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    squirrel photo portrait Leanne Wildermuth
    In a burst of spring fever (Catybug DID see a robin yesterday), I filled my feeders. I admit, I was lax over the fall and winter months. We put food out occasionally but not religiously as we usually do. Sparrows can empty a feeder in a day – so I made sure to put up more black sunflower and safflower than mixed seed. So far, the feeders have lasted a little over a week.

    I wondered how long it would take before word got out that the food was back. Within 10 minutes, we had a pair of nuthatches. Within a day or two, the Cardinals were back. The red bellied woodpecker – then the downy woodpeckers. Yesterday, we had chickadees, finches and – of course – squirrels.

    I’ve missed seeing and hearing all of these beautiful creatures around my studio windows! I photographed this squirrel through my studio window. Still pretty timid – they’ll get used to me and my camera before long.

    What choice do they have?

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    Random and Unrelated Photos


    macro photo skin hands cracked fungus disease
    Okay so I lied. This hand is related. To me, that is.
    It’s the hand of someone I love, and it is hurting her.
    Anyone know what this is? A fungus? Eczema?

    lava lamp wax bubble macro leanne wildermuth

    copper puppy chiapoo male legs crossed leanne wildermuth
    Copper, the Little Prince.
    Time for tea. He does lift his pinki when he drinks, too.

    giant sunflower bumblebee photo leanne wildermuth
    Our giant sunflowers are blooming.
    That bumblebee is the size of a quarter. Okay maybe a nickel.
    (Can’t a girl embellish for effect?)

    squirrel on top of a light post leanne wildermuth
    He looks like a scaredy squirrel, doesn’t he?

    Migration ROCKS.


    I love migration. It’s nature’s way of confirming spring has arrived when you see flashes of color out of the corner of your eye and have this dude reeeeaching his little head waaaay over so he can have a peek at the lady with the camera:

    american goldfinch detail photograph leanne wildermuth' class=
    American Goldfinch, Male

    And this guy, who I see flitting around in his typical skittish way, never too sure of what to land on until he hits a finch sock – then you couldn’t pry him off if you wanted to:

    male house finch photography macro detail leanne wildermuth' class=
    House Finch, Male

    All of the other interesting birds will arrive soon and only be here for a week or so. Eastern Towhees, Grosbeaks, Creepers and Wrens will stop by, then my tried and true birds will stay here for the summer. This fella caught my ear while I was outside the other day:

    chipping sparrow perched and singing overlay photo leanne wildermuth' class=
    Chipping Sparrow, Male

    He was just singing away up in a tree, I did an overlay so you can see what he looks like singing, too.

    I thought you’d like this one, since I was talking about how to identify males and females and mentioned the female Red Bellied Woodpecker had been by – but I hadn’t snapped a photo of her yet. I managed to do that the other day. Of course her hubby is here quite a bit, so here’s a new pic of him with her in the corner so you can see how they differ in appearances side by side:

    red bellied woodpecker red head white head male female photograph leanne wildermuth' class=

    And last, but not least, a squirrel with no tail. I have no idea what happened to him, and honestly it makes me sad to think about it.

    squirrel no tail injured rat tail leanne wildermuth' class=

    It appears to be growing back, though, so I’ll be keeping an eye out for this guy (and yes, he’s a guy, he turned around and stood up and my eyes about popped out of my head), hopefully we’ll see some growth over the summer. I wonder how he communicates without his tail? Anyone know anything about squirrel behavior or communication to know how he might adapt to this injury?

    Plants and Flowers, oh MY.


    I ordered my stuff for fall. Have you ordered your stuff for fall yet? I will be antsy for the next two months waiting for them to get here so I can get them in the ground. Hubby is building two new beds for flowers, and one for our vegetable garden next year – so we’re planning and sketching and picturing all kinds of fun beautiful things in our yard for next summer!

    Here are my new additions (click on the thumb to get the details from the garden center where I purchased them):

    Bed 1:

    Russian Princess Lobelia
    I have one Lobelia this year and it’s about 6 foot tall with several long stems covered in red flowers that our hummingbird and butterflies just love.

    I’m adding four more, these will go up against the privacy fence across the back of an 8 foot bed.

    They’ll bloom pretty much all summer.

    Oriental Lily Collection
    24 of these, so 6 each of the Lombardia (top left), Stargazer (top right), Dizzy (bottom left) and Simplon (bottom right).

