It’s Time For Lots of Laughter

turtle painting by Wes Siegrist

“Waiting For High Tide”

I shared Wes’ painting (shown above) of a turtle on our social media pages this past week, as it’s currently in one of our miniature shows and available through The Snow Goose Gallery. This adorable turtle perched upon a rock, appearing to be totally enjoying the sun and waiting for high tide, reminded us of a very funny story from photographing it that day.

We had gone to the Louisville Zoo many years ago now, with Wes’ Nana and his parents, and since Nana couldn’t walk all over the zoo, I gladly pushed her around it in a wheelchair. We were stopped by a beautiful pond, happily watching the ducks, when all of a sudden they took off and I could see at a distance that the incoming artillery raid was dropping “liquid bombs”. I made a split-second decision, deciding that I couldn’t move fast enough while pushing Nana’s wheelchair, so I left her there and quickly ran away, escaping the duck droppings! Needless to say, returning to our poor Nana, I could see that she was totally covered in liquid duck poo! It was all over her pants and shirt and even her hat! I felt so terrible, but nearly died from intense laughter . . . Ha Ha! Thankfully Nana was always an awesome sport about stuff and found great humor, even at her own expense, in the hilarious encounter as well!

adorable baby squirrel photo

Talk about laughter, our two resident baby squirrels continue to entertain us daily with their hilarious antics and interactions with one another, bringing us much laughter indeed! 

Okay, just as I’m still ashamed to this very day of what I did to poor Nana, I’m ashamed to say that I’m terrified of getting shots, and anything to do with the medical field for that matter! Wes and I got our first Covid vaccinations over a week ago now, and Wes was able to keep the appointment a secret for over two days prior, to keep me from worrying myself silly over getting a shot. Sadly, I saw that the alarm was set the night before, and instantly realized why, so I didn’t sleep hardly at all that night. Reluctantly I drug myself out of bed the next morning, managed to eat part of my breakfast, and tried to make myself look as if I had it all together, which I didn’t pull off. 

Standing in a short line at Kroger I felt like I was doing a death march, and there was a young man with his mother in front of us. He started making small talk, most of it funny, which I managed to force a chuckle at now and then. Then he said . . . “I hate shots and am scared of doctors!” Immediately identifying with this, I said “Me too!” Then he went on to say in a heavy Appalachian accent . . . “Boy, last year when I got my flu shot, they hit a vein, and the blood went to spurttin’ out like Old Faithful! It was shooting all over the room, and they couldn’t get it stopped! I can’t stand the sight of blood, especially my own, so it was terrible.” His mom adding to the story said “Yeah, we were in there over an hour while they tried to get that under control and to stop the bleeding!”

Well as you can well imagine, I began to feel very faint by this point and could literally feel the color drain from my face. Then I watched as a young girl left the clinic room, and she had a dreadful look on her face and was rubbing her arm, as she left as if a trained hornet had been used for the injection. Suddenly the clinic door opened back up and the very young doctor called my name. I felt like it was all over! I told him my husband had to come with me, because I may faint. I sat down on the chair, bent over, placing my head into my right hand and waited for the end. As I waited he said “All done” as he put on a band-aid, and I thanked him for being so good at what he did since I hadn’t felt a thing. Although the entire scenario was horrifying at the time, it’s hilarious now and has brought us many laughs! 

Phacelia wildflower

Purple Phacelia blooming in our backyard above, and a wild violet blooming alongside a stream below

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We enjoyed a nice hike alongside a stream this past week and I took several videos and underwater videos with my beloved GoPro, and will be making a relaxing cascades video for you to enjoy soon on our YouTube channel

using a GoPro

Wes fired up the rocket stove this past week and cooked a pile of delicious fried potatoes and onions, a favorite of ours! It’s amazing to us to be able to cook for free, and the smokey flavor added by cooking them this way, makes it even better! Here’s a short video below, to show you how it works, and you can hear the taters sizzling . . . YUM!

 Ridiculous Remedies From 1892

Okay, so here’s this week’s remedies for you, which as always I’m not suggesting for use! I really don’t know where one would go about finding some of the ingredients they used, such as galangal-root, and they were always using ammonia to drink in small doses, which I personally can’t imagine! The funniest part is that if a particular remedy didn’t work, they always turned to whiskey, gin, brandy or some other spirits which they used to fix anything . . . Ha ha!

