Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Hairy Woodpecker..........

This is my first time every having a hairy woodpecker at the suet.  When I saw it I thought I was seeing a giant downy. The viewing sent me to the bird book and I realized it wasn't a freak of nature. The red markings on a hairy are like two brush strokes of red not like the male downy which has a full bar of red on the back of its head.  When I read that the hairy is the size of a robin I knew that is what I saw.

Going back and looking at these pictures I can see the face of the hairy is a lot like a raccoon with a black mask marking over each eye. The downy's mask is a little different and smaller. The bird book said I would rarely see them but I have other bloggers who say that they see them often. I will be keeping my eye for the big bird again.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Hold Still Red One..........

I kept waiting for this guy to move around on the feeder and he wouldn't.  Finally he did make a move and so did I.   I went to the other side of the window and got a better angle.  He hasn't been around much but I am going to solve that problem.  When I get to the store today or tomorrow I will buy black sunflower seeds.  I don't know where the female has been but she must be at a better feeding site.  We did get very cold and that brought a lot of birds back to the feeder. We still only have a light amount of snow on the ground.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Red on Red..........

I don't always have one these each Christmas but this one was at the right place at the right time for me to pick it up and buy it. 

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Leaning Twilight Zone......

It is a photo that I took earlier and I don't understand how I got this effect.  Houses leaning in all directions and nothing right with the world.  I guess the lady and child are standing up straight with the little girl next to her.  The guy with the teddy bear also is right with the world as well as the posts on the front of the bridge. When I look at the house in reality I do see that it is leaning some with the snow it sits on making it be uneven.  I suppose they all may be a little tipped.  I don't see it unless I try to focus a group of them on a camera.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

New Camera.........

I received a new camera for Christmas.  It is a slim featured one but with all the best bells and whistles. I finally figured out how to download the photos and all is working well now.  New things mean learning new ways to work a camera.  It is an Olympus Stylus and will be easy for me to take along in the car. The photo I am sharing today is sort of confusing but the top shiny object is a large clear  angel compared to the smaller one below.

Friday, December 26, 2014

December 26th..........

It is the day after Christmas and the snow is almost gone.  When there is not snow on the ground the birds don't need to flock to the feeder.  The suet feeder keeps the woodpeckers coming though and that is good.The sparrows may drop in during the evening hour and have a last bite to eat.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Eve.......

All seems to be settling down at this time of the year.  A lot has been going on behind the scenes and all is going to be good.  I snapped a shot of the reflection of the tree in the dining room window seeing the great mirror effect.  Little did I know that the carved wooden water bird is probably the center of interst in this photo.  I wish everyone to have a great day today.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

A Baby Grand Piano.......

Our grandson can start piano lessons now as he plays on his new Christmas gift from us.  The book also plays sounds of the farm animals.  My son has been teaching him sounds that the different animals make.  I think it would be good for AJ to have pictures of what animal of which he is doing.  The toy is a classy one as it makes nice note sounds on the little metal bars so that it doesn't make noise, it makes pleasant musical sounds.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Just a Glance.......

The tree is crowded and one snap can show many things. This is a drummer drumming as Santa looks on to the shinning drummer.  The little bear in the sack is also staring out to see what is happening.  As a person who takes photographs, good and bad, the camera just doesn't always react well to shinning reflective things.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Feed Me.........

While looking out my small window next to my computer area this is what I was seeing.  I think there are some seeds on the birch tree but this guy seemed to be watching me in the window.

Friday, December 19, 2014


I don't know the word for a large grouping of angels but my wife's angel collection does seem to come together for a convention.  They are all gathered under the angel Christmas tree. 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Goldfinch in Winter.......

The gold finch do not leave Iowa during the winter time, they just change their colors.  The male at the top of seed sock keeps some of his yellow but that mixed with brown almost makes him look green.  I was whining because I couldn't get a shot of a female finch eating at my coneflowers  last month so this takes away the pain.  I took a shot of the female at first and then the male joined her a little later. I was glad that they found the sock feeder today as it has been out there for a couple of weeks and only the chickadees where eating from it.  It is fun to see them work their beaks into the opening, stretching out the net to get a seed to come through for them to eat.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Bubble Lights.........

I have told the story many times before about seeing my first bubble lights in a country school in 1953.  I really liked the tingling sound that they made as the old sets had small pieces of metal or glass to bounce inside of the fluid.  The new sets do not have that feature.   The two sets that I have were purchased at a local store in Perry.  I think the manager wanted them off the shelf at the end of the season and I obliged him or her. The price was very low as they were the last two sets.  I have never seen them on sale at any store since that time 10 or more years ago.  I still need to replace a couple of bulbs and someday it will happen.  I don't think I am brave enough to own an original set that can be bought on ebay as I think the wiring was poor then and would be worst after all these years.  They are hard to keep straight on a tree but the artificial tree is accommodating with its wire branches. 

