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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


Before I forget, here is the finished painting.  Today I ordered a frame for it that will be deep enough to allow for adding lights behind it if desired.  I have not seen the frame as it is new with no photos yet, but know it is costing a pretty penny.  I am trusting Ron my frame guy to steer me in the right direction.   I know some folks wanted me to leave it alone and not do the black, but what is a batik without the ink bath?  I had broken enough traditions by using watercolors instead of dyes.  So here it is and it is pretty big, not sure how to transport it to the Turtle Trot Race itself without help once in the frame.  I think the frame size is 39 x 31 1/2.  I am going to stretch it over a canvas stretcher to make sure it doesn't wrinkle under the mat.


The island just north of us into Georgia is Cumberland Island National Seashore.  It is known for its wild horses which roam free on the island.


Well, I have proof that Cumberland Island is not the only place with wild horses on the beach.  This young filly was roaming the beach of Fort Clinch, and I personally spotted it while I was out doing Sea Turtle patrol early one morning recently.


Our young Wilson's Plover chicks are almost ready for flight as they stretch their wings readying them for fledging time.



They are almost full sized as they explore their new world, learning all the ways a young bird survives in this hard world.  Already they have survived the odds by reaching a size where they are not so vulnerable.


This young unlucky shark was caught by a fisherman who did not like sharks, no matter what kind, and carelessly tossed it back on the beach to die.


My other Passion Vine is blooming nicely now as the Gulf Flitteraries flit around it but I still cannot seem to get caterpillars to grow there due to wasps killing them, while my next door neighbor has had her plant totally stripped bare with the caterpillars on hers.  With hers so bare I have been adopting her little ones and transporting them to my vines where they can survive on their own.  I have taken some of them inside to protect them until they reach a safe size by placing a long vine of the plant and draping it up around my kitchen window.  The cutting has already rooted..  I will eventually get enough of them to give the butterflies a good enough environment to survive.



Several weeks ago I started seeing this cute little one in my back yard.  For now I just call it "Wabbit".  I have been very surprised at how fearless it is around people. Unfortunately when I call "Wabbit come and get your cawwots".  I seem to not  be able to say carrots when I change the R in rabbit to W.  Bruce says I must name the rabbit and stop calling it "Wabbit" as people will think me strange.


Now "Wabbit 2" has shown up.  A clear difference in their appearances.  I have a feeling it won't be long before I have more bunny wabbits around.  Maybe we won't have to mow the lawn if we can just get them to confine their constant chomping to grass.  This one likes my Mexican Petunias and they have eaten all my parsley and carrot tops which I had planted for the Black Swallowtails.  Have to figure out where I can put them so the rabbits won't get them.


This time for sure.  I do believe that Miss Lacy is indeed pregnant this time.  Her expanding girth caused me to say "hey fat girl" the other day when she came scampering toward the back door.  That has never been a description of Lacy whom I have always considered scrawny.  I had thought last winter she was with child but it was more the way she was acting.  Possibly she thought she was, but something happened and nothing ever happened.  She is now a year and a half and quite old to be having her first litter.  Shelly was quite the promiscuous young lady and had her first ones at 6 months.


Our lone baby osprey is calling to his now single mom to bring breakfast.  It has been sad for us to realize the loss of our Alpha, the mate and father of this youngster.  We are happy that he has survived but it will be hard to accept a life of containment after being free.  His broken wing will never heal well enough for him to hunt without which he would never again be able to hunt to survive again in the wild.


Although we have not been able to confirm that it was Alpha, we believe that it is Little Girl, which has taken on the role of bringing home the bacon as well as caring for her little one.  Usually the female would stay home and protect her offspring while Alpha would be the bread winner.  We are not sure if the disappearance of the other larger chick was because it was killed while being unprotected or if it actually was able to fledge and leave the nest.


There have been lots of clouds each day but more to the West.  We have had enough rain but if you were visiting the week we got a lot you would think it too much but usually the mornings have been nice without any problems for me and as a matter of fact if I had been earlier to the park I could have gotten some spectacular photographs.


But alas the long days of June, the longest of the year, made that impossible but still very nice to see and enjoy it in a more pastel way.


Horseshoe Crab nesting has slowed to almost a complete stop with hardly ever a crab rescue now, but occasionally I will still find a couple stranded after a wild night on the beach.  Digging out the female this time was the challenge.  You have to dig deep enough to get your fingers underneath the shell, and the female is larger, so deeper when stuck.  


Our little Peanut boy, still wild, but tamer than the other males.  Slips up to the doorstep an somewhere in that squirrel brain he seems to remember that he has some tie to this place but just can't quite put his finger on why.


Lacy decided to celebrate getting ready for the 4th of July.  She seems to be saying time to get those flags out of storage and hanging up for all to see our pride in being Americans.


