Sunday, May 31, 2009

One lone flag iris....

I have a large clump of flag iris and it doesn't look like it is going to bloom. I guess I need to separate them. I moved some and here is one lone iris blooming. It is such a rich blue.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Iowa State Flower....

The Iowa state flower is this wild rose. It grows in many of the states around us, especially I have seen growing wild in Minnesota. I planted one in my back yard next to the patio and it is very hearty. It spreads by underground roots so I literally have to mow it to keep it under control. If I left it alone it would take the entire yard. I have another old fashioned rose on the property that spreads by roots, but nothing like this wild rose.

I had the sun and the wind to contend with while trying to photograph it. The sun bleaches out the colors and the wind kept my roses moving periodically. Once the wind stopped gusting, I had to hurry and snap it to see if I could get good color and from which angle did it work best for the good picture. I will go out again some evening with low light and see what I can accomplish.

Friday, May 29, 2009

I have my eye on you.....

I worked in the yard most of the day and I am not in great shape. It was good for me but I kind of get punch drunk when I am work tired. So I was too lazy to move the chest of drawers away from the gallery of pictures. So you have a cat and a horse checking you out while you view the vase. The picture below isn't much better but it shows me just plain messing around with my camera.

Can you see me reflecting back at you in the vase?

Thursday, May 28, 2009

My neighbor's iris....

I had a busy day taking trips to the landfill from my parents house. Throwing away things that they should have thrown away years ago. Trying to recycle and donate as much as possible but this stuff is worthless.
My photo today is a stolen glimpse of my neighbor Judy's iris. She kept her bed alive and I am going to share them with you.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Pink and red.....

It is another dianthus day. This was another plant that I took from my parents home in southern Iowa. It transplanted easily. We had what I call a Minnesota rain yesterday. It just takes a day and rains continually, slow easy rain that really soaks in to the ground. Iowa rarely gets these as we mix our rain with tornado and winds and hail and lightning. The rain was good for all of the garden plants.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

William Baffin rose.....

I bought this rose in Grand Marais, Minnesota. I had read a lot about it saying that it was so tough and survived winters. Eventually you will be tired of seeing this rose as it is a very large rose bush now and it is such a successful plant. It will prove to give me many good shots.

Sunday, May 24, 2009


This is my not so professional submission for the day. The challenge is to find the raccoon in the picture. Automatic cameras do funny things sometimes.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Iris in the sun.....

I lost a lot of iris but these old fashion ones are doing great. Iris are such a sculptural looking flower with great color.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Red Dianthus....

I potted this dianthus from my mom's property. It came up every year for quite some time. I am going to plant it in a similar spot on my property to mimic where it was down south. Red flowers are one of my favorite colors with their contrasts to the green foliage. My mom and grandma called these pinks and I thought they had to always be pink. Since I am now older I discovered that they come in many colors and they are like miniature carnations, not as frilly but similar foliage and colors.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Purple Alum....

This is my older alum patch. As a photographer it was a challenge yesterday as there was a lot of gusts of wind. I kept watching them swinging to and fro and not in sequence. I will be clearing this whole flower bed and starting over after the alum are through blooming. I will try to replant the alum similarly to keep them growing in another location.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Opening soon....

Spent the day at my parents house mowing the yard and throwing things and visiting the cemetery. We haven't purchased a stone form my brother's grave yet so it was sad looking. Will be more motivated now to get that done. My two other brothers are out of state so it will be my wife and I getting that job done.
The iris down there are opened up already. This was a hot day for us with a high of 84 degrees. The low is not great for tonight either. We probably are above seasonal temperatures but that is Iowa weather. We will be in the air conditioner season soon. I will take a bunch of pictures tonight and can blog with gusto tomorrow as I sub at school.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Gazing ball.......

Working in the garden today. Have to fix the dog's fence, finish mowing the orchard,pull weeds and try to get the tiller to start again.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Columbine and wild blue phlox...

When I was young, I lived on a 240 acre farm in southern Iowa. Timber covered about 180 acres of that farm. I was very fortunate to have creeks to play in and timber to hike through.

