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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)

Fernandina Beach has its "Pajama Party" in the morning, (Black Friday), so Amelia SanJon Gallery will be open at about 8:30 -ish, to welcome all the curiously attired shoppers.  
T-Shirts are here, so pick yours up if you are within pick-up range.
"It" is finished, -done.  Adding Dragonflies was the last bit to be done.  Keep in mind this is a 6 foot wide painting which is why it has taken me so long to get it finished.  As my sister commented today when she saw it, "There's a lot going on in that."  And I said "Yeah, there is". 
I started the drawing onto the canvas just after Labor Day.  I didn't work on it every day but in spurts, as time restraints of running a gallery allow.  I also stopped long enough to paint an abstract watercolor to enter in the Jacksonville Watercolor Show, (bringing home a 2nd Place Award, so it was time well spent).
But it's finally come together.  One more coat of varnish and it is ready to go to its new home.  Now I am ready if the weather holds, to take a day and just go fishing. 
And along the edge of my favorite fishing hole, the Atlantic ocean, I took a stroll just before the DST change over, which makes it impossible to go after work, and after one of our several Nor'easters.  I found lots and lots of shells.  Some I put back in the water because the inhabitants were still alive.  The resident of this shell was not alive, but had living shellfish attached.  There are two kinds of Pen Shells in our area, and this one, without rough ridges is the Sawtooth.  The other with 15 rows of horny ridges is called the Rigid Pen Shell.
This lovely Channeled Whelk was quite alive, so it was tossed back into the sea.
Walking allows a better encounter with the birds, because of the ability to get closer than was possible with my noisy old beach buggy.  I just got news recently that the Park has inherited a broken ATV, which they were able to repair, so it looks like I may get my wish and be able to ride the ATV next Spring.  It is so much easier on the beach environment to ride this kind of vehicle.  Of course the top on the buggy was nice when the weather was bad, especially Nor'easters with the blowing sand.
Here are a couple of the varieties of birds, especially the Black skimmer, which we don't usually have on our Park beach in the summer.  I do see them mid island.  There was one very big fellow in the group.  I believe this is a juvenile Greater Black Backed Gull which is the largest of the gulls.  Not totally sure on this, but the Lesser Black Backed Gulls, one of which it might be, do not winter over here.  He could just be heading South.  When fully mature, its color will be the traditional white underneath but with a very black back.
There were piles and piles of shells and interesting pieces of driftwood.  The light was sinking low, giving the translucent Pen Shells a special glow.  It looks like both kinds of Pen shells laying together.
This pile hosted a variety of species of shell with the prettiest, the Cockle shell, lying here with its hinge still intact.  Lots of pretty pinks, oranges, and even lavenders are in the mix.
Another pile of drift wood and Pen Shells washed with the warm late afternoon sunshine.
Looking back toward the pier, you can see the first line of the piles of shells.  There was another line further up, left over from the really bad Nor'easter in the middle of September.  That is where the coolest driftwood was left.  It was being picked over by other beach driftwood collectors.  Of course what appeals to me are the small intricately shaped ones which other people would overlook.
I had never thought to stop by the overlook in the Park to catch the Lighthouse while it had its light beaming out across the way.  A beacon to warn shippers and mark the pathway for them to enter the channel and the port.  It is still very much a working Lighthouse.
Even in this light, the Rock Tenn Plant looks interesting.  A new thought about the problem with the sea turtles, and these lights this year, is that so many of the other problem lights have been corrected with proper "Turtle" lights, that these are now showing up comparitively brighter than they once did.
Especially after a stormy sea, I like to look for fossils which have washed up.  The long piece I had hoped would be a Saber Tooth Tiger's tooth but Lisa says it is just a deer antler was still a nice find.  Much more fun for me to look for Turtle shells and Sting Ray mouth plates than sharks teeth.  The bottom piece is part of a Pond Turtle's shell.  I'm not sure what the large bone fragment on the top is but I believe it is part of a fair-sized  sea-going animal's vertebra.
Having not read the paper, I was surprised to see a parade outside my front door.  I was puzzled at first trying to think what its significance was, but then I realized it was the Homecoming Parade for Fernandina Beach High School.
