Sunday, December 31, 2017

New Year's Eve Day.........

It is -9 degrees F. or -22.77777777777 degrees C. and that is cold enough for me. By the way, what do the Celsius people do with those continuing sevens? I do know that I was suppose to just round it up.  Taking Barney out this morning I was surprised to see this sky.  It was more pink and lavender before I got my hands on a camera. The deck at the back of the house is a higher altitude than than the front yard. We had an inch or more of snow and I can shovel anytime that I want as it will warm up to -4 degrees F.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Off the Beaten Trail.....

I will shock you today with a drastic turn from  my normal subject matter. I drive past an old cemetery  each time when I drive to the old place. I have thought in my mind, almost every time that I passed it, that I should just stop. Yesterday was the day to just turn the car left on the intersection and drive right up to the edge of it. The orange plastic flower is a mystery making me wonder if it is a great great grandparent of someone in the area. I also saw boot footprints coming from the road that could be tracked into the cemetery after the snowfall of the day before and. I wondered what the reason for their walking through there.

I would probably think it to be an early pioneer cemetery as there is no town near it. The road would have followed the Des Moines river valley south to north. The mile long bridge of Lake Saylorvilled ends at the base of the hill that it sits. There isn't a sign to tell me the name of the cemetery but it sets on NW Beaver and 100th street.  Granger is about seven miles west of here and Polk City sits across the lake on the other end of the bridge.  As a cemetery, the Polk City p people would have had to drive down into a deep valley and back up again to get to the place.

I stopped for a couple of minutes just to grab a couple of shots.  The cemetery has markers of the late 1800s on the southwest corner of it and the rest of the cemetery is still in use.  I witnessed three different times when funerals were being held as I passed by in my struck.

A janitor friend of mine, a few years back, said he was going to be buried there.  I had seen the family stones as I drive past the place to drive down to the lake shore under the bridge. The road to the lake follows the edge of the place. Out in the middle of the old stones sits a newer one that seemed to have been set there to join an older generation of family. It was placed there apparently in 1962. My step grandfather in southern Iowa was a Brooks but I don't know the family history. I will return to this place again. There is another very old cemetery on the same road closer to Ankeny. They too had a funeral there a month ago even thought it was such an old  one and it looks completely full of graves.

This photo, when enlarged, shows that my car is whiter than snow. I now can see that the husband was buried there in 1938 and when his wife died in 1962 that the family put a modern granite stone on graves. 

Friday, December 29, 2017

First Junco......

The sighting of my first junco happened on Thursday.  I filled the feeder a few days ago but I haven't had many takers.  I guess they were already feeding somewhere else earlier. The snow is deep on the railing so it is hard for them to get into the feeder. I had a hanging tube feeder that no bird wants visit.  Maybe the Christmas tree is scaring them from feeding.  When ever it snows at the old place, the birds were on the feeder instantly the next morning. I think I can build up my clientele after a while of consistent feeding.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

College Colors......

This house is viewed beyond, between the two houses in our backyard.  The zoom makes it look closer but it actually is the next street over from our house.  All of this is decorated with flashing red and yellow Christmas lights. The shrub has spiraling, flashing lights that does promote Iowa State's school colors. ISU is directly north of us about 30 miles.

The house has a young couple with three or four kids living there.  The Halloween decorations were fun to see. The house light drives us crazy as it goes on and off continually night and day. It is motion sensitive and they don't have to look at it flashing on and off. A car drives by or  the wind might be blowing making it flip on again and again. My new camera has a great zoom.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Into the Woods......

Real Canada geese do not allow snow to build up on their backs. It is too cold for me to walk across the backyard to brush it off. We have a lot of geese that winter over here in Iowa. The tend to stay in large groups in parts of the lake where it is out of the wind. The places where their might be a small amount of open water is best but I doubt we have that anymore with these temps.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Below Zero........

It seems a little blurry but it was too cold to be out there taking a photo without a coat. I snapped it and ran back into the house.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Christmas Day.....

A new camera with new things to learn will be slowing me down. Reading the manual is important.  I have had a Nikkon before and I really liked it. We will see if my photos start to look better. Merry Christmas to you all.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Christmas Eve......

It is a blurry shot but the artificial tree has real snow flocking. We didn't get the larger amounts that others did in our state but I do get to shovel the walk now.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Feed Your Goats........

The barn and silo is a neat ceramic piece.  I didn't realize that the company turned it into a business by putting a sign above the door. The lady's goats seem to be hungry.

