Happy Easter!

Wishing you a happy and blessed Easter!

We were certainly blessed with a wonderful Easter Day! The weather was beautiful, so we enjoyed it with lunch on our back porch, and with a lovely afternoon hike in the Park. Several of the Wisteria blooms opened today, so the back porch is quite lovely indeed, being adorned with the graceful blooms of the Wisteria. We also had a very special visitor, Peedeepeeps (the Carolina Wren), brought his baby to visit us, and then fed it nut crunchies from the table! Oh what a precious gift that was to me, making our Easter lunch extra special! We then enjoyed a beautiful drive into Cades Cove and out along Rich Mountain road, a one way, gravel road that winds up gently along the mountainside, offering spectacular views of the cove below, periodically.

The gorgeous view from Rich Mountain road.

After a nice drive, we reached the trailhead and parked the van. As soon as my foot made contact with the soft earth below, I could feel my cares begin to drift away! With the constant, soft pounding of feet meeting earth, I was quickly lulled into a tranquil state, while the final cares drifted slowly away. Before long, I felt as light as a feather walking along, absorbing the beautiful sights, sounds and smells of springtime in the woods! With the nice spring rains that we’ve gotten of recent, the wildflowers were in their prime, painting the landscape below with splashes of color scattered about. The first beautiful, large grouping was Fire Pinks, and the butterflies were flitting about, enjoying the tasty nectar they offered.

Fire Pinks with a hungry visitor.

Leaving the large grouping of long stemmed, red flowers we continued along the path, winding slowly back and forth, while weaving our way along the north, then south side of the mountains. Green moss and Soldier moss lined the trail in much of the shady portions, which had to be occasionally petted by me. Rounding one curve, we came to a lovely stand of Dwarf Crested Irises, that lined the narrow path on either side, almost as if it had been planted there purposely. It was in this lovely, delicate section that I had to take “baby steps”, to make it last and enjoy these precious little beauties!

A handsome Fence Lizard along the trail.

As we went along, we started noticing a Flame Azalea blooming here and there, showcasing their amazing bright orange flowers that the hummingbirds and butterflies simply love! They bring such strokes of bright color to the mostly green forest setting, that one can’t help but pause and notice them. They’re always particularly pretty when the sun is hitting them from above and there is dark tree bark or forest ground behind them.

The next treasure along the relaxing hike was to spot a Pink Lady Slipper! This has to be one of my very favorite springtime bloomers here in the Smokies! They are nothing short of stunning with their pink slipper shaped bottom petal, topped with smaller petals, with a couple formed like delicate, graceful tendrils, carefully twirled. They thrive in rich, heavily decay filled dirt, along the forest floor. Walking along, we started seeing another one here, and then a couple more there. Oh, I was growing more delighted with each new sighting! When we reached the turnaround point, I decided that it would be more wonderful than hunting Easter eggs, to carefully hunt and search for the delicate pink slippers on the way back, while keeping count. Six, eight, ten, before long we had reached fifteen! I was thrilled and we were quite proud to say the least, with our number of sightings. Just then we rounded another gentle curve in the path, and there we saw number eleven, then up to sixteen! Really feeling quite pleased with ourselves, we happened to look on the other side, and there around piles of dead fall, there was an amazing amount . . . way too many to count! With a rough estimate, we figured we were up to at least a hundred with that last incredible sighting, and decided that we had “too many eggs in our baskets” and could no longer keep up the count. I floated along so happy with these amazing treasures of nature we had been blessed to have seen! sometime later, we returned to the trailhead, and then enjoyed the relaxing drive, down the mountain back to our house.

The gorgeous and delicate Pink Lady's Slipper.

My precious Willow squirrel has been coming almost every day to get her special treat of peanut butter. She now comes and looks in the back door at me and waits for me to gently toss her treat to her, then she walks over and carries the prize off to a nice cool spot on the deck and sits there eating and enjoying it, while looking very precious indeed! I so love spoiling her and am so very glad that she allows me the honor of doing so. She has had her little deformed left hand as long as I can remember, but it doesn’t stop her from eating. Dovecakes and his mate, Speckles, also come daily for their special treats, as well as my very spoiled Peedeepeeps. He even came to me while I was in the herb garden, and peeped to me until I agreed to go up and get his nut crunchies for him. He flew up the deck after me, sat on the back of my rocking chair and waited for me to get them and feed him. I told him he was quite spoiled, but so worth it! Another awesome visitor was a Boomer Squirrel, or little Red Squirrel, that has come a few times. Normally they stay a bit higher up, so this has been a real treat for us!  Excitedly, during last night’s supper outdoors, we had a beautiful male Scarlet Tanager!  He just glowed like red neon against the new bright green leaves of the trees.

My beautiful Willow.
Little Boomer also enjoys the treats.

One day this past week, we enjoyed having our dear friend Tricia over for lunch and to spend the afternoon with us. After enjoying a lunch consisting of Sun Whirl Salad and Lemon pasta, we all watched our DVD from our recent Mexico trip and felt almost like we were there once again. Then we  had our dessert on the back porch, and were visited by little Rubby, the hummingbird, while he ate from the Fuscia hanging plant, offering its amazing hot pink and purple flowers. Tricia and I then painted in the studio until it was time for her husband, Daisy, to pick her up later that afternoon. Another great memory! We also enjoyed a wonderful dinner recently at our dear friends Fred and Barb’s house. The meal was delicious and Fred pulled out all the stops when he presented his beautiful dessert masterpiece! It was a chocolate truffle and I still feel so badly for not sharing any of it with the three of them! Ha Ha!

Enjoying lunch with Tricia . . . I'm holding a cloth napkin I folded to look like a bunny.
Dessert time at my tree tops cafe.
Me with Fred's amazing chocolate truffle!

Fresh off the easel: While I continue to work on one of my miniature paintings of Bison , I also took a couple of days this past week to paint on my larger commission of the winery in Italy. Wes finished a miniature painting from a photo taken during our trip to Yellowstone with our friends, Fred and Barb. It’s really cool, as it has them both in it, and really gives a sense of scale and a feeling of being there!

"The Yellowstone Experience" by Wes, measures 2 1/2 X 3 1/2 inches.
My commission painting in progress.

Celebrate Easter . . .  for He is risen!

Until next time ~ Rachelle    🙂

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