Monday, February 29, 2016

Looking Forward.....

I have cut a dozen or more twigs from the now eliminated redtwig dogwood.  I just happen to see in a magazine in a garden article where the sticks were all placed in a glass jar to force roots and leaves. I will have to bring mine up from the basement and put them in a glass jar.

I shared this on my photo a day blog yesterday and will do today on this site.  I will be planting soon as it is time to get the tradition started.  I know I have a few leftover seeds in some packets from the past two years and I will add them to the variety of plants that I will grow. Snow is predicted for tomorrow night so we are not out of the woods yet with winter weather.

The evergreens survived our winter and are all looking healthy.  I see birds are hitting some of the evergreens for seed or pods.

The burning bushes have provided seeds all winter for the birds. They are greening up a little and will soon be leafed out again.

On the patio I found this chunk of wood.  It must of gone flying when the chain saws were working.  It is silver maple wood so it is very light weight compared to a hardwood tree. I don't quite understand the stairs step design carved on it but judging by the color on the piece it must have come from the lower part of the trunk.  I suppose the chopper that took out the stumps created this.

I am home today.  I do have lots of things to do.  I will have to wait for it to be a lot warmer before I can go outside to work on the birdfeeder or the porch. I will just stay inside until then.  Yesterdays winds made windchills that were really uncomfortable. I see that I still have a couple of small piles of snow that still are not completely melted. The one narrow strip of snow by the drive is about four feet long and 4 inches wide. It might go away today.  A lot of sticks can be picked up outside but that too will wait until I can do it without freezing myself.  I am really getting very tired of cold temperatures.

 I hope all are safe and that you can have a good day.   Thanks for stopping by my blog today.

Sunday, February 28, 2016


I bought some of these seeds today.  I will dig through my pile to see what leftover seed is in my storage boxes. It is time to get them started and I will do some.  My bedding container is out in the garden shed. I don't know what I will use for soil but it may be the real kind of soil and not potting soil.  I didn't buy potting soil.

This iris shoot looks promising.  Now the trees are gone it will be in full sun.  The south side of house foundation should be warmer and cause things there to bloom earlier this year.

The vinca stays green most of the winter under the snow. It has the shiny leaves that show up well in spring among the leaves.

It isn't as cold today but the wind is blowing hard and it makes it feel cold anyway.  I lost my bird feeder this afternoon as the wind sent it to the ground. I didn't realize the bird feeder still in tact is shown below.  It is in a few pieces now so I will have to rework it again. I think we will be a little warmer tomorrow with less wind. It isn't normal weather but it will snow soon again.  I seem to blog late this day but I did finally get something up.  It is nice to get it finished for today.  Thanks for stopping by today.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Saturday Afternoon......

When there are no desirable birds at the feeder I get desperate and take photos of starlings.  They are an ok bird but I would like snow birds. I am assuming the lost of my trees will effect birds coming to the feeder.  I do have more trees in the back  yard so it will just cut down a little on the landing sites for the birds that feed.  I am assuming the juncos are gone north already and that other birds are enjoying the seeds from the bushes now that the snow is gone.

While I was out this morning, I was pleased to see this flower coming up. I can't give you a name yet because I am old, but when I am not thinking about it I will remember.
Spiderwort does come forward and now to my mind. I will keep an eye on it and see if it proves me to be correct on the identity.

All of my geraniums were taken to the basement last fall except for this one. I need to remove the dead leaves but it seems to be healthy sitting next to the aquarium.  It is a refreshing green to see by this time of the year.

You can barely see the line of Canada geese in the sky.  I did learn that the geese are already migrated to the southern Iowa sites along the Missouri River and the Mississippi.  So the ones I saw heading north last week and photographed probably really were heading north.  I use to live down  in Sidney, Iowa and the river valley was just filled with thousands of geese as the migrated both south and north. It is an amazing sight and sound to see with every swamp area covered with white snow geese and many kinds of ducks.

The removing of the trees started on Monday with the neighbors trees and as you can see by Friday we are looking like this.

The one lone pine tree remains.  I bet it will really grow now that it isn't in the shade anymore.  The neighbor girl planted it there when she was 5 and it was stuck in the ground with not much thought.  Now that is is 28 years later it is the lone survivor of the whole block and a half. As you gaze down the sidewalk you can't now see the two large maple like trees and the one other taller tree. They all are gone.

In my backyard is a silver maple they couldn't touch.  It was a volunteer tree when I bought the place back in the late '70s.   I let it grow and I am really glad that I did. I was more fortunate than either of my neighbors because I had planted the birch up by the house and the balsam pine in the yard.  The pine will really grow fast now as it too had been in partial shade for its beginning growth years.

