Friday, March 31, 2023

Warming Trend....

 At one time today we were up to 78° F. today.  It is cooling down now and we did not get the predictied rain. 

I have been waiting for warm weather so I can keep on working on this footstool.  It needed to have the varnish removed but I could not do it inside because of the fumes. I tore this apart nine days ago so that did require me to have more patience than I truly have.  I found things to distract me.

I tried to set this up yesterday and then I found the wind was too strong for me to work outside.  The wind would dry out the remover before it had a chance to work.  Today was the day for it to happen.

Using remover is not an easy thing.. I found that after I put it on and waited I had to use steel wool to remove the old varnish.  I had to do three applications to get it finally to be cleared off of the wood. 

I kept rotating it once on set of surfaces were done. There are basically six surfaces facing up here so it took a lot of time. 

There are also eight bottom edges on the underneath of the surfaces and vice versa when I sit it up straight.  I sit it upside down firs then sit it right side up to get it all done.  Obviously I had to clean up slopping onto already finished areas. 

I will hand sand it all or maybe get out the power sander for the major large surfaces.  Once I put on a new finish I will have to take my wife with me to find materials to cover the seat or top of the footstool. 

Hey we are in Zone 5a and the crocus are up in bloom.  I was surprised as to how fast the shot up and opened. 

Unfortunately I don't have my flower gardens clear of dead stuff.  It has been too cold to be out there.  I have dead mum plants to cut off and roses to prune back.  It will happen but sometimes jobs like this can put me into a panic.  If I work at it a few hours per day it will get done.  I have lost my best pruning shears so I will be slowed down with a bad set of shears.  Oh well......Thanks for stopping by today.

Thursday, March 30, 2023

Thursday's a Go.......


Old and weathered which blends in with the fence.  I doubt I will ever see any bird nesting in this house as it is too low on the ground and the hole is probably too large.  It is purely decorative for sure.

It is about time to take the decorative birdhouse out side.  I will place them in semi-protected areas so the rain doesn't weather them. 

It feels like spring when the temperatures gets up above freezing.  We are going to warm up for two days and the wind is to be around 80 mph.  I need to work outside this morning and I still need a parka on to keep from chilling.  They don't talk about wind chills but it still works the same way in the spring.

I am planning to plant my sweet potato this spring and just see what happens.  I planted potatoes with my parents when I was a kid so this will bring back some memories of that.  We planted potatoes to feed the family of six for the whole year.  The painted pot is an antique one.  I have a collection of them which were my parents. 

Thanks for stopping by today.

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Middle of the Week.....


First bird to the feeder since I refilled it. It didn't take only a couple of minutes. I was so chilled from being out there to fill it and also take some photos. 



I snapped this shot to show the unusual leaves of this tulip.  I was pleasantly surprised to see the iris popping through in the background. 

Newly planted iris are looking good here.  If we could get some warm days these things would take off.  We are suppose to have two warm days soon and then severe weather is predicted. 

Our winds have been so strong and the hydrangea head was snapped off and blown across the yard into another garden area.  I was out early and got so chilled from being out there that it took me a long time tow warm up.  I went for some meds this late afternoon and it has warmed just a bit.  I still needed my winter coat.  Thanks for checking in today.

Tuesday, March 28, 2023


 The pussy will tree is showing is buds.  The birds are waiting for them to get further developed so they can start eating. 

It isn't such a great specimen of a tree but when the leaves sprout out things cover up the problems.  I never knew there was such a thing as a pussy willow tree until I bought this property. 

This is an encouraging sight as the iris are sprouting well.  I would think that every iris that I have planted since two years ago will bloom this year.  If not, they get moved to a different location. I didn't buy new iris this year as life seemed too busy to get them ordered.  I am waiting for the newer ones to put out blooms to find out if I have wasted my time trying to buy new ones.

My wife loves to give me pop-up cards because she knows I am still seven years old.  The card says that it was loving designed in the USA and constructed skillfully in Vietnam.  I like how calling me a classic covers for not calling me an old man.  On some days I don't feel so old. Two of my older brothers are 80 and 82 years old now so they keep calling me the baby in the family at 73. 

