Saturday, November 30, 2013

Seeing Blue......

A shot of some new glass Christmas balls for our big tree.  It amazes me that it wasn't me that wanted them as I am the fanatic collector.  My wife said they were half price and she liked the blue. I of course did not disagree with the purchase. 

Friday, November 29, 2013

Woodpecker Mystery.....

The only woodpecker at my feeder so far is this little guy.  I can't tell if it is a downy woodpecker or a hairy woodpecker.

I have a birdbook that was my parents book that I don't think I can trust.  It is an older book and the birds are hand illustrated.  By the book that I have this bird would be a hairy woodpecker  because of the larger white area on its back.  The downy illustration doesn't show that much white but that could be artist error.  I did look on the internet for pictures and I still can see the difference. It is a downy.  The hairy woodpecker has more of a body shape like the red headed woodpecker

The book I see was published first in 1983 and it doesn't include the Eurasian ringneck morning dove. Those doves moved into the country the past 15 years.  The couple who made the book created a nice book but it isn't written with great technical information.  The above,  I now declare, is a downy woodpecker.  The suet should draw more birds eventually but we are going to warm up for a few days.  The snow cover may be decreased a lot in the next couple of days.  It takes heavy snow to make the birds come in from out in the timbers surrounding the town.

Thursday, November 28, 2013


Happy Thanksgiving to all my family and friends. It is a special day to take time to be grateful.  My wife and I became grandparents for the first time this year and AJ is such a special little guy. I am grateful that there are so many in blogland that are there to support and to listen to each other.  Life has so many ups and down but the blogspot people have an extra group to lean on and to support. I think we are all grateful for that.

My wife and I will share a meal at a Machine Shed where they feed people for donations.  It is a Thanksgiving meal and the donations will go toward the Wildrose camp. The place helps young people year round to reclaim their lives from their troubles.  We will be joined with my wife's brother and his wife.

I wish to all of you a Happy Thanksgiving.  I hope your day is special with you large families and your small families too. Whoever you have to share the day with, I hope we all will be grateful for God's blessings on us.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

No More Snow.............

I have three weather rocks for some reason this year.  I don't know where the extras came from but the rounder one has always been left out there.  When it stopped snowing a few days ago they were all three completely covered with snow. 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Marble Found.......

I found another marble out there in the world.  I don't really remember where I was but it was laying on the floor waiting for me to pick it up.  I wanted to quickly photograph it and on my desk at the time was this artwork by Vernita Bridges.   She is a friend of Della's and I had purchased the work from her off of ebay. I usually lean the rooster up against the wall by my desk but it was laying flat right now for some reason. I believe my meager marble collection has grown by three this year. I believe the rooster was drawn in response to a national election a few years back.

Monday, November 25, 2013


It is too cold to be outside to shoot photos.  The glass of the window tends to give a subtle blur but it will work for today. I have not seen the female eating here as of yet but maybe soon she will show.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Sunday's Snow Spot.........

The snowman on the birdhouse was the only one happy about the snow and cold.  I didn't go out yesterday as it was too cold.  Today we will venture out once I get the car warmed inside and windows cleared of ice and snow.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Bone Chilling Cold........

We rarely saw our cardinal pair all summer but in the past few weeks we have seen the male.  I haven't been keeping much in the feeders most of the summer.  I throw or recycle the leftovers from the cockatiel seed feeders.  Rather than throw away the leftover seed in their trays, we toss it into containers so the outside birds can dig for some of the leftovers. The inside birds really don't like the little colored bits of fruit that comes in the seed.  Also the cockatiels don't always catch all the sunflower seeds that are in there.  The finches will dig through their seed to find food but cockatiels like to only eat off the first layer.  They only dig if they are really hungry.

I have seen better poses of this guy at the feeder but today he just wants to sit in the sun side of the feeder.  I think it was too cold for them to eat this morning but as the sun started shining brightly the juncos and sparrows started hitting the snow below the feeder.  I said cold but I couldn't believe that we were 8 degrees F. this morning. That is a -14 degrees C. for the rest of the world.  It is to warm up to 15 or 21 today but will cool down to 10 degrees for the Iowa State football game this evening.  Ames is about 30 minutes driving time from here. It is said that it will be the coldest that they have ever played at ISU.  We are not going outside today.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Ice and Snow......

