Sunday, July 30, 2017


Our severe heat spell shut this plant down. It is in the planting mix soil that really doesn't sustain things very well.  One extreme hot day and every bloom shrivels up and dies. It took a week and a half for the petunias to regroup and bloom.

Messing with the genetics of this plant, they were able to create three distinct colors with the same pattern characteristics. But the patterns are different in color which makes them so special to see.

Saturday, July 29, 2017


Looking down on the flower garden I could see this light colored butterfly fluttering back and forth on the zinnias.  I grabbed the camera and went down the stairs to get out there thinking I would never get a shot.

The swallowtail seemed to be  so excited about there being so many flowers to eat from that he didn't notice me being around. I just randomly shot pictures, as I could tell this insect was flipping back and forth so fast. I just snapped without looking through the viewfinder.

Life gets so busy that I forgot that the zinnias would be a draw for the butterflies.  I did remember that I liked taking photos of the flowers but it did jog my memory when I saw this one having such a great time.

I am still spraying individual Japanese beetles that seem to keep hanging around.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Old Egg Crate......

I took a lot of shots of an old piece of farming in Iowa history. The crate shows its wear and tear visually. A patch with a piece of metal holds the crack together for a few more years.

Eggs were placed in cardboard  partitions and layered in stacks of five or more. Parts of the lid shines from the continue rubbing on human hands and arms from loading and unloading eggs.

Hooks from metal were used to fasten the lid to the box. When things wear out, make-shift wire makes a great substitute or safety latch.

My grandmother remarried in the early 1940s and her husband did not give her spending money. The egg money was her way for her to buy cloth for dresses to sew.  It was her spending money that she stretched from week to week. Milk from the cows and the eggs from the chickens were two ways that farmers who were so poor, could keep food on the table. I have a strong memory of seeing a woman candling eggs on Saturday night as she could be seen through the store window. She would sort them and check for cracked eggs as she packed them in boxes to ship on to the next buyer.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

I Choose Pretty........

I am back on my flower visuals. I did choose pretty colors and shapes as my criteria for the photo for today.  Cropping out a set of overlapping shapes can give one a great composition. The coneflowers do mature into all the same color.

The new plant is now in the ground. I found some black dirt to put around it as the hole was a clay filled piece of the garden. The new plant has the company of chives next to it and an antique haying fork.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Lions, Tigers, and Blooms..........

I have talked about having a tiger lily bulb planted in my yard.  It was a long time ago that it was planted and I kept writing that I didn't have it anymore. On Monday, I was at the old place and I looked out at the overgrown garden to see this orange bloom. I dug it up and brought to the new place. Where it was growing was a place where  I can imagine that will be mowed down by any future owner. It goes into the ground this morning before the rain.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

No Flowers.......

I do try to share different kinds of things on my photo a day. I usually want a great photo and not one of visual information only.  Today the photo is a story teller with things of our past exhibited. As I returned from the old home yesterday I brought a few more things back to the new place. These are out there on the patio as they had just had a garden hose bath.  My wife and I use to spend two weeks a year, sitting along the North Shore of Superior.  We sat and created artworks in the natural elements along the shore with the sound lapping water. The loons would swim by and the chipmunks would venture out to find things to eat from our picnic.  Button was there with us, watching and waiting for the chipmunks or laying on a blanket beside one of us. The camp stools are steeped with lots of memories.  I brought them to the new place as there is hope that one day again we could do that during the summer.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Monday Morning.....

It is just the beginning for the blooming season of my three rows of zinnias. Having not a single zinnia bloom last year this will be a good year for me and my camera. We are having cool weather this morning and that does give the plants a break from all the heat.  I did have tor return and spray insecticide on them a second time for Japanese beetles.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

A Splash of Gold.....

The large marigolds are doing well as they surround my tomato plants. The thought is that the flowers ward off the insects from the tomato plants. What I found last night that the Japanese beetles had returned and were again chewing on the blooms. I had gone out in the evening to take photographs and I had to return to get the spray to kill the bugs.

For those who don't follow my Creative Zone this is the raised bed of tomatoes with the various kinds of marigolds planted on the edges. I do need to take an up to date photo of the tomato/flower bed.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Bright Yellows......

The goldfinches join the sock feeder once in a while but the majority of the birds are the house finches. You can see the tail ends of the house finches in this shot.