It is a sunny day and it looks like spring.  The temperatures are not so warm so I can't really work outside today.  I walked out to take photos and that was tolerable.  The air does feel more like spring. I thank you for stopping by today.

Monday, March 27, 2023

Mulling Around on Monday....

 I saw a male cardinal at the feeder. He is such a bright red. I didn't get a shot.  I did get the female cardinal eating on the other side of the feeder. She stayed for a while and I couldn't resist trying to get a shot. 

After my birthday meal out yesterday we stopped at the food center/pharmacy to pick up some meds.  I saw these in the bucket of flowers and though they need to come home with me.  I try to buy flowers for my wife often and I do enjoy them too. Pink carnations are just wonderful. 

It is so great to see these two show up at the feeder.  When they fly in they look like such large birds.  I was glad that they stayed for a while. 


They are a peaceful pair as they eat the safflower seeds with great pleasure.  I have it there for the cardinals too. 

With the birthday being over I now have to get use to saying the new number for my age. I remember as a kid wondering what it would be like to live to 2000.  Twenty three years later is seems not so unusual.  It was hard to keep track of the new century numbers for a while.  When you pick up your meds they ask you your birth date to verify things.  Normally I never hear years near mine at all a most of them are in the 1970s or 80s.  I was surprised the other day while listening to people reciting their birth date numbers and a woman said 1945.  That was the oldest one that I have ever heard.  

When I order my diabetic products to maintain its function I am always getting a call back right before they ship it to verify where I am living. They always ask if i am in the hospital or a nursing home.  I wonder if they ask that of the teenagers who  use Dexcom monitors. 

Last week I was searching for a certain name on the internet to see where he and his wife were now living.  The guy was in college with me and we have not crossed paths for a long time. He and his wife did attend our church for a few years but he moved on to find a smaller church as he didn't like the large church.  When I put in his name to find his present address, up popped up his obituary.  He had passed away three years ago. I really was hit hard with the loss of a younger cousin recently and this news sent my into a sad zone. It was too close to my own birthday and I had to figure out how to process it.  

Lowell was a kind, gentle man who was busy at so many things.  I see by the obit he ended up as a system analysist for the State of Iowa.  He worked at the State House for many years and also like to be history interpreter at our local History Farms.  He had a Seminary degree from out East. He had a teacher's degree that he never used and then he had lots of tech degrees under his belt. His wife worked at Meredith, the Better Homes and Garden company.  I guess the sadness that comes is from how the time has gone by so fast and friends that were are no more.  We were great friends when were in our early twenties and then we lost time and opportunity to  continue it.  

My wife took my out for steak yesterday for my birthday and it was great with shrimp.  We always go out to a local place on Monday's night so we are going to ease the blow of my old age by eating another meal out.  I ate things that were bad for me yesterday so tonight I will eat just meat and green vegetables.  No bread and definitely no potatoes will be consumed.  My spiking meter of high blood sugar got to be irritating and it acted as my guilty conscience. I will do better tonight.  Thanks for checking in today.

Sunday, March 26, 2023

Happy Birthday to Me....

 I have a lot of mixed feelings about turning 73 years old.  I am not sure I will share what I really feel about it but I will say I had a good birthday day.  We went out to Applebees for a noon meal and I had apple pie for my substitute birthday cake.  There is too much sugar in cake with frosting and a small slice of apple pie will keep my sugar count lower if I take a very small slice.  I still made my meter go bonkers as I did still spike but it does come down in an hour or two. Tomorrow I will slice it thinner. 

I talked to the youngest son who lives in Maine.  He is still sitting in heavy snow.  Winter takes a while to leave the north country.  He is busy working and being an administrator makes him being more responsible.  Our family from Chicago called from Disney World and sang a birthday song to me. Mom and Dad and the three kids survived their first day at the Magic Kingdom. Florida was hot today with 95° F. temperatures.  

I got two Snoopy shirts for my birthday.  I wear t-shirts a lot in the house so it is fun to have new ones to trade off each day.  I don't have the right program to reverse the photo so you can just treat it as a puzzle teaser.  My wife likes to buy lots of presents and I have some good ones that I may share later.  One was an Old and New Testament that has pictures in it of the places that are being described in the historic document.  Places where Abraham traveled to get to Egypt went through lots of places we visited in Israel.  I have the same photos of the headwaters at the Tel of Dan which feeds into the Jordan River.  It will make studying the Bible more intersting when the photos share the location.

