Thursday, April 30, 2015

Sunshine and Shadows........

Getting a close up of the apple blossoms makes the blooms look more like magnolias rather than apple flowers.  The sun was just right in the sky to give me shadows on the back of the shed. I could have accidentally shot a honey bee but I couldn't see any even though I could hear them.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Slow to Open........

It is morning and the birds are busy outside.  They are in the pine trees collecting seeds and flying here and there to the feeders.  A young female cardinal darts in and then stays for a while so I could take its picture. Very little wind is outside and the sun is shining. A lot of trees have not leafed out yet but they are showing signs of progress. As you can see the lilacs are not completely out yet but that is good.  They seem to bloom in such a short time so this will drag out the lavender splash a little bit longer.

The work crew that spent the day working on our culvert did not finish but they did come by to drive away with their machinery.  People can drive over the new concrete culvert on the gravel repair space. I am sure they will send back a crew to spruce up and finish the rest of it as there will be more dirt to be added to cover out the ends of the culverts in the ditches.  I have photos of the work but will share later or on another blog.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Confined Growth........

I had a roll of fencing wire out in the orchard laying on the ground.  As you can see, it didn't stop the tulip from growing through and found its way to bloom.  I won't be able to move the wire for mowing now until the bloom is spent. The color of this tulip is great as it reminds me of a rose red color.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Monday's Softer Side of Yellow.......

It is a subtle yellow color with the hint of red on the petals.  I had to take the shot with my own shadow shutting down some of the bright light. I still didn't get a perfect focus on this as the various bright light and shadow confuses the camera.

This shot was taken on a cold day showing how they close down to protect themselves from the weather.  I remember when I use to bring these itnto the house and the warm air would cause them to open wide. It is a beautiful tulip and I wonder why I only have two of them.  I know they come in a package of 6.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Dove Sighting........

A few young Eurasian ring-neck doves were hanging around in the backyard yesterday afternoon.  The young ones seem to keep their markings for awhile as a young bird before they develop the ring marking and become a more smooth gray and light brown.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Soggy Saturday........

The flowering crabapple tree is in full bloom right now.  The tree has become so big that I can stand on the sidewalk and take as many pictures that I want without trespassing.  I know the neighbors well but I don't like to walk around in other people's yards.

 I remember when the tree was planted many years ago.  I think three different families have live there since it was planted. The first owners received the tree free from a bank promotional and brought it home and planted it.  One neighbor at one time wanted to cut it down but they didn't get the job done. The lilac bush next to the tree is almost in full bloom.  They have a shrub on each side of their driveway.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Home Sweet Home

I will have to spend some time watching this nest to see what kind of bird is living in the chokecherry tree.  I see a lot of robbins around and it does look like the size of a robins nest.  The confusion comes when I see them building nests on ledges and sides of step ladders. it makes me wonder if it is not a robin's nest. When I was snapping the photo three different robins were in the street next to me as if they were trying to distract me away from the area.

The tree itself is in full bloom right now and I just happened to be close taking photos to look up and see it there.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Birch Bark..........

The birch tree puts its leaves out slowly as the trees around it seem to be ahead of it. The small spiral seed pods are hanging on the branches now and they soon will fall. The older silver maple is greening up and soon I won't be able to see sky through the leaves. We still are in cool temperatures and it does feel and looks like early spring. The real reason that I took this shot was the robin that was darting around in the branches picking off seeds from the tree. There is no robin to be seen in the photo.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Big Birds.........

Three of these birds were hoovering over me and I was not dead.  We don't generally see this kind of bird in town like this but they must have been something out there dead that they could smell up the street.  I don't know what kind of bird that they are but they were very difficult to capture with a camera.  I know we have turkey buzzards around this area but this bird does not look like a buzzard in any shape or size. It was amazing how they just floated on the wind and stayed in a formation of three birds in a circular area.  It was cold out there and I didn't stick around to take more photos as they moved up the alley away from me. I would like to call them raptures but maybe my readers will know for sure.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Apple Tree Blossoms.......

It was 30 degrees F. this morning.  It is a typical thing to have the temperatures to drop like this but the apple trees are putting out their blooms.  Frost doesn't usually bother the fruit tree's blooms. The pear tree also has blossoms along with the ornamental chokecherry tree.  We will warm up some today but with northern Minnesota getting snow and our winds are coming from the north, I doubt we will warm up very much today.

