In the Land of Mushrooms

fowlers toad photo

“Now, that’s a toad strangler!. . . I can still hear my late Granny Beth saying that, when the rains became torrential downpours, and that’s exactly what happened here a couple of times recently. It’s rained almost daily for the past couple of weeks, and with moist soil and forest floors, comes an abundance of mushrooms and fungi, which makes the squirrels, deer, and other wildlife very happy, as they love to eat many of them. We have one squirrel we affectionately call Bonzo, who I’m thinking must be finding and eating “magic mushrooms” at times, as he will suddenly dart off at a high rate of speed, flip up into the air, bounce off a nearby tree truck, followed by rolling around in the dirt, before starting this hilarious routine all over again. While I haven’t discovered the type of mushrooms Bonzo is consuming and enjoying, I thought it would be fun to take photos for you of some of the most interesting, weird, and beautiful ones I found whilst walking through our woods recently, so enjoy! 

mushroom photo

This was definitely a case of being at the right place at the right time with camera in hand, and obviously the slug likes the taste of this toadstool!

mushroom photo2

These delicate little beauties were growing in a waterfall formation going down the entire rotting tree stump, and there were hundreds, perhaps even thousands of them, creating a magical setting in the mushroom world!

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This one with its ribbon appearance, reminded me of the cave formations that are usually said to look like bacon by cave tour guides.

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This bright lemon-colored mushroom was not only big, but absolutely beautiful as well!

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With a greenish coloration, this funnel shaped mushroom was quite lovely!

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This light peach-colored flat topped mushroom, reminded me very much of a type of coral you would see while diving in the ocean. You almost expect a “Nemo” or other brightly colored saltwater fish to swim up at any moment!

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Obviously this one has a very sticky top on it, as it was covered with bits of dirt and rubbish. 

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The numerous gills along the side of this multi-tiered fungus gave it a coral-like appearance as well, and I thought it quite stunning indeed!

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If you’ve ever walked along the beach and gathered seashells, you too will see the similarity of these interesting beauties to the patterns on some of the shells you would find at many beaches.

While the abundant rain is very good for fungi growth and causing cucumbers to grow at an alarming rate, it has begun causing problems for some of our vegetable plants. What were seemingly spotless plants, are now showing signs of powdery mildew, blight and a few other maladies. Nonetheless, thanks to the wisdom found on YouTube, Wes has learned ways of combating most of the problems, and even though they may not be as beautiful as they once were, our plants continue to bless us with fresh delicious veggies daily! 

We enjoyed a visit from Wes’ brother Greg and his fiancé Christie one day this past week. It was their first time to see our new property and they really enjoyed walking the trails, looking at the gardens, and especially swimming in the pool when the sun came out for awhile. I believe they thought meals on the porches were as relaxing as we do, especially when we were serenaded by a soft steady rain during supper that evening. It was a fun time together indeed!

rachelle siegrist swimming

While I’m so very thankful for the abundant rains, I have to be honest and admit that I am ready for some sunnier days to return, so that the water in the pool gets warmer again. Nonetheless, I just put on as many layers as needed to be warm enough to swim ha ha 🙂


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

Having Fun Working at the Art Center

The gang standing out front of the art center

Wes and I returned late last night from another trip to Bennington, Vermont, where we spent several days at The Monument Arts and Cultural Center. Thankfully it was much warmer this time around, and instead of being just the two of us much of the time like our last visit, we were at the art center with several other SAA artists and board members. Having not been together in person for nearly 3 years, it was a real treat for all of us, to say the least! There were several reasons for us to all be there, but one of the main projects was rebuilding a dilapidated deck off the apartment at the art center.

A few of the guys had been working earlier that week to remove the old, rotten and busted boards. They were blessed with ideal working weather the first day we were there, as it was in the 60s and overcast and truly delightful! Nate, Bob, and Wes were able to get most of the deck boards in place by evening, as well as the stairs leading up to the deck. The next day Anni and I spray painted all of the deck furniture, while the guys finished the railing and we all were so impressed with the major improvement which had been made! 

While the guys worked on the deck that first day, SAA President, Renee Bemis and I tackled the huge task of pulling weeds and trimming back overgrown plants in the courtyard garden area. Once done, we couldn’t believe the transformation which had taken place and were delighted to reveal a stone patio which had been completely covered.

Another big task was inventorying the remaining art in the center. Before I got there, fellow SAA artists Jim Coe and Anni Crouter had pulled everything out of all the closets, which we had put in there the last time we were there. Then we went back through them all one by one, carefully checking them off in the database. We were sure glad to get that job done!

I must say one of the highlights of the week for me, was getting to go up in a rented cherry picker. Anni’s husband Nate, is an expert at running them and was gracious enough to take me up in it, and not only that, but he took me up as far as it would go! Of course being the adrenaline junkie that I am, I loved  every single minute of it!

The view from way up there was absolutely amazing, and I was delighted that you could even see the monument off in the distance! I took the cool photo of the art center shown at the beginning of the blog, from up there. 

The picker had been used for all sorts of previous jobs, and was also used to trim limbs on trees and make a few other repairs up high on the building while we were there. After all the hard work, the guys thought it was time to have a little fun and use it smash down the rubbish in the dumpster, and it did a great job indeed!

I was thrilled to have beautiful weather that allowed for a few nice walks around the property to enjoy the vast amount of wildflowers blooming on the center’s grounds.

The very last evening there, we enjoyed dining out, and couldn’t believe it when our manager for the center Dan and his beautiful 93 year old mother showed up at the same place! Having seen photos and hearing stories about her from Dan, we were delighted to meet her in person, and hang out with them for awhile before leaving.

