Friday, May 25, 2012

25 May 1012

May 2012 has turned out to be quite a busy month.  I released Gino, my overwintering opossum boy,  next to a swampy area and nearly a mile away from traffic.  As most releases go, it went quick:  Gino carefully set foot out of his carrier, felt grass and dirt under his feet, and bolted about 10 feet away before stopping.  He turned his head and gave me one last look and then disappeared into the tall grass.  -  While this may sound disappointing to those who expect fanfares, it actually means that I did my job well and preserved his wildness.  That is the whole point of wildlife rehabilitation:  raise or nurture them until they're ready to go back in the wild, yet never forget that these are wild animals that need to remain wild at heart.  

A juvenile chipmunk boy must have walked out of his mother's home and straight into a cat's mouth. He arrived with his right side partially degloved (fur hanging down with muscle and flesh exposed) and was in severe pain.  I gave him pain medication and then ran out to meet up with a friend whose daughter is developing a line of ancient Chinese medical ointments because this was the perfect time to try out the medication.  It worked wonderfully.  The little guy has put on weight and has grown and is incredibly lively now.  I will hold on to him a little longer until the wound has healed completely and then set him free again, away from city cats.  

A robin nestling arrived earlier this week.  Usually I don't take birds, but it can be tough for people here in Massachusetts since there are so few rehabilitators licensed to take birds.  She is doing well, she has gotten the hang of swallowing large earth worms and keeping them down even if they try hard to crawl back out of her beak.  In the few days since her arrival her chest and abdominal feathers have grown and she is already busily exercising her wings.  I wonder if it itches as feathers grow?  

And yesterday I got a surprise call:  a woman who befriended me on Facebook just about a week ago called highly upset:  Her Lionhead rabbit had given birth four weeks ago and developed a cold last Sunday, so Monday she was taken to a friend so as not to infect her litter.  The babies, who are still nursing, were given to another friend to bottle feed them.  Excellent protocol, it's always good to separate sick animals from healthy ones.  What she didn't expect, however, was that the mother had been impregnated again the day of giving birth.  The father had been removed immediately when the babies were born, but apparently not fast enough.  When she finally found the time to clean the now empty cage she discovered six newborn bunnies who were all still alive but hanging on.  Realizing that she was in over her head with these newborns, she called me in hopes that I might be willing to help the babies.  Of course I said yes, bring them right away, since they needed fluids badly.  Upon their arrival I was surprised how strong they still were despite having been without food for nearly four days already.  The woman estimates that they were born either Sunday or Monday morning, but we will know for sure when their eyes open since that is on Day Ten of their little lives.  -  So far, all are doing very well and now drinking nearly their full portion.  

As for crafts, these are my newest creations:  two shadow boxes.  The first one is larger, and it was a birthday gift for Darlene from dutchpapercraft.  She loves it.  The second one is smaller, and I just finished it late last night.  Darlene's gift features a maple tree and day lilies, the second one has sweet peas climbing up on a trellis.  Every piece in the pictures is hand made, including the basket in the second picture, and the background is hand woven for added texture.  

The price for the sweet peas and flower basket shadow box is only $39.95 plus actual shipping costs.  I don't charge for handling or other such nonsense.  The box measures 8" high by 5 3/4" wide by 2 1/2" deep.  Right now it is the only one available.  It took me four days to make all the pieces and then create this work of art, and the paper is sprayed with a preservative so it won't be affected by humidity. 

I always welcome your feedback or suggestions.  If you like my blog, by all means, please spread the word.  I sell my crafts to help offset the high cost of wildlife rehabilitation, and if you buy directly from me I don't have to add in the profit Etsy or eBay or anybody else pockets on their sites.  If an item is not in stock I can make you one, but please allow for the time it takes to do so. 

