Please visit my new, improved website!

>> Wildermuth Creative Portraits <<

  • The best things in life are Beautiful.
  • Life, Love, and Critters – of course!

    Summer, At Last.


    patio solar lighting cutter citronella candles

    I grilled up some mean (and tender, and lean) butterflied barbeque chicken, beer brats and hot dogs. I threw together a fruit pizza (basically, a giant cream cheese frosted sugar cookie with fruit on top). I had chips and condiments. I had bottled water and capri sun – and I had more than enough for everyone.

    I had great company. The kind that makes you think “I could do this every day of the week.” And I could. I’d love to. And more great company stopped over just to peek in and have a look at the yard and patio. It was wonderful.

    fire embers burning leanne wildermuth

    I had skewers and sticks, marshmallows, and graham crackers. I had chocolate. I had a perfect little fire pit to gather around and make s’mores. I had just enough of everything so that no one felt left out. The fire was just right (thanks, Jacque!) and the kids had a blast. We forgot to sing Kumbaya, but the sentiment was there.

    This is what I look forward to, nights like these. Aaaaah.

    What did you do lastnight? And more importantly, why didn’t you stop over? I saved you a marshmallow.

    The Patio Project


    Back in the end of 2003, we had a studio addition built onto the back of our house. While that job was being completed, my hubby was called to active duty and left for Iraq. I was left to my own devices then to work on big projects, and I did what I could do on my own, and reached out for help when I needed it. (and wouldntchya know, some of the people who told me to call whenever I needed anything, went around telling people that I only ever called when I wanted something! Gah! I still can’t get over it.)

    I digress.

    My father in law came to my rescue a couple of days, he helped me dig away the soil against the back of the studio so I could put down a patio.

    And that was all great and spiffy for a while. As long as we only needed two chairs and a little side table between them, because that’s about as deep as it was. We have known for a while that it needed to be extended, and we started doodling out plans last fall to get ‘er done before Hubby had to go on active duty – again. So, as I mentioned over the last week, our local home improvement store, Menards, had a sale on patio pavers for A QUARTER. a piece.

    I had 250 of them delivered, along with a gadjillion pounds (16 bags) of paving sand.

    It doesn’t look like much, does it? I wasn’t that impressed. I thought I’d have had like a whole driveway full of pallets loaded down with stuff. Hmpf.

    So we quickly got to work digging up and scraping off all of the old 18×18 paving blocks. Talk about break your momma’s back! Ouch. I was younger when I did this 4 years ago. Four years younger, to be exact.

    It really wasn’t as bad as I make it sound. They popped up pretty easy and it was hilarious watching the earthworms scramble for cover.

    So then I left hubby to do the hard stuff, digging away more soil/sod and TREE ROOTS. Man there were some whoppers in there.

    You can see how much we’ve extended the patio out here, he’s about halfway done with the digging. And then it rained.

    For three days.

    SO. The sun was shining over the weekend and we got a lot accomplished. Landscape fabric. Sand. Laying out the first few of the pattern to get it going and figure out the spacing. Then again, hubby took over and with a few more trips for more sand, finished it up.

    Then it was my turn, to beautify. I picked up a dozen (or so) bags of pea gravel to fill in the borders, cause I had plans. Plans that I could see in MY head, but he couldn’t envision at all. That’s how we roll – I tell him what I see and he gets all confused, scratches his head, and just does it. And so we went shopping, and I picked up just a couple more things to finish it off.

    Night came all too fast. I obviously have to work all day today so I can only get this kind of stuff done in the late afternoon/evenings – and I didn’t want to wait a day, I wanted to do it and then just enjoy it tonight, kwim? I’m a practical gal. With a brand new bag of marshmallows to roast.

    I stayed up late into the night (c’mon, 10pm is late when your regular bedtime is 8pm. I’m old.) and I put things together. And I asked our neighbors son to come over and help because what young man DOESN’T get excited over solar lights? Okay most young men wouldn’t – but this one is a techie. And he’s getting into the whole yard beautification thing. I’m sending him subliminal influential messages in his sleep. Or something. So the solar lights went in, and the petunias went up, and the fire pit came together and we lit the citronella candles and then?

    Catybug and I took a seat. And no gnats crawled into our ears and had kids. No mosquitoes buzzed us and sucked our blood. The smell of the neighbor’s doggie doo was replaced by the sweet smell of petunias cascading right behind our heads. We heard crickets. And we saw stars. And we sat back and relaxed. We enjoyed the soft glow of the solar lights, the flickering of the citronella candles, and for a few minutes we didn’t do anything at all except sit back, and breathe in and out.

    I’ll try to get a good night photo tonight so you can see how cozy it is. Really? For about $200? I couldn’t be more pleased.

    C’mon over, I’m firing up the grill and the fire pit tonight and we’re roasting dogs and marshmallows!

    It’s a Wrap


    vine wrapped around power cord photo leanne wildermuth
    Wild vine wrapped around a power line @ our Church
    Because I haven’t said much at all this week, I thought I’d give you a little Weekend Wrap-up of how the week went for me, over here, all childless and “eh” and stuff. So here’s the skinny version, Leanne Lite, you might say, just to bring you up to speed.