It was cold and windy when I snapped this shot of the pear tree blooms. Their are a different color of course than the apple tree blooms. I did't see bees on them but I didn't stay out for very long to see any of them.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Wetter than Wet....

The dandelion reminds of what a cat looks like when it gets. I had some blooms the looked good a couple of days ago but the wind and rain does mess up there look. The blurry photo helps to make the photo really weathered looking.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Larger than Life........

The two white tulips that come up each year are small white ones.  The red edging doesn't show up until you get the camera up close to capture the great reds on the petals. The actual size of the tulip is smaller than this photo but making it larger than life helps to share its beauty. 

Friday, April 17, 2015

The Sky is the Limit........

The dark blue clear sky is great to see.  The whitish clouds really show up as fluffy ones and the contrast are very good to see.  We had warmer weather yesterday and will be warm again today.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Bluebell Thursday......

New England bluebells in central Iowa are one of my favorites.  I think I have seen them growing wild in our farm timber in southern Iowa. The farm in southern Iowa had some that were planted and probably had been shared among farm people. The timber flowers  probably were brought in by people in covered wagons as I don't think they are a wildflower. They spread by their bulb and not by seed.  These blooms really have not opened yet.  I was surprised to see them matured this much but I was glad that I caught them at this stage.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

In the Middle of the Week.....

I am awaiting for the garden to make another growth spurt.  We seem to be stalled right now and things are not changing much.  I have some new photos on my camera but they aren't much different than this. Hostas are pushing through so that will be something new for tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

History of the Land........

It isn't that exciting of that which I share but it is history.  The person who owned my property before I bought it was described as a burning maniac.  He burned tires on the property, had leaning out buildings that were falling down and he burned his trash outside in the yard.  The major area where he burned his trash was next to the row of peonies.  Since 1976 I have been retrieving things that have worked up in the soil.  In the first years I lived here I would spend a lot of time filling buckets full of broken glass, nails, and pieces of metal.  While taking the shot of a wild violet last week I noticed this piece of glass that is working up out of the soil.  It might be an old ketchup bottle but I am thinking maybe some thing older.  I haven't cleaned it up yet to see it more clearly.

When I planted the chokecherry tree next to this area 10 years ago I then too pulled up a lot of things from the ground.  Broken pieces of china and glassware do show up also.  I finally started throwing the things away even though I may have a stray box of some of it in the basement.  Unlike the colonial states where they dig up artifacts that are 200 years old, my stuff can't date any further back than 1880's. At one time I did dig up bisque clay marbles found in a flower garden outside the back door. There are many areas near here where Indian arrow heads and tools are found as they lived along the Des Moines river.  Woodward is too far from the river to have Indians living out my door. The river is about 5 miles from Woodward.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Sunshine Yellow.....

When we were backing out of the driveway for church yesterday morning I saw two yellow tulips in bloom.  I was surprised as I had not seen buds on them.  While photographing them in the afternoon I did see a lot of the tulips have shot up buds. Violets and tulips are a sure sign we are moving into spring.  The lilacs are just now putting on buds and they will be the next in line to show color.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Wild Violas.....

I was surprised to see these out in bloom among the peony bed.  These violets are called different names but I always called them violets. They have become very thick in number along my property line where it is shady.  I have to mow them down by early summer.  They are light blue right now but most of my others will be violet or variegated white and violet.

Saturday, April 11, 2015


My cherry bush has put out a lot of flowers. I wasn't home Friday to see this but I really think they must have opened during that day.  The bush itself puts out small cherries that can only be used by juicing them.  We usually make jelly from them and will do so just like last year.This is always my first one to bloom in the yard.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Spring Snow........

To mock my yesterday's title I will call it snow today.  We had snow in the evening for about an hour.  It was interesting as it did quit and did not stay as the temperatures stayed above freezing.  The dove and the female cardinal are busy picking up scrap seed from the patio floor.  I am thinking from viewing other photos of the cardinal that this is a first litter bird as it hasn't developed the colors of the female yet and it is almost all yellowish.  I had to look it up to see that they can hatch young cardinals in 12 days.  I don't know how long they stay in the nest but it does seem like a short time.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Spring Rains.....

