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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
Amelia Island Artists Workshop (for workshop schedules)


I am spending days trying to play catch up with too much on my plate so stories are part of that catch up.  The Portrait Workshop with Jane Angelhart, which brought me my old friends from home to enjoy, was fun as the week started with early class.  With it being a day off for me, I joined them for an outside lunch at Sliders Restaurant on the beach with some of the class.
A nice way to orient out of towners to our beach life.  Jane Angelhart in front on the right did a wonderful workshop as usual, with Chris (on the Left) saying it was "the best week of her life".  We won't tell her hubby, Tom, about that statement.
After class it actually clouded up and rained about 10 drops, but not to be deterred, we assumed it would only last a few minutes and took off down Black Rock Trail to see the Tree Graveyard.  The gals from Georgia read my stories, so they wanted to personally see everything they had seen in them.  It seemed nature had left a flowery welcome with the smaller variety of Magnolia which grows here littering our pathway with pretty blooms.
Artists all, they thoroughly enjoyed seeing all the patterns in the sand which were left by the water.
This was taken during an overcast afternoon, about 5pm.  The light was very different from any other time I had been there.  It was as if it was a nearly black and white world.
Chris, Doris and Leslie, (who managed to escape being photographed), enjoyed the unusual lighting.  It felt very much like we were in the middle of an Ansel Adams photograph.
It was a very different feeling, very pensive and dramatic without the sun to play light patterns on the trees.
Beautiful patterns as usual but with a very different feeling.
The black soft sandstone that the place is named for is interesting in it's own right with holes left by sea creatures which drill holes and by shapes changed by the tides.
The horizon was barely visible with the heavy humidity's haze filling the air.
We next went to another beach which is known to have some beach glass, for those who didn't know what beach glass was.  I loved the colors in this shell.  Can you find some beach glass here?
It looks like some huge hands are digging into the shells looking for beach glass of its own.
On Tuesday morning, after getting special permission to take my house guests on Turtle Patrol, Doris was the first.  It was an eventful morning for her, that's for sure.  Our first encounter was a beautiful deer in the area where our brick masons store their sand and bricks.  He was munching the leaves hanging down from the Live Oak branches when we arrived in the area.  Although he kept a wary eye on us, he kept eating until I finally started my loud engine causing him to bolt into the woods.  I hated to break the spell but turtle tracks were waiting. 
As soon as we hit the beach we had our first Sea Turtle nest.  There is an escarpment in this area near the fort itself at Fort Clinch Park and this is the second nest that this lady has laid where she stopped at its base to do her nesting.  You can see where her front flipper left a second set of tracks on the side of the embankment.
Doris got to exercise her muscles with the sledge hammer driving all four stakes into the ground.
A bit of a funny confrontation occured as we were heading on down the beach.  Both tried to disappear down the one lane crab hole at once.  Both backed off and tried to stare each other down as to who had the right of way.  Finally when they figured our buggy offered more of a threat than each other and the closer one dived down the crab hole closely followed by the other.
Once we reached the beach we had another one of those difficult ones with a very elongated nest.  More hammering for Doris.  With all this activity she was obviously not going to make the class on time.  We found one more nest but since I had run out of stakes I decided to wait until the next day and let Chris have a hand at hammering in the stakes.
Next day Chris got to be a Horseshoe Crab rescuer.  We almost missed this one which was a small younger perfect female which had gotten herself stuck in the sand.  I didn't even see her because it was not an area they usually nest.  A kid on the beach walking with his mom had found it.  When I saw him fooling with it I called out to him to tell him it was probably still alive.  I dug her out and let them all see how to tell boys from girls.  Since we were right next to the jetty with no place to release her Chris got the pleasure of holding her until we could drive to the water's edge at the point on the ocean front.  The surf is not so noisy that she needed those hearing protectors, but the buggy I drive requires them.
Leslie and Chris will probably kill me for putting this photo in, but I thought it was very interesting; as we ate by the water the girls were discussing the things they had learned in painting class and today they had both been working on the area around the mouth and nose which is a very difficult area for a portrait artist to capture.  It certainly does look like a very weird conversation going on to the casual onlooker.
Just as they were discussing the children's portraits the perfect subject strolled onto the beach.  I regret that I did not also capture her "Dorothy" sparkling red shoes.  Such a cute little princess, but would yank that dress up in a very ungraceful way when navigating that soft sand.  Very cute, a little tomboy girl trying to be all grown up and lady like.
And now another amazing surprise as we now have some Leatherback tracks without buggy tracks through them.  These measured at least 7 1/2 feet.  Two now, WOW!!!  A great Friday morning.  We called in everyone for a consultation and just to get to see the tracks;  rangers, Amelia Island Turtle Watch Volunteers and fearless leader, Mary Duffy.
I laid my sunglasses down to show the size comparison.  A big girl.
After laying they often crawl on through the nest and do a doughnut, (or a crop circle) kind of area to help disguise the real nest area.  She then crawled back through the area where we believe she nested on her curvy-tracked way back to the sea. 
Although both girls missed the great event we headed up there as soon as class and gallery work was over to get to see it while it was still fresh.  It was their last day and with Bruce's help we had a very nice "going away" dinner at home followed by a short trip to the Ritz Carlton so they could check out my neighbors to the South.  A great week.
One of my mom's famous strawberry specialties, (my low calorie version) was their final send-off treat, as we finished the evening with a great dessert.  Good friends, fun places to go, learning new things, good food whether home or in some of our local restaurants, and strawberry shortcake.  Just doesn't get any better.
Someone asked me for my recipe and I would gladly share except that I don't really have one.  I can kind of tell you kind of what I do.  
Plenty of strawberries so that you don't skimp on the berries and juice when you make them up to serve.  You can see by the picture I am generous with the strawberries.  Slice these up, smash them a little bit with a fork to get some of the juice started out of the berries.  Add anywhere from a 1/2 to 1 cup of sugar to the berries and set them aside in the fridge so that the sugar and the juice of the berries make a lot of syrup.  You want enough juice to flavor the biscuits.  There is a name for this but I can't remember what it is called.
 The cake is made as if you are going to make biscuits (I know, not many do that anymore).  Making biscuits is very easy with (must be White Lily) self rising flour.   Measure approximately two cups of flower, add about a 1/4 c. of sugar to the flour (don't want them to be very sweet).  Blend.  Add about a 1/4 c of butter (the real deal) and cut the shortening into the mix.  Add milk until you have a "semi soft dough" stiff enough to handle with your hands but just barely.  By putting flour on your hands you can pinch off and pat out or roll out a biscuit to your own size preference.  Less is better because they do get bigger.  Bake about 400-450 in the oven until lightly browned. 
As soon as you take the biscuits out of the oven, cut them open and lightly butter them inside and very lightly on the top (Just want the flavor, not soggy with butter).  Set aside until you are ready to serve them.  You don't want them to get too soggy, and you want some of the crispness of the outside of the biscuit so don't fix too far ahead.  Have everything ready to put together and serve immediately.
When you are ready to have dessert, put strawberries in the middle and on top of the biscuits putting plenty of the juice onto the biscuit.  Top with whipped cream, either the real kind or the low cal Cool Whip, your choice as to how many calories you want to splurge.  If my mom were doing it she would use more butter and sugar but I keep mine lower calorie and they are just as good to me.
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