The Land Where Water Falls

hiking to waterfalls

We enjoyed a delightful visit with our friend Kit who came to visit us for a couple days this past week. Our mission was to hike to some waterfalls nearby, so after lunch on the porch, we headed out to start our two day adventure. With recent rain, the falls were flowing great and we could hear the water roaring shortly after starting our walk along the trail. The first glimpse from the top of the falls was absolutely amazing and I could see a couple of guys swimming in the pool below. After enjoying the view for a few minutes, we began climbing down the rocks leading to the bottom of the falls.

rachelle and wes siegrist

Once there I quickly made my way over to the water’s edge and was followed by Wes and Kit. The wind created by the falling water was incredible and we were quickly covered in mist! It almost felt like being out in a tropical storm, while standing there and we decided that was a great place for our first group photo.

wes siegrist

We then followed a trail that led us behind the falls, taking breaks to stop and look up at the massive rock cliff, from whence the water fell.

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The pool at the bottom was most inviting and I could instantly see why the people were swimming in the large pool. Of course I immediately started planning a return visit for Wes and I to enjoy a picnic and possibly swim at the base of the picturesque falls.

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We continued along whilst exploring the surrounding area, which was full of big rocks everywhere, large gnarly tree roots wrapping and clinging to them all, as if the trees were carrying these rocks along while walking through the woods. There were beautiful small pools in various spots, surrounded by moss covered rocks and ferns, and looked as if we were in a tropical jungle somewhere.

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Reluctantly leaving the gorgeous falls, we drove some distance to another trailhead leading to more big rocks. However, some of these rocks are massive and made the previous ones look like mere babies. Our first stop along the trail was on a large outcropping of stone that gave a splendid view of the plateau and surrounding area.

hiking in tennessee

Of course I just had to go to the very edge, but chose to sit while doing so to be just a little safer. Sitting there, I felt on top of the world as I looked out at the grand view with vast sky above, which almost made me feel as if I were peering out of a window in an airplane.

rachelle siegrist

We sat there for a little while, relaxing and enjoying the tranquility and beauty of the setting, before heading out along the trail that led us to the BIG rocks. “They’re the size of houses” we were told before hiking to see the big rocks the first time, and absolutely agreed with them upon seeing them in person. Kit was just as impressed with their grand size as we were!

rachelle and wes siegrist hiking

The next day brought new adventures and we headed out that morning to hike to another waterfall. It was gorgeous and looked very different than the last time Wes and I hiked to it last fall.

wes and rachelle siegrist

Our trio walked along the trail leading behind it and over to enjoy the view of it from the other side. As you can see below, I found a very large tree that I just had to hug! It’s bark was thick enough that it almost felt like the spongy cork-like bark of the huge sequoias out in California.

rachelle siegrist hiking

The waterfall was serenely beautiful from the bottom and we found a peaceful spot to hang out for a bit.

hiking to waterfalls6

I love taking photos with our iPhone with the “live” setting turned on, so I can change it to the “long exposure” setting afterwards, and achieve the beautiful look of soft flowing water. The lighting was absolutely perfect as well and was highlighting the top of the falls as well as portions of the big pool below.

hiking to waterfalls5

We decided to take Kit up the rock cliff on the return hike, which is literally a rock cliff that has cables attached going down at an angle, that you can hold onto while climbing up the steep incline. It’s scary enough that for adrenaline junky me, it adds a bit of excitement to the hike.

wes siegrist hiking

That afternoon we enjoyed hiking around a lovely lake, and later had our picnic super at a table directly by the water, giving us a beautiful view to end the day. It was a wonderful time, enjoying fun hikes, beautiful scenery and making great memories.

hiking with rachelle siegrist


I’ve made more progress on my pet portrait commission of a beautiful French Bulldog named Hazel. I’m having such fun painting this adorable little girl and will share the finished painting with you.

pet portrait french bulldog painting

Wes and I are delighted that we had paintings accepted into the 14th Biennial Kentucky National Wildlife Art Exhibition! These small works are available for your collection. The exhibition will take place at the Preston Arts Center in Henderson, KY from October 1 to November 29, 2022.

wildllife paintings by rachell and wes siegrist

My “Cool, Clear, Water” features a hellbender we enjoyed watching while snorkeling in the smokies. Wes’ piece “Understory Surprise” is a gorgeous little kinglet which we saw while hiking at a nearby state park. And my other accepted painting features a beautiful Gila monster and is titled “Sun Loving Monster“. 


