Monday, March 31, 2014

Barney Fife.........

The keeper of the gate stands guard.  He is not a mean guard as his tail wags rapidly as he is glad that I returned from my errand from across the street.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Sneaky House Finch........

I had seen the house finch while in the kitchen and thought I could maybe get a photo of it.  Went into the dining room, grabbed the camera and snapped what I could see.  I previewed it on the back of the camera and thought not such a great photo.  Oh well such is the  story of trying to takebird pictures.  I glanced up and there was a cardinal on the feeder so I snapped another one.

I snapped the photo and thought that I did succeed in getting a good shot of the cardinal.  While editing the photos yesterday I was surprised to see the house finch still at the feeder.  He is so blended in with the cardinals tail and the feeder colors I had missed seeing it on the camera viewer.  I have mentioned before that the house finches usually fly around in flocks and hit feeders in flocks. This one lonely one does show that I do have one that shows up once in a while without any other finches.

Saturday, March 29, 2014


I am finding my life to be too busy to get any new photos up and running today.  I am at Saturday school for the morning with 4 hours on my hands.  I figured that I could just go through the archives of the past 5 or 6 years and see what I could find.  As I slide through the many files of photos I did a little bet of self evaluation.  I do take pictures of about everything that doesn't move.

My themes vary from the different seasons but I am a color person who is drawing to any shot of great color.  I thought it strange to see me taking photos of photos rather than scanning them.  I also see I have takien photos of illustrations in a lot of books and magazines.   Christmas is a sorry sight for the anti Christmas people as I have hundreds of colored shiny things glaring out at you along with the many winter shots of snow. Even so, being redundant, has improved my abilities and my themes do seem to expand gradually each year.  I guess I am still looking for the unusual shot along with the classic setting in which you can't go wrong.  Maybe this afternoon I can cut loose with the camera and expand my horizons of new kinds of photos when I finally do get home from school.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Waiting for This..........

A photo from last summer that shows what I am waiting to see.  I know the rains have helped but the ground is so frozen that much of it just went into the ponds and streams.  That is good but we need it to go into the ground also. The mud will come soon though as the weekend is suppose to be a warm one.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

AJ is Checking In.......

AJ's daycare provider gets credit for this picture today. AJ is growing up.  His dad says he is not quite walking but he is still clearing kitchen counters and getting into electronics near the tv.  AJ's  daycare sends his parents everyday by internet three photos of his day and also a report of how his day was.  Sometimes they tell his parents that he didn't sleep during the nap period. It is a good heads up to know what you child's behaviors are all about when he gets home with them.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Glass World........

I saved the glass world and the plate world yesterday.  I discovered that in time the one kitchen cupboard was falling away from the wall.  It really did not have any connections to the wall and its top board was probably the only connection to the main set of cupboards. That top board was not connected to the ceiling though as the cupboard would have not been able to shift away from the wall if it had been.  How it stayed on the wall the past 45 years is a mystery to me.  If you look at the back top of the photo you can see one of the many lag bolts I used to secure it to the wall. I bet the carpenter just forgot being so pleased that the bank of cupboards to the left of this one were so well secured.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

A Fixer Upper........

I talked about taking it down and refurbishing it last year. I had made it over 6 or 7 years ago, maybe longer than that.  As you can see it is just like my house, if you don't stay on it your house crumbles from neglect.   There is at least one bird on top of it and there were a few looking around at it but I am sure it looked too slum-like for them.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Butterflies on Monday.........

My wife's window decoration shines as the spring light comes through.  It hangs all winter but the light isn't bright enough to really notice it.  It is too cold for butterflies right now and we did get a light snow last night.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Hanging in There.........

The claws on the feet of a downy woodpecker are remarkable.  I am not sure while the bird just hung on the side of the post but he stayed there for a long time. A tree bark is textured so I can understand how they can cling to the side of a tree but being on the smooth wood was a surprise to me. Eventually he crawled up to get to the suet feeder.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Reflecting Feathers..........

The starling is a black bird when first viewed. He actually has feathers like other birds that reflect a pattern in color.  The bird and others like it are so busy cleaning up the last of the feeder and all of the material that has fallen on the ground. I put up new suet and the woodpeckers and starlings are both enjoying the food.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Friday's Feathered Friends.........

