The joys of spring!

The back deck covered in an April snow.
The back deck covered in an April snow.

        Tuesday of this past week proved to be quite interesting as I woke up to snow covering everything! Such springtime weather patterns as this really messes with a Florida native’s mind. Nonetheless, it was quite pretty and was melted by lunchtime. However, that afternoon as we started out for a walk to our post office, we were hit head on with what felt like an arctic blast! This lasted until we reached the post office. Upon leaving there, it began to snow heavily with winds strong enough to cause it to come down horizontally. This went on for roughly a mile or so, when all of a sudden the snow stopped and the sun came out. Taking off our hats and gloves and an extra layer, we headed for home. It was quite warm when we arrived home, making us feel as if, weather wise, we had made a trek from Alaska to Florida. Thus, spring weather can prove to be quite interesting and rarely boring here in Tennessee!

A beautiful baby Eastern king Snake on our front sidewalk
A beautiful baby Eastern king Snake on our front sidewalk

        The next few days afforded more sunshine and warmer weather, which brings out all of our reptile friends, to enjoy the warmth. A real treat was when we discovered a baby Eastern King Snake enjoying the sunshine on a rock in our front sidewalk. Later the same day, our resident Black Racer, Vicious, made his appearance, and I must say he is as handsome as ever and a bit longer this year! Our Fence Lizards and Skink Lizards are also coming out to enjoy the much awaited sunshine and warmer temperatures, making the walks around our nature path much more enjoyable.

Me in front of Meigs Falls in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Me in front of Meigs Falls in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

       Easter afternoon, Wes and I enjoyed a wonderfully pleasant hike in the Smoky Mountains. It was a beautiful drive to the trailhead, which is a winding road that follows alongside the Little River. The water was more beautiful than usual, as the recent rain, and snow from the upper elevation mountains had obviously melted and were causing the water to rush down at enthusiastic speeds forming lots of white, foamy water, which contrasted quite nicely with the emerald green and turquoise color of the deeper pools. The trail was mostly ours as we headed to the first point of interest, an old cabin and settlement that belonged to the Walker Sisters. Leaving there, we headed off on a new trail to us. It followed alongside a small steam for awhile and offered random sightings of wildflowers, two of which were completely new for us. Such a treat it is to walk in the woods this time of the year when there are little surprises of wildflowers tucked here and there for one’s enjoyment and viewing.

Wes at the Walker sisters cabin and settlement.
Wes at the Walker sisters cabin and settlement.

        The last half of the hike mostly followed the ridge lines of the mountains affording beautiful and scenic views into the Park with an occasional view into Wear’s Valley, which is not very scenic as they are stripping the mountains and building huge cabins practically on top of each other. Needless to say, when a choice presented itself, we choose to enjoy the unspoiled view of the park. The many species of Warblers, now back in our area, serenaded us along the way with their songs of spring. After enjoying the beautiful drive home, through the park, we indulged on a delicious pizza at our local Pizza Hut, which is always particularly yummy after a day of hiking!

A wonderful luncheon with dear friend, Tricia.
A wonderful luncheon with dear friend, Tricia...Wes didn't get the memo to wear pink!

        Today, Monday, we had a great time with our very dear friend and fellow artist, Tricia Wilhoit! She joined us for a lunch consisting of my homemade, baked, spinach ziti and garlic bread. Dessert consisted of a homemade chocolate cheesecake with yes, . . .chocolate drizzles, and fresh sliced strawberries. Great conversation about art and flowers filled the air as we enjoyed our meal. Afterwards, we entertained Tricia with photos of our recent hike and of nephew Tyler. Tricia was treated to the glorious show of pink blossoms, displayed by the phlox as she left. Times like this make for wonderful days and memories!

"Malaysian Jungle Nymph" by Rachelle, measures 3 1/2 x 4 1/2 inches.
"Malaysian Jungle Nymph" by Rachelle, measures 3 1/2 x 4 1/2 inches.

        I finished my painting titled “Malaysian Jungle Nymph” this past week. This painting was done from a photo that we took at the Denver Zoo in CO. It was like painting a puzzle as I filled in the pieces one by one. It makes for an interesting composition, as it takes a few seconds to see the bug since it blends so well with its surroundings.
I witnessed something this afternoon that I’m quite sure most have not had the privilege of experiencing. Upon realizing that his meal of pecans had come to and end and that no more were being offered, Skinny shrew came out of his hole looked all around, and up at me, he then commenced to turn around, sticking his cute little backside up in the air and deposited a small dropping. After looking up at me, as if to say “well here’s what I think about no more pecans”, he went back inside his hole to retire for the evening. As you can well imagine, I couldn’t wait to come in and share that story with Wes! Little naughty shrew, but alas I love him anyway. Well, I wish you a beautiful and warm spring week!

Until next time ~ Rachelle   🙂

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6 thoughts on “The joys of spring!

  1. Is that a preying mantis? I’ve seen so many of them when I lived in the tropics. It’s a lovely painting Rachelle and you’ve given it a good name. Wow – snow! I hadn’t realised that your weather chopped and changed so much at this time of the year. Our spring here seems to go on and on. Now it’s bluebell time. Snakes alive! My friend Jane would have run a mile by now.

    1. Hi Bill,
      No, it’s a Malaysian Jungle Nymph, and a female one at that. I’m so glad that you like the painting. It was very time consuming and a bit confusing at times to do. Wow. . snow. . were my words exactly, as I’m ready for warm, sunny weather now. That’s wonderful that your spring is so long lasting. I’ll bet the Bluebells are stunning. My neighbor would get along well with your friend Jane, as she doesn’t like snakes either.
      Hugs 🙂
      Rachelle

  2. mary jansen

    That little nymph is a beaut! I love to just immerse myself in all that detail work! Bugs in particular are fascinating with all their “compartmental” sections and such. We used to have quite a lot of them in our home when my son had ideas of becoming an entomologist!

  3. Hi Mary,
    Thank you! Everyone’s appreciation of it helps to make all of the hours involved worth it. It is a piece that one can get lost in. How fortunate that you were able to enjoy many bugs up close and personal, because of your son’s aspirations!
    Rachelle 🙂

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