What’s That In The Air?

fall leaves in the smokies

It’s happened… I can hear it in the air, I can feel it, and see it. The beginning of autumn has arrived. The crickets that sing in the autumn are filling the air with their peaceful song, lulling me into a state of relaxation whilst sitting outside. The humidity levels have dropped, and the evenings are cool, putting a spring in our step. Leaves are occasionally starting to fall, slow drifting through the air until coming to rest on the ground below, where they will live out the short remainder of their lives.   

joe-pye weed

Joe-pye Weed

It’s also the time of year when some of our favorite flowers are blooming, filling the gardens with bold splashes of color! The hummingbirds are thoroughly enjoying this beautiful buffet of rich nectar sources, almost continually fighting over them, as well as the feeders. The hoverflies and bees love them as well, so they provide a delightful source of entertainment, when I take the time to stop and observe them, which I must admit I do often. 

obedient plant blossom

Obedient Plant

wildlfowers

Not sure what wildflower this is, but it’s beautiful!

wildflowers

This beautiful delicate flowering plant was given to us by a friend, and I’m really not sure what it is, but believe it to be a type of orchid possibly. I do know that the hummingbirds absolutely love it, and I think it’s gorgeous! If you happen to know what type it is, please let me know in a comment below. I think it’s really cool how it looks like a red crab is sitting in the middle of the wee flower 🙂

orchid

Of course our beautiful Rose of Sharons are a favorite of not only mine, but also of the bees! They adore these lovely hibiscus-like blossoms and are always working them over. I thought this one below was particularly interesting, as it looks ruffled along the edges after being sculpted by a bug!

rose of sharon

The begonias scattered throughout the gardens are currently thriving and blooming profusely, filling the landscape with little spots of pink! So as you can see, it’s quite lovely walking along the paths and through the gardens this time of year.

begonia

Since the weather has cooled off a bit here in the Smokies, we decided to sit out by the fire one evening this past week, which was most enjoyable and relaxing. Of course we were joined by Bunny, the squirrels, chipmunks and several birds throughout the evening, which made it even better! Bunny is so sweet and loves eating seeds off of her little blue picnic table, and gets very upset when the chipmunk comes up to the table and chases her off. So she walks over to me, as if telling on Chippy, and I have to go over and pick up the table so Chippy won’t eat all of her seeds, and then put it back down, so Bunny can continue to happily munch away. As with so much of life, sometimes we have to work at maintaining peace, but it’s worth it in the end. 

adorable bunny

The two little picnic tables for feeding my critters on, were two of the best gifts from a friend, as so many of my feathered and furry friends, such as Peedeepeeps my Carolina Wren (shown below) enjoy eating their treats off of them and I so love watching them! This morning I finally just moved the blue table over and placed it a foot from me, where Bunny could sit there and eat, while I helped discourage Chippy from stealing her seeds. I gave Bunny a pep talk, telling her how she needs to be more confident and brave about standing her ground and protecting her food, but I’m pretty sure she wasn’t getting it. Nonetheless, I still enjoy having these one sided conversations with her as we sit there a foot apart, each at our own little table, happily eating breakfast together. These are the simple times that bring so much joy to life! 

carolina wren

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 Is That BIG Green Thing?

rachelle siegrist kayaking

Wes and I took a much needed break yesterday! We loaded up the kayaks and headed over to the lake, and since it had been over two months since we’ve been on the water, I was very excited about returning to one of our happy places! It was a beautiful day, with calm waters and partly cloudy skies, which was a blessing with our current heatwave. We paddled to a beautiful spot for lunch, and very much enjoyed cooling off in the icy water for awhile beforehand. And yes, this was my seat (below) during lunch as well, and it was perfect! I don’t know about you, but for me there’s something extremely relaxing and restorative about being in or on the water.

