Saturday, July 31, 2010

Photo #212: Yellow Banks Park

I decided to go on a little adventure today and check out the campgrounds at some nearby parks. Even though I was born here, and moved back here almost thirty years ago, I was not aware of Yellow Banks. I had heard it mentioned, but I was under the impression that it was father away, when in fact, it is located in Runnells, just a few miles from here. Located high above the Des Moines River, it covers 517 acres, and the view was breath-taking. The above view was shot from the tent area. This tenting area is rustic, without flush toilets, but it's just a short walk to the modern restrooms in the trailer area. I liked the wooded tenting area.

It was fairly flat, with ample space between campsites. The campsites had great fire pits, some of which are even surrounded by benches.

Yellow Banks is just one of the five parks that are part of Polk County Conservation. You can learn more about these parks by visiting their website at Polk County Conservation. We are so lucky to have such beautiful parks in and around the city of Des Moines. To give you an idea of how close it is to home, I stopped in the restroom in the trailer area. While I was washing my hands, I heard a girl say to her mom, "Mom, I think Ms. Day is here." It was one of our Phillips kids spending the weekend camping. Yep! Teachers have to be on their good behavior at all times.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Photo #211: Dinner

Cereal works for any meal, if it's the right cereal. My favorite is Cinnamon and Pecan Special K. I jazz it up by adding extra pecans and raisins. That and a little vanilla Silk, and Voila! Dinner is served! I've been spending time each afternoon or evening at my Mom's house. She is ill with Shingles, and has been confined to the house for almost two weeks. Some nights, Jacci has picked up dinner, and brought it over to Mom's. Other nights I'm not getting home until 7:30 or 8:00, and by the time I get home, this is about as much "cooking" as I want to do.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Photo #210: The New Kids

At 8:15 this morning, the men from Loziers arrived to install my new furnace and central air conditioner. My old furnace and air conditioner were senior citizens in the heating and cooling world, and after forty years, they were removed from the house today. Everything is up and running, and the house is so comfortable. Meet the new kids; my new Lennox energy efficient air conditioner and furnace. After the last two weeks of living without air conditioning, I couldn't be happier . . . . . ka-ching . $. $.$.$. broke, but happy!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Photo #209: The Furnace

This is what a 41 year old furnace looks like. This guy was made in 1969, and he was installed in 1970, when this house was built. This is his last night in the old house. He is leaving tomorrow. along with the central air conditioner, which died recently. The AC was also installed when the house was built. By this time tomorrow, we will, hopefully, have a brand new Lennox furnace and central air conditioning unit. It is just in time, because yesterday was an extremely hot and miserable day and night, and the dogs and I can't take much more. Once my house is cooled off, I may never leave again.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Photo #208: It's Hot!

My air conditioner gave up the ghost ten days ago. It was on a day that was 95 degrees with a heat index of 105. Today it only got to 92 degrees, but let me tell you, it is hot in this house. The air conditioner cannot be fixed. It is the original air conditioner that was installed when this house was built in 1970. So I am collecting estimates to replace the central air and the furnace, which is also 40 years old. With the house this hot, I can think of little else.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Photo #207: Hibiscus

This hardy Hibiscus has dinner plate sized blossoms. They are huge and beautiful. These are growing out by my sister's pool, nestled behind the Rudbeckia.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Photo #206: White Lily

My sister had a different name for this flower, but I'm just calling it a white lily. She is growing them in the yard, and had cut some for our table. Flowers, Shish Kabob, and twice baked potatoes, make for a delicious dinner for Jacci, Mom and I. Thank you, Jacci, for another lovely dinner.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Photo #205: Boone

This is Boone. He is a great dog. He is lovable and loyal. He is a Sheltie and he is named Boone because he was bred in Boone, Iowa. He is also named in honor of my brother, Dan, who we sometimes called Daniel Boone, when he was a kid.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Photo #204: What's For Dinner?

This is my sister's cat, Tiger. Here is one of her favorite places to take a nap. The birds can get some dinner, and be dinner.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Photo #203: Another Look at the Asian Garden

This is part of the Asian Garden on the banks of the Des Moines River. I had an earlier post showing the main building of the Asian Garden.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Photo #202: Rudbeckia

I've mentioned in other posts that I love perennials. Another of my favorite perennials is Rudbeckia. I love the bright yellow color with the black center, and it comes back every year, no matter how much I neglect it. The Rudbeckia just started blooming, but the flowers will last throughout most of the late summer.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Photo #201: One Cute Shelby Dog

