I had hoped to have this to you
before Christmas but it just wasn't to be. Bruce is working a job
which means the two weeks before Christmas I have manned the gallery
for 10 days in a row and I was just too tired to get it done, plus I
knew he would not feel like getting it out. But anyway hope that
it is time to look forward to a great New Year.
trimmers where working on
the trees on our street back in September, because the electrical wires
need to be kept as
free as possible from having limbs falling on them during storms and
high winds, which we do have on occasion.
I commented to the guys when they were working on
our property, to let me know if they had to take down any squirrel
went on about my day and did not think much more about it. A few
days later when I preparing to leave for the gallery I heard a knock on
the door. I opened and the fellow reminded me, of my request.
informed me they were getting ready to take a nest down and it was far
enough down the street that I should drive down. The nest and
limb it was on were directly across the telephone line. There was
no choice for the nest except to come down with the branch they were
getting ready to cut. The fellow said he thought there was just
one in the nest and that they had seen no activity from the mother
early the day before. He carefully gathered the big ball of
branches and leaves in his arms and they lowered the cherry picker to
the ground and he handed me the big bundle. These three we all
snuggled up together in the middle of the ball.
sweet little girls who basically just slept all day except for eating.
You would think I would remember what all I needed to know having
done this 3 times before but each time I have to start from the
beginning in researching the amount to feed and how often.
But at least I now know where to go to find out these things. I
had a new source also, a fellow I had bought mange medicine from.
Everything you read says do not feed them cows milk.
However the mange medicine worked, and also giving it to Lacy had
enabled her to become a momma this year for the first time. In
the past she would be in such bad shape with an infestation with the
botfly larva, that she had been unable to successfully carry
babies. The fellow is an RN so had a medical background to boot
and agreed that it might work giving it to her to kill the tiny larva
as it was hatched. So
I trusted him when he said it is fine to give them cows milk, however,
you must boil the cows milk/heavy cream mixture. By boiling the
milk it destroyed the enzymes in the milk
which were the real culprit--not the milk. I will have to say
they did just great on the formula with which I managed to create.
milk/cream mixture I added some raw coconut oil, a super food for
squirrels, and some vitamin E Oil (not from a capsule). Hard not
to become attached to the cute little babies.
first milestone was the opening of their eyes which also gave us an
idea of their age as they usually open their eyes at around 30 days of
age. First one eye than another until there were 6 little ones
seeing their world for the first time. This was the first
eye to open. I wonder what that would be like to see for
the first time?
was still doing turtle patrol, enjoying the sunrises as days shortened,
and also was preparing for a trip to see the Golden Girls up in N. East
Tennessee. What to do with the new little squrrel girls while I was gone?
There were no alternatives except to mix formula and let Bruce do
it. They were no trouble to feed because they loved their
bottle, which was actually a syringe. A syringe is easier to control
the amount of milk they are receiving and less chance of their getting
too much milk and strangling on it.
beauty had just emerged from the empty chrysalis hanging on the
branch. The two white/gray looking strips hanging down beside the
butterfly are tape strips which where were holding another one in place
which I accidentally knocked loose from his mooring spot during a
relocation effort when I moved their stick out of the too crowded terrarium. However, the
carefully placed tape allowed it to emerge just fine. You can see by
looking at this empty chrysalis how fragile it is. Only attached
by a tiny spot on the bottom with a thread around the middle, sling
like, suspending the upper part.
red Pentas became my launching site for all my newbies, in this case
three Monarchs and a male Black Swallowtail for that day's tally.
we are all bright eyed and it won't be long until they will be bushy
tailed also. The first thing she tries as soon as her eyes were
open was to climb out of the cardboard box. Now I needed a pet
carrier for them which my friend Michelle loaned me.
the park a very young little Bambi crossed the road and stopped to check
out the big monster that had scared it into the woods. Then it
was time to head out to Tennessee.
was a great week but tiring. I tried to make sure they they were
able to go wherever they wanted to do. One of the greatest
hardships on them is their loss of driving privileges. I
can't even imagine not being able to go at will to run your own
errands. We went grocery shopping, to a community fish fry, to church, many
trips to the dollar store, to their favorite hamburger place, to Lowes
to buy winter flowers for mom's flower beds, and so the week flew by
for them but went a bit slower for me as I was homesick for the island.
so after a full week away, I come home to three little ones who were much
more active, and the term bright eyed and bushy tailed was much more
relevant than when I left. Bruce had taken good care of them.
They were not quite sure who I was at first, but I soon became their
mommy once I assumed the role of provider of their daily nourishment once again.
was quite the challenge to feed them when each one wanted to be
first. I found a nipple from the top of a bottle made for animal
babies made it much more satisfying for the babies and easier for
them to take if I slipped the syringe into it. It was softer
on their mouths and made it more natural for them to
nurse from. Sometimes they just decide to help themselves before
I can get it ready.