The wood carving of the bird really has no feathers.  I bought this a few years back and it was put into the store room over Christmas.  It got buried in among all the valuable junk and I found it yesterday.  Sitting among the plants makes it seem more tropical or nautical.

There were two of them as this second one was also lost.  Being in the center of the United States, waterbirds are few.  I like having them around to remind me of the great lakes or the ocean shoreline. It always happens that when you shoot some photos and you look at them later there are dead leaves laying around or dirt that has been spilled out of the pot onto the table.  That table needs to be refinished to match the other one identical to it that is refinished. I just noticed that this might be a tern with a turned head.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

On the Curb............

We don't have a curb but it sounds better than along the side of the street.  The neighbor to our northwest lives in her grandmother's house.  I am sure this must have been her grandma's washing machine.  It probably was in the basement for many years and the granddaughter wanted it gone.  I doubt that garbage man will take it but the recycle place west of her would giver her money for all that metal.

My mom used one like this with an electric motor at the bottom to help make the machine turn its special paddles to work the clothes in the water.  I remember seeing lots of jeans in the machine and how they tended to float to the top while they were being washed.  It is interesting that the black hose that was on the machine to release the water was replaced and a semimodern clamp which holds it on the pipe.  The grandma could have still been using it up until the 70's or beyond. I am thinking that the hose was a lot smaller and it took a long while to get the water drained out of the machine.

As I write this blog my brain cells tell me that my mom had a more modern one than this as it was a white enamel ware type of machine.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014


The yucca plant is faithful at staying green all winter.  It collects the evidence of the two seasons that have almost passed.  The leaves remain from the fall and the snow is still holding its own in the nest of the yucca.  I am hopeful that it will bloom again this year.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Sqwaking Bluejay............

I was out putting up my daily ear of corn on the squirrel feeder.  As I approached the tree I could hear a bird scolding me.  I tried to take pictures of it and kept getting tree photos but no bird.  The call was a bluejay and you can see I finally got him in the cameras viewfinder. I don't know if he is doing territorial calls or if he is concerned about the corn supply that is at my feet.  As the squirrels eat their corn they shell out some waste onto the ground.  I saw this same bird out and squawking later in the afternoon.  I don't know if he is looking for a mate or if he is just keeping his territory cleared from other male bluejays.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Sunny and Drab.......

The sun is in its afternoon position giving a spotlighting effect on the concrete swan.  The harmonious colors of brown are all we are seeing right now.  If we were to get a rain it might make some of the grass turn green. I have so many leaves this spring to deal with, more than I normally have. The yard is covered with them more than usual and I think they will get mowed up and mulched rather than being raked. The sun is a welcomed sight even when there are freezing temperatures.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

A Gardener's Mess............

Winter just comes.  One waits to get the most out of the last of days of fall and one waits to put it all away right before the first snow hits.  Then winter comes.  A gardener like me waits too long and the shed is at the other side of my two lots. This collection of things never made it west to the shed but spent their time outside all winter.  I could say that the rakes are now handy to clean up the remaining leaves that I didn't get raked last fall. The planter and trowel are already for a new batch of flowers to be planted.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Buds and Birds.........

I was out with Button in the backyard yesterday.  Two male cardinals were doing territorial behaviors.  I have never really seen before and yet I have heard them do dueling territorial calls.  I zoomed in to catch the two male cardinals on this branch.  You can see I didn't catch that scene but I was surprised to see the buds coming out on the silver maple tree. I had not noticed before this shot but will see all the mess that will fall and land on the patio and this development continues.

 In a blurry shot you can see the one doing his territorial call.  It is a neat sound that they make.  I do remember one of them was doing the call back when we had a mild warm up, right before our last snow storm.

As you can see in this zoomed in shot that the other was hanging out on the forsythia bush.  I never accomplished the shot of them together.  Afterward, I mentioned to my wife that I should have put the camera on the sports setting so I could get continuous photos without any gap between photos.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Spring Forth.........

This is a filed away photo of the stargazer package from last year.  They did bloom but I was only reminded that I had planted them when I found this shot. It was a long winter and snow is coming again soon. Maybe this week I can find something else to add to the garden while on spring break.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Photo Study.......

