The Gifts of Nature

bluebird photo2

“The bluebirds are here!” said Wes, and I come running. Earlier I could hear them off in the distance, as we sat on the back porch eating lunch, and waited anxiously for them to appear. But they never came, that is until we stepped back inside, and as if on cue, all of a sudden there they were. I grabbed the camera hoping to get a better photo of them this time, and thankfully I did. I love everything about the above photo. The bluebird with head turned my direction, the moss growing on the clothesline board, the rusty brown leaves in the background serving as the perfect complimentary color for the azure blue of the back feathers, and of course the brightly-lit raindrops clinging to the bottom of the wood. I am suddenly inspired and think “I will have to paint this!” So when I do, I’ll share the painting process of it with you.

bluebird photo

Wes and I built a fence around a small section of the backyard where we will be growing our garden this coming spring. The bluebirds are delighted to have all of the new perching options, and believe we built it just for them. Just as the deer believe we made the trails winding through the woods just for them, as we see evidence of them using it daily in the form of deer prints in the dirt. The squirrels are happy too, as they finally found the squirrel feeder with sunflowers in it. All of this delights me, for I love birds and critters and it makes my heart happy when I feel we’ve enriched their lives in some way. 

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I know it’s out of focus, but I love the movement captured in this photo

Yesterday the mist hung around all day. I’m not sure if it was fog or perhaps clouds that stayed with us here atop the plateau, but it creates a wonderful mysterious atmosphere in the woods, and I cannot resist walking the trails in it. It’s so quiet as I walk along, that I feel as if I’m miles away from everything, that it’s just me, the mist, trees and critters.

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Everywhere you look, tiny, brightly-lit water droplets once again cling to everything, and it’s magical!

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The various moss and lichens growing on the trees look amazing with the rich, moist air, turning the woodland into a botanical moss garden, for a moss lover such as myself!

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And I find I just can’t stop taking photos of it, but will limit them to just these two for your sakes, Ha! I have to stop and pet it too, for there’s something very satisfying about gently patting a soft, lush clump of moss! So, if you’ve never taken the time to stop and pet the moss, I highly recommend you try it sometime, and you too will probably become a moss petting addict! 🙂

nature photography

Our lovely little Sunken Creek is doing well thanks to these moisture rich days, and I find there’s something quite peaceful and mesmerizing about watching it’s ever-changing abstract patterns, whilst listening to the sounds of tiny cascades trickling.

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We’ve enjoyed multiple sunny days here as well this past week and temps so mild at times, that we’ve been able to enjoy eating a few meals on the back porch, which is always a treat! One evening while enjoying supper on the porch, we watched the moonrise. It was lovely against the backdrop of the soft lavender skies paired with fluffy pink clouds. This magical landscape came to life when our resident bat, Batty, flitted into view, and commenced her aeronautical rituals of catching bugs against the lovely backdrop. After we finished supper, I sat in my favorite swinging chair for well over an hour, watching as the last glimmer of sunlight disappeared from the evening sky, and the landscape became illuminated by the nearly full moon. The only sounds I could hear was the wind softly blowing through the pines, and the train horn blowing occasionally off in the far distance. I was happily content gently swaying back and forth completely immersed in the peaceful setting. I am reminded at moments like that, how many times, it’s the simple things in life that bring us the greatest joy. And with all of the numerous distractions these days, I fear that we’ve lost the art of enjoying simple pleasures such as sitting on the porch enjoying the sights and sounds of a moonlit evening. So perhaps sometime during this coming Christmas holiday, you can take a little while to just be still in nature for awhile. Who knows, you may find it’s the best Christmas gift you received. 

log cabin

Shown in the above photo is the latest progress on the front porch. We actually got a lot done on it this past week, and just have to purchase and install the clear roofing panels this next week. We’ll be building a corner flower box on the open side of the porch, and capping the unused 6X6, and then it will be time to enjoy the fruits of our efforts!