I don't have visual evidence at this time but we see many newly hatched young finches and house finches at this feeder. I wonder how that might change the behaviors of the young ones as they do have to learn how to find seed in the wild.  I saw an adult goldfinch on my coneflowers last night while I was out with Barney.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Seeing Spots......

The stargazer flowers put out great blooms.  I have phlox growing and blooming everywhere at the old place and their aroma is great.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Picture This...

When you shoot through windows, there is a greater chance of things being out of focus. The lead photo that I wanted to share was not focused so I will start with this one. I have stopped feeding the birds with the main feeder of various seeds. My neighbor doesn't like birds near his garden and since we live 14 feet away house to house, I decided not to feed them the rest of the summer.  He or his wife put a fake owl out to ward off birds.  Because of that this sparrow decides to try eating from the sock feeder.

They seem to be desperate as the two young house finches and the one sparrow are working the same area all at once. I am still getting goldfinches at the sock once in a while so I am going to keep the thistle seed feeding going. It is on the opposite end of the deck and it isn't drawing in very many birds. This is the blurry shot and I have found you can post it small and it looks better.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017


I have lived all my life in Iowa and I really never noticed that we had this insect until these last few years. I took the photo know that something green was on it. After editing the photo I finally noticed it was praying mantis. While researching the spelling of the insect I see that they exist worldwide and that there are many different kinds of families of them. I remember seeing them in books and magazines but I thought they were larger than this one.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Complementary Colors........

The colors on the opposite sides of the color wheel are call complementary colors. I am going to call this the yellow side of the wheel.

Purple is on the opposite side of yellow. Both shots were taken during high heat and the sun was going down over my left shoulder causing great lighting.  It was too hot to actually worry about composition. I just did a quick "point and shoot" and I figured I could edit something out of them while inside in the cool air. The liatris is really being destroyed by the weather even though I do water it.

Monday, July 17, 2017

A Shot of an Old Shot.....

I am sharing someone else's photo today. This is an old photo found in an old house in Osceola, Iowa. I have shared it on my Sepia Saturday site but never really looked closely at the photo.  For now I am just remaining curious about the whole photo of a full classroom of students. I am more curious about the photo on the wall on the chalkboard. It looks like a school with a tower on it. I will spend time in the fall studying it all when I quit being so busy.  I think by then a new scanner will help me get a better view of what is on the back wall of the room. As my shot of this photo it proves to be a bad one. I was concentrating on the building and really didn't center the classroom in the picture.

I really had to dig through my old site to find both of these photos. The one above is the old house in the photo. My dad tore it down to build a new house on the lot in 1979.  The photo at right is the one that has cause me to ask many questions.  Can you see the photo of a building on the back board? I identified the photo on my site as being taken in the early 1900's.  I really don't know that to be true but I do wonder if they are sitting in the same building as is on the wall.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Sun Glow on Sunday........

Heavy humidity on the ground and I suspect the same is up in the sky.  The rays of the sun are reflected on that moisture. We did not cool down over night and it is like walking in a sauna outside this morning. The sun promises to now heat us up some more.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Day Lily.......Daze.

The color of this particular lily is so strong and different than most of my other colors of lilies.  I did dig some of this lily and planted it in two different locations on the new property. I had to work hard to photograph the back side of the stamens of this flower.  They are light yellow on one side and red on the other side. I kept getting shots of it but the focus doesn't like taking red things.

Friday, July 14, 2017

My Findings for Friday........

While taking a shot of the goldfish I got a  segmented shot of the largest goldfish. The end view of the aquarium creates and optical illusion.

 I was originally going to give my goldfish away but they did make the move.  They are sitting in a smaller aquarium right now out on the patio while I clean and establish a location for the larger tank.

It does make a nice garden feature on the patio but I am sure some stray raccoon will show up for a midnight snack.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Still Life......Photography.

I try to keep finding different kinds of things to share on my photo blog. This takes us father away from croquet balls and flowers than before now. The lily is a day lily and has the markings as if it were a tiger lily.  The shape isn't right for a tiger lily.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Croquet Anyone??????

I have been accused of losing my marbles but the expressions I received from my wife's relatives about these old croquet balls were priceless. "Yes, I do want the croquet balls". The solid wood items have a special old fashion character.  I should wax them and retake the photo but for now this is what they look like. I don't know what the new ones are made of but they are all painted a solid color with a stripe.