We were at the Hobby Lobby for art supplies this morning and hit the bookstore for a little while afterward.  We had to stop for taco wraps on the way home as it is Taco Saturday at our house.  We are having a relaxing afternoon and it has warmed up to the high 60's today.  It will start to cool down this evening and stay colder for next week. We always have snow storms during the Girl's State Basketball tournaments and it will be this Wednesday that the snow will hit.

I hope all are safe and well today and thanks for stopping by my blog.

Friday, February 26, 2016

No More Drama on the Trees......

The yard is raked, the stumps are gone and there is this desert-like quality to the place when you look out there. I have not actually gone out to see the final look.  I know it is strange to look out the window and see rows of many trees across the street, not one of them disturbed. It is like the twilght zone. Our house in the most part will have the house and yard in full sun now all summer.  I am glad we have our birch and balsam pine next to the house. Our two neighbors north and south have nothing in their yard.

The photo above is of a light fixture at the school.  There is a floating panel to create a ceiling above the concession stand area.  The lights are inserted to make a neat design of a dozen lights for the area.

I took a few photos at school this morning while I was wandering. This hallway connects a set of classrooms.  The gym is to the right of this hallway.  One lone senior, Nick, is doing some alone time in the hall waiting for his first class of the day.

The commons area outside of the gym has a very high ceiling.  A few years ago I was subbing and my janitor friend got permission from the "powers to be" to pull me from the classroom.  He and I road the x scissors lift up very high to apply this decal.  The lift did a lot of swinging but I did get use to it.  We stood hip to hip leaning over that projecting roof and unraveled the backing away from the hawk.  The mural was done by a student and it really was not such a great design but the wrestling program is promoted by it being there.

They are nothing like my goldfish in my tank but I do like the label on these packages.  I think I have tasted them before from a sample at the store.  They try to sell healthy things at the coffee shop like things that are not loaded with sugar.  They do sell oatmeal packets for people to eat for breakfast.

It is all about high school math today.  I know that they have work in progress so they are finishing it very early.  It all works ok as long as everyone behaves.

I am looking forward to the weekend.  I think we will warm up some before our next snow storm moves in on Wednesday.  Thanks for stopping by today.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

The Saga Continues..........

We were gone yesterday as the trees were taken down.  I guess it was best we were not here.  We had legal business and then went for lunch and free pie.  We got home to see the war zone they had created.

The trees are very old.  I have watched them grow the past 40 years and I am sure they were there most of the time after the house was built in 1904.  A silver maple's growing behavior is such that the trunks become hollow and the larger branches also are hollow.  It is the reason why the squirrels, owls, raccoons and most other kinds of birds like them. Eventually some of the larger branches die as the hollow characteristic shuts down the water supply because of it size and shape.

The reasons they used to eliminate them was that they were diseased.  They were very healthy as you can see by the cross section cuts. This mess will be cleaned up this morning and the stumps will probably be removed also by the end of the day.

This tree was growing probably back during World War 1 and has seen many changes in families who have lived in the neighborhood. I took pictures to honor the last of these old trees as I have seen them everyday since I moved onto the property in 1976.

The people of this community say that believed the counsel when the were a danger to walk under.  They can't believe that they cut everything that grew leaves but they did. The man is removing the redtwig dogwood shrub and right next to it they cut down the red maple tree that was probably 10 years old. I won't use sarcasm here but you can see my point. I am certain they wanted to take them down before people realize that they had damage 10 good trees with their deep ditch that was dug.  I think only my maple would have been effected.

 Now that our house and backyard will be in full sun I guess I can grow tomatoes in the back yard.  They struggle where I presently plant them. I don't look forward to the house being heated up in the summer but it is what it is.  I need to get seed into the pots soon as my neighbors who also take plants from me try to plant very early.

We go to do our taxes this afternoon right after I get done working at school. We will be glad to have that done one more time.   I won't have to pay in this year.  The school doesn't take much out of my check anymore so we won't have as much money come back to us.

I am working the concession stand again today.  That will last through 5th hour and then I go to 3 different classes in the afternoon.  It makes for an interesting day.  I hope all are well out there and thanks for stopping by today.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Current Events.......

We heard chain saws all day yesterday.  They succeeded in taking down a huge tall tree and cleaned up the area. It took them all day.  I laugh at the sight that I see here.  The tree behind the truck didn't get cut down because it is about eight feet to the other side of the sidewalk.  It isn't in their jurisdiction.  The neighbors have no trees now on the east side of the house. It looks really bad.

 Of all the trees to be taken down, this one deserved to be saved.  It was a perfectly formed tree. They had tor remove most all of the branches the day before and then this photo shows them cutting it off in chunks.

This tree was a high quality tree compared to my beat up old silver maples.  Cutting this chunk into pieces took a long time.  They couldn't lift pieces like this into their truck with their lift.  I like how the mailbox survived all the goings on in the yard.  I did see them tie a chain from one branch to the tree so when it was cut, it would swing away from the house and fence. It is quite a project for these men to do.

