Surrounded By Blue Birds

fall wreath

Happy Fall Ya’ll! Wow . . . It’s hard to believe Thanksgiving is nearly upon us! But here it is the 21st of November already. I guess time flies when you’re having fun or working on a lot of projects! Either way, I seem to be having a hard time keeping up with what day of the week or the month it is here. It’s like we’re living in the twilight zone, in a good way, here in Grandview! 

We finished treating the cabin with log oil, a job we’re both very thankful to be done with indeed! It looks happier and in much better shape now though and that makes us feel good. We also finished building the greenhouse this past week. We’re digging the floor out in it, about two feet down, adding nice geothermal insulation properties to it. We’ve also managed to fill the leaf compost on the left of it, using a minuscule fraction of the leaves our numerous trees have shed this past week. That being said, we have raked and blown leaves multiple times and since most have come down now, I’m thinking we’ll be doing a little less of this activity this next week.

building a greenhouse

Here’s a look inside the greenhouse, with our few plants brought along from our garden in Townsend, and they seem to be very happy in their new warm home! About half of the floor has yet to be dug out, and once we’re finished I’ll be sharing a step-by-step of the building process on a blog post, in case you’re curious to see how it was built.

greehouse

One of my projects this past week was to create the stone patio entrance to the front deck. We had already moved the rocks there and had them scattered about. I spent the entire day carefully moving them around and arranging them, before digging out some of the gravel and dirt beneath, to seat them in place. It was like putting together a giant, heavy puzzle, one piece at a time, making adjustments as needed, to make it fit together just right. 

making a stone sidewalk

I was quite pleased with how it turned out, and thought it kind like creating a large abstract! I’ll be adding onto the patio later on, as we’re planning to build both a pizza oven and rocket stove in that area, to enjoy cooking on, and of course for free! We’ll be building a roof on part of the front deck as well later on, so you’ll see those changes as they happen.

stone patio ideas

Another fun wood working project we did yesterday, was build several birdhouses and put them all about the yard. We used wood we had and the old metal poles the previous owner left from his above ground pool he once had. We just had to put two poles together to make each one tall enough, and voila’… we had the perfect birdhouse pole! The day before we built these, I had walked out to dump the compost in the compost bed, and suddenly stopped dead in my tracks, as a beautiful male bluebird flew up, landing atop a birdhouse mere feet in front of me! I was thrilled to say the least, and even more so when I realized that I was surrounded by bluebirds! There were a dozen of them everywhere I looked, atop several houses, on the greenhouse, the clothesline and even the table saw! It was absolutely amazing, and I stood there very still, feeling as if I was a part of this beautiful bright blue flock! Talk about immediate rewards for your work, that was certainly the case yesterday! Of course, we placed them so that we can see a box out of every window in the house 🙂

bird houses

Wes has spent some time in the crawl space underneath the house, putting foam insulation on all the water pipes. Definitely a job I don’t envy him of at all! I did get down and peer into the nicer space, which is actually inside what was once part of the garage, hence this photo. Another job he will be very happy to be done with!

wes siegrist

We take daily walks together along the multiple trails we have made through our woods, and I usually take several trips around them each day when possible. Walking in the woods is certainly one of my favorite pastimes, and I feel so blessed to be able to enjoy doing just that daily now. I love collecting beautiful leaves, or acorns or other interesting natural objects I find, and I created this lovely autumn bouquet using those things. I still had the carnation and few little rust-colored daisies from the arrangement I was given by a friend a couple of weeks ago, which I added to it.

autumn flower arrangement

If we’re out walking late enough in the evening, we get to watch “Batty”, our resident bat who comes out many evenings performing stunning aeronautical ballets as it eats bugs. It’s great fun to watch and at times it quickly dips down, zipping along just above my head. Amazingly it can change directions instantly in mid-air, a feat that doesn’t look possible, but for Batty it is and comes with great ease! Our mail lady kindly dropped off a few oversized packages for us one evening, since she only lives a couple of properties down from us, and we were on her way home. When Wes stepped out to help her, he stuck his head back in the door, telling me to come look at the moon. I stepped out with camera in hand, and it was truly amazing! Although my photo doesn’t do it justice in the least, it was huge, and bright orange, looking more like the sun rising than the moon! Even though it was quite frigid out, I had to stand there admiring it, and watching as it slowly went higher into the sky. 

moonrise photo

The deer have been back a couple of mornings this week, and we see them walking the trails we’ve made. This delights me, and I love seeing fresh tracks and scat many days, knowing that we have made them happy with these trails leading through our woods. We still have one more loop to add to the existing trails, and will probably do that sometime soon, then I hope to add fun little trailhead signs. Once completed I’ll take you along on a walk in the woods with me through photos and stories.