    Lollypop Asiatic Lily
    These lilies will all be grouped together in front of the Lobelia. If you didn’t already know – I love lilies. I especially love stargazers and my goal is to have enough of them to stand cutting them and having bouquets in the house.

    Lilies bloom mid-summer but the greens start first thing in the spring.

    Maiden Pinks
    Six of these ground covering flowering Maiden Pinks will fill the space in the front of this bed.

    Visually, I’ve got tallest to shortest, and the color scheme is all red, pinks and white.

    It’s gonna be beauuuuutiful!

    Bed 2:

    Mixed Delphinium
    Delphinium blooms all summer as well (twice) and stands about 5 feet tall. The pink, blue, purple and white is the same mix that I have right now in dwarf delphinium, and they’re really delicate and beautiful – and yes they draw in the pretty fluttery critters, too. I’m adding 6 of these.

    These will stand against the privacy fence in the back of the second 8 foot wide bed.

    3mostulips.jpg3 months of Tulips
    It’s hard to figure out which tulips bloom when and how many to get – so I’m so grateful that these places put packs together like this. We loooove tulips, so three months of them will be wonderful – and very colorful while we wait for the Delphinium to pop up from behind them.

    I got way too many of them- 36 will be divided between this bed and another area in the yard. Unless I compact them, which is entirely possible. I like dense foliage. :)

    Mixed Dwarf Asters
    These are the low flowers that will sit in front of the tulips, and once the tulips die out, the asters will fill in with about 12-15″ height in mounds to cover the empty spot and they’ll continue blooming through the fall.

    One thing I’ve learned this year: Bunnies LOVE asters. Love. Eat them up. We’ll see how they fare within our bunny refuge baby havin’ camp here. (Zorro is at it again – we think she’s pregnant.)

    This second bed is going to be very colorful!

    We have a few other plants that we just couldn’t resist. We recently had a piece of concrete sidewalk that went to our old back door broken up and removed, and filled it in with dirt and river rock. It’s bare, so Catybug and I decided we wanted to dry a few different things for that space to have something special and try something new.

    Ambrosia Fragrant Abelia
    They boast that this is more fragrant than a lilac – this I have to smell! “One of the best shrubs we’ve found in some time. This cold hardy shrub is covered with sweetly scented blooms from late spring to early summer. Star-shaped flowers start out as pink buds and open up to white blossoms.”

    This one will get to about 6′ tall – so it will cover our big empty used-to-be-a-back-door spot that bugs me to death.

    Pink Buttercup
    I picked up 12 of these, ummm I don’t know what I’m going to do with them yet, they’re a small ground covering plant that will flower all summer. I may put them between rosebushes on the side of the house, or something.

    I’ll find a spot.

    Ice Stick Tulip
    These will definitely bring in the spring – they’re really early bloomers so I will know when I see them popping up with the crocus that I don’t have to tolerate the cold much longer.

    These are super cool – I just got 10 of them so I have to find a really nice showy home for them. along with this next batch of bulbs….

    Superba Butterfly Tulip
    These are TOO cool. The petals of these tulips look like butterfly wings! I only have 8 of these on order, so it will be several years before I have enough to share.

    They say these are for zone 4-8 – I’m in zone 5, so I’m stretching a little but not too much. Crossing my fingers on them, but I think they’ll be okay here.

    Blushing Bride Tulips
    Just five of these, they’re late season bloomers so if I put this special batch of tulips together, I will have something new and unusually stunning coming up for a nice long period of time in the spring to summer months.

    I love the gradation on these – and if they follow the butterfly tulips bloom time, they’ll be just perfect.

    Zebra Iris Collection
    Iris tend to triple in spread every year, so I’m not too worried about spending a bunch for just one of each of these.

    The Batik Zebra (top left) is royal purple, the Tiger Honey (top right) is a beautiful rich gold, the Baboon Bottom – haha! (bottom left) is pink and white, and the Gnu Flash (bottom right) is gold, gray, silver and violet.

    They probably all smell like grapes, yummmm. I love Iris. I’ll put these near my jumbo German bearded iris and they’ll spread like wildfire.

    bajadaylily.jpg Little Business & Baja Daylilies
    Both of these daylilies are double bloomers. Hubby loves the red, and I love that they bloom all summer, take a short break and come back again in late summer to fall.

    I picked up 3 of each of them, they’ll get their own spot and make a nice color bursting focal point in the yard.

