I got the best night’s sleep in a long time last night. As I awoke, the rising sun flooded my cozy room with morning light through the blinds. If my alarm clock didn’t wake me up, the sunlight would. For the duration of my art residency here in Truro I’ll be staying in the Joyce Johnson Bedroom, I’m guessing is named for a donor or significant person in Edgewood Farm’s development. This room is small but cozy-comfortable. There is a full/queen-size bed, two windows, a wall shelving unit, bureau, two night-tables with lamps, a chair, and a closet. I kind of wish that there was space enough for a small desk & chair, but I’ll use the tables up in my studio for that kind of thing.
After I woke and showered and made my morning tea, we had a 9am meeting in the living room of the barn where I was staying. This meeting was with the two new people who had just arrived the day before (Martha and me), along with Cherie and Kate (Cherie is the executive director of castle hill center for the arts Truro, and Kate is the program director for Edgewood Farm). Over coffee and pastries we talked about the history of the farm and