Every day the clouds are so pretty but I can never capture on film how lovely they are.


Although most of the rain stays west of the river, occasionally a strong downpour and lightening will rattle the windows of the gallery as I stay dry inside.



Our chick continues to grow and has been spotted recently spreading her wings and jumping up in the nest getting ready to one day soon to take off on her own.  We think it is a girl because of the speckled breast.


Another morning and more clouds to enjoy.  It is often difficult to decide if this is going to be a sunglasses day or not.  Often I just wear my billed "Volunteer" hat which works for either way.  It protects when the sun comes out and also should there be a sprinkle protects my glasses from rain drops.


Morning sun rays shine through the clouds but leaving the doubt as to whether it can make it through for the whole day.


The Sea Oat heads have filled out with the pale green of summer.


I try for some pretty clouds but their dramatic effect is lost through the camera's lens and the screen.



Oh well, it is the 4th of July, and I close the gallery early, stop by the grocery store and pick up the items for a traditional 4th dinner of grilled hamburgers, watermelon, and now time to head to the Ritz for the fireworks.  That way we can feel that we have had at least a bit of a celebration of this special day unique to us Americans even though I kept the gallery open.


Lots of empty chairs at the Ritz Carlton, so we can claim a couple.  As a matter of fact we were too close underneath and had to move beyond the red ribbon marking the fire marshals safe area for watching.  The nice fellow even let me ride in his beach buggy to the new spot.  Some courtesys are allowed for age and decrepitude..


The air was wonderfully cool with a breeze off the ocean to keep the air free of smoke once the fireworks explode.  I remember once when that was not the case and the beach was a literal fog of smoke by the time it was over.  I could barely see the "streaker" who when flying by my line of vision.


The fireworks are really the best when one has a comfortable chair with the proper angle for viewing skyward.  A perk that comes from having a good neighbor like the Ritz Carlton who decorates its Cafe' walls with your paintings.


The fireworks were quite splendid, but with almost as much in personal fireworks being shot all up and down the beach.  In the distance we could see the fireworks from the Omni Plantation also.  It was finally time to make our way back home as we smiled at the line of cars waiting to get out (some stuck in the sand) while we easily made our way thought the traffic on foot and across the street to our house.


The week of the 4th also brought us an out of town customer who loved Leigh Murphy's vintage automobile paintings.  She brought all she had at her home for him to see and this was the one he chose to take home to decorate his office.



Our nests numbers have begun to escalate quickly at this point and we have been very happy to see that.  For a while we were getting nervous that we were going to have a dismal season.


More lovely cloud formations and another pastel morning to enjoy with all soft pinks, lavenders and blue.  The beach was clean in the park after a day of crowds of people.  Our thanks to all who cleaned up after their day's festivities.  Locals are always out to pick up and clean the beaches of fireworks papers and plastic bright and early the next morning.  Now if we can get the people outside the park visiting our beaches further south on the island to stop leaving their beach chairs and canopies on the beach overnight.  We have had two laying turtles get tangled in them already this year.   The city seems to enforce not leaving those things overnight but the county does not do so well.


I was slowly tracking the small animal tracks at the top trying to figure out what it was when I began to see larger tracks below me.  Then I came to a junction where a Gopher Tortoise had crossed earlier the same area.  I still haven't figured out either of the tracks, possibly the top ones could be the otter.  Just not sure but thought it interesting how the sand records for a time the comings and goings of the different critters which live on or nearby the beach area as well as the tracks of the Sea Turtles which tell me the story of their nesting and subsequent hatching.  Then the tides, rain, and the wind come and wash it all clean of evidence once again waiting to write its next story.


The Monarchs have continued to lay eggs and grow caterpillars which make more butterflies.  They are such voracious eaters that we are having trouble keeping enough plants with leaves to satisfy their appetites.


Wabbit has developed such an appetite for carrots that she now comes to the back door with a very wistful look.  Now I need to go to the grocery story to get a new supply because my plentiful supply has dwindled to nothingness.  She is not the sharpest knife in the drawer and sometimes it takes her a while to find the carrot when it is tossed very near her head but finally the nose wins out.  She even has nuzzled mine and Bruce's toe in looking for the handout.  Can't believe she is so tame acting.  I wonder if other rabbits on the island are like this.


Today the sky is filled with Mare's Tails.



A false crawl gives us hope of new nests soon.  Usually they will come back soon afterward and lay a nest if not the first trip in then usually the second..


This past week has been tall billowing clouds which have given us the downpours in the afternoons but so much better than the summers when it was so dry that there were burn bans all around.  It makes it much better for having grass growing to feed the rabbits and milkweed for the caterpillars.


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