A Fun Visit With My Family in Florida!

Photo of Whitey a Frizzle chicken

Loving on sweet Whitey

We awoke this past Monday morning at my parent’s home, to a sun-filled, blue sky in Okeechobee, Florida. After a breakfast of freshly laid, scrambled eggs and grits, we were soon joined by my brother’s family and little Tyler and Haydyn were as happy to see Aunt No-No and uncle Wes, as we were them. In no time we were playing with monster jam trucks and doll babies, before heading outside to enjoy the gorgeous weather. Out to the beautiful backyard we went, where the pond is located, surrounded by gorgeous oak trees, all graced by tendrils of Spanish Moss hanging from their curving limbs, along with numerous tall, slender Sable Palms scattered throughout the landscape. After a short time spent watching the bass strike occasionally, I decided to give the “yuck bucket” a good stir. The “yuck bucket” is actually my Dad’s compost, which Tyler appropriately named a couple of years ago. As I began stirring, roaches began crawling up and out, and I quickly brought this to the attention of their four precious pet chickens, which they took to immediately and enjoyed as an endless buffet! Before long they were all up and in the large, black bucket, eating roaches as quickly as they could find them! This became a daily ritual with us throughout the rest of the week, until by the end of the week, there were hardly any roaches left for the eating. The chickens are so sweet, and followed us wherever we would go, even slipping into the house a couple of times! The sweetest one is a little Frizzle named Whitey, and I couldn’t get enough of holding and petting her, which she didn’t mind at all!

Chicken photo

The chickens eating . . . while I stir!

photo of Frizzle chickens

Haydyn and I on a “bug search” while the chickens wait to see what we find

That evening, neighbor friends joined us for a delicious supper, consisting of many of my mom’s best dishes, including homemade corn bread dressing, where we all shared lots of laughter and conversation. Tuesday, after lunch at Taco Bell, my parents, sister, Wes and I took the kids down to Lake Okeechobee, and we walked out on the pier, looking for waterfowl and alligators. Once at the end of the pier, it was bubble time, so my dad and I were the first ones to start the bubble blowing process while the kids screamed with glee, and ran around saying “Bubbles”! Then Wes took over, and another cute little one joined in on the bubble-chasing journey. It was then time to feed the birds, so after getting our bread, we began feeding the Sea Gulls, and were quickly surrounded by hungry beaks zooming through the air! Tyler and Haydyn both, along with me, had a lot of fun feeding the birds as they would swoop down after the small pieces, at times coming almost close enough to eat from our hands.

Photo at Lake Okeechobee

With Tyler, Haydyn and Dad on the pier at Lake Okeechobee

feeding seagulls at lake okeechobee

Having great fun feeding the Sea Gulls! . . . Notice Haydyn and I got the fashion memo.

After our fun visit to the lake, my sister Hayley and I did a little shopping and then returned home, to enjoy the evening with the rest of the family. Sometime in the next couple of days, we built Tyler a rope swing with a wooden seat and hung it from an oak tree limb, making it low enough that he could get onto it and swing himself. He thought this was just great and took to it immediately! Haydyn was happy to inherit the smaller swing where she had fun swinging with “Gandpa” pushing her, while I pushed Tyler. Of course we had to take breaks from swinging and at times blowing bubbles in the front yard, to go stir the yuck bucket for the chickens, which they greatly appreciated each time we did so! We also went on several walks with Tyler riding his “monster bike”, and Haydyn pushed her little pink stroller, with her baby in it. With all this outdoor activity, it was no time before dad was walking faster and doing so much better than several days before, while still recovering from his injuries. Friday afternoon, we went to the fair for a short time, and the kids rode a ride – a train ride that Aunt No-no rode with them, which they seemed to enjoy. Then it was time for Hayley and I to ride something that moved a bit faster, so we went to load into our car, and as I was sitting down the handle (which we found out a minute later was broken), fell with me holding onto it, causing me to crash down into the seat, banging my elbow on the metal side rail! Even though I was in pain, I was determined to ride anyway, and we did, laughing most of the time. Just for the record, my elbow is still swollen and sore and is turning black and green. Now I have even more compassion for my poor dad, and what he has suffered through the past three weeks!  Leaving the fair, we all enjoyed supper at Pizza Hut, before making a stop by Home Depot, the kids favorite store!

Riding the Choo-choo with the kids

a killer ride

Giving the thumbs up, even though all wasn’t okay!

Saturday morning began early with the arrival of several gracious men from my parent’s church, that along with all of us, helped finish getting their house painted, since not much had gotten done after dad’s accident. It’s amazing how much faster things like that go when there are lots of people, and fast it went. By lunchtime it was pretty much all painted, going much faster than when my mom and I had painted on it the day before. After one more coat in some areas, it will be completely finished! After lunch, a neighbor friend, Diane, brought over her dad’s four person bicycle, and we all had a ball taking turns riding on it, with a few fighting for the middle seat, where there were no pedals! Both dogs, as well as one of the chickens, even enjoyed a ride, but I think the kids enjoyed it the most, and squealed as we went flying along, with us yelling “Lean to the right” when we would make turn-a rounds! We would ride, pedaling like crazy until we wore ourselves out, and had to rest a bit! After returning the bike, we headed over to my cousin’s property, where some of the guys enjoyed fishing. Wes was really excited when he and Tyler caught a little bass just after tossing the bait out, and on Tyler’s little pole even!

a four person bicylcle

Everyone, but the dogs were helping out!

a four person bicylcle

The kids . . . big and small . . . were having a ball!

fishing at the pond

Wes and Tyler checking out his big catch, while Justin and Hayley fish behind them!