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See our miniatures in person this week

See the show online now here: 30th International Miniature Art Show
May 1-31, 2021: Seaside Art Gallery, Nags Head, NC (We are the judges for the show this year!)

See the show online here: The Art of the Miniature XXIX
May 2 – June 13, 2021: The Snow Goose Gallery, Bethlehem, PA

To see our available miniature paintings, visit our website, artofwildlife.com

Would you like to commission us? If so, contact us by Email

Follow us!

Until Next Time ~ Rachelle

Smoky Mountain Spring Flowers

yoshino cherry tree blossoms photo

WOW . . . It’s finally happened! Some of the bushes and trees are bursting with blossoms, and I can’t begin to tell you how thrilled I am to see color in the landscape once again! Not to mention the blue skies, which we enjoyed yesterday and are enjoying again today. Spring is a little late here in the Smokies, so that makes these bright blossoms an even more welcome sight! So this week I thought we’d go on a fun little photo journey around our small yard to see what’s blooming. The Yoshino Cherry Tree, shown above, is a favorite of the bees, and I love standing beneath it whilst listening to the humming buzz of these happy insects! Below is the gorgeous Forsythia, appearing as the petal-form of sunshine, adding a bold, bright yellow splash to the yard!

forsythia photo

This is the Japonica’s (shown below) second attempt at flowering, which thankfully was successful, as the cold bit it back when it started to bloom earlier this year. The honey bees really seem to love these flowers, and I love them too since they’re a shade of my favorite color . . . pink!

japonica bush flowers photo

Of course, the Daffodils are always a lovely sight indeed and usually one of the first to start blooming in our yard. We have several varieties of these delicate beauties, ranging from all yellow to multi-colored, to miniature, all quite beautiful to behold.

narcissus daffodil photo

There are several wildflowers starting to bloom as well, one of which is the Bloodroot shown below. We have several nice-sized clumps of these scattered throughout the gardens, and these hardy wildflowers bloom for quite a long time, which is always nice.

bloodroot smokies wildflower

Cutleaf Toothwort is another lovely little wildflower here in the Smokies, with wee, delicate petals in shades of light pastel pink and lavender.  

cutleaf toothwort smokies wildflower

Well, I hope you enjoyed our little sojourn around the path, and next week there should be even more wildflower blossoms for me to photograph and share with you! We’re also hoping for a day of nice weather, so we can get back out on the water again. Even though it’s only been a couple of weeks since we went kayaking last, it seems like months.

Ridiculous Remedies

Alrighty, here’s this week’s 1892 cookbook remedy for you, and I’m not even sure where to start on this one. Goodness, I don’t think I would’ve wanted to own flannel back then if you had to be this tedious about taking care of it! And even more unbelievable than the safe washing practices of flannel, is the care of men’s pantaloons . . . HAHA! I’m not quite sure what they mean by “worsted goods” but I’m suspecting they mean the really dirty stuff! I guess I never realized men wore pantaloons and the idea of Wes wearing them totally cracks me up! And of course, they ironed them . . . right? . . . Because who wanted to be caught wearing wrinkled pantaloons . . . HAHA! The more we learn about what they did back then, it’s no wonder people looked like they were approaching 100 years of age, when they were only in their early 30s! I’m sure this will make you want to go give your washing machine a nice BIG hug!

everyday cook book

remedy

In The Studio

This week in the studio, I’ve started my latest commission of a pair of Purple Martins. Wes and I had martins living in our yard when we lived in Okeechobee, FL, and we absolutely loved them! Their calls and chatter filled the air as they flocked in and out of their big house, located atop a long pole erected in the garden. They were great for adding both beauty and delightful sounds, so as you can imagine, this painting is both fun and special to me! Wes has been framing paintings for several upcoming shows.  We were delighted to receive the wonderful news from the SAA jury that each of us had a painting juried into the upcoming Animal Impressions show at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum later this summer.  I’ll share the images with you in the near future.

commission a bird painting

 

In case you missed the announcement of my latest time-lapse painting video, here’s the link to our YouTube Chanel for you to check it out and any others you may have missed!

 See our miniatures in person this week 

 Exquisite Miniatures at the Norfolk Arts Center, in Norfolk, NE

To see our available miniature paintings, visit our website, artofwildlife.com

Would you like to commission us? If so, contact us by Email

Follow us!

