is actually a livestock tank that is buried partially into the ground.  So I really have a hard time giving it a name.  My fish tank is not an aquarium glass tank but a very large plastic watering trough.  I could get sheep and goats in the back yard and I would have a way to water them. 

The container is about two and a half feet deep so it give the fish good water quality.  I don't have a pump in place yet but I am working on it.

We attended two different art shows on Saturday.  One was held downtown Des Moines and the other was at the State Fair grounds inside one of their large buildings.  Both shows were great to see and I will be sharing samples of what we did see. This was at the downtown site and some of the work reminded me of things we painted while visiting Lake Superior and the Atlantic Ocean.

The show at the fairgrounds had a few more crafts in it along with lots of jewelry and pottery.  When you get tired walking you can sit down and watch the others circling around the many displays.

Returning for the day I found new things that were starting to bloom.  The phlox is budding and this particular area is starting to bloom. I have many lilies that have large buds and I am waiting to see which one will be first to show its colors.

We had a hard time getting out of our drive yesterday. The road crew was working on a Saturday as the had been rained out a couple weekdays from working. Before we were to leave, machinery came in and removed all of this dirt.  Then they preceded to make a v shaped trough along the old road.  The car could not cross that ditch.  I did finally get out but it is a long story how I accomplished it.

 When we returned, the workers had filled in all the troughs will asphalt and had flattened it.  I guess our road was too narrow so they added a foot and a half of asphalt on both sides.  When they put the new two coats of asphalt the road it will be much wider.  We will have to park our car across the street when they again start work as we can not get out of here or we will be just stuck at home.

We had rain again last night but it is clearing now.  We will never dry out until it gets too hot to be outside.  of course then we will wish it would rain.  Thank you for stopping by today. 

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Saturday's Stuff.......

I was out picking one last batch of cherries.  While out there a neighbor walked down the alley with her two dogs.  She was startled to see a guy in the bush cherries but we had a good conversation while I picked the red ones.

We will take the three different pickings and now juice them getting everything ready for making jelly. It is fun to do and it is also a lot of complicated planning to pull it off.  Jars to find, certo and sugar to buy and checking to see if we have enough canning lids.  If things work out we hope just to make one batch of jelly but as usual we may have too much juice and we will have to make two batches. Sometimes we add water to extend the juice and sometimes I go out and pick a few more.  The resulting jelly does make it all worth while. I have a former student on facebook who made 65 jars of raspberry jam.  She said it took three hours to accomplish it.

We will have curbs.  Yesterday a road maintainer plowed up the side of the street with a special blade.  Apparently the street will be wider than it  originally was.  I will have a lot less grass to mow now as the dirt covers a couple of feet onto the yard and the other three feet is taken for the curb.

We can still get in and out of our driveway as they left a narrow space for us to back out the car. When they start putting in the new street we will be able to take the side yard and go out the alley.  Maybe Tuesday the tar and gravel starts to flow.

Before any new street goes down this guy will be be chopping and chewing up the old street material.

We are headed to downtown Des Moines this morning to view the art festival displays.  It covers a large area and that  will be a lot of walking.  Traditionally we hit Spaghetti Works for lunch and then go to the State Fair grounds to see the other indoor art festival.  It will be a lot of walking today but it will be fun to see it all.  Rain will return tomorrow but today we will have a clear sunny day.  Thanks for stopping in today.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Friday Finishes It......

Zinnias at Walmart caught my eye and I bought some of them.  It is a totally new marketed item for me to see.  I bought a couple of six packs for the neighbor lady to plant in front of her antique wagon wheels. I usually plant seed for her there but I did both today.  The seed will grow up zinnias and these short guys will do whatever they will do.  I don't understand how they got them to bloom at six inches tall but the label says that they will grow to 12 inches or more.  I bought one set for me to play with.  I am betting we will have to cut the blooms off so it will sprout and grow taller.

To my surprise Thursday morning  I found my regale lily in bloom.  It is a little beat up from a full day of rain.  Our neighboring town says they got 8 inches of rain where I was thinking our 7 inches was right. I moved this lily here right after I reworked the fence area.  I was hoping to find a good place for it to grow.  It was originally from my grandmother and mother.  I didn't remember the yellow coloring was inside of it but Easter lilies are not exactly like this.  Maybe they are not even the same variety.

I am now telling people that we live on a lake.  The water has receded some before I took the shot as the water in the ditch is from all our rain.

When you look down the ditch you can see that they have it dammed up.  They have a culvert job that they are finishing further down and they didn't want the water to flow into that part of the project. If it will dry out and stop raining,  I bet they will now remove the dirt and let the water go down hill.

I see some of the town streets are getting curbs.  I don't think our inferior street will get such a thing but we will see. We have not been informed about anything about what they are doing, so everything will be a surprise.

I picked up a yellow daisy like plant to put in the middle of our planter. It has many buds on it but it did have some pretty spent blooms on it. It was half off and I thought it would be nice to have a contrasting color in the pot.

The picasa featured photo for the day is this hosta with blooms.  The special effects blur of the photo and I guess they are trying to give it an artistic mood.

We are off to Des Moines again today to help out my wife's friend. I am glad she called as she doesn't like to have people help her.  She needs some prescriptions and a few groceries. We are hoping the highways we use are not closed from flooding as there are a lot of them that are.  We are going in the morning and I bet I will have things to do when we get back in the afternoon,

Thanks for stopping by today.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

After the Storms..........

It is all about the reflections with a photo like this.  The fish make a few spots of color but the rest is just trees and more trees.

The old fashion rose puts out one more bloom.  it is a strange shape but it will eventually become a rose.

I am never sure if I have repeated photos of my hostas but I will just blunder through with the hope that I don't repeat myself too much.

