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>> Wildermuth Creative Portraits <<

  • Any glimpse into the life of an animal quickens our own and makes it so much the larger and better in every way.
  • Flowers & A Bird, Oh My.


    sunflower glowing leanne wildermuth

    Catybug planted our sunflowers this year, this is one from a variety blend of seeds. When I looked up at it (it’s about 10 foot tall) it was just glowing from the sun behind it.

    lantana blooms flowers leanne wildermuth

    I planted Lantana again this year because last year it grew into nice sized bushes that the swallowtails really loved. It’s a little measly thing this year, but still has pretty blooms that are definitely worth a view through the lens.

    feeding worms to a robin fledgling leanne wildermuth

    A friend of ours brought over a bird yesterday not knowing what it was, just that it seemed pretty friendly and that maybe it was a domestic bird. I opened up the box to find this fledgling robin. We immediately set to digging in the backyard to find some fresh worms, and Catybug enjoyed mothering this little fella until dark, when we sent him on his way (with a very full belly). Robins stay with their babies until they can fly, which he can, but he wasn’t doing so well in the hunting for food department.

    robin fledgling sqwak bird leanne wildermuth

    Pretty calm around us, he just made himself comfortable on the concrete and demanded his dinner.

    robin fledgling smirk bird leanne wildermuth

    In anything other than news, I’ve been enjoying a week “off”. Off meaning I’m not working on things for other people, but I’m also not really going anywhere or doing anything spectacular. The girls and I had a nice day of shopping, another day of cleaning and organizing their room, and basically lounging, taking walks, and playing games. This is my summer “vacation”. heh! I’ll be painting next week, so you’ll see a sketch soon.

    How have you been?

    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?

    It All Started With a Hairy Melon Ball.


    baby musk melon ball leanne wildermuth vegetable garden

    The weekend started off with a wave of excitement as I discovered my first Musk Melon taking shape in my vegetable garden. I squealed like a girl, in proper first-time-vegetable-gardener form, and set to fetch my camera. There are hairy melon balls hanging ALL over the place, and I know that sounds so wrong but it feels so right. I want to go bless each of them with Holy Water, or something.

    And then, I gazed. Stargazer Lily Island has fully developed, and I want to pop a tent and live in the back corner of my yard. It’s a bit harder to isolate the lilies now that there are so many, but I am fully enjoying that there are so many. I will be moving them closer to the house. They are waaaay too far away from me. Must. Bring. Closer.

    Of course, I would not be me if my weekend didn’t set out to overachieve in some aspect in my life. This weekend I chose to build a custom vanity cabinet for my shoebox sized bathroom, “easy peasy” I said, as I packed my daughter, my big purse and myself into my car and headed to Lowe’s for all of the fixin’s. If you can’t find it pre-made, build it yourself, right? Right. So I have this under 24″ space to fit my sink in, and nothing in this bathroom has EVER worked (for long). I built it in my head, and then I built it in my garage. With Hubby and Catybug’s help, of course. It was a 6 hour project, an experience I’ll never forget, a Saturday I’ll never get back, and….

    custom 20 inch drop in sink cabinet leanne wildermuth
    A sink I’ll never use. Anyone need a 20w x 18d x 32h custom vanity cabinet with a drop in sink? Urgh – when you have a shoebox for a bathroom, the last thing you want is something so deep that it makes you feel like your peeing in a porta-john. Seriously, if I gain just 3-5 pounds, someone will have to pry me out from between the wall and the cabinet, and that would not be pretty.

    Well, then, on to the next project.

    Did I mention my garden is doing well? Four burpless cucumber plants have taken over half of my garden. I have more cukes than I can count on two hands, what’s a girl to do? Make bread & butter pickles, that’s what.

    bread and butter pickles cucumber garden leanne wildermuth

    If you like bread & butter pickles, then you’ll want to check back, because I’m going to have a little contest, and you could win a jar. Because I’m a Midwestern kindof gal, and it’s a Midwestern kindof contest.

    While my cukes were cooling, I meandered around my garden again. As I do every day, I stopped to smell the roses.

    This rose bloom was just picture perfect. I was pretty angry when I went back to appreciate it again, as there was a Japanese Beetle munching a great big hole in the petals. I’m glad I captured its beauty while it lasted.

    lupine bud bloom macro leanne wildermuth

    I didn’t know what to expect from my Lupine this year (especially since it’s not a Lupine, it’s a Delphinium. Thanks, Taba.) – I planted the root last fall and it’s supposed to get really tall and be very hardy. It’s slowly making an appearance, and the blooms are so dainty I’m afraid I’ll hurt it if I get my nose too close.

    Enough with the wandering around the yard, there’s work to be done. Our honey-do list included installing the vanity that I didn’t want, but have to live with because the other one is too big. Got that? Okay. Well, on the honey-don’t list was “break the sink we have to live with.” We successfully took that off the “don’t” list and then quickly added to the “do” list “fix the support that busted in half when top heavy sink falls forward onto Hubby’s leg and shaves off top 3 layers of skin”. Check. First we repaired Hubby, then I repaired the sink.

