Paddling In The Moonlight

 

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I see the moon . . . and the moon sees me

 

Wes and I took a short break from the studio and office this past week, to go camping for a couple of days.  It was nearly perfect weather, so we filled our time with kayaking, swimming, fishing, and hiking. We started off each day with an early morning paddle while fishing and just plain relaxing.  At one point I found this Mayfly floating upside down atop the water, so I gently picked it up and placed it upright on my kayak, where it rode for some time before I placed it onto a maple leaf at the water’s edge.  It was quite striking in appearance and I enjoyed getting to take a close look at it!

 

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A gorgeous Mayfly resting on my kayak

 

While only Wes caught fish, I had fun trying with my flyrod and got a kick out of watching the schools of minnows in the clear water below, tearing at my wee fly each time it came close to my kayak!

 

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Wes having fun while fishing

 

The Joe Pye Weeds were covered with numerous puffy pink blossoms, which the insects and a variety of butterflies were greatly enjoying!

 

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A hornet feasts atop a Joe Pye Weed

 

We also enjoyed a relaxing hike each day and delighted in seeing an assortment of mushrooms and fungi as we walked along.  While many were bright orange or yellow, growing in all shapes and sizes, there was one in particular that really stood out.  As we walked, we began smelling something that smelled dead and like it was decaying and rotting.  After searching for a carcass lying around, and finding nothing, we soon realized that this yucky, earthy stench was coming from a certain medium to large size mushroom.  From then on, each time that familiar stench filled the air, we knew right away what it was!

 

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Clavulinopsis fusiformis, commonly known as golden spindle Coral

 

While afternoons were filled with swimming, we took the kayaks out during the evenings.  One evening we decided to stay out and watch the sunset while fishing and relaxing, and were rewarded with a most spectacular sunset that only God could paint!

 

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The start of the beautiful Pink clouds

 

As the setting sun dipped lower and lower, it bathed the sky above in a stunning array of pinks, which turned to salmon, oranges, and yellows, and was truly breathtaking to watch and see!

 

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And the world turned pink!

 

The bright colors quickly faded, turning the world into a black and white movie, as the nearly full moon grew higher in the darkening sky.  I have always wanted to paddle in the full moonlight, and must admit it was as magical as I dreamed it would be!  Many times I stopped paddling and sat back in the kayak while watching the brightly reflected moonlight dance across the rippled surface of the water, and it proved to be quite mesmerizing indeed!

rachelle siegrist full moon photo

Back at home, it’s been very hot and dry this past week, so we’ve traded our daily walk for an hour of swimming and snorkeling at the river nearby.  The water is unbelievably clear right now, making us feel as if we’re snorkeling in a huge aquarium, and I think the fish are starting to recognize my bright pink mask, and don’t seem to mind me invading their watery world at all anymore.  We have such fun starting at the base of a cascade which thrusts us forward at a good rate of speed, thus making us feel as if we’re flying through the air as we go downstream!

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We were delighted to be invited to dear friend David’s home to enjoy a fish fry with him and some of his family.  We’ve always so enjoyed spending time with David’s sweet parents and other family members, so it was truly a wonderful evening filled with delicious food, lots of great stories and many laughs, and we’re looking forward to getting to spend time with them again in the near future!

 

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David frying fish while Wes watches

 

~ In The Studio ~

In the studio this week, we have both been having fun at the easels.  I just finished my painting of an adorable squirrel sitting atop its nest, which I noticed while visiting Homosassa Springs in Florida last fall.  I watched as she made several trips whilst carrying small branches and mouthfuls of leaves into her nest.  She had stopped for a wee break when we caught her in this cute pose.

 

cute squirrel painting
My “Home Sweet Home”

 

Wes finished his miniature painting of an immature White Ibis, which we also saw during the same trip to Florida, as it searched for tasty treats below the water, with its long, curved bill.

 

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Wes’ “Working The Weeds”

 

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~ Rachelle

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Here Fishy, Fishy

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We headed out early one morning this past week for a bit of fun in the kayaks, with friends Kit and Mike joining us.  Wes and I spent some time fishing, and while Wes caught and released about ten, I only had a couple of good bites.  Nonetheless, it’s always fun to “wet a line” even if you don’t reel anything in!  I must say Wes’ prettiest catch of the day was a beautiful brightly colored Sunfish.  As I paddled along, I was delighted to see lots of fish swimming below including several Smallmouth Bass, a huge snapping turtle and numerous Bryozoa colonies growing, ranging in size from tiny to enormous!

 

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A grouping of amazing Bryozoa colonies

 

The Bryozoa reminds me somewhat of jellyfish, as they’re balloon-like and squishy to the touch, but thankfully they’re harmless and give no sting to anyone brave enough to gently feel them.  They only thrive in clean healthy water, so it’s always great to see them!

 

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Kit and I spot a river monster lurking in the water below!

