Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A Challenge........

My wife's angel doll moves its head back and forth. That makes it more difficult to take.  I just now realized that we didn't mount the wings on its back.  They must still be in the box.  The doll is holding a glowing star, lighted inside, to add a great light source for her face.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Near the Manger.........

A very well created donkey sits next to the manger sharing it with the visitors.  I hope your holiday season is going well.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Joe Cool is Cool......

I kept wanting to take a photo of the indent ornament that had fallen under the tree.  It was a good shot in my mind but it was too dark under there.  So I brought the ornament out from under the tree and gave it equal billing with my mug present.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

What can I say??????

He is a sweetheart that is growing up so quickly.  AJ is 10 months old now and has change a lot since we last visited him. He lives too far away and he will be growing and changing so quickly the next few years.  He is a young man with such an expressive face. He has 8 teeth already and is a big guy for his age. 

We had Christmas with our son Andy and his wife Patricia on Friday in Arlington Heights, Illinois.  Patricia cooked such a wonderful meal and we spent time getting to know our little guy.  He had been sick with an ear infection but is now on medications which made him feel better for our visit.  We still exchange gifts with or sons and their wives so it was a fun time opening presents and watching AJ really enjoy all of the paper and boxes. Our youngest son lives in Maine so it is impossible for he and his wife to be around at Christmas time. Apple pie and ice cream with great coffee finished off the day before we faced the Chicago traffic maze to come  home.

I have many photos but will show good examples as the weeks go by, trying not to overwhelm the readers of this post.

Friday, December 27, 2013


I purchased a couple sets of these bubble lights a few years ago.  I vaguely remember them from older days as we had one strand of them when I was a kid and the thin material wrapped around the wires made them very dangerous.  I always share the story of seeing these on a tree at the country school near our farm home that dad and mom rented.  My three older brothers attended there and we went for a Christmas party and I suppose a program.  I wasn't very old, maybe going on 4 years old, and  to keep that memory seems strange but I did.

I think I can pull down only two memories from the school even though our school bus passed buy it everyday when I was older and attending the town school. The other memory is of sitting on a runner board of a car and running up and down in the ditch.  I do remember that they had something inside the glass vacuum tubes of filled with something like little rocks which would cause the lights to have a pinging sound as the water bubbled. Someday I hope to find more sets on sale at retail again.  I have not seen them for sale for a long time.  I have seen the ancient strands for sale on the internet.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Clinging to the Tree......

A bear on my wife's stuffed animal tree.  Mostly there are bears on this tree, and yet I see a raccoon, a couple of dogs and even a rabbit.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas from Iowa.......

I wish all of you a very good day.  However you celebrate the day may it be a great Christmas day.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Red-Bellied Woodpecker......

Look what showed up at our feeder on Monday.  I have not seen one of these for years.  I knew they were probably out there but they don't show up in town.

I definitely can see that the the downey woodpecker is much smaller than this guy.   I had heard a woodpecker working out in my silver maple tree on Sunday.  The pecking was loud and I thought then that it surely wasn't a downey woodpecker.  It was too loud for that small of bird, but I just let it go.  I was glad to see him grab a chunk of suet from the cake and fly off into a tree. 

Monday, December 23, 2013

The Lights All Aglow.........

On my oat strouter I placed this smaller tree.  It is the last one to be put up.  I have all the smaller glass blown ornaments on this tree.  It was put up in a hurry and needs to have a few ornaments shifted. There is presently no time for that.  I am posting this blog at 7:00 pm as I just now have been able to set down.  It has been a busy day.  I have some more photos to share of the trains but not this time. 

Sunday, December 22, 2013

A Snow Day........

I am sharing a photo of an angel from my wife's tree.  I had never noticed before that the angel has windswept hair.  It goes with the design of the flowing garments.  It is a snow day here and we are in for the day.  I will be trudging out later today as there are some great shots to take of the things covered with snow. I am finding myself shoveling snow and the last of the leaves off of the back patio.  The snow is allowing me to get both things cleared off now and saving time too, I think.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Buddies Hanging Out.............

The bear Christmas tree is too small to hold all of the stuffed creatures. The overflow becomes a crowd on the top dresser. 

Friday, December 20, 2013

Partridge in a Tree.........

Is that a partridge in a pear tree?  No it is a partridge in a plastic green fake evergreen tree.  I finished up my tree that holds  my larger glass blown ornaments.  The job was a hurried up job so I will readjust some of the ornaments later.  The red cardinal it the calling bird in my Twelve Days of Christmas from my previous blog.  It is confusing to see all the ornaments and they have foreign interpretations in their designs.  Most of that set I have figured out but I had to own it for a while to figure out drummers and soldiers.

