Tiny Flies And A Horse With A Buggy

rachelle siegrist fishing

Blessed with a day of gorgeous weather this past week, Wes and I finally decided to celebrate our 29th Anniversary whilst spending it outdoors.  Better late than never we thought, as we headed to a nearby lake to do some fishing and kayaking.  The air was cool and the sky blue as we climbed into our kayaks and started paddling across the glassy surface.  Within a few minutes, I had caught the first fish on my Dad’s flyrod with his bumblebee lure.  Wes carefully removed the big bream for me, which was a foot long . . . minus eight inches . . . Ha Ha!

wes siegrist fishing

I caught a couple more fish during the morning, with Wes catching the biggest fish.  I love using the flyrod, as it feels like an aeronautical ballet of sorts, performed by my line as I gracefully whip it through the air, before dropping the wee fly into just the right spot.  I actually like it when my fish comes off in the water, as that’s the easiest catch and release ever!  After enjoying a picnic whilst floating in our kayaks, we paddled and fished a while longer, before it was time for a swim, which I very much enjoyed indeed!

rachelle siegrist fly fishing
Perfecting the art of fly fishing the lazy way . . . Ha Ha!

Feeling quite refreshed afterward, I was ready to join Wes on a lovely hike!  The dry, cooler air made it perfect for a walk through the woods, while stopping many times to admire various wildflowers blooming, as well as mushrooms and fungi.  One of the most beautiful flower sightings of the late afternoon hike was this stunning Yellow-Fringed Orchid!  It was the first time we had ever seen this bright orange beauty, and I was thrilled to add it to my wildflower list.  It was a great day and a wonderful way to celebrate our anniversary and we returned home feeling quite relaxed!

Yellow-Fringed Orchid in smokies
The stunning Yellow-Fringed Orchid

While eating at a restaurant in a neighboring town one evening last week,  I noticed a horse with an Amish buggy behind, loosely tied to a light pole in an adjacent parking lot.  After we ordered our pizza, we sat at a table by a window where I could watch the horse, as he occasionally glanced over his shoulder toward the grocery store to see if his owners were yet coming.  Then out came a young gentleman energetically pushing a buggy fast at times, whilst hopping onto the back and enjoying the free short rides, as he made his way over to the horse and buggy.  Right behind him quickly walked a young lady, followed by a much slower walking lady, who joined them at the buggy, where they commenced to loading their groceries into a couple of big coolers in the back.  A few minutes later, they had all their newly acquired supplies loaded and then the older lady covered it all with a dark blue blanket.  Within a minute or two, they were loaded onto the wagon, with the gentleman holding the reigns.  They stopped at the red light for a minute and then they were off, with the horse walking faster as they went, obviously ready to go home, and soon they were out of sight.  I must say that there was something very serene in watching them methodically load groceries onto the back of their buggy and head home to their unhurried and more simplistic way of life.

~ In The Studio ~

I finished my miniature painting on silk, of a mother elephant with her wee baby this past week.

elephant painting on silk Security-by-Rachelle-Siegrist1
“Security”

Then I started painting this miniature of an adorable giraffe, also painted on silk.

giraffe painting on silk
My painting in progress

Wes finished his miniature painting of a White-crowned Sparrow this past week, which he photographed during our recent trip to Colorado.

A-Crowing-Melody-by-Wes-Siegrist1
Wes’ “A Crowning Melody”

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Until Next Time . . . 

~ Rachelle

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Tubing With A Duck

Although most of our time has been spent in the studio this past week, we’ve gone down to the river a couple of times to tube, fish or swim for a while.  And you know how there are those experiences in life that you’re sure you will never forget?  Well, I had one such experience yesterday morning while tubing.  Drawing near to one of the whitewater areas, we noticed a beautiful Common Merganser fishing amongst the rapids.  He caught a decent-sized fish and commenced to eat it atop a rock in the middle of the river.  He didn’t mind at all, us quietly passing him by as we floated down the rapids, and we thought that was indeed a nice sighting, but the second trip down proved to be even better!

As we drew near the section where we had last seen him, we started visually scanning the water looking for him, and suddenly there he was, fishing in the middle of the same rapids again.  This time, however, as soon as I got near him, he started floating down right alongside me, staying with me continually!  We floated down that set of rapids, and he stayed just a few feet away the entire time! Once we reached the bottom,  he remained alongside me, gliding effortlessly across the smooth surface of the water.  Every few seconds he would put his head under the water while looking for fish, appearing very much like a feathered snorkeler floating along, and he continued this practice throughout the entire stretch of placid water.

