Where Rocks Are as BIG as Houses

wes siegrist hiking

One day this past week was forecast to be beautiful and completely rain free, so Wes and I decided to head out to explore more of the surrounding area and do some hiking. The forecasters were spot on, and it was a gorgeous day with abundant azure blue skies and lots of sunshine! Walking shoes on and hiking sticks in hand, we started up a new trail which is always exciting to me. After passing through a dense tunnel of lush green Mountain Laurel, we found a split in the trail, with a sign that read “cave” pointing to one direction. Of course we took the side trip and were delighted to come upon a large rock wall, with a cave entrance in the one side. Even better was the fact that a lovely clear stream flowed right down to the cave entrance. 

hiking in tennessee

There were several Tall Phlox blooming alongside the stream, as well as other native wildflowers. The cave is closed due to the white-nosed syndrome with bats, so after exploring a little around the outside area, we walked the short distance to where we met back up with the main hiking trail. As we climbed in altitude, the wildflowers scattered about became more abundant, and in several areas there were more Rue Anemone than I had remembered ever seeing anywhere in past spring hikes.It was beautiful, with their delicate white petals covering the forest floor.

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Our destination for the day was to see a bunch of BIG rocks, supposedly the size of houses, and we had only seen smaller ones thus far after hiking quite awhile. We had hoped to make it to the rocks to eat lunch, but alas it was farther than we had anticipated, so we found a nice rock that served as a great picnic spot, whilst offering us a good view.

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We decided to just keep going, because I especially wanted to see the group of building-sized rocks. After hiking quite some time, we saw what looked like a big rock wall off in the distance, and growing closer to them, we decided we had made it and that this must be them!

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I was thrilled to say the least, as I walked up to the huge rocks, feeling as if I had entered somewhere truly special, whilst standing amongst these ancient giants! They were indeed the size of houses, and some as tall as two to three story houses!

hiking in tennessee with wes siegrist

Meandering through the narrow tunnels leading between the rocks, we spotted a set of steps leading up between two rock walls.

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It was somewhat of a tight squeeze, and reminded me of a section called “fat man squeeze” that we had encountered on one of our past hikes. Standing at the bottom of the steps and peering upwards, the gargantuan rocks seems to go up forever, and I couldn’t stop saying “Wow!”

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Once at the top, we enjoyed a totally different perspective of the big rocks, whilst looking down.

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Some of them looked like monster-sized stone dominoes, with a couple having gotten knocked over, while others looked like compressed stacks of large stones. Many were covered with a variety of lichens and mosses which were all very bright green and lush after recent rain. Ferns grew in precarious places, appearing to be clinging on for dear life, lest they plummet to the depths below.

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Leaving that jumble of huge rocks, we hiked on and were delighted to see a sign reading “overlook”. Immediately we took the turn and soon reached the edge of the forest, where we walked out onto a massive rock outcropping! The view was amazing, and I found myself saying “WOW!” numerous times over once again, as we explored the stone platform.

rachelle siegrist hiking

The top of it was covered with multiple pools of water, and reminded me very much of Enchanted Rock In Texas, one of my favorite places! 

wes siegrist

Of course I had to peer down into each pool whilst searching for any living things. While I didn’t see any, I found the coloration of the rock in some of the pools absolutely beautiful!

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A couple of the pools were filled with numerous white rose petals floating about, obviously brought there and scattered about by some hopeful romantic. They added to the already magical feel of this enchanting place.

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After spending quite some time hanging out on the rocky outcropping enjoying the warmth of the sunshine and breathtaking view, we headed back down the trail. I was so happy that we had continued on until we finally found the big rocks that truly are as BIG as houses! I already am eagerly awaiting our next adventure!


5th Birds of America Show
Opening this week at Francesca Anderson Fine Art, MA: April 20 – June 12, 2022

31st International Miniature Show
Seaside Art Gallery, Nags Head, NC: April 30 – May 28, 2022 (Our miniatures are already at the gallery and available for purchase)

Our touring exhibition Exquisite Miniatures is currently at The Evelyn Burrow Museum, located in Hanceville, AL, where you can see it now through April 21st, 2022. So if you’re in the area, plan a visit to the museum, grab a magnifying glass and be “Wowed” in person!