Letting you know......

Please do not open any mail from Larry.  Just delete it.  Apparently through blogspot or yahoo,  I received a minor virus that is sending out advertisments to make you look thinner.  I think you all look great.  I get renegade posts in my blogger readers list and I don't open them but anyone who has emailed me from blogger will get a letter from Larry.  If you open it you will be possibly sending it to all your friends too. It is a stupid business that does this.

I don't have a lot of people who email me from blogspot,  so it will not be too many of you

I changed all of my passwords on google and on yahoo. 


Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Twelve Days of Christmas..........

They still are not hung on the tree. It is slow going with being so busy with life.  I thought if you were wanting to pick your brain you could sing the song to yourself.   The birds are tough because you have to figure out which was is the partridge and which was is a calling bird.  We are seven days away from the day so good luck.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Wednesday's Shot........

An archived photo of a depression ware glass dish and one of my train ornaments. Two more trees were assembled last night but the ornaments are not on the trees. The teddy bears go onto a tree very quickly.  The glass blown ornaments will take a while to get them hung. It is a two day project considering my time schedule.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Decoration for the Day.....

This was a gift from a blog friend.  I received it a couple of years back from a blogger from Indiana.  She and her husband dropped out of blogland but I will always remember them through this novel glass blown ornament.  My wife hung the ornament on the tree Sunday and she thought it seemed a little bit slimy.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Monday's Post..........

We succeeded in getting the large tree decorated on Sunday afternoon.  If you can see that the tree sparkles it is because I used a new setting on the camera, not knowing what I was doing. It apparently took various shots and it makes it look like it is moving or at least twinkling.  I am not sure which setting that it was but my wife thinks it was the movie setting.  I will play with it some more later and see if I can share how it works.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Archived Photo of Oldie Things..........

A still life of my older things is shown today. I snapped this a few years back with my old point and shoot. Old things are not useful but yet they give good memories.  If not good memories, one can imagine their use in the days gone by.  The front metal piece with a lid is an inkwell that was to fit into the wooden school desks.  There is a glass liner piece in which ink could be placed. Anyone who sat at those wooden desks spent hours running a pencil around that empty hole as many students had done before them. I found a set of six of these inkwells still packed in a thin wooden box, packet with large sawdust material.  Some of the glass liners were broken but a couple were still  unbroken.

I don't really remember this ink jar as it looks like it had a stopper and not a screw top lid.  It was found in an auction box at an old farmstead.  I remember seeing feather pens sticking out of jars like this but I bet this was for a fountain pen.  Ball point pens were invented when I was young but my dad used a fountain pen to label the back of his pictures when sending them home while being in the second war.

Sleigh bells are brass but the one bell in front is a small one from a toy or a decoration.  It is made from a thin metal which we automatically call tin.  It may not be tin but it is a thin cheap metal.  The tractor comes from the John and Iva connection, found in their toy bucket that sat in a dark place next to their refrigerator. Their converted wood stove sat opposite the refrigerator.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Friday, December 13, 2013

Ring Them Bells........

I did find my brass sleigh bells in the store room.  I had them in a wooden box, just like I had remembered.  I guess I have been taking short cuts when I put things away and the places I put them are thought to be temporary until I find a better permanent place.  I do know where the box with the train set is this year.  I didn't put it far away so it would not be lost like last year.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Fake Fruit.......

An informal look at a part of the wreath.  I am amazed at how great the manufacturers are able to create such real looking fruit.  That would have been handy back when I was an art teacher as the kids couldn't steal and eat your apples and pears.   I do remember as a kid when the first artificial grapes were sold for my aunt to put into her basket woven cornucopia.  Then they were solid rubber and all the kids had to squeeze them to see if they truly were artificial grapes.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Wednesday's Wreath..........

I don't plan these things but yesterday I had a whole hidden landscape revealed behind my center of interest in the foreground.  Today I have a surprise still life reflection in the glass of the front door.  The wreath is in low light but it does make it have a great look.  The overhead light gives the bow a spotlight but the rest of it in low light helping to defuse the look of the artificial flowers.  I really do like this piece as it was a pine cone wreath now with the added decoration of wide ribbon and flowers.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Hung and Hanging Out.......

I repaired the feed tray last week and I did finally get it hung in the birch tree.  The goal is to be able to see it through our baywindow in the living room while sitting on the couch.  How good would that be!  So far I haven't been home in the day to see if there are any takers for the seed.  I hung it in such a way that the squirrels will have to dangle down to get to it. I don't mind that as long as I get to see the antics that they are pulling.  I am sure Barney would like to bark at them once the squirrels find it. In late afternoon I have seen no one there but the snow below it is full of bird prints so they are eating at it.  I bet the snow isn't sitting on top of the seed anymore. I did put strong connecters on the tray so the squirrels won't break off the base.

