Amazing Encounters, Adventures and New Miniature Paintings!

still life

Occasionally in life you experience amazing encounters, and I was privileged to enjoy a couple recently. While sitting on the backporch eating breakfast and reading my devotions one morning, I heard the “Honks” of the Canada Geese far off in the distance. The honks quickly grew louder, and mere seconds after I had jumped up and ran to the uncovered side of the porch, seven of them, in perfect V formation, flew directly overhead, so close that I could hear the “Swish . . . swish . . . swish” sound of their wings as they flew over, and then I watched as they quickly disappeared above the woods on the other side of our house! Wow . . . I thought . . . that was amazing! Then a couple of hours later, while taking a break during our bike ride to enjoy a refreshing drink of water and looking for fish in the river down below an old one lane bridge, Wes suddenly said “Look . . . a Bald Eagle!” I looked and there flying toward us was a gorgeous Bald Eagle! He flew directly above us, so close in fact, that I almost felt as if I could reach up and touch it! Wow . . . I thought, another amazing encounter! Moreover, just the day before while sitting in my rocking chair on the back porch and watching my Titmouse, Stubbs, eating his peanut crunchies from his bowl, I heard the checking sounds of Warblers nearby. There right beside me in the Wisteria Vine was a beautiful female American Redstart, fanning out her tail feathers showing off the brilliant yellow patches on it, with a pair of Pine Warblers right beside it. They were all looking at me curiously, while making checking calls, and coming ever closer! They cautiously worked their way around and through the vine to where they were directly behind me and I thought for a minute they may jump on me! Then later that afternoon, while standing nearby Stubbs as he ate, my Carolina Wren, Peedeepeeps walked over to my feet and sat looking up at me, while Tinymouse, a Tufted Titmouse was sitting on my head, trying to do it’s best to fix my hair. Standing there in complete amazement at it all, I thought “Wow . . . it just doesn’t get any better than this!”

birds of the smokies
My precious Stubb’s looking like a “Got peanuts?” Ad

We have been blessed with a few “Storybook” days weather-wise this past week. So this past Monday, Wes and I decided to go on a lunch date to our favorite lunching spot. With lunches packed into our waist packs and walking sticks in hand, we started our ascent up the narrow, steep trial leading to Spruce Flats Falls. After rounding the first hairpin curve in the trail, we left the busyness of the world behind as we continued climbing. A few minutes later we came to a spot along the trail offering the first stunning view of the mountains off in the distance. There was a Sourwood Tree nearby, already displaying the first hint of autumn color creating a beautiful scene, with the mountains behind and the azure blue skies above! Onward we went, stopping occasionally to take photos of interesting flowers, or mushrooms, and the occasional lizard or two. Of course with this being a spectacular year for moss, I had to stop and pet several lovely, amazingly thick, soft clumps of it.

autumn in the great smoky mountains
The first awesome view awaiting you along the trail
auntumn in the great smoky mountains
The first hint of autumn appears!
Cauliflower Mushroom image
A stunning Cauliflower Mushroom
hiking the smokies
A handsome Fence Lizard blends with his surroundings
hiking the smokies
A brightly colored Slippery Jack Mushroom

In no time we found ourselves reaching the falls, and Wes quickly found us a new picnic spot, which proved to be a great one! Taking turns, we carefully climbed over a couple of large rocks until we were perched on a big rock sitting right in the middle of the lower falls. What a perfect location it was, as we were actually sitting in the middle of the falls, enjoying not only the spectacular view, but also the sound of the cascading water in complete surround sound! There simply isn’t a better “restaurant” anywhere, than one located near a waterfall! There we enjoyed our lime and cilantro, smoked black bean Hummus sandwiches I had made earlier that morning, and finished off our yummy lunch with dark chocolate . . . of course! Feeling completely relaxed and refreshed, we started the hike back. It was a glorious day, and the gentle early fall breeze kept us nice and cool as we walked along.

wildflowers of the smokies
One of my favorite wildflowers . . . a Hearts-a-Bustin!
wildflowers of the smokies
A pretty Maryland Golden Aster blossom
spruce flats falls in tremont
The perfect lunch spot!

We’ve also gotten a lot of painting time in this past week, as well as enjoying several evenings with friends. Thursday evening, neighbor friends, Richard and Melodie, joined us at our house for dessert and a game of dominoes. Friday evening, we met neighbor friends, Paul, Norma, Fran and Doug at our local Pizza Hut, where we enjoyed a delicious jalapeno smothered pizza. Afterwards, we had a game of Mexican Train at Fran and Doug’s house, while enjoying Fran’s homemade “Million Dollar Chocolate Chip Cookies”. Yesterday we rode bikes to “downtown” Townsend where we stopped at the Old Timer’s Festival to check out the old tractors being displayed there.  I found my dream tractor, a beautiful cotton candy pink Farmall, and was immediately smitten!  From there we rode down to our local Great Smoky Mountain Heritage Center, where we spent a couple of hours enjoying the Country Fair.  We admired the numerous beautiful chickens being shown, petted a couple of freshly sheared sheep, which felt like velour, and saw a mama hog with her adorable pile of piggies.  We watched a blacksmith at work and people weaving baskets, and thoroughly enjoyed watching the little kids chase the greased pig. Then last evening artist friend Kit, joined us for a spaghetti dinner, with homemade carrot cake for dessert. Afterwards the three of us walked down to our local bluegrass festival called the Old Timer’s Festival. It was a festive mood as the band cranked one fast tempo song after another, while the stage full of talented cloggers all danced the night away! Legs and feet were flying everywhere, as the taps of the numerous pairs of tap shoes all kept perfect time, many times sounding like one clogger. It was the first time Kit had ever seen the dance form of clogging, and heard live bluegrass music, so Wes and I were happy to introduce him to both!

pink farmall tractor image
Ah … My dream tractor!
Great Smoky Mountain Heritage Center country fair
Run little pig . . . Run!!!

Fresh off the easel ~ We have finished several paintings this past week, including my surprise commission that I unfortunately cannot share with you yet. I finished my miniature painting of an adorable little Spotted Skunk, which we photographed at MacArthur Beach State Park and Wes finished his miniature painting of an Osprey. I am currently painting a dog and Wes hard at work doing some framing and show paperwork.

miniature painting skunk painting image

“Lil’ Stinker” by Rachelle
miniature painting osprey painting
“Highrise Construction” by Wes

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

Immortalize your loved one or a beloved pet in miniature!
Contact and commission us to create your own special painting!

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Until next time ~ Rachelle

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