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  • Behold the turtle.
    He makes progress only when he sticks his neck out.
  • My Home, My Garden.

    Memorial Day – Timely Blooms


    poppies photo by Leanne Wildermuth

    “We cherish too, the Poppy red
    That grows on fields where valor led,
    It seems to signal to the skies
    That blood of heroes never dies.”

    ~Moina Michael, 1915

    An Iris Kaleidoscope


    Iris kaleidoscope tiger honey batik photo by Leanne Wildermuth
    iris kaleidoscope baboon bottom batik photo by Leanne Wildermuth

    iris kaleidoscope zebra batik photo by Leanne Wildermuth

    iris kaleidoscope photo by Leanne Wildermuth

    iris kaleidoscope photo by Leanne Wildermuth

    iris kaleidoscope gnu flash batik photo by Leanne Wildermuth

    Bird Love, Pine Siskin Style.


    Pine Siskin male female bird couple photo by Leanne Wildermuth
    Sunday morning, I wandered out to my studio to have a peek out at my bird feeders, and I got the privilege of witnessing the most beautiful relationship between a pair of Pine Siskins (who are, as many of you know, new guests on my feeders).

    I rushed for my camera (5 steps away) and was able to capture their loving interaction and I am really excited to be able to share this with you! It warms my heart, and kinda makes me wish I were a bird.

    First, the initial photo above. When I first saw them, they were eating together on my thistle sock. I snapped a couple dozen photos of them here until I got one that had them both looking up at the same time (without a blur, even). The rest of my photos are less about quality and more about the story.

    Pine Siskin male female bird couple photo by Leanne Wildermuth
    After they left they left the thistle sock, they flew over to my patio table and hopped around together.

    Pine Siskin male female bird couple photo by Leanne Wildermuth
    They moved from the table to the chair, and I started to wonder what they were talking about out there that they both looked up at (whatever it was) at the same time. I love this shot, it gives them that “old married couple” look!

    Pine Siskin male female bird couple photo by Leanne Wildermuth
    Everywhere that one would go, the other quickly followed. They hopped around this planter for about 20 seconds before moving on.

    Pine Siskin male female bird couple photo by Leanne Wildermuth
    The male was first to go to the next destination (there’s a bit of yellow in him, he’s on the left). The female quickly followed, and they gained balance and interacted for a few seconds.

    Pine Siskin male female bird couple photo by Leanne Wildermuth
    Next stop, the next planter in the row. Again, with the “you go, I’ll follow” relationship. They stayed close to each other, that’s for sure!

    Pine Siskin male female bird couple photo by Leanne Wildermuth
    Back to the table, I caught several shots of them hopping around the table and just loved their reflection on the pebbled glass. They picked at the bud that fell from our maple tree.

    Pine Siskin male female bird couple photo by Leanne Wildermuth
    They went over to our little fire pit, where they hopped around on the domed lid and picked at more buds and things that were stuck in the screen.

    I was in “awwwwe” the whole time, of course – this all took place within just a minute, maybe two. I’m not sure if they were just looking for bits and morsels to eat, or maybe looking for nesting material – whatever the case, this couple is really amazing and it was so interesting to watch them interact with each other!

    This last set of photos is what brought a tear to my eye. They hopped down from the lid of my fire pit, and met on the rim.

    Pine Siskin male female bird couple photo by Leanne Wildermuth
    And then they kissed.
    Pine Siskin male female bird couple photo by Leanne Wildermuth
    They both tilted their little heads to the right, opened their beaks ever so slightly, and kissed. They didn’t exchange anything, there were no supplies in their beaks that I could see, it was just this cute, intimate little moment between boy and girl bird, and OMG! Do you have a tissue?! *blows*

    Pine Siskin male female bird couple photo by Leanne Wildermuth
    These last three photos were taken in burst mode, and though I missed their beaks actually connecting, you can still feel the love. Bird love. Pine Siskin style.

    Welcome to my yard.

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    New Bird in My Yard : Pine Siskin


    Pine Siskin bird photo by Leanne Wildermuth
    It’s not a Goldfinch – not a Song Sparrow, it’s a Pine Siskin! Thanks to Taba for helping me identify this bird that landed on my feeder yesterday and was NOT afraid of me one little bit. He enjoyed my thistle feeder for quite a while, and allowed me to fill up my other feeders in very close proximity while he ate.

    He had me confused for sure – I knew it couldn’t be a female Goldfinch because of the speckled breast. Couldn’t be a Song Sparrow because of the yellow feathering. Then… what??? This sweet little Pine Siskin is a new bird to my feeders and I’m delighted to have him.