I have good memories of playing the game at my cousins house. It was a lot of fun for me, I maybe had more fun than my older brother and older cousin back in the 60's but they did like competition.  I don't even remember how I played, but being the youngest it was just for the sport of it all. I have yet to find any older mallets that would go with these five balls.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Summer Home in the Woods....

I vaguely remember seeing the birdhouse in the tree but it didn't make any impression back in early spring.  When I was over taking photos of the clematis, I looked over and saw this neat weathered birdhouse hanging in the tree. It looks like it is a part of a serious forest even though it is just an oversized pussy willow shrub. I doubt I will ever get a songbird in the house though with the hole being so large. The weathered roof takes a lot of years to have that effect.

Just to let you see why I was over there is because of these blooms of the clematis. The weight of the blooms has cause the flowers to sag down more lower on the vine.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Full Moon......

The shot was not expected to be perfect but it did capture the colors.  The full moon really glowed from behind the clouds.

A second shot that was not zoomed in, shows the great patterns of the puffy clouds at night.The hot nights seem to less miserable when you can see a full moon. The cloud patterns does suggest the possibility of thunderstorms.  It did happen in northern Iowa with rain and wind.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Hot Days and Humidity......

The sky can be deceiving as you see it is partially clear.  Less clouds in the sky means more sunshine to hit the earth.  We were cooler temperature-wise yesterday but the heat index was so much greater. It is typical Iowa weather and it sounds like others throughout the country are feeling the same.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Patterns with Shine......

The patterns of most of the glass coasters are the same.  In the collection is one with a completely different design and another that is just larger than all of the rest. After they were unpacked we decided to stack them and start using them in our living room area.

When I researched the glass pieces I found that they were sold in sets boxed up by purpose.  The coasters could have been sold with a sugar and creamer and some small plates. It isn't crystal glass but it was a inexpensive way to have glass pieces to use for formal dining. I would think that glass was a substitution to fine china. While I was unpacking things I found some glasses that were similar to this and I am sure one could buy sets of drinking glasses back in that time of history. My knowledge is limited but I am thinking these were more popular in the 40s.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Moss Rose....

I have moss rose growing in my blue granite pan again this year.  The variety I bought seems to be very well color schemed.  Every flower is in the light and dark pink color family. With the temperatures being so warm I really have to monitor them every day for adequate water. When the plant gets too dried out it takes it a long time to bounce back.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Found: One White Clematis.......

I knew there was a vine growing up from the base of the fence.  I didn't really look at the top of the vine as the bushes on both sides had filled in the area. I started mowing along there and saw one white flower.  After mowing I trimmed back the branches to reveal a mature clematis vine putting out great blooms.  I think the neighbors get to enjoy this one as it does hand down on the other side.  It was a very pleasant surprise to see it doing so well out there in the hot sun.  It got to be watered last evening since it now is totally exposed to the sun and not shaded by branches.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017


The monarda, bee balm, is blooming at the end of the house.  I also have a honeysuckle vine next to  it and it is blooming a second time.  I didn't notice until I posted the picture that there a speck of orange color from that viner hanging in the corner.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Brilliant Color.....

The goldfinch is the Iowa State Bird.  The male feathers turn an intense yellow the further into the the summer season. My memories of them as a kid was when they fed off of the thistles on our farm. They didn't hang around the house so we had to be back in the timber and prairie area of the farm to see them feeding.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Party Boats......

I cross a dammed up area that has a road built over it, when I travel to the old house.  The secondary dam keeps the Lake Saylorville from interfering with the water level of a smaller lake north of it, Big Creek.  That main dam holds back water when the Des Moines River overfills the big lake and the water can raise ten feet or more. The main dam to the left of the photo, has the spillway which sometimes can't dump it fast enough. This artificial lake created a cove like this which became a place for boats to dock or be anchored out in the water. There are some nice sailboats at the docks in the background but these boats really are mostly pontoons, used as party boats. When I cross in early morning the sun is reflecting off of the boats making it look more impressive than it probably really is. As I drive on from here, pass this area, I will end up driving over a mile long bridge connecting two sides of the lake. The whole area originally was built around the Des Moine River and now the enlarged river turned lake controls and limits traffic all over the area. There is no straight route for me to travel to get to the old house.