Tuesday, January 31, 2017


I have thrown away two different wheel barrows in the past and the new one really has been a good upgrade in my life.  The collection of rain with the barrow really did work well for me last summer.

The decision to dig a start of this old fashion shrub will be easy to make but I hesitate to take it as it becomes so invasive. I will probably take a start because of its history in how I obtained the plant.

There will be a new gate created at our new house.  I have to hire someone to put in one line of fence to help keep Barney inside the property.  Two fences of different ages surround our backyard but the third side has no fence. It is a shared open yard. I guess neither homeowners had a dog. The people who sold their house bragged that no pets nor smoking had ever been in the house. I will have to have two gates on each side of the house but only one side has a nice set of stairs going down outside to the backyard. I will introduce a dog to the house but I won't take up smoking.

Emptying the garden shed will a time to high grade my possessions. I will be forced to dump things from my dad's and brother's garage.  Antique things that are genuine and meaningful have to be packed up.  Do you see the old man ceramic sculpture on the right side of the shelf?  The woman of that set is gone already and the man will go away too.

I will finish removing the last of the ceiling panelling today. I had two beams, fake, in that part and one of the beams came down yesterday. It came down without injury nor a loud noise.

I am still undecided what to do for the ceiling treatment.  There is dry wall that has not been treated with compound.  I will have to do that if I want to just paint the ceiling. If the whole drywall material is not in good enough condition then I will have to pick a material to put over it. I hung that drywall ceiling 30 years ago and it does look good.  I will probably get the joint compound out and do a 4 square foot area to see if it will be acceptable for finishing.

The days are warmer and it is melting away our snow. We should have a pretty good week with the weather being nice.  Snow is coming on Friday.  I must shut this blog down for the day.  Thank you for stopping by today.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Back Home......

We are home now after our adventure of driving to the Chicago area. We returned to boxes piled in the dining room and a large gallery studio area all torn up.  As we move through our day, things are collected up and saved or tossed.  I am too much of a history buff to throw away old bottles.

A rough looking plate that has a decal of a duck couple on a lake.  I had never really looked closely at the dish before now. The platter has always been on display in every house my parents old.  I remember seeing it in the old house on the farm in the 50s and then the new ranch house in the 60s.  When my parents moved to two different houses in town, the platter was in sight in the kitchens.

It isn't a very valuable platter.  It did have a gold design on it trailing around the outside rim of it. The scene is of two ducks on the water.  The background trees with mountains or hills make it a nice landscape.  I really never notice the cattails  before but I was always glad to see the water lily in the foreground.

I don't know the exact history of the plate but it was my Grandmother Brook's plate.  She was known to have moved from one abandoned house to another with her husband and the three kids. I am curious as to when in that cycle of living that she obtained the plate. I am guessing that my mom got the piece when she married as it has been in her household all of her life.  I have displayed it probably the last 15 years.  My mother had given her prized antique water pitcher to my one bother, which sat next to the plate always. I think she felt this plated needed to be given to me since the pitcher was gone.

We won't missed this farmhouse-styled set of stairs. I think of all of the history of it being used since it was first built in 1903.  I have meant people who said their grandparents lived in this house.  The abstract show that at least 25 people or more have owned the house. A man named Mel Brooks owned it before me.  Not thee "Mel Brooks'.  The abstract history sounds like a good source for a blog.

Well I need to shut this post down for the day.  I am very tired from the past day's adventures but things will be done today.  I am in the tear down mode of removing panelling from the ceiling of a 13" by 21" room.  The ceiling is on a slant so it will be more work than a flat ceiling.

Thanks for stopping by today.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Time Off........It's Saturday.

I am packing the older ones; not packing the younger ones. I need to start an antique store and put them all in it for sale.

All of the pottery on the main floor is packed up ready for the move.  Unfortunately I have a lot of pottery in the basement that will have to be sorted and packed.  Some of it will be pitched.  I have a collection of ceramic birdhouses that I made each year at school.  I would make a demonstration piece for the students, in which  to see the process. I taught a lot of years and most years I did make a new one.  We will see if I can figure out which ones are the best one to pack.