The kids had much fun, it looks like, making this float.  Fun to watch the youth of our community.  Such young faces.
One of the prettiest booths at the Farmer's Market on Saturdays, is this booth with it bounty of organically grown vegetables and beautiful bouquets of flowers.  These were so artfully arranged that I couldn't resist getting a shot of it.
Zinnia's are one of my favorite flowers and I am always trying to grow them, usually unsuccessfully.  Those bouquets usually include Sunflowers also, but I didn't notice them this time, maybe it was too late in the season.
Saturday before last was the Veteran's Day Parade (almost a week early) honoring those who served in the military.  Our friends and one of the Park Rangers, Frank, brings his old Army truck to the parade.
There were many veterans in the group with the number of WWII slowly diminishing.  I salute you all.
These guys were a mystery to me.  I could tell they were vets but wasn't sure what the Rats were all about.  So, I did some investigating.  They are part of the National Order of the Trench Rats.  It is a secret organization open only to those who are disabled veterans, so now you know.  They are looking for men and women who qualify to join up.  So there you are.
There were several dogs in the parade who were up for adoption, and this fellow was also up for adoption, but this pretty one was watching, not walking in the parade.  My friend Fran Clark does fostering and rescue for her favorite breed of dog, the Australian Shepherds, one of my favorites also.  If I had not sworn off having pets I would have certainly been up for taking this one home. 
They are very smart dogs but need to be kept where their instinct for herding, especially cars, won't get them in trouble.  This beauty is a smaller breed of them, and although he looked like a youngster, he was full grown at a year.  This one is a 'special needs' doggie though, as it is deaf.  You would have to communicate through sign language.  Already she knows several of the signals.  I bet you can't keep from talking to her.
A young mom and her son are watching the parade and waving at them all.  As a mother of boys I am sure she is secretly wondering in her heart, "Will my boy want to be a soldier?".
Leave it to the "Beyond Taboo" Tatoo Parlor to have a very funky vehicle in the parade.  The things that catch a guy's eye...
One of my favorite Pirate wenches stopped by to say Hi and report a new job.  Cindy is mom to Austin and Britney who often show up in my photos and came to live here, indirectly from my taking them under my wing, when they were camped in the park.
I had to make a trip to St. Augustine for the Jacksonville Watercolor Society's Fall Show.  I was told I needed to be there, which means I won something.  The mystery mounted as they called all the names out in reverse order starting with the lesser awards, on up to the top.  I was expecting an Honorable mention but that came and went without my name being called.  Finally there were only two awards left the Silver and the Gold.  I didn't win the Gold but I was proud to accept the Silver and second place.  On the trip back I barely made the ferry.  I hopped out of the car to photograph the pelicans which were gathering nearby.  One of the pelicans looks like a ballplayer with a big chew of tobacco in his jaw.
In a few minutes I found out what it was, as up and out it came.  I think it must have picked up a freshly filleted fish, hopefully without a hook still in; looks like a Flounder, because it doesn't look as if it is intact.  Whatever it was, Mr. Pelican obviously bit off more than he could swallow and had to spit it out to try another approach.  The ferry left before I learned how he resolved the problem. 
It is good to think of being back out on the beach and seeing the birds.  Lots to see with birds we don't usually have visiting for the winter.  I am anxious to see the White Pelicans but usually that is done from a boat as they are pretty reclusive.  I am ready to get back out there and if the weather if good, then tomorrow may be the day.  Of course, with my gimped up knee, and Fran, my fishing buddy's gimped up foot, we are having to think of a different course of action.  We have lightened our load dramatically but still you have to have some things and carrying them on the sand is tough. Maybe the bridge or the pier will let us just sit and fish without too much walking or toting.  Lets hope I can.

And so, the sun sets on another story of nature and island life.

Some sunsets are so photogenic they don't need anything else.
Christmas items you might add to Santa's plans!
(Please take a moment to consider:
These photo-stories have always been offered completely free, to simply share the wonders of nature. 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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