Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Red Twigs........

A photo in my files shows my red twig dogwood shrub.  It was removed by the city during a ditch project  two summers ago.  I have good news though, as our new house has six of these, mature shrubs, growing along the back fence.  The new home has a larger mature blue spruce pine and another medium sized tree I have yet to identify. I will be able to photograph them in various times of the year showing sticks, leaves, blooms and berries.

Monday, January 30, 2017


He is a sweet little guy.  His baptism ceremony is all over and he is sitting at home in his carseat.  He is content and quiet and will put out a smile once in a while when people stop to talk to him. He is such a very loved boy.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

It Feels Cold........

The bike doesn't get to move with us.  I won't be living in a town that has a themed item to display like Woodward "the bike trail town" does.  Not much is left in good shape on the bike but I may ask a neighbor if he wants to fix it for his kids.  At the price of all the replacement items that it needs, probably he will say no. The snow makes our day seem very cold when the wind blows across the snow cover on the ground.

Friday, January 27, 2017


The post of the feeder has no possibility of having insects in it but the downey woodpeckers seem to be fascinated with it anyway.  All of the downey birds seem to like crawling up and down on the post.   They do eventually make it up to the top where the suet feeder hangs.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

New Seed.......

I sometimes put out fresh birdseed and have to wait for a long time for birds to discover that it is there. Today, with snow coverning all surfaces out there, the birds came in rapidly looking for food. The mourning dove was one of the first to hit the table feeder.

I am sharing the dove from the back view as it does give a lot of detail of the color markings on its body. The gray with white borders on the wings make a wonderful pattern when its wings are folded back.  I was able to use my camera through the window today as there is a lot of light reflection off of the snow. I suspect that I should be able to get a lot of shots of birds today as the snowfall limits the birds from finding food in the natural world.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Snowed Some More.............

It snowed in the night.  In the morning, it picked up the pace and we are getting a good accumulation of it.  It seems to be above freezing by a couple of degrees but it is still sticking to all thing.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Still Life.....

Still life is usually a very well planned arrangement of items for presentation.  This is the extremely informal still life of things coming out of cupboards being readied to be wrapped and packed.  To have mastered still life with quality, one doesn't leave in a pot of a declining poinsettia in the composition. I was in a hurry as I had to wait for the camera battery to be charged and I was busy packing and tossing things.  The black bowl is glass from my wife's mom's collection. There is also milk glass pieces in the collection from my wife's mom.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Seashells but no Seashore.........

My first introduction to a conch was when I was very young.  My grandmther who lived in an old farmhouse north of us had a fur rug on her bedroom floor and a conch was here door stop.  In old houses in southern Iowa, the settling of the buildings without a good foundation was common.  It caused doors to swing shut or open from an unleveled house.  A conch was used by my grandmother to keep a bedroom door open. She used an old flat iron to keep the kitchen door open that was connected to the indoor porch.

I don't know the history of these two shells.  I think one of them must have been from my parents home, or was a gift from them. One that I have was a gift from a student of mine while I was teaching in Sidney, Iowa back in the early 70s.  A third one, not in the photograph, is a mystery to me as to where it originated. When you live in the middle of the country far from any large bodies of water, oceans or seas, the availability of this things have to come from people who have travelled out and away from the prairie.

PS.  My wife says the largest conch came from her Grandmother Cone.  Grandma wanted her to buy netting and set up a seashore on a shelf for herself. 

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Special Friends.......

The nature boy pets his two rabbit friends showing his gentle spirit and love for animals. The sculpture could have placed cats in there instead of rabbits and the animals would probably have acted the same.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Lost Marbles.......

While clearing things out of the art studio I found this one lone marble at the bottom of container that was holding brushes.  The marbles of the world have their own histories as the are misplaced, lost, or intentionally put aside for some reason.  I have picked up marbles in the garden, driveways, and in my parents home in the crawl space next to the water heater.

My collection is a meager one in number compared to others that I know, but I prize every one that I have.

The newly found blue marble is now at home in the treasure chest (jar) of marbles with a glass lid covering it and protecting it from the elements. Some of the marbles in the jar are ones that I found in my parents home which were mine when I was a kid. The cat eye marbles were bought at the Robinson's Dime Store in Osceola, Iowa. All the other are found items as I walk through life. The photo itself was best photographed under the lights of the dining room light fixture.  There is no sunshine today.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Winter Home Spot.......

My favorite hardy geranium has been holding its own without much care coming from me.  I have been busy and it sits over in a corner window receiving a slight watering once in a great while. I didn't keep many of them alive this year but this one has been in and out of the house for three years or more.  The foliage is a wonderful one with varying colors.  The below photo doesn't really show it much but the plant is very much alive and well.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Seeking Shelter......

When there is rain and sleet coming down, the squirrel figures out the best way to eat seed. It is a vey old feeder and I now just throw seed into the tray.  It makes it easier to feed freely with no glass barriers controlling the seed.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

After the Storm.......

The natural formation of ice building up on the Japanese yew made for some great photos. As the weather warms a bit today, not very much, the ice will slowly disappear.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Ice Coated Landscape.....

I had to walk Barney this morning as he could not maneuver the back yard steps.  We walked on the crunchy grass only and crossed the sidewalks with great care.  HIs dog brain still wanted to cross the street to the neighbors but he doesn't know we would have to be wearing ice skates to be on that surface.

As I write this, we now have a lot of rainwater sitting on top of the ice.  The ground temperatures are keeping the ice in tact and the water probably won't freeze until later today when the temperatures drop.  Everything is shut down and yet my neighbor took off for her job at the neighboring town's grocery store.  I could sort of hear her scrapping the ice off her windshield while I was partially asleep. I did see the town trucks go by dumping a lot of sand on the road's surface.

