Saturday, February 28, 2015

Seeing White.........

I pull these out of my wife's glass display cupboard once in a while and take their pictures.  They are smaller items as the glass cabinet has shelves that are about 4 inches high.  Only the small things get to be in there.  The penguin is a ceramic piece that has very subtle glaze color on it.  The little dogs are from the past, retrieved out of my grandmother's house when they were shutting it down for sale in the 1950's. My mom didn't protect them very well.

I have a lot of bad memories about the two pups as the whole set six or more were so abused that the two are all that is left.  I have looked for them at shops and on the internet but none seem to be out there.  The two mother and father dogs were big with black dog collars on them.  There were two or three more pups and they all have been broken.  The surviving mother dog and one other pup didn't survive a situation when my brother was living with my mom about 7 years ago.  The glaze on these pups have an iridescent glaze on them and the single stroke of red on their mouths make them look like sad faces. My grandmother was British but I bet these came from Japan and were not family keepsakes from overseas.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Sunshine in My Eyes.......

The male cardinal has turned so brown that I have to look twice to see if it is a male or female. Then I think how confused I am as the female is totally brown and does not have the an all red colored head.  When I first got up to let the dogs outside I noticed one lone junco sitting on a bar of the lawn chair looking back at me.  In my bathrobe and flimsy shoes I went out and fed the birds even before I had made coffee.  It is -11 degrees F.  and the birds should really be hungry.  They were grateful as this guy above showed up for me to take some shots after my coffee.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Empty Chairs at Empty Tables...........

This is the view of the science room that I worked in for 5 weeks earlier this year.  I have returned for half days in here but no more long term science for me.  The first half of this room is the original location of the kindergarten room when my kids went to school in this building.There were tiles in a circle on the floor with the alphabet on each block. Josh in the back of the room is a ghost guest.

Empty Chairs at Empty Tables is a song that was sung in the musical "Le Miserables" that was about the French Revolution. Earlier in the story all his friends sat at tables and had great fun and conversations.  After their attempted rebellion, the singer was the only one left at the place with only the memories of what was and is not anymore. The song is sad of course but it was written in such a creative way to express the message. I think of it being a song for all people's feelings about their friends and family members that were lost in war. I think of this song when I come upon rooms with tables and chairs that are empty.

There's a grief that can't be spoken
There's a pain goes on and on
Empty chairs at empty tables
Now my friends are dead and gone.
Here they talked of revolution
Here it was they lit the flame
Here they sang about 'tomorrow'
And tomorrow never came
From the table in the corner
They could see a world reborn
And they rose with voices ringing
I can hear them now
The very words that they had sung
Became their last communion
On the lonely barricade at dawn!
Oh my friends, my friends, forgive me
That I live and you are gone.
There's a grief that can't be spoken
There's a pain goes on and on.
Phantom faces at the window
Phantom shadows on the floor
Empty chairs at empty tables
Where my friends will meet no more.
Oh my friends, my friends, don't ask me
What your… Full lyrics Click here sung by Nick Jonas

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Crawling Around......

I took my camera to school yesterday.  I snapped a few photos in the science room of the new addition to the aquarium.  This kind of crawdad crayfish doesn't seem to bother the fish.  When I subbed in there early in the fall the wild ones were eating fish alive.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

From the Inside Looking Out.......

It is very cold outside and it very cold inside my garden shed.  I was out in it after supper recovering a couple of flats in which to start tomato seeds.  I took my new camera with me and just look what I caught while I was in the shed.  All of this stuff was in my art classroom a few years back.  When I quit that job I brought all the still life stuff home and put it in the shed.  Some of these things belong in the house as they are true antiques.  The bottom of the  glass lantern is a family antique from a great grandma.  The brown bottle is one that I found under my porch.  I am still working with my new camera and I used the flash on this and it worked great. The flash allowed me to get a good shot of dark things inside and the camera still picked up the outside with clarity.  That was great to see coming from the camera.  The clay turtles I made while teaching as examples for making unusual chess pieces. . 

Monday, February 23, 2015

A Buggy Ride.....

One of the pieces that are included with our village is packed and ready to slide into the box.  The last of the village made it to the basement on Saturday.  This carriage is one of my favorites among the things we set up with the little town.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

The Reflection of Winter........

On a sunny day the world reflects in the kitchen windows. Some of the reflections seem to be imaginary as it is hard to visualize and identify most of them.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Seeing Red Again.......

I put out the good stuff this morning and this guy was casing the joint. The bright spot of red sitting in the lilac and then to the mock orange bush. He then finally is swooping in for a feast.

I am sharing a second shot with a surprise sight in it.  I wanted to get the shot of the two eating as it makes up sort of a story about the personality of the cardinal.  But then look at the sparrow coming in for a landing, just like a helicopter.  Bird is suspended in the air.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Digging Deep......

