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  • A weed is no more than a flower in disguise.
  • Life, Love, and Critters – of course!

    She’s Twelve.


    catybug birthday card graphic design

    Happy Birthday, sweet Catybug. All I can really say is how proud we are of you. Thank you for reminding me every day of how precious life is, just by being you.

    Wow, has she grown!

    2007  2006  2005  2004

    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?

    S.M. Lockridge : “That’s My King!”


    This was shown at Church yesterday, and I was so moved by it I had to share. It’s almost 4 minutes long.

    Custom Dog Portraits : Tucker WIP #3


    golden retriever dog portrait custom art oil leanne wildermuth

    I started Tucker’s kerchief’s today, since there’s so much detailing involved I could only do so much before I had to stop and let this layer dry. There’s a lot of blue lettering/detailing and painting wet in wet just doesn’t work for this kind of detail. Once both kerchief’s are done and dry, I’ll be able to proceed with Tucker’s final layer, and his fur will lay and curl over the top of the kerchief.

    One Excited Puppy


    chiapoo chihuahua poodle puppy leanne wildermuth
    You might not be able to tell from this photo, but Copper is smiling from eyeball to eyeball about his new bowls. We took a day trip to Ikea yesterday and found these cute bowls and matching mat and just HAD to get them for Copper. When we got home and started unwrapping and unpacking things, I replaced his old generic bowls with these new fancy ones and he went crazy. He kept coming up to us and bringing us over to his new dishes and then looking up with this little twinkle in his eyes.

    He’s a happy dog. With happy dishes.
    (Wanna see? Huh? Huh? Do ya? Come look! Look!)



    chickeymonkey post braids photo leanne wildermuth

    You might remember the braids I put in Chickeymonkey’s hair for camp. It’s been a few weeks of easy care and cleaning, but like all good things, it had to come to an end. I just had to get a shot of the de-braiding before the thorough cleansing and pony-tailing. Alotta of ‘ings, to match alotta curls.

    Got Beets?


    beets gardening photo red bowl leanne wildermuth
    More food from the garden for dinner lastnight – we harvested all of the beets (too early, but oh well – they’re still delish!), more broccoli, green beans and three green peppers. Our cucumbers are doing really well and they’re super tasty, three more will be ready in the next day or two. The cauliflower has finally made an appearance, I’ll get a pic of that for you because it’s really cool looking. White on top, PURPLE on the inside. Purple. Is that natures way of telling you when it’s ready- when it’s not purple anymore?

    Anyway, back to work for me – it’s been a suckish work week and I’m not getting near as much done as I’d like to thanks to a goofy head cold thing that is making me feel all lightheaded and yuk. Today is a little more clear so I’d better get crackin’ while the thinkin’ is good.

    Oh. Erhm, Hai There, Lady.


    chipmunk ground squirrel leanne wildermuth
    You don’t mind if I dig around in your flowerbed, do you?
    You can still blame the squirrels for all of the holes. I don’t mind.
    * * * * * * * * * *

    July 4th : Point, Click, and Pray.


    airbrushed tattoos leanne wildermuth

    We headed over to the street festival around 4pm yesterday afternoon. They closed off one of the main roads in Bettendorf and put a band on either end, the street between was lined with vendors. There were t-shirts, handmade jewelry stands, airbrushed tattoos, face painting, and of course – food.

    Normally, we have about $20 to spend for a family of four. Needless to say, there were no frivolities in previous years. One lemonade, two funnel cakes, two glow sticks. This year, we were prepared, and we even had an extra guest. For the first time in a long time, I didn’t have to share my funnel cake. I even had my own hand squeezed lemonade and a corn dog! We splurged on airbrushed tattoos and hand made friendship bracelets, and spent a few dollars in the kids carnival area for the girls to bounce and play on air rides. (What do you call those things? Blow up toys? That just doesn’t sound right.)

    glow stick motion leanne wildermuth

    The glow sticks this year were super cool – this is Chickeymonkey’s, she kept twirling it and I was already set to Fireworks mode on my camera – so this is how it looks when it’s blinking and being twirled.

    Here are some of my favorite fireworks shots from our 2008 Fireworks display in Bettendorf, Iowa. (the best fireworks display in the Quad Cities!) Keep in mind when you’re looking at these photos that I had my camera (a Panasonic Lumix FZ50) in my lap, had it on Fireworks and infinity burst – and held it as still as possible. I wanted to watch the fireworks this year instead of see them through my camera – so they are literally “Point, Click and Pray” shots. I didn’t edit these shots but to crop them and give you a closer view.

    Ready? Set? Boom!

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