Four Babies in Armor

baby armadillo

I decided to take a walk in the woods one evening this past week, and boy was I ever in for a treat! I had been walking for a couple of minutes before descending into what we call wild rose canyon, when I started hearing a lot of crunching noises up on the hillside. It kind of caught me off guard at first, since I wasn’t quite sure what it may be, and especially since it was near the “mystery hole” in the ground, the one we just weren’t sure what lived down there. So I stopped and watched the forest floor a short distance from me, and I could see movement. Looking closer, I could finally tell what it was . . . it was an armadillo, and a baby one at that! I was thrilled, as I fell in love with armadillos as a little girl whilst growing up in South Florida! As I closely watched, I saw a second one . . . and then a third, bringing the total to three babies! 

baby armadillo3

Suddenly another one came into view, and I was over the moon that there were actually four babies! I’ve since learned that armadillos usually have four babies, which was something I didn’t know before. I couldn’t believe my perfect timing, and wanting to try and get some photos and videos, I quietly slipped away and ran back to the house. I grabbed the camera and told Wes what I had discovered.

baby armadillo2

I walked softly back to the area that they were in and stood still, watching as they started making their way down the hillside, all the while their noses were searching the forest floor for edible treats. Each time one found something, their noses were instantly buried beneath the leaf litter until they got something, then their nose popped back up and they quickly munched down on whatever it was. Several times they fought over something as soon as one found it, pushing and shoving their noses together, much like small human children fighting over treats and toys . . . LOL! By this time Wes had joined me and as we stood there, they kept coming closer and closer. 

baby armadillos8

Armadillos have very poor eyesight, and rely on their keen sense of smell, so we knelt down and kept our voices to a whisper, as they approached us. They went up to Wes first, sniffing his shoes and socks, whilst occasionally pointing their nose up in the air and sniffing it. They were so small and absolutely adorable and we couldn’t resist slowly reaching out and touching their incredible armor-like shell, which feels really hard. 

baby armadillo4

As you can imagine, we were all smiles the entire time they let us hang out with them, watching as they continued to sniff and check everything out, occasionally finding tasty treats buried beneath the leaf litter. 

baby armadillos9

We remained there for quite awhile just relishing in the magical moment in nature, and I couldn’t resist saying “Ahhhhhh” as one of them touched my toes with its soft wet nose, whilst sniffing it! Wes had gone to get our phone to get a few photos, since we weren’t sure if the other camera was doing well in the low light, and when he returned, he accidentally stepped on a twig and when it snapped, it sent all four babies quickly scurrying into the mystery hole! We were bummed that our time with them had ended for the evening, but were delighted to finally learn what lives in the hole! I went back around the same time the next evening and they were no where to be found. However, I went back last evening, and after listening carefully for a few minutes, heard the faint sound of rustling leaves, and lo and behold, there they were again! So . . . guess what I’ll be doing in the evenings for the next couple of weeks . . . watching and waiting for the baby “Dillers” as I’ve always called them to come and and play!

baby armadillo6

We took another “day-cation” this past week and spent it kayaking, hiking and exploring a new area. Although there was a chill in the air, the water was calm and smooth as glass when we headed out in the kayaks, and was so clear, it gave us the illusion that we were snorkeling! The mountain laurel were still in bloom, which delighted me, so we found a sunny spot next to a couple of them to enjoy our picnic lunch. It’s amazing how food always tastes better when eaten outside and especially on or near the water.

rachelle siegrist

The mountain laurels were absolutely gorgeous and the blossoms on one bush in particular were really starting to turn a darker pink and were quite beautiful!

mountain laurel

As I was paddling along after lunch, a big dragonfly dropped into my kayak and landed on a cover I had over my legs. Looking at it, I could see that it was missing part of one of its wings, so I asked it what had happened. Of course its lips were sealed, but it decided it wanted to stay with me and made its way up onto my shoulder where it remained for almost the whole time I was kayaking. 

rachelle siegrist kayaking

I just can’t resist taking photos of my kayak with pink flowers that I find while paddling along, and thought these wild roses were so lovely!

wild roses

At one point Wes called out to me saying “There’s the Smurf village over there“, and as I drew closer and the group of little white mushrooms came into view, and I saw that it did indeed look like a Smurf village! I felt as if any second I’d see a wee blue creature walking about that looked like Smurfette or Papa Smurf!


