Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Big Red Truck..........

I didn't get out to take shots yesterday as it was cold and wet.  I tried to get photos from the windows and that wasn't too bad.  Notice the layers in this photo.  The birch tree limbs are in front, the red maple is next and the redbud shrub is third.   Beyond the street and the electric pole sits the red truck.  It has a low bed on it so that it carries big items like machines or heavy beams.  Sometimes the driver brings things home on it and he takes it out the next day. At 5:30 in the morning it is started to warm up the engine and then it leaves its docking station climbing out of the driveway.  It takes about three shifts of the gears to get it to go up the street.  When we first noticed that it was  even being parked there, we thought we were having a storm as it has a very low roaring sound when it is in idle.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Southern Transport.......to Iowa

My neighbor has a friend that lives in southern Texas in the winter.  One of the neighbors of Lillian,   in Texas, was going to toss a large planting of these so it was rescued and brought back to Iowa.  Three of us have taken parts of it and each have a nice specimen.  Mine is weathered a lot from being in the hot sun.  It was one of the oldest parts of the plant but I think it will brighten up with a little care, or lack of care.  The granite pan doesn't have drainage so I will have to keep it on the porch out of the rain.  I know nothing about this kind of plant but I am assuming someone can tell me or I will look it up someday.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Overnight Transformation........

I posted the green version on Saturday, the blog below, and I noticed when we returned home on Sunday that all the tulips are now yellow.  I really didn't know that they did mature all at the same time but these sure did.  It has been raining off and on for a couple of days and the strong winds were difficult.  We didn't have tornadoes but the winds are a part of those kind of weather patterns that put us in the watch area for most all of Sunday.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Sunday Storms.............

We need the rain but we really didn't like the continue huge winds for the entire night.  It isn't so strong to cause damage but it sure sounds like it could when you are inside the house.  It is nice to keep getting rain as we are still are considered in a moderate drought location. Things are really starting to green but trees are not quite out at this time.

The tulip above is an early blooming variety.  I will be sharing photos of it as soon as it shows one flower.  I don't specifically remember tulip colors and where they are planted.  I guess that is why the spring flowers are a surprise each year.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

A Perfect Site..........

I have a robin's nest on my step ladder.  It is high enough that I really can't get a photo of the eggs but I will return to see it again when it isn't so cold outside. The step ladder was in my dad's garage stored in the rafters. It's original owner could be a construction company as my late brother probably, permanently borrowed it.  I brought it home as no one in the Osceola area really wanted it.  I didn't really want it but I thought it might come to use someday.  I can't put it in the shed as it is too tall so I hung it on the supports of the outside of the garden shed. It isn't pretty but it solved the storage problem so far.  I am going to paint the south side of my house this summer so I will be using it for sure.

While out taking pictures in the cold wind this morning I saw a robin fly away from the area and when I checked it out there was the nest.  It is filled with scrap plastic from the neighborhood, leaves and sticks.  I saw one robin the  other day pulling wet leaves out of my fish pond and I am sure it is sturdy being woven through with wet leaves.  I had robins try to build under the roof before but the ledge proved to be narrow under there as a sideways board is only 2 inches wide. I think that next fell off the ledge while it was being made.

Friday, April 25, 2014


When in doubt, show another hardy geranium.   I don't even know if I have posted it before but my picture file is low.  I hope to shoot some pictures over the weekend.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Best Buds.............

They look out for each other in their subtle ways.  One really doesn't notice but they are really side by side to keep each other company.  Button had to adjust to this big border collie who came to his house 11 years ago, bounding, bouncing and never sitting still. Button spent a few years trying not to be afraid of this intruder and stayed on the couch as much as possible.  He would ask us to carry him around rather than get down on the floor.  Now they go outside together each knowing the distance to keep so someone smaller doesn't get hurt.  Barney accidentally runs into Button but it isn't too often. You can see that Button keeps his radar on as he turns to see his location.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Green Glow.......

Our brown is going away and yet there are still leaves laying around that remind me of all the gray brown that we had. This photo glows with the light of spring and the shot shows the chokecherry tree  unfolding its leaves. The brown bed in the foreground gets raked today carefully as the peonies are not coming up as the soil warms.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

A Good Start.......

Iris that is transplanted doesn't always take right away but seems stunted for the first year.  I think this new start will grow strong this year and next year there will be blooms.  The leaves on the iris are translucent but one doesn't really notice that until the shines through it. I have a newer bed that hasn't bloomed ever that I hope to see blooms on this year.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Basking in the Sun.......

Monday morning, it is spring time, and more rain is on its way.  We are still classified as being in a mild drought area and we do need the rain.  The hardy geraniums can quit freeloading inside in a few weeks.  I would move them outside but it would cause us to have a freeze.  I can babysit them inside without too much trouble.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

White as Snow........

We remember that we are now forgiven because of Jesus' sacrifice.  May we celebrate the season every day of the year.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Not My Dust.....

