A fun visit with family here in the Smokies!
by Rachelle Siegrist
My family arrived here in the Smokies a week ago last Thursday, after dropping Wes and I off at the airport in Sanford, FL on the way up Wednesday. My niece Haydyn and nephew Tyler were thrilled to be back in the mountains again, and were ready for a week full of adventure! We started it off with tubing in the Little River here in Townsend Friday afternoon, and although recent rain in the mountains caused swift moving and higher water levels, we still had fun and enjoyed tubing a couple of short trips down. That evening we had supper on the screen porch and made s’mores for dessert over the fire in the backyard. A great way to spend a summer day indeed!
Rainy weather Saturday made it perfect weather for hanging out here at the house and sculpting with clay. Of course we had to sculpt a surfer catching some waves complete with the a shark fin, as well as me in my kayak paddling with all sorts of critters including a gator. The kids had a ball creating a variety of interesting things out of the clay.
I made homemade baked ziti for Father’s Day lunch which my Dad, along with the rest of us enjoyed eating! That afternoon the weather cleared up, so we, along with friends Tom and Sharon, headed into Cades Cove for a nice picnic supper by the stream before loading up into the back of my parents truck and heading around the loop road. Our first stop was along Sparks Lane, where we had a blast wading in the stream and perfecting our rock skipping techniques.
While playing in the water, we were thrilled when a white-tailed deer walked over to where we were, coming down to the stream to get a drink. As we stood very still and quietly watched her, she decided to go upstream, gracefully and effortlessly jumping right over a log blocking her watery path! Needless to say, we felt tremendously blessed to have witnessed such a beautiful site so near to where we were standing!
Loaded back into the truck, we continued our drive around the loop, seeing several more deer out in the fields, as well as quite a few turkeys. Riding in the back of the truck, with the tree canopy passing above, is a great way to experience the cove! We laughed, talked and sang as we rode along, a light misty rain falling on us at first, and before long we started seeing hundreds of fireflies in the grassy fields. It was truly magical watching hundreds of twinkling lights throughout the fields, and we couldn’t believe it when a black bear walked over towards the truck from a nearby tree, crossing the road behind us! We were absolutely delighted thinking it a most magical and enchanting evening! Finishing the drive around the loop, we parked the truck and walked up into the cove a ways, enjoying the immense serenity and beauty, along with the twinkling display of light, complements of the fireflies. It was a beautiful evening and a great way to spend Father’s Day with my dad!
Tuesday came bringing nice weather for playing in the water, and so we did just that. We spent the day kayaking, swimming and hanging out on our floats and tubes, with the new pink flamingo float from my parents stealing the show, proving to be a perfect complement to my pink kayak!
I even got Wes to get on the pink flamingo with me ~ Hold on Sharon! . . . Ha Ha
We took time for a relaxing picnic supper, which gave us more energy for playing in the water. Afterwards my Dad, Tyler and I went kayaking and I was totally amazed at how fast Tyler took to the kayak and learned the art of paddling! He’s decided he now knows what he wants for Christmas this year . . . a kayak, and I’m thrilled to have another kayaking buddy in the family!
Haydyn is definitely a water baby like me, perfectly happy and content to spend countless hours swimming and playing in the water, and although I forgot to check, I’m sure our toes looked like raisins by the time we left the water that night!
I have totally loved the countless hours we have spent with my family in and around water these past two weeks while making many more wonderful memories!! Moreover, while blissfully boogie boarding at the beach last week, I decided that from now on when asked . . . “As a kid, what did you always want to be when you grew up?” I’m going to be completely honest now and say . . . “A beach bum!” And who knows, I just may get to be one someday yet . . . Ha Ha!
~ Fresh off the Easels ~
I finished another pet commission this past week, of an adorable Yorkie named Benji! I had an absolute ball painting this precious little boy and am happy I get to pet and play with him occasionally as well!
I’m currently painting on two more adorable pet commissions, one of “Tito” and of “Riley and Boris” and look forward to sharing them with you as I make progress and eventually as finished portrait paintings soon!
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Until next time . . .