I will be packing my morning glory seed that I harvested last fall.  I have a lot of see and will have to see where I can plant it.  We have two very large clematis vines already established by the previous owners.  The it a good thing for us.

Our sweet newborn grandson, Teddy, is  now over 9 months old.  We will be attending his baptism soon.  He has grown up fast and is a gentle-natured little guy.  We will also see our other grandson AJ who is turning 4 years old in February.

We did a little time away from the house today.  We checked out the bookstore and stopped at Wally Mart afterwords. It is nice to be back home now as the windchill are really tough on the skin today.  Thank your for stopping by today.

Oh yes, we did buy some furniture on Thursday.  We had fun picking out some new things to fit into our newer house. We bought another wing-backed to match the one we already had purchased a few months ago. We will have to return to pick up some minimal kinds of things but we wore out that  day we went and just didn't finish.  Our new house really isn't that close to a furniture store in our city.  We need to do some more looking to find out if there is something there we are not aware of. 

Friday, January 27, 2017

Friday Has Arrived........

The garbage truck goes early in the morning. I have to put everything out the night before rather than get up so early to do the job.  We have emptied out some old dried up things that have been taking up space way too long under the gallery sink. As I turn the gallery into a family room I am removing the sink and cupboards.  The north end of the house with pipes going through the crawl space meant fighting continually in the winter to keep pipes from freezing.  The new owners, if anyone wants to buy this place, can turn that area into a bookcase area or whatever. Evidence of cupboards and sink base will be gone.

It didn't warm up much the past two days so the snow is still around  It was 12 degrees F. on our thermometer this morning. It was  colder than we have been for weeks. The streets did get cleared yesterday in town with the use of salt and sand.

Our trip to the furniture store yesterday was a safe journey but the highway had places where the snow had blown onto the road.  It was slick as we drove through those areas. We meant a road maintainer on our way up and he wasn't scraping anything. Wedecided when we returned that he had put chemical on the snowed over areas as they were melting.

Here is another photo from my portfolio from the college class.  It is taken from the creek that flows through the Ledges State Park. The creek dumps into the Des Moines River which becomes the Lake Saylorville.  When the lake has too much water, this entire area is flooded out from the backup of the water. When the dam was put in, engineers said that the flooding wouldn't happen ever 20 years or more.  They were wrong, as the park has been flood almost one or two times every ten years.

The park has unusual rock formations on either side of this river. It is like a miniature canyon with the creek running through it making it a great park area to visit. The foliage and flowers are from a shrub that I can not identify right now.  It reminds me of a wild hornbeam but I really don't know. The photo was taken in 1972.

The two juncos were really excited at the fresh pile of seed. The glass pieces are broken so the feeder doesn't work. I use the tray part to dump in the seed. I did see a bluejay out there this morning but I wasn't free to take any photos.

Another busy day for us as we keep going on the packing.  I have the art gallery cleared out enough that I can now start working on the remodeling part of the room.  The room is 13' by 21' and will make a really nice family room. A new ceiling and new flooring product will make a good impression for a buyer.  As I proceed, we have to decide what should be put on the floor, wood or carpet?  I guess those decisions come as the work continues.

Thank your for stopping by today.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Thursdays Things......

There is a lot of snow out there; 6 to 7 inches of snow on the ground. The view really does show my very oldest set of tennis shoes.  I slip them on like house slippers some times when I am in a hurry to put out birdseed. I came in with snow caked all over the shoes and my jeans were wet too. I don't have to shovel back there anymore since our little Button left us.  Barney likes the snow and it is fun for him  to wade through it.

The snow was collecting on the west side of the trunk of the birch tree.  It doesn't really show as the tree is so white itself in color.

The juncos were glad that I had dumped seed on the old broken-down feeder.  The tray still works so they did get right at it this morning, digging through the seed.