As a photo I like being able to see limbs in the foreground, the feeder somewhat focused and the maple tree behind.  At the final background it shows the neighbor's car and garage but blurred enough to make it into a color background not a specific shape background.   It is an accidental shot as I just got into the window and clicked the button. The goal is to take a picture with a bird feeding at the feeder.

Monday, December 9, 2013

In The Window Sill.........

There is a snow scene behind the flowers but I decided to post on the positive and not the negative today. The begonia likes the sill here near my computer desk as it is not too warm from the furnace and it gets good light most of the day.  They are not outstanding blooms for a flower but the color can cheer you when it is -4 degrees F. outside.  We are to warm up to 11 degrees F. today.  Once it gets that cold there is no describing any difference from a warmer cold and a colder cold.  One's skin just plain stings with pain as you walk out in it.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

The Hunt Is On.......

I am digging through my toy cupboard and found this one single bell.  We had just watched the movie The Polar Express and the bell was a part of the ending of the story.  I for some reason have a box full of these bells that are lost.  I know they are in an old child's coloring box but I am frustrated that they were not in the cupboard with this lone one. In The Polar Express story, only children hear the bells ringing and adults don't hear them ringing because they don't believe in Santa.  I keep believing because I want to keep hearing those bells.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

We Try.......

In many ways the creche, the manger scene, has been created. Plastic, wood, ceramic and cloth figures are put together to recreate the scene. More times than not because of commercial reasons that it sold but at least we still have the freedom to buy or view the manger scene.  I appreciate that we do try for the one reason to recreate a very special event in this worlds history.  As our world is changing and as good now is bad, and bad is good, I hope that it can be turned around. Evil wins in disguise but we do know the Truth. We must not ever accept evil under the disguise of tolerance and we as a country must correct the mistakes that are all around us.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Stark and Cold.......

My riverbirch displays the starkness that comes with cold. I notice the outside temperatures were dropping more during breakfast.  The lowest temp we had before I went to school we a -1 degrees F. (-18 C)  I think it should warm up from there to 20 degrees F. (-6 degrees C.). The faint green of the grass in the background should be history quite soon.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Fixed the Gate.....

During the whole summer the blue gate had given me grief.  You can kind of see that it is crooked in the opening. The bottom of the gate would drag and I couldn't easily open it. The last warmest evening that we had, which was two days ago, I declared it to be "fix the darn gate now" day! It was a post problem that was not standing straight.  The fence was being stressed by the weight of the gate on the post so the fence allowed the gate post to pull away from it. The nails were a fourth of the way out of position.  It wasn't a hard fix but I did have to remove six or seven nails and straighten the gate.

I placed a three inch piece of wood under the gate so it would hang straight again.  I then renailed the fence to the post making the post stand straight in position.  Too many words,  I know, but I guess I needed to revue the process for myself.  Now when it snows it will be easier to open it unless there is a four or five inch snowfall.

The photo is archived from my spring files when the clematis was blooming.  I have saved seed from the plant hoping to plant it to see if I could get some starts from them.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Tiny Tim......

A year ago Tiny Tim was just four or five months old.  Now that he has grown bigger he has almost lost the tiny part of his name.  He is filled out and still comes over to get extra food when they let him out of the house. This was last year's photo when he had not become tame and was hiding in a bush, peaking out at me. He was so slim and small we thought he was a female, but he is not a female cat.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Snowing up North.......

Last night's weather showed a pattern of snow that stretched from Duluth, Minnesota to out to the Dakotas and beyond.  Grand Marais is on the top northeastern end of the North Shore of Minnesota and I bet they were having snow also.  We are being told that it will be heading our way soon along with very cold air.

Monday, December 2, 2013

The Season Starts.............

An archived photo from the poinsettia of the past.  I find it strange that I was off for 9 straight days and didn't get any photos taken other than bird pictues.  We usually don't buy a plant like this as they warn you about the dogs getting sick if they ate a leaf from it.  Our dogs don't eat plants other than grass out in the yard but we just don't buy them anymore.  This one was a gift from our oldest son and his wife.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Blustery Day.........

I don't know what he was eating but he did stay there a long time nibbling on his prized item.  It could have been a fallen apple or a walnut from the neighbors tree.  Whatever it was he sat out on that limb in the strong cold wind and persevered.