Friday, April 30, 2010

A different view point.......

My Japanese styled backyard gate. I have never shown it to you from an end view.  Our border collie, Barnabas, loves to stick his head through the middle square and bark at passerbys or cats. Our small dog, Button, can climb through the lower square but has only done it once.  I guess he didn't think it that exciting to leave the yard.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Red violet lilac......

Next to my parents property in the alley next to a large old two story house, is this lilac bush.  It is a very red one, compared to the violet or light violet variety.  I have looked hard to find a sprout that I could fine that would give me this bush so I will order it out of a catalog.

Indoors with a flash it has a more violet color.  I brought home a low branch of the bush.  When I first bought my property, I was out one spring morning and a neighbor lady was trying to collect a bouquet off of the back side of the one on my property.  I didn't care at all but she was trying so hard to not let me see her.  I guess the few years that my property sat vacant that  everyone helped themselves to the rhubarb and anything else that was blooming.  I will try to  get off the spring bloom kick next time but this was easy pickens.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Pear tree blossoms........

The blossoms are awaiting  the arrival of bees, honey bees, bumble bees, anything that could cross pollinate them.   I only had about a dozen pears last year even though there were thousands of blooms.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Another day of lilacs. They still are not in full bloom but the color is great!

Monday, April 26, 2010

New Growth......

With all the rain and cool weather the evergreen trees are growing very well.  This is a short conical pine that is popular right now in the greenhouse sales market but I can't think of it's name.  I have two of these planted at the end of my sidewalk and they have done well.

This is the growth on the balsam pine tree that I brought back from Minnesota.  It isn't a strong tree, as I had two mature ones of these snapped off in tornado winds.  But they do remind me of being up north and they make a nice specimen tree that grows quickly.

As you can see, I am back.  I won't bore you with all that it took to get up and running, but I did figure things out with a minimum of cost to me.  I didn't have to buy a new computer.

Sunday, April 25, 2010


I don't know if I will be gone for awhile but my computer screen died again.  My auxiliary monitor is not compatible to the old laptop, so I am seeing oranges and grays instead of real color. I have dumped over 2500 photos off of iPhoto and will be burning them to discs.
I will not panic as I will be ordering a new computer soon to be compatible to my new monitor.   The old laptop gave me so many good years but it is time to move on.  I can slowly move stuff off of the old laptop, barring going crazy looking at the gaudy screen.
The new mini mac will have panther on it and I will have to get Elements and a wordprocessing program from somewhere.  I had Photoshope c2 on the laptop and I can't move it.  I really regret that.

The above photo is the honeysuckle against my blue door.  The rains have made most things all bloom and it is very wonderful.  I knew it was a good photo, even though I can't see it in true color.  We are gearing up for a strong storm to hit soon.  Everyone have a good rest of the weekend.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Purple and White Lilacs......

Our rain has caused everything to start to bloom. The smell is wonderful with lilacs, apple trees, pear tree and chokecherry tree all scenting the air.  I took these photos in a low light overcast day and it worked well. We almost were foggy with all the humidity in the air.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Afghan up close............

Pattern, color, line, texture, color values, and shapes all make the design an artwork.

My mom crocheted with small thread and made doilies but in the early 70's she bought this kit that gave her directions on how to make this fiesta designed afghan.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Flowering crabapple tree..........

At the time I was shooting this, I could only find one actual blossom opened. I suppose if I climbed up in the top I would find more, but I felt lucky to find this one.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Magnolia Mania........

An elderly gentlemen was my neighbor of quit a few years and he planted his yard with so many wonderful trees and shrubs.  The new younger family are good friends so I just walk over and start shooting the magnolia tree.

I don't know the variety but we can only grow this one kind in Iowa.  I was surprised as to how thick the petals are on these flowers.  They almost have the thickness of plastic flowers, compared to the delicate flowers of fruit trees. They are also large blooms.  I think they are about the size of small persons closed fist.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Red and yellow tulip.......

Iowa State University, where I graduated, had the colors of red and gold.  So I call this my ISU tulip.  When I bought them, I must have wandered all over my two lots to plant it, as it comes up in three different places.

These two are planted under some honeysuckle bushes.  There also is a wire fence to keep the dogs contained in the back yard that sits right in front of them. In order to take the picture, I had to hang over the fence and hold the camera down at arm's length and take random shots.  My neighbors are getting use to mes o if anyone saw me they probably thought I was acting normal.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Old clamps.......

These clamps were used to hold together my mom's quilt frames.  I guess I will toss the frames, even though they have had a very busy past with so many memories.  My mom made dozens of wonderful quilts for all of her kids and grandkids.  The baby blankets didn't have to be clamped but she hand quilted so many wonderful things.
I can't keep all of history, and the four 2 by 2 boards with cloth attached are old and dirty.  They were connected at the corners and held in place with clamps and the quilt was stretched inside of the square opening and hand stitched to the frame to hold it out and keep everything flat. As she finished quilting a row, she would unclamp the one side and roll the quilt on to the one side so she could reach the next row.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

A study of depth........

As a teacher of painting,  I would teach how sometimes as we paint compositions we need to create depth by using overlapped shapes.  Also as one paints the foreground, it is in sharp focus and clearer in color.  As one follows back into a painting the shapes are to become softer and grayer in value and in less focus.  As you look at this photo, start at the front and work back slowly, onc can see how each flower head changes and recedes back to full blur.  Things do get smaller as you go back into a composition also.
Just an accident that the camera created it this so well, but I will take the credit for noticing it as a perfect example of depth.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Sculptural Shadows.......

