Sunday, February 28, 2010


The paperwhites  don't smell any more. Their flowers are past their prime. The seed bulbs are forming and there still is snow.  It has been a good run for them. They have given us a lot of unexpected joy as they soaked in the light of all those cold winter days.  A cold, moody afternoon as I look out beyond their faded form and ask when will it all conclude.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

My family.......

My older brothers doing their thing in the front yard.

Ronald James Burgus looks into the camera while his younger brother Rex Thomas Burgus checks out the person taking the photo.  While my dad was in the service in Washington D.C. and then in Europe, these guys and mom lived with Grandma Brown, mom's mother.  This is in Murray, Iowa and I suspect the year is 1945.  Ron would be 16 months older and I think he looks close to being four years old here. The house that they are sitting in front of still stands today, except some time after they lived there the owner removed the second story and made it look like a ranch house.

Back row: Zella Marie Brown Burgus, Dwight Burgus and Jesse Thomas Burgus
Front row: Rex and Ron Burgus

After dad returned from the war,  Dwight Lee  was born in Feb. 1947.  At first my dad worked as a mechanic, repairing tractors.  He then made his move to become a farmer.  They rented a farm in which dad would give up half of the crop for the rent. This photo is taken out on that farm, south of Murray, near a little town called Hopeville.  Someday I will blog about Hopeville. 

Click on the picture and enjoy the chicken in the background. One also can see the photographer and friend is in the picture.

 Dwight, Rex, the border collie, and Ron

This photo is out on the rented farm in 1949 or 50.  I was born in 1950 and I think Dwight looks almost three here so I could have been born by then.  Stories I have heard from the family about the dog, was that he was so protective of his family and no one else was welcomed on the property.

Today Ron owns a printing company in Mesa, Arizona and Rex co-owns with two partners a company that make trailers for recreation vehicles in California.  Dwight started his working life as a construction worker, working as a contractor for companies in Mesa, Arizona.  As his addictions continued in his life he demoted himself to being a drywall installer and living with my parents back in Osceola, Iowa.   My father died in 2000, age 82 and my mom passed away in 2008, age 89 years, three months after then my brother Dwight died. He was 61 years old.

 Check out the many friends of mine who are participating in Sepia Saturday. 

Friday, February 26, 2010


An Oxalis is such a great plant to have in a pot as it will give off a little touch of color for you no matter what. I ususally plant the little bulbs back into the ground for the summer to revive it.

A sculptural form develops as the long stem extends out it's flower head.  It doesn't get so long when it is outside in natural light but inside it stretches itself out to get to it's source of light.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Tropical Iowa......

I set up one of my son's aquariums today.  It is a smaller one so it would not take a lot of activity.  I still have the 55 gallon in the basement.  I bought two fish that spent their night in a bucket, but are now in their own little five gallon tank. This was one of my shots with no fish in it.  My son has this far out colored rocks and I just kept it in the tank. You can see the colors at the bottom glowing upward.

They are a fantail comet and a shubunkin goldfish.  Their colors are all gold, silver, orange and brown.  I can keep them inside or put them out this spring with the other fish. I wanted to get tropical fish, but the messing with the cold weather, bringing them home and getting the tank heater to bring up the temperature, seemed too much of a hassle.   These two look like they are dancing, but the camera was scaring them for some reason.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


My photo today is of another decoration on a pitcher.  I am a sucker for color and classical design. When I was first out of college, I bought a whole set of dishes with this pattern on it. I bought it at an auction for six dollars and it was a box full of dishes. 
This is the "Mildred" china by Mt. Clemens Pottery, Michigan, 1939.  It is not fired as high as some fine china but it was probably the top of the line for those in Iowa in the early 1900's. It is a stencil applied decoration on a cream colored base. 
A few years later, my wife and I bought a whole lot more of it at an antique store plus found a surgar and creamer to go with it.  We used the set of dishes for everyday for probably 15 years and finally we just put it away in storage.  It looks good on our old antique walnut table.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A framed view......

I happened across this photo of the summer and thought that it was a good shot. The vine is actually wild hops that grows up in later summer. I didn't get my vine of choice to grow there so I just let it be.  This is my picture offering of warmth and sunshine.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Snow Ghost.......