The chickadee is digging deep into the webbing to get out a thistle seed. They have the claws on their feet to hang on just like the goldfinches do.  The juncos can't get there claws into the webbing but they stand on a branch next to it and peck away at it.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

A Very Cold Sunset........

Looking out our upstairs window we see the sun setting.  It is going to be cold and the windchill warning is not for our county even though the county north of us two miles is under the warning.  Believe me it is blowing in our town making it very cold out there.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Middle of the Week......

The cardinal seems to be a friendly sort and he never chases anyone away.  He doesn't stick around if there are dozens of sparrows and he won't even land if the bluejays or starlings are on the feeder.  The wind is blowing him around in this photo as he checks out what is left from all the busy eaters of the day at the tray.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Long Distance Shot......

If I could have had the ability to take a better shot I surely would.  I didn't think the rabbit would stay still if I tried to go out and take pictures.  So I took this shot through the window, through the opening of the two trays of the feeder while hugging the side of the window.  The window edge kept me from leaning over the the left more to get the rabbit in the entire picture.  I still like the photo as the rabbit is looking around for fallen birdseed. I think he might even eat corn kernels from the scattering done by the squirrels.

Monday, February 16, 2015

The Real Blogging Spot.......

I have a desk that I can sit at and blog but I still like going into the dinning room and sit near the window.  I take a lot of shots of birds while I sit there.  By the time I start blogging I have finished two cups of coffee and I will start working on a glass of water instead to drink.  My wife buy's me the mugs each year that are "Snoopy the dog" related.  Joe Cool is the latest one that I received and I do change off using them in random order.  I see that I have iPhoto on the screen as I must have been editing photos.  I have a few new cardinal shots to share but I think Joe Cool gets the spotlight today.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Corn Questions......

I have heard that this past year that farmers didn't do well with the price of corn being very low.  It is said it ran around 4 dollars a bushel.  When I was a kid a bushel of corn was a measure by the corn on the cob bushel.  I suppose now it is a bushel of shelled corn.  The corn above from Walmart was expensive if one only got 4 bucks a bushel basket.  That means these ears of corn would only cost about 20 cents an ear.  I don't even want to figure out what I paid for this plastic sack of corn on the cob.  The one ear on the right had kernels that seemed smaller almost like it had been mixed with a pop corn bred.  When I was a kid this corn was fed to the hogs one shovel full at a time.

An added note as Betsy reminds me I didn't tell you that four squirrels will be happy with me for a while until they get the kernels all cleaned off of the cobs. 

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Our Speckled Friends.......

I don't quite like them as they are big and pushy.  They put on quiet a show as the do a dueling starlings in the air.  I am really trying hard to get that photo to share. They are speckled and big and can eat up a cake of suet in a couple of days.  They can be driven off by a red bellied woodpecker but they don't seem to be around much these days. I have learned to tolerate the starlings as they act like crows.  I don't like that they eat me out of house and home.

I will share an extra photo today as it is Valentine's Day.  The warmer weather that we had for a couple of days did slow them down from the feeder.  As the wind blows and it is very cold again I will put out more sunflower seed.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Friday's Shot.......

I was concerned yesterday that the birds had left my feeding stations because I hadn't been feeding them. They did start to return by late morning.  In the afternoon as the sun was going down cardinals came to the feeders.  They tend to come when it is almost dark. I can see them out there but there isn't light to take a shot.  This photo though was taken at the borderline time when the light was just enough to shoot but if the camera was at the wrong angle it took blurry shots. She is working on a seed breaking it open with her beak.

Thursday, February 12, 2015


The bucket boy isn't covered with snow anymore.  He is resting in some leftover leaves from the fall.  Chances are he will be very cold for the next 10 days.  Arctic air is moving in again to our state to remind us that winter is not over and not to get our hopes up for another month.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Evening View to the West.......

I hesitate to share this as my junky shed shows up but true life shots are reality.  The sun seems to look pretty good now that it is cooling off again.  Cold wind's today make it seem a lot colder than it is.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

River Birch.........

My river birch does not live near a river but it does get a lot of moisture from the garden shed that sits nearby. Leaning things against trees can be decorative but it also can be a good place to put your junk.  The reflection of the light on the snow really does turn the photographs blue.

A second shot to help you appreciate this species of tree.  The electric pole in the background draws a sharp contrast to the rough shedding bark of the birch.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Checking the Sky........

The sky has the appearance of a snow storm in the sky. When I view it in a small form it looks like snow drifts.

You can see one could visualize snow drifts with the wind blowing as you look at the smaller shot. 

We have warm weather again today to help melt some of our snow.  It will take a lot of days before it will be all gone. 