    You Should See What I See!


    tiger honey batik bearded iris photo Leanne Wildermuth
    “Coming Soon” — tiger honey batik bearded iris.

    Baboon bottom bearded iris
    (I need to confirm this, it is more peach than pink – I think they sent me a different variety!)

    fuchsia wave petunia flower bag photo Leanne Wildermuth
    Two fuchsia wave petunia bags flank my garage door. Full of blooms. Love!!!

    Allium flower photo Leanne Wildermuth
    Recently relocated allium – doing just fine!

    lollipop gerbera daisy photo Leanne Wildermuth
    Lollipop gerbera daisy. OH YEAH. Gorgeous. Hold still for your close up, Lol!

    lollipop gerbera daisy close up photo by Leanne Wildermuth
    She’s a stunner!

    white bearded iris photo Leanne Wildermuth
    One bloom remained on the plant, it’s doing just fine. :thumbsup:

    And then, she had a wet iris competition:

    baboon bottom wet iris photo Leanne Wildermuth

    white bearded iris wet photo Leanne Wildermuth

    And the winner is…

    White Irises, She said.


    White iris flower photo desktop wallpaper by Leanne WildermuthOn Mother’s Day, I offered my readers a free desktop wallpaper that I’d created from a photograph I took in my studio of a beautiful White Iris. (You can still download the 1024×768 if you haven’t already.)

    Pete (of Shakey Pete) commented and said that his mother raised Iris, so my wallpaper triggered a fond memory of his mom, appropriate on Mother’s Day, I think. His comment made me think. I love comments like that, so thanks, Pete. You brought my daughter and I a little closer on Mother’s Day. I appreciate that.

    There’s a story behind this White Iris, which I’ll get to here in a second, but Pete’s comment left me curious. What kind of flowers would my own children grow after I’m gone that will remind them of me, and why? I thought for sure that Catybug would say “Gerbera Daisies!” or even “Stargazer Lilies!” But no. That was not the case.

    Now let me tell you a little story.

    Last Wednesday, my children attended youth group – at two different churches. Catybug went with her girlfriend after school to attend youth at her church, and I dropped off my little Chickeymonkey at our church.

    On the way home, I had to run an errand to pick up food for our guinea pig and bunny. I find the best food for them at Teske’s, our local pet and garden center. I also really, really enjoy visiting the parrots! So, as you could probably guess, I visited the parrots first.

    Right. Why carry around loads of food if you just have to put it down to play with the critters? Common sense.

    Without any regard to how much time had passed (Because apparently, I have an eternity to shop while I’m at a pet store. Time stands still while you’re making cooey and clicky noises to birds, don’tchyaknow.), I visited with the animals. Then there was an uncomfortable moment where I was forced to either pet the Eclectus or buy him, so I ran and hid in the corner of the store and sucked the thumb he nearly bit off.

    I digress.

    I picked up 10 pounds of food for the critters that DON’T bite me, and ohhhh my gosh – —- a new truckload of flowers? Did someone say they got more flowers? Ooooh I had to check out the garden center.

    Now, rewind to earlier in the day. I’m talking to my dear, sweet friend Taba, and she’s telling me how she’s swooning over White Irises, and she really wants some. We’re talking about flowers, and I remind her of my Monkey Butt (aka Baboon Bottom) Batik Iris that I’ll actually get to see this year, and blabbity blab blab green thumb girl talk.

    Okay, got all that? She wants the White Iris. She wants ALL Irises, really, all of them. All in her yard. Right now. Yea, yea, so do I.

    Fast forward to me in the garden center, carrying around 10 pounds of smashed condensed timothy hay and corn flake chips. And then, then I spotted the Irises. The WHITE Irises.

    I chose the one that was on the verge of blooming. I thought, I’m going to name her Taba (which I did) and next year, I’ll split it and send her some for her garden! Irises, for those unfamiliar, have a bulk of the root at ground level, so one big giant stem teeter tottered above the root in a 4″ square pot. They had braced it up with little green stakes, so I carefully pulled it out from behind a half dozen other random colored Irises, and with one hand wrapped around 10 pounds of critter food, I carefully balanced a teeter-tottering White Iris in my right hand.

    And continued on in my search for anything else I might want to add to my garden.

    20 minutes later, I found more stuff. Crud, I found more stuff. I’m looking around for a cart, for anything I can put stuff down on – but found nothing. My left bicep was beginning to throb from the weight of the critter food and obviously, if I wasn’t careful with my right hand, my Iris would topple.