    And also? I attempted to remove a nut that had rusted onto the waste line with a tool that was not a pipe wrench. The result?

    torn nailbed leanne wildermuth

    Tears. Lots of tears. And then, a(nother) trip to Lowe’s.

    I eventually got the nut off (using the proper tools, and some spray goo that loosens rust), because my bathroom hates us and I’m bound and determined to fight back and win. I figured if the plumbing doesn’t work this time, I’ll google how to build a bomb and blow the freakin’ bathroom to smithereens. That’ll show it who’s boss. Of course it would have to be a bomb that would only blow up the bathroom, and it would have to vaporize all remnants of the immediate area so there’s no clean up involved.

    Well at 6:58pm we realized that Lowe’s closes at 7pm so there was no more shopping on Sunday for us, and that meant no more plumbing, which also meant putting a big bowl under the bathroom sink so we could brush our teeth. Whatever, I’m used to brushing my teeth in the kitchen sink so just being in the bathroom was sweet victory to me.

    Monday morning. The Monday morning that no Quad City resident will ever forget. A storm blew through here like I’ve never seen, winds blew upwards of 100mph. Trees came down. Power went out. The Cities are dark, still, and I feel so fortunate to have power.

    The National Weather Service says the storm that hit the Quad Cities is called a “derecho“, a type of long lived and destructive wind storm.

    From our local news station this morning:

    Moline, QUAD CITIES — MidAmerican Energy says 72,000 Quad City residents and businesses are still without power as of early Tuesday morning.

    At 3 a.m., the largest concentrations of those without power were located in:

    * MOLINE – 33,000 are without power
    * ROCK ISLAND – 28,000 are without power
    * MERCER COUNTY – 6400 are without power
    * ROCK ISLAND COUNTY – 5100 are without power
    * COAL VALLEY – 4041 are without power
    * HENRY COUNTY – 2620 are without power

    Alliant Energy is reporting fewer scattered outages in southeastern Iowa. About 500 are without power north of the Quad Cities.

    The utilities report they have broght in extra crews to try to restore power to the region. At one point, more than 200,000 people were without power due to the strong storms.

    To say that trees came down is really an understatement. What really happened was that the entire landscape in the Quad Cities was changed by force over the course of one storm that lasted about one hour. City streets look like country roads – no stores are lit up, no street lights. People lining up to buy generators, McDonald’s, gasoline. Chainsaws are completely sold out.

    Trees were just ripped in half by the winds. I saw a tree that had to be 6-8 feet in diameter lying on at least one car, maybe more. Many trees just completely uprooted and lying on their sides.

    quad cities derecho storm tree torn leanne wildermuth

    Our damage was minimal. We lost a couple of branches about this size:

    quad cities derecho storm tree torn leanne wildermuth

    And smaller pieces were scattered all over the yard. We are definitely one of the fortunate ones – and I’m so thankful that we had our tree thinned out last year.

    eerie clouds quad cities storm leanne wildermuth

    The clouds lastnight were eerie, but beautiful – as I hosted my girlfriend and her boys who are without power, it’s been an unusual 24 hours and we’re wondering how long before power is restored to our area. We’re also wondering what we would do if we had to live without it on a permanent basis. Life without power. What would that be like?



    I took 35 photos yesterday of random stuff I thought you might like.

    bird print on my window leanne wildermuth
    My least favorite kind of animal prints, the ones on my windows.
    Ouch. That had to hurt.
    blue jay spread feathers funky bird pose leanne wildermuth
    I’m not sure what this Blue Jay is doing.
    It’s not his print on the window, so what’s up with this pose?

    blue jay yapping at me leanne wildermuth
    Apparently, whatever he was doing was private,
    and I should not have been watching.

    white oriental lily fragrant leanne wildermuth
    Holy fragrant flowers, batman, can you smell this?
    It makes my head all swirly it smells so good.

    straw flower strawflower photo leanne wildermuth
    This little strawflower hardly smells at all – but isn’t it cool?

    I planted 48 asters around my yard. They’re starting to bloom.
    I wish they were perennial!

    coneflower photo leanne wildermuth
    A pretty coneflower, new to my garden this year.

    wild bunny rabbit standing tiptoe leanne wildermuth
    When this bunny saw me, he/she started tiptoeing through the yard.
    Like it’s a noisy rabbit. Hah!

    Send Me Your Empty Vases.


    white pink peony peonies bouquet
    Over the years, my loving husband has sent flowers on several occasions (not all of them requiring forgiveness, either, in case you’re wondering). This has left me, fortunately, with many, many vases in storage.