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Straight and Strong.........

I will never know the age of the chimney.  The house was lifted so a basement could be put under it back in the 30's.  I suspect the original chimney was removed as this chimney and stack goes all the way to the basement floor.  I don't think a chimney made in 1904 would look this good today.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Come, Sit....Maybe Later

It is getting to be time to think about spring.  I know it is a few months away but sitting out on the bench again would be a welcomed idea.  Today we start to melt some of this snow off of things. The burning bush next to the bench doesn't look so hot right now. 

Friday, February 6, 2015


The snow is staying for a few more days.  We have a slight warm up today that may start to work on its melting but I doubt that it will be very much.  The ornaments on the tree paid off in decoration once the tree received some snow.  I have not had a single ball fall from the tree even in strong winds. Our house has a lot of ice cycles this year.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Looking Out.......

Looking out the living room side window I see very little change in our snow.  Some of it has fallen off the branches but there is still a lot on them.  The new thing is that my neighbor guy snowblowed out my sidewalks.  I can see that I need to clear the snow that covers the connection of the sidewalk to the street.  The city is good about keeping the streets cleared but they are also good at piling the corner snow right on top of the pathway to the street form the sidewalk.  We are required to have our sidewalks cleared but they do make it seem silly when they pile excess onto it. I will have to go out this morning some time when it is at least above zero. In the night we had -19 degrees F.  It is up to -9 right now.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015


The snow we received over the weekend was spread around with strong winds.  Most everything did get covered with snow and it is still there today.  Tomorrow we will see melting and that will start to fall off.

The height of the drifts on the fence shows how deep the snow was once it stopped.  Today we are receiving a fresh coat to clean up anything that might need to be topped off.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Tuesday's Shots.....

This is our view just outside the kitchen door.  My weather rock is covered and so is the bird feeder.  I will have to excavate snow to get the lid off for filling it with seed.  The sparrows are still reaching way back into the holes to get what they can from it. They won't starve as I just filled the triple tray feeder and also a ceramic platter with seed.

The birds have trampled down the snow while eating at the cafeware plate.  I tried to remove it this morning and it is frozen down right now.  I need to go ahead and put seed in the rundown one on the table. It has to warm up before I will deal with that.

Our little button dog is old.  He is 16 years old now and he has decided he needs help up that first step.  I nailed an extra board to widen the bottom step but he insists that we need to help him.  Once he is lifted up to the first step he quickly trots right up the next two levels.  This means in the middle of the night we still have to go out in a snow storm with strong blowing winds and lift his hind end up that five inches.  We love him and would do it all day if we had to. He actually can jump from the floor onto a couch but I think at one time he must have hit his nose on step number two and he isn't going to do that again.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Many Photos Today.....

I have too many photos taken to only show just one.  A blizzard provides a lot of things in which to snap photos. Picasa must have liked this one as they turned it into this special look with the frame and all. I thought maybe they would put the fake snow effect on it like they did  last year.

Sometimes in the summer I shoot this scene showing the deep green of all the plants and trees.  You can see we received a foot of snow or more.  The yew shrub in front and the burning bush are weighted down to the ground.  There is the ornamental wind mill in the background if you look closely. The snow at first was a very wet snow which helped to weigh every thing down and then it just didn't stop snowing of a whole day.  The eastern states are getting this storm now and they share the effects of it from out there.

The female cardinal and the sparrow are glad to get food.  The wind is blowing them into their faces as they hold on to the top of the feeder.

As the wind keeps blowing snow the birds do have to hold their own while standing in the snow.  The cardinal's topnotch made some interesting shapes as the wind blew it around. At one time the top feathers were blowing scattered like an Indian headdress. The camera person didn't catch that as he was not clicking the camera fast enough.

The record number of bluejays at the feeders is now at 6 at one time.  I took a bunch of photos of it with four at one time on the table while two were in the standing feeder.  I have never seen them come in to eat in groups before now. I guess things are so coverend with snow that they really do have only a chance to eat at free feeding sites. I have pictures of more at one time at the feeder but they are on the other camera. As I said before I have so many photos that I will be sharing large numbers of them each day until I have to go back to one photo a day.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Looking Out Today........

Our snow storm that was predicted did happen.  It is still happening as this wet heavy snow is be added to as I blog.  The winds are going to start and then this all gets to be rearranged. This is my first view as I look out a window in the upstairs hallway.

If I were to only pick one photo for today, which is normal for me, I would have picked this one.  The birds were greeted with too much snow this morning and they were trying hard to find seed in my feeders.  I did a rescue and took out new trays of food to place on top of the snow.  These two birds are underneath the thistle seed feeder and are scampering around in the snow to get the best seeds that have fallen from above them.