A Visit From Family and Feathered Friends!

George, Wes, Jeanie and Rachelle
The happy Hikers!

Wow . . . three exciting things happened this past week! Wes’ parents came to visit . . . Peedeepeeps ate meal worms from my hand, and Tinymouse the Titmouse, landed and sat on my head!!! As you can imagine, it was an exciting and fun filled week! Wes’ parents arrived a week ago today, and were welcomed by beautiful sunny skies above and pleasant spring weather. We enjoyed eating a dinner of my homemade spaghetti on our back porch. The dinner show for the evening consisted of my beloved Carolina Wren, Peedeepeeps, coming to eat mealworms out of my hand at the table! He and his mate, Elvira, were, and still are, feeding at least three babies. Needless to say, everyone thoroughly enjoyed the show!

carolina wren photo
My precious peedeepeeps getting mealworms for the babies

Monday was spent in town getting groceries and picnic supplies for the week ahead.  We also enjoyed a delicious lunch at our favorite Thai restaurant, Lemon Grass, and went to MacKay’s, my favorite used book and CD store, where I added to my growing Bossa Nova Jazz and classical music collection! Tuesday we enjoyed a picnic lunch, albeit a cold one, at the beautiful Metcalf Bottoms picnic area in the Smoky Mountain National Park. From there we ventured to the Sugarlands Visitor Center near Gatlinburg, and enjoyed seeing the newly remodeled display of animals and flora and fauna from the Smokies. The remainder of the afternoon was spent walking the trail, which starts near the entrance to Gatlinburg. It was a lovely walk with lots of wildflowers blooming alongside the meandering path. The highlights of this trail, other than the beautiful river which leads beside it, are the remains of old homesteads, which still stand in several places. One can almost hear the voices of the families who once inhabited these places, when you stand quietly and listen.

 Metcalf Bottoms
Picnic time at Metcalf Bottoms

Lousewart blossoms
Very pretty and frilly Lousewart blossoms

old remains of a smoky mountain cabin
Some of the old remains along the trail

Dwarf Crested Iris photo
The small but gorgeous bloom of a Dwarf Crested Iris

Leaving there, we drove through the Park a ways before reaching the Elkmont area, where we walked along the Little River Trail for a couple of hours. There were even more wildflowers blooming beautifully along this lush walk, including several nice groups of Showy Orchids, which I always enjoy seeing! Once again the numerous patches of lush, bright green moss beckoned to be patted, as it looked so soft and thick! It was a relaxing walk as we went along taking photos of wildflowers and patting moss, with the sounds of the stream and various bird songs in the background. After sometime, we turned around and made our way back down the trail, at times seeing new wildflower blossoms that we had somehow missed on the way up. That evening we enjoyed a delicious supper at No Way Jose’s in Gatlinburg, a festive Mexican restaurant situated right along the river, and we got a window seat so we could watch the Mallards occasionally swim by.

Showy Orchid photo
The beautiful bloom of the Showy Orchid

gatlinburg trail
Waving from a bridge along the trail

trail in the smokies
This tree appeared to have jumped off the mountain and head first into the forest floor below!

Wednesday it was quite breezy, so we opted to eat our daily picnic on the backporch with my feathered friends. Afterwards, we enjoyed a drive into Cades Cove, where we saw lots of White-tailed Deer and turkey in the open fields, and at times in the forested areas nearby. With cloudy skies above, the almost iridescent green grasses in the fields below looked so pretty with the mountains serving as the backdrop, with bright pink, yellow and lime green colors of spring creeping up the mountainside. That evening we met friends Fred and Barb at a local restaurant, the Black Bear Café. It was yummy as usual and we all enjoyed playing a game of Mexican Train Dominoes at our house afterwards.

cades cove photo
Cades Cove dressed in spring

Swallowtail butterfly photo
A gorgeous Swallowtail poses nicely for a photo!


squawroot photo
A nice collection of Squawroot

Thursday we headed for our picnic destination, which was once again sunny, but still quite chilly! Nonetheless, it was beautiful as always, sitting there by the river while eating. With tummies full, we enjoyed riding along the winding drive through the Park until we reached the Chimney Tops picnic area. There is a nice wildflower trail there, which was being enjoyed by many that day! We started our journey upward, and were immediately greeted by what appeared to be hundreds of Great White Trillium, of which many had turned, or were starting to turn, pink! It was simply stunning, as they seemed to be everywhere, and in my two favorite shades of pink . . . light and hot pink no less! Joining the Trillium were the fluffy and showy blossoms of Foam Flowers, as well as the dainty, miniature blossoms of Bishops Cap. The forest floor was alive with one of natures finest flower shows! The small fringe-edged white flowers on the Phacelia were also still blooming throughout, although they reaching the end of their spectacular springtime show. The walk was a real treat as we enjoyed the streams that followed and occasionally crossed the path, all sporting their own stunning collection of moss and blooming Watercress. There were several very large trees along this walk and I had to stop to give a hug to several of them. I even got Wes’ parents to join me in giving one very large tree a group hug! Each and every turn in the lushly lined path gave way to another amazing and gorgeous view filled with wildflowers and the forested landscape. Leaving there, we drove up the Park road a ways to see where the road had been taken out during a rockslide earlier this year. It was quite amazing to see, and they have done a wonderful job of repairing it already. That evening we met several neighbor friends at our local Pizza Hut for supper, before coming here afterwards to enjoy a little dessert and conversation.

great white trillium photo
A stunning Great White Trillium

Boomer or Red Squirrel
A precious little Boomer or Red Squirrel enjoys the blossoms too!