The auto camera has problems picking up red, white and glass.  I took this photo of an old bottle that was reflecting too much light.  Out of 6 or 7 photos, I achieved one shot in focus. The bottle is a short small bottle that held pepcin.   I found the bottle out in the burn pile of a farm. Not that it really is important but maybe later I will get the bottle and print out all the info on the side of the bottle. I am not at home today while creating this posting.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Jack Sparrow Report...........

Jack Sparrow is doing better after losing his mate a week ago or more.  When I allowed him to be in the cage with his three full grown offspring he was very nervous the he has now become really happy.  He seems to be just a part of the gang and everyone is getting along fine. He is sleeping in this shot and the other bird opened her eyes to see me take the picture.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

White Cat Story.........

The neighbor's white cat does get outside once in a while.  I am not sure if she sneaks out or if they let her out on their front porch.  She has been over before in our back yard a few times.  It is the dogs yard but she doesn't care. She has four small dogs and one big dog in the house that she must dodge all the time.  Unfortunately she isn't afraid of the dogs.   I was sitting at the dining room window and saw her going along the fence row and then I saw her headed to our back door. I couldn't get a good shot of her but I did get this informal real life shot.

A few weeks ago when there was a lot more snow Barney went out and stood his ground with her.  He didn't hurt her but he did want to herd the cat around.  I went out and grabbed Barney by the collar and she scurried off to the corner of the yard and went out the hole in the corner of the fence. I had to get my shoes on in a hurry to get out there.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Mini Flooding........

We are melting and the drainage system traditionally does not drain.  I call this Lake Weber because it sits in front of their house.  I do feel like I live in a village on the prairie as we don't have underground street drains.  When it rains the water flows into the streets and down this now underwater ditch that drains to a creek at the end of town. The ditch is the drain system all along this entire street. On main street they do have an underwater drainage system which is on the state high way also.  When the water gets to the end of main street it goes down a street drain.

The culverts that run under this road fill with water and freeze as the buildup gets to be so great that it  clogs them.  This is looking up my street and if you were to turn around you would see flooding in my ditch because my neighbor to the south also has a culvert frozen shut under her driveway.  One more house down the corner culvert also is frozen shut.  People are required to get a free carwash on one side if they meet ongoing traffic while this situation continues.  Today it will be 65 degrees F. and maybe the culverts will thaw just enough to get the creeks flowing again.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Sunday's Still Life.......

I didn't need to use my emergency wood pile for fuel this winter but it stays put as winter is still not over here in Iowa.  It does look a whole lot more promising as our daylight is so much clearer and bright.  A part of spring is having the light turned back on after having the earth tilt away from the sun for so long.  The birds are still coming to the feeders and the snow will not be melting much today.  The week of a mild heat spell will clear my sidewalks and make things muddy for a long while.

Having taken shots of the flowers that bloom in the house gets me excited about the flowers that will bloom again.  I am not watching for things to shoot through the ground but I bet some of the plants are doing that in the snow and will do more this week.  When the peonies start shooting through I know we will be truly seeing green again and not white. The longer days of light is great and daylight savings time will take its toll on my body as I have to shift to earlier morning starts.  It is good to get use to it as the summer schedule of work requires me to shift one more hour to be ready to go to the job by six o'clock in the morning.  Have a good day today.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Red, White and Green.......

My poinsettia has lost a lot of leaves from the bottom but it is still alive.  I have a hard time keeping them alive in the house in the soil that they are planted.  I don't think it is totally soilless but it is hard to know how much to water them. If the soil was normal I could feel it and know if it is dry.  I don't want to replant it just yet and put it in real dirt because it will lose the color petals on top.  I just hope I can keep it going one more month and then I will replant it.

I had an inquiry about my previous post about the birds behaviors at my feeder.  I did some research on the subject matter that I was uncertain about and didn't want to write off of the top of my thinning haired head.

 As an answer to one of my blogger friends I inserted a stock picture of a purple finch.   This bird didn't live in Iowa until the late 1980's.  I am not sure where it was from but it has spread from the both  coast lines towards middle of America.  I see them once in a while and I confuse them with the bird below.  They are so different looking but since they come to the feeder seldom also anytime I see a red head I think purple finch. It probably is a house finch.