While I was out there I could find wild phlox and columbine growing wild. I would dig them up and bring them to our house. I planted them on the north side of the house. I bet the columbine is still growing there today, 30 some years later.
The columbine in the photo is one that I purchased at a nursery as it does remind me of our native plants. wild blue phlox was found in the timber near here along the river. Since I planted it a few years back, it has spread naturally among the lily of the valley and an old rose bush. I used the portrait setting on the camera to get it to focus on the plants. I am a slow learner with these automatic cameras. Spring is cold here today but tomorrow we are to have summer heat of 70's and 80's.

Sunday, May 17, 2009


Time to repair this windmill one more time. It went through a tornado a few years back and had some large bends that has weakened it. We get strong winds in the area and it just doesn't fair well as it suppose to face the wind to cause it to be turned. That means the full force of the wind pushes against it. I am going to get some steel posts and firmly plant it. I have a heavy hammer and I will play blacksmith to get it flatten back to it's original form.

Saturday, May 16, 2009


Across the street sits this 1949 Pontiac in deep need of restoration. I am a design freak and really enjoy seeing how things have been created and the design that has been put on for embellishment. The symbol of an Native American Indian chief which symbolize Chief Pontiac is placed on the side of the car. It's design stands alone as a strong symbol for this car. Can you see that the color of the car was blue. Just a hint of it is around the circle design.
Inside of the car you see the influence of everyones interest in the future of space. The radio cover looks like a grate for an exhaust fan and the rounded horn looks like a future space ship as seen in the movies. I like both photos and hope they interest you.

Another site about the 49 Pontiac

Friday, May 15, 2009

Good, bad, composition....

I found this as an unusual composition but like it. It bothers me that everything has a movement to the left and the little guy is even looking to the left.
This is a new planting area that is being developed. The city decided to take down one of my very old silver maple trees and left this hole. The soil is great and I have added iris and a peony to the area with a red twig dogwood shrub. In another year I may have pulled it off. I keep adding things that won't be annuals but for now the marigolds can handle the heat out there on the corner of my property.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Honeysuckle red....

Red and green are a natural complement to each other. Our rains from the past summer really encouraged a good spring of blooms. I had to look this up, sometimes one takes things for granted in knowing what it is then finds out differently. I am an ever learner. I did find this shrub on the net and it is honeysuckle. Some lose this to a disease but I must be living well as I have had this for years.

Finding Nemo.....

I have fish to get shipped out to the pond. They will be happy and I will be glad to let them get some sunshine. They get brightly colored from the sun but also from live algae.
The big guy there is actually a chiclid but I will put it out there anyway. They originated from South America and they live in lakes. The white one with black spots is a koi and the rest are goldfish.
My pond is going to get rebuilt this summer but I bought a farm stock tank that I have sunk into the ground to keep the fish. That way in the fall I can retrieve them with out much problem. The more natural pond I sometimes put a few cheap goldfish feeders in and watch them grow.
I have had an aquarium for years, and the movie "Finding Nemo" entertains me purely because of their ability to duplicate water and plant movement in all of the scenes. I appreciate their dedication to detail.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Three Muskateers

This is an older photo of the three cockatiels that we have raised from babies। There are two males and one female in the cage. We will be getting them into a bigger cage soon. The female has figured out how to raise the cage feeding door and just walk out. One can hear it go clang from another room and know that she has escaped. Originally they three were just playing with the lift doors and were having fun lifting them and letting them fall. One male would accidentally figure it out and we would put him back in and put a clip on the door. I have been subbing at school, teaching everything but what my major is, but I get emails from home and my wife says that she is out again. They are tame but one still has to throw a towel over their backs and pick them up with out them clamping their beak onto your hand. They don't like to let go and that beak that can break open hard seeds and sticks also draws blood on soft skin. We now have wired the doors shut and soon will find a bigger cage. In the meantime we will throw different objects in there that they can toss around to keep them entertained. They love carrots and apple tree sticks and plastic lids to chew.

Monday, May 11, 2009

No one home....

My wren house was on the ground and I didn't get it cleaned out and back up soon enough. It sits empty even though I do hear a wren out their singing. Someone may be saying it would help if there was an entrance and I would say, it is on the other side. I have had a pair in there every year since I had the house. I will keep you posted, but I think it may be too late. My grapes don't look like they are alive this year. The plants around the original grape vines have grown up and shade them too much. I don't think they are getting enough hot sun during the day. I also think that our excessive rains of last summer has destroyed my very large clematis that grew next to our front porch. Time will tell but I should be seeing life in some of those things. A neighbor gave us a dinner plate hibiscus to replace the one we lost a few years ago.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Apple trees....