 

After enjoying a peanut butter and jelly sandwich whilst sitting atop a big rock, it was time to get into the water.  So I suited up and did just that, swimming up to an area with several cascades and a small waterfall.  There I found the perfect spot to sit and enjoy a nice back massage, that was as long as I could stay there while pushing with all my might against the strong current!

rachelle siegrist swimmingWith soaring temps and no rainfall, the water has been really clear, making it nice for snorkeling as well.  I love snorkeling, especially with my wetsuit that keeps me from freezing, and never tire of exploring the underwater world!  It’s the strangest feeling to walk down the riverbank along dry ground leading through trees and bushes, before stepping into the water, then as soon as you put your mask and snorkel on and place your head into the water, it’s like you’ve been transported into a different universe.

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Instantly you’re in another world, watching a variety of beautiful fish swimming all around you while feeling a sense of weightlessness as you swim along, floating above this submerged grand canyon-type landscape.  Time seems to stand still when I’m in the fishes’ world, and when I stand up and step onto dry ground again, it’s like stepping out of one universe back into another.  If you’ve ever seen the TV series Stargate, it’s very much like the cast in the show did, as they simply walked through the liquidy looking portal and found themselves in another galaxy or universe.  In the real world, it feels that easy as well, you just have to step from the shore into the water, and there you are . . . instantly in another world!

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~ In The Studio ~

In the studio this week, we have both been having fun at the easels.  I am currently painting on an adorable squirrel sitting atop its nest, which I watched while visiting Homosassa Springs in Florida last fall.  I watched as it made several trips whilst carrying small branches and mouthfuls of leaves into its nest.  It had stopped for a wee break when we caught her in this cute pose.

cute squirrel painting

Wes is currently painting an immature White Ibis, which we also saw during the same trip to Florida, as it searched for tasty treats below the water, with its long, curved bill.

immature white ibis painting

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~ Rachelle

Moving Wes’ Parents

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We spent a few days this past week, helping Wes’ parents move to a different property in Southern Indiana, and even though it’s only twenty minutes from where they’ve been living the past couple of years, it seems like a different world in many ways!  Previously living downtown, they now live in the middle of farmland.  The house is situated in the middle of vast soybean fields, with several large maple trees shading the backyard.  A short walk through the backfield leads to a large pond nestled against the woods, so I’m sure you can imagine where my favorite place was . . . Yep, back by the pond!  With bread bag in hand, I enjoyed the tranquil walk a couple of times each day whilst going to see and feed the fish.  Wes really enjoyed fishing in the pond, while I was most content sitting on the dock, peering into the water below and watching the chubby baby fish swim about while inhaling the bread crumbs!

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The house has an open deck across the back, where one can sit and watch the deer come out to feed in the late evening.  It’s so wonderfully peaceful and quiet there and makes a great place to enjoy one’s supper, so we did just that one evening, and I personally took advantage of every chance to dine out there. While enjoying my lunch one day, a couple of hummingbirds were zooming past my head, back and forth they went, fighting over their newly offered feeder!  A couple of times one even came and hovered right in front of my face as if it was concerned I was going to steal its liquid treat!  There were Eastern Bluebirds to watch too, as they had taken up residence in one of the boxes in the backyard and stayed quite busy catching bugs and feeding their young.

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One evening after supper, I talked my sister-n-law and a friend into walking to the pond with me.  As soon as we stepped out, a soft misty rain began to fall, and once we had reached the far end of the backyard, it had turned into a gentle rain.  However, we laughed and kept on walking and as soon as we got in the open field, it turned into a solid steady rain!  We laughed and sang songs like “I’m Singing in the Rain” as we went along, and by the time we reached the pond, we were sopping wet as we stood watching the ever-changing patterns of dancing raindrops across the water’s surface.  After a few minutes, we continued walking around the pond and by the time we got back to the house, we were totally drenched and still laughing our heads off!  Of course the second we stepped into the garage and started to dry off, it stopped raining.  But It’s memories like that, getting soaking wet while walking in the pouring rain that one remembers throughout life!

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Back at home, we’ve managed to take a couple of breaks to slip down to the river to either tube or fish. All activities involving water are fun to me and bring a time of refreshing and de-stressing, which is most important in these hectic times, we all seem to live in!  Even though I didn’t catch any fish, I had great fun just casting my wee fly and watching it zip through the whitewater and over unbelievably clear pools, as it intrigued numerous small minnows.

 

rachelle siegrist fly fishing

Every time I sit on the front porch mid-afternoon to enjoy the sun for a few minutes, I am joined by a critter friend!  Many times it’s a Blue-tailed Skink lizard who joins me in my ritual of enjoying the warmth of the sun, as it lays nearby while placing its arms and legs upon its back to take full advantage of the great heater in the sky.  Other times its a hoverfly or praying mantis, and yesterday it was my Carolina Wren, Peedeepeeps, who flew to a nearby limb, fluffed out his feathers and laid his head over to one side.  There he sat for well over a minute or more while basking in the divine sunlight with me!  Wes and I were delighted to see our resident Box Turtle, make an appearance as well.  Upon seeing her, I quickly brought out a slice of apple, which she immediately took and disappeared with!

box turtle photo

~ In The Studio ~

 

While Wes has mainly been working on SAA office work, we both have been back at the easels this past week, and I finished painting a Giraffe on silk, while he is painting on another songbird miniature.

giraffe painting on silk
Painting the finishing touches

 

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Until Next Time . . . 

~ Rachelle