    I gently set it down, set the critter food down, and went on a search for a tray to put all of my finds in.

    Of course, the critter food and the new (mexican heather) went into the tray, but the Iris, the Iris was special. I held everything else in my left hand, and the Iris in the right.

    Careful…. carreeeeful….. I asked the checkout clerk if he had a tall brown bag to put the iris in, so it wouldn’t break. Together, we slid it down to the bottom of the bag. Aaaah. Safe. Wait – no – he didn’t know what color the pot was, so we had to reach down in there and pull it back out. Crap. We got it out – put it back in. Phew. Okay. Safe again.

    I paid for everything and loaded everything carefully into the back seat of the car. I put the Iris against the back seat, and braced it in with the critter food.

    Are you getting all of this carefulness? I could not and probably wasn’t EVER this careful with my own kids as newborns. But this Iris? I could. not. break.

    On the drive home, I called Taba. I was so excited to share my fortune! WoohOOOO and I’m going to split it and mail it to you and wheee! We’ll have the same White Irises! YAYYYY what are friends for!! Splitting perennials, that’s what!

    She asks what the official name of the Iris is, and I’m just about in my driveway, so I pull into my driveway, park in the garage, get out of the car, open the back door, grab ahold of the Very Special SUPER CAREFULLY HANDLED White Iris and pull it out of my car…..

    And busted the stalk.

    Yep. I did.

    So, when my eldest daughter returned from youth group, I told her this story. She laughed, and laughed, and laughed s’more. She even cried. She almost spit her ice cream out her nose.

    It makes sense to me, then, when I asked her what flower she’d plant to remember me by, she replied “White Irises.”

    Glad to know I’ll be giving that girl chuckles from beyond the grave!

    A Mother’s Day Gift for You!


    White iris flower photo desktop wallpaper by Leanne Wildermuth

    Download 1024×768

    I’ve captured my very first white Iris bloom (and named her Taba) on camera, and created a desktop wallpaper for you to download.
    Just right click on the download link above, save to your computer, and enjoy!

    Happy Mother’s Day!

    Veggies, Flowers and Birds


    four male goldfinches on a line by Leanne Wildermuth
    Q: What do you call four male goldfinches on a line?
    (continue reading for the answer)

    The vegetable garden is in! I planted Eggplant, cucumber, green peppers, beefsteak tomatoes, bush beans and broccoli. I can’t wait to watch as it grows and starts producing veggies!! I just loved cutting fresh broccoli last summer and steaming it – there is nothing better, no store bought broccoli compares!

    We were lucky, I guess, in that I really didn’t have to deal with many bugs at all in my garden. This may have been because I use Cutter backyard spray on our grass to keep the bugs at a minimum – the spray lasts about 4 weeks, so we can enjoy our yard without being bitten or pestered (much)!

    vegetable garden by Leanne Wildermuth

    Keep reading »

    Don’t It Make My Brown Thumb Green?


    clematis vine growth bud photo by Leanne Wildermuth
    Have I told you recently how clematis and I have had a tough relationship for several years? I get one beautiful bloom last year, and bam – a squirrel climbs down my fence, plucks it right off, and eats it.

    No, I’m not kidding. I could have – no, wait, I did. I screamed. I was FURIOUS and I chased that little bugger off my fence. (Me: curlers in hair, flowery housecoat, fuzzy pink slippers and a rolling pin. Not really, but it’s how I see myself in my head.)

    Imagine my delight then, when I scoped out my clematis from last year making a return. Part of me wants to put those bird spikes all along my fence just to keep the squirrels from eating it, the other part of me (the reasonable, rational, nature loving part) knows that if it’s meant to bloom, it’ll bloom. Obviously, at this point, I’m pretty certain I have the patience of Job when it comes to clematis.

    So, let me tell you what I think made a difference. A friend of mine (*waves at friend*) told me once that clematis need to have shade over their roots. Seriously! A full sun plant that wants shady roots. WTH? What a picky little plant. Alright, well, I had some logs and branches from our crazy storm that I keep around the yard for natural hardscape. I took half a log and leaned it up over the base of the vine, and kept it in the dark. And also? I don’t know what lived under there this past winter, but dang! Poo, much?

    I digress.

    Every little measly spindly little vine that God eeked out of this nearly failed (sixth) attempt at a lush clematis vine is turning green and growing. Every little one. I am beyond thrilled and will certainly be purchasing a bee-bee gun this weekend. Okay not really, but you’d think about it, too!

    And all the brown thumbers in the house said “Amen”!

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