Thursday, March 31, 2016

Thursday Already......

I do sometimes misplaced my trowel. I guess that if I had one this size, I would probably not loose it.  I had a hard time finding the photo to share as the handle blends in well with the tree trunk. This was a sculpture at the botanical center.  It really does fit in with the place.

I wish I could be at the Center today as it seems cold outside today.  This was a water pool that contained sunken pots growing all these great water plants.  I can never remember the name of the one on the left but I tried to grow it once and failed.  It shouldn't be that hard if one would keep it flooded with water.

I decided to take my redtwig dogwoods sticks out of the water and placed them into soil.  Some of them were looking like they were not going to live much longer in the water.  I gave them some soil to receive nourishment.  They were wilting some and I didn't think the root formation was working in just the water. I plan on keeping the soil wetter than normal and hope that the branch you see there will continue to live.

When I extended the side entry porch last  fall, actually early winter, I moved plants away from the area.  I moved an Asiatic Lily out of there and also dug a red peony from the area. I gave the red peony to a neighbor and I haven't checked to see if it came up for her.  The water kept things so wet in this location that I thought it to be a rescue. I didn't really know where these bulb plants were at the time but now I now.  The foreground daffodils are safe but the ones under the porch will be needing to be moved.

I also have a lot of the old fashion rose bushes in the area.  The one will survive because it had spread out to the front of the new addition.  I have other areas to the south of this area that is also growing wild and will continue to bloom.  The water from the roof was messing with it anyway and it wasn't blooming so often.

I did have another photo showing the sprouting of things under the now new deck area.  I see there is one stray stem of the rose under there.  It is an old fashion one and I could see it spread into the light as it spreads by its roots. The rose was here when I bought the place so it is a very old variety.

 The barberry is coming to life now with the sun shinning on it all morning. I have a yellow green variety of this and it too is popping out leaves.

We are having a day of rest today.  The hospital life is not a pleasant one and the second day there seemed another challenge for us.  It takes hours to get people discharged.  Parking is a nightmare. One elevator was down so that kept things interesting to get to the room and also to get our friend out of the hospital We arrived to the hospital and they were having a practice fire drill.  We were sent to the lounge to sit it out. All doctors and nurses had to stand in the hall and not move while practice procedures were taking place. The patients did get to stay in their rooms. We were glad to get my wife's friend in the car and get her home.

A part of the rest we are having today will including getting some small things done.  I may clear the sticks off of one more area in the yard and spread grass seed. I have work tomorrow so I will lose work time at home.  Thank you for stopping by  today.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016


The goldfish are giving me the evil eye as I didn't get them fed yesterday.  They were also concerned that I was only taking photos of the tomato starts and wouldn't feed them again today.  I did remember and they were much happier.   You can see the top of a tomato plant at the bottom of the photo.

The starters are ready for the next stage of transplanting.  This is the time when I wonder why I planted so many single tiny seeds as now I have to keep these things alive. You can see the center leaves of the plant are now developed.  They will look better and get stronger once I get them into the next size of pots.

I will try to get some potting soil today to make the next step easier.  I probably will not do the replanting all on the same day.

We had a thunderstorm this morning and we are promised to have more this afternoon.  We will need to pick up my wife's friend from the hospital this afternoon and take her to her apartment.  Rain or shine that will happen.  I am hoping that we beat the rain.  The flowers are doing well on the longer days and bright light. The Easter lily seems to be recouping from its experience at the store.  I have one bud ready to shrivel up and one bud that should open by morning.

I hope all will have a good day and thanks for stopping by today.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Tuesday's Times.....

How many ways can birthday cards call you old?  This one was a classic as it played the theme song of Indiana Jones.  The inside of the card says "Here's to being well traveled" which is better than some cards that tell you the cake with candles will cause a bonfire.

The phlox are ready to get started for their journey into the summer.  We keep getting just enough rain to make everything green. 

We spent the entire day at the hospital with my wife's friend Shary.  Surgery to remove cancerous tissues.  It was a good and bad finish and Shary held up to the surgery well.  Not great news about it all but she is better off having had the surgery.  Hospital life is a community of it's own.  The hospital had dozens of surgeries going on at the same time.  A monitor is up telling your patient's progress through a coding system.  Sad and happy times throughout the many family groups waiting for the doctor. 

Our waiting time was prolonged by so many different circumstances.  Pre op lasted an hour and a half longer that scheduled.  Our waiting time for her to actually go to surgery was then an hour and a half behind schedule. Surgery lasted for two hours and then recovery room was a long session.  We were glad they kept her in the hospital for overnight for observation and we will take her home tomorrow afternoon.  We left the hospital at 5:30 after visiting with Shary about her experiences.

