Tuesday, March 31, 2015


I am in the band room today.  I will giving computer tests over music notes, fingerings and such.  It will be an interesting day.  What really impresses me is that this new band instructor demands that they put the instruments into the cupboards.  The past instructors did not and walking around in the room with horns in or out of cases all over the back floor was a real mess. 

The photo today reminds me of the sculptures that you can see at art museums.  The woman artists would fill cubicles on a large scale with blocks of wood.  The whole thing would be painted black with a collage of shapes all made out of wood.  Keeping it dusted for the museum would be difficult.  In most cases her worked looks dusty most all of the time as she painted the art in flat textured paint. 

Monday, March 30, 2015

A Very Windy Day...........

It isn't as safe for the squirrel to eat from on the ground but one does what they have to do. The winds on Sunday were from out of the northwest and it was really strong.  It was hard to drive the car at the speed limit as it tossed the car back and forth like I didn't have control of it.  The birdfeeder has blown over only one other time and that was when I wasn't weighing down the base with bricks.  This one was weighed down with bricks and it still caused it to crash.

The bulbs are showing how big they are already in the above photo.  I think one or two of those are daffodils and the rest are tulips.  They usually don't do very well in this garden area.  Maybe I will get blooms this year.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

The Elmo Doll....

One of our grandson's toy is Elmo the talking doll.  Technology keeps changing and improving and Elmo tells you to squeeze his nose or put hour fingers in his mouth.  He rewards the person with special sounds to celebrate following his directions.  He has to be put away and he eventually shuts himself down for a rest.  I think he could go on forever.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

AJ Day......

We are home from visiting AJ and his parents in Davenport, Iowa.  He has sure grown and talks continually.  He is so full of energy that he gave us a good run for our money.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Doing the Twist......

The hairy woodpecker is happy with the new suet cake that I had just put out for him. I saw some great shots that my camera never captured.  I though this was the best example of the bird with him twisting himself back and forth pulling seeds out of the suet. I could not click the camera fast enough to capture the perfect side view of his face that he was giving me. I am going to keep trying as he returns to the feeder often.

The one thing that I learned this winter for the first time is the differences between the downy woodpecker and the hairy woodpecker.  The downy is smaller with a shorter beak.  I have learned to instantly know which one it is now as I can see if the woodpecker is longer than the suet holder it is a hairy woodpecker.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Daffy Day........

I brought my camera to school with me this morning so that I could capture some shots of the daffodils planted in a corner of two buildings.  They were donated by me about 10 years ago and they were planted in a sunny warm area along the school. I didn't plant them but the student council students put them in the ground.  The bright sunlight made the flowers somewhat hard to focus with the camers but the photos are clear enough to appreciate.  People who plant bulbs along the south side of their house usually have flowers much quicker than those bulbs planted out in the open.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

On the Edge of Spring......

We look a little more like spring now that we had a rain in the afternoon and ice crystals in the evening.  The sprouts of lilies seem to be increasing and one can see them from across the way now rather than having to go up real close to find them.  The oxalis puts out a lot of blooms which reminds me more of spring than most things around here do.  I have decided that the pale green set of leaves is dead leaves that I should have removed before I took the shot.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015


A cap that was worn by an old classmate of mine while attending a class of 1968 get together in Murray, Iowa.  Hopeville in southern Iowa, south of Murray, Iowa was a larger town in the late 1800's which never did have the train go through their town.  It has now maybe one family home in the whole area with a large cemetery outside of the town's site.  I was born and lived in a farmhouse probably four miles away from Hopeville, Iowa.  They have music reunions in the old town park annually. There are a lot of guitars, banjos, violins, and a piano player putting out music for many hours.

Hopeville, Iowa on my Creative Zone Blog,  click here. 

Another extensive post by a past resident of Hopeville, Iowa, just if you are curious, click here. 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Blurred Image......

The tomatoes will be transplanted in the next few days into bigger pots.  My shot turned out to be more artistic than a clear replicated image. The many different first leaves are developed now and they will be ready for more room in which they can spread out their roots.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Style Show......

American Robin out on the boardwalk barbecue grill.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Condo Hunting.....

I watched a couple of starlings checking out the place.  They have gone in and out of some of the holes and the one stands on the roof and flaps its wings as if to say this my chose spot. The wing flapping was hard for me to photograph but it was a signal like behavior.  As I blog the bird is still casing the joint.  I am not a big fan of starlings but it would be nice to watch them raise a family here.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Ditch Lily Time.......