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

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

A Week Of Surprises

atumn leaves photo3

AS promised, here’s a photo of “the tree” as Wes and I call it . . . and isn’t it just beautiful! I arrange my dining room chair just so I can see “the tree” out the sliding glass doors, while eating meals. Although a few of its leaves are starting to dry and curl, It’s still unbelievably gorgeous and its bright neon foliage will be greatly missed once it has fallen to the ground below!

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While admiring and photographing “the tree” one day this past week, I happened to notice a weird looking dark area on its trunk, and upon closer inspection, I saw that there was actually a very cool looking moth on it, and thought it a great little surprise! Nature’s camouflage is always simply amazing!

Okay, please graciously bear with me, as I share more photos of autumn color with you. I just can’t help myself, as I’m totally smitten with numerous the shades of red, salmon, and orange we have here, and I can’t resist taking photos of them all! The view below is near the top of the driveway looking down towards the cabin.

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This has to be one of the most interestingly amazing trees in the yard right now, and of course I’ve told it several times how totally gorgeous it is and had to hug it for bringing so much color and joy to my daily walks through the trails!

atumn leaves photo

These two beauties are to the left of the driveway out by the road. There is so many shades of red and oranges in the woods, that in the late afternoons, the surrounding landscape has an orange glow to it, and is simply beautiful!

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Okay, this is the last one I promise . . . at least this week Ha Ha! 

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The highlight of our week was a visit from our dear friends Kit and his mom, Helen! Nearly every time we had spaghetti whilst living in Townsend, Kit would join us for supper, so it seemed only fitting to make spaghetti for them for lunch this past week. What a delightful time we had, eating, talking, and laughing, while sitting around our newly acquired dining table and chairs, which I was thrilled to find at a Habitat For Humanity thrift store! After dessert, we took an enjoyable leisurely stroll around the trails winding through the woods, and spent the remaining time sitting on the back porch, enjoying the warmth of the sunshine.

rachelle aand wes siegrist

I was over the moon with excitement and delight when they walked in the front door with this absolutely gorgeous bouquet of fresh flowers! They have been gracing the center of our dining room table ever since their visit and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve bent over and smelled each one of them, exclaiming each time “Ahhhhhhhh!” They indeed made my month with that wonderful surprise!

flower photography

Most of the past week has been spent working, while raking leaves, painting the cabin with the log oil, and cutting up several dead trees we had taken down. I even split wood for the first time in a long while, and although it took a few tries, I eventually got back in “the swing” of things. 

It’s very quiet and peaceful here much of the time, save for a few dogs barking occasionally or cars driving down the road every now and then. That being said, yesterday morning I was jolted from a deep sleep by the ear-splitting sound of a gun blast! Even though it was just behind the edge of our back property line, it sounded as if it were right outside the bedroom window, and it scared me so bad, that I jumped straight up into the air and levitated there for a few seconds. Rousing my mind from my previous peaceful sleep, I lay there trembling all over while trying to figure out what it was, and finally realized. Thankfully this morning we “dodged the bullet” . . . yes, pun intended 🙂 and there were no shots fired. I’m guessing this could be the Saturday morning entertainment for the adjacent property owners, and think I’ll have to start going to bed on Friday nights wearing shooters mitts . . . Ha!

rachelle siegrist

Okay, so I know it’s not a thing of real beauty, but it was free! This little old metal shed shown below, was back at the bottom of the property and at one point had been damaged by a falling tree. So Wes completely disassembled it, drug it piece by piece up close to the house, and then we spent a day reassembling it. This meant trying to figure how it went back together, attempting to straighten out the bent parts, and of course driving in lots of short screws by hand. Nonetheless, somehow we managed to do it successfully and here it is in all of its rustic charm, where it now holds lots of firewood for future fire pits and use in the pizza oven we plan to build. I rather think it looks like Snoopy’s dog house and I want us to make a cutout from wood, of the Flying Ace to place at the pinnacle . . . So what do you think about that idea? 

