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  • Use what talents you possess: the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best.
  • My Home, My Garden.

    My Sensational New Addition


    sensation lilac
    I know she doesn’t look like much now, but she’s going to be just lovely when she grows up!

    We once had an unknown monstrosity growing in our yard. It had to have at least three different varieties of bushes within it, and was mangy and – well – unknown. We trimmed it a couple of years ago but that thing was out of control. Ten feet tall and climbing – without trimming I don’t know what it would have become.

    It was time to say goodbye to that big sun-blocking-my-garden bush, and hello to a new, improved plant. One that can be properly identified, even!

    The Sensation Lilac (I bought from my local nursery) is a gorgeous deep purple flower with a white border. They’re gorgeous, and I bought a plant mature enough to give me a few blooms in its first year with us!

    sensation lilac
    We did buy a Yankee Doodle in its first year this past weekend, too, but I just couldn’t wait. I had to run to a landscaping nursery and see if they had some more mature plants – and what a great find!! I’m going to have to find Yankee Doodle a new home (and I think I may already have a taker!)

    sensation lilac
    Can’t wait to share some macro shots of this gorgeous Lilac when she blooms. Hopefully, my thumb was green when I put her in the ground this afternoon!

    Yellow and Yellow-er


    male goldfinch spring molting photo by Leanne Wildermuth
    The Goldfinches are back! The Goldfinches are back!

    This male Goldfinch looks a little messy – he’s in the middle of his spring molt. He and his mate have been visiting us for about a week now. We have 2 finch feeders for our finches, one is a sock (pictured) and the other is a plastic feeder. I prefer the socks, because they’re easier to clean and cheaper to replace, but the squirrels just rip them open so they have their faults, too. Last year I bought a domed sock, so it’s helped keep the squirrels off of them.

    That’s some pleasant eye bling though, when you look out at your feeders and see the Goldfinches. When they’re not eating, they’re sitting on the wire above the feeders talking to each other, the male reminds me a bit of a dorky teenager saying “pleeease? pleeeease?” (have a listen here – it’s about 32 seconds in.)

    This morning I awoke around 3-4 am to the sound of a Great Horned Owl outside my bedroom window. Amazing. I must have thought it was a Mourning Dove, because it startled me awake thinking I had overslept! Then, as I was taking the trash out – I caught a glimpse of a large bird taking off from my backyard with something in his talons. I quickly ran out to see what he had, and found a pile of feathers and the (gross alert) head of a male sparrow. It was an American Kestrel, who frequents our yard for small edibles. What a day!!

    narcissi miniature daffodil photo by Leanne Wildermuth
    A little more yellow bling – This is a Narcissi, a teenie tiny version of a daffodil. They’re so dainty and lovely, and SPRINGY! Yayyyy!! I am thrilled to tell you that I bought my first flat of wave petunias yesterday (in fuchsia) and will be putting them in the ground this weekend. Aaah gardening – here I come!!

    Don’t forget to enter to win a custom portrait in my weekly giveaway!


    Peeping Human : A Bird Bath


    red breasted robin bath photo by Leanne Wildermuth
    You put your right wing in…
    red breasted robin bath photo by Leanne Wildermuth
    You take your right wing out…
    red breasted robin bath photo by Leanne Wildermuth
    You put your left wing in…
    red breasted robin bath photo by Leanne Wildermuth
    and you shake it all around!
    red breasted robin bath photo by Leanne Wildermuth
    That’s what it’s all about!

    Don’t forget to enter to win a custom portrait in my weekly giveaway!

    Early Spring Blooms & Gardening


    Glory of the Snow small blue star flowers early spring
    Glory of the Snow
    Lots of action out in the garden – there are so many little green things I don’t know where to begin! A big part of me just wishes I had a truckload of mulch and half a brain cell to remember all of the appropriate names for everything I’ve planted. heh!

    I will be digging up a huge section of my perennials over the next few weeks, putting them in containers so we can easily move them around in the future. I’ve decided I’d like a portable garden, so when the time comes and we’re ready to move, I’ll be adding “gorgeous garden not included” on the sale flyer. haha! Okay maybe not so drastic, but darnit I’ve invested a ton of time, energy, love and care into my yard – though I do kinda get starry eyed thinking about fresh dirt to do it all again.