Friday, December 22, 2017


The flower is actually just leaves that have turned red. They are a favorite for Christmas time as the red and green do give us the traditional colors of the season. I am having a difficult keeping this from loosing its leaves.  It is a different house and the heating system here is really more friendly to plants than the old house was. I hope to keep it going at least through New Years.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Traditional Birds.....

I have always enjoyed the sculptural presence of these two as if they are talking to the viewer. We have too many things to just leave them out year round. The Christmas bows helps to make them seasonal and they get to be in storage most of the year.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

It Took Two of Us to Make a Village.....

The village is now set up in our new home. It has been divided in half and placed at two different locations. The houses and churches are set up and the barn in the above photo was found to complete our set.

Our eleven pieces seem to be from different kinds of companies  so we tried to group them by their common proportions. A lot of lights didn't make the move so I will need to go buy more light bulbs.  The snow on our villages is deeper than what we have outside.  I may snow here on Thursday.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017


The red bows were added to the railing yesterday by my wife. It adds to the seasonal decorations of our new home starting one more tradition for the place.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Sparkle and Glow.....

The colors of the season do blend into a typical Christmas glow.  The blues on the tree seem to be show up as black in this photo. We did get the tree up early enough to have a long period of time to enjoy it.  We usually take the trees down slowly so it isn't unusual to still see Christmas in January at our house.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Seeing Double......

It is time to enjoy all the shine and sparkle of th decorations in the tree. Santa has be designated to be in charge of the Christmas room watching over all that goes on in there.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

City Sunset........

The change in color happens in just minutes.  The first yellow glow caught my attention while looking out a bedroom window. I took the shot and returned inside.  A couple of minutes later I decided to return and was so surprised to see the pinks and blues. The house on the left was for sale for about two weeks. It has been purchased by another young family with two young children. Houses in our neighborhood don't stay on the market for very long.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Stop the Train.......

The train is waiting for its new shelving display.  It has a new track bought at a local store that is keeping everything in line.  Only one small train is being used for decoration in the house this year. All the rest of the cars and engines  are just out hanging around as they get measured for there new shelves.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Resting and Grumbling....

Barney has had a full breakfast.  Four or five treats have come his way.  The servants of the house keep the water bowl postioned near him around his different locations of rest.  If his people take a 10:00 break then the grumbling begins.  He thinks another round of dog food or special treats really are in order.  Dry milk bones are not his favorite but will eat them if he can't get anything better. He really is a nice dog.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017


The ornaments were bought in the 70's.  At that time I didn't know much about the early creations of glass blown ornaments.  Now I know that they were creating replicas of things made in the 40's.

The Santa too is a duplicate of an older design. If something is 45 years old now I am sure these could be found in the antique shops today. The mustache on the Santa is an interesting part of the design. Some of the old German creators of ornaments did sell their companies and molds. One company, Christopher  Radko, just started up their business again using a lot of their original forms that made the glass blown ornaments.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Christmas Tree Glow......

The decorations on my smallest tree are all small pieces too. The atmosphere with lights, tree, and Christmas colors blend into a great effect. When I saw all the smaller ornaments in the box, I did realize that they would be lost on a large tree and much larger ornaments. As time passes by, I may have to just put up smaller trees and I would be satisfied with that.

I remember when my mother was getting up there in years, she just didn't want to mess with a tree, I bought her a small tree and placed ornaments on it that were wired tight to the tree branches.  When she died, that tree was still decorated, sitting in the storage room. She did like having it and knew she didn't have to stress about something she couldn't really do anymore.

Monday, December 11, 2017

The Start of the Morning.......

One of my favorite mugs is needing to be refilled but not after I take the photo. Christmas decorations have worked their way into our living spaces.  We are not completely done with the decorating but it is close.  We have a village to unpack and place in some new location in the new place. The stairs are busy as I keep taking down empty boxes and bringing up the last of things for our holiday traditions.  I found a bag of pillows that only come out durning the winter season.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Tree Number Three........

The tree with glass blown ornaments is up.  The tree has a double purpose this year as it sits in the spare bedroom in front of a double window.  It gives us a decoration for people to see from the outside and I don't have to place an outside tree for viewing. The tree is large and new and it gives me room to spread out the collection along with the bubble lights. The day light coming through the window gave me an unplanned sun glow effect.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Moody Mood.......

A new ornament for this big tree is the one with the lace-like patterns.  We completed putting all the ornaments on our main tree Friday evening. I won't be surprised to find one more box of ornaments somewhere in the storage room as i don't think it seems to be overcrowded.  I do realize that it doesn't sit in a bay window anymore so we probably were able to decorate all the way around the tree this year. That would help to thin out the look of the tree.  Things seem busier than ever so getting shots of the whole tree will happen when I find the time.

