I was getting ready to put out a call
to my angels
of mercy for some offers to baby sit me for about a week and a half
when I got an email from a friend up in Chattanooga, Ocellia, that her
oldest daughter, Canaan, was dropping out of college and would be
taking a leave from her job to come take care of me while I recoup
from my second knee replacement. She was not dropping out of
college for me but because in her third year she still hadn't decided
her direction. If
any of you have some time to spare you can come during that time and
give her a break from baby sitting me.
problem right now and it may be last minute before I know. I am
scheduled for Feb. 3rd surgery, however, since Dr. Heekin my surgeon
has decided to leave the group of surgeons he was with and go out on
his own, he is not yet approved by my insurance company. That may
not come until the 1st of the month. Although I am ready to go I
am still on hold as far as officially being ready. I hate
uncertainy on on something like this.
The Squirrel Girl Trio was their
new identification tag as it was too hard to remember which was which
except for the one with the spot on her head and its instant
identification, and Bruce had called her Knothead, and my efforts to
give them more girly names had failed. So Knothead it was.
Unless I saw Bitsy and Cindi together I could not tell them
apart, with the only visible difference in them was size.
ended up being the last day at the gallery for the Squirrel Girls.
As had happened before with previous little ones, when I got
nothing else done besides play with squirrels all day long at the gallery, it was
time for them to stay at home. They no longer were content to
ride around in my apron or play in their cage. No the gallery
their world to explore. The towel was spread over the cage to
help them sleep through their naps but became instead a great hide and
playground as they were more interested in play rather than sleep.
were offered lots of different foods to learn to eat an expanded diet.
It is normal and important for them to learn to chew and one
the reasons is they must keep their teeth worn down as squirrel's like
rabbit's teeth continue to grow and without some grinding
action could cause some real health issues if not kept in check.
This is the "ready, set, go" look because I am about to be on the
receiving end of a flying squirrel.
Touchdown!! They are always so curious about the camera.
it was difficult to tell which one I had fed I finally got to the point
where as I fed them I would stuff the fed one in the cage.
Feeding Knothead first made it easier as I could always tell
was her or not and did not have to be put in lock up.
can be very curious and want to check out everything especially if it
involved food. She kept trying to peep over the edge of the
so Bruce said let's see what she does and he grabbed the camera.
She jumped up and grabbed a Lima bean to eat so I saved some back and added them
The beach at the pier was filled with birds, more and more as time
passed, many migratory, as winter was drawing neigh up North.
Big freighters sometimes leave or come into port when I am out on
Turtle patrol duty. Many from Bermuda or headed in that
direction. We like to see them leave fuller than when they
One of the Girl Black Swallowtails is ready to be released.
"Crablike Spider", that really is its name, is an interesting creature
and the web they weave very
unusual with its fluffy dots up and down each stand at odd intervals
but each strand seemed to have similar spacing on that particular
strand. They are small but with dramatic coloring with red, black,
and white contrasting.
As had happened before with previous little ones, it was time
for little squirrels to stay at home and learn about the out
of doors. I had made a very interesting contact with a
lady whose hobby is raising animals, with small farm on which she
had room for them to roam. I borrowed a great cage from her
had used for squirrels and had most recently been the home for some of
her rabbits. I thought this was one of the saddest
photographs I had ever taken. The first day is always hardest
on mom and kids.
took tough love to not get them back out. But in no time they
settled into playing in their new playground of branches with an
upstairs separate napping/nest area. They were very still
very happy to be
gotten out of the cage at the end of the day, although they learned to
take their mid day naps just fine in the nest box I had made for them out
of a shoe box filled with some soft cloths and Spanish Moss.
put plastic over it to waterproof the nest area as there were some
rain showers for them to experience. The bottom of the cage I
filled with leaves, pine cones, magnolia pods, other
and natural materials for them to get used to. I cut fresh
Oak branches each day for them to chew on and eat. Bark is a favorite
food of squirrels.