    All Summer Hydrangea
    Last, but certainly not least – and definitely the largest – this big beautiful bushy Hydrangea.

    I have two hydrangea right now, they are moody, thirsty plants who apparently had a rough time last winter because they weren’t properly sheltered, so they’re wussing out in the bloom department. I’ve been keeping them watered well and I keep waiting – but they got nothin’ for me but pretty green foliage. Nice, yes. But I love hydrangea blooms, and miss them! I need something more hardy & reliable.

    They are being replaced with this one, which boasts:

    “All the beauty and romance of other large flowered hydrangeas but so much more rewarding to grow! All Summer Beauty is covered with big, blooms of deep blue (in acid soil) or soft pink (in alkaline soil) from midsummer often until frost. Best of all, you can count on getting those fabulous blooms form on the current season’s growth- not on that of the previous year.

    Therefore, harsh winters or late spring frosts are not a problem for this hydrangea! These handsome plants have large, glossy green leaves and grow 3-5’ tall with a similar spread- just right for mixed borders, foundation planting or a low-growing hedge. Sensational for long-lasting fresh and dried bouquets!”

    And there you have it. Oh! I also picked up 14 Surprise/Resurrection/Magic Lillies I bought on ebay. They should be here in a day or two.

    I will be a digging fool in late October – and I can’t wait to show you how it turns out over the course of the spring and summer next year. I should just plan a big garden party and invite ya’ll over for a tour and some barbecue, huh? That would be too much fun.

    Squirrely Woes


    We have a sick squirrel. I think she’s a she, so I’m calling her a she. Or a her, depending on the context. Go with me on this one. She is wobbly, and I’m talking she can’t even sit on her hind legs to eat without looking punch drunk. Her eyes are swollen (compared to all of our other 10 nutty guests) and she has a really hard time moving forward. So much so that she kindof tumbles forward into a heap and picks herself back up.

    Part of me wanted to try to capture her and have our animal control officer take her and put her down, since I think she has to be suffering – but then I look at her, she’s plump, eating just fine – and making her way around and up the trees without falling off. Ugh. It’s heartbreaking to see her like this, and worse to think that if this is something viral. What if the other squirrels become afflicted?

    I’m picturing ten really crazy lookin’ squirrels wandering around aimlessly in my backyard doing somersaults. One of them gets up, wobbles over to another one, pushes him over and the rest point and laugh as he falls down and can’t get up. Then they see a human and they all run for cover but because their eyes are swollen they collide in a heap and above the pile of delirious squirrels there’s a big cloud of crazy characters like this:


    because they’re all totally dazed and confused. Then they manage to get untangled from eachother, and rubbing the bumps on their heads they hobble cockeyed over to a tree, except it’s my leg, and they start climbing and OW! THAT HURTS! They still have very sharp little nails.

    It could happen.

    Update: I noticed two more squirrels this morning who have some sort of thing going on with their ears. I’ll call animal control in the morning and find out what I can do.


    Dell Dude Gets a Little Squirrely


    Some of you may have ordered your very own Climby Squirrel t-shirt, many of you have not. Ahem.

    Back in March, I had a dilemma (or should I say Dellimma?). I had a few hundred squirrely photos, and not enough room on my hard drive for them all. I decided to back up my photos to CD, but didn’t have a DVD write drive. Enter Dell Dude, who suggested I make apparel with my squirrels. He also really really wanted a free shirt. So because I’m really super awesome (I am too), I procrastinated forever (because honestly, I paid for that DVD write drive, is it too much to hope to get a little lovin’ with the greenbacks in return?). A girl can only pretend to be aloof and forget all about it for so long, you know.

    I finally got the shirt sent off. One for him, and one for me. Mine arrived last weekend, so I knew it wouldn’t be long before Dell Dude opened up a strange little package from CafePress and found a squirrel ready to leap off of 100% cotton in hopes of a peanut, or maybe even a free DVD write drive.

    I love my Climby Squirrel shirt, by the way. It is so wicked that my kids were pouty that they didn’t get one. My photograph/design is printed direct, which means there’s no wierd transfer paper outline – it looks unbelievably cool. In fact, I wore it to the grocery store and people were looking at me funny. Okay so that in itself isn’t entirely unusual, but I am going to attribute that particular days worth of strange glances to the shirt. It works for me.

    In an effort to get all of you slackers fabulous people into one of these cool shirts for the summer, I’m going to give you a little incentive. Click the little button below and send over $25 for the cost of the shirt and the shipping. I’ll do the ordering and have it shipped to me, then I’ll personally sign it with my big fancy relatively famous “L” autograph and forward it on to you for your wearing pleasure.

