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Amelia SanJon Gallery
Sandra Baker-Hinton
218A Ash Street., Fernandina Beach, FL 32034
904-491-8040,  904-557-1195 cell

A surprise rider turned up in my car on one of my fishing trips.  I had called Bruce to tell him that I was on my way.  While I talked to him I felt something crawling up my arm with scratchy feet.  I looked down and discovered this fellow had evidently fallen off one of the plants I had brought home from the Museum.

It had evidently been developed enough to go ahead and turn into the Chrysalis stage without any more food.  He patiently rode to the fishing spot looking out the window the whole way, wondering what all was outside.  I showed him to the two children who were in the group I was meeting.  Monarchs are so docile that they will just climb onto your finger, but once outside he didn't wait long before he flew high up above the treetops.  

The butterfly crop kept producing with lots of tiny caterpillars still left over from the warm weather time outside.  But now we were getting cold spells with a frost which took all the plants except the ones I was able to bring inside.  I had cut the tops off as many as I could to keep the as many leaves for feeding the Cats as possible.  

With the purchase of the three more plants from Ace Hardware which had taken care of their plants, protecting them from the killing frost I was able to finish feeding all the remaining caterpillars I had, but I ended up with over thirty Chrysalis, or butterflies in waiting.  Many I had to keep inside through cold spells waiting for warm days for release.

When it wasn't warm enough to release the right away I spent a lot of time feeding butterflies morning and again at night.  You can lead a butterfly to sugar water but you can't force feed it.  It has to be coaxed into unfurling that proboscis (soda straw like tube) and once he will do that and can get a taste the sugar water contents the rest is easy.  Some take longer than others to feed.  But it keeps them alive until they can fend for themselves.

Just when you think all is well with your squirrels without summer Bot flies biting them and causing lots of damage to them for months on end, my squirrels started turning up with the mange.  These two siblings were the worst with it looked like one adult, probably the mom was also infected.  Such sad little fellows who seemed to wait until the older bigger squirrels to get their fill of food which is part of the problem they become weak and are just so uncomfortable with the terrible itching it causes.

This one was the worst of the two and I am not sure I was able to get it the cure before it was too late for it.  We would put out extra food for them after the others went away for their midday naps.  The Internet is a wonderful place to find out things you need to know.  I found a website by a squirrel guy who is a registered nurse with an affinity for caring for squirrels.  He sells a medicine (very reasonable) to give to the squirrels to cure the mange.  It is made for horses so the dose has to be very minute.  I ordered a batch and in about a week I was able to start administering the fix.  It seems to have worked as the ones who were so bad seem to be regrowing their hair.  The medication is called Ivermectin Paste.  If you do a search for "Squirrel Mange" his site will come up.

I have been busy also with the glass.  Firing all those fish and turtles gives me some extra room between them to fill in with some pendants.  I also had a bunch of beach glass and wanted to find some sort of turtle I could use to put on them.  I finally found some small Sea Turtles in brass, copper and silver colors which included the bail for hanging them on a chain or cord.  I liked the result.  I didn't want to do wire wrapping so glued them together with epoxy glue.

In the middle of one of the very cold spells I was invited to visit my son in Orlando.  He rented a car for me to travel down in because my old van was to iffy.  Ever since the rear ender it had leaked gas to the point I could only fill it about 1/4 tank to not have gas fumes.  I decided since it was going to be quite cold up here for a few days to take this young lady to a warmer climate with lots of flowers not frozen by our frost.  I packed up both up for the trip.  A jar, a sprig of flowers, topped of with a covering of cheese cloth and off we went.

First thing on arrival was to turn her loose onto a very pretty potted plant by the boat dock.  No shortage of blooming plants here.

I also got to meet the latest Granddog, Butchie Jones (after one of the Tennessee Coaches).  Of course since my maiden name is Jones it could be named after its G-Ma.

My son's new (to them anyway) house is on the water so they are loving having access to a large system of lakes in Orlando.