Rachelle siegrist

 

 While paddling along after lunch, I spotted several gorgeous siren-red Cardinal Flowers scattered along the bank, and they certainly brighten up anyones day.

cardinal flower

Farther along, I stopped for a few minutes and enjoyed watching several bumble bees and a big hover fly drinking the sweet nectar of what appeared to be a Carolina Jasmine. At one point the hover fly, or friendship bee as we call them here, was obviously living up to its name, as it landed and went up into the very same blossom that a bee was in and amazingly neither one of them seemed to mind!

bumble bee photot

 

 

While I had already deemed it a wonderful time, it got even better later on! I was relaxingly paddling along and watching the bank slowly pass me by, when suddenly I noticed what looked like a BIG mint green fishing lure laying on one of the rocks nearby. So I paddled over to investigate it further, and when I saw that it was moving, I realized it was a giant caterpillar and not a lure as I had previously suspected. I was completely taken back by the sheer size of it, as I had never seen such a huge caterpillar before! 

regal moth caterpillar

It was truly amazing and I can’t tell you how blessed I felt to be given the chance to see this awesome critter! From a distance it appeared to have a cute almost clown-like face, and honestly looked too big and amazing to be real! 

regal moth caterpillar3

As I was taking photos and videos of it, it walked over and started munching something off of the moist rock nearby. I was completely mesmerized and could’ve spent the remainder of the afternoon, sitting right there and watching this beautiful creature. After returning home later that day, I looked up “big green caterpillars” and discovered that it’s among the largest of our native saturniid caterpillars, measuring up to 6 inches in length! I later told Wes that this amazing hickory horned devil or Regal Moth caterpillar was about the size of a hotdog . . . really unbelievable! 

regal moth caterpillar2

Speaking of awesome critters, I was delighted to see this little toad while walking about one morning this past week!  

toad photo

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, NYSociety 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

Camping With Frogs

Sometimes it’s nice to just get away isn’t it? We sure think so and we’re delighted to be able to go camping for a few days this past week! Thankfully we were blessed with wonderful weather, albeit a bit cold a couple of mornings. Nonetheless it made for great sleeping conditions! We spent our days hiking, kayaking, fishing and exploring the great outdoors, so we were obviously “happy campers” in more ways than one. 

Both the wild Flame Azaleas and Mountain Laurel were blooming, filling the woods with bright splashes of pink and orange, and it was a beautiful sight indeed! Although it’s not a strong fragrance, they both have a very delightful sweet scent and are amongst my favorite wildflowers in our area.

 

We saw so many beautiful and interesting things while hiking, including this beautiful big snail below. 

Another one of my favorite wildflowers are definitely Pink Lady’s Slippers, like this gorgeous trio of blossoms below! Belonging to the orchid family, these blossoms are rounded and hollow on the inside and  appear as if one could slip them on if you had miniature feet. I’m always thrilled to find these gorgeous wildflowers and was happy to find several while on our hikes.

We spent quite a bit of time kayaking whilst serenaded by the wonderful, relaxing sounds of frogs singing, a favorite chorus of mine! I can’t resist filming what’s happening beneath the water with my GoPro, so after noticing a couple of fish from above, I carefully and slowly slipped my camera beneath the water’s surface, and was totally amazed at what I found! There were well over two dozen Redear Sunfish, all on their beds in a fairly large area. They were constantly fanning with their fins to keep the concave shaped depressions free of sediment, and were always battling with any other fish who dare invade their space. When this would happen, they’d flare out their brightly colored gills and charge the other fish, until it would retreat and return to its own territory. I felt like I had been given a very special gift, with this opportunity to watch and observe this beautiful occurrence in nature!

I also filmed several bass, as well as these adorable baby bream below, and am almost done editing my latest video which has great footage of all the different fish in it. I’ll be uploading it to our YouTube Chanel this week, so if you haven’t already Subscribed to our Chanel, be sure to do so and click on the notifications bell, to learn when new videos have been added.

Wherever we go, whether it be kayaking or hiking, we pick up litter and remove fishing line in trees and strewn along banks of rivers and lakes. While doing this, we often find things, and these were two of our best finds while camping! The Garcia reel had a bad “bird nest” or wadded up pile of fishing line, from having had too much line put on it. So Wes patiently worked at cutting and removing the messed up line, and found that there was plenty enough line to still work. Needless to say, he was thrilled at finding this practically brand new reel, which costs about $47 as well as several like new lures! 

We had a wonderful time indeed and enjoyed spending time with friends, who we’ve not seen since our camping trip last fall, and spent each night sitting around the campfire, sharing stories with lots of laughter!

See our miniatures in person this week

See the show online here: Masterpieces in Miniature
 May 2021: Picture This Gallery, Alberta, Canada

The PUBLIC DRAW for these paintings will take place online May 26th at 5PM sharp

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

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Until Next Time ~ Rachelle