 Francesca Anderson Fine Art, MA

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

visit our WEBSITE     Email us

Until Next Time ~ Rachelle

In the Land of Mushrooms

fowlers toad photo

“Now, that’s a toad strangler!. . . I can still hear my late Granny Beth saying that, when the rains became torrential downpours, and that’s exactly what happened here a couple of times recently. It’s rained almost daily for the past couple of weeks, and with moist soil and forest floors, comes an abundance of mushrooms and fungi, which makes the squirrels, deer, and other wildlife very happy, as they love to eat many of them. We have one squirrel we affectionately call Bonzo, who I’m thinking must be finding and eating “magic mushrooms” at times, as he will suddenly dart off at a high rate of speed, flip up into the air, bounce off a nearby tree truck, followed by rolling around in the dirt, before starting this hilarious routine all over again. While I haven’t discovered the type of mushrooms Bonzo is consuming and enjoying, I thought it would be fun to take photos for you of some of the most interesting, weird, and beautiful ones I found whilst walking through our woods recently, so enjoy! 

mushroom photo

This was definitely a case of being at the right place at the right time with camera in hand, and obviously the slug likes the taste of this toadstool!

mushroom photo2

These delicate little beauties were growing in a waterfall formation going down the entire rotting tree stump, and there were hundreds, perhaps even thousands of them, creating a magical setting in the mushroom world!

mushroom photo3

This one with its ribbon appearance, reminded me of the cave formations that are usually said to look like bacon by cave tour guides.

mushroom photo5

This bright lemon-colored mushroom was not only big, but absolutely beautiful as well!

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With a greenish coloration, this funnel shaped mushroom was quite lovely!

mushroom photo7

This light peach-colored flat topped mushroom, reminded me very much of a type of coral you would see while diving in the ocean. You almost expect a “Nemo” or other brightly colored saltwater fish to swim up at any moment!

mushroom photo8

Obviously this one has a very sticky top on it, as it was covered with bits of dirt and rubbish. 

mushroom photo9

The numerous gills along the side of this multi-tiered fungus gave it a coral-like appearance as well, and I thought it quite stunning indeed!

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If you’ve ever walked along the beach and gathered seashells, you too will see the similarity of these interesting beauties to the patterns on some of the shells you would find at many beaches.

While the abundant rain is very good for fungi growth and causing cucumbers to grow at an alarming rate, it has begun causing problems for some of our vegetable plants. What were seemingly spotless plants, are now showing signs of powdery mildew, blight and a few other maladies. Nonetheless, thanks to the wisdom found on YouTube, Wes has learned ways of combating most of the problems, and even though they may not be as beautiful as they once were, our plants continue to bless us with fresh delicious veggies daily! 

We enjoyed a visit from Wes’ brother Greg and his fiancé Christie one day this past week. It was their first time to see our new property and they really enjoyed walking the trails, looking at the gardens, and especially swimming in the pool when the sun came out for awhile. I believe they thought meals on the porches were as relaxing as we do, especially when we were serenaded by a soft steady rain during supper that evening. It was a fun time together indeed!

rachelle siegrist swimming

While I’m so very thankful for the abundant rains, I have to be honest and admit that I am ready for some sunnier days to return, so that the water in the pool gets warmer again. Nonetheless, I just put on as many layers as needed to be warm enough to swim ha ha 🙂


EXQUISITE MINIATURES now on display at The Art & Heritage Center,

Windsor, CO, May 15 – August 15, 2022 

 Francesca Anderson Fine Art, MA

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

visit our WEBSITE     Email us

Until Next Time ~ Rachelle

Air Traffic Control Needed


eastern phoebe

It has been most interesting here at home this past week! There are so many birds everywhere filling the yard with their sounds and activity. The baby eastern phoebes fledged successfully, and the parents are already adding bits of moss to the nest, so I’m guessing they’re planning another brood of babies perhaps! The chickadee babies fledged as well, and their house has been claimed by a pair of eastern bluebirds. We finally got our carport installed recently, and it seemed like just a few days later, the house finches had decided that it was a BIG metal birdhouse that we had purchased just for them. So they set about building a nest in the very pinnacle of the roof at one end, and it’s now filled with 5 babies that are growing bigger and stronger every day.