Fall continued to give us tastes of weather changes although nothing
The flocks of birds continued to grow.
is the "deer in the headlights" look as the deer stretched
its neck to see what was going on below on the beach with the beach
They enjoyed the time in the evening when I came home from work and
brought them inside for dinner and play before bed.
were not sure how the foot thing was connected to my body as their
curiosity was not sure what tho think of that funny appendage that
moved up into their play area.
quick trip up to the Georgia Sea Turtle Center, was unexpected and
Small turtles of the pond variety had hatched out recently
were warming underneath a heat light on their man made
island. They looked like little brass turtles you might find
A beautiful Green Turtle shows off it beautiful patterned carapace.
The patterns on each scute look like sun bursts. I have painted several
of these turtles and the one which was the year before lasts was my
favorite with the batik method of painting it.
Jekyll Island where the Turtle Center is located and is a very
beautiful place, smaller than our island but has more turtles nesting.
I really believe it is because of the Sea Turtle Center which
releases many turtles there and I believe they consider that home base
after spending long periods of time there. They even had one
which they could not get to leave. The police would call them
and say "your turtle is back". Finally they had to place him
in the care of an aquarium.
The girls were growing up. Down to two bottle meals a day
they were learning a lot and shortly before we did the final release we
left them outside for overnights in the their cage.
Time for the official family portrait posed in front of the painting of
our first squirrel Shelly. Shelly had three litters of babies
before she was run over by a car out in the street. I learned
that the artist who painted this portrait had passed away back in the
summer. A very courageous lady was Nancy Asbell, who fought a
long battle with Lupus before finally losing one of her many rounds she
had with the horrible disease. Nancy Asbell was a
singer, played guitar, taught both music and art as a very accomplished
artist herself. I only found out about her death when I made
attempts to find her, after the post office returned a check to pay her
for some art of hers I had sold. But it is the tradition to
photograph each squirrel we have raised on this great piece of
driftwood sculpture given to be by Terry Stewart when he was not
allowed to take it on the move back to Minnesota and front of Nancy's
painting of Shelly.
This was the night we learned we had a voice. This little one
was making one of the sounds that squirrels make and seemed to be
surprised that the sound was coming from her. Squirrels have
many sounds and the sounds are made in their throat. One day
Lacy was making a cat like sound which serves a number of purposes.
I kept trying to figure out where the noise was coming from
and followed it to Lacy who was hanging down from a tree and although
there was no facial movement to lead me to believe it was her, just like you can't tell where a squirrel
is looking with those big black almond shaped eyes.
By this time the three girls were pretty hard to catch in the same photo--always on the move.
Learning to eat bark is a good thing as bark is a big source of
squirrel food out in the big world.
This one seemed to be asking "who me?" as to some sort of mischief she
had been into, like chewing up my good eraser.
Or maybe chewing all the rough surface off my emery board. A
manicure could be in my future.
To go with the new hair style I had just been given. For some
reason they went through a stage of being fascinated with my hair.
They would dig around in my hair as if trying to hide
something, I never knew what it was but it was funny.
This is two in my hair fluffing and digging through it. I think
they were actually looking through my hair for nuts as it resembled the
grass out in the yard which is a good place to find someone else's nut
When you saw this look you knew it was time to put 3 little girls to
When I had a day off I usually just let them hang out in the house with
me. This was a learning day of climbing and exploring the
rest of the area away from the sofa area. They had to be
restrained sometimes before they got into too much trouble or broke
Yay, I've reached the top of the mountain.
I knew it was almost time to go outside and live when Knothead began
searching for a place up high to build a nest. She became
obsessed with bringing pieces of paper towels up there and trying to
stuff them in the curtain but couldn't get them to stay.
She kept studying the situation.
Finally, with a bit of help from me she finally found a place the paper
towels would stay put.
Learning to shuck sunflowers was another learning exercise and one
they liked a lot. And so it went with not much time left for
them to live with us. They were not long for this protected
life. It was fast becoming time when they needed to be
outside getting ready for winter. They had given us many
hours of pleasure as well as being a royal headache sometimes but fun
to have around. The day would come when I could put away the
squirrel quilt and put the vacuum in action to suck up all the
sunflower hulls from the floor...well not totally, we still have Lacy
visiting us most days.