Birds, Rain Barrels and Stones

tufted titmouse

A precious Tufted Titmouse with one of the squirrel nests in the upper right corner

Well it took a few weeks, but the yard is absolutely filled with birds now! There are lots of Tufted Titmice, Carolina Chickadees, White-breasted Nuthatches, and Eastern Bluebirds, with American Goldfinches, Slate-colored Juncos and House Finches joining the gang, as well as several different species of woodpeckers! Sometimes I sit in my little wooden chair out back, and am literally surrounded by birds! Wes said they’d come, and that they have, and bring so much joy to us both! A new favorite perch for the bluebirds is the clothes line, especially the end boards. They love sitting there in between checking out the numerous birdhouses scattered throughout the yard.

bluebirds

A couple of our abundant Bluebird visitors

I’m not quite sure what these juncos were finding below, but there was a flock of them searching the ground for most likely assorted seeds. Although we haven’t seen the deer this past week, we’ve certainly seen evidence of their visits, as the trails, especially the newest one, are covered with deer tracks, and one of them is quite large! I’d say with the scrape marks we’ve seen on a few of our saplings along the trails, that a buck is visiting. They obviously love the new trails as much as I do! A couple of evenings this past week, we’ve see our bat we’ve named “Batty” which we’re hoping has taken up residence in the bat house we put up recently. 

slate-colored juncos

Beautiful Slate-colored Juncos

We’re continuing to work on projects around the house and property, and this past week I finished the stone patio in front of the cabin. If you saw it a couple of weeks ago, you’ll notice that it is about double the size it was, as I’ve curved it and taken it back to the house. And who knows, someday I may add more to it, as I really enjoy working with stone and putting together these BIG puzzles! 

stone patio idea

The stone patio completed . . . at least for now 🙂

Another project we started this week, was installing gutter on the back porch and the new rain barrels. We have two in place and will be adding one more, once we purchase it. We decided to take out the square flower bed out front, comprised by several railroad ties, so we used most of them to build the platform to raise up the rain barrels. It was a bit tricky for Wes to get the old ties level, but the great part is that they were free, and we love reusing as much material as possible. 

rain tanks

Two rain barrels in place and one more to add

There’s an abundant supply of sandstone rocks in assorted shapes and sizes on the property, and just like the patio at the front of the cabin, we’re using them to do so many different things! Another great use for some of them, was building these stone steps along one of the woodland trails. 

hiking trail

New stone steps in progress

We were thrilled to discover not too long after moving here, that there’s actually a small creek on the property! We’ve named it Sunken Creek, as it runs underground for quite some distance before emerging from this perfectly dome shaped hole in the ground. There’s a few holes which you can peer down into, and see the clear water running at the bottom, before it reaches this point. From here, it flows down to the neighboring property, where it feeds their large pond. Albeit a small little creek, it’s lovely and quite peaceful to sit by. I’ve also seen quite a few birds nearby, including a kinglet getting a drink from it, which was a treat indeed! We’ve also seen crawdads, salamanders and frogs in it, as well as numerous deer tracks leading up to it. 

mountain stream

Our lovely little “Sunken Creek”

We’re slowly making progress inside as well, although we much prefer working on outdoor projects whenever possible, and were quite pleased to get the studio nearly finished. We’ve just to add a few trim boards and tidy up the shelves a bit, and it will be done. My painting table is on the left in front of the window, and I chose to build one that I can stand at this time around. So, this means I’ll be picking up a wee paintbrush sometime soon. 

siegrist studio

The studio finally looks inviting doesn’t it?

Looking for just the right gift for someone special, or wanting to treat yourself? Then here’s a wonderful opportunity for you! This is the last installment in our “moving sale”, offering you an assortment of our older miniatures that are now very affordable. Click HERE to see the available paintings and contact us via email at siegrist@artofwildlfie.com to purchase.

Siegrist Moving Sale NOV

This is just a few of the available miniature paintings in the sale

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

Surrounded By Blue Birds

fall wreath

Happy Fall Ya’ll! Wow . . . It’s hard to believe Thanksgiving is nearly upon us! But here it is the 21st of November already. I guess time flies when you’re having fun or working on a lot of projects! Either way, I seem to be having a hard time keeping up with what day of the week or the month it is here. It’s like we’re living in the twilight zone, in a good way, here in Grandview! 

