The Gifts of Nature

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“The bluebirds are here!” said Wes, and I come running. Earlier I could hear them off in the distance, as we sat on the back porch eating lunch, and waited anxiously for them to appear. But they never came, that is until we stepped back inside, and as if on cue, all of a sudden there they were. I grabbed the camera hoping to get a better photo of them this time, and thankfully I did. I love everything about the above photo. The bluebird with head turned my direction, the moss growing on the clothesline board, the rusty brown leaves in the background serving as the perfect complimentary color for the azure blue of the back feathers, and of course the brightly-lit raindrops clinging to the bottom of the wood. I am suddenly inspired and think “I will have to paint this!” So when I do, I’ll share the painting process of it with you.

bluebird photo

Wes and I built a fence around a small section of the backyard where we will be growing our garden this coming spring. The bluebirds are delighted to have all of the new perching options, and believe we built it just for them. Just as the deer believe we made the trails winding through the woods just for them, as we see evidence of them using it daily in the form of deer prints in the dirt. The squirrels are happy too, as they finally found the squirrel feeder with sunflowers in it. All of this delights me, for I love birds and critters and it makes my heart happy when I feel we’ve enriched their lives in some way. 

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I know it’s out of focus, but I love the movement captured in this photo

Yesterday the mist hung around all day. I’m not sure if it was fog or perhaps clouds that stayed with us here atop the plateau, but it creates a wonderful mysterious atmosphere in the woods, and I cannot resist walking the trails in it. It’s so quiet as I walk along, that I feel as if I’m miles away from everything, that it’s just me, the mist, trees and critters.

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Everywhere you look, tiny, brightly-lit water droplets once again cling to everything, and it’s magical!

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The various moss and lichens growing on the trees look amazing with the rich, moist air, turning the woodland into a botanical moss garden, for a moss lover such as myself!

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And I find I just can’t stop taking photos of it, but will limit them to just these two for your sakes, Ha! I have to stop and pet it too, for there’s something very satisfying about gently patting a soft, lush clump of moss! So, if you’ve never taken the time to stop and pet the moss, I highly recommend you try it sometime, and you too will probably become a moss petting addict! 🙂

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Our lovely little Sunken Creek is doing well thanks to these moisture rich days, and I find there’s something quite peaceful and mesmerizing about watching it’s ever-changing abstract patterns, whilst listening to the sounds of tiny cascades trickling.

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We’ve enjoyed multiple sunny days here as well this past week and temps so mild at times, that we’ve been able to enjoy eating a few meals on the back porch, which is always a treat! One evening while enjoying supper on the porch, we watched the moonrise. It was lovely against the backdrop of the soft lavender skies paired with fluffy pink clouds. This magical landscape came to life when our resident bat, Batty, flitted into view, and commenced her aeronautical rituals of catching bugs against the lovely backdrop. After we finished supper, I sat in my favorite swinging chair for well over an hour, watching as the last glimmer of sunlight disappeared from the evening sky, and the landscape became illuminated by the nearly full moon. The only sounds I could hear was the wind softly blowing through the pines, and the train horn blowing occasionally off in the far distance. I was happily content gently swaying back and forth completely immersed in the peaceful setting. I am reminded at moments like that, how many times, it’s the simple things in life that bring us the greatest joy. And with all of the numerous distractions these days, I fear that we’ve lost the art of enjoying simple pleasures such as sitting on the porch enjoying the sights and sounds of a moonlit evening. So perhaps sometime during this coming Christmas holiday, you can take a little while to just be still in nature for awhile. Who knows, you may find it’s the best Christmas gift you received. 

log cabin

Shown in the above photo is the latest progress on the front porch. We actually got a lot done on it this past week, and just have to purchase and install the clear roofing panels this next week. We’ll be building a corner flower box on the open side of the porch, and capping the unused 6X6, and then it will be time to enjoy the fruits of our efforts!

See our miniatures in person this week

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

Society of Animal Artists The Kingdom Show
November 26, 2021 – January 16, 2022 at  The Midland Center for the Arts, located in Midland, MI. Wes and I each have a painting in this exhibition

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

Contact us by EMAIL here: siegrist@artofwildlife.com

Until Next Time ~ Rachelle

Waterfalls and Water Droplets

wes siegrist hiking

There’s something very soothing about walking through the woods, during a light misty rain. The moisture collecting along the outstretched arms of the trees, forming thousands of droplets that fall, softly landing on a dense blanket of freshly fallen leaves covering the ground below. Whilst walking along, all you hear is the peaceful symphony composed by these droplets . . .”drip…drip…drip“. The falling droplets mixed with the sound of my steps on the moist earth, blend together creating a rhythmic pattern, lulling me into a state of complete relaxation. 

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Everywhere I look are thousands of water droplets, precariously dangling like diamonds from the tips of the pine needles, and it’s simply beautiful! The miniature droplets which created a magical woodland weren’t the only delightful surprise, as we discovered that what we thought was a dry creek bed is actually a seasonal creek, and after the recent rains, came alive with the sights and sounds of running water all along the trail! 

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We found numerous cascades and even a couple of little waterfalls along the creek. The one below was about two foot high and filled the air with a delightful sounds of falling water as we walked along.

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There were several more smaller cascades as well along the creek blanketed by ferns. Every twist and turn brought a new watery surprise, and I was thrilled with our latest discovery!

