Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Snow be gone..........

Our temperatures were record setting highs today in the 60's.  It was like a magical spell as the snow just vanished while I was inside at school.  I didn't have to scoop my walk because I waited long enough that it looks like I had done it.

The above photo was one that I took for a photo contest.  I eliminated it as a third of it was brown and the theme was "white."

Monday, January 30, 2012

Christmas cactus......

The second half of my plant is going to now bloom. It sits in the large dining room window and it really seems to have found it's niche. If you remember back in December that the first half was blooming when I bought it.

I like how I didn't take off the scanner label before I shot this picture.  When it goes into full bloom I will remove the label.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Seeing green.....

A tangled layer of leaves of my agapanthus plant.  I am keeping it alive with low light and water until it becomes spring and I can take it back outside.  Some winters it dies down but it always comes back in the spring.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Foreground, Background.........

The indoor garden in the window is in sharp contrast to the frosty weigela bush in the background, outside.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Here's to winter......

Hot tea and coffee seem to soothe the feeling of being cold.  It is like a rescue time when you can take a break and just drink a warm drink.  Hot cocoa is great too along with cider.  With winter snow headed this way again I have thoughts of being let out of school early and coming home and just watching it snow.  Oh yes, and taking time to drink a nice warm cup of something.

Reality snaps forward and a half inch of snow isn't going to do much to make ours to be changed today. I will sip coffee between classes or on the run.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Oh horse feathers!!!!!

It is an old saying in our neck of the woods.  Actually these are feathers from my cockatiels.  I have five of these birds altogether and only two of them are females. The female birds have the patterned design as you can see in the group.  That is the easy way to know what you have with your birds.  I have an original pair of cockatiels in one cage and three of their offspring are in the other.  

I have a collection of feathers from them including my finch and parakeet feathers.  I don't know what I will do with them but for now they sit in an antique green jar as my holding station for them.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Not just a bucket.....

but a work of art.

This is a bucket my brother had purchased and used while he was doing work for construction.  I don't quite know what job it was used for but maybe it was needed to add water to cement mixtures to make concrete.

I have a lot of plastic buckets so it wasn't a need that I bring it home but it wasn't going to be tossed in the landfill either. In closing the house down one just can't toss good things.  As time goes on the rough looking bucket has made it into the house.  I like it.  I think a lot of my plastic buckets are full of dirty old antique bottles or rocks from my dad's collection.  I think I even have a bucket full of aquarium rocks.

This reminds me of the farm when I was a kid when things were made from the galvanized metal.  It is sturdy unlike my plastic bucket and it really is a sound design. It looks crude in the dining room on a fancy carpet but I guess I can look rough around the edges once in a while and I still stay in the house. No I don't store it in the dining room, I was just carrying water to the humidifier.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

My weather rock......

I know it is an old joke but I have a rock out on the railing that I call my weather rock.  As you can see it shows that it has snowed. I know it is lame but it is winter and there is not much out there to talk about.  I do think this is the same rock I had photographed with a leaf under it this past fall.

Hey I did find it in the archives.  I am sure geologist of the future are going to wonder how that Lake Superior rock is now in Iowa.  We do have a lot of rocks from Mineesota and Canada near here that were deposited by the glacial action  We have loess hills of clay powder in which the farmers grow their corn south of us.  Some of the farmers have purchased machinery to remove the rocks as they have damaged their machinery by hitting them.  The loess soil is the same soil that makes up the bluffs along the Missouri River. Some of you may have heard of Council Bluffs.  The whole river valley is lined with these bluffs on the east side of the river almost the whole length of the state.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Snowy day......

We didn't receive a lot of snow but we have a fresh white covering.  When it snowed in the evening the snow and ice crystals were combined and it fell straight down.  It was weird as there was no wind and it reminded me of a vertical water shower.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Coffee and a good book......

My resource while watching the birds outside sits next to a big mug of java.  The birds were feeding wildly yesterday as the cold weather made them hungry. I have seen two pairs of cardinals in the past days.  The female cardinals were having a territorial spat.  I don't think I have ever seen that before but they didn't hurt each other.

My new suet had a woodpecker at it this morning and the birds are feeding today as if there were a storm coming.