The warming of the soil gives the field lilies the chance to come alive. This patch looks like it will do well again this year.  It doesn't have Barney tromping through it so it will be lush and full of leaves.  My other major patch has a border collie who wants to make it his pathway during the winter.  I have some of that area fenced off a little.  The square of concrete in the back left of the picture must either be a well cover or was the front step to an old coal shed.  I never saw the shed but was told there were a lot of buildings out and about the property.  All were removed before I bought the place.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Blending Into the Background......

While I was blogging yesterday two of these doves came flying in and landed in the backyard.  They are so much bigger than the common wild birds. My brain tends to think they are huge invaders when they are just doves.  The morning dove is bigger than these Eurasian Collard-necks.  They were not after food but they wanted water.   My fish tank pond out there is one third full of water from snow melt.  They were trying to figure out how to drop down into that tank, which there is room for them, and land on the bricks that normally hold the filter. 

I never really did see them accomplish it but I went out and placed a tray of water nearby to help them out.  It is said that we need rain even after all the snow and I am sure there aren't many places for them to find open water in town.  I will try to keep the tray of water topped off for the other birds too. My bird baths need to be dumped and I could put fresh water in them too. While sitting here blogging a small squirrel is filling himself up and there are small flakes of snow coming from the sky.  They won't last long but it does give out a nice special effect to see.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015


The blue angel did survive the winter and she seems to be glad that she did.  She is looking a little bit weather worn and maybe she can ge a fresh coat of paint this year.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Behind the Foreground......

If the neighbors would move their house and a few of us would cut down some trees, I could share a wonderful sunset.  It was about 80 degrees F. at the time and the temps were dropping fast after this.  I went out an hour later and we were in the upper 60's. It did drop to 31.4 degrees F. by morning.  The wind was very strong.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Finials on Monday.........

Actually there is only one finial in this post.  I added them in certain areas along the top of my fence.  The one finial is the one that the squirrels use to jump onto the ash tree.  I received this fence already weathered and it was also free.  A company in Des Moines tore it down off of the edge of their parking lot and my son who worked for the company salvaged it for me.  It was a very snowy day when we went to pick it up and we had to carry each eight foot panel up a hill to get them to the truck. Putting up an already weathered fence really works with an old house. I have had it almost ten years but it looks like it has been there for years.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Back and Forth......

Right after I finished my blog yesterday this nuthatch started putting on a show.  He found a vacant feeder with a cup of fresh seed.  The bird acted normally by picking out a seed and darted into a tree. There the bird would open it and eat it. Being that there were no other birds to crowd it out, the bird just kept darting in and out.  I stood there with the camera and waited.  It was less than 30 seconds per visit as the darting in and out continually. I finally quit shooting pictures after four or five minutes.

The nuthatch is a hard bird to photograph as it is on the move continually.  With ever good shot I got the next shot was a picture vacant of any bird, or maybe just a blur of a bird.  I just kept snapping and the ones that  had a bird in it I kept and felt I had success. The bird gave me a good time at the window.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Seeing Red.......

The redtwig dogwood turns it branches to a nice red all winter.  This is a four day old photo and that snow in the background is now gone.  If time allows I will trim this back more this spring to keep it from taking over the area.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Friday the 13th....

Being it is the 13th I will share a not so lucky shot.  My left hand is struggling to get this typed also.  I know this isn't a lily pond that I am sharing but more like a polluted river.  The water will be dumped this weekend and the tire will be recycled.  A week ago it was still a chunk of ice. Have a good day.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Doves..........young and old.

Two normal sized Eurasian Collared  Doves flew in yesterday into the feeder area.  The above bird flew in with them but sort of stayed its distance.  The above dove is much smaller than the two others.  I have lots of questions but I guess I will wait and do some research.  I guess this could be a young one of theirs but was it hatched last spring?  Why isn't it normal size by now?  I don't think they could have just hatched it but I don't know the nesting habits of these birds.  If it were hatched this year, it was raised during some pretty severe cold weather.

Having done research I could probably rewrite the above statements but questions of inquiry are good to share.  I found out that the top photo of the bird is a juvenile and that adults hatch out 3 or 4 nestings a year with two eggs each time.  I guess the younger bird could have been hatched in late fall and survived the winter with its parents.  The collar ring develops within a year and the feathers change to plain and soft brown.  The article called them an invasive bird as they have spread through this continent in the past 15 to 20 years starting in Florida. Their calls really seem very similar to the mourning doves that we originally have here. 