After kayaking, we took a nice relaxing hike to stretch our legs, and decided to do some exploring afterwards, taking a new road that we had never been on before to head home, but had wanted to check out for many years now. The pavement soon ended and it turned into a dirt road that grew steeper as we went along. I named it “Lottabigholes Road” as it was filled with the most pot holes we’ve ever seen, and not only were there a bunch of them, many of them were very big and deep, keeping Wes on his toes, as he tried to miss as many of them as possible with the van. One thing was for sure, I was able to do a lot of great sightseeing out the window, going at such a slow speed. We stopped along the river several times, to look for fish. We didn’t see very many, but did manage to spot at least one large chub and a beautiful war paint shiner, which made my afternoon! I couldn’t resist stepping into the water and wading out a little ways, and as you can tell from the photo below, it was still icy cold! It was another fun day in which we brought home more great memories!

rachelle siegrist hiking


Our traveling exhibition Exquisite Miniatures is now on display at the  Herbert Hoover Presidential Library-Museum, located in West Branch, IA, and will remain on display thru September 24, 2023. We will be traveling to this lovely museum on June 24th to demonstrate miniature painting and do a gallery walk through the exhibition with the public.

 The Art of Miniature XXXI
Through June 10, 2023: Snow Goose Gallery, Bethlehem, PA

To see our available miniature paintings as well as some upcoming shows, please

visit our WEBSITE     Email us


Until Next Time ~ Rachelle

Wow . . . What a Waterfall!


Since the unsettled and often changing weather this spring has made it difficult for us to plan camping trips without getting rained out, we’ve decided to take the occasional day trip instead, which I call our “day-cations”.  It seems to be working out very well for us, as there is so much to see and do fairly nearby us. Looking for places to kayak, I found what I thought would indeed be a fun adventure! So we loaded up the kayaks and a picnic lunch and headed out early one morning this past week. I started getting a bit concerned right away, as our forecasted sunshine was no where in sight and to make things worse, the low lying, heavy, gray clouds kept spitting rain on us as we drove along. “Hmmmmmm” I thought to myself, wondering if things would improve, but we stayed the course whilst remaining positive that the weather would hopefully get better.

Trying to work with the somewhat confusing GPS, I took us along several little country roads, whilst making numerous turns, and we finally ended up on a narrow steep road with a yellow road sign stating “Road ends in water”. Of course that cracked us both up, thinking what a funny thing to put on a sign! I guess they wanted drivers to make sure their brakes were in good working order before starting down the steep road. Excitedly we unloaded the kayaks and embarked on our new adventure! We paddled for quite a while, as Wes fished along the way and I looked for wildlife in the water and along the bank of the river. Finally, upon rounding a bend I could hear the sound of rushing water and grew even more excited, knowing we were getting close.


Making another turn, it came into sight and was stunning! There was something so thrilling about approaching a waterfall from the water, making me feel like we were part of the Lewis and Clark expedition so many years ago! I couldn’t seem to keep my mouth closed, but floated there with a look of complete astonishment on my face! We pulled the kayaks over to the bank and found a wee area where we could climb out onto the rocks. 

rachelle and wes siegrist

We had worked up an appetite by this point, so after exploring for a bit, we found a picture perfect spot to sit and eat while taking in the incredible scenery before us! With recent abundant rain, the waterfall was roaring over the edge, plummeting to the pool below, deafening all other sounds! And as you can guess, I found another one of my favorite spots to sit and eat, or do anything for that fact!

rachelle siegrist

Afterwards we walked over next to the falls again, and I must admit that tears filled my eyes, as I stood there in silence, feeling overwhelmed by the majesty of the falls and the surreal scenery, with my appreciation for creation growing more intense. To the right of the falls lay a sloping hillside covered in jumbled rocks of assorted sizes, with the brightest green grass I’ve ever seen filling in between. I felt like I had finally gotten to go to Ireland, as it looked like what I have seen in photos and videos of it. 


Wes was anxious to try fishing at the base of the falls, so I stayed on land to get a couple of photos of him before climbing into my kayak and paddling to the base myself. The force of the water was creating unbelievable winds, sending out spray for a long ways, which continually covered the camera lenses with water drops. 

wes siegrist kayaking

The time had come and it was my turn, so I started paddling towards the falls and the closer I got the more intensely I could feel the vibrations in the water on my kayak from the sheer force of the water pounding into the pool below! It was truly amazing and I sat there mere inches from the falls, as my kayak gently rocked back and forth in the turbulent water. 

rachelle siergist kayaking

We were both very careful to stay in the middle section and not get close to either side. One of the neatest things of the experience was has unbeliveably small I felt next to it, and was delighted my kayak and me were christened by it!

rachelle siegrist with waterfall

When I finally managed to convince myself to leave the base, I paddled over to where Wes was floating near the edge. Although it was extremely hard to hear him, I finally made out that he was telling me there were baby ducks nearby floating in the water and how he had watched them safely scale a big rock up to the left somewhere. They looked so wee tiny bobbing around in the choppy water next to the behemoth waterfall! It seemed like a sketchy place for ducklings to be, but perhaps their mother is an adrenaline junkie and wants her babies to grow up the same.

baby duck

The arrow is pointing to the minuscule black dot which is one of the baby ducks!