It is now officially winter.  I had to warm my car up inside to get the windows warm before leaving work yesterday afternoon.  It had sleeted and frozen onto the cars and roads. It was a lot colder this morning and winter really has arrived.

Thursday, November 21, 2013


The sky looks cold and the tree is now bare.  I am waiting to see what we will look like by tonight as the very  cold air moves in this evening. We had fog and warmer conditions this morning.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Now you see it.........

The newer pattern of camouflage on clothing is causing a rage of new purchases.  Everyone needs to have the newer camouflage on all of their articles of clothing, even down to their underwear.  I don't hunt nor wear camouflage.  Even when it was the army camouflage that was the base design for the items I never liked it.  Now with the new pattern that is out there, those who created it are causing everyone to buy coolers, pens and pencils, handkerchiefs and coffee cups...... whatever that can take a decoration.

I thought of camouflage when I first viewed the above scene.  When it downloaded from the camera I thought I had taken the photo at the wrong angle as it wasn't that visible in the smaller size. There are two logs in the photo.  The log in the back is a chunk of silver maple tree that keeps falling down from dead parts of the tree.  Strong winds does help to trim out weak branches and they also take out the loosened dead pieces.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

No Fish.......

Of all the fish that spent part of their summer in the pool only one survived the incident of the hungry raccoons.  My one surviving fish lives with new fish at the high school science.  The sky reflects a great blue and the ash tree reflects its in the water.  My hand made wooden pump keeps its weathered look as it will be facing the next season to come  The dappled colors of rust of the leaves from above makes it look like a great impressionistic painting.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Blue Boy..........

I do know that the painting Blue Boy was a painting of a young man in silk shirt and trousers. This sculpture is a country boy.  This guy does lean forward so I didn't take a crooked photo.  If I ever get my health back I am going to go out and cut back the red twig dogwood.  It is so out of control that I didn't see this sculpture all summer.  That is a strainer that was from a milk separator from years gone by that he sits in on the dirt.

Saturday, November 16, 2013


The Christmas cactus is doing well. I am glad it can bloom even if it isn't following the holiday season schedule. Have a great day today.


The Japanese yew tends to collect leaves among its branches. The location looks like a great place for a nest but I don't think I have ever seen one in this shrub.  I have seen nests in the burning bushes.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Nest........No or Yes.

I have heard from others that female squirrels make these things.  They remind one of nests but I am not sure that a squirrel really could get inside of one of these.

Gray squirrels are tree-dwelling members of the rodent family of mammals. Both Eastern and Western gray squirrels build nests for sleeping. Adults may rotate between as many as three nests, depending on the population density where they live. These nests are usually occupied either by a single adult squirrel or by a mother and her young. (from the net)

Also from the internet I read that female squirrels store food in them and have baby squirrels in them.  Our old silver maple trees have great holes for them so they can have lots of babies more safely.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Falling Apples........

We have had about three different days of hard freezes.  I expected that all of the fruit from the trees would be down by now.  While out taking pictures I was being bombed from above by falling rotten apples.  As I took this shot an apple fell on the garden shed roof and rolled my way.  It seemed that right then right while I was out there the apples decided to let go from the branches. It was a strange experience.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Ripe Tomatoes..............

A few weeks ago I went out to pick the last of my tomato crop.  I thought they might go ahead and ripen but that doesn't always happen.  I set them aside out of the way and was not watching them until Sunday.  I was pleased to see that we have fresh tomatoes to eat now with more to come.  We had 8.2 degrees F. on our thermometer on Tuesday morning so they were very safe inside.  Yes, the nearby large cities were 11 and 14 degrees F. and out on the prairie we were a lot colder.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Bales of Stalks........

It was so cold last afternoon and the wind was so strong that I stood across the street from the corn field and took a shot.  I usually don't use the zoom very often as I prefer to get closer to the subject.  The zoom worked very well as I snapped two quick shots and came back into the house.   The stalks can feed animals when there is nothing else to eat but  most cows and horses really don't like corn stalks.  The stalks can be used for bedding by different farmers which would be more available than oat straw.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Great Friends.......Good People.