Squirrel corn Blossoms
Three lovely Squirrel Corn Blossoms

great white trillium photo
A nice clump of Great White Trillium

chimney tops trail
Ah-ha . . . We knew someone was following us . . . it’s a little forest gnome!

Friday we enjoyed another sunny, but chilly picnic before making our way into the Elkmont area in the Park. This historical section is always interesting and fun to visit, as it was a summer destination and a resort community in the early 1900s, and the remains of many of the cabins of that time remain. Walking the trail leading by a few of the remaining cabins, we made our way up to Cucumber Gap Trailhead, which we walked for quite sometime. There were several groupings of Fraser’s Sedge blooming along the trail, which are beautiful and look like a firework that has exploded! A highlight along the trail was a huge grapevine, which I climbed onto and enjoyed swinging on . . . I guess some kids never grow up! Anyway, we decided to go walk part of another nearby trail, so we headed back down and made our way to the other trail. It led down to a footbridge, which crossed a stream and then led by another old cabin and a few remains. Before long we had returned back to the starting point and it was time to head for home. Later, we enjoyed our supper while eating on the porch that evening. Saturday morning it was time to say our goodbyes and I thanked George again for bringing my early birthday present consisting of four large bags of peanuts for my birdies! Such a wonderful gift for my little friends and me!!!

cucumber gap trail
The perfect swing made by nature!

Fraser's sedge
The exploding blossoms of Fraser’s Sedge

A dainty clump of Bluets bloom by a stream

purple Phacelia blossoms
A hillside covered in the beautiful Purple Phacelia blossoms

The rest of the day was spent getting back to work and taking care of things with the business. That evening while lying on the couch, reading a book, I had the strange sensation that someone was watching me. So I sat up and turned and looked out the window and someone was … Peedeepeeps!  He was looking in the window at me and acting like he was trying to get my attention, so I got up and went to the window where I peered out and saw three beautiful and precious little baby Carolina Wrens sitting on the bottom rung of the chair under him. “Oh . . . Peedeepeeps babies have fledged!” I told Wes and ran to get some worms. I took them out onto the backporch and while I was feeding him worms to feed his babies, a Titmouse kept flying over and hovering above my head. Finally he landed on it and then climbed down the side a bit as if trying to look into my face! I was delighted with this visit and he sat there and started picking at the hair on my head. I slowly walked from one end of the porch to the other where our studio window is located, and softly tapped on the glass to get Wes’ attention inside. He immediately got up and took a few photos. My little buddy, Tinymouse, was content as could be sitting there and trying to collect his idea of perfect nesting material. It was all fun and games until he started tugging harder. Nonetheless, it was an amazing encounter with another one of my precious little feathered friends!

photo of a Tufted Titmouse
Hmmm . . . Tinymouse has a hold of a couple of hairs!
morel photo
Mmmmm . . . a gorgeous Morel mushroom growing in the park

great white trillium photo
A very tall tree with a beautiful Great White Trillium near Chimney Tops picnic area


Currently On Our Easels: I am working on my Bison drawing for the Western Visions Miniatures & More Show and Wes is painting an Inca Dove.

rooster painting miniature
“The Barnyard King” by Wes
~ 2 ¾ x 2 ¾ inches


~ Come See Our Paintings This Week ~

21st Annual International Juried Miniature Show


April 30 – June 2, 2013: Parklane Gallery, Kirkland, WA




22nd International Miniature Show


May 1 – June 1, 2013: Seaside Art Gallery, Nags Head, NC




The Art of the Miniature XXI


May 5 – June 16, 2013: The Snow Goose Gallery, Bethlehem, PA




Painting America Invitational Art Show


Until June 22, 2013: Artistic Designs Gallery, Brownsburg, IN




EXQUISITE MINIATURES Tour Produced by David J. Wagner


Until June 2 at the Museum Of The Gulf Coast, Port Arthur, TX



The Sea of Cortez Produced by David J. Wagner


Until June 2nd at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, Tucson, AZ



To view all our upcoming exhibits: http://www.artofwildlife.com/exhibitschedule.html







 Have a loved one or a beloved pet you would like captured in miniature? Contact and commission us!


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Until next time ~ Rachelle















2 thoughts on “A Visit From Family and Feathered Friends!

  1. Rachelle, you take such wonderful pictures of nature. The detail and colors are beautiful. What type of camera are you using? Also, the bird pics are really fun. It looks like you have a very special connection with your little friends. Just don’t try that with the black bear. Have a great day. -Tim

    1. Hi Tim,
      Thank you!! I greatly enjoy photographing nature, and painting it as well!! Our camera is an Olympus C-740 with a 10X optical zoom. They’re about a decade old now, but still work really great! Unfortunately, we know it will be time to get a new one soon, but they still seem to work for our purposes. Yes, I do seem to have a special connection with my little feathered friends! I did stand face to face with a black bear on our back porch one night, when I stepped out thinking it was Bandit our resident raccoon . . . Imagine my surprise, before quickly returning back inside!!!
      A wonderful day to you as well 🙂

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