We ended our last evening there with a short visit to a historic home that has some gorgeous American Cream Draft horses! 

I had never heard of the breed before Annie told me about them and being the horse lover that I am, was thrilled to be able to see them, even if it was off at a distance. It was a gorgeous setting and so beautiful, as we watched the sun set, bathing the sky with pinks and oranges!

Later the next day we all said our goodbyes and headed back home, taking with us lots of happy memories. It was such a wonderful time, working side-by-side, while also sharing lots of conversation and laughter over the course of the days spent there. To see and read about our last visit to the art center visit this blog post… “My Night In The Museum”.


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

What Broke Wes’ Fishing Pole?


Wes and I packed up the van, loaded the kayaks and headed off for a few days of camping this past week. We were in hopes that the weather would be better than the last camping trip which got cut short because of the rain and wind. Well, the first day was completely rained out, as it literally poured constantly for hours and hours! We put on our ponchos and set up our screen room and tarp overtop of the van and part of the screen room. However the torrential rains actually collapsed the screen room, which has never happened before! We were afraid that it had broke, but were so thankful to realize it was fine, and we were able to pour the water off and set it back up. I also discovered that the van was leaking by the back windows because of the water that had unfortunately somehow gathered in the tarp near the back. Thankfully I discovered it in time to move our sleeping bag and mattress out of the way, whilst drying up the remaining water from the leaks. 

nature photography

Later that evening we walked around the campground in the pouring rain, just to get out of the van and stretch our legs for awhile. Our van isn’t a camper van, it just has a spot for us to sleep inside and keep some things out of the weather, so it makes it hard to do things like cook when it’s pouring down rain. Thankfully the monsoon ended that night, and the next morning was tranquil. Low lying clouds engulfed our surrounding scenery most of the day and everything was adorned with thousands of water drops, dangling like diamonds and sparkling in the milky sunlight. Moss, greenery and wildflowers were lush and beautiful after drinking in the abundant moisture.

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I was delighted to see that we managed to time our visit just right to see numerous mountain laurel blooming! This one below was truly spectacular with its’ rich, dark pink coloration and it matched my kayak perfectly!

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After an enjoyable morning of kayaking and a nice lunch, we went for a hike. One of the highlights of our hike was Wes spotting baby frogs, hundreds of them! They were everywhere, making the ground look like it was moving and alive! It was amazing, and this photo shows just how wee small these precious babies were! Needless to say, we had to walk very carefully and slowly in that area, to be sure and not step on any of them.

baby frog

Another great spot was this group of butterflies gathered and puddling on the ground. There were dozens of them and occasionally they would flit all around making me feel like I was surrounded by butterflies!


When they opened their wings, they were a beautiful blue color and so pretty to look at.

butterfly photography

It was a very enjoyable hike and was nice enough later that afternoon that I managed to brave the chilly water whilst wading out in it waist deep for quite sometime. Even though I never got brave enough to swim, it was still very refreshing and relaxing! That evening we went kayaking and were blessed with extremely calm conditions, turning the surface of the water into a large glassy mirror, reflecting the surrounding scenery perfectly. It made it very nice for some fishing as well, so Wes especially had an awesome time casting and catching a few fish.


So what broke Wes’ fishing pole? The one he has had for over 40 years, that was the last thing his late Pawpaw gave him before he passed away. . . 

rachelle siegrist

Okay, so it wasn’t the wee mermaid that he had caught earlier that afternoon, and exclaimed it to be the catch of his life! I thought this photo was very clever and hilarious though, and just had to share it with you! It was actually a large catfish that nearly made him jump out of his kayak when it struck the lure, making a splash that scared us both! Within seconds, it started off and the pole broke right at the handle, causing the reel to fall into the bottom of the kayak, and the pole to go into the water! Wes quickly grabbed it, slowly reeling it in by hand. Once he had it near, he carefully got the fish and within no time it was swimming off at great speed, leaving Wes’ with a sad souvenir, a broken pole, and a story to tell for years!

The next day brought unbelievable winds after we had been out on the water for awhile that morning. Winds were so strong that it felt like we were living in a hurricane throughout the day! Knowing it’s very dangerous to hike in the woods here in high winds, we opted to spend much of the afternoon in the water floating on floats and riding the waves which were white capping and making us feel like we were in the ocean! “What is it with the winds anymore?” I kept saying, and have heard other campers and people asking the very same question recently. I don’t know and am wondering if it’s the new norm, but am hoping not. Nonetheless, thankfully it slowed a bit and we were able to go out for awhile that evening, but the winds raged again, blowing so hard at times that water was sheeting across the surface of the water which was covered with thousand of ripples and no matter how hard I paddled I went nowhere. When it started to rain again, we cried uncle and went back in. That night the rains returned and carried on through the morning. So after eating oatmeal in the van, we left early and came home, very thankful to have enjoyed the two days that we did. 



I finished my latest commission painting this past week of a beautiful loon bathing, entitled “Evening Bath“. The really neat thing about it, was that I had gotten to see a loon bathing while kayaking recently, which made it even more special to do this painting for our collector friend! 

custom painting of a loon

I also made a video of the painting process and have uploaded it to YouTube for you to enjoy!

artpainting video

CLICK HERE to watch the video


exquisite miniatures exhibition

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

Windsor, CO, May 15 – August 15, 2022 

5th Birds of America Show

 Francesca Anderson Fine Art, MA: April 20 – June 12, 2022

The Art of Miniature XXX
Snow Goose Gallery, Bethlehem, PA: May 1 – June 12, 2022

17th Masterpieces in Miniature
Picture This Gallery, Alberta, Canada: May 2022

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

visit our WEBSITE     Email us

Until Next Time ~ Rachelle