The Land Where Water Falls

hiking to waterfalls

We enjoyed a delightful visit with our friend Kit who came to visit us for a couple days this past week. Our mission was to hike to some waterfalls nearby, so after lunch on the porch, we headed out to start our two day adventure. With recent rain, the falls were flowing great and we could hear the water roaring shortly after starting our walk along the trail. The first glimpse from the top of the falls was absolutely amazing and I could see a couple of guys swimming in the pool below. After enjoying the view for a few minutes, we began climbing down the rocks leading to the bottom of the falls.

rachelle and wes siegrist

Once there I quickly made my way over to the water’s edge and was followed by Wes and Kit. The wind created by the falling water was incredible and we were quickly covered in mist! It almost felt like being out in a tropical storm, while standing there and we decided that was a great place for our first group photo.

wes siegrist

We then followed a trail that led us behind the falls, taking breaks to stop and look up at the massive rock cliff, from whence the water fell.

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The pool at the bottom was most inviting and I could instantly see why the people were swimming in the large pool. Of course I immediately started planning a return visit for Wes and I to enjoy a picnic and possibly swim at the base of the picturesque falls.

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We continued along whilst exploring the surrounding area, which was full of big rocks everywhere, large gnarly tree roots wrapping and clinging to them all, as if the trees were carrying these rocks along while walking through the woods. There were beautiful small pools in various spots, surrounded by moss covered rocks and ferns, and looked as if we were in a tropical jungle somewhere.

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Reluctantly leaving the gorgeous falls, we drove some distance to another trailhead leading to more big rocks. However, some of these rocks are massive and made the previous ones look like mere babies. Our first stop along the trail was on a large outcropping of stone that gave a splendid view of the plateau and surrounding area.

hiking in tennessee

Of course I just had to go to the very edge, but chose to sit while doing so to be just a little safer. Sitting there, I felt on top of the world as I looked out at the grand view with vast sky above, which almost made me feel as if I were peering out of a window in an airplane.

rachelle siegrist

We sat there for a little while, relaxing and enjoying the tranquility and beauty of the setting, before heading out along the trail that led us to the BIG rocks. “They’re the size of houses” we were told before hiking to see the big rocks the first time, and absolutely agreed with them upon seeing them in person. Kit was just as impressed with their grand size as we were!

rachelle and wes siegrist hiking

The next day brought new adventures and we headed out that morning to hike to another waterfall. It was gorgeous and looked very different than the last time Wes and I hiked to it last fall.

wes and rachelle siegrist

Our trio walked along the trail leading behind it and over to enjoy the view of it from the other side. As you can see below, I found a very large tree that I just had to hug! It’s bark was thick enough that it almost felt like the spongy cork-like bark of the huge sequoias out in California.

rachelle siegrist hiking

The waterfall was serenely beautiful from the bottom and we found a peaceful spot to hang out for a bit.

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I love taking photos with our iPhone with the “live” setting turned on, so I can change it to the “long exposure” setting afterwards, and achieve the beautiful look of soft flowing water. The lighting was absolutely perfect as well and was highlighting the top of the falls as well as portions of the big pool below.

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We decided to take Kit up the rock cliff on the return hike, which is literally a rock cliff that has cables attached going down at an angle, that you can hold onto while climbing up the steep incline. It’s scary enough that for adrenaline junky me, it adds a bit of excitement to the hike.

wes siegrist hiking

That afternoon we enjoyed hiking around a lovely lake, and later had our picnic super at a table directly by the water, giving us a beautiful view to end the day. It was a wonderful time, enjoying fun hikes, beautiful scenery and making great memories.

hiking with rachelle siegrist


I’ve made more progress on my pet portrait commission of a beautiful French Bulldog named Hazel. I’m having such fun painting this adorable little girl and will share the finished painting with you.

pet portrait french bulldog painting

Wes and I are delighted that we had paintings accepted into the 14th Biennial Kentucky National Wildlife Art Exhibition! These small works are available for your collection. The exhibition will take place at the Preston Arts Center in Henderson, KY from October 1 to November 29, 2022.

wildllife paintings by rachell and wes siegrist

My “Cool, Clear, Water” features a hellbender we enjoyed watching while snorkeling in the smokies. Wes’ piece “Understory Surprise” is a gorgeous little kinglet which we saw while hiking at a nearby state park. And my other accepted painting features a beautiful Gila monster and is titled “Sun Loving Monster“. 


 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

Nature’s Most Bizarre and Beautiful Fungi

wild mushroom photo10

Since several of you shared how much you enjoyed my recent post featuring many of the fungi found in our woods, I thought I’d share my discoveries I found this week with you. However this time around, I decided to search for the weirdest, most beautiful, largest and smallest I could find, and was amazed at the incredible variety I discovered. I have to say the two most bizarre, are the one shown above, which has a face complete with an open, laughing mouth, appearing as if the spider is tickling it! I wish I could credit my amazingly observant skills as a photographer for this incredible find, but must confess it wasn’t until I was looking more closely at the photos back in the studio, when I saw the laughing face and the spider! 

The strange looking one shown below is the other most bizarre, and looks as if it’s 1000 years old, or perhaps some sort of alien egg… Ha Ha! Who knows, but Wes and I found them both truly fascinating!

wild mushroom photo

It’s amazing how something as simple as searching for odd mushrooms can turn a routine walk in the woods into a very rewarding adventure! As I walked about whilst scanning the forest floor surrounding me, I totally lost track of time, and my mind became free of concerns with the only task at hand . . . looking for mushrooms. Now that I’ve shared the weirdest with you, it’s time to showcase some of the prettiest. This coral fungi below was absolutely gorgeous and reminded me of coral I would see going on reefs whilst snorkeling.

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This little beauty was incredible with its glowing orange color and frilly center, which also reminded me of saltwater coral species.

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Some remind me of umbrellas, such as this one below, and I think if I was a toad, it would be a lovely spot to get out of the rain, which we’ve had an abundance of this past week. 

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The one below looked like it was created out of a piece of antique milk glass, with its brilliant white coloration and wee nobs all over the surface.

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This flat one looks like a melted hibiscus blossom or other type of frilly flower.

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This chunky fungi looks like a small head of cauliflower…Don’t you agree?

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And of course this one resembles a loaf of crusty bread fresh from the oven, and it’s obvious the fly on it certainly thinks it’s appealing.

wild mushroom photo5

What do you see in this one? I see maybe a fancy cookie with toffee bits on the top!

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Then there are a few that reminded me of critters, such as this grouping below, which look like spineless manta rays hovering above the ground.

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The amazing textured surface of this lovely mushroom made me think immediately of the beautiful silky skin of a nurse shark!

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Of course, many times the tiniest of all are the most amazing, and I loved this teeny tiny bright orange one that looked like one of those big balloon creatures that dance and wave back and forth with the help of the fan in the base.

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And I may have missed this wee one, had it not been for its lovely rich-orange color!

wild mushroom

Now for the biggest, and this one definitely wins the prize, at least this week! Although it started out small . . .

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In just a couple of days, it grew to this enormous size, and we think this is one of the biggest we’ve seen thus far! It measured nearly 8 inches across.

mushroom photo

Well I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing these incredible fungi formations. I’m always amazed at the interesting beauty nature has to offer, if only we’ll take the time to look for it. 


I’ve started on another pet portrait commission this past week of a beautiful French Bulldog named Hazel. I’m already having fun with this one and will be sharing my progress on her with you next week.

french bulldog painting pet portrait

Before starting the portrait of Hazel, I painted on my miniature of Claude Monet’s “Springtime” and made quite a bit of progress on it. 

painting claude monets springtime


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

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