    Verigated crocus blooms purple white flower early spring
    Variegated Crocus
    I wanted to share a couple of things – first, the gardening gloves that I absolutely love. I found these Ethel Gloves through Taba last summer and they are a gardening girl’s dream come true. They feel like second skin, and they make ya feel so fancy, if ever a girl could feel fancy while she was playing with shovels and dirt! Right now they have a birthday special, too! (I have not been paid for those links, I genuinely love them and think you should have a pair! Now go! But don’t forget to come back. And Ethel? If you should pop in, I’d love another pair. They’re kinda like high heel shoes to a gardener.)

    The other little bit of excitement is the arrival of my Jumbo Stargazer Lily bulbs!!! They’ve apparently sold out or something, but I jumped on that sale when I received the announcement via e-mail and now I’ve got 24 of them to sink into a portable container (’cause those? DEFINITELY staying with me!) those bulbs are gi-normous. I’ll get a pic of ’em in my hot little (sexy, gloved) hands when I get them in dirt.

    Other than that, I’m waiting for my tulips (I’ve got some Ice Pick tulips coming up but they’re pretty tiny at the moment), peonies, butterfly bush, delphinium and this year – I get to see some hollyhocks! (I hope!)

    Can you tell it’s sunny out today? And the birds are singing outside my studio windows? And that my gloves have been washed and are at the ready? And that perhaps, there’s an 100% chance of dirt and mulch in my immediate future?!

    Junco (junk-oh.) and … snow?


    junco photo by Leanne Wildermuth
    It was an unusual sight, one that made me gasp and grab my camera. Usually, Junco‘s are on the ground. They stay low, so I’d never seen a “full-frontal” like this before. It took me a minute before I realized what kind of bird he is! Here’s another photo from more of a top-down angle. Pretty little birds!

    Yesterday morning, I spotted a Red-Tailed Hawk flying low through my back yard. That was cool. Mid-day, I listened as a Northern Flicker chirped at the top of the trees around our home. He stopped by our suet and had a bite of breakfast before resuming his song. Goldfinches have returned, a little dull in color but I’m happy all the same.

    And today? We’re supposed to get 4-6 inches of snow. The last time this happened, I was a wee toddler.

    Yes, that’s right, it was this day back in 1972, we received 10 inches of snow.

    My poor birds.

    Puff & Stretch Cowbird


    brown headed cowbird photo by Leanne Wildermuth

    Last night, my daughter spotted what she thought was a Red-Winged Blackbird. I was immediately impressed because (1) she’s 12 and looking for birds and (2) she is pulling from the information I’ve learned and shared to try to identify a bird and (3) she ran inside for her camera! THAT’S MY GIRL!!

    While there was this scissor noise coming from a bird on top of a tree, I couldn’t accurately tell her she was correct without zooming in on a photo to check. She’s got a junior version of my camera with a nice big fat viewing screen on the back, it was easy to zoom in and correctly identify this gorgeous male Brown-headed Cowbird.

    (Listen here to the Red-Winged Blackbird, so you can hear the similarities)

    I left her with her camera to explore the yard and returned inside. I heard a new sound coming from the back of the house, so when I peeked out, I saw a squirrel, sitting angrily in the tree and barking at the cowbird every time he would start his song.

    angry squirrel photo by Leanne Wildermuth

    Hilarious! He even went so far as to try to spook the bird off his tree. Catybug got a live video of him yelling, you may be able to see it here (though I’m not sure of her privacy settings).

    Well I decided to try to get a few shots of the cowbird from my angle, and went and grabbed my camera. Halfway through shooting, he decides to do this cute little puff and stretch, fanning out his tail feathers and quickly resuming song. I’m not sure if this is part of a mating ritual or just stretching after a long flight home – but I couldn’t resist sharing the shot!

    I’m thrilled that Spring has “officially” arrived. It’s been a long winter, and I’m more than ready!! It won’t be long before I’m out back getting dirty moving my plants around. Aaaahhh yes – gardening. It can’t get here soon enough for me!