I could evaluate the problems with this photo, but just enjoy all the color and textures.  I have a bad background so I had to crop it down to this.  It was taken when the sun was going down and it made a great light quality for it.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Friday's flower........

Friday is here and the week seems to have passed by way to quickly. Being retired I don't have to be accountable to too many people but I feel I didn't get much done this week for myself.  Stop and smell the tulips along the way, right??

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Daffodil Glow.........

This is my favorite daffodil. It has that orange center and the petals glow as they let light show through them.

All of my bulbs plants are doing well. Rain tomorrow my make things look pretty weathered so I took every shot I could before it happens.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Hyacinth in spring.....

I helped plant these at my neighbor's house. I have been photographing them as mine are not blooming yet.

This is such a nice blue. They are so fragrant and after so much white snow they have a very welcomed intense color in the garden.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Cheap tulip bulbs.....

I have an array of tulips that were really inexpensive.  I bet they didn't come from Washington State or Holland.  Regardless of the poor quality of blooms that I receive from them,  I can always catch one good shot before they open up in a deformed shape.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Bluebell revival........

As my Virginia Bluebells start to open I find them to be such a magical flower.  I first saw them as a young boy in southern Iowa along a weedy flower garden area.  Behind them was a long line of grapevines.  We would look for them as if they were wild flowers. When we found them we would pull the weeds and grass away from them.  They were always a magical looking flower with their little trumpet shapes.

I ventured out today to help my neighbor lady to refill her bird feeder. I was inspired to see patches of color spotted here and there with the early flowers of spring. 

Sunday, April 11, 2010

I need to find a book binder.........

Those of you that hang around me know that this is my Grandmother's cookbook.  It was in such bad shape that I really didn't want to investigate it.  Well, I brought it home and found her baptism certificate tucked inside the front of it.  It was the first time I realized it was her book.  I did find a couple of postcards that had been mailed to her, so I knew that I had really figured it out for sure.

 The paperwork itself isn't such a great picture but I like seeing the end of this 1917 book with it's binding worn out and removed.

On my Larry's Creative Zone, you can find my first posted recipe. Click here!!!!!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Springtime in Osceola, Iowa........

Last year I wrote a sad tail of going to my parent's home to work on it and about finding all the flowers in bloom even though no one has lived there for a year.  Well it has been two years now since my mom and brother passed away and the flowers keep on blooming.  I will dig these up in a couple of weeks and bring them home to our house.
I planted these about seven years ago for my mom as she scolded me about it wasn't necessary.  But I am glad I did as she enjoyed them for quite a few years even when her mind wouldn't let her remember that they were even planted there.

I seem to have bought her the good bulbs as mine all have genetically retreated to another form. I moved some of these in the summer last year and they transplanted very successfully.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Three shots......

Picture Number One

Picture Number Two

Picture Number Three

I liked all three of these photos and I couldn't decide which one to post. I thought it would be a good learning situation by you telling me which one you think is the best one. If you want to explain why that would be great!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Madison County Courthouse, Winterset, Iowa........

 I didn't take this photo.  My brother did back in March, 2000.  It was among my mom's piles of photos that I am sorting.  We have a lot of older courthouses, one in each of our 99 counties. My home county courthouse was torn down and it actually is a modern 1957 design, with lots of windows and flat roof.

It is neat how we designed buildings in the 1880's with Palladio design, using columns and Roman arches and an impressive portico  with the same styling.  Our Dallas County court house has a large clock in it's portico that has a face on all fours sides. The clock in this portico is a small one.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Times gone by..........

As some of you who have followed me you know that I found the rest of my toy soldiers collection. The two guys are wearing WW 1 helmets.  I am not sure if they really did have a gun attached to a vehicle like this or if it just made a good toy. If it suppose to be a machine gun, they sure made it out of scale. The guy driving would have a headache one they started firing.

The wheels are made of a very hard plactic rubber material.  The flakes on the counter are coming from some of the toys as they seem to be decomposing on me.  My plan is to get individual plastic bags for each item so they won't rub against each other.

This truck was also made as the same time as the one above.  Did you notice the "made in usa" on the side of both of them.  This one is decomposing also.  I read once that it is actually more like a paper mache like material with rubber added to the composition.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Redtwig Dogwood........

I didn't cut this to the ground last fall and it seems very thick.  I have read in Garden Design magazine that one should do it every year.  Maybe this fall I will try it to see if it thickens out wider at the base.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter Sunday

I wish you and your families a very happy and blessed Easter.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

The Gaurd at the Blue Gate.......

My little friends continues to great all those who enter in the backyard. The two of them have been so happy ever since I bought them years ago.  A smiling goose is a great goose to have, I would say. A high spirited elf is the best.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Lily closeup......

I have daffodils open outside in the 81 degree heat. I will go out later in the evening to take a few photos. Heat in Iowa always brings rain and sometimes severe storms. That will take place the next two days.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Coy Koi........

This is a photo of my two koi. I took it the other day, shooting down from on top of the water.  I really didn't even think it was a good shot as I had not opened it to edit it. Now I see that I have an accidental photo proved successful. The fish are the same size so the gold one is deeper to the bottom of the tank.