This picture should have been shown first.  I didn't notice the guy looking up to the top of that big tall trunk. They put down plywood to try to save some of the grass as we have warmed up enough to make it muddy on the top surface of the ground.

 We left to do some legal business and went for lunch out.  While we were leaving they had already removed my redtwig dogwood shrub.  As we drove out into the street the 10 year old red maple was laying in the ditch.  When we returned the two silver maples were all down.  I knew it would not take long as this kind of tree grows up and out and has  hollow trunks and limbs.  That makes the cutting easy.

I guess I can grow tomatoes in the backyard now as it will be full sun back there.  The war zone of trees left in our yard is being cleared now.  It makes me tired and it is a sad thing.  "Can't fight city hall" is such a true statement.  The sad thing is that the city representatives are probably proud they made such a great decision.  Those very bad trees that drop leaves on the ground are now all gone.

Well I have work for the next two days and we also will have our taxes submitted tomorrow. It will be a busy two days but the weekend is coming.  Thanks for checking in today.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

A Dull Looking Day.........

The noise of the tree cutters has started already this morning.  Our property is next as they have removed the one large tree next to the yellow machine.  The very large one in the back will fall this morning as it is already trimmed up for its demise.

I am in favor of the natural elements being the cause of tree trimming.  The heavy snow in one of our storms helped clip off this branch on the balsm pine.  I see that I have major branches that were clipped off by the snow's weight on my lilac shrub.

 The sun was shining in the window just right and the tank light was on.  I was there at just the right time to take photos. I took a lot of them and the fish were all clear and in focus in my shots.  The reason I went in there was to shoot a photo of  the algae eater as it was out and cleaning the glass.  He of course swam off into the castle when I returned with the camera.

AJ is three years old as of today.  He has grown quickly and to show a baby picture would be too shocking to compare.  We now get to visit with him weekly over the computer net connection.  He read to us from a book the one time as we visited him.  He of course told us his version of the book and was not really reading. His gift and card are in the mail and I bet we will see him open it when the time comes. A second grandchild is due in the last of April.  AJ knows already that it may not be a thing for him to have a brother or sister.

I am home again today and that is good.  I repaired the upstairs toilet yesterday and now have other things to do today.  It is good to have a slower pace than being at theschool building all day.  Our weather is going to stay cool and it looks awful outside.  A good soaking rain would wash away a lot of dirt but we probably will get it in the form of snow instead.  I thank you for checking in today.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Monday has Begun..........

It is a bleak looking sky as we were overcast a few days ago.  Today we are cold but the sky is pretty clear.  I like it better when we are having bright days.  The birch in the photo has weathered well through the winter.  The red maple to the left will be leaving us soon as the city will be cutting it down.

I found another sign of spring in the yard yesterday.  The ferns are starting to develop green sprouts that I suppose won't be shooting up for another month. We are still having freezing temperatures but the ferns are tough and have been through many tough winters.

The donkey planter is looking over the tomato seed packet.  I think he thinks it is time to put the seed into the starter pots.  I declared that I might not do this tomato thing this year.  As I walked through the kitchen this packet was laying on the floor.  It mush have fallen out of a basket that holds envelopes and papers and things.  I don't know why it landed on the floor but I am going to blame gravity.  I just felt the envelope and I feel maybe four or five seeds inside.  Maybe I will plant up only the leftover seed that I can find from last years plantings.

I am home today and seem to be busy fixing things.  I replaced the inside mechanism of the toilet and it seems to be working good again.  I am using the old flapper as the new one in the package doesn't know the toilet is very old. I am heading to fix a leaking faucet now with some new washer.  You can buy washers for repair and they sell you more than a dozen kinds.  I will have to search through them to find just the right one.

We are living with the sounds of chain saws today and choppers.  They will take a couple of weeks to get to all of the trees down.  I hope all is well with everyone

Sunday, February 21, 2016


The sedum is growing and sprouting out new leaves. It was planted in this tile last summer and I just didn't know if I was being on a folly or if the plant would grow.  It did grow.

It is so drab and dirty out there but this does give me a ray of hope. The green part of  evergreen is the dropping from the tree above.

Thanks for stopping by today.

Saturday, February 20, 2016


While taking a shot of the last big drift next to the drive way I noticed a tall tree and a giant in the photo.

You can see that the giant is a tall guy with no arms. This smaller snow drift will probably go away in the next two days.  The depressing thing that I saw out there was the large amount of debris on the ground.  Because of the ditch-making going on none of us raked any leaves. It is hard explain but things were torn up and mowing nor raking seemed possible at the time. The wet leaves now and the hundreds of sticks from our snowstorms are all mixed together on a muddy yet still frozen yard.  It will take a lot of work to get that all up from the ground.

