Grab the Camera and a Tomato!

rachelle and wes siegrist

Wes and I were delighted to enjoy a beautiful day on the water this past week to celebrate our recent 32nd anniversary! We headed out in the kayaks early to make sure there was plenty of time to explore a lake nearby, and thought it wonderful that there was ample shade to keep us cool most of the day. We found a lovely spot to have a picnic, surrounded by button bushes covered in blossoms. They were absolutely beautiful and the fully open flowers looked like white fireworks that had just exploded. Of course I had to feel them and they were so soft to the touch, feeling very much like a powder puff blossom. We are familiar with these flowers, as Wes painted them many years ago, when illustrating a book for the Nature Conservancy entitled “Realm of the Panther“. This was the first time we had seen them blooming in Tennessee though. 

button bush blossom

We relaxingly paddled along whilst exploring little nooks and crannies along the banks of the lake, and thought this small creek was great fun to explore!

wes siegrist kayaking

There were large grass carp in the shallow areas, and it was thrilling each time we came upon one and it would zip off underwater at a high rate of speed, churning up dirt and sediment from the bottom. They were so big in fact, that they left wakes that actually rocked the kayak! Although I never managed to to capture a photo or video of an actual fish, I did get this cool photo below, of the area just after one had taken off. It was a wonderful day, and I even had a chance to get in the lake and swim for awhile to cool off at one point. 


Meanwhile back at home, the flowers and garden plants continue to grow like crazy and we are amazed at how well our squash are doing! We even enjoyed our first ripe tomatoes this week, and what a burst of flavor these little red gems deliver to the taste buds! They actually taste like tomatoes compared to the months and months of eating store bought ones. 

flower arranging

Every day it seems, we are treated to a wonderful discovery or viewing of a critter on the property. This week we came upon this gorgeous Marbled Salamander, whilst walking the trails. This amazing amphibian was over 4 inches long, and very obliging to have its photo taken. 

marbled salamander

Another day I happened upon this beautiful Eastern Box Turtle, so I quickly hiked back to the house, grabbed the camera and a tomato, told Wes about my exciting discovery and headed back out to find her. Thankfully Wes spotted her, so after taking a few photos, I bit into the tomato and placed it in front of her. Since she was too shy to eat in front of us, we walked away for a few minutes and when we returned both she and the tomato were no where in sight! I’m sure this was her first tomato and she obviously loves them as much as I do!

eastern box turtle photo

We have seen the deer several times this week at various locations throughout the woods and in the yard as well, and Wes managed to capture this photo of one of the turkey hens and some of the poults, that our Ruby-throated hummingbird decided to photo bomb LOL 🙂 

turkey photo

Another evening we were sitting on the back porch eating supper, when we noticed 3 turkey hens and 13 poults emerge from the woods in the back. They slowly made their way up through the meadow area just outside the garden fence, whilst eating grass seeds. They would grab a stem in their beak, pulling up on it while stripping it of seeds, and did this over and over again. We spent a half hour sitting very still and completely mesmerized, watching this magical encounter. Yet another evening when I was swimming in the pool, I had walked over to the edge to get the net to get a couple of bugs out with, and happened to notice something walking in the meadow behind the garden. I stood real still and continued watching,  soon realizing it was a grey fox! It walked over to the back of the fence right across from me, and stood still for a minute, our gazes fixed upon each other, before walking over to the woods nearby. As you can imagine I was very excited and managed to get Wes’ attention to show it to him before it disappeared. Critters are not the only delightful surprises here, as these gorgeous Cumberland Rose-gentians started blooming in the back meadow this past week, and the best part is that they’re pink . . . How awesome is that!

cumberland rose gentian

We enjoyed a visit from dear friends (whom you’ll recognize from blog posts in the past) from Townsend, who came to spend the day with us and see where we live now. After a yummy lunch of squash pasta, made from fresh squash from the garden, we took a leisurely stroll through some of the trails and the gardens. They were totally amazed at what all we had done in less than a year, having followed along with photos of our progress we had sent them. They also loved watching the numerous birds, especially the brilliant yellow goldfinches that are constantly at the feeders. It was a delightful time together indeed and we were sad to see them go!

siegrists and friends

Me, Wes, Kit, Elise and Dick


I’ve made a lot of progress on my Silverback Gorilla painting this past week, which will be featured in the Sketch for Survival with Explorers Against Extinction at The Explorers Club in New York City, NY.   The Online Auction will take place on October 7, 2022, and all proceeds from the sale of this painting will go to this cause. Of course knowing I’m helping to make a difference for endangered animals and the natural world, make this painting even more special and fun to do! I will keep you updated with my continued progress on it.

gorilla painting in progress

Did you know there are now 17 painting videos for you to enjoy on our YOUTUBE CHANNEL


EXQUISITE MINIATURES now on display at The Art & Heritage Center,

Windsor, CO, May 15 – August 15, 2022 

 Francesca Anderson Fine Art, MA

To see our available miniature paintings as well as some upcoming shows, please

visit our WEBSITE     Email us

Until Next Time ~ Rachelle

6 thoughts on “Grab the Camera and a Tomato!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.