    Did I ever tell you about how long it’s taken me to grow Peonies? Yes? Well if you don’t know the story, you can read it here. Now I’m so excited to have them, I cut them as soon as they’re ready and keep bouquets all over my house. This year, I have more Peonies than I have vases. It must be because I cut every one of them last year, I’m guessing, and all that flower power went back down into the roots of the plants.

    I have three bouquets in my house, and cut two and gave them to a couple of special neighbors (and by special I mean polite). That’s five bouquets so far, and I’ll be cutting another bunch today.

    If you want to relocate, there are a couple of homes for sale down the street.

    From My Yard to Your Eyeballs. With Love.


    purple tulips flower photo leanne wildermuth
    These Queen of the Night tulips are more purple than I expected (I expected them to be really dark) but tulips are tulips, and I still love them.
    allium macro flower photo leanne wildermuth
    Allium is such an interesting flower. Big tall stalks with a purple ball on the top.
    Do I like purple? Why yes, yes I do.

    garden baby broccoli leanne wildermuth
    I’m so easily amused. I’ve never seen baby broccoli before. You?

    crazy big twister grass photo leanne wildermuth
    I love me some crazy grass. This is called “Big Twister”.
    It makes me want to twirl my long hair around my fingers.

    knockout rose bouquet flowers leanne wildermuth
    My sister sent me flowers on my birthday. They came in a square vase.
    I’ve been wondering how to put that vase to good use.
    I loaded it with roses from my Knockout Rose bushes and set it on a white table.

    knockout rose bushes leanne wildermuth
    If you love roses, get a few Knockout Rose bushes.
    There are only three bushes here, and dozens of roses in bloom at a time.



    giant red poppies

    giant red poppies

    Poppies are bursting in my garden, they’re as big as a softball. Chickeymonkey said “it looks like there’s a piece of gum inside.” but they’re so bright red, my camera gets completely confused about what to focus on when I try to get a pic of that “gum”.

    Several more photos of random nature-y goodness coming up over the next few days while I’m painting (on cam) in the studio. Enjoy!

    Get to Work!


    ants on peony bud

    “Ants like the sweet peony secretions and as they walk about and eat away at the waxy coating it loosens the the very tight cabbage-like blossom holders. I don’t think it’s required by the peony for ants to be present, but I do notice that my peonies with the most ants bloom all at once and the blooms are fully opened, gorgeous and fragrant, whereas the peonies in a different area that gets regular bug treatments and thus no ants, bloom alot more sporadically.” (Quoted from broomhilda on gardenweb, because I have had the same experience.)

    Tip of the day: When asked if you’d like to attend a Tupperware party, either reply immediately with “no, I have plenty of unbreakable plastic dishware, bakeware and containers, thank you!” or leave all methods of payment at home. If you happen to forget both those two very helpful tips, then you must wake up at 6am the following day and GET TO WORK! Because those insane fruit and veggie storage systems and their totally handy increased capacity fresh veggie steamer micro cooker (that replaces their silly little two-person microsteamer that doesn’t have the capacity for a family of 4 veggi-holics) that seemed to magically appear on my order form in a wave of excitement and rush and panic because the show! The SHOW IS ALMOST OVER! We CAN’T GO YET because I have to scribble down my bank account number on this order form! And also – someone put a BABY in my lap and I think her mother sprayed her clothes with NEW BABY SMELL because it totally triggered my natural nesting instincts and made me want even MORE CONTAINERS!

    Maybe I should be writing tips on how to have a successful Tupperware party, instead?

    I better get to work. I have unbreakable dishware to pay for.

    The Way I See Things


    denim levis shorts photo leanne wildermuth
    I was bored and had my camera in my lap. These are my Levi’s denim shorts.
    male cowbird drinking photo leanne wildermuth
    Who, me? Pose? Lemme swallow, first…. ::gulp:: Okay, shoot!
    (male cowbird.)

    downy woodpecker female
    Hey Fred! They’re fresh out of suet — c’mon over here!
    (female downy woodpecker.)

    chipping sparrow bird photo leanne wildermuth
    Hi! I’m Chip! Chip! Chip! Chip!!! CHIP CHIP CHIP CHIP!
    (chipping sparrow.)

    batik iris tiger honey photo leanne wildermuth
    I am infatuated with my new Batik Irises. This is a Tiger Honey.

    dusty bunny relaxed stretched mini rex photo leanne wildermuth
    Ooooh so comfortabuhhllllsssss. Dusty Bunny says “Yessss”.

    dusty bunny relaxed stretched mini rex photo leanne wildermuth
    Extreme close up of Mini Rex comfortabuhllness. Stretch those kickers!

    strawberry ripe photo leanne wildermuth
    mmmm. Strawberries.

    german bearded iris macro photo leanne wildermuth
    A gigantic German Bearded Iris that I cut and brought inside to enjoy.

    knockout rose bush photo leanne wildermuth
    My Knockout Rose bushes are in bloom – don’t forget to stop and smell the roses!


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