Society of Animal Artists 2021 Exhibition
Remaining Tour Venue:
February 5 – May 5, 2022: The Sternberg Museum of Natural History, Hays, KS

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

visit our WEBSITE  artofwildlife.com     Email us

Thanks for following me 🙂


Until Next Time ~ Rachelle

Sleeping Creek Awakens

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We didn’t know it when we moved here several months ago, but there are actually several seasonal creeks on the property. Sunken Creek as I call it, is permanent and flows beneath the ground and is visible in a few large holes along the way, until it finally emerges from a dome shaped opening. It then flows above ground, eventually making its way to the pond on the neighboring property. Another one we discovered whilst walking through the front woods one day, and it was actually a dry creek bed at that time. Seeing it, we decided a lot of water had obviously flowed through there at one point!

landscape photography watewrfall

I thought it would be nice to make the trail follow alongside it, even though there was no water in it, so we did just that. Well imagine my surprise, the first time I walked on it after a good rain shower, as it had sprung to life and even had a waterfall! There are a couple dozen cascades as the water drops down winding along the creek bed, filling the air with sounds of falling water, and it’s truly amazing!

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When it’s really rushing it can be heard from the house, the multiple cascades blending together and sounding like a big waterfall off in the distance. Obviously I’m delighted that we created the trail right alongside the creek, as it flows for days like this after it rains. 

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Eventually it dwindles down until it’s only flowing in a few sections, then slows to a mere trickle in a spots, before drying up completely and returning to its sleeping stage. 

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Then rain starts to fall and like magic, Sleeping Creek awakens and springs to life once more, filling the air with the sounds of falling water again! 

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So even though I don’t personally enjoy rainy days, I certainly enjoy how it brings life to the dry creek, and quickens the flow of Sunken Creek. There’s another seasonal creek that flows through the back corner of our property, eventually flowing into a small pond in the woods behind us. So after a lot of rain like we got this past week, all the streams were flowing and I was serenaded by falling water in surround sound! The birds are drawn to the sounds as well, and frequently visit the many pools of water along the creeks. Being able to watch them makes my walks alongside the creeks even more enjoyable! 

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Speaking of birds, I have been out in the yard at the right time and have been able to watch large flocks of Sandhill Cranes fly over, sounding out their distinct dinosaur-like call as they go, and it’s amazing to see and hear! One group was so low that they seemed to barely clear the treetops above, and another high enough to catch a thermal, where they took a few minutes to slowly circle above, gliding along while taking a quick rest. “Oh to be able to fly like a bird!” I think each time I see them, the Canada geese or the many other birds flying through and above our woods. The geese have been coming to the large pond next door almost daily, and we’ve enjoyed hearing them and watching them through the trees, skimming across the water’s surface, whilst leaving a wake behind illuminated by the sunlight. It’s quite beautiful to watch, and sounds as if they’re having a bit of a dispute over who is going to nest on which side of the pond. I’m sure they’ll eventually figure it out, as I’ve been told by the neighbor, that they nest there each year. Another great surprise indeed!


landscape photography cascades


I’ve spent more time this past week painting on my current commission of Jett. I’ll be sharing the finished painting with you soon. Would you like to commission a miniature painting of something or someone that makes your heart smile? contact us by email.

pet portrait commission cat painting

Making more progress!


miniature portrait painting“Bastien Lepage’s “The Wood Gatherer” is one of our miniature gems in Exquisite Miniatures

Our touring exhibition Exquisite Miniatures is currently at The Evelyn Burrow Museum, located in Hanceville, AL, where you can see it now through April 15th 2022. So if you’re in the area, plan a visit to the museum, grab a magnifying glass and be “Wowed” in person!