See our miniatures in person this week

Society of Animal Artists 2021 Exhibition
Wes and I each have a painting in this wonderful exhibition currently at the  The Hiram Blauvelt Art Museum, located in Oradell, NJ, November 20, 2021 – January 16, 2022

 Exquisite Miniatures 

is currently at the beautiful Elliott Museum located in Stuart, FL, where it will be on display until December 15th.

We are delighted to have our history-making tour on display in this beautiful museum! So if you’re in, or are going to be in the area, plan a visit to see over 60 of our miniature paintings in person, grab a magnifying glass and experience the “wow factor!” And if you fall in love with one . . . well, it can be yours forever, as all paintings in the exhibition are available.

To see our available miniature paintings, visit our WEBSITE hereartofwildlife.com

Contact us by EMAIL here: siegrist@artofwildlife.com

Until Next Time ~ Rachelle

Bats, Birds And A Special Visitor

Rachelle siegrist

After what feels like months of work, we took a couple of breaks this past week to just enjoy life for a while, and enjoy it I did! One day while running errands in town, we swung by Captain D’s and grabbed some delicious lunch to go and took it to a nearby park. What a nice park it was indeed and we found a great spot by the water to enjoy our picnic lunch. Afterwards we took a leisurely stroll around the mile hiking trail, stopping to admire a couple of beautiful flower gardens created by a local garden club, and to watch a flock of Mallards exhuberantly taking baths. It was such a nice break from the recent days spent working, and I felt like I was visiting and exploring a new location, which I guess I was! 

wes siegrist

Another day this past week, we enjoyed a visit from one of our dear collector friends whom we’ve known for many years and feels like family to us. Dr. Bob, as we call him, went out of his way to come visit us in “the boonies” as he calls it, and enjoy a spaghetti lunch on the front porch. It was a wonderful afternoon full of conversation and laughs, as we caught up on recent happenings. Since it’s been nearly two years since we’ve seen him, it was wonderful seeing his friendly face in person once again and was indeed a real treat for Wes and I. 

rachelle siegrist kayaking

Yesterday was lovely and so we decided to spend the afternoon kayaking at nearby Watts Bar Lake. I can’t tell you how thrilled I was to “splash” my kayak back into the water again, with it being over a couple of months since we’d been on the water! Paddling at a new location, I almost felt like we had set off on a journey in an RV, and it was a wonderful feeling indeed! We saw more birds than we’ve ever seen while kayaking in Tennessee.

ducks

There were several Blue Herons, ducks, geese, grebes, and a Bald Eagle that swooped down not too far from us, snagging a fish in its’ large talons, before flying off, water streaming down from his prized catch! And there were literally hundreds of Coots floating and bobbing about the water’s surface, making me feel almost like I was back home on Lake Okeechobee!

kayaking

After paddling along quite a distance, we came upon a beautiful park situated on a peninsula affording visitors almost 360 views of that section o the lake. Unbelievably there were only 3 people at the park, and as you can imagine with us having recently moved from the Smokies, we found that hard to believe on such a gorgeous Saturday. That being said, we were delighted to have it mostly all to ourselves! 

kayaking2

 

I’m not really sure how many miles we paddled yesterday, but we were both a bit tired by the time we returned to the park where we launched the kayaks. It was a wonderful day and much needed time of relaxation! Meanwhile back at home, the leaves are starting to turn to flame, bringing bold splashes of bright reds and yellows to our woods. 