Focusing on white just doesn't always work.  I still like the formations that are formed with the build up of snow on the yew shrub. Our tracks that Barney and I created last evening were all gone this morning as a powder-like snow fell most of the night.

I found my portfolio of black and white photos that I took at ISU.  It was my very last class that I took during the summer of 1972 before I started my teaching job for my very first time. The camera was a boxed shape camera with view finder that required you to look down on it while you manually focused it.  The required night shot that I took for the portfolio was this greenhouse taken somewhere on campus.  Forty five years later I was able to manipulate it into a better photo than what was originally taken.  I took a lot of bad photos for that class.  It was film back then and I was required to develop my own pictures in the smelly lab. I enjoyed it but I sure didn't know exactly what I was doing  I will share more photos later. Personal computers were not invented yet along with any applications to edit photos.

We are heading out to a furniture store today to look for new pieces to go into our almost new house. We have a list of things and need to find how long the ordering and delivery time will be.  We really have lived most of our married life with mostly antique or repurposed furniture.  Our one new couch and loveseat that we bought 18 years ago did bite the dust and is in the landfill.  It had an ok price but the value of them was not so great.

We are moving to a house that has actually four bedrooms.  One bedroom will used an office area. Another is in the finished basement next to a full bath. We will be able to have company at different times of the year.  Others will receive antique dressers and bookshelves.  It is fun, and yet we are still in limbo as to when the actual closing day will be.

The cold and the snow is settled in again as actually we are in the winter season.  I see we will get snow again this evening but no storm predicted with this one.  Thank you for stopping by today.
Everyone stay safe and warm out there.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Snow Day........

A bucket full of snow sort of indicates that we are getting a lot of snow.  It is wet and heavy so it doesn't take long for it to build up.

The Japanese yew does load up with snow because of the way its needles are grown. When the snow gets heavier, the branches will lay on the ground.

The river birch seems to be happy with it all, as the snow from the west wind only sticks to the truck of the tree.

The yucca plants do flatten out during a snow but they do come back in the spring. In the middle of all the leaves is one very green leaf sticking up into the air.

I keep finding things from my past as I sort through things.  The story is too long to share but the place I painted it was at a ski resort.  It was a U of Minn. college class offered for teaching license renewal.

I almost didn't recognize it as my work as it was done probably 40 years ago.  The style of painting was required as a learning experience.  I am thinking that all of the other paintings that I did for that class have been tossed years ago.  I learned nothing from the class but did get some painting experience accomplished.  I didn't have a lot of time spent painting at that time even though I was an art teacher.

It seems like the week is going by quickly.  We are busy for long periods and then we just have to quit and rest from all the packing activities.  The snow storm was predicted for the upper part of Iowa but the storm itself went beyond its determined line and hit us too.   We can still get around on the streets so we are not too inconvenienced.

Thank you for stopping by today.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Finding Things........

We have a cupboard that we built many years ago that covers a sewer pipe that is in the office area.  The cupboard seems to be off to itself and we rarely add things to it or take things out of it.  I was digging into the cupboard because we are looking for a tackle box, art purposed.  We can't find it. I am thinking that on our very last outing of painting along the north shore that we left it somewhere.  It was a large art tackle box that we stored all sorts of art things to help us as we painted out doors. I am guessing it was either left in a motel or was left on the ground somewhere in one of the parks in Minnesota.  That cupboard was our last hope in finding it.

The photos that I found while digging in the cupboard were the above two.  Our son Forester Dan, who turned 38 a while back is the one with the pet deer of our cabin area in Grand Rapids, Minnesota.  A woman who lived in the main house near us took in abandoned critters for the county people who were in charge. The young deer grew up quickly and did hang around for another year.

The other photo is an antique photo that came from a very old furniture store.  I salvaged things from that store while in my youth. I have a couple of other prints that were in the store of famous artists at the time.

She will be in the landfill soon.  There is a another one of a man in some other cupboard and they will not be going away together. I guess it is time to say good riddance to the lesser quality pieces.