We can rest tomorrow morning and then will pick up groceries for her on the way to the hospital.  We will be glad to get her settled back into her apartment in the afternoon. I appreciate your stopping by at my late posted blog.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Let us just eat cake!

What is better than one piece of strawberry cake?  Two pieces of strawberry cake with strawberry frosting.  My birthday cake will last for a few days more even though I had a birthday on Saturday. I chose strawberry flavor this time just to be different.  Red velvet is the cake supreme.

The honeysuckle shrubs are looking good.  They are old shrubs so they do look weary in shape and form.  I wanted to show you how much further along the leafing out of them has come.  There will be blooms on them in the next week or so.

You can see why the peony is called a fernleaf peony.  There is even a bud on this one plant.  I didn't notice it until just now as I write about the photo. Things continue to grow in spite of the frosts and freezing.  I think the town temperatures keeps things warmer and more protected than those who are out of town.

The regular peony is just now pushing up dark red points. They will bloom a lot later than this fernleaf does.  I still have one peony bed that needs to have its leaves removed. I need to get to that as the tulips that run parallel to them are fully leafed and red to shoot buds.

This is a blurry shot but I wanted to share how large this Eurasian ringnecked dove looks.  I am still in confusion about the doves in my yard as I have smaller ones that are half the size of this and they are more round in shape.  I think they probably are the normal mourning doves.

I sized the photo to show you the difference in sizes.  I am thinking that if the ringneck is that large in size, I can see how they are driving out the mourning dove.

It still is not warm enough for the bluebells to open completely.  I know from experience that I need to check them daily as they can bloom and be gone so quickly.  I am hoping soon to see the whole set of blooms on them.

I am sitting in the science room today.  It is high school science and the guy I am replacing is so sick with his cold.  He thinks he caught the virus back in Ireland and he still keeps fighting to get rid of it.  We will be with my wife's friend at the hospital tomorrow.  She has surgery and will be needing us there for her.  I won't sub the next day either as we will take her home that day.  I do hope are days keep getting warmer.   Thank you for checking in on my blog.

Sunday, March 27, 2016


The two birds seem to be in harmony as long as they stay opposite each other on the seed sock. I looked out this afternoon and it looks like I need to fill the sock up again already.

We bake a cake for each other on our birthdays.  The birthday person gets to pick the cake and frosting  also.  I chose strawberry cake with strawberry frosting,   It is so good to eat.  We have cut into this yesterday and more will be eaten today.

My wife took some photos of the goldfinch that were out at the feeder yesterday.  They are changing to yellow pretty quickly.  I hope to keep feeding them so I can get a clear photo of them in complete yellow garb.  They are a pretty bird.

Thank you for stopping in today.  I hope your day has been a good one.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Good Morning Sunshine......

In the summer when it isn't cold,  I can walk across the street onto the neighbor's property and take a few snaps.  It won't have the suburbia (small town houses) foreground in it if I would do that.

A bed of field lilies under the apple tree seems like a good thing but they rarely bloom.  The shade of the tree prevents it but the foliage around the base does look good.  Apple trees are not yet budded so we still are not far into spring yet.

Healthy iris makes me happy when I see it. I moved a lot of iris last summer and I think that everything survived. I will be interested is seeing what will bloom. My old fashion iris are coming on strong.  I just remembered that I had moved a lot of hybrid white iris when the city started on the street project last spring.  I don't remember where I planted the three sections of it but I will share photos of white iris when they bloom.

I had questions from those who live in the far north of this world, if these really were blooming outside right now.  Yes they are.  The brick inside corner of the school building in in direct sunlight most of the day and the greenhouse effect makes them bloom very early.  My daffodils at my home are about 5 inches tall in leaves and I won't have buds for another couple of weeks.  There is a neighbor near us that has their bulbs planted directly under the clothes dry vent.  It warms the soil and the daffodils are in full bloom. The flowering trees are maybe budded now but it won't be tree blossom time for a few weeks either.  My parents home was in southern Iowa and I bet their daffodils are already bloomed and spent by now.  The difference in temps, the zones, really do vary up and down the whole state of Iowa.  Northern Iowa had a snow storm the past few days and we did not have it.

I received a new mug for my birthday today.  I enjoy them and pick different ones each day in which to drink coffee. The red on this mug is one of my favorite glaze colors.