We do have spring rain now.  It is needed and we didn't get the severe storms that can go with it. We were on the edge of larger rain fronts twice and we did get good rains.  The forsythia seems to like have a good drink of water.  As you can see this forsythia is not much to look at but it usually is my first spring flower.  I cut back and removed another shrub like this at the south of the house as it just didn't do well there.  A block up the street the two shrubs are blooming profusely with flowers from top to bottom.  As you can see we have wet sidewalks and green grass.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Hydrangea or Viburnum......NEITHER !

The shrub at school has been in bloom for over a week now.  I took a few shots at the time when it was dropping petals off of its flowers.  It looks like it is snowing when the wind blows. Having read the differences between the hydrangea and viburnum I keep learning more about these two.  There isn't much difference other than they throw the snowball shrub into the viburnum category.

From a past blog post many years ago I found out the true name of the shrub.  I cut and pasted exactly what I had from a blogger friend from Scotland. I had blogged about it in April, 2011. When you click on it you will get to visit her blog from 2011.  She is a great blogger and follow her if you don't have a person from Scotland to follow.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Busy Eating......and Fleeing.

As I pick out photos for this blog, I find that artistic is my preference in choice for my selection.  Abstract is difficult for some to understand but in some cases this is more a true display of what was going on in my window. The classic photo would have been a complete showing of the bird.  I really like that this shows the energy and speed of this bird as it  stops for an instant to grab a millet seed and then dash off to the trees.  The chickadee is a beautiful bird but he wasn't interested in showing me his face. He was hungry and posing for me was not on his mind.  The actual speed isn't shown and yet the photographer knew that he had to snap quickly because the bird would be gone in less than two seconds.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Monday's Colors...........

My  new cactus is blooming profusely.   The blooms close up at night and open again in the day.  Those who haven't been around my blog need to know that these blooms are coming off of a stem structure that it like a Christmas cactus.  The plant  has given me so many great views for me  to photograph that I can't share all of them. I will share one more below to let you see what it looks like sitting on the kitchen window sill.

I thought it looked like a daisy-like flower but its center is so different from that and the petals closing in and out like an umbrella doesn't it make it to be anything like a daisy flower.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Easter Day......

A day to celebrate God's gift to us of eternal life through the great sacrifice of Jesus.  His sacrifice should not ever be treated lightly as Jesus is our mediator to God the father, the creator of heaven and earth. Only by God's grace are we allowed to be redeemed saving our souls from our sin.

Have a great day.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Sunshine on Saturday........

The cactus that I shared yesterday bloomed yesterday afternoon.  How could one resist not buying this plant?   There is not a variety name on it but its leaf structure is different than the one I already have.  The kind of bloom is completely different.  I have never seen this before on this kind of cactus. There were red and orange blooming ones at the store also. I am still concerned about how heavily watered that it is from the store's care.  I hope it doesn't effect the rest of the blooms and that I can see all of them blooming. Like some other flowers the bloom closed up in the night and I assume will again come back out this afternoon.

Friday, April 3, 2015


A new plant for our window is this cactus.  It isn't a Christmas cactus.  When it opens, it will show aster shaped flowers and not the traditional type of flower. I will share that for sure when it blooms.  I was told  by the worker that the plants just came in yesterday.  I am a little concerned if the guy who told me that also drowned them with a very large amount of water.  I know they need water but I don't think they don't need to be over watered.  I have no name on the label other than it is a cactus.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Sprouting Upward.........

A sure sign of spring is when things like this start sprouting up like this.  It is too early for me to identify this but I did think it was my fern leafed peony.  It isn't rhubarb and the regular peonies are not that far in development.  If it is what I am thinking, it is the thickest set of growth that I have ever had before since it was planted.

Can you see how dry our ground is?  I saw on the weather today that the strong high that is hanging over southern California has cause all the unusual weather this winter.  The arctic air bounced off that high and sent it all the way over to the east coast.  We did get rain last night and it was almost an inch of rain.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

A Convention........

I am teaching in a classroom today in which the instructor collects staplers.  He has a big collection which I notice he keeps adding one of two new ones a year.