While out bringing in my garbage bin one night, I took this photo of the snow.  It glitched in reaction to still being set at macro.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Dried flower bouquet.

Sepia Saturday is a wonderful thing for us who participate as we find old photos of family and share what we know about them.  I had been covering my dad for quite some time because I could use the old WW 2 photos that are already on my computer. 

I decided to expand and went digging in the mom's picture's from her funeral presentation photos. I was going to be lazy and just snap a shot of her graduation photo in the frame. Then I thought well it would be better to get the clearer picture.  It was difficult to get to the photo out of the frame as there was a  device like a trap door in the back. It was an old frame and as I opened it up there was a packet of dried flowers. The bouquet was folded in wax paper and placed in the back.

My mom graduated in 1937 and I wonder if my mom even remembered the flowers were put in there for storage. That would mean that they are about 73 years old.

There are three  or more possibilities for the flowers.
1.  They were a bouquet from a graduation event, which I am not sure what they would have done back there to celebrate a graduation.
2. They could be from a boyfriend that I found out about at a reunion last summer.  I had heard of him but didn't know that he had the same middle name as I had. She did not marry him.
3. They could be from a bouquet from a funeral for a baby girl that she lost in 1951.  She didn't get to go to whatever kind of funeral that they held for her.  Maybe it was just a graveside service, but she could have pressed that and saved it in her photo frame.  I was born just the year before and I do remember her showing me a ribbon from that funeral.
4. They could have been a bouquet from her wedding to dad, but that was in the winter, Dec. 21st, so I don't think that is even a possibility.

Any way I am glad to find it. I think I will make a shadow box for the flowers and frame them. I will have to decide whether light will destroy it or if it can be done.

Sepia Saturday Mom.....

Zella Marie Brown Burgus was born in 1919.  Her parents were Leroy Martin Brown and Mabel Zella Wheeler Brown.  They were poor. Zella was born in a farmhouse somewhere between Afton and Lorimor, Iowa in Madison County. Yes, the same county as the movie"Madison County Bridges." She had two older brothers Marvin and Kenneth Brown.
Her dad had many jobs but the ones that I remember most was the he dug graves.  He also owned a barber chair and cut hair, but usually no one paid him for the work.  Mom said that she never stayed in the same school longer than just one year during here elementary years.  They seemed to move every spring to whatever house that they could find available.  My own idea was there were times that they didn't have the rent, so they had to move. As my mom was going into high school, my grandmother got a job at the restaurant in Murray. It gave them money to start to own a house.

For some reason, my grandmother thought my mom should have the best education, so they put her in a rented room in Osceola, a county seat town, and she went four years of high school there, coming home on weekends. Her senior year she took Normal Training so that she could become a country school teacher.

Her senior picture above shows her in a fancy bobbed hair cut and I am assuming that this photo was her graduation dress. She was barely five foot tall so this dress makes her look like she has long arms.
Her dad died in 1937, of a lung condition, which was her senior year. 

As a country school teacher, she told how the families would bring food and they would have a large picnic near the end of the school year. Mom is older here standing with a couple of her students.  I like the background of this photo with the car and a set of parents behind her.
I have decided to tell only about the photos and not the whole story of her life.  She did become a wife and a mother of four boys.  She lived to be 89 years old and died in 2008.

While removing her senior photo from it's frame I discovered something that must have been put there back in 1937.  I will share the pressed flower bouquet in Sunday's Photo a Day. I have a couple of theories behind the flowers in the back of the picture.

Check out all of my friends who are sharing with Sepia Saturday.  Click here to view them all.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Ice, glass, and an ink black sky......

I was out trying to get my camera to take a picture of the moon with it's open cup shape.  It was cold out there and it wasn't working. I turned and this ice formation was hanging there with it's weird striations of color. The neighbor's window is seen in the background.

To fit in with the theme, I will include another form of ice, a glass shape of an old ink bottle. 

A not successful picture of the moon but the tree reflects the house lights and the moon sort of shows it's open cup.  When it is warm outside at night and I don't have to stand in a foot of snow, I will get the camera settings figured for night shots.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Purple petal power.....

I am going to give you a rest from my many words and just give you a little color for your world.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Waiting in the snow storm, watching the feeder....