When we reached the next set of rapids, I feared I would surely lose my little feathered friend, but alas he stayed right beside me and then got right behind me, so close in fact, that I could’ve reached out and touched him!  I tubed down sideways so that I could watch him bobbing up and down while going down the rapids and when he went over bigger cascades, everything submerged except his head watching and following directly behind me.  I thought . . . “This is truly amazing!”, wondering how many people have had the honor of tubbing with a Common Merganser!  While talking to him, I watched as he followed me down the next two sets of rapids, and when we came to the place where we always get out, Wes and I stopped and floated there watching him for quite a while.  He fished a little more and then started preening mere feet from us, indeed a beautiful sight, as he floated atop the glistening surface of the water.  As soon as we climbed out of the river, he looked up at us one last time before quickly disappearing upstream, deciding since his friends were leaving, he was too.

~ In The Studio ~

I’m putting the finishing touches on my latest miniature of a mother elephant with her baby, which I’m painting on silk.  My next painting will be a giraffe which I’ll also be painting on silk.

elephant painting on silk by rachelle siegrist

Wes finished a miniature painting this past week of a Spotted Towhee which he photographed during our recent visit to Colorado.

 

A-Towhee-Tune_by_Wes_Siegrist1
“A Towhee Tune” By Wes

 

I also finished my miniature painting of two manatees visiting the beautiful Three Sisters Springs in Florida.

 

Visiting-Three-Sisters-Springs and manatee painting by_Rachelle_Siegrist1
“Visiting Three Sister’s Springs”

 

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Until Next Time . . . 

~ Rachelle

Wetting Lines And Soaking Ourselves

rachelle siegrist fly fishing

Daily thunderstorms have kept us from straying too far from our home here in the Smokies this past week, but we’ve managed to get out early in the mornings on most days to spend a little time outdoors.  One morning we headed into the park nearby to spend some time flyfishing.  Although we didn’t reel anything in, we had a few good bites, with a couple of them being good-sized trout.  Besides, just being out there wading in the chilly water, whilst listening to the symphony of birdsong filling the air, mixed with that of rushing water, makes it great fun whether you catch any fish or not!  At one point I had just made the perfect cast, landing my wee bumble bee lure directly under a tree limb hanging out over the water, and within seconds a fish hit it, tugging it enough to cause me to let out a wee shout in excitement!

rachelle siegrist tubing

The plus side of the daily showers is the higher water levels in our river, making tubing a much more thrilling adventure!  We traded in daily walks or bike rides for tubing most days, and boy have we been having fun!  I’m filled with excitement each time we go as if it’s the first time, and can’t wait to get my wetsuit on and head down to the water.  The louder the roar of the whitewater, the more excited I get, as I jump onto my tube and hang on.  The big dips that send you flying up into the air, causing you to leave the icy water below before coming back down are obviously some of the best sections of whitewater, and there are several like this in the section we tube.  Our rides down vary according to the speed at which the river is flowing, and the walk back follows alongside the river and is quite picturesque.  Then it’s time to go down again whilst enjoying yet another thrilling ride.  On mornings when the water levels are lower and it’s clear, we love snorkeling and watching the different species of fish found in our streams here in the Smokies.  I personally love finding deep pools with just the right water current, so it creates an endless pool in which I can swim and swim, and I love every minute of it!

praying mantis photo

Here in our gardens, flowers continue to bloom and we’ll be enjoying fresh peppers off of our pepper plants soon!  Our resident Carolina Wrens are raising their second batch of precious babies, while some of our other babies are growing, such as one of our Praying Mantises that lives on the front deck.  I’ve watched this particular one grow from a wee small baby, and it’s big enough that it acts like it can take on the world now!  Recently, I was sitting out in my favorite chair on the front deck enjoying the warm sun for a few minutes, and over walks “P.M.” the praying mantis on the nearby handrail.  It stopped and looked at me while raising both arms as if it was going to try and karate chop me, and the next thing I knew it jumped over onto my neck, missing my face by mere millimeters!  Obviously, it caught me off guard as I wasn’t expecting it to do that, so I carefully got it and placed it on the rosebush beside me.  Of course, it immediately lifted both arms as if saying “I will take you on and chop you!”  Like they say, dynamite comes in small packages and that is surely the case with P.M.!

~ In The Studio ~

I finished a miniature painting this past week inspired by our visit to the gorgeous Three Sisters Springs in Florida last fall.  We kayaked to this picturesque location and spent over an hour there while I blissfully snorkeled.  We didn’t see any manatees there during our visit, but since they frequent the area, especially in the winter months, I decided to add them to my painting.  A dream of mine is to be able to swim with a manatee, so for now, this is as close as it gets for me.

 

three sisters springs and manatee painting
Putting the final touches on it

 

Wes has spent most of his time working on office work for the SAA dealing with catalog editing and other things associated with the upcoming exhibition at the Briscoe Museum this fall. This is his most recent miniature painting featuring our very own Carolina Wren, Peedeepeeps, sitting atop the Carolina Jasmine which was full of bloom at the time, adding to the beauty of the moment and captured forever in a little gem!

 

Carolina-Wren-Painting-Carolina_Song-by-Wes-Siegrist1
Wes’ “Carolina Song”

 

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Until Next Time . . . 

~ Rachelle