The plants have adjusted to their new container and the blooms show it.  I really like the pure white ones just as much as the beautiful orange one.

I do believe there are less apples this year but that may mean that there will be bigger apples. I really like how the colors start to develop even when they are in an early stage of development.

It was a rough day Wednesday.  We struggled with heavy rains all day.  We were traveling through it and it was trying to keep us from doing what we needed to do.  We took my wife's friend to hospital for her therapy session.  We come back home to be with the dogs during all of the storms and then return 6 hours later to pick her up to get her home.  During Shari's therapy she developed a reaction to the chemicals and had to be treated for that.  We were late to pick her up as we had a car complication but it didn't matter as her session had been lengthened by the complications.  She is fine now and has been delivered home and we finally got home in time for more rain and severe storm warnings for the whole evening.

I wrote everything last night so I now do know that we had 7 inches of rain.  It was quite like a monsoon as it came down.  Moisture got to my battery clamp on the ground side and I had to deal with that.  I borrowed a neighbor's car to finish the day.  I had cleaned that clamp on the battery and by the time we were back home the car started like it was new.  We spent Wednesday night with rain and storm sounds until late in the night.

While all this is all going on, our neighbor kitty corner across the street had appendicitis and had surgery Tuesday late night.  I check in on her dog a little less now as another closer neighbor can do it.  I use to have the full job of taking care of Penny when she is gone but it is good there is someone closer to take care of her.

We are very soggy looking this morning but I at least don't have to water the tomatoes.  I just finished mowing the yard so that will perk up and I can do it again.  It will be a restful day today I am hoping and I won't have much to share tomorrow.  Thanks for stopping in today.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Middle of the Week.......

It is a blast of color that can be seen for long distances.  I can sit at the dinning room window and enjoy all of this yellow.

Petunias in the center of the dianthus pot are showing off and is out blooming the dianthus that are planted all around it. Our rains that are predicted are not happening so I need to remember to get out there and water them.  We had such a long rainy season that I got use to not watering anything.  I should hit my tomato plants with moisture also.

A shot of one of the blooms on the plant that I shared a photo of yesterday.  It is such a wonderful color and the plants is so healthy.   I do think I will move the bulb later this summer and put it with some of the other Asiatic lilies. It stands all alone among the old fashion roses.

A different hosta that is in partial bloom I will share here.  The hosta variety gets to be so crowed and filled in so quickly that I need to thin it again this year.  I have said this before but I am going to keep more hostas in all of my garden areas.  I like how it crowds out the weeds.  It is so strange how the plant just dissolves during the winter flat to the ground.  When spring hits it is up and growing large foliage with ease.

We are off again this morning to help out my wife's friend.  She will take her second dose of chemo.  It takes about six hours from start to finish.  I saw a news feature the other day where a dad with cancer didn't want to tell his kids what was happening to him.  So he decided to call it a session where he got Super Soldier Serum to help him to be super strong and to get better. I liked that as we need new different positive words to use when we help people fight their battle.  I appreciate your stopping by today.  Have a great day.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Sunshine on Tuesday.......

The old fashion hydrangea is looking really good.  The blooms are filled with all those little flowers.  I was thinking that they had a little color in them but at this stage everything is pure white.  I will be watching and snapping shots if it starts to turn to a subtle color.

Another white puffball is Button.  He has had a haircut and a bath and he is looking really good. It is so difficult to cut his hair as he is more sensitive than ever about it.  I think that his eye sight is so little that he reacts to things touching him now rather than before when he knew and expected what we were doing.  It is a fuzzy photo as I took it in the evening with low light. He does love a good pillow for napping.

This particular Asiatic lily surprised me this year.  I thought I had lost it last year and it barely put out a stem and then didn't go ahead and bloom.  This year is is looking good.  The lily doesn't know that I have to move it after it blooms as that part of the garden area is going to have some changes. I have plans to extend the porch a couple of feet right there  and it will not have any open area there for plants to grow.

It looks like wheat but I doubt that it is.  It is something that came up from the fallen seed of the bird feeder.  We never had wheat grown in our area so I don't recognize it as being that but it sure looks like something similar.

I had different kind of things come up from the bird feeder and most of them looked more like a thistle plant or maybe even millet. I keep feed in the feeder as the birds really still come for a handout once in a while. As I mentioned before the young cardinals and bluejays think it is a good way way to find food.  I do think I saw my young mourning doves yesterday over on another sidewalk.  They didn't quite know what they were doing but they were both down on the ground looking around.  I didn't any photos as they were just to far from me.

My grandma's regale lily was moved over here at the corner of the new fence that I built last year. I think it likes this area as it shot up right away in the spring and there are two big buds on it.  The bulb has been moved a lot of times and I think this hot morning sun area is the perfect place for it.

Next to the lily is a day lily and the barberry bush.  They  make great company with a hosta and the regale lily and wild ferns.  That is called spontaneous gardening with not a plan.  I thought it was a great place to start new things and as I found things to move there I just put them in to the area. I have to kill back the ferns as they still want to grow all over my yard. 

Most of my hostas are now in partial bloom. I will get better shots of these as time goes on.

We have construction people a half a block away from us this morning putting in a new culvert that apparently was on order.  That road has been closed for weeks. The culvert is to facilitate our water to flow down the hill.  I know now that it isn't going to work.

Eventually if we get big rains the law of nature will wash away a path removing dirt to get it to work somewhat better.  In a years time it will be interesting to see how things have settled and what is growing on those banks of the ditches.  

It is cool this morning and I am headed out to mow grass, pick cherries and cut a few stray trees starts out of my spirea.  I will have to wear a long sleeved shirt at first and then will shed down to short sleeve when it warms up. I think we were 64 degrees F. this morning.   Summer is here and I am still trying to catch up.

Thanks for stopping by today.