    I’ll just need you to tell me which one and what size. Sound fun? I thought so.

    :end shameless begging for cash:

    Oh and hey? If you want one of my other photos on a shirt instead? Just pick one.

    I’ll hook you up.

    Special thanks to Dell Dude for sharing himself with the internet. He’s way better than that guy they have doing the PC dude on the Mac commercials, isn’t he? I think so. (BTW, that’s my favoritest commercial ever, in the whole wide world.)

    I’ll share myself getting squirrely just as soon as I get my shirt through the wash again.

    Oh and one more thing. I broke down and bought a Maxtor 300Gig external Hard Drive. (Sorry Dell Dude, I had like 1000 new squirrel photos and not nearly enough DVD’s or cases to put ’em in.)

    Dude, could you help me out here?


    standing squirrel help me out' class=Have you ever seen a mama squirrel with teeters full of milk climbing a 3/4″ diameter iron pole for a little lunch when there’s plenty available in her own private dish on the ground? There’s my QOTD.

    This one here, well, he just wouldn’t stop lookin’ at me. Silly standy squirrel.

    I’m a pacer. Not that it’s related to my crazy kooky squirrels, but it is, sortof. In my best creative moments I’m pacing from the front to the back of my house, usually munching on granola or yacking on the phone. Yesterday I paced. I was working on a blog design layout that is black & white. Literally. In a world full of colors, I had to restrict myself to black, white and a couple of shades of gray.

    For me, that’s a little like being a two year old throwing a tempertantrum that momma won’t let me use her watercolors, just a stupid lead pencil and one lousy sheet of copy paper from her printer. ::stomps and pouts::

    We work with what we’ve got, though, and I made it work. Phew.

    Still, in the creative process of putting the pieces together in my head, I paced. I have my camera at the ready, and I was delighted to see a couple of really beautiful and unique birds yesterday. I know a lot of you might not remember to check my photoblog, and yesterday was an especially active day, I uploaded quite a few new bird photos. For the larger image, just click the thumb.

    I used to post my photography here. I decided to create a photoblog so that I could not only make my photos larger for viewing, but to be able to post more frequently without disrupting the regular average everyday stuff I write here on my blog. Now I’m wondering, was that such a great idea? I mean, there are folks using Flickr who were given Nikon D80’s to test for 6 months – with an option to purchase at a discounted rate at the end of the tryout. Who wouldn’t want to be approached with a deal like that? Is Flickr the place to put your stuff, then? I’m so confused. I’ve got my own server space, my own place to do it – I’m not sure I see the benefits of putting my stuff on someone elses server, aside from the obviously cool opportunities, as long as people notice and/or like your photos.

    And then there’s my gallery – and it must be “that time” again because I’m wondering how functional it is for my guests. And I’m also wondering when I’m going to have time to format a bunch of auctions so that I can offer my Eye Ate It paintings for sale – and Kiki, too – now that I have them back from exhibit.

    I do this, from time to time, I start revamping my whole existence on the web in my head. I crave feedback from everyone who stops by.

    Well, dude, could you help me out here? I’ll be in the other room(s), pacing.

    Squirrels are Misunderstood


    This morning I had the opportunity to meet this fabulous young lady for a photo shoot back behind the poplar tree. She wanted me to tell you that squirrels are really not all that bad. They have a soft, sensitive side – just like you and me. So in an effort to portray their inner “enjoying nature and foraging for food and shelter like the rest of us” beauty, she asked me to share with you these wonderful shots from her own personal portrait session.

    I really have to applaud her for these shots. They’re personal and revealing, they tell a story about how sensitive and playful a squirrels’ personality can be. I’d be surprised if your heart doesn’t just melt. You’ll never see a squirrel the same way again. Maybe.

    Keep reading »

    Squirrels in Action


    The three squirooges.
    I had 8 at one time, but these three were a hoot.
    squirrel lying in the food
    Don’t bother getting up. No, really. Just lay there and eat.

    squirrel carrying whole piece of bread
    Because a little nibble of bread isn’t enough when you have to share with 7 other squirrels. Fend for yourself!
    (Especially while the other guy is lying in all the other food.)

    squirrel jumping to action for peanuts
    Did you just throw PEANUTS out the window?!?!?!?

    (why yes, I did!)

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