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Wes and I were like two little kids again, out playing in the creek after the rain had finally stopped! I found this small waterfall shown below most interesting, as it falls inside a small cave like area, where the hollow underground alcove created a lovely sound. 

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Sunken Creek (shown below), which emerges from the dome shaped opening and flows constantly, was up and running and quite lovely to hear. I recently transplanted some beautiful lush clumps of moss near the mouth of the little stream, and it appeared to be thriving with the abundant moisture. I’m planning to make this a lovely area to sit by the stream, using stones, ferns and moss from our property, and will share the progress of it with you, as I go along.

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I must admit that I wishing to be the height of a Barbie doll and have a wee kayak and tube, so that I could be taking advantage of the miniature whitewater stream! It would’ve been an awesome ride indeed!…Don’t you agree?

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Whilst “playing” in the creek, we saw several frogs, and a big crawdad, who got swept downstream by the rushing water. We’ve seen him several times in the little pool area, so he obviously craws back up when the water slows down. The funny thing is, that I no longer dread a day of rain, since I know it will bring to life my “sleeping creek”, and fill Sunken Creek with wee bits of whitewater!

See our miniatures in person this week

Society of Animal Artists 2021 Exhibition
Wes and I each have a painting in this 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. 

Society of Animal Artists The Kingdom Show
November 26, 2021 – January 16, 2022 at  The Midland Center for the Arts, located in Midland, MI. Wes and I each have a painting in this exhibition

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

Contact us by EMAIL here: siegrist@artofwildlife.com

Until Next Time ~ Rachelle

A Week Of Natural Wonders

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Early one morning this past week, Wes came into the bedroom and said . . . “All 4 deer are in the backyard, right off the back porch“. So as you can imagine, I got right up and walked quietly into the dining room where I stood peering out the sliding glass doors, and saw the deer grazing. I slowly sat in a chair, making sure not to scare them with any sudden moves, since they were so close to the house. It was so peaceful sitting there watching them, as the sun slowly rose higher into the clear blue sky, penetrating the forest with beams of light. All of a sudden, one started jumping up and down, bucking and kicking its legs up high into the air, and before I knew it all 3 of them were frolicking and playing, whilst running in circles, turning the backyard into their own personal playground! 

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And I loved every second of it, their exuberant zest and joy for life making me wish I could be out there with them, joining in on this exercise of sheer delight!

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They continued with periods of play like this for 15 minutes or more, and I was mesmerized and unable to take my eyes off of them! Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, I noticed a Phoebe fly up and land on the ground near them. It seemed to be content hunting insects that the deer were obviously staring up, when all of a sudden it flew up and landed on the deer’s back! The deer didn’t seem to mind too much and after looking at the bird for a few moments, put her head back down and commenced grazing once more. Occasionally the bird would fly off for a few seconds, only to return and land on the deer’s back once again. I felt so very blessed having been afforded a glimpse into the lives like this!

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After some time, they slowly made their way over to the side yard, where they grazed on small shrubby plants, surrounded by a sea of autumn color, and it was truly a gorgeous sight! I’m delighted to say they played like this in the backyard three mornings in a row, then we didn’t see them for a couple of days. I missed them greatly and was thrilled when Wes woke me up early again this morning saying . . . “The deer are in the backyard“. Well, you know what happened next 🙂

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Other than watching the deer, it has been a week of working in our yard and building the greenhouse. However, one beautiful morning we decided to take a break and go hiking nearby to see a waterfall, which of course thrilled me! It was a splendid day, with clear azure blue skies, and lots of autumn color still clinging to the trees as we started up the trail.

nature photography by rachelle siegrist

After hiking for a while through a canopy of reds, yellows and oranges, we made our way into a forest comprised of shorter trees and abundant Mountain Laurel, which lead us to a steep, narrow section of the trail. Before long we came to a spot where the trail lead straight down the mountainside, and offered a cable to hold onto while carefully scrambling down.

hiking to a waterfall

Adrenaline junkie me exclaimed “Oh, I love this part of the trail!” telling Wes how I want to go back and do that part with my GoPro on my head!

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By this time we could hear the sound of falling water, lots of it, and my pulse quickened with excitement! As we rounded a corner in the trail, there it was, with red and yellow leaves concealing part of the watery surprise.

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A few steps more and with the trees now behind me, I could see the entire falls, and it was truly a magnificent site to behold! I stood there for quite sometime, taking it all in, the beauty, the sound and the scent!

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I moved a little closer, stopping to admire it from this angle for a while, deciding then and there, that this would become a new favorite lunch site for me in the future!

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I was over the moon to find out the loop trail lead behind the falls, and I stood there whilst absorbing the abundant supply of negative ions this giant waterfall was filling the air with.

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I must admit that as with all waterfalls, I was sad to leave it, already anticipating my next visit! The rest of the trail was as beautiful as the part leading to the falls, as we wound our way alongside the high, rock-cliff walls. Wes deemed this tree pictured below a “widow maker” for sure, as it appeared to be barely holding on by a thread of a root, and the trail leads directly beneath it! It was truly a wonderful morning and I enjoyed every second of it 🙂

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See our miniatures in person this week

Wes and I are thrilled to announce that a new venue has just been added to our Exquisite Miniatures Tour curated by David J. Wagner! The Lyman Allyn Art Museum, located in New London, CT will be the 43rd museum for this historical tour! Exquisite Miniatures will be on display there October 26, 2024 – January 26, 2025.

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