      • I missed my kids.
      • I worked on a few blog designs this week, Lisa Riggs is up and launched but I’ve still been in there tinkering and changing and tweaking and stuff. I launched Individual Sole last week but am also working on some added features for that project. I also launched Hyp2 yesterday morning. So yeah, I stayed pretty busy this week and as always, there’s still more to do.
      • I’ve been Plurking. I’ve quickly become addicted to this sweet little service that is like a group IM. I love it because it brings your friends together, if they didn’t know each other before. I am happy that my dear friend Taba is getting to know my other wonderful friend Pamibe. It’s cool to watch that friendship happen. If/when you sign up (using my referral link, of course), find me here.
      • I have been swarmed by gnats and flying bity things. The Mississippi River (which I live a mile uphill from) and its overflowing banks and standing waters are breeding these nasty, horrid swarms of bity things. I am anxious for hubby to mow today so I can spray my magical bug spray. And I am grateful that we had 2 tubes of Benedryl cream when the girls left for camp.
      • I was excited to see my first little Baby Burpless Cucumber take off this week, it’s about the size of a dill pickle now. I am amazed at how fast vegetables grow over the course of one week.
      • I missed my kids.
      • I wondered why not one oil exec wants to be the hero of the nation by simply taking a pay cut and putting some of his crazy capitalistic profits on hold and only marking up product a fixed 5-10%. I wonder if one company did it, and one chain of stations lowered their price by a buck a gallon, if they understand that they would reap the rewards of that anti-capitalistic movement by increased sales, production and profits probably wouldn’t change much since they’d be on top of the world with their little superhero cape waving in the wind. And then I wonder if I “get it” at all, because if I were one of those execs, I’d want the cape. Guys always want capes. So I wonder if that’s even possible. I wish it were. It all seems like price gauging to me.
      • I also wonder why this Democratic Nominee running for President of the United States of America, Barack Obama, is working so hard to help a former millionaire (or whatever she was/is) like Clinton get out of debt with all of this fund raising and writing her personal checks and crap all while he pretends to care about the lower and middle class who are broke and can’t fill their gas tanks. Why didn’t he write 100 – $20 checks to people at the pumps instead of $2000 to someone like Hillary who should have stopped spending frivolously months ago? Wouldn’t that have made SUCH an impact on voters? Guess maybe Hillary is more important to him than all of us silly Americans. Hey, maybe we should pitch in and help out Hillary, too, huh? Send her some cash, since things must be so difficult for her, after all – she continued on with her lost campaign and probably took out a second mortgage on one of her many homes to do it. Poor gal.


    • I received a cute little pink Nintendo DS for my birthday in January. I found a game in May that I love, Word Jong, that I’ve played religiously every evening. It’s a single player game, so it’s all mine. No sharing. I’ve made it to the top level now, level 40. Here are some fun facts about me and my Word Jong game:- Time Played: 12:08
      – 2,085 Words created
      – 186 Puzzles completed
      – Average word length, 4.49 letters
      – Total score – 40,174
      – Rank: Diamond Dragon

      Anyone who knows me knows I’m not big on gaming things. I wanted the thing for Brain Age Games because I’m not the sharpest tack in the box, if you know what I’m sayin. But now I’m coming up with words. I love words. Obviously not very big words, but still. Words. This week, though, I missed my kids. I couldn’t think of any words. I didn’t play.

    • The girls are home from camp. YAYYYYYYY!! I missed my kids. I couldn’t sqwish them hard enough. And Catybug? Is growing up so fast. I realized quickly that I need to work harder to stay in her confidence, I so desperately don’t want her to feel like she has no one to talk to during this phase in her life. It’s hard enough, going through all those changes as a pre-teen, but feeling like you’re all alone and your questions are stupid and you feel totally *not* normal – no one should feel that way. Chickeymonkey? Is more like a Chattermonkey now. Good gravy someone get that girl a piece of gum.
    • I picked up 250 patio pavers so we could extend our 6×18 patio to 10×18, and actually fit a patio set on it. They were on sale for $0.25 a piece. A quarter a piece. NOTHING costs a quarter anymore. They cost a whopping $62.50. What a bargain patio! Those are our weekend plans.

    So, what’d I miss this week? How have you been? What are your weekend plans?

    My Mugshot


    leanne\'s favorite latte mug
    YellowRose asked for photos of people’s favorite coffee mugs, and since the mugs out of which I sip my latte every morning are such a vital part of my life, I thought it would be nice to share.

    Let me introduce you to my mug, Sunshine. (Yes I named my mug.) This mug was gifted to me several years ago by my BFF Paige. She found another one, I believe it is blue, that she uses herself, and sent this happy daffodil to me. I just love it. It is old, and tattered – the glaze is a little spiderweb’ish on the inside, there are hairline fractures in the glaze and tiny chips missing from around the lip, but I will not part with it. It is my Sunshine, my only Sunshine….