baby house finches

One morning this past week, Wes thought he heard a chirp coming from the one corner of the carport. So he got the ladder and upon climbing it and peering down into the small crevice, could see that indeed a baby had climbed out of the nest and slid on the metal all the way down to the end. So we loosened the bolt holding the two adjacent end caps on, and while I slowly pulled them down, Wes carefully reached in and grabbed the little baby, and returned it to the nest. Well, you can guess what happened next, he did it again. So we carried out the rescue mission once again, but only after we had stuffed towels into the openings on each side of the nest. Thankfully after carefully returning it the next time, it stayed and they all seem quite happy and snug in their safety-enhanced nest now! 

bluebird photo

Yesterday we had at least 3 pairs of eastern bluebirds in the yard arguing over who was gonna use which house. At times it got a little ugly between a couple of them, but thankfully today they seem to have come to some sort of agreement and peace has returned to the yard and woods once again. The funny thing was, that when Wes had carried the ladder into the front yard to work on a feeder, whilst trying to make it squirrel proof, the bluebirds took it over and preferred it as a new lookout perch!

I love sitting on the porch and watching the birds, and after lunch one day I had the camera with me and managed to get several nice photos of different birds. I really loved this cute pic I captured of a brown thrasher who was searching for treats to feed her baby that was following her around. 

brown thrasher

I think the biggest and loudest baby has been the crow! It appears to be as big, if not bigger than the parents and it chases them about, whilst incessantly calling! 

crow photo

We have several woodpecker species that frequent the yard, and I always love seeing the red-bellies sporting their beautiful bright red head feathers! We were excited to have red-headed woodpeckers visit the yard for the first time this past week, and after seeing them in a gorgeous pose for a photo and painting, I haven’t seen them since while carrying the camera with me.


One of the most adorable residents in our woods is this cute frog we’ve named “The Guardian of the Dome”, and call Guardian for short. He got that name as he tends to sit at the opening of the dome-shaped hole that Sunken Creek flows out of, as if he’s guarding his domain. Sometimes there will be a couple other smaller frogs sitting nearby as well. He’s become very accustomed to us being nearby, and even let me use the weed-eater on the trail and didn’t seem to mind it at all! 

cute frog photo

Starting out on our walk one morning, Wes happened to notice a newly emerged cicada in the gravel driveway. So he picked it up and put it at the base of a large oak tree, and noticed a few hours later that it just had emerged from its shell and was now a lovely shade of green . . . How cool is that!


Every week seems to bring new wildflower blossoms in the yard and woods, and I think these wee delicate flowers currently blooming in the back meadow are so lovely!

nature photography

Birds and flowers are not the only things inhabiting the woods, as I just happened to be at the right place at the right time along the trail one day, and caught a glimpse of a small deer. Slowly making my way nearer, I saw that it was indeed a fawn, covered with white spots. It was so beautiful and I got to watch it for quite sometime, as it ate and occasionally scratched its head with a hind leg. It was truly magical and one of those times in life, when time seems to stand still. 

The yard is also full of squirrels, and at one point I counted 9 of them running around in the front yard. Many of them are chubby too, and we have joked about naming our property, “Fat Squirrel Farms” Ha 🙂 There’s a couple of baby squirrels that hang out in one section of the woods through which I walk daily, and they have become quite tame. The one actually leads me down the path, staying just a few feet in front of me, as if it’s my tour guide, and is so cute to watch.

cute squirrels

The garden is doing very well, and we’re pleased to be getting a major haul of kale continually! We’ve also already eaten several eggplants, peppers, and of course fresh herbs. There are peppers growing that will be ready soon and before we know it, and we should have abundant green beans and little tomatoes! Our grapes which we transplanted inside the fenced in garden space, are growing like crazy and have already reached the top of the fence! The pergola shown below, we actually built with the discarded aboveground pool parts the previous owner left stacked in an old shed. It works and looks great and is even better because it was free!


My flowers are starting to grow really well too, adding beautiful splashes of bright color throughout the landscape and gardens! The tallest plant in the photo below, is actually a sunflower one of the chipmunks planted, so I just had to leave it.

flower photography


If you haven’t been to our YouTube channel yet, be sure and check it out, as there are now numerous videos for you to watch and enjoy 🙂

artpainting video

Click HERE to visit our YouTube Channel


EXQUISITE MINIATURES now on display at The Art & Heritage Center,

Windsor, CO, May 15 – August 15, 2022 

5th Birds of America Show

 Francesca Anderson Fine Art, MA: April 20 – June 12, 2022

The Art of Miniature XXX
Snow Goose Gallery, Bethlehem, PA: May 1 – June 12, 2022

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

visit our WEBSITE     Email us

Until Next Time ~ Rachelle