Monday will be here shortly and I will start a new day at my new age number.  I am so ready for spring but that isn't going to be for a few more weeks.  Thanks for stopping by......

Saturday, March 25, 2023

Saturday's Stuff.....


I keep my last years begonia inside over the winter.  It doesn't do much blooming but it survives well inside. Once in a while it gives out some token blooms.  During a snowstorm they are welcomed blooms.  During this spring time it isn't so excitying.


 I bought a new thermometer to put outside.  I have not done so but I kept it in the basement to monitor how the new thermostat is working.  I didn't think it was actually working as it just hung out at 70° F. all the time.  This morning I lay it outside on a table and discovered that it very much is working fine.  It also tells me I can't go outside and use a varnish stripper as that needs to be at 65° F. outside before using the product. 

The morning did not look great at sunrise but we did have sunshine for the rest of the day. The clouds turned into pleasant decorations in the sky. 

I have been going through my Grandma Brooks old recipes.  She had a spiral notebook that is stuffed full of different recipes that she has written out as well as clipped recipes from newspapers.  I will share more of this later but this one cookie recipe she had was in her book.  "Grandma Driver was what everyone called her but she actually was my grandma's mother-in-law.  Grandma Driver "was my great grandmother.  I don't think I can date the earliest of these collections but I am finding things from all of my aunts and my mom that she has collected. Grandma Brooks died in 1973 so the collecting stopped then.  Lard was used in a lot of the recipes and I bet she never bought Crisco ever. I think it is unusual to see that there were walnuts put in the mix as sugar cookies usually had nothing added to them.  The whole collection is such a fascination for me as I really can find a lot of family history in cooking.  

It has been a quiet day around here and we are having Coney dogs for supper.  We rarely do that but it is fun to have them just once in a while.  Thanks for stopping by today.

Friday, March 24, 2023

Friday Fun...

 My wife's rocker from her Grandfather Cone is all made from oak.  It is an Arts and Crafts style and could be a Stickley rocker but I could not prove it. 

This footstool is definitely a Stickley footstool which would have been to go with the above styled rocker. I am not going to put it with it though and am going to use it with my wing back chair. The design matches the four Amish styled furniture pieces that we have in the living room. I found the piece on the internet with two hundred dollar prices on it.  I won't be selling it but enjoying it for its history and design.



I have one good scratch/puncture from one of the carpet tacks while removing the old vinyl covering on the piece. I bleed easily so I had to stop and bandage it.  The stool was reworked by someone else before me and I will now try my hand to fix it up better.  The stool came from our friend's Shari apartment when we closed it down for her. The apartment dwellers exchange furniture from each other and when people died they would open the apartment up for people to salvage what they want. Shari was always trading off different things to get other things. She would change couches and end tables. This stool was one of her last trades. We too opened up her apartment to give other people a choice of things after we had cleared out things. Some of the things that we had purchased for her we did retrieve.

While my wife shopped at a clothing store this morning I went to Petco and bought fish supplies and bird supplies.  I get millet for the birds as well as stock up on their daily seed.  I did not buy any more angel fish but I did buy some algae eaters. I picked up some specialized fish food for my betta fish and bought more fake greenery for the angel fish.  I read in my fish magazines that they really are happier if they have a lot of foliage to hide in.  I do want my fish to be happy.  It was quiet at the pet store early in the morning and I only saw one little dog that their owner was trying to fit a new coat on it.  It was so small that the coats were all too big.  I don't know if it was a puppy or if it was full sized.  I think it was a cute little dachshund. 

It was nice to get out for breakfast this morning and to shop a little. Weather wasn't too cold and nothing was falling out of the sky.  Have a good Friday.

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Thursday's Things....

 We had ice on our deck this morning in the form of sleet. It sprinkled and accumulated.  North of us they had five inches of snow. We warmed up to 41° F. this afternoon with a good sun. I am going to put a potted plant on the other pedestal.