I am getting old but I still have a hard time with people coming in and helping me.  I guess I am independent enough in all that I do that I don't lean on people that much.  My kids have lived away from home for years so I don't get people to help out.  I just do it myself.  It is humbling even to have people come and clear my drive of snow in the winter but I usually repay them for that some way with a gift or a free frame job.

Yesterday while burning up the last of my garden and tree trash Norm my good friend and his family and another family came by to rake my yard.  You can see I had plenty of them to rake and they, the eight of them, made quick work of it.  When you get to the end of this sidewalk there is a turn to the right. The other whole sidewalk was also full of leaves.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Burning Brightly.......

This is the one and only one of the three that is going to turn red.  The other two shrubs are just going to fade and drop their leaves. Cold air has arrived and the week will prove to be freezing every night.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Christmas is Coming..........

The cactus immediately started to put on buds when I brought it into the hours.  It had been flooded with too much rain outside and I had to work to dry it out by turning it on its side for a couple of days. Once I brought it inside it rewarded me for its rescue. I haven't seen any for sale yet this year but I bet they are out there. 

Friday, November 8, 2013

Friday's Vision.........Impression.

The burning bush that is slow to  turn,  puts off an impressionist painting look with its light green and pale read leaves. I would think our freezing temperatures at night would speed up its changing to red. I took shots last night when it was almost dusk so things didn't quite focus like they should have.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Hidden Path..........

This is the corner of my property where the sidewalk goes south and west on the block.  I have never seen an ordinance about shoveling the leaves but I would not be surprised that there is one somewhere.  Two hard freezes and the leaves will start to curl up and dry out.  I will deal with them then and not now.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Leaf Pizza......

Having water in the birdbath is great as it means we have had some great sessions of  rain.  The collection of leaves reminds me of one of my favorite foods with all the ingredients evenly spread on top.  It is a tough birdbath that will withstand freezing so I will leave it as is for now.  The little decoration of a bird that use to stick up out of the middle of it broke off with in a month after I received it as a gift.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Corn Cobs.........

When my father was in the farming business many years ago, he would have never dreamed of seeing cobs laying on the ground after he picked the corn.  He had a one row corn picker that picked the corn and it dropped it into a wagon in the back of the picker.  The picker had a little elevator device that would take it up like an escalator to the top of the trough and then it would drop into the wagon that was attached to the back of the tractor.  The corn never saw a sheller, it kept its kernels on the cob except for when they would rub together and a few kernels would fall away from the cob. Selling shelled corn meant hiring a man to come to the farm and to run your corn through a sheller so the farmer could sell it as shelled corn. 

Today's combines have wide front pieces that take in many rows of corn at a time and then it goes through a sheller built right on the machine. The loose corn kernels would be augered into a bin that eventually would be full, requiring it to be unloaded into a waiting wagon or a large truck.  Some farmers have another man drive an empty wagon next to the combine while it is picking. The hopper full of corn is unloaded into the wagon while moving and the progress of the picking is not interrupted.

The cobs are discharged out the back along with all the stalk waste now and when you walk the field you seen corn cobs everywhere.  The healthier the cobs the better the harvest must be. As I looked out across the field it looks like devastation of the earth with only stubs sticking up in the air and loose stalk material and cobs in the rows. Last year the farmer hired another farmer to bale up the stalks into large bails.  We will wait to see if that happens again this year.

Monday, November 4, 2013


Light rains the next couple of days will help the sub moisture content but the last fields of corn will have to wait for some dry days for the farmers to complete their picking. 

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Looking Great.........

My red maple is showing off its colors.  It has orange and red leaves as it changes to total red color.  The fallen leaves from this tree are so bright in color. 

Friday, November 1, 2013


A visual progress report on the changing colors of the birch tree.  It is getting closer to the time for them to all drop to the ground. 

This is a second photo that shows what it looks like today.  The green that was still on the leaves has almost disappeared.