Until Next Time ~ Rachelle

Beauty and the Buzz

azaleas bloming2

Each day brings something new in the gardens this time of year! A splash of color through blossoming bushes and trees, along with more and more wee bright green leaves popping out along the branches of many trees! The rains have also subsided thus allowing us to spend more time out working in the yard.

wildflowers of the smokies5

The air is filled with the hum of bees and springtime birdsong! It’s simply delightful and after what seemed like a long, gray winter, I’m thrilled to be drinking it all in! The azaleas are really starting to bloom, filling the gardens with bold, splashes of intense color throughout! Pinks, violets, salmon, red and now, white are the colors so far that seem to cover every square inch of many bushes.

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Other flowers are blooming too, many of them being our native wildflowers. Needless to say, it’s a treat to walk the winding path through our gardens each day.

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Mornings and evenings are prettiest, as the color becomes saturated with the subdued lighting, and you can just imagine that you’re walking through a magical meadow far, far away, where tiny fairies live and come out and flit about the numerous flowers!

wildflowers of the smokies

There’s a particular stand of trillium that has been growing near our crabapple tree for years now, and each year they get bigger and more amazing! This year they are huge and I was excited to see that they’ve spread and now a wee patch of babies is now growing near this wonderful clump!

wildflowers of the smokies trillium

When we moved here almost 19 years ago now, there was nothing in our yard except for a couple trees and shrubs. The topsoil had all washed away leaving behind a hard slate-filled yard that hardly nothing would grow in. Being the tree huggers we are and lovers of forests, we started planting trees right away and letting volunteers grow. Plus Wes hauled literally hundreds of pounds of leaves and yard debris from a dear neighbor’s woods, which we mulched and scattered about our wee “woods” for many years. At one point, we also went with friends to dig up wildflowers from an area that was about to be developed, which we planted in our yard.

wildflowers of the smokies rue anemone

The years of work have paid off for us and now we have our own beautiful woods, with much of the forest floor covered in lush green moss, and numerous wildflowers thriving and scattered throughout!

wildflowers of the smokies3

Well, I do hope you enjoyed this virtual walk through our gardens and I look forward to sharing more with you from them, in the next few posts!

azaleas bloming

I’m super excited that my precious Carolina Wrens Peedeepeeps and Elvira have decided to nest in the big potted Spider Plant right outside our kitchen window! I’ve watched their progress from the first bits of moss while building this amazing sculpture with their beaks, and I’m so impressed! There are now 5 wee brown speckled eggs in there, and Elvira sits on it staring in the late evening and throughout the night. During the day the temps must be warm enough, as they stay away from the nest. I will keep you posted on their progress each week.

carolina wren nest and eggs

Peeps is not the only one nesting, as the cardinals, chickadees, and doves are nesting in the yard as well. My precious little Tufted Titmouse friend, Tinymouse is also nesting, as she comes almost daily and sits atop my head whilst trying to gather hair for her nest! Sometimes she just sits on my shoulder, and at others atop my knee, when I’m sitting out in the lounge chair reading. It almost appears as if she’s either checking out which book it is or waiting for me to read to her! Sometimes she comes and sits on me while we’re eating on the back porch too! Such delight she brings to me each spring! With extra time on our hands from not going anywhere, Wes is spending quite a bit of time in the garden and greenhouse, so hopefully, we’ll have more flowers and fresh edible things soon!

wes siegrist in greenhouse

~  In The Studio  ~

I finally managed to make myself stay inside long enough this past week to finish my painting of a Black-crowned Night Heron, which I started at The Big Night For Small Works during this past Southeastern Wildlife Exposition. The reference for this beautiful serene swamp setting came from our visit to Brookgreen Gardens for the opening of our Exquisite Miniatures Exhibition.

black-crowned night heron miniature painting
“Among Cypress Knees”

~  See our miniatures in these shows (currently online only) this week  ~

 (Other shows have closed with upcoming exhibitions pending. Check the website for updates.)

The Art of the Miniature XVIII
May 3 – June 14, 2020: Snow Goose Gallery, Bethlehem, PA

29th Annual International Miniature Art Show
May 2 – 30, 2020: Seaside Art Gallery, Nags Head, NC

Want to enjoy your special friend as a miniature painting?
                                             
. . . Then commission us to do just that! Email photos for consideration to us at

commission a dog painting