I found a spear, very sharp and dangerous, that came from Madagascar.  A relative great aunt on the boy's grandparents side was a missionary there for most of her adult life. I don't like keeping it around but it is a museum piece.  The handle piece to the spear head never existed or was found in the aunt's things.

A piece from my wife's glassware collection was also found in the cupboard.  It was at the very top of the cupboard and I had to get a step ladder to get it down.  The office area sin  a part of the house that still has ten foot ceilings. I had to make a very tall cupboard to cover up the pipe.

I have some bloggers wondering what is going on with this moving process.  My wife and I are moving to a city close to Des Moines.  It is in a good location for us, in a quiet newer suburbia.  The house is all on one floor, which was a strong reason for moving. The basement is a walk out one and the former owners were gardeners. Shrubs and trees are established and many good things will be there for me to further develop.  It is also a house that is 13 years old, it will be like a new house for us. After living in a 113 year old house, we look forward to the change.   I have run out of youth and patience to continue maintaining the old house and having a new house will be refreshing.

 The town we now live in, was chosen by my working here as a teacher back in 1976.  We have no relatives in this town or area, so we have no ties that are that strong.  The school was my job and I know everyone and their kids in town.  It is a good thing but it also is going to be nice to be able to be anonymous for my elder years. The closing is not until March, the date is flexible, as we are waiting for the former owners to move to Boston. For a certain period of time we will have the freedom to own both houses and take all the time we want to get into the new house.  I have some work to do on this old house before I put it up for sale. We probably will not be ready to move in but we will have things organized enough that it will be easier to transfer things for a final move.  The boxes that fill the dining room right now are getting to be overwhelming but we keep thinking of the final finish of this move.

My blogging continues and I will try to stay on it.  Some days are going to be ones that I may not be around but I will try to stay in touch with everyone.  We are at the bottom part of a snow storm today and we are getting colder now. I am sure we will have white stuff everywhere before the day is over.

Thank you for stopping by today.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Monday..............Slow Start.

It has been 14 years since this broadway musical was first performed. We were fortunate enough to go see the North American touring group perform this musical last evening.  All in all, I really did enjoy it.  The play does start off as a "better than high school" class play, but it does pick up.  I really do like the music and the sound systems put out quality stuff. The music did become louder than loud at times.

I am really into watching the productions and how all the technical details work when putting on the play. The set changes, lighting, and now viewing projection screens really are fun to see as they create a magical product. I worked with high school  play directors a few time helping build sets and finding furniture to put on school musicals.  I really liked doing that.  The "Hello Dolly" was my first big musical that I was put in charge to create the set.

Our new home is north of the Des Moines area. It is about 20 minutes or less away from the Des Moines Civic Center (Performing Arts). There will be no excuse for us not to go to see the traveling broadway shows.  We will pick and choose from them but should be able to see some of the really big ones.  We will never see the professional shows in NYC so this will be a good similar experience.

I had to dig to find things to photograph this morning. Pottery is hidden thoughout the house and I found these two just recently.  The quality of the pieces do vary in quality, as some were just demonstration pieces that I made for students to see. Other pots are ones that I take my time to really make perfect. The wheel thrown one is one of my earliest works back when I first started teaching art.

Today I share my oldest son's photo our youngest son, Forester Dan.  He is holding his nephew, Teddy, the picture taken last summer.  He and is wife live in Maine.

He and his wife spent the weekend at a hotel in the mountains in Maine for his birthday.  We have seen pictures of him hot tubbing in bubbly waters, outside while it was 26 degrees F.  Teddy's baptism ceremony was postponed to this coming Sunday and we will be there. Teddy is now 9 months old today.

It is still winter here and we are getting weary of the weather.  We are probably not as tolerant as we should be.  I hope everyone is safe today and warm.  Thanks for stopping by today.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Sunday Afternoon..........