We have not seen the movie but I am pleased to see Snoopy has a girlfriend to share company with him. The meaning of the mug from my wife is describing what is going to happen after this school year.  I am going to stop working at school after this school year. I will return for a 6 week period for a woman's pregnancy leave and then I am done.  Being closer to 70 now than to 60 I know it is time to follow new paths in my life.  We both are ready to fall into a more sane kind of retirement. We both know that "life happens when you start making plans" but removing the school work element out of the picture will helps us to see things in a different light.

I found an agapanthus bloom at the botanical center and it was one single stem of the plant in a red clay pot.  I have two large containers of leaves of this plant which means I could individually plant 30 or 40 of these in clay pots. I have seen mine bloom only once but they do survive the winter in my basement quite well.  It is a plant you see in California a lot of times.  I have seen them in landscapes during NCIS: L.A. many times. I am going to replant some of them and thin out the pot of them soon.

Thank you stopping by today.  We are headed to Olive Garden for afternoon lunch and I will be eating cake tonight for my birthday.  I wish every one to have a great day.

Now that I am a year older I may have more typing errors.  I have had to return to this one blog three time to get the word "tonight" spelled correctly.  I am a little blurry eyed this morning so I will return later in the day to see if there are any other corrections to be made.  

Friday, March 25, 2016


As a local weather man complained, we have had all four seasons this week.  Sometime there has two or three seasons in just one day.  We had frost this morning covering all of the roofs and vegetation.  The ditch lilies  had sparkles on them while I was out with Button this morning. By the end of the day the temps should warm up to early spring temperatures.

While clearing things in the flower bed last evening I pulled on a dead stem instead of breaking it off.  As I was putting stems in the wheel barrow I notice this phlox plant needs to be put back into the ground. I remember years ago that I had a hard time getting phlox to start in my garden and now they have spread.  I see now they are spreading by roots and not by seed. I didn't get it planted but maybe I can get it back in the ground on Saturday.

The leaves are from the surprise lilies that are planted there.  They grow their leaves and then die down.  They then push up stems with buds and bloom out lily flowers a month or so later.  I didn't have blooms on them last year and I don't know what weather condition caused it but I hope they do bloom this summer.

Our storms did blow the top layer off of this load but yesterday after school I did get it dumped. The wheel barrow sits back in another part of the yard ready for me to pick up more sticks.

The bluebells keep coming up even during the very cold temps.  We were below freezing a couple of nights this week.

This is the dog's eye view as they come down the stairs.  Barney sees this but Button is not seeing this much.  I watch him and he sees light and is working on his nose to know where he is.  The ditch lilies are surviving now that I have a fence around them to keep Barney from tromping through.

The cyclamen plant is in the botanical center's greenhouse. They do not grow well outside like I have seen growing in gardens in the south.  We just get too hot for them to be planted outside.  They are a different kind of bloom in looks but the colors are still great.

I am in the Special Education room today to finish off the week. It is a shorten day for the teachers to finish up grades for reports of the nine weeks so it makes it an easier day.  School seems to be flying by now as there is only a fourth of the year left.  I hope everyone has a great weekend.  Thank you for stopping by today.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Thursday's Report..........

The fern leaf peony seems to like the cold air as it keeps sprouting upwards among the creeping Charlie. When it isn't too cold out there I will go pull the Charlie and remove leaves.

There is actually a spot of blue or two buds from this New England bluebell. They should be getting out into full bloom soon once the weather warms back up again. They are one of the early bloomers of spring.  Our rain from last night will surely make things look a lot better out in the flower beds and yard.

I am floundering in photos that really don't relate to each other.  This was last weekend when the sun was coming over the neighbor's house. The lack of our big trees did cause us to notice the winds in town differently.  They did block a lot of wind or at least slowed it down. We had extremely strong winds that lasted all day yesterday and into last night.  It still is a little gusty out there this morning.  Northern Iowa is having a snow storm and areas around us have white covered landscapes with snow.  We didn't get that but people very close to us did.

I bought a new violet for no good reason.  I think that I liked it because it is like a blue and white one that I have that is so healthy and hardy.  It just keeps getting bigger and blooms profusely.  My new rule is to immediately take a new violet and pot it into better soil and a larger container. You can see the smaller plastic container behind the newly planted pot.

What I found to be remarkable was the recovery of the plant.  I didn't know it was in distress.  In three days the natural light from the window as well as newer additional soil made everything shoot up and out. The stems with the flowers grew a third or a half taller.

The is the blue and white variety of the violet that has been performing so well.  I have lost a few violets this past year which is normal when you over water them.  The ones that get severely dry can really be brought back to life.