We had ice coatings this morning and now the rest of the day has been foggy.  A winter storm warning is predicted north of us.  The Boone and Story counties are a part of this warning.  We live about a mile south of Boone county so it will be interesting to see if we get the storm.  I think the thought of snow storm makes me want to go make a fresh pot of coffee.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Wagging tail of a dog.......

I was taking photos out the dining room window of birds at the feeders.  Button was concerned so I sat him up on the  chair to keep him out from under my feet.  He stayed put but when I went to take his photo he wagged his tail.  A little locomotion going on in a still photo, portrait of the dog.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Yucca in the Snow......

This is plant that likes it to be a little warmer but does survive in Iowa quite well.  This plant died down completely, so I thought, and then it restarted anew. I have not seen any blooms on this yet but maybe this summer.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Too cold......

It is too cold to sit in the garden today.  Our high will be 8 degrees F., -13 degrees C. I thought it looked great out there until I felt the wind. Walking to the school building from the car was miserable.  It is cold, oh so very cold!!!!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Photo contest revisited....I won!

 A free photo contest can be found on My Retirement Chronicles in which you may enter a photo.  It is a great way to show your work as a photographer and to see others who have taken shots trying to fit a certain theme for the month.

I have entered the contest frequently in spite of my camera's limitations and sometimes my own limitations but each person tries to present their best photo for the contest.

I posted earlier on one of my blogs a variety of photos I was interested in sending and I really did have a difficult time choosing one.  Many times photos can be bright and colorful and other times the composition is unique and expressive. I had to choose from a variety of styles of shots and I just happen to pick the right one.  I won!!!!!!!

You can view all of the others that entered the contest for December by visiting the following blog.
Click the gray area below here and you can see the words to click for the site.

Bookmark that page or follow the site as there are so many wonderful shots of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan posted often.  She is a great photographer and has a wonderful place to shoot photos.

The photo I was  taking was of my wife's angel tree and it's ornaments.  It sits in our art gallery and as I was snapping photos of the ornaments I noticed a figure behind the tree.  I thought it would be interesting to see how I could use the figure of Christ, one of my wife's Pastel paintings, as a background for the shot.

I guess I found the message of the painting and the angel tree seemed to have blended and belonged together for the season of Christmas.  The lighting on the tree and the lighting in the painting were coming from the same direction. Since Christmas is what my wife and I  celebrate at the holiday season I felt it appropriate for my Epitome of the Holidays.

I will never know if the photograph won for it's inventiveness or if my wife is just a great painter.

Maybe it was a little bit of both.

The winning photo for the December contest.

Thanks for stopping by my post. 

Artsy expression....

I turned last night and saw a young boy figurine looking out into the room.  The reflections and blur all help to add to the little boy's sadness as he has misspelled a word on his slate.

I lost a key to the school building and was sad.  The thing that is difficult is that they send me everywhere in the building, sometimes hourly, and there is no backtracking to find it.  A janitor picked it up and left it off at the office.  I am not sad anymore.  I am wearing it like a girlie necklace from here on out to solve my problem.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Tuesday's line up..........

The sea gulls lined up for a discussion of the finding of their next meal.  People had been feeding them popcorn and the people had walked away.  The photo was taken at Duluth, Minnesota a few years ago.  Those who don't know the brown sea gulls are the young ones.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Arched window.....

This is a photo of the old school house we visited in Bar Harbor, Maine two summers ago.  The building was a plain shaped building with a very fancy entrance.  The fluted columns and the palladian window above the door really made it a very fancy decoration for a school building.

Palladio was an Italian architect who created buildings with arches and the half circle window was eventually named a palladian window.

Those who follow me regularly remember that we were there to celebrate the first year anniversary of our son and daughter in law .  They waited to have a reception for their marriage a year after they had married and it was in this building.

Sunday, January 15, 2012


It is time to put my trains away for the season.  Someday I will have a display cupboard for them made from one of my antique cupboards.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Swans a swimming......

It is Saturday and it time to move more Christmas decorations to their storage areas.  The dining room seems to be the temporary staging area before things get packed up or bagged up for protection.  As you can see we have a bright light coming in the window and in the morning we had a gentle soft snow.  It is done now and we just have a warming trend that is taking the snow off of the streets.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Friday's Flight....