The sun was sure shining brightly while I was out there.  It doesn't feel that warm but 10 degrees above freezing does make me feel like there is hope for spring.

I have a lot of excuses for me not blogging normally in the morning.  My photo storage area refused to let me download anything. I was fighting that and I could get a solution to the problem. We were planning to get out of here to go to the bookstore this morning and we have a almost 3 year old that needs to have birthday present sent to him.   We did get it all done plus groceries purchased.  The afternoon is now a leisure time and I am getting my blogging done.  I did get downloading done this afternoon but someone in the net world was down and not working correctly.

Thank you for stopping by today.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Friday with a wind.....strong wind.

Bansky is an English-based artists who does graffiti sometimes in the dark of night.  I read that sometimes he hires people to do the work.  Political and social comments are viewed through a lot of his art.

A high school student imitated his work and wrote a report about the artist as a part of the assignment. This work is painted on the wall and can be seen right inside the door as one walks in. Yes I am subbing in the art room today.

It was said that a neighbor lady was out yelling very  loudly at a crew that was cutting down her two large trees.  She lives on the other end of the block. I guess she had not heard about the wrath of the city towards our very bad trees.  The trees drop leaves and they may fall into their ditch.

I have decided to let it all go.  The birch is on the correct side of the sidewalk but the two behind it will be gone soon.  I think they should wait for the yard to freeze back up before they come in and destroy nature's 100 year old trees. They will have to be in  my yard as the ditch is too steep for anyone or machinery.  I won't waste time discussing it and I told my wife not to go out and scream loudly at them, unless she wants to so she can feel better.

When you live with crazy people who make stupid decisions, it makes one to be more encouraged to leave the town for good.

As I don't seem to have new photos, I find myself digging out the ones that I forgot to post in the past.  The little  pitcher is small as you can see by the comparison to the dime on the place mat. 

The pitcher is a cast piece, of course, as a glass cutter could never create a design like that on such a small piece.   I have lost track of where I received this piece but  I bet it was sitting in my mom's cupboard and some friend gave it to her while she cleaned their house.  People would give her dishes or violets as gifts of appreciation.

I am appreciating the iPhone more each day.  It is a nice portable camera.  I really am doing limited things with it though as it is too small for my hands and fingers.  We do get to do facetime on it with our son and grandson. We get to see AJ in action as he directs his dad all over the house to show us things.  He read a book to us the last time we connected.

I am in the art room and it is nice to be back, sort of.  I know the subject so that won't be the challenge. I actually know the kids pretty well from all the academic classes I sub in the last 4 years.  

We are having strong winds today.  It would be nice to have the moisture evaporate quickly but we do have large snow drifts yet in our yards. Things are melted in the open areas of farm fields but in town things are slow to melt.   I think we have a warm prediction for quite a few days.. Then there will be mud.  Thank you for stopping by today.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Thursday's Stuff........

This is what greets me early in the morning most every morning.  If I am already scheduled for work I don't have to open up the computer.  This morning I didn't have work and Button wanted to go outside.  It was 5:15 and my cell photo had alerted me to the openings.  I went to the computer and chose 6th grade reading over band. I really like working with 6th graders as they seem eager to learn.  The blue squares are jobs that I have already accepted. When there is an opening and I am free, I will see green squares on the day that there is work to accept. Hopefully I can immediately click on it to accept it before some one else does.

The roses have become close to being spent.  My wife saves the dry rose heads and puts them in containers or a box.  These roses like all roses are all shipped in from South America in the millions of flowers. I saw a piece about it last year and they box them and ship them all crammed together and packed by the box load.

This was in my classroom yesterday when I worked there. I think it is a nice statement to say in a classroom.  The problem is when a student decides to drop out of the construction process altogether. It does take a student's cooperation in getting an education and it can not be forced.

All of the ice is gone on the roof eaves.  We are going to have about 5 days or more of good thawing. I know it isn't the last of our snow for the winter but we have had the present snow on the ground most of the winter. I would like to regroup and have a clear space to start the next snow scenes out there.

A photo from the past few weeks that I didn't share until now. The snow village will remain up for a while longer.  I turn some of the houses on at night and use them for a night light in the dining room.  If we have to get up it isn't pitch black in there as we walk through to the kitchen.

I am in the 6th grade room and I start off reading from a book to them.  They really like to be read to at all the middle school grade levels.  It is kind of a nice thing for kids to learn to listen and behave. The teacher reads a different book to each of her three sections so she won't get board from reading the same thing each day.

I hope all is well with those of you out there that follow this spot. I know some are having more winter weather than the wish to have and others are thawing out like us.  I appreciate you stopping by today.