Cateye marbles were the popular kind when I was a kid in the 60's.  I remember hearing of people heating them up in a coffee can or cast iron skillet and then placing them into cold water.  The clear part of the marble would crackle up and sometimes the marble would just break apart.

These other marbles, not the cateye one, seem to be the older kind of marble.  I don't know much about the makings of them but they seem to be made of a more opaque kind of glass.

I really don't know the history of the glass jar with lid.  It is old.  It has Chinese designs on it with junk boats, bamboo branches  and ming trees. As the collecting continues, I will need to get another jar as this one is almost full. In order to move this, I have decided to put the marbles into a stronger cardboard box and put the jar and lid into bubble wrap packing material.

It is Sunday and I am again blogging late today.  We are off to see "Mama Mia" tonight at the Des Moines civic center this evening.  We have not seen a performance down there for a long time.  We just decided to force the issue and get tickets.  It should be fun with the live music and great performers. We have had a busy day already so we are resting up before we take off again for the evening.  Thank you for stopping by today.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Saturday's Spot........

Looking out the dining room window the fog looms most of the morning. It has moved in since we are not cold enough to get rid of it.  It is depressing but it being very cold would be more depressing.

Things that missed out on the canvas packing session will be incorporated into a different box. The print is from Kansas City.  My wife's two smaller paintings were laying to the side when we packed up all of the artwork. Our voices echo now with most of the things having been removed from the gallery/studio.  It still has rubble in it but that will go away with a good couple of hours of work. I will start work on the room renovation on Monday.

Two bags of seashells are a mystery to us.  We didn't see a single sea shell when we were on the Atlantic coastline.  My parents travelled a lot and they must have purchased them in California.  I do not remember bringing them home from their house but I know I would not throw away seashells.

I found a grungy marble at the bottom of one of our brush containers.  It of course set me on a photographic frenzy.  I have now placed it into the glass container for storage.  I took many shots of the marble event so maybe you can see those tomorrow.

Thanks for stopping by today.  Our weather is not bad but is sure don't seem great either.  I hope you are doing well where ever you are living.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Train Memories.......

Last fall while visit the Boone and Valley Scenic Railroad, I took three snaps of a train museum display. I don't have a clue what some of the tools are used for but there are some that can be understood.

The display was open to the public behind the area where we stood waiting for the trains to bet set up for boarding.

When they finish selling tickets they know the exact number of passengers that will be on board.  We were there on a busy day and they had to add three more cars to the line.  The crew who work this railroad are a paid crew who have been trained by other experienced people to do the jobs needed to run the train.

The quote states that the most important thing is that when the train comes by "is that you get on board".

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Findings in the Rubble......

Among all of the stuff that is out while sorting and tossing goes on in the gallery, I found this painting.  My wife had done this watercolor painting of the boys years ago.  They are now ages of 38 and 41 years now.  She had done it as a surprise gift for me and decided that she didn't like it. I do like it a lot and it is fun to find it.  I am going to frame the guys who have returned from fishing Lake Pokegama in Minnesota.

Another couple of other things that surfaced were these two.  The one is a pencil drawing my wife had done in the past.  The other is a pastel painting of AJ and I will be putting that into a frame. It was done a few months ago.

I am going to move this stuff with me to the new house.  I haven't finished one of the rocks but maybe I will have time.  I have some more rocks empty rocks that I need to paint seascapes on them.  I will be moving a box of rocks.

I took this painting down from its dark corner in the office area this morning.  The artists like to talk about the time in their lives that they paint it and others who view it, just want to look at it.  I painted this many years ago.  I was inspired to do it from my ideas of Claude Monte's garden bridge.  The trees are funny as I paint them in a stylized manner similar to the way Grant Wood painted his trees. It it a pleasing picture to see but I do know how many layers of paint that I had put on the trees, until I figured out how to solve the visual problems of them. This is a large painting done in oil paint

Another busy day today of work.  I didn't accomplish very much yesterday but progress did take place toward the end result. Thank you for stopping by today.