 The house finch seen at right has also migrated into Iowa the last 25 years or so and it is starting to crowd out the sparrows as well as finches. We have a lot of them in the north end of town where the grain elevator is located.  If I had a feeder there and lived in that area there would be large flocks of them hitting the feeder.  In the south of town we may see one or two maybe twice all winter.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Friday Feeder Day........

The behaviors of birds that I have observed vary per kind of bird.  The downy and the redbellied woodpeckers do not share any space on the suet feeder.  The downy pair do yield when the redbellied shows up to eat.  Juncos don't like to share their space with each other.  Juncos push others away and stay at least 8 inches or more from each other while feeding.  The junco will sit all around the feeder and wait its turn at the feeder.  Sparrows just don't care who is around.  They will eat shoulder to shoulder without any problem.  They will sneak in and eat next to a junco as long as they stay a distance from the junco.  The white breasted nuthatch isn't picky with who they eat with as they don't stick around long enough to know who they are next to at the feeder.  They fly in quickly and take off immediately once they secure a seed.

The cardinals eat separately.  A male and a female can eat at the feeder together, one at each level.  Cardinals wait their turn and fly in quickly to pick up one sunflower seed and then fly off to eat it on a branch of a tree or bush.  The sparrows prefer eating on the ground but do like a huge pile of seed.  The starlings of course come in with large numbers and flood the feeder.  They even eat cat food at the  automatic feeder by our porch door.  They leave a mess while they eat, dirty birds.  The morning doves and Eurasian doves haven't been around for quite a while but they will be back in the spring and summer to eat on the tabletop of the feeder.  They will feed all summer if I keep something in the trays. The purple finch rarely comes to my feeder and hopefully the kestral never returns to feed on the birds.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Winter into Spring.......

I need to shovel my walk.  The only outside person who uses the gate is the person who reads the gas meter.  They usually wait until the snow is almost gone or they make an estimate for the month and will read it next month.  It all averages out so we pay no matter what. One of our weather persons admitted a few days ago that he goes out and measures snowfall on objects when it is a fresh snow like what you are seeing piled up on the planter and fountain.

Snow is in our forecast again tonight.  I don't think it is going to be a large amount.  It seems strange to have the daylight savings time going into effect while it is still dropping snow from the sky.  The bright mornings will be destroyed by getting up in the dark.   I guess I can use all that daylight at the end of the day to see to shovel walks. I must plant my tomato seeds soon.  I must not wait much longer.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

What is This...............?

This is a random shot of a future frame job.  They are E bonds sold by the United States back in 1944 to help to pay for things as we went into the war.   I am not so sure they are worth very much but I think the owner thinks there more valuable as keepsakes rather than money. I had to think about the dark lines for a moment but the sun was shining through the side door and the window is causing the  design.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Warm or Cold.......

Inside the room it isn't extremely warm but it is better than -12 degrees F.  outside.  The cold burns your face while you are out there and then it stings once you get into the warm indoors.

I have three of the hardy geraniums in bloom right now.  They aren't robust but they are very much alive.  I have had to water them more than usual as the dry air of the house because of the furnace really dries out the soil.  Our humidifier doesn't begin to stay with the dry air.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Patiently Waiting.........and Then...

Waiting for the starlings to get off of his feeder.  It snowed most of the day yesterday and they all were taking turns to get to the feeder. Finally he rushed the feeder and the starlings went flying.

He is really fluffed out to keep warm.  I haven't seen him at the feeder for a long time but the smell of new sunflower seeds brought him in to eat.  A squirrel came in to chase him away a little later so I had to intervene to keep the creatures all under control.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Juniper Berries........

I can tell so many stories of how there are so many robins at a crab apple tree at school. They sit close to the wall below the windows and enjoy their treats. I don't have pictures.  I could also tell you the story of robins that like these blue berries on the Juniper shrub at my house.  I saw one out my second story window eating one while sitting in the snow on my roof.  I still don't have pictures.  But I can show you the berries that the robins are eating.  I think the green is wonderful to see.  You will just have to believe me.  I am telling you the truth.