I'm hanging out at my mom's house this evening. I was hoping I could get a cute shot of Shelby. She's always cute, but sometimes she moves so fast that all I get is a white blur or an empty frame. After she chased around for awhile, she got up in the recliner next to Mom. I told her to look cute, and she surely did. Shelby is a Bichon Frise.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Photo #200: Salmon Colored Lilies

I cannot believe I have been doing this project for 200 days now. Some days are a struggle, whereas other days I have trouble narrowing it down to just one or two photos. Doing this blog has prompted me to pay better attention to my surroundings. A lot of my photos are of flowers, but their beauty is everywhere this time of year. One of the things I like about Day Lilies is the variety of colors. These salmon colored lilies are in my front flower bed.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Photo #199: Mama Raccoon

I picked up my mom and we went out to have dinner at my sister's house. It was just the three of us, because my brother-in-law and nephews are at "The Island" in the Canadian wilderness. My sister had business commitments and could not go.

My sister and her family live out in the country, in a house surrounded by trees and wildlife. She also has two dogs and five cats. As soon as she fed the cats, this mama raccoon came and commandeered their dishes. My sister put out food three times to be certain that the cats and the raccoon had enough to eat. When there was no cat food left, the raccoon went up and over the house to check out the bird feeders in front. She is very hungry because she is nursing babies. It was all very entertaining.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Photo #198: Heat Wave

It's hot! It was actually 95 earlier with a heat index of 103. And it's still plenty hot at 92. My air conditioner has broken down, and a repair person cannot get here until tomorrow morning. I am not a happy camper.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Photo #197: Purple Day Lily

I love all the Day Lilies that are blooming this time of year. I especially like the wide variety of colors. I snapped this photo of the Day Lilies in my front flower bed. I like the way the camers picked up the textures and ruffled edges of the petals, and that yellow center.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Photo #196: An Iowa Tweet Up

For the past year I have spent part of each evening talking to, and learning from, other educators on Twitter. I have been amazed by the knowledge and generosity of these people, as they shared their ideas and work, with someone they had never met. Today, for the first time, I met some of those people, face to face.

Last night I charged up all my toys; my netbook, the iPad, my Droid and the camera battery, so I would have everything ready to go. Kathy Kaldenburg, (@scsdmedia), made all the arrangements. We met at the Kava House in Swisher, Iowa, 117 miles from Des Moines. I was both excited and nervous on the two hour drive. What if we didn't like each other? What if we had nothing to talk about?

It was amazing to walk into a place I had never been before, and have people I had never met, recognize me from my Twitter Avatar, and call me by name. Kathy and Jan Johnson (@4alakeview) were there when I arrived. Jan and I have been communicating via e-mail since November and sharing resources. Kathy introduced us, even though we really didn't know each other before that.

When Shannon Miller, @shannonmiller, arrived, I recognized her right away. I hadn't talked to Shannon a lot, but I "see" her on Twitter almost every night.

It is odd to know so much about people you are meeting face to face for the first time. I also had a great time talking with Matt Townsley (@mctownsley). I felt like I had traveled with Shannon and Matt when they went to ISTE10 a few weeks ago, because I had followed their tweets. I have talked quite a bit with Karla Duff (teacher6th), so I felt like she was an old friend. I was meeting Ernie Cox (@erniec) and Ivy Nielsen,(@ivus2370), for the first time today, but because we had this common interest it was very comfortable.

If you ever have the opportunity to meet some of the people in your PLN, I highly recommend it. Take the risk, and continue the Tech Adventure. You'll have a great time!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Photo #195: My Perennial Garden

I love perennials! They come back each year, whether I have the gardening bug that year or not. They are especially thick and lush this year with our abundance of moisture, though if you look closely you will also see an abundance of weeds. These Day Lilies and Purple Cone Flowers also need to be divided, because the bed is becoming seriously overgrown.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Photo #194: Frank's Flowers

The incredible thing about the Frank Lloyd Wright homes that we visited were the beautiful surroundings. Both were located on the brow of a hill. Cedar Rock was nestled in among the trees with a view of the Wisconsin River. Taliesin was perched above the rolling hills of farmland and pastures. Both had beautiful gardens. With all the windows, this natural beauty became an extension of the rooms.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Photo #193: Simplicity and Versatility

I am still thinking about my vacation and enjoying the many photos I took. One of the things that impressed me, when I entered the Walter House at Cedar Rock, was the beautiful use of brick and wood. In the entry hall was this great combination of brick openings with light reflected through simple art glass. I also saw some of the colorful art glass displayed at Taliesin. What could be more simple than that?