siegrist wood shed

Since we have way more wood than we can use, as don’t have a wood stove inside, with the help of our neighbor, we found a nice gentleman who can happily use the extra firewood. So he’s been coming and getting a big part of the wood, making him a happy camper and us happy, as the front yard is looking less and less like a log farm 🙂

See our miniatures in person this week

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

Bats, Birds And A Special Visitor

Rachelle siegrist

After what feels like months of work, we took a couple of breaks this past week to just enjoy life for a while, and enjoy it I did! One day while running errands in town, we swung by Captain D’s and grabbed some delicious lunch to go and took it to a nearby park. What a nice park it was indeed and we found a great spot by the water to enjoy our picnic lunch. Afterwards we took a leisurely stroll around the mile hiking trail, stopping to admire a couple of beautiful flower gardens created by a local garden club, and to watch a flock of Mallards exhuberantly taking baths. It was such a nice break from the recent days spent working, and I felt like I was visiting and exploring a new location, which I guess I was! 

wes siegrist

Another day this past week, we enjoyed a visit from one of our dear collector friends whom we’ve known for many years and feels like family to us. Dr. Bob, as we call him, went out of his way to come visit us in “the boonies” as he calls it, and enjoy a spaghetti lunch on the front porch. It was a wonderful afternoon full of conversation and laughs, as we caught up on recent happenings. Since it’s been nearly two years since we’ve seen him, it was wonderful seeing his friendly face in person once again and was indeed a real treat for Wes and I. 

rachelle siegrist kayaking

Yesterday was lovely and so we decided to spend the afternoon kayaking at nearby Watts Bar Lake. I can’t tell you how thrilled I was to “splash” my kayak back into the water again, with it being over a couple of months since we’d been on the water! Paddling at a new location, I almost felt like we had set off on a journey in an RV, and it was a wonderful feeling indeed! We saw more birds than we’ve ever seen while kayaking in Tennessee.

ducks

There were several Blue Herons, ducks, geese, grebes, and a Bald Eagle that swooped down not too far from us, snagging a fish in its’ large talons, before flying off, water streaming down from his prized catch! And there were literally hundreds of Coots floating and bobbing about the water’s surface, making me feel almost like I was back home on Lake Okeechobee!

kayaking

After paddling along quite a distance, we came upon a beautiful park situated on a peninsula affording visitors almost 360 views of that section o the lake. Unbelievably there were only 3 people at the park, and as you can imagine with us having recently moved from the Smokies, we found that hard to believe on such a gorgeous Saturday. That being said, we were delighted to have it mostly all to ourselves! 

kayaking2

 

I’m not really sure how many miles we paddled yesterday, but we were both a bit tired by the time we returned to the park where we launched the kayaks. It was a wonderful day and much needed time of relaxation! Meanwhile back at home, the leaves are starting to turn to flame, bringing bold splashes of bright reds and yellows to our woods. 

 

autumn

We’ve spent a bit of time working on the trails we’re making through the woods, and it’s been fun walking them each day. Excitedly, we discovered we have a small creek on the property! Most of it is actually underground, with several holes along the way where you can see the clear water running below. I’ve named it Sunken Creek, for obvious reasons, but it emerges to the top of the ground to the one side of the property and meanders a short distance before heading down to the neighbor’s pond. Almost each time I walk by it, I see a couple of frogs hanging out there, which is always a treat for me!

sunset

We’ve enjoyed some lovely coloration in the evening skies at sunset, and I thought it was particularly pretty after a rain shower had left bright droplets at the tips of the pines in the foreground. The evenings are a pleasant time to walk the trails, and I ended one day with standing in the open part of the backyard, whilst watching the bats flitting through the air above my head, and all about me, coming very near to me at times. Zipping here and there, up and down like aeronautical ballerinas, while catching bugs and feasting. Having always loved bats, this was sun a delightful experience for me and I’m quite anxious to get our bat houses up, and hopefully attracting these wonderful new tenants! I’m sure this comes as no surprise, but after that I patiently watch and wait each evening to see if the bats will return and tango with me for a short while.

bay flying

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