While looking at photos the next day, Wes told me to look at this girl who kept photo-bombing his selfies . . . LOL! He knew I was absolutely in heaven!

wes and rachelle siegrist

I didn’t want to leave and felt as if I could’ve stayed there forever, but alas eventually it was time to start paddling back. 


The journey back was delightful and we found a side stream that went up for a long ways and was so picturesque, and even had a lovely cascade in a nook tucked off on one side.


I know some of you will find this unnerving, but we saw more banded water snakes and garfish this trip, than either of us had ever seen anywhere before! I don’t know if it was the high water or if it was like that there all the time, but it was pretty amazing to see! At one point one of the snakes was swimming nearby, and I started to take a video, but it made a beeline directly toward my kayak, so the video is of my foot inside the kayak, LOL! Now I really like snakes, but I don’t think I want one crawling up into my kayak with me out in the middle of the cold water! I did manage to grab this screen shot below from the short video I took. We couldn’t believe it was after 4 pm when we got back to the van, but it’s as the saying goes . . . “Time flies when you’re having fun!”

banded water snake


Our traveling exhibition Exquisite Miniatures is now on display at the  Herbert Hoover Presidential Library-Museum, located in West Branch, IA, and will remain on display thru September 24, 2023. We will be traveling to this lovely museum on June 24th to demonstrate miniature painting and do a gallery walk through the exhibition with the public.

You will LOVE this aweosme short video published by the museum! We can tell we’re gonna have a ball while were there!

31st International Miniature Show
April 29 to May 27, 2023: Seaside Art Gallery, Nags Head, NC (I’m delighted to say that Wes has already sold 2 of his miniatures)

 17th Masterpieces in Miniature
May 6-24, 2023: Picture This Gallery, Alberta, Canada

 The Art of Miniature XXXI
Through June 10, 2023: Snow Goose Gallery, Bethlehem, PA

To see our available miniature paintings as well as some upcoming shows, Please

visit our WEBSITE     Email us

Until Next Time ~ Rachelle

A Ball of Babies

baby carolina wrens3

We had an exciting event at our house this week . . . the Carolina Wren babies fledged! It actually happened while I was typing my blog last week, that’s why I was so late in posting it. I heard Wes say “Come quick, there’s a baby wren sitting on the van tire!” So I jumped up and went to the garage door window, and watched the precious little wren exploring its big new world. It leaped from the tire to the gravel drive below, where it looked so tiny and fragile next to our big van! Another baby was sitting on the carport ledge above, not too far from where their nest was. Every time the dad would fly and land anywhere near it, its big mouth instantly flew open and was ready for an insect to be inserted. It was hilarious to watch! There were four babies total, and the parents were having a time of it trying to keep some sort of order in the situation. 

baby carolina wrens

Every few minutes I would jump up from the computer and run out to see where they were, and while Wes was working on the lawnmower nearby, a couple of babies actually walked right up to him, while the dad sat atop the highest post nearby and shouted orders. From Wes’ story, it doesn’t sound like they were listening to good . . . LOL. The parents finally managed to get all four babies underneath the front porch, where they remained safe and sound during a short thunderstorm. A little while later I went out again to check on them and happened to see something out of the corner of my eye, and upon looking in that direction, I saw one of the most adorable things I’ve ever seen, and that was a fluffy ball of babies nestled against the wall on the front porch! Everything in me wanted so badly to go scoop them up and hold them, but alas I would never do that. I got a wonderful close-up photo of the feathery ball, but am going to paint it, so be looking for it on a future blog.

baby carolina wrens2

The entire time they were nestled safely on the porch, the parents sat in the pear tree next to the porch tweeting orders, when they weren’t out grabbing bug treats to stuff in the hungry mouths. We’ve seen the babies a few times this past week, during our walks around our trails. The parents move them to the various stick piles throughout the woods, what we call Peep’s palaces.

carolina wrens

We also have chickadees, bluebirds, tree swallows, chipping sparrows, and others nesting in the yard, it’s a true bird nursery! Baby birds aren’t the only new lives happening though, I spotted this gorgeous moth that appeared to have recently emerged from its cocoon and was still drying out its’ wings. We think it’s a cecropia moth, but aren’t quite sure, it was gorgeous whatever kind it is!