Monday, December 15, 2014

Night Glow...........

The village is up and the buildings are all lighted except for one.  I guess those people are not at home.  The village has snow but outside we do not have snow.  It looks like we may not get snow for quite some time.  I was pleased with the camera as it picked up mostly of what we see when the dining room light is not on and the glow from the windows of the house gave just enough lighting to catch a shot.

The painter on the balcony must be creating a night scene on his canvas.  Actually he was placed there as the house was being move around to get it's light installed in the back.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Carry your Friend.........

Santa has a helper to keep him company while he is out and about.  Both Santa and his bear have so much hair that it is hard to keep it out of their eyes.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

A Farm Boy No More.......

But I do remember being a farm boy back in the 50's through the 70's.  While digging through a box of tinker toys and stuff from my parents home I found these abandoned two toys.  They are not from my past though but I bet my parents bought them for their grandsons to play with when they visited. One grandson lived in California and the other lived in Arizona.  Neither of them would remember their grandparents living on the farm and were visiting them in the house in town, as we would call it.

The toys are Ertyl toys made in Dyersville, Iowa.   The tractor is the model of the last one in which my dad to have purchased his last years of farming. He had two H Farmall tractors and this was a used tractor that he bought probably in the late 60's.  He also had a F tractor that he bought from a neighbor to use for powering the elevator used for lifting grain.  The F had a seat that was off centered on the tractor so you could see right down the row when you would be cultivating. I can still see that tractor being driven away down or gravel road by the lucky guy who bought it at the auction.  Every time I see one of them I  wonder if that had been my Dad's tractor.

The three major things I had to learn when growing up with tractors was to turn the tractor away from a fence, don't drive into it, push on the brake and don't back a wagon up like this photo shows.  One could break the tongue of the wagon.  In reality I have seen the tractor wheel drive up on that bar.  I don't know how I saw that but I did see it once. For some reason the clutch wasn't a problem for me.

The thing I remember most was that I didn't have the feel for the tractor at first and how it needed me to make it stop by pushing on the break which is a strange thing and hard to reach next to the clutch.  When you are young you act the same way as you do when you learn to first try to stop a boat.  You can kill the motor on a boat but the boat just keeps on moving. I mastered both the  tractor and the speed boat and really never damaged anything.  Oh yes, I guess there was this one time when I took a short cut through shallows when I was driving my dad and California brother to a fishing spot on Lake Pokegama.  My brother paid for the new prop.  Oh well...........

Friday, December 12, 2014

Shining Brightly.......

I really don't have a collection of shiny brite ornaments.  I have the remains of three different households of the early in history created decoration.  When I first started teaching  I bought a set of red and gold balls.  That was in 1972 that I started to own just a few ornaments.  It was a sparse tree and they were the only ornaments on the tree with all red lights.  I think there were some yellow bows on the tree but it was a minimal amount of things on the tree.

When my brother lived in an apartment during his early college years at ISU he bought some for a tree at his place in Ames.  When he left school my parents inherited his grocery bag of leftover decorations. It had garland in the sack with a batch of shiny brite ballls.  They had the blue, purple and silver colors in them.  My mom had red, a magenta red and gold ones on her own tree. One year when my parents were not putting a tree up anymore, I bought them a small tree.  I took my shiny brites and wired them on the tree with some lights.  That way they had one already decorated and could just be carried out from the store room in December.  They were pretty pleased with that idea and used it for a lot of years.  

Through the years I now have that tree's ornaments and mom's and  brother's. I found some in the toy boxes when I was closing the house down and more in a crawl space under the house. This whole group is probably a couple dozen in number and they don't get put on a tree anymore.   I do remember that one red one is still among all the other ornaments that do go on the big tree.

They are a good piece of history and now the plastic ones are out there pretending to be the real thing.  This is sad.  I caved in the other day and bought some plastic ones. I put them on an outdoor tree. I have compromised now to the plastic and that is sad too.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

From Trains to Angels in One Day.........

My wife's angel tree gives me a lot of good shots to take but I have noticed I do jump around with subject matter in my sharing.  I can do teddy bears tomorrow but I will hold off for a while on that one.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Waiting at the Train Station........

Trains have always been my fascination and the small sets that were my dad's allows me to mess with them a little longer in my mature years.  My brother had bought two kinds of trains for my dad, one with an old fashion locomotive engine with cars and the diesel powered train with cars.  The caboose is always a nice exclamation poing at the end of the train.  I remember seeing these caboose cars as a kid thinking that is the end of the line.  I also remember seeing guys up in the look out place of the car.