Friday, December 8, 2017

One is a Start.......

The first one hung on my glass blown ornament tree. As you view the box below you can see I have many more to hang.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Reflection of the Past......

The ornament isn't so old but I do remember the indent ornaments of the past. They would be for sale at some hardware store and in the most part survive the handling of years of use. This ornament didn't make the move for some reason. Moving itself explains why two of these took hard hits with pieces of them broken away but that doesn't keep me from displaying it. The boxes that they were in didn't really get dropped but packing boxes on top of others probably caused it.

The joy we will have is when things get done. I am moving slow and my wife is involved with a commission art work to get done before Christmas.  We installed a track lighting system last night during the night  news. We bought it in the afternoon and I wanted it up and running for her this morning.  I hope it improves her light in her studio.  She has lighting problems with a double window that puts out too much light and she really misses her north windows and skylights. Inspire of the,t the studio is better in the new house than in the old. In between all of that the decorations are being placed on trees a few at a time.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Toy Collage......

The toys are all now returned to the storeroom.  A few of them just stayed in the living room to remind us of the little one that played with them. The silver car was also a favorite for the older grandson but to the most part the blocks and circus animals were good fun for the youngest. Those blocks are a part of my antique toy collection that never made it into the official cupboard. The gloves on the blocks interlock with each other making the stack a stronger tower.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Nap Time.......

Baeney loves to take naps.  Especially after having a good meal. His laying by the vent is a subtle hint that we should still be air conditioning the house so he can get as cool as possible.  Our wood floors are cooler and he prefers to be somewhere in the dining room or kitchen when he sleeps. He does have difficulty getting up off this floor as it is too slick for his feet to grip.  He uses his front legs to pull himself up now.  We did put in a couple of smaller rugs in the kitchen area just for him to help him maneuver.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Medieval Lego Land.......

Our son and grandson were busy on the basement floor sorting the three castle sets made from lego. After a day on the floor, I suggested they use the new white table to set things up, for more sorting. These toys that were moved from the old place are now going home with the grandson.  My youngest son owned the sets and told me earlier in the year to make sure his nephews get these, if they wanted them.

Sunday, December 3, 2017


Christmas is official when a poinsettia enters the house. The colors of red are so pure with the contrasting green leaves.  I did see a poinsettia at a store where the leaves had been painted purple with glitter sprayed glue to it.  It just didn't seem like a true plant anymore when in was painted up so unnaturally.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Vacant Dwelling.......Nest.

The foliage of the bradford pear is so thick in the summer that I could not see the nest.  I knew that a bird would hurriedly escape from my advancement below it. I never saw the bird and could only hear it when it flew away.  I am thinking it is a robin's nest but it doesn't appear to be so tightly created. I don't know if they reuse their nest but if they do, I will keep an eye out for it next spring.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Trumpeter Swans......

On a highway lake, made years ago when they turned 141 into a four lane highway, I saw birds.  I pulled over while driving home, to mess with the cell  phone and then I saw them. I couldn't believe that they were even on the water. I have never seen this kind of swan in Iowa ever in my lifetime. I had heard the Maquoketa, Iowa has swans on its lake and that they were there now. I am certain this pair with the three youngsters will not stick around.

The little pond has beavers on it also as the area is close to beaver creek just south of there.  I could see the other day that they were adding a lot more tree limbs to their home.

The pond is fished year round with ice fishermen put up tents to help keep them warm while fishing. Some locals must have stocked it with a good kind of fish.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

The Glow......

He has his time limited on the tablet as he would stay on it all day. He can watch movies on it though which really helps to kill time when riding in the car for six hours. We shared the movie "Rio" with him one afternoon on the tv screen and he really liked it. The music made him want to get up and dance, as the various songs were styled after that area of Brazil.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Painted Sky......

The weather patterns this year are giving our state a lot of beautiful sunrises and striking sunsets. It is really gets cold in the night now and the warm up is slow in the day.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Retired For Now......

The boy that powers the train is gone.  It was a toy of our two boys years ago. The next generation has taken it out of moth balls so to speak and is putting on more miles on it.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Have a Hug.......

Our youngest grandson is at the age where hugs are essential.  These pictures of him with his dad best represent his personality.  He definitely can express himself when he faces disappointment but all in all he has such a gentle temperament. He gave his grandparents hugs often with great glee throughout his visit with us. Teddy is one year and a half in age and walking everywhere checking every door and drawer in the house.