The ash tree makes a great line design against the sky.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Shining the brass.......

What a difference a day makes!  I now smell like vinegar on my hands but with some scrubbing and polishing the bell has been transformed.  Vinegar and salt is a poor man's recipe to clean the tarnish off  of brass. When you enlarge the photo you can see I left some little scratches in it with my wife's sponge scratch pad. I will get some emery paper out and shine it.

A composition of sleigh bells.  Some of my blogger friends didn't know what these bells were.  When they would harness up the horses to pull sleighs through snow, they would drape leather straps on the horses.  On the straps were attached brass bells.  They would jingle in a rhythm as the horse would trot along pulling along the sleigh. 
The bells are heavy pieces when you lift the bigger sizes of bells.  They aren't the thin aluminum types.  They are made by casting them in a mold and you can see in the front bell that one of  the hole of that bell didn't fall out or get removed. As thick as the metal is, I can understand why they didn't even try.  The mold must have had a flaw.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Store bell......

I am beginning to just love my camera.  It isn't the top of the line, for sure, but that makes it my challenge to get the job done in spite of that reason.  On my other blog, I have a box full of things and this bell was in there. I hate it that I don't know the history of this bell.  I am really mentally bothered about that as I didn't think my memory would start to lose things.  You are saying," well with all the junk that you have, no wonder you don't remember." You are right.

The bell is like the ones that use to hang on a suspended piece of metal and it would chime when a store door opened. If my memory is right on this one, it was attached to the back of the door and it would spring up and down because of movement of the door. Maybe too it had a striker that it had hitting it as the door opened, I just don't know.  It has a different sound because it has two ball clappers hanging inside of it.  A photo of that is on my other blog. The sound almost reminds me of the sound the old cash registers made when they would crank their handle to open the drawer.

Time isn't an enemy but it is always a factor. I should have had it polished before I took this shot.  I am going to try and polish this brass bell  along with the sleigh bells that I have also in the box.  Vinegar and salt is an antiquer's old recipe for cleaning brass.  A very soft steel wool will help as long as it doesn't scratch the metal.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Red beauty........

Have a great Sunday, may it be a restful one for you.

Sepia Saturday 1940's......

This is an old photo taken of the everyday life in Belgium during the second World War. Belgium has been restored from a German takeover, and people are trying to do the things that have to be done in living a more normal life.  

The cow power is great and was probably common back then.  I like how there is a spare cow being moved along with them.

I don't remember any story about the train except that it had been disabled by the ways of war. My dad is looking out the side window of the steam locomotive here, and I am sure he traded places with the buddy who owned the camera to have the buddy's picture taken.

Visit our Sepia Saturday Site to view many fine contributions to our group endeavor.  Click here on Sepia Saturday.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Flower has peaked......

The dried out remains of an amaryllis still has it's beauty from it's inner structure. The veins remained red as the petal material turns white.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Paperwhites on the move.........

I love the color of our new dining room table. It makes a great backdrop for my photos. I have to be careful and not scratch the table and then replace the tablecloth back on to the table.

A bonus photo a day picture as this thing is opening fast.  I could right now take another picture and get the next one in progress but I won't post it today.  I really didn't know exactly what paperwhites were, as I thought they were daffodils, bigger ones. but these are really tiny little daffodils if you look closely at the top photo.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


My bargain bin paperwhite bulbs sure were ready for some light and water. I took them out of the box to plant them and they had sprouted three inches in the box.  I gave another one of these to my neighbor lady and she is hoping that hers will bloom first. I won't tell her as she really wants to win, even though this open up a few hours after I shot this.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Night vision.......

Outdoor lights help to illuminate this scene
as the snow flakes reflected off of the snow. 
The very cold returns and the wind will blow it around
turning it into many car wrecks and sculptures.
Another day that I must feed the birds.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Winter continues.....

Another beautiful snowy day.  It is so fluffy and deep.  So, I will show you a tea pot decorated with lilies and a hummingbird. I may have to photograph this storm when it gets done as it one of the tree coating, drift making storms.  The wind hasn't started but it will be soon. I am iving for spring here in Woodward, Iowa.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Lucy Atwell......