Time to buy a new fruit tree sprayer. I have three trees that are blooming profusely.

Saturday, May 9, 2009


I got my first start of the white lilac from a neighbor lady across the alley. The bush is way too big and I have seen garden shows that tell you to prune out a third each year. I may start that this year after they bloom. The violet lilacs came from a property that we once owned in Minnesota. They are the old fashioned vaiety.

This afternoon at the Osceola property, I took a small start from a very red lilac bush. If it doesn't start I will go back and get a bigger clump. It is across the alley next to the back drive of the property. The start had a few small roots on it and I trimmed it back a little to give it a chance to root.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Accidental success....

The things that control themselves are sometimes photography. I am always amazed how I can get a perfect composition and the light isn't strong enough to allow the camera to get the foreground focused. The background ends up focused and the foreground blurs.
This photo amazed me. It's contrasting colors are great. I cropped the ends off of it a little and I am not sure that I should have done that but it still amazes me.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

At the base of the tree.....

My birch tree is from Minnesota. I planted it at least 30 years ago. I brought it home from a ditch next to our property. It was three foot high then. The tulips seem to be on stage with the trunk as it's background.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Hostas and flag iris....

I love how the back yard garden is so depressing and then all of a sudden it looks great back there. I have a border collie, Barney, who visits out there a lot and the beauty of that area has changed. I have added many perennials and once they get up it is looks great. I have an area that is full of orchard grass and alums. Once the alums are through blooming, I am going to gut the whole area and start over with more perennials. I think it will be fun to just salvage stuff from other areas. I just thought that peony bushes would be tough enough for Barney. I have had to substitute teach the past few days, but soon I will get back to taking photos for photography sake and leave the gardening problems to my other blog.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Apple Blossoms...

The true sign of spring, when the apple trees kick-in and send fragrant smells all over the garden. The bench is getting a nice weathered look and I think I will leave it until fall before I paint it again.

Monday, May 4, 2009

The before picture...

I haven't any new photo that I want to share but I have this before picture before I plant it. Our kitten Nala is buried under the apple tree and this will be a shade garden soon. The fun part is the planning. The little statue is a very close likeness of our Nala and it is nice to have it out there as a memorial. The statue has no tail just like our Manx kitten. Our border collie is bright, but not when it comes to this statue. Eight yards away is the fence that keeps him at bay, and he thinks that the statue is real. He barks his head off to scare it away. I had to put it behind the tree trunk so it is out of sight.
In the right hand side of the picture is one of our neighbors little dogs. Chiwawa Dog or Chihuahua, I found both spellings on the net, and they have four of them altogether.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Delicate colors....

I follow a blog in England where the young man states that one of his characteristics is that he "talks too much." He is a very nice fellow and I am going to steal his quote. I vow to quit writing a novel on my photos of a day.
I really like the colors of these tulips. It was hard to get a great composition but I did almost get a focused result.

Saturday, May 2, 2009


My wife and I spent the entire day down to my mom's house sorting things, finding old important items, throwing things and just making head way through a house full of things from the three who lived there. My dad has been gone eight years now, mom passed away a year ago May and my brother who lived there also has been gone since August.
We had two friends helping us and that did make it easier. Nancy likes cloth and sewing things so we filled Bernie's, her husband, truck. They helped to take away some of the lostness you feel when you have to take their things away and empty a house. Looking at old hippie photos of me, finding mom's high school diploma among the trash, laughing at the different points of view about keeping it or throwing it away, and sharing our grief. Nancy and Bernie are good friends. They will never know how much we were blessed by their being there.
The lone tulip picture represents the sadness we felt when we arrived to the house. I had planted tulips and daffodils in different falls when I visited mom and dad and they were all up and blooming. No one is there to appreciate them but the seasons continue. If you knew my mom, she would be scolding me saying that it wasn't necessary to put those bulbs in and then the next spring she would be calling bragging about how great her tulips looked. I would like to lift a couple of the varieties and pot them before I sell the house. The sticks need to be picked up right now and the yard mowed, but I think I can pull it off to pot them and let them grow in the pots all summer. This fall I will put them back in the ground up here. It is tough to see the roses needing to be pruned and leaves to be raked out of the flowers and care to the property has to be done. I hope the future owners will appreciate some of the joy that has been left there for them to enjoy each spring.