 

autumn

We’ve spent a bit of time working on the trails we’re making through the woods, and it’s been fun walking them each day. Excitedly, we discovered we have a small creek on the property! Most of it is actually underground, with several holes along the way where you can see the clear water running below. I’ve named it Sunken Creek, for obvious reasons, but it emerges to the top of the ground to the one side of the property and meanders a short distance before heading down to the neighbor’s pond. Almost each time I walk by it, I see a couple of frogs hanging out there, which is always a treat for me!

sunset

We’ve enjoyed some lovely coloration in the evening skies at sunset, and I thought it was particularly pretty after a rain shower had left bright droplets at the tips of the pines in the foreground. The evenings are a pleasant time to walk the trails, and I ended one day with standing in the open part of the backyard, whilst watching the bats flitting through the air above my head, and all about me, coming very near to me at times. Zipping here and there, up and down like aeronautical ballerinas, while catching bugs and feasting. Having always loved bats, this was sun a delightful experience for me and I’m quite anxious to get our bat houses up, and hopefully attracting these wonderful new tenants! I’m sure this comes as no surprise, but after that I patiently watch and wait each evening to see if the bats will return and tango with me for a short while.

bay flying

See our miniatures in person this week

Society of Animal Artists Art That Matters to the Planet Show
August 14 – October 25, 2021:The Roger Tory Peterson Institute, Jamestown, NY

Society of Animal Artists Animal Impressions Show
August 21 – November 7, 2021: The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, Tucson, AZ

Exquisite Miniatures is currently at the beautiful Elliott Museum located in Stuart, FL 

We are delighted to have our history-making tour on display in this beautiful museum! So if you’re in, or are going to be in the area, plan a visit to see over 60 of our miniature paintings in person, grab a magnifying glass and experience the “wow factor!” And if you fall in love with one . . . well, it can be yours forever, as all paintings in the exhibition are available.

To see our available miniature paintings, visit our WEBSITE hereartofwildlife.com

Contact us by EMAIL here: siegrist@artofwildlife.com

Until Next Time ~ Rachelle

What… There’s A Sofa In THAT Box?

foam bag

If you’re like me, your favorite chair when you were a kid, was a beanbag! My brother and I both had beanbags and we loved sitting in them. We even took them to ride on in the back of my parents van on trips, and boy was it ever a comfortable ride. Of course that was back in the day before seatbelt laws, and when there weren’t seatbelts in the back of vehicles or even in the front of some for that fact! The good news is that we survived just fine while bouncing and rolling around in the back of the van as we headed down the road!

Noticing that many people living in Tiny Houses and catamarans, have and prefer sitting and lounging in their bean bags, got us to thinking about doing the same thing ourselves. Having loved my beanbag so much, I thought this was a great idea! So we started searching online and discovered what many of them are using are actually filled with memory foam chunks instead of styrofoam beans. So we found what’s called My Foam Bag, and decided perhaps a love seat option would work best!

 

foam bag2

So we placed our order and the day the small box finally arrived, and we couldn’t believe a “sofa” could actually be inside! Anticipation mounted as we carefully opened the box, then both worked to free the lovely purple bag from inside. We slowly unzipped it, revealing a tightly sealed plastic bag contains something that looked like a huge brain! As soon as we removed it from the bag, it started to grow!

foam bag3

And as we worked to break up the foam pieces, it continued to grow . . . and grow . . .

foam bag4

and grow some more! 

foam bag5

It was amazing how quickly it grew in size as we continued rolling it and breaking up the pieces inside.

foam bag6

We let it sit over night and the next morning, it was even bigger . . . Yikes!

foam bag7

We went ahead and put the tan micro fiber cover on it, and let it continue to expand, joking that it was taking over the living room… Ha Ha! We’re currently in the process of building a short platform to sit on, which makes it sit a little higher. And while it may not win an award for a piece of beautiful furniture, it is very comfortable to sit in and feels like it’s hugging you! Besides that, in a small way it makes me feel like a kid again, which is always a good thing! We’ll finish the platform after the carpet is installed (which sadly is still another week away!) and I’ll share a photo of the completed sofa with you then.

foam bag8

See our miniatures in person this week

Society of Animal Artists Art That Matters to the Planet Show
August 14 – October 25, 2021:The Roger Tory Peterson Institute, Jamestown, NY

Society of Animal Artists Animal Impressions Show
August 21 – November 7, 2021: The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, Tucson, AZ

Exquisite Miniatures is currently at the beautiful Elliott Museum located in Stuart, FL 

We are delighted to have our history-making tour on display in this beautiful museum! So if you’re in, or are going to be in the area, plan a visit to see over 60 of our miniature paintings in person, grab a magnifying glass and experience the “wow factor!” And if you fall in love with one . . . well, it can be yours forever, as all paintings in the exhibition are available.

To see our available miniature paintings, visit our WEBSITE hereartofwildlife.com

Contact us by EMAIL here: siegrist@artofwildlife.com

Until Next Time ~ Rachelle