Three photos today from the archives.  I picked a name for the title today and you see I found some flying things.  My dad's old plastic whirligig mallard keeps swinging it's wings in all the wind that we have been experiencing.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Emergency source of fuel.........

My chimney stack on my fireplace is not tall enough, so on certain days I just can't burn wood in it. The thing will smoke and the wind wants to come down the stack.  But if it gets to be so cold and the electricity goes out, I can burn wood.  The direction of the wind is the problem so I can keep us warm in an emergency when the wind is blowing in the correct direction. This incoherent explanation sounds like a comedy of errors, right, or the reasoning of the insane?????

  Let us just hope the electricity does not go out when we have a 45 mph wind in the wrong direction and a high temperature of 18 degrees F.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Someone is feeding her.......

The feral cat that spent two winters on our doorsteps for free food is back in the neighborhood again.  We have not seen her since she had her litter of four in the spring.  She brought the four of them by for one feeding and then they were all gone again.  We never saw her kittens in adult age so maybe someone took those kittens to a farm.

The ones who are feeding her are giving her lots of food as she has plenty of weight on her already for the winter.  Her fur is really in great shape.  I have barely petted her once and she is being somewhat fearful of humans again. 

Those black paws are the riches dark color and she is a real survivor.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

One dollar box......

While visiting an antique spot near Silver Bay, Minnesota I spotted this box in a pile of  junk.  A rugged looking cardboard sign said "the dollar pile."  When I saw the neat paint effects on the side of this wooden box and the tongue and groove corners I knew that it was coming home with me.  My minimalist Christmas decoration was easy to create with the leftover pine cones and a few Shiny Brites. I think there is a plastic fake red apple in there too.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Full moon........

It seems to be a green glow from the neighbors light but it really is yellow.  The camera probably is too far away for it to catch it's true color.

Sunday, January 8, 2012


It was good to have a full day of sunshine on Saturday as I was working outdoors for a lot of the time. The sun shines through the bow and yet it created a glare on the glass that I  was shooting through with my camera.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Weathered Phlox.......

The weather was warm enough for me to clear these away from the garden but I think that they will look great in the snow.  I will retake it when we get snow. 

Friday, January 6, 2012

Repeat posting......

Just for fun I though I would pull these three photos from the archives and show them today.  The phlox did well this year and I have a few dead stems out there I need to get photographed for you to see.  Maybe soon it will happen.  Sepia, black and white, and living color is my contribution instead.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

A Guest Photographer

My wife snapped this photo a couple of days ago through our dining room window.  It is really brown out there and the bright spot of a cardinal at the feeder always cheers us up when they land there.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Wacky Wednesday

This is one of those Christmas ornaments that just keeps moving.  It was given to us a few years ago and everything is connected by springs. I is unusual and some years we just leave it in it's box.

As an added bonus you can flip a little switch and the interior is lighted by a revolving mechanism that makes it change from pink to magenta to blue and then back again.  He is the most laid back snowman that I know that jiggles like jello.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

No snow....

I am not complaining but it has been cold enough around here that we just as well as have snow.  It was 7 degrees F. this morning and the high will be 36 degrees. The only really warm place around here would be at the Botanical Center in Des Moines.  This is an old photo to show you what it would be like if your were visiting there today.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Treasures and mostly trash.......

I think that the easy thing to do for my mom and dad was to throw all the loose things into a box rather that organize it.  Dad had boxes full of things that related to business papers as well  to old war photos mixed in to the fray.  Usually a stray photo of a grandchild ended up in the box even if it didn't fit a category.  The penguin decoration above had one of the boys photos in it and I am sure that was given to them thirty years ago. Mom's jewelry was stored in boxes as well as a jewelry box. It was all costume dime store things.  I someday will get it sorted out and send it to the five granddaughters.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Sunday's seeds......

Have a Happy New Year

Happy New Year.......

The sun is shinning and the raspberry jelly does glow.  We made two  batches of jelly from our refrigerator disaster.  I call it the big thaw.  This batch looks pretty with the floating seeds that didn't get removed by the sieve but the last batch was strained through cheescloth to rid the jelly of the seeds.

Making jelly in the winter is actually more fun as the house is warmed from the boiling jelly and the jars cool down quickly after they have been sealed and boiled.

We have not plans for the day.  It will be a nice time to take it easy and ready ourselves for the new year.

Happy New Year to you all.