Back then there was no way of communicating and the guy stationed in the car could go up and look out to see the city signs that were coming up if he didn't know where they were on the track. I remember seeing flags used in the old movies to let the engineer see all was ready in the rear.  I am sure it was a good way to see above the train also just to look forward.  

This model size of train is one of their smaller sized model trains.  It isn't the smallest as I have seen smaller at Hobby Lobby where they sell trains.  This one I have made to work on it's track but it is so small that it tends to take more time keeping it on the track than having fun running it.  It's wheel base size is less than 5/8 inch in width.  The larger train set that was shared with my brother has a wheel base a little larger than an inch, :),  I don't remember when the last time it was ever used as my parents moved from the farm in 1973 and the track for it was systematically being tossed.  There were two more moves by my parents and the loose track among the tinker toys was most all thrown away.  I have always been curious since young as to how Santa Clause would take the time to wrap up with brown paper a train set in a box and write to Dwight and Larry on the outside, from Santa.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

A Fish on our Tree.........

I received this as gift from a blogger friend from Indiana.  It was a few years ago as I had sent her some quilt books that I was otherwise going to toss.  Right before Christmas the box arrived with a fish, fisherman, and some snowmen ornaments.  

Monday, December 8, 2014


The candle holder has been around for a while but today I discovered that the words Love, Joy and Peace are written  on the three sides of the holder.  The "e" seems to not have been finished so at first I could not understand the spelling.

I will share more than one photo today as I already have a truckload of photos to share from all the decorations that have appeared in our house.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Train Wreck..........

Bringing this train set downstairs I placed them on the table willy nilly as I had my arms full of other stuff.  My grandma Brooks would have called it a lazy man's load, carrying too many things at one time rather than making two trips. I needed to clean up the set doing some serious dusting and cleaning of the old set. The tanker car is not originally from this set but an older set that my older brothers had.  It is the lone survivor of that set.  My brother and I received this set in the late 50's together from Santa Claus.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

In the Glow.....

Barney is adjusting to a tree being in the living room.  The photo is in low light as the colored lights put off just enough light for a photo but not enough to make the photo bright and clear.  The tree usually causes the room to be rearranged and we always have to be sure furniture is sitting loosely spaced enough so Barney can travel through the new maze. He really is pretty tolerant  of it all except that he goes into the bathroom to sleep while the tree is assembled.

Friday, December 5, 2014

White Lights and All............

Our first tree is up and I have a wreath on the front door.  I am not working today so I might just tear into things and get it done.  My wife will be involved so it will be two people in action.  We are foggy today and our snow keeps melting.  It doesn't look like Christmas any more but I am sure it will again. Rain and or snow is in the forecast.  The photo is the reflection of the tree in a mirror and I guess this really isn't our best side of the tree.  You can get the feel of how the tree looks even though things are not so well arranged.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Reflection City.........

The antique glass bowl was an inheritance from my parents.  My mom and dad were good friends of June and Galen.  Galen was actually a cousin to my dad.  They would go to Thrasher Reunions and antique shows as June was a true antique person with her house full of very old furniture.  While at an antique shows and shops probably 25 years or more ago. My mom won this as the door prize at on of the events in southeast Iowa.  Back then it seemed like a valuable thing to be given as a prize but I suppose the glass wasn't selling for much back then.  From life's experiences I do think it was a punch bowl and it probably had a glass base that went with it. Its opening at the top rim  is about 9 inches and the glass piece is a really thick one. It is a heavy bowl to carry because of its thickness of glass.

As a photo, the light really does reflect well on it and the brown wooden base turns the bowl brown in the bottom of it.  I like the star inside of a star design in the bottom of the piece. The spiral decoration on the outside is great and the rows of circles in a patterned row reminds me of another rectangle relish dish that I own.

This second photo is not in perfect focus but I thought I would share its whole design.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Birch at Rest.........

Evening shot of the birch with the moon showing clearly in the background.  It isn't a full moon so it looks like an incomplete shot of it.  A silver maple sneaks into the picture from the top and another one is extending into the shot from the right side. The red maple on the left finally dropped all of its leaves and winter has set in for good.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Seeing Red............

My Christmas cactus has been renamed a Thanksgiving cactus because of its leaf shape.  I had a blogger share the information teaching me about Thanksgiving cactus. I was surprised about the blooms on this plant just like most people are when the cactus revives during the winter.

Monday, December 1, 2014


The decorations go up early this month as December is here. The container of balls are all plastic as I intend to put them on an outside tree.  The reflections of the dining room window was an accident but it gives me a very abstract modern photograph. I really do not like the plastic ornaments and cringe when I see them on the shelves pretending to be glass blown ornaments.  We look warmer today even though we are not.  If it isn't windy this afternoon I will put these on a larger balsm pine tree.  I think that I won't put lights on it as it is too big but the ornaments will be a nice effect with 41 balls of color.