The reason for the invite was that son, Eric, was speaking at a Harry Potter fan gathering event and he wanted me to be there.  It was great fun.

The two other panelist were guys who had worked on the the Harry Potter Movie which was made in England.  The fellow in the middle had gotten his start working on Bravehart when he was only 15 years old.  It seems to be a profession in England which is a family business.  The Father teaches the son kind of thing.

This was the stage with some of the props from the movie which were duplicated for the Harry Potter Experience in Orlando.

A closer look at some of the props were shown to the fans.

Eric explained how this was built by a metalsmith one piece at a time.

Afterward was an autograph signing so fun to see people asking my son for his autograph.

Eric making the fans happy.

A closer look at the cabinet that was made for the Orlando Experience.

Since it was a cool overcast day it made the snow on the rooftops even more plausible.

More Potter fans encounters in the park.  The shirt made Eric a standout for sure.

What is amazing is the artistry and skill that is used to turn this structure into a Mideival Castle onto of a gigantic rock formation.  We all know we don't have rock in Florida, not like this anyway.  It looks very real down to the most growing on it.

The detail in the creation is quite astounding and very effective.

The event was a huge success as the park was crowded, but we got preferential treatment when we visited the Mead Hall to have lunch.  Tables were reserved for all those involved with the mornings show and I got to meet all the people who made this possible.  I was treated to lunch by the manager of the restaurant and given samples of all their special drinks as well as three desserts, boy I needed that one. One drink special for the day was hot Butter Beer.  Since I was driving home I was glad to learn they were all non alcoholic.

The butterfly feeding continued both morning and night with up to four at a time overnighting awaiting warm air currents on which to fly.  If it is cold and dreary they will just hang on a plant and not try to feed themselves.

One morning's release.

We have one young little fellow, I think is a girl, although I was hoping it was our little Peanut.  I think she has taken up residence in the Squirrel House Bruce built for our little Lacy.  It has served a good purpose even though she did not stay there long.  Several squirrels have raised their families there.  That may be what is going on with this young one.  I remember Shelly, our first squirrel, had her first litter when she was only 6 months old.  I am hoping that Lacy will finally get to have some kiddos herself.

A customer who has bought a couple of my abstract paintings in the past and likes my work visited the gallery one day looking to see if I had anything that would work in their newly decorated very modern house.  Catch was they needed red, black, and white all included.  It needed to be a large piece.  I offered to see what I could produce for them.  This was my first effort but it was a bit too large.

The second was, just like Goldie Lock's porridge, just right.  Thankfully this rescued the gallery from the January doldrums which barely makes enough to pay the rent.

Of course the old van took this as a time to finally bite the dust.  It was like saying goodbye to an old friend, we had gone through a lot together, it had been the ark to carry all our animals to Florida back 12 years ago.  It has been my beach buggy filled with sand, fossils, and shells found on  the beach.  It carried all my fishing gear which stayed in it at all times and also my turtle gear for rainy days and pan to dig turtles and my stethoscope to listen for hatchlings climbing up.  Yes, it was like a member of the family.  I didn't know what we would do with only Bruce's car which was limping along itself.  If it went we would be a car-less family.

My wonderful new neighbors, John and Trisha, across the street came to the rescue.  John had a chance encounter with a fellow in a parking lot who was driving an older car.  John had commented on the size of the trunk and the fellow began to tell him about the car.  Seems it actually did belong to a little old lady who kept it parked in the garage.  He told us about the car and we immediately checked on it.  It was located within a mile of our house and with little to do the fellow who had handled the sale of the ladies estate stuck a deal with us.  My new car is a 1991 Lincoln Continental with only 23,000 miles on it and the fellow selling it had spend a thousand dollars upgrading it with new rubber parts and other things needing replacement because of age.  I am now driving the new art-mobile in the lap of luxury.  In addition I have a new commission that should cover the balance owed on the car.

(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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