    I thought you might also like to know that the cutting board that I photographed my mugshot on was also a gifty from Paige. It’s a Ruby Throated Hummingbird board. I love it, too. She spoils me. (and I also know she reads me, and she wonders if I ever use it. Yes, I absolutely do!)

    My Kids


    Sunday was a busy day. After Church, we organized and packed the girls for camp. We ran errands, picked up the last of the items on their lists, and then I got busy on Chickeymonkey’s head.

    The last thing I wanted to subject someone to at camp was having to wash her hair. She hasn’t quite learned how to do it herself yet, so I decided to (hopefully) make it easier on everyone and put tiny braids all over her head.

    How I love this child of mine – she sat patiently (watching the clock and updating me every 4-7 minutes) for an hour and a half while I put about 30 braids in her hair. She only whimpered a couple of times as single hairs kept finding their way into the braids halfway across her head. What I thought would turn out to be a giant headache, turned out to be a very cool head of hair.

    I love this photo of her. LOVE. This is my Chickeymonkey.
    This is Catybugs 3rd year at camp. Chickeymonkey? Well, this is her first year. We spent 2 weeks with the “I don’t wanna go’s” and the last two days with the “can I go the full week?” And me? I’m trying to pretend they’re just at school all day long, and sleeping over at a friends house at night. Because I’m a sap, that’s why.

    * * * * *

    Catybug: “Mom you should be excited that we’re going to camp! Now you can do all the stuff you wanted to do without us around!”
    Me: “Yeah, okay, Catie, do you know what’s on that list?”
    Catybug: “No, what?”
    Me: “Nothing. There’s NOthing I want to do without you around. I had kids because I want kids. I WANT you around.”

    * * * * *
    And this is how my week is going to go. I’m working, yes, but there’s seriously nothing on my list of things to do that I wouldn’t rather do with my family in tow. That time together doesn’t last very long, before stuff like this happens – and they’re going off to camp, going off to a friends house – going off to school, then going off to get married. I’d rather soak up every moment I’ve got before those moments are farther and fewer between.

    Sigh. Back to work. *misses my kiddos*

    Wild Turkeys. Seriously.


    wild turkeys drinking turkey photo leanne wildermuth
    We’re not exactly city folk here, but not entirely country, either – so it’s not often you see a sight like this!

    Two turkeys sipped water from the tray of the flower pot this morning as we drove by after dropping (sniff) the girls (sniff) off (sniff sniff) to go to church camp (sniffle, sob, sniff).

    My hubby (Happy Anniversary, Hubby!) spotted them and thankfully they really didn’t care about having a car pull up beside them. They were busy getting a drinky drink. I thought you might like to see a little more detail, since they’re all wild and stuff – here you go:

    wild turkey close up photo leanne wildermuth
    Isn’t his feathering just beauuutiful? I want to print this photo and have cans of paint made to match his feathers.

    It’s odd though, I’m guessing if you’re not familiar with wild turkeys you kind of have this preconceived notion of how they look based on all those “Tom the Turkey” images from childhood. I know I do – so when I see them I’m always thinking they must not be for eatin’, ’cause turkeys meant for eatin’ look like this:

    Photo: Miss Ima Turkey Goodie Can (linked to source)
    Hm. Part of me thinks I should adjust this perception, and the other part of me thinks “nah, those wild turkeys probably taste all gamey.”

    Hummingbird Wannabe


    house wren on hummingbird feeder
    house wren on hummingbird feeder photo leanne wildermuth

    house wren on hummingbird feeder photo leanne wildermuth

    I walked into my living room to put my camera into Standard Hummingbird Photo Op Positioning when lo and behold, there was a stranger on their feeder. Good timing, I thought.

    This cute little House Wren hopped around, posing for me in several positions. I wondered why he was there. Did he just enjoy the reflection in the window? Did he really think he was going to get nectar? Or maybe it was just a convenient and safe place to land while he’s still a little wobbly on the wings.

    Who knows – I’m just grateful for the timing. It’s certainly not often you see something other than Hummingbirds – and ants – on a Hummingbird feeder.

    Three Hummies and a Pair of Nuts.


    I live for creative post titles.

    where\'s waldo hummingbird perched photo leanne wildermuth
    You know you’re a birdwatcher when….
    You can spot the bird in this photo in 3 seconds or less.

    hummingbird hover photo leanne wildermuth
    ssh. Don’t move.

    hummingbird hover photo leanne wildermuth
    If you hold really still and be quiet,
    you can watch the hummingbirds as they perch and drink.

    nuthatches photo leanne wildermuth
    And in between Hummy visits, this Nuthatch duo will delight and entertain with their upside-down tree climby antics.

    Lorikeet Love


    You know a Lorikeet loves you when …
    he sticks his nectar-loving tongue up your nose.
    Moments later, Catybug snuggled him up to her chest and rubbed his head until he made teenie tiny squeeks of joy. This is a hand fed infant Rainbow Lorikeet that we met at our local zoo in Lorikeet Landing, an aviary with a couple dozen Lories flying around.

    {Latest Projects}