The furniture as well as the home was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Furniture was designed to be flexible and utilitarian. Many pieces could be easily moved to transition small tables into a long tables that could serve any number of diners. Seating was also easily moved. Everything was designed with function in mind, as well as beauty. I'm not so sure how comfortable some of it would be, however.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Photo #192: Taliesin Sculptures

One of the great things you see at Taliesin is the art work. Frank Lloyd Wright went to Japan in 1905 with the Ward Willits family and he designed a home for the Ward Willits family in Oak Park, Illinois. Do you notice the name? It is even spelled the same as ours, but unfortunately as far as we know he was not a relative. After this trip he began collecting Japanese art, and you can definately see the Japanese influence in his architecture.

There are many Japanese block prints, screens and sculptures throughout the house, as well as other art work. Here are some that caught my eye.

Photo #191: The Wisconsin River

These are my photos for Saturday, July 10th.

This trip to see homes designed by Frank Lloyd Wright was also a camping trip, though we were not exactly roughing it. We traveled in Jacci's motor home, which is a Pleasure Way. We stayed at the Wisconsin Riverside Resort, and our space was right on the river. You can see the beautiful view right behind the motor home. The campground is located in Spring Green, Wisconsin, just down the road from Taliesin and the House on a Rock. While we toured Taliesin, we only saw the House on a Rock from a distance.

Fortunately Jacci purchased a screen house before we went, because the mosquitoes were ferocious. The campground has cabins for rent, a swimming pool, restaurant and bar, and wifi. Camping has changed a lot from back when our family started with just a few sleeping bags and a tent.

Photo #190: Taliesin

These photos are for Friday, July 9, 2010.

After visiting Cedar Rock on Thursday, Jacci and I continued our drive northeast to Spring Green, Wisconsin. Our ultimate goal was to visit Taliesin, the summer home of Frank Lloyd Wright. Frank Lloyd Wright was born in Richland Center, Wisconsin in 1867, and spent his summers at the home of his uncle, James Lloyd Jones who farmed outside of Spring Green.

Taliesin is Welsh for "shining brow" and it is located on the brow of the hill. It was designed with three wings which included living quarters, an office, and farm buildings. Wright began building the home in 1911, following the scandal of his affair with Mamah Borthwick Cheney, who was the wife of his client, Edwin Cheney. Frank left his wife, and moved to Taliesin with Mamah after Christmas 1911.

We were actually seeing Taliesin III, because the living quarters have been burned twice. The first was while Frank was away from home working. On August 15, 1914 a disgruntled servant set fire to the house and murdered 7 people with an axe, including Mamah and her two children. After this tragedy, the living quarters were rebuilt, and again burned following a lightning strike on April 22, 1925.

So we were seeing the third building of the Taliesin living quarters. Wright and his third wife, Olgivana lived here throughout their lives. What were originally the farm buildings have been transitioned into living quarters for apprentices and other artists, and people still live in these areas. Wright purchased the surrounding 600 acres of farmland and the view is fantastic.

We were not allowed to take photos inside the house, but it is filled with original furniture and built-ins also designed by Wright. Of special interest for my sister, who is not only an appraiser, but an art history major as well, was the Japanese art. Frank Lloyd Wright had traveled to Japan and was a collector of Japanese art. Once you know that, you can see that influence in his architecture as well.

We spent two hours touring the house. It was hot and steamy, but wonderful! We had a fantastic time.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Photo #189: Cedar Rock

These are my photos for Thursday, July 8th. My sister and I are taking a short vacation, just the two of us. We are taking a tour of some of the Frank Lloyd Wright houses in Iowa and Wisconsin.

We stopped on Thursday at Cedar Rock, The Walter House. This house was built overlooking the Wapsipinicon River near Quasqueton, Iowa. It was begun in 1948 and completed in 1950. Wright not only designed the house, but all the furniture inside, as well. He also designed the neighboring boathouse and fire counsel. The Wapsipinicon River is currently flooded, so you couldn't get all the way down to the boathouse. Cedar Rock is an example of the simplified style that Frank Lloyd Wright designed called Usonian. The Walters lived here until their deaths in the 1980s. The house has been well maintained, and is almost unchanged from the way it was when it was built.

The photos are from top to bottom: the front of the house, the back of the house, inside the living room, and the patio off the living room. Like many of his homes, the house is built on the "brow" of the hill. I absolutely love the windows, and as you stand in the living room, you feel like the living room extends into the out of doors. The views were breath taking.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Photo #188: The Asian Gardens

I have seen this structure from the highway many times, but this is the first time I ever stopped to see what is here. There is so much more than a building. It is surrounded by a beautiful garden. Usually the river is not this close, however.