Sunday, January 15, 2017


The sunrise is hidden today by clouds of warning of things to come. It isn't very cold compared to our past freezing temps.  It is just warm enough that rain could happen and the moisture will turn to ice.  We are missing an event in Chicago today because of the weather that will arrive this afternoon.  Right now it is sunny with partially cloudy skies.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Healthy and Alert.....

The sack that you buy at the store that says wild bird food really should say squirrel and bird food.  I put out seed and return to looks out to see if I attracted any colorful birds. Instead I see two squirrel tails hanging out of the feeder.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Friday's Splash of Colors....

While packing a wreathe away for the season, all the color inspired me to take a couple of shots.  The camera was laying there to take shots of the two doves at the feeder but they flew away when I approached the window.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Turntable Memories.......

I had various types of record players when I was growing up.  The first little kids player was in a suitcase and it played small colorful records.  My brother repaired electronics in Kansas City and he brought home for the family an antique piece of furniture with a speaker in it. He had with it a salvaged turntable and amplifier, giving us a way to play great sounds. In my young professional days  I bought a turntable that had the 8 track player with it. That has been in the landfill for years now.  My wife gave to me a turntable 10 years ago as a Christmas gift to let us play all those old albums that we had not heard from for years. Who would have thought that the younger generations have decided to get back into vinyl, and now you can buy them again in stores.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Blooms Bursting......

Having improved as a photographer since I started blogging is an understatement.  Regardless of the number of years of practice, sometimes one thing can become difficult to photograph. This violet has been one of those things. Somedays I just could not get the lighting correct to get a focused shot.  Other days, I felt the camera was not happy with the flowers being white.  The automatic camera doesn't like white as light seems to be reflected off of it. In spite of the continual battle, I did get a good shot of it with this one.  I had side natural lighting and also a dining room light on at the same time. The natural light was stronger and gave me pure, true colors. I bet I had 6 or more shots that I had to just trash in this one last try. My wife's camera has died now.  We will be looking for a bigger and better camera to share.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017


I believe I took this on last Sunday morning.  I had forgotten it was on my camera.  I do remember it was very cold and the stocking cap didn't help much in keeping me warm while wearing just a long sleeve shirt. I was too lazy to put on a good winter coat with a hood. The neighbors have a green light and a red light on day and night.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Mixed Reviews........

"It is what it is" was a set of words that I heard all weekend.  Our minister included those words in his sermon many times and for some reason I was hearing it on PBS shows.  These two guys have been playing statue all of their lives. The table was an old washstand table from a household probably a hundred years ago.  I like the construction of it and it works well for being outside with out fear of it being ruined.  Someday I may put a stain finish on it and seal it for inside use, but for now it just is what it is.

Sunday, January 8, 2017


I forgot to share this with yesterday's blog so here it is today.  The red bellied woodpecker was photographed with my camera through a window.  My wife's camera is the one I usually use of birds through the window but this time I did get a good shot with my camera. Camera's are so unpredictable or maybe I am just a little bit flawed.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Feeding Time.......

The sun highlights the view of the two feeding creatures.  The red bellied woodpecker is busy pulling things out of the suet.  The squirrel eat early in the morning with the sun in his face.  The one squirrel has turned to such a reddish color and he seems almost tame.  I sometimes have to yell to get the squirrel off the feeder so I can put on new seed. It was a clear and very cold day when I took this shot.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

A Feeding Pair.........

The male cardinal almost looks like he is in jail.  The design of bracing works well to keep the feeder from twisting and falling apart, but the diagonal bars can be at the wrong place at the wrong time for a good photo.  I like that the female cardinal doesn't want to mess with the the high rise stuff and will just eat on the ground. A junco was darting about as the female cardinal just sat still.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017


I neve did get this replanted. I wanted to thin it out for better growth and have more plants.  This summer it seemed not to be bothered by the overcrowding and actually grew taller. The green looks really good inside considering it is 6 degrees F. outside this morning.

It is a sansevieria plant but not a mother-in-law plant.  It is a shorter version of which I don't have an identified name at this point. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Shiny Shine...........

One last shot before the tree comes down for the season.  It is a low light shot but it does work for this subject matter. We usually take down the mirror when the tree is up. This year it stayed on the wall giving me another side of the tree to see.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Color and light.........

Old and new vases were arranged for Christmas to show the colors of the season.  I moved the three over into the light of the window and dining room light to get a better shot.  The light shining through transparent glass is important to really enjoy their look.  The lighter red vase is not old.  It is a common vase on sale on the shelf today in stores. I think it was purchased for the use as a flower vase.  The red vase is old.  It came from my wife's family home.  It probably has a specific name of kind of glass but I don't know it.

The green vase comes from my families cache of glass things.  I remember the green ones as a kid, I have four of them now, as my mom displayed them but never used them.  I found out a few years ago that they are a common drinking glass or tumbler from the 40s..  They were sold in sets with a pitcher.  I am sure the pitcher was broken years ago. I have seen in antique catalogs that they glassware was sold in a box, everything laying on its side. Probably they could have been  bought in a department store.  I believe the story goes that the four did belong to my grandmother Brooks.  My grandmother Brooks was said to not like anything but clear glassware as she wanted to be sure that she could see if there was an insect in her water when she drank from it. That tells a story of the living conditions back then when living in an old farmhouse.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

New Year, Day 1...........

It is a brand new year and here is the very first day of it. I didn't see much of a sunrise out there when I looked out the window but I went out anyway.  The SAC Air Force base had their jets out already this morning as there are three jet streams in the sky.  The whole horizon scene is pretty much a slim one but the city covers up some of it. The rest is just above the roof tops. So we begin our next year, 2017.