It isn't a pretty picture but my wife's friend dumped three tv sets on us this week.  She lives in a senior housing development where things are handed down, across the hall and they all find new things to cause them to get rid of things.  My wife's friend was having tv trouble with a reception box that translates digital onto an analogue tv. 

One person's mother who lived there died and immediately the son gave her the one in the foreground.  It does work, once I got it home and mess with it, but it is too big for a studio apartment.  The other set is one that only works with a cable hookup.  I don't have cable so I have never heard of a set like that before now.  It is worthless to us and also probably to everyone else who has a new modern flat screen one. The third set is a small one that we have set up in the gallery but it doesn't pick up all of the stations.  I do think that a trip to the landfill is in order. Right now they are all in my store room in which I had moved things out of and now those spaces are filled up again.

Friday, April 18, 2014

A Cat and a Chair...........

I could not have planned this photo, it just happened.  I am carrying in old chairs from the car that we had lent to my wife's friend.  I just left it there to do other stuff.  When I am out with the camera, there Tiny Tim sat.  I have a set of 6 of those chairs that belonged to my parents.  I just can't dump them even though we will never use them.  I am thinking I might turn them into items to paint on as novelty furniture. Tiny Tim continues to hang around everyday and gives me ample photo opportunities.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Winter Be Gone.......

This was taken a couple of days ago and I am certain there will still be a trace of snow along the shed still this morning.  It looks more hopeful out there though as my chokecherry tree is putting out its first leaves and some of the grass areas are green.  In spite of the cold the iris and tulips are shooting up as well as the dandelions are starting to bloom on the south side of buildings. I will get my morning glories planted along the trellis as soon as the soil warms up to help germinate the seed.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014


The thuderstorms are done and now the strong winds have left so Barney can come out of the house without being scared.  He usually comes out on the steps and watches and waits to see if there is anything deserving to be barked at wildly without abandonment. When the wind blows hard or it is rainy I have to walk him up and down the streets or he wouldn't go out for forever.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Dead Fish for Lunch.......

I succeeded in capturing some more recent shots of the Decorah Eagles and the little ones.  I grab them off of the live video feed so there is not any artistic credit for me other than the technical skills that I have. The chicks already are not looking so cute.  Fish is on the menu.  You have to look hard but there are three faces there.  The two on the right look like a glob until you focus in on them.

While catching them out in the open with mom feeding them, I also was able to see the dad land in the nest with them.  All of a sudden the two adults decided they needed to eat so they tore into the fish themselves.  I have never seen them eat at the nest before that. One of my students at school has an Uncle who owns the fishery that is near this area.  They hatch fish to distribute in many Iowa lakes each year. I hope this fish wasn't snatched from the fishery area.

While being a librarian today I thought I could pull off blogging with my newer shots.  I realized that I got distracted last night and all my new photos are sitting on a hot pink thumb drive (my wife's). It is  at home and I didn't get the visuals moved onto my photo storage area.  I hate it when I do that. I actually was baking a cake for my wife's birthday and I was being distracted with things.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Two Visuals for the Day.........

As I sat yesterday blogging I snapped this photo of the continue rain  we were having.  It lasted all day until last night at 10:30 when it turned to snow.  The roads and patio held their heat so the snow did not remain on them but everything else is coated with a half inch or more of snow.

It is back.  We will have a warming up of the air to 37 degrees F and maybe a little of it will go away again.  Last year it snowed on May 1st so I don't think it should seem so unusual.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

White Blooms.......

It is raining and the hardy geranium would probably enjoy being in it not stuck inside looking out to the bright light.  I enjoy seeing the plants surviving the store room in their window and now putting out blooms.

We find rain to be annoying at times but the all night storms are a blessing as we have been in drought for two summers.  The rain storms hit all through Saturday evening and then through the night we had louder thunder and lightening .

It was not for me a good night's sleep between the storms waking me and the little dog. Button, who's hearing is less, still does wake me for the near hits of lightning.

A gentle rain this morning washes away dirt and puts the seed pods from the trees onto the ground.  The brown pods from the silver maple coat the ground, patio, and my car.  They do dry up and fall away once it warms outside.   We are at 46 degrees right now but we were at 84 degrees F. yesterday. We go from a few days of California weather and right into hot summer here in Iowa.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Saturday's Shot........

They dropped the prices on the orchids, so I purchased one.  It is hard to choose which one as they are all great in their own way.  Even the white orchid is a stunning flower. I will keep track to see how long I can keep this one going.  Summer humidity won't be hard on it but this winter and the heating system will bother it.  I may put a plastic tent over it during the winter. 

I remember these kinds of orchids are called the moth orchid.  I will never remember the more technical name. I am always amazed as to who markets these blooms.  Walmart of course brings in a few but to see the home centers industry push them and drug stores selling them does seem unusual. I guess anywhere including grocery stores where some plants are sold that they are out there.

Friday, April 11, 2014


It is an action packed shot with the robin fleeing the commotion of the birds at the feeder.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Every Bird Has a Story........

