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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)

Good news and bad, again on the knee situation.  Good news is, I don't have torn ligaments, but the bad news with that is it isn't an easy fix.  What I have are two worn out knees with bone on bone on the inside of both joints one worse than the other.  With a shot of cortisone, the knee is working again without pain.  In six weeks we will re-evaluate the next step but eventually knee replacement will be the permanent fix.  I will, as one of my friends said facing the same predicament, "pull on my big-girl panties, grab a quart of my favorite ice cream" and deal with it.

New in the gallery, just for fun is a line of Betsey Johnson costume jewelry earrings.  As with most of life, I operate on instinct and when I saw these very interesting designs with often mis-matched earrings I though how cute.  One is a momma spider for one ear and two smaller ones with a long chain for the other ear, hence mismatched.  One already sold was a ladybug, but one close to the ear and a second on the other ear which hung down with black chains dangling.  Fun stuff so check them out.

Mornings have been pleasant and exciting as it usually is this time of the year, with sea turtle nest laying and hatching going on at the same time.  Nests are hatching all over our park, as with the whole island, while we just had our 29th official nest laid inside the Park (31 actual). 
We still need rain but the temperatures, although hot, are nothing like what others in central US, Atlanta and even in Northeast Tennessee at my mom's house are having.  Although this photo tells me that my lens needs cleaning it is still a nice feeling, morning image. 
 
The Kreger's, my southern neighbors in turtle patrol, have found a nest just outside the park.  I sneak on down to see what they are up to as I finish the South end of my ride.  They are digging into the nest to "verify" that the eggs are there.  Although some of the onlookers actually watched her lay they were having trouble finding the nest chamber.  In South Carolina they still probe the sand to locate the chamber, a much quicker way but takes a high level of skill.  We don't do either just use an educated guess as to the existence and location of the eggs.
 
Mother Nature left a pretty colored composition for my pleasure.  Loved the lavenders in the Sand Dollar.
 
The painting has progressed with adding detail and building up colors in the body and flippers, as well as the foreground critters.
 
More color to the Carapace (the shell) and in the head.  With watercolor building up layers of color until you get the desired depth you want is a traditional technique.
 
One morning's treat is a deer who stops briefly to size me up while I try to get a shot before he disappears. Not much time to get that image when dealing these fellows.
 
The Carapace, after I readjusted some of its shapes, begins to get the addition of the rich browns which had been my original goal.  I changed the pattern in the head slightly after studying photographs of other turtles.  They are never exactly the same but I tried to do what was most common.
 
The Crabs and bottom as well as the turtle herself are gradually changing and reaching completion.
 
Back on the beach Lisa is excited to find such a huge cluster of "Dead Man's Fingers".  She decided to try to dry it out to take it home even though they don't dry that well.  Feeling it at this point will instantly explain its name, with the cold, clammy, wet fingers 'feel' it has.  Not sure how it dried out.
 
A view I seldom photograph but thought with the morning colors slightly glowing through the tops of the grasses with the humidity in the air that it had a nice early morning feel to it.  We are looking back from the west end of my beach ride with high tide almost covering the rocks on the point across the Cumberland Sound (the river) to the south end of Cumberland Island.
 
Thursday Marie and Lisa excavate nest # 3 gathering all the pertinent data while I stand watch.
 
Last year we had one Osprey chick which was very slow to leave the nest.  We called her Slow Learner.  Well this year many mornings I find that we have Slow Learner 2 often waiting in the nest crying for someone to bring home the bacon.  This morning I thought she was gone but as I eased out the gate she stealthily peeped over the rim of the nest and I knew she was still waiting.  I think the parents do still drop her some food but gradually will get her weaned and on her own.
 
You will be happy to know that the nest which was washed over exposing the eggs, in last week's story, and was re-covered by Lisa and me actually hatched.  Good to have a success from a near disaster.  Lisa and her hubby were able to count 44 hatchlings as they left this nest and could still see one little head sticking out but the bugs got too bad for them to wait for the rest to make it out.   When I excavated it this morning, there were 60 which actually were able to get out on their own.  The turtle tracks cross over the tire tracks left by our new patrolling vehicle to the park, a Sherriff's patrol, who has made quite a bed of tracks on his duly appointed rounds, protecting us all from...not sure what???
 
Another nest a bit further down the beach had also hatched the same night.  (I excavated these both in this Monday morning).  The bad old Ghost Crab is digging down in there telling us that we may find some live ones or maybe some dead ones due to the crab predation.  I did not find any live or dead here so if there was one Mr. Crab latched on to it and drug it off.
 
It was a successful nest as well as a very large one.  The turtles seemed to have made a quick trip directly to the water.
 
We have been enjoying Lisa's last week before she heads back to Georgia to start a new teaching job on August 1.  Spending longer than the usual time on the beach, checking out all sorts of beach treasure and critters.
 
This large couple of Gulls hang out close to any fisherman on the river, hoping for a hand out each morning when we pass them.  We call them Bonnie and Clyde.
 
The Painting is now finished.  Possibly a few very minor changes will be made but it is now in the drying stage.  After I am finished the paper is wavy from all the water so I have to dampen the back side without disturbing the colors on the front.  I then sandwich it between two pieces of Plexiglas and weight it down with anything I have that is heavy.  I will leave it there for a few days until it has totally relaxed then I will add a layer of strips of mat board or foam core leaving a gap between each piece to allow the moisture a way out.  I want it to dry completely before I take it out to mat and frame. 

Sunday morning, and the long dreaded last morning for Lisa to be in the park.  The camper is ready to pull out.  The five dogs which accompany them are all prepped for travel.  All that is left is Lisa's last Turtle Patrol.  She gets the honors as she and Lee, the Ranger on duty, supervise and excavate nest #6.
 
One beautiful little hatchling remains in the nest waiting on rescue.
 
We have only a few people there for the excavation so we just allow him to crawl around while the contents are emptied from the nest.  Lots of things on the beach create an obstacle course for the turtles when they make that long trip.
 
This one will not have to do too much work because Lee felt it had waited long enough to get to the water.  It was a bit dehydrated and putting it near the water's edge was probably a good thing.
 
An additional send off was getting to see the submarine come in to the river.  A celebration for the families who waited with their signs to wave at their loved ones.
 
A grand finale for sure. 
It has been a busy week with lots of Sea Turtle happenings with new nests, hatchings, social things with Lisa and J. before they have to leave, getting the painting finished, seeing doctors, getting eyes checked, even worked in a mammogram, and for the first time in about 3 years I will once again own a pair of glasses.  Those of you driving on the roads with me at night will be happy to know this.  I lost them on the beach a few years ago and just never did get new ones.  Wow, a knee that works (even if only temporarily) and vision all in one week.  Life is good!!

(Please take a moment to consider:
These photo-stories have always been offered completely free, to simply share the wonders of nature, and life on the Island. Thousands of hours have been poured into them and it has even become necessary to enlist the services of a paid email service to send out the large numbers who now receive them. So, with the current economic situation if you are able to make a small donation to help ensure the continuation of the stories it would be greatly appreciated.)



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