Going Ape in the Studio

organic gardening2

While the weather has been all over the board this past week, the garden continues to grow and produce, blessing us with a wonderful bounty of “nature’s candy”! Our tomatoes, which have grown the height of small trees now, are covered with these gorgeous little green balls. Because of an abundance of recent rains, we’ve been picking them a little green to prevent them from splitting. We let them ripen the remainder of the way inside, and Wes has read up on how to sun dry them, so we plan to do that with a big part of them and will share with you the process and how they turn out. We take a bowl of these little edible gems out to the porch during every meal practically, and I can’t stop popping them in my mouth, treating my taste buds with an incredible burst of fresh, homegrown tomato!

organic grapes

Our grapes which we believe to be the Concord variety, are starting to ripen this week as well, and I’m looking forward to eating these delicious little fruit snacks soon! Wes tasted the first one and said they’re not quite ripe yet, so we must be patient and give them just a little longer. They’re quite beautiful as well, and while looking at them dangling in gorgeous clumps, my mind travels to what it must be like walking through a vineyard, sprawling across the rolling hills of the Italian countryside, and I think to myself that it must be incredible!

growing organic grapes

The garden seems to delight my eyes as much as my tastebuds, with beautiful sights, just like this ruffly leaf of kale, dotted with water droplets glistening in the sun like diamonds.

organic kale

Even the humble cucumber blossom is so lovely, with its bright yellow petals, and is obviously attractive to insects as well.

cucumber blossom

Wes and I agree however, that one of the most spectacular blossoms in the vegetable garden is the hibiscus-like blossom of the okra, sporting its large, crepe paper like petals and brilliant dark burgundy center. I have always loved eating fried okra, and we have discovered a much easier and healthier way to enjoy this southern delicacy. We rub the entire okra pod with olive oil, salt and pepper and cook it on our Cuisinart Griddler for a few minutes, until it turns a nice golden color on the outside and is crispy. Oh my goodness, the first time I ate it cooked like this, I couldn’t believe how amazingly delicious it was and so simple to do!

okra blossom

The Zinnias are absolutely gorgeous as well and abundant, filling the garden with bold splashes of hot pink everywhere!


The green bean vines have reached the top of the trellis, and it’s another reason we’re thankful to be tall… it makes it easy to pick the beans at the top. The grapevines have reached the top as well and should cover most of it by next growing season, creating a lovely little nook in which to sit under.

organic gardening

The tomatoes must be very happy, as they are all over 7 foot tall and are loaded with tomatoes! They’ve begun getting some blight because of all the rain, so we’re trying to keep the infected leaves cut off, which is a time consuming task when the bushes are so tall. 

The yard is filled with hummingbirds too, who are enjoying the abundant source of nectar throughout the gardens. I’m now having to refill our 3 feeders every other day to try and maintain some sort of peace amidst them. This next week I’ll try and get some good photos of them to share with you.

wes siegrist

Wes standing in the midst of the tomatoes for scale


This past week we took advantage of the rainy times to work on a very important project. We were sent two 3-dimensional gorilla wood cutouts from an artist friend, some time ago. We could paint or decorate them however we so chose, and Wes decided to paint a large gorilla eye on his, bringing the viewer eye-to-eye with these amazing primates. If you’ve been following my blog, you know that my favorite color is pink, so I took full advantage of open possibilities for creating, and painted my gorilla pink to bring awareness to the female gorillas.

They are being shipped to the UK, where they will be auctioned off at the Ape Action Africa’s black-tie fundraiser on October 7th, 2022, which will take place in London. This amazing organization does an incredibly important work in the world for primates, and we are both so honored to be able to help raise funds for this important work. 100% of the proceeds go to Ape Action Africa.

ape action africa gorillas

Wes is delighted to have his painting “The Incubator” featured in the Society of Animal Artist’s online exhibition, WINGED THINGS which runs August 4 – December 31, 2022. This painting is available for your collection and you can see the show online HERE

barn swallow painting by wes siegrist

I started this miniature painting of Claude Monet’s “Springtime” or “The Reader” over a year ago and set it aside to paint several commissions and a few paintings for juried exhibitions. But this past week I got it back out and am hoping to finish it in the next couple of weeks. 

painting claude monet's springtime


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  artofwildlife.com     Email usInstagram

Until Next Time ~ Rachelle

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