I am back into the high school English room today.  It is always a busy day.  I get one break in the day and for some reason someone else found me something to do. I will return to the special education room tomorrow.  Tomorrow fortunately is Friday.   We are feeling
snow, wind, heavy rain, extreme burst of wind and cold. It is miserable to be outside.  Maybe tomorrow will be a better day.  Thank you for stopping by today.

I just noticed that when I blog off and on all day on one blog that I do sort of repeat myself. I have had this work in progress and do it between classes coming and going or over the lunch period. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Garden Stuff.............

A side greenhouse that is attached to the Botanical Center dome has practical suggestions for growing plants in home gardens.  The red chair a design originally created by a famous designer Garret Rietveldt in 1918. Many people have duplicated the design to have chairs that look like modern art.

This is the view of the setting with both chairs in it  I did at one time want to make one of them but I am not so sure they are so comfortable for sitting. The are pieces of artwork though.

A single red orchid that is much like the lady slipper that grows in Minnesota.  It only had this one bloom on it at the time.

I keep seeing orchids for sale in many different kinds of stores. The prices have dropped on them from a few years ago because there so many sold. I cringe when I see the kind of conditions they are placed when I see them in some of the stores. People who work garden products really don't have an understanding of the plant.

My mom grew foliage plants in her gardens.  I don't think I have ever tried them.  I don't know if they need a lot of care or very special growing conditions.  In southern Iowa they were grown in the shade.  In this greenhouse it seems to be doing very well.  I see there is a nice multi- color foliage.  I remember the days when P. Allen Smith promoted them on his garden show with all the different color varieties.

Another shot of koi that was taken looking down from a bridge in the Center. They are such a slow easy going fish.  Seeing them reminds me of a memory while at the Omaha Zoo.  It has been probably 20 years ago, but they were draining the koi pond.  The pond was very large and the fish so plentiful that they could barely swim.  A couple of men were out on the island with a boat and large garbage cans.  They were lifting koi into the garbage cans filling them to the top.  I assumed then they were not moving them as they would have put water into the cans.  It seemed unusual.  I thought maybe they were going to use the fish to feed the other animals in the zoo. The Center removed many koi from their creek and pond.  They may have shared them with the city zoo.

I am in the special education room today helping students with their homework.  I am enjoying the change from the English classroom.  It is trying to rain here today but the wind is the most noticed weather condition that we have today.  It was blowing hard most of the night from the east and then this morning it changed to the north.  It is Wednesday which means we all have made it half way through the week.  Thank you all for stopping by today.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Tuesday's Things.......

I could hear the woodpecker working for bugs from this dead tree. He was hard to find visually and then I spotted him.  The photo isn't great but you can see the downy working the tree. Trees I bet are their preference over suet at the feeder.

The barberry shrubs are all leafing out right now.  When looking at it as a plant it is a tough looking one that tolerates a lot of different conditions. I remember seeing them at school as a kid and they were all tromped around by students and they barely held their own.  But in the fall there would be the same red berries showing up for kids to pick off and throw at others.

A struggling plant is the tulip that came up from the area where they grubbed out the red twig dogwood.  It is a lone survivor.  I need to go pot it or move it as the city might come back and till the area one more time.  When they removed the bush and red maple they tore up the whole side of the ditch area and the yard also.

I moved flag iris to a new location and think it was a successful transplant. This is on the south side of the house and should really grow well in the location. I don't know if it is the purple one or the light blue one.  We will know by next month.

I shared earlier a sprouting peony and I was correct about its identity.  This is a fern leaf peony in another location that is really sprouting up. I have at least five locations of this peony that is coming up now. The freezing and snow doesn't seem to bother it  at all.

When your grandson is three years old he doesn't have the ability to use any tool to color hard boiled eggs.  We do facetime on the cellphone with he and his dad.  AJ took us to the refrigerator and picked up every one of his eggs to show them to us and name the colors. His dad explained that a little wire hoop that is suppose to be used for dipping eggs in dye really isn't possible for AJ. In a few days he will have that dye wear away.  He was so proud of his colored eggs.

 For my current events report I need to share that I have moved the wheel barrow into the back yard.  Every once in a while I will pick up sticks of an area until I get it all done.  I bet the snow will probably land in it on Thursday but it will melt and I can continue the project.

I am at work again today and will have work all week. So work like this gets done after school when it is warm.  We warm up today and then we drop back down into the deep freeze or into snow season anyway.

I found out that I had missed my 7 year blogging anniversary in February.   I just keep plugging along.  I didn't post a photo the very first blog so the times have changed.  I have no plans to stop blogging as many people out there, relatives or  friends, seem to need to keep an eye on me.  Someone besides my wife needs to watch me.  Thank you for stopping by today.