Saturday, May 5, 2012

A sampling of April and May 2012 card designs

 Darlene from Dutchpapercrafts gave me special permission to post the first two cards early:  this card can be used for either any occasion or as a Mother's Day card.  I left the inside intentionally blank for this reason.  It's from a release that dutchpapercrafts will put out any time now, and it highlights embossing folders.  Stay tuned for the entire release!
I am super proud of this card!  It is a gorgeous Mother's Day card, and again, it showcases one of the embossing folders dutchpapercrafts will feature in the release blog.  Darlene allowed me to post it early in hopes that I can generate some funds for my wildlife rehab expenses.  In this card, all the flowers are handmade as always, but the basket was made completely by hand, no dies were used.  I wanted something more rounded and had to come up with the design myself.  -  The Birdstore in Sturbridge has a few for sale, and I have maybe three or four here for immediate shipping.  Please inquire about pricing via email,

A different design with one of my many baby squirrels.  This little baby had fallen from the rotten ventilation shafts in the attic of a rundown three-level apartment building and crashed face first onto the paved parking area.   The baby suffered head trauma and abrasions and heavy bleeding from nose and mouth. Luckily it was found right away and brought to me, and this picture shows it gnawing on a fresh branch for the first time.  It was successfully released when it was old enough.
 This card features a geo die as a frame.  The picture shows a dark morph baby gray squirrel right after feeding.  The little stinker liked to blow bubbles into the syringe and create lots of foam towards the end of each feeding.
 This card was a special order from a friend for another rehabber friend who doesn't know about my blog as of yet, otherwise I would not have posted this picture.  She loves hydrangeas and rehabilitates quite a few raccoons, so I had to figure out how to make the flowers.  This is a very dimensional card that took forever to make since each tiny blossom had to be punched out, then shaped, and finally get hot-glued in place.  There are oodles of tiny flowers in these blossom balls, so this is not a card that can be whipped up last minute.  The picture shows Luke, my second baby raccoon, who arrived as a tiny frightened little baby but settled in rather quickly.  He and my "first born" (grin) Lucky (see her picture below) bonded immediately once his quarantine time was over.
Day lilies and daisies both bloom in June, and this is another special order card I made for yet another rehabber friend whose birthday is in June.  Again, I had to investigate how to make day lilies, and the result is nothing short of stunning.  This is Lucky, my first raccoon baby, smiling for the camera.  She was quite a character, bold, outgoing, and inquisitive, and I hope she is doing well out in the wild.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Busy, busy, busy...

Wildlife rehabilitation is in full swing, but it's been a very strange and often very sad and upsetting season thus far.  Many of the baby squirrels that I've gotten in had underlying issues or serious injuries, and one entire litter of three arrived dying at my door step right before Easter. They had been in the wrong hands far too long and were skin and bones, covered in dried-on diarrhea, and ice cold.  I worked on them like a maniac, determined to pull at least one of them through, but in the end I lost the battles.  There is only so much any rehabilitator can do, but it is hard to accept defeat.

My mentor Judy drummed a very insightful advice into my brain that keeps popping in my mind whenever tragedy strikes.  Judy taught me "Remember that they are never out of the woods until they are back IN the woods."  No kidding.  Sometimes I see it coming, but sometimes death hits me over the head with a 2 x 4...

I had gotten in two very young gray squirrels, sisters, and they simply would not gain weight.  Something was stunting their growth, and I dug deep into my bag of tricks to figure out what could be the cause.  One eventually died, and the other one barely hung on.  It was and still is in with two just slightly older nest mates, also girls, and those two are nearly double the weight of the little midget.  But when she opened her eyes at only about 2.5 oz (73 grams, to be exact), things started to change and she finally started to gain weight.  She now weighs around 100 grams, still below the usual weight of an open eyed baby gray squirrel, but nothing this spring seems normal.  Today I picked up a cat attack baby gray girl from a friend in Sturbridge whose eyes are also wide open at only 89 grams.  She has no visible injuries, but when it comes to cats we always pull out the antibiotics since even a tiny puncture wound will introduce killer bacteria.  So now I have two little minis mixed in with two normal sized baby grays, all girls.  The older three girls are downstairs in a larger cage now as I'm slowly weaning them.  Girls are winning this spring, I wonder if this has to do with the failed acorn crop last fall and lots of squirrels dying from starvation during the winter?...

I've been working on Mother's Day cards but cannot publish them until Dutchpapercrafts puts out the video release.  It should happen within the next few days, at least this time we're in sync with the upcoming special day.

Who knows what tomorrow will bring...  One phone call changes my entire day, but I'm used to it and never make plans that I cannot change.