    (ooh nice deal – Spring Hill Nursery has free S&H on orders of $25 or more to celebrate the arrival of Spring! This is not a paid advertisement, I simply buy a lot of bulbs.)

    Don’t forget to enter to win a custom portrait in my weekly giveaway!!

    Bringing on Spring – in Photos!


    Bird prints in snow photo by Leanne Wildermuth
    I don’t know about you (though I’m sure I could guess!) but I have had quite enough of this white stuff and these cold temps. Sure, the birdie footprints are adorable and suuuure, I squeed like a little girl when I saw them, but c’mon. I’m ready. Are you ready? Well, then, I invite you to join me in calling it quits for winter. Perhaps with enough positive spring-thinking, we can BE the change!

    (Great, now I have that Michael Jackson song stuck in my head.)


    Amaryllis bloom close up photo by Leanne Wildermuth
    For starters, you just need to close your eyes and dive your nose straight into a beautiful bloom. Inhale, deeply. Okay you might need to squirt a little of your favorite perfume on your monitor first, then try again.

    * * * * *

    To enjoy the FULL Spring Experience, I have set these birds sounds to open in new windows. Click on each one, open the window, and press play. Leave each window playing while you open a new one, and it will sound JUST like my backyard!!

    * * * * *

    Squirrel in a gourd photo by Leanne Wildermuth
    No backyard experience would be complete without a squirrel getting in your face, and in your seed. That’s okay, he needs love, too!

    Junco photo by Leanne Wildermuth
    We love a little Junco action here in our backyard – their chatter is really enjoyable and they are adorable little puffballs in action!

    downy woodpecker male photo by Leanne Wildermuth
    A pair of Downy Woodpeckers are always nearby, the male has a red patch on the back of his head. Easily confused with the Hairy Woodpecker – you just have to pay attention to their size. Downy’s are petite , just slightly larger than a sparrow!

    The Nuthatch is by far my favorite little bird. He’s curious, and sweet, and always ready to pose! Have a listen to his sweet little eeps! You’ll fall in love too, if you aren’t already!

    nuthatch photo by Leanne Wildermuth
    Another shot of my little Nutty, later in the day – the sun shining on his cute little head.
    (I want to love him and hug him and call him George.)

    House finch couple photo by Leanne Wildermuth
    House finches a plenty – there are three pair visiting my feeders at a time right now. They sound a bit like a confused canary, but their song is always identifiable and the mama’s have such a sweet call to their mates.

    House finch couple photo by Leanne Wildermuth
    Very much a pair, they check on each other from across a crowded feeder. Awwww.

    Red Bellied Woodpecker, Female - photo by Leanne Wildermuth
    This gal – she’s a massive hunk of bird! This is a female red-bellied woodpecker. The papa’s head is all red, mama has a patch of gray on her head. I always know when they’re around, their call echos through my neighborhood! I can step out of my car while I’m still in the garage and know if one of them is on my trees. Lovely, lovely birds to watch.

    I hope you enjoyed birdwatching with me today! Think SPRING!!!

    Don’t forget to enter to win a custom portrait in my weekly giveaway!!

    Waking up to Birdsong


    Just thought I’d share what I hear when I get up in the morning. Mr. Cardinal is still out there singing up a storm!

    Don’t forget to enter to win a custom portrait in my weekly giveaway!!

    First Sign of Spring – 2009


    red breasted robin photo by Leanne Wildermuth
    While running an errand this afternoon, I spotted a flurry among a cluster of 3 berry trees. I pulled around for a closer look – and it was completely covered with robins and cedar waxwings! What an incredible sight. I quickly picked up the girls from school and returned so that they could see it. I have only spotted a real live cedar waxwing once, and got a pretty mediocre photo of the pair – but today, today I saw dozens of them flitting about, hanging upside down from branches to reach the berries on another branch. Robins, poofed up – picking at berries and sitting full, perched on the branches of those trees.

    Of course I wish I had my camera to catch some video, but I did not. I did go home for my camera and head back over for a few precious photos of the robins that were still hanging out in the trees.


    Welcome, Spring. Oh, how I’ve missed you!!

    Don’t forget to enter to win a custom portrait in my weekly giveaway!!

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