As I watched this lone female cardinal I wondered what was going on with her.  The bird sat there for a long time as if she had no where else to be.  I know there are a lot of turf wars going on around the house between the males.  I am wondering if she has no mate at this point of time.  I do believe nests are being built right now.  I guess it makes me wonder how the ones that can't find a mate, if there ever is a chance that they don't.  It seems the stray would fly around in vast areas to see if there were an available bird to make a pair.

The water bowl has proven to be a good idea as I am having many birds coming to drink and also taking baths.   I can see why I need to keep filling it as a robin came by yesterday, pictures to follow tomorrow, splashing water everywhere.  Two starlings sat and watched her waiting for her to quit splashing them in the face.  They wanted a drink.  

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Three Sliced Rocks.....

My dad's rock collection included rocks that he found on or in the ground.  It also included kinds of rocks that he would buy whole at a rock show and then would cut them into with his rock cutting saw.  I can still hear the sound of the saw blade screeching as it cut through stone.  The polishing process is the same as if you were to polish a metal, starting with a rough grade of sanding material and working down to a final polishing with a leather pad and rouge.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Cream in your Coffee........

Some of my entries on the photo a day blog seem silly.  I find though that getting a good photo of an object can be very challenging and the results of a good picture are what I am seeking, not necessarily the perfect item to photograph.   This is a creamer that we picked up at an antique store many years ago.  There are no markings on it but its glazing reminded me of the tea pot that we have from Czechoslovakia .  It has a glaze that has a rainbow like sheen, iridescent, and the black glaze is a mat glaze.We still have our Christmas tablecloth on the table but the regular one is laying on the chair ready for a switch. The tablecloth makes a great pattern for the background.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Wild Birds......

My photo of a downy in a distance that is actually working on a tree for insects.  I thought it would be clearer but it is a moving bird when it pecks at the tree and my zoom is not that great.

A bonus photo that reveals that I also captured a junco sitting in the branches below. The junco have not all left for the summer and maybe some will stick around.  They usually move north when it warms up outside.

Sunday, April 6, 2014


Two things that don't relate are placed in an accidental setting with a creative composition. The tern carved out of wood has been fun to sit among my plants giving the area a new look.  I like the pose they chose in doing the carving 

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Sparrows..........Black, Brown and white.

The simple sparrow is taken for granted.  There are many of them I know but they seem to be just as active in personality as all of the juncos and finches. They bicker among themselves when they want to fight for territory on the feeder and other times they are peaceful and and eat in groups.  I know that people tend to think there are too many of them but they do have their place. 

At my feeder there is a lot of seed tossed onto the area below. I see juncos and cardinals shuffle their feet to kick seed away that they choose not to eat.  When there is snow sparrows are down in the snow picking up the mess.  When it warms up enough to eat from the concrete patio they eat from there.   Right now my patio has been gleaned clean from any seed as if there were never ever any seed scattered on the ground. I thought I would have a real mess to get off of the patio but I don't have to worry about it.

The above picture shows the light snow we had from Thursday nights snow.  It was almost too small to measure and it melted away quickly.  This sparrow has great colors and their white underbelly is good looking when they fly by in flocks.

Friday, April 4, 2014


My wife has many boxes of pastels but while working on a specific work. A box lid is used to collect the ones that will be continually used in the work and left there until the painting is completed.

Pastel paintings have been around for a few hundred years.  The pigment is suspended in a dry form rather that being suspended in oil.  It has proven itself to very permanent as a painting material but it does have to be treated carefully and safely under glass.  Many oil painters like to do watercolor paintings on the side and sometimes picked up the pastel stick because of its ability to draw and paint in with a blended powder. 

My wife sells a lot of pastel paintings as the quality of a pastel has a really nice visual quality.  It creates a surface that reflects a lot of light, more than a smooth acrylic or oil painting.

People who see the real pastel rather than the image on the internet do remark that the quality is far greater in real life.  My wife completed a dog portrait recently for a woman and she said that she loved the painting so much that she thought she should adopt another dog so she would have an excuse to have her paint another one.  That is quite a complement to my wife and her work.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

The White Cat Syndrome..........

She is an interesting animal to watch.   She watches into the yard to see birds and mean dogs.  She use to come over the fence and walk around but that isn't allowed with our dogs owning the territory inside the fence.  It is amazing how her white coat makes her seem so much like a special cat unlike all the yellow ones and the tiger gray ones. She is just like a lot of the other cats but she really would like to catch a bird, which all the non white cats seem to not want to do.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

A Blustery Day......

The winds have been strong for the last three days.  It does take a break for a while but today it is coming from the east and it is strong.  The squirrel's tail keeps blowing around while he on the feeder eating up scrap seed.  We  have warmed up some and it is sunny today. 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014


The bluejay has had a drink but is very distracted.  He sees other bluejays having a quarrel in the tree above him.  He had just been bombbarded by one of them as they flew over and almost hit him.  The water tray has been welcomed by the bigger birds but other smaller birds must get their drinks somewhere else. I don't know if the jays are territorial but I wouldn't be surprised that they were.