We finished treating the cabin with log oil, a job we’re both very thankful to be done with indeed! It looks happier and in much better shape now though and that makes us feel good. We also finished building the greenhouse this past week. We’re digging the floor out in it, about two feet down, adding nice geothermal insulation properties to it. We’ve also managed to fill the leaf compost on the left of it, using a minuscule fraction of the leaves our numerous trees have shed this past week. That being said, we have raked and blown leaves multiple times and since most have come down now, I’m thinking we’ll be doing a little less of this activity this next week.

building a greenhouse

Here’s a look inside the greenhouse, with our few plants brought along from our garden in Townsend, and they seem to be very happy in their new warm home! About half of the floor has yet to be dug out, and once we’re finished I’ll be sharing a step-by-step of the building process on a blog post, in case you’re curious to see how it was built.

greehouse

One of my projects this past week was to create the stone patio entrance to the front deck. We had already moved the rocks there and had them scattered about. I spent the entire day carefully moving them around and arranging them, before digging out some of the gravel and dirt beneath, to seat them in place. It was like putting together a giant, heavy puzzle, one piece at a time, making adjustments as needed, to make it fit together just right. 

making a stone sidewalk

I was quite pleased with how it turned out, and thought it kind like creating a large abstract! I’ll be adding onto the patio later on, as we’re planning to build both a pizza oven and rocket stove in that area, to enjoy cooking on, and of course for free! We’ll be building a roof on part of the front deck as well later on, so you’ll see those changes as they happen.

stone patio ideas

Another fun wood working project we did yesterday, was build several birdhouses and put them all about the yard. We used wood we had and the old metal poles the previous owner left from his above ground pool he once had. We just had to put two poles together to make each one tall enough, and voila’… we had the perfect birdhouse pole! The day before we built these, I had walked out to dump the compost in the compost bed, and suddenly stopped dead in my tracks, as a beautiful male bluebird flew up, landing atop a birdhouse mere feet in front of me! I was thrilled to say the least, and even more so when I realized that I was surrounded by bluebirds! There were a dozen of them everywhere I looked, atop several houses, on the greenhouse, the clothesline and even the table saw! It was absolutely amazing, and I stood there very still, feeling as if I was a part of this beautiful bright blue flock! Talk about immediate rewards for your work, that was certainly the case yesterday! Of course, we placed them so that we can see a box out of every window in the house 🙂

bird houses

Wes has spent some time in the crawl space underneath the house, putting foam insulation on all the water pipes. Definitely a job I don’t envy him of at all! I did get down and peer into the nicer space, which is actually inside what was once part of the garage, hence this photo. Another job he will be very happy to be done with!

wes siegrist

We take daily walks together along the multiple trails we have made through our woods, and I usually take several trips around them each day when possible. Walking in the woods is certainly one of my favorite pastimes, and I feel so blessed to be able to enjoy doing just that daily now. I love collecting beautiful leaves, or acorns or other interesting natural objects I find, and I created this lovely autumn bouquet using those things. I still had the carnation and few little rust-colored daisies from the arrangement I was given by a friend a couple of weeks ago, which I added to it.

autumn flower arrangement

If we’re out walking late enough in the evening, we get to watch “Batty”, our resident bat who comes out many evenings performing stunning aeronautical ballets as it eats bugs. It’s great fun to watch and at times it quickly dips down, zipping along just above my head. Amazingly it can change directions instantly in mid-air, a feat that doesn’t look possible, but for Batty it is and comes with great ease! Our mail lady kindly dropped off a few oversized packages for us one evening, since she only lives a couple of properties down from us, and we were on her way home. When Wes stepped out to help her, he stuck his head back in the door, telling me to come look at the moon. I stepped out with camera in hand, and it was truly amazing! Although my photo doesn’t do it justice in the least, it was huge, and bright orange, looking more like the sun rising than the moon! Even though it was quite frigid out, I had to stand there admiring it, and watching as it slowly went higher into the sky. 

moonrise photo

The deer have been back a couple of mornings this week, and we see them walking the trails we’ve made. This delights me, and I love seeing fresh tracks and scat many days, knowing that we have made them happy with these trails leading through our woods. We still have one more loop to add to the existing trails, and will probably do that sometime soon, then I hope to add fun little trailhead signs. Once completed I’ll take you along on a walk in the woods with me through photos and stories.

See our miniatures in person this week

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

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

A Week Of Natural Wonders

deer photo2

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! 

deer photo3

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!

deer photo4

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!

deer photo5

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 🙂

deer photo

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!

rahelle siergsit

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.

wes siegrist

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!

waterfall photo2

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!

waterfall photo

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.

waterfall photo3

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 🙂

nature photography by rachelle siegrist2

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