Two figurines that belong to my wife. They sit over in the cabinet and look out at you.  My wife had a few Precious Moments and I could tell she didn't want many more of them, so I started and finished her collection of two.  These figures were created from illustrations by Lucy Atwell and I am sure they thought they could get people hooked on them. They didn't  as they were not on the marked very long, only a couple of  years back in early 90's.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Sepia Saturday...His boys

My dad has come home from the war.  It is 1945 in the summer.  My oldest brother Ron is on the right and Rex is on the left. The next two boys were born in '47 and '50. The photo was taken in the back yard of my grandmothers' in Murray, Iowa. I am assuming it was one of those box camera's and my mom didn't get it into focus by stepping forward or backward.

My dad was stationed in Washington D. C. the first part of the war, so when he was home for a visit, he had time to have another son.  He already had the first son born before he went into the service.  They were the prewar babies. I and my brother were the post war babies.

In many ways the war change him.  His sisters said he wasn't the same personality the rest of his life.  He may have just grown up from being an Iowan farm boy that dropped out of school at eighth grade.  Whatever the change, I didn't have anything to compare.

I know that his memories often haunted him in his daily life. He remembered and relived so much verbally with more people than our family would have liked.  He had to talk about it.  The person was still a very sensitive man who cared for others, worried about failure, worked so very hard, and was proud of his four boys. He died in 2000 at the age of 82.  He was able then to leave the war memories behind.

Others of a blog group are also participating in Sepia Saturday. Check them out at Kat's blog.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Color folly.....

A lot of my photos are just discovery through accidental observation. I flipped the bowl over to check it's middle bottom design and ka pow,  the red place mat below added color to the glass.  It almost looks like paint clinging to it's different  grooves.  I did find out that this bowl was called a Stellar design and  it was made in 1914 by the Imperial Glass company.

A wooden pump shows a sample of the last red paint job on the barn. I built this to circulate the water through into the koi tank.  This wood was scrap leftover from the neighbors barn that was totally destroyed by a tornado. It was flattened and I salvaged some of the wood. The neighbor asked me to make a frame from it. That barn was in her backyard, a half of block from here, where she lost actually three buildings, a camper, but not her house.

Hey, how many people are willing to show your pictures of a pooper scooper?  I see I didn't get it brought in for the winter.  I guess it is hiding over there waiting for spring.  Oh well, be yourself,  I guess.  Thanks for stopping in, Friday is here and stay warm.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Red ribbon day......

Old Christmas decorations that are ready to be taken downstairs can still function for one last good picture. I have three stray things to take to the basement and I will do it soon. I promise it will be soon.

Note the reflection on the cheap plastic ribbon. I can see the tree in the window outside.

Have a good Thursday.  Maybe I will venture outside tomorrow and snap something new, that isn't white. As my friend in Paris says,  Awww Tomorrow!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Wednesday, in the middle......

I had a sluggish day today so I didn't get anything new on the camera. I posted this photo on a previous blog months ago.  I took the photo many years ago at the Des Moines Botanical Center with a student group that was touring the place.  It was in March and I am not sure if they hang lanterns like this all the time, but I really liked how they looked.

It is a pleasant place with koi swimming in the water features and parakeets and zebra finches flying freely from tree to tree.  Orchids are always in bloom and the sound of the water fall is pleasant. It is a great place to visit in the winter time.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

A smiggin of snow.....

It just keeps reflecting it's viewer no matter what. You can see me squatting down to take this macro while I was out with Barnie. It looks like an alien creature shooting you with a red-brown camera. We are getting a very light snow as you can see by it's collecting white on top of the gazing ball.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Old Trees.......

I don't know the exact age of the tree but the house was built in  1903.  There were five old silver maples on the property when I bought it 34 years ago. I have lost two of them and there was evidence where the one that fell on the kitchen before I move in found in the back yard.

My neighbors house is a twin reversed sister of my house and they have only two silver maples left in their yard.

When I first bought the property, my dad pointed out the free growing ash tree in my bushes.  I transplanted it 33 years ago and it never stopped growing.  Fifteen years ago, it split and I had to wire it  together. The left side is actually  the main sprouting of the main tree, and it grew a branch out to balance it.