It was minor weather and I was able to go out and take a few shots.  I looked up and caught some geese flying around in formation.

We see this every spring and fall but they are not going too far away.  They are moving from our man-made lake to cornfields to the Des Moines River.  There are bank ponds that the end up at too in our area. 

There are always a few strays that just won't get into line.  Later there was a stray Canadian goose flying by quickly as he got left behind.  If I sometimes see snow geese fly over I do know that they are headed north as they never stay around here.  Our Saylorville lake does attract the snow geese, swans, pelicans and seagulls.  Most of them can be seen if you just hit it at a certain time in the spring or fall. 

The angel fish are back into their tank again.  I spent some time reading about them in fish magazines and I found out the orange one is called a koi angel fish.  The others are called tiger angel fish.  I will try not to overfeed them so that I don't have to clean the tank so often.  I also will not buy any more of them as they are getting so big that they are crowded.  I don't want to buy a bigger 20 gallon tank for them so I will just not buy anymore.  I do need to buy them an algae eater to help clean their tank. 


I took a photo of my bleeding thumb but decided not to show it. I have a new project started.  I have researched it and it is a Gustave Stickley oak footstool.  I will share more about its history later and show some of the processes that I have to do to get the wood ready to go.  I will need to work with it outside so I need warmer weather.  I can wait.  Thanks for stopping by today.

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Middle of the Week....



 I woke up this morning and was hearing the call of a morning dove.  Its call is so great and it can be heard in movies to fill in background for timber scenes.  My mom used to call them a rain crow and that they were predicting rain.  I do know now that they are not rain crows and I did fall into some jokesters of in-laws making fun of me for repeating it.  We would have them in the fence row calling while we worked in the vegetable garden when I was a kid. 

It feels like spring today.  I would go out and work at clearing flower gardens this afternoon if I were ten years younger.  It isn't going to happen. Instead I am working with a fish aquarium that I have emptied, cleaned and now need to refill with fresh water. I need to work on my feeding habits of the fish and figure out how not to overfeed them.  I guess I need to get a measuring tool and feed only a certain amount per day no matter what.  My granddaughter had a mishap with the food when she was here at Christmas. She seemed to pour in some food and I then had to clean out the tank after they were gone.  She is so cute that  she can dump the whole can of fish food in there and I wouldn't care. She will be four years old in May.

Thanks for stopping by today.

Tuesday, March 21, 2023


 While outside the cardinal was calling.  Jeeter, Jeeter, Jeteer, was such a great sound to hear. I am not sure if it was doing a territorial call or a call for a mate.  It sounded like spring. 

The house finch male turns a brighter red during the spring for mating season.  I do have more pairs of house finch that I use to have.  I know they like to nest in my blue spruce tree. 

Greener grass is growing next to the steps.  I will mow up the leaves eventually.  I can maybe put away the snowblower now. 

I am tank cleaning again and the angel fish get moved to a fresher one with clean water. They are so big now that I am thinking of buying them a bigger tank. 

I didn't wear a coat to get the mail today.  I could get use to that. While shopping for groceries the past few days all the college kids are wearing shorts and short sleeved shirts.  I am sure the flip flops will be out very soon.  Thanks for stopping by today.

Monday, March 20, 2023



This sansevieria  likes this pot.  I bought as a small plant and it is now huge.  I may have to find it a bigger pot. My older days was when it was called "mother-in-law tongue". 

Peperomia is how it is spelled but blogspot thinks it is misspelled. I too bought this as a smaller six in plant.  I remember them as a young guy when they put them in glass dish gardens.  This one keeps growing and I have only clipped back a couple of pieces.  I like its shiny green leaves.

Old garden magazines can last forever.  I sometimes put them away and then dig them out a few years later.  I see these were moved here from out old house as the date of 2017 is on one of them.  It looks more like spring today and I went out to see what was sprouting up.  We have had earlier springs with flowers blooming already but not this year.  Crocus and daffodils are not in sight this  year.  I guess we will catch up more quickly as the soil warms up.  We still have some large clumps of snow siting in the gutters of the street that need hotter temp. Even though it is the first day of spring it is just another day in Iowa.  Thanks for checking in......