I really needed a squirrel pacifier as they never seemed to get
enough of the nursing which they would naturally get from nursing the
mother. I do believe they had not eaten in two days when I first
got them as they appeared very dehydrated. I did take them back
to the tree from whence they were taken the first day, and hung them in
it inside a hanging basket, for a while, but the mother never came back to get them. They
out and were very healthy. This was Dotsy because of the spot you
see above her eye. We don't know why but she had a small bald
bump there which, when hair grew in, was lighter in color. She
also had a similar thing on her tail which was a line around the middle of her tail and it grew a
steak of blacker hair.
was smaller and I called her Bitsy because of that but what she lacked
in stature she made up for in spunk. She was the one who was
hardest to calm down to a nap. I often took her out of the cage so
she wouldn't keep everybody else awake, and she would settle down and
sleep in my painting apron bib. She seemed to love the human contact
more, and made it known that was what would settle her down. But
then when they were released outside she was the one who was quickest
to try out everything and the first to find the big trees.
on and wrestling with your fingers were a favorite play time
thing, and a substitute for that activity with their mom. They do
not bite as people always ask. They may do a scrapping action
with their teeth and do bite but playfully and not hurtful.
days on the beach were interesting as we had a series of Nor'easters
which stirred up the surf and made things change on the beach with the
high and rough tides that accompanied it. I just realized this
could pass for a sea creature or even a dragon.
clouds hovered about many mornings, but I did not get caught by any bad
weather as the late part of the season wound down. Two of the
already low number nests were excavated while I was in East Tennessee
with only 2 left to end the season. One I did not attend as it
was not my morning to get up and I just slept thought it.
Nor'easter is more wind than anything. You can see the sea foam
blowing all the way up to the edge of the dunes and the new high tide
line. The seed heads of the Sea oats were being blown about
helping them to shed their new crop of soon to be plants and
distribute them around the dunes.
Beach Junki, has found an easier way to check out the park each day by
riding her bicycle around the park, thus allowing her to cover more
ground and see some really interesting things. She has gotten so
familiar with the deer, that she was able to get some great video
footage of them. She even got a video of one momma deer who stood
and allowed her to video the baby nursing, which I thought was
pretty amazing. She has gotten some great still photos, at least
I think so, of her bike silhouetted against the sunrise and some other
beautiful morning shots. She has a definite creative photographer's eye.
After one of the Nor'easter mornings we found this new piece of driftwood on the ocean beach.
was covered with Barnacles meaning it must have had to have been mostly
submerged in the water. It has a rope tied to it but buried
underneath it in the sand so firmly there was no way to get it loose.
Moon Jellies had been washed ashore to die in the sun.
With the overcast sky it almost looks as if I am using old black and white film.
A Willet enjoys dining on morsels in the sand as its dark shape gives a nice contrast to the lighter colors surrounding it.
beach had taken it toll though with the rough waters eroding giant
runoff patterns in the sand eating out large bits of the middle of the
starkness of the beach has a very different feel than the bright
sunshiny days of summer with colors becoming more Fall like.
Osprey sitting on the top of the old Fort, looks a bit bedraggled after days of wind and waves.
As they say he looks like he was rode hard and put up wet.
fort stands silently through time against the storms, but these days it
is often saved by the renourishment of the beach sand that is often pulled
away from its protective beach by the Nor'easters.
girls, Bitsy, Dotsy and Cindi are full of it. At night after we
get home from the gallery we put their pet carrier, which became
their security blanket for sleeping and hiding inside, in the center of
the quilt covered sofa, open the door, and let them play
until their bedtime. They were very playful as they explored their ever
expanding world. Their playfulness was apparent in this photo as
Bitsy gets her tail bit by one of the others who thinks it a great play
morning on my way to pick up sister Susan for patrol the sunrise was
just too good to wait. The area toward the park was showing part
of the color as I noticed the big wash recently cut through the middle
of the beach by the wild surf as I tried to find a spot I can get
through to get a good photo spot.
it was too deep to wade across and stay halfway dry, I settled for
watching it from the West side of the tidal pool. The color
continued to spread as it found a break underneath the layer of clouds.
I could tell that the higher clouds might even be next.
It was turning into an amazing sunrise.
Changing the lens to pull the distant horizon in closer to just see what is happening from this range too.
the new tidal pool becomes an even more impressive sight as it becomes
a reflecting pool of the sky giving me a double dose of the view.
the time it took to get to the park, pick up my backpack, beach buggy,
and then reach river beach, the sky had not totally lost the
beauty of the morning.
girls were learning to eat solid food as they shred more than eat the
food at this stage, but all part of the growing up. Tails are
getting more fluffy and they sit up like the big girls now holding food
in their paws...although a squirrel does not have a thumb like a
raccoon does, they do have a stub where a thumb would be which functions
almost like a thumb.
were a very sweet time as their happiness at having their cage door
opened, is only second to greeting the lady who is going to feed them.
The Squirrel Girl Trio continued to entertain and delight us as the
days grew shorter and nearer to the time when it would be turning into
much colder temperatures and the squirrels would need to be acclimated
to the out of doors before that time.
Much to do for them
and for me as I get things ready to have my second knee replacement
with a new surgery date of February 3, a little over a month from now.