After going to visit some of the resident cows, it was time to leave for my brother Marshall’s home. Before going in, Dad, Tyler and I enjoyed a ride on the tailgate of my brother’s truck while he drove around the freshly hayed pasture behind their house, looking for foxes, as we had seen one run across just minutes earlier. We decided that one hasn’t really lived until riding around in a cow pasture on the tailgate of a truck!  It was then time for supper and we were treated to Alicia’s delicious homemade spaghetti. After a very fun evening together, it was time to say goodbyes to some, as we would be leaving early the next morning for home. Early Sunday morning, a tearful goodbye was said to my parents and sister Hayley, and then we started the long journey home, where we arrived safely later that evening. We were all so very thankful that by the end of the week, my dad had greatly improved and was even able to return to work for part of the day today. Thanks again to my family for a wonderful week and lots of happy memories!!

reading to baby

Sweet Haydyn reads to her baby

 Home depot photo

Uncle Wes and happy Tyler beside the Home Depot man

Fresh Off the Easel: I did a drawing of Tyler and Haydyn for my parents for a Christmas gift, which I gave to them this past week. It was done from a photo taken at the beach in Ft. Pierce, FL.

A miniature drawing of Tyler and Haydyn at the Beach

~ Upcoming Events and Exhibitions of Our Paintings This Week ~

SAN DIEGO NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM

Our miniature paintings on display at the lovely San Diego Natural History Museum.

~ We are very excited  that our solo exhibition “EXQUISITE MINIATURES BY WES & RACHELLE SIEGRIST” is presently at the beautiful SAN DIEGO NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM in San Diego, CA, and will be on display there Saturday, January 21 through Wednesday, March 21, 2012.  So if you’re in the area, I highly recommend a visit to this wonderful museum!

Dennos Museum Center

EXQUISITE MINIATURES BY WES & RACHELLE SIEGRIST while recently on display at the beautiful Dennos Museum Center at the Northwestern Michigan College inTraverse City, MI

To view all our upcoming exhibits: http://www.artofwildlife.com/exhibitschedule.html

“Collect the future’s history today while it is still affordable.”
Until next time ~ Rachelle

Glorious Fall and New Miniature Paintings!

“Even if something is left undone,
everyone must take time to sit still and watch the leaves turn.”

~ Elizabeth Lawrence

A glorious fall it has been indeed!! Such beauty and splendor surrounding us, with the trees dressed in their finest shades of red, orange and yellow. Wes and I took an afternoon this past week to enjoy all of this beauty, as we headed into the Smoky Mountain National Park, to walk up the Middle Prong trail for awhile. As we got out of the van, we were completely surrounded by the bright, flaming color above. We started up the path that leads by the river, and every curve in the path led us to say again and again . . . wow . . . it’s just beautiful! And it was indeed, looking many times like a scene on a post card.

Falling into a state of complete relaxation, I began to think of how in this hurried society of coming, going and planning, most of us fail to take time to savor and relish the joy of the moment at hand. We’re so busy thinking of where we have to be, or what we have to do, or the emails and things that need answering, that sometimes we forget to simply stop and enjoy life in the present. So I decided then and there to savor these delightful moments. I intently listened to the sounds of the fallen leaves, covering the dirt path, crunch and swoosh underfoot as we walked along. The clean scents of the cool, crisp fall air was savored as it filled my nose with the delightful scents of both evergreen and decaying leaves. I listened to sounds filling the air, as the water fell over every cascade, great and small, crashing as it went down creating its own amazing symphony, while all the while, feeling and enjoying the warming touch of my best friend, Wes’ hand. Every splendorous tree adorned with leaves in the array of fall colors was admired and appreciated, as if studying a work of art. I truly enjoyed every moment of our walk and wished it could’ve gone on and on!

Before we knew it however, a couple of hours had passed and the evening sun was starting to lower behind the mountains. So we got into the van and enjoyed the lovely and peaceful drive back home, where we stopped to enjoy a pizza on the way. It was a great afternoon and such a wonderful way to enjoy this beautiful fall season, before it leaves us for another year! While we’ve also enjoyed several nice walks around Townsend this past week, most of our time has been spent at the easels, working on commissions and miniature paintings for our two upcoming shows, the Waterfowl Festival in Easton, MD, and the Plantation Wildlife Art Festival in Thomasville, GA. Our neighborhood also enjoyed a nice get together last evening at a nearby park. It was lovely as we sat there eating and enjoying each others company while overlooking the mountains surrounding Townsend still covered in their glorious golden fall colors! It was very cold though, and as the sun sank lower in the evening sky, the temperatures dropped, and most of us called it an early night.

Here’s a few more delightful fall photos from our walk for you to enjoy!

Fresh off and currently on the Easels: I finished my miniature painting of a beautiful Charlet cow,  resting in the warmth of the sun, which I photographed here in Townsend one wintery day. Loving cows, I found this painting quite fun to do, especially with the bright warm sunlight present in it. Wes finished his miniature of a beautiful landscape from Yellowstone. Currently I’m continuing to paint on my commission portrait, and also on a miniature of three Amish horses resting after pulling . Wes is painting on a commission of a Secretary Bird.

"Basking Charlet" by Rachelle, is 2¼ x 4¼ inches
The portrait miniature in progress
"The Green Pool" by Wes, is 2½ x 3½ inches

Upcoming Events and Exhibitions of Our Paintings This Week:

~ EXQUISITE MINIATURES BY WES AND RACHELLE SIEGRIST at the DENNOS MUSEUM CENTER, in Traverse City, MI, opens this Saturday, November 5, and will be on exhibit through Sunday, January 1, 2012.

~ 27th Annual Exhibition Miniature Art at the Council for the Arts, in Chambersburg, PA, opens November 4, and runs through January 6, 2012.

For other shows where you can see our miniature paintings this week, please visit our exhibit schedule on the website.

Enjoy fall!
Until next time ~ Rachelle