Society of Animal Artists 2021 Exhibition
Remaining Tour Venue:
February 5 – May 5, 2022: The Sternberg Museum of Natural History, Hays, KS

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

visit our WEBSITE  artofwildlife.com     Email us

Thanks for following me 🙂

Until Next Time ~ Rachelle

Enjoying Home Projects and New Shows Opening

buidling a stone patio

Wes and I have spent a big part of this past week playing with rocks, whilst building a stone patio in the backyard. Albeit a lot of hard back-breaking work, it’s been enjoyable nonetheless, as we try our hand at being stone masons. Its been great fun watching it turn from a mostly muddy section of the yard into something beautiful! One of the hardest parts of the job was bringing down wheelbarrow loads of stones from up in the woods. There’s a couple of piles of sandstone, which were considered “B” rocks and left when they mined a small section a long time ago. So I say we’re going to the “rock store” when we go to the main pile and look through the rocks. It’s very enjoyable, as you always find wonderful rocks and knowing they’re free, well, that’s the icing on the cake!

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Now that we have the patio completed, we’re beginning to construct a pizza oven in the back corner of the patio. I’ve taken photos throughout the process and will share a time-lapse video of the construction of it once I have it made. 

With a couple days of rain, we spent some time on inside projects, one of which was recovering the dining room chairs which we purchased along with the dining room table, at a Habitat for Humanity store.  I’ve recovered many pieces of furniture in my time, and even though it had been awhile, I got back into the swing of the art very quickly. It’s quite satisfying seeing the transformation of something that looks old and worn, into something beautiful! 

recovering furniture

And voila’ . . . Here it is below, looking like new! There’s actually four chairs, the forth one was just awol during the photo 🙂 We installed the chandelier several weeks ago, which totally transformed the feel of the entire dining room! Sometime soon I will share before and after photos of the inside of our cabin with you, which I think you’ll enjoy. 


log cabin decor

The yard and woods continues to be filled with birds! It’s truly delightful peering out all the different windows and seeing flocks of Chipping Sparrows, juncos, and so many others! The rock platform seems to be one of the favorite feeding stations for my numerous feathered friends, and it’s so enjoyable sitting in a chair nearby to watch and photograph them. 

tufted titmouse

One of our Tufted Titmice taking a peanut

red-bellied woodpecker

Woody, a Red-bellied Woodpecker, trying to decide what to eat next

white-breasted nuthatch

A beautiful White-breasted Nuthatch going for a peanut

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A Tufted Titmouse springs a “fur collar” compliments of the wind

We enjoyed a lovely lakeside view during a van picnic one day this past week, after going into town. It’s been fun and interesting finding new parks and locations to have picnics and explore, and I’m looking forward to having time to start exploring more of the hiking trails and kayaking spots nearby. 

watts bar lake

See our miniatures in person this week

Society of Animal Artists 2021 Exhibition
The Hiram Blauvelt Art Museum, located in Oradell, NJ, until January 16th, 2022

Society of Animal Artists The Kingdom Show
The Midland Center for the Arts, located in Midland, MI, until January 16th, 2022 

The 47th International Miniature Art Show (MASF) is now open and we are delighted to announce that we each received an award in the show! I got 3rd in Birds and Animals on my painting “Among Cypress Knees and Wes got 2nd in Opaque Watercolor on “Excuse Me, It’s Empty Again!” 

Among Cypress Knees

My miniature “Among Cypress Knees”

Excuse Me, It's Empty Again!

Wes miniature “Excuse Me, It’s Empty Again!”

You can view the show online and make purchases starting January 16th at 5:05 PM EST!
The show is being held at The Dunedin Fine Art Center, located in Dunedin, FL and runs through February 6th, 2022. 

MASF miniature exhibition

The two panels displaying our miniature paintings.

Evelyn Burrow Museum exquisite miniatures exhibition

Our touring exhibition Exquisite Miniatures will open in February at The Evelyn Burrow Museum, located in Hanceville, AL. 

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

Until Next Time ~ Rachelle