And in case you’re wondering about our adorable toad Einstein, well he’s doing just great! He moved out of the greenhouse a couple of weeks ago and I spotted him a couple of times. Yesterday, however, Wes saw him peering out from beneath a large rock by the pool pump. So I grabbed the camera and got this great photo of him after talking with him about his recent happenings. He seems quite content in his outdoor rocky abode. Yesterday when I was planting some flowers in a flower pot at the front of the house, a smaller Fowler’s Toad hopped over and sat a couple of feet away from me, where he commenced using his hind legs to dig a small pit in the gravel. there he sat whilst watching me as I worked on my flowers. It was so adorable! So I made up this little song and sang it to him as I planted . . . “There is a wee toad, who lives in his abode, in a little gravel dirt bowl. His name is Jim, and he doesn’t like to swim, but he always has his fishing pole“. Funny enough he sat there the whole time and when I was done I carefully laid an old broom to one side of him and my digging spoon on the other, so we wouldn’t accidentally step on him. It wasn’t until last evening that he finally disappeared.

fowlers toad

We are so thankful that we can tie adventures in with running our errands in the small towns near us. So one day we enjoyed a beautiful and relaxing hike to one of my current favorite waterfalls. I was delighted that several of the mountain laurels were starting to bloom, lining the trial with fragrant pink blossoms in sections. I’m thinking this next week they may be at their peak and am hoping for a return visit!

mountain laurel

The last time we hiked to the falls, they were a mere trickle dripping over the stone cliff, but this time they were thundering down with intense beauty, which we both were very happy to see! 


Although it was a little cool and the water was cold, I just couldn’t resist getting as close as possible, whilst being showered with the spray from the thundering falls. We found a log at the bottom to sit on and eat our lunch, which made a fantastic dining experience! The best part was we had it all to ourselves the entire time.

rachelle siegrist iking

On the way back we hiked up an unmarked trail for a ways and found more great sandstone cliffs and formations. One section, in particular, was extremely neat as it was filled with holes in assorted shapes and sizes. Looking more closely at it, we saw that at least one of the holes had a bird nest in it. It truly was a great place for bird nests and looked like some kind of space-age high rise for them!

sand stone formation

Another day after going to the bank, we launched the kayaks in the lake nearby. While Wes fished, I watched birds and looked for other wildlife. Right away I noticed that the grass carp were spawning in a certain area. So I paddled over to where they were and sat very still. Soon I noticed at least a dozen or more of the huge fish swimming alongside me and underneath my kayak! It was amazing and I loved that they weren’t bothered by my floating there. 

grass carp

All of a sudden they were up and out of the water a few feet from me and as I watched they came right up to the kayak before dipping below the surface once again! Although I got to watch them doing this in several areas, this was the closest. Thankfully I happened to be taking a video when it happened, so I grabbed this screenshot from the video.


And if that was amazing enough, I heard Ospreys calling and soaring above, so once again I started videoing just in case, and it paid off big time! For all of a sudden one dropped out of the air, diving down at an incredible rate of speed and hitting the water with such force, that it sent a huge splash up into the air! It was the most incredible “cannonball” I’ve ever seen! Even better than the big ones Wes use to make in my grandparent’s pool . . . LOL! Then I couldn’t believe it when right after that amazing display, two osprey dove down into the water and came up grabbing at each other and loudly calling! I have to say I absolutely love my kayak which gives me a front-row seat to such wonderful performances of nature.

diving osprey


 17th Masterpieces in Miniature
May 6-24, 2023: Picture This Gallery, Alberta, Canada

 The Art of Miniature XXXI
Through June 10, 2023: Snow Goose Gallery, Bethlehem, PA

Our traveling exhibition Exquisite Miniatures is now on display at the  Herbert Hoover Presidential Library-Museum, located in West Branch, IA, and will remain on display thru September 24, 2023. We will be traveling to this lovely museum this summer to participate in some exciting programming, and I will be giving you more info as the time draws nearer.

31st International Miniature Show
April 29 to May 27, 2023: Seaside Art Gallery, Nags Head, NC (I’m delighted to say that Wes has already sold 2 of his miniatures)

To see our available miniature paintings as well as some upcoming shows, Please

visit our WEBSITE     Email us

Until Next Time ~ Rachelle