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Amelia SanJon Gallery
Amelia Island Artists Workshop
Sandra Baker-Hinton
218A Ash Street., Fernandina Beach, FL 32034
904-491-8040,  904-557-1195 cell
http://www.sandrabaker-hinton.com
http://www.ameliasanjongallery.com
Amelia Island Artists Workshop (for workshop schedules)

   
Brief commercial message :)
This Saturday evening is once again 2nd Saturday Artrageous Art Walk 5:30 until 9pm.

Elizabeth St. Hillaire's "Paper Painting" Exhibition is still up.
Everyone loves her work and there are several small pieces which would make great gifts.

I have new glass ornaments with more on the way.
More of the (tarnish free) Vintage Copper pieces you haven't seen.A fused glass artist
new to the island Denise Murphy

New wood turned pieces and lots of pottery and jewelry.

Our first workshop with Elizabeth St. Hillaire Nelson was such a
success we have invited her back for next October for a second run.
Check our workshop schedule to see what exciting artists we have
already coming to Amelia Island each month of next year--even into 2012.
_________________________________
...and now: The Story
 
What memories does the word Halloween conjure up for you?  I actually do remember friends tipping
over someone's outhouse, putting the ministers lawn furniture up on top of his house, and
remember seeing a farmer's wagon which had been completely disassembled and reassembled
on top of his shed by some of the older teens in the community.  The farmer was not too happy but
it was a feat worthy of community wide admiration for creativity and resolve.  I remember in my small 
rural community in Northeast Tennessee all the adults and children dressing up in
costumes and roaming the scattered community not for treats but just to have all wide ranging neighbors
guessing who was each person was...just good spirited fun
Fun memories were made and a lot of fun was had in the spirit of fun at the Farmer's Market in
Fernandina Beach this past Halloween.  All of the vendors were in costume with decorated 
booths.  I still think that the farmers dressed as farmers was cheating a bit. 
 Most of all as I roamed the market I noticed the happy smiles.
 
Many had dressed their parts, the honey merchant dressed in her bee keepers garb, the organic
farmers in their hippie clothes but ummmmmmmm the farmers as farmers, I'm not so sure they were
 in costume since this is what they wore the week before.
 
If you missed this happy event then you missed the best in town even with it coinciding with Florida-Georgia weekend.  
 
But the cutest of all was the fairies with their Trick or Treat pumpkins who visited the market to get
 their treats.  The market is always a treat to visit but this was an especially fun one.
 
Many have asked how Miss Shelly is doing.  Here is your answer.  It been about a month since she
has been on her own in the wilds of my back yard.  Although that sounds like a safe world it is full
of perils from hawks and owls to being rejected as an interloper shunned by her own kind.  We are 
playing a cross between tag and hide and seek here earlier this week.  I at one time 
only a fuzzy tail was visible.  
 

This was an especially sweet week with her as I found that by wearing the denim shirt, which I
always wore as my "squirrel armor" for scratch protection during her inside the house days, she
seemed more relaxed.  The chill in the air giving her lots of energy to romp and play.  She would
scamper up the tree, jump on my shoulder then run around and around my body and
legs (long pants required). 
 
If she was full or I gave her a nut in the shell instead of just the meat she will bury it in the ground.
Squirrels bury hundreds of nuts some to be later moved to larger stashes but remembering mostly
where they put them.  The number of Oak trees tells us they don't always remember-the Johnny
Appleseeds of the oak world.
 
A break to take a long drink of the fresh water I had just brought.
 
This is the old "I'm getting ready to jump on your shoulder look".
 
A shot between my legs as she is running around me in play mode.
 
A break to take a bite of the fresh pecan's I collect each day from the tree behind the gallery. 
I know, I know, just how many photos of a squirrel eating nuts can I inflict on you?
 
Thursday I enlisted Bruce to take pictures of the two of us since it is hard to get anything but a
squirrel eating nuts by myself.  She really likes to get her back rubbed.  Maybe it is the only unthreatening 
play she gets since the bully squirrels wouldn't dare bother her with "her own Big Momma" around. 
 
The shirt used to be her snuggle and nappy pouch when I would tie it around my waist Daisy Mae
 style so she could crawl inside where she would sleep for as long time while I worked on the computer
 or in the house.  I think that it was like a comfort zone for her.
Its nice to have a friend to lean on sometimes while you just want to relax with a snack.
 
The first thing she did was jump on my head and sit so the hairstyle is by "Shelly".  She has
always liked that back and butt scratching and will stay put for a while in her busy squirrel
movements to enjoy that treat.
 
My hand is her play toy which one day I learned was OK to let her do.  Early on she would run
up and nip at my arm and fingers and it made me really nervous.  I thought she was going to hurt me.
One day I decided to let her have my hand and just see if she would bite me.  She proceeded to
play with my hand, wrestling and biting it but never hurting.  I realized it was part of socialization
in squirrel world.
 
More back and butt scratching.  How can a girl resist that.
 
If she starts to get too rough in her play then I just pull away, but she just uses my hand as she
would another sibling engaging in squirrel play.  Playmate invention is a necessity in an only child world.
 
We trust each other so I keep coming out each morning to keep the contact established.  Maybe that
 is wrong and I should just let go but she has so few friends out in squirrel world that she also seems
to need a friendly face.  She is a wild animal and in every way is wild except that through an act of fate
her mom and dad were human. 
 
I am spoiling her by picking out the sunflowers from the squirrel feeder which are her favorites.  She
eats them as fast as I can separate them out of the corn.  It is amazing how they can do that with
their teeth...split and separate the husk from the good part in only seconds.
 
She is reaching out from the tree for another pecan which she will hang by her back feet and eat.
Squirrels are one of the few animals which can descend a tree head first thanks to a backward
pointed toe on each back paw.
 
She is my sweetie and I have counted it a privilege to share in her wild world this short time.  I don't know
if she is sleeping in her perfect little nest now or not.  The older squirrels made her life so miserable
 trying to chase her away that I am not sure where she hangs out at night.  It offered such complete
 protection from the weather that I hope she will use it since it was her first choice but I must trust her
animal instincts to know what is best.  It would be nice if she were to raise her own children there
hopefully not before next summer.  Although squirrels can mate at 5 1/2 months usually they wait
until they are almost a year old which would put her into the May to June breeding season rather
than the December to January one--my baby is too young to be a mother just yet. 
Sometimes I can't get the nuts opened fast enough and she offers to help.  I know that she can
open them herself but if I give them to her whole she buries them and it is hard to
find enough fresh pecans to satisfy her so it is selfish on my part to open the nuts prior to feeding. 
 
It is always such a relief to see her climbing down the tree when I call in the morning.  I know
then that she has made it another day and night in the wild and with each day
she is closer to becoming wiser in the ways of nature and also in growing into adulthood
where she will be more capable of taking care of herself.  Squirrels in captivity can live to be
20 years old but in the wild the life expectancy is about 8-10.  Here's to a long and happy
life for Miss Shelly.


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