I have found two spellings on the identity of this dove.  The hyphen shows up half of the time when you research it.  It is also called the Eurasian Collared-Dove.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Tokens of Spring......

The hardy geranium puts out a spring offering as it starts to warm up outside.  The buds have come slow this  year but the foliage has grown with great gusto.  Through the window you can see the snow is off of the yard on this side of the house and grass is starting to turn green. In another month I can start to move the plants outside for another summer.  I have fertilized a little so the geraniums must of like it by putting out a larger than normal amount of leaves.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Living on the Edge........

My path out to the garden shed is starting to clear of snow.  I was surprised to see the green grass under it.  I was wanting to capture the water puddling at the top of the photo when I saw all that green.  The line of snow is from the way the wind blew in and caused a long high drift right in from of all the bushes that line up on the left of this area.

My storage company, Picasa, again decided that this photo needed to be made into a special card.  It puts some special effects on the textures and colors and sort of dulls down the original shot.  I guess the border is suppose to help distress the photo a little to give it an artsy effect.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Pure Gold.........

It was such a joyful sight for the squirrel and he posed for pictures with his new found ear of corn.  I am at the point that I don't think the squirrels need to be fed.  I have a single ear of corn left and I bet it could disappear from the house and be out at the feeder soon.  I know that the three or four squirrels can take out a corn in less than a day.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Good Ole Hairy.......

I could not believe that I would ever get this shot.  The hairy woodpecker had been crawling all over the feeder, climbing up and down the posts and hanging upside down on the suet feeder. He crawled up the feeder to the top of the trays and looked up.  I guess he was looking for his eventual location checking the trees and the sky. Normally he flits out of there so rapidly that I could never get my camera turned on and in focus.

Saturday, March 7, 2015


This guy was out calling his territorial sound making sure all the other males knew that he was the controller of this block.  It does sound like spring when I hear the cardinal call but we are just now above freezing.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Leaning Back and Taking it Easy........

Blue boy is blue and so is the photo.  I took the shot in late afternoon and the light was low.  The statue has had large amounts of snow pushed up against him from the city snowplows.  When it all melts I am predicting the guy will fall down.  I am going to play the "wait and see" game with it.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Exploring Treasures.......

Treasures can be defined in many ways.  I find one persons treasure are somewhat worthless to others.  The emotional tie to them or memory of an event is what makes them a person's treasure.  The treasures here are my parents things.  I picked up boxes when clearing their house and sort them later at my home now 6 years later.  This is a check box that I found in the top drawer of their bathroom chest of drawers.  The box itself is sort of a dumping space for them.  I do that all the time dumping something into a container thinking I will figure out later where it should belong.

Here I found two stray photos that were of my mom's country school kids.  There is a stamp that was bought for three cents.  A pair of earrings, clip of course, and two pins. One of them is a scarf pin.  The necklace in the box is old and the photos are very old.  They were probably put there by my dad, as he must have bought them when he was stationed in Washington, D.C. back in 1942. I found a stray cloth bag that they must have been bought in as there is tourist like tags on it. He would dig out war time things to remember and leave them about the house. The small square box at the top right I will share later as I was surprised to see what I did find in it.  That is another blog at another place for sure.

As a photo, I noticed that the inside of the box is the most focused part of the photo.  The natural light from the window lighted its contents perfectly.  The things on the side on the right are partially lighted by an overhead incandescent set of bulbs.  It gives things a yellow overcast on the photos.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Downy Magic....

It amazes me when a downy can cling to wood boards like this.  I don't think they know the treated lumber will not have any insects inside of it. I know that a lot of it is instinct as they have to peck on things to be sure they can identify the object.  I have new suet out at the feeder but the better weather, less snow, just cold, hasn't made them want to eat suet.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Inside and Outside........

The peperomia plant has done well sitting in my window sill. The oxalis leans into it but the variegated leaves are new and different from the parent plant of solid green leaves.  While taking the photo of the specimen plant I still gave you a glimpse of our outside weather. We have been promised a week of warmer weather which should tackle melting away some of this snow.

Monday, March 2, 2015


The winds were strong last week and as you can see it took out a birdhouse.  The dead leaves showing through the snow is a promise of something.  I don't think it is spring.

The rustic house is back on its solid base awaiting the next change in the weather.  We have not received any of the forecasted weather for about a week now.  It is always a guessing game.  I scraped frost off my car this morning. It is suppose to be warming up to just 30 F. today.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Digging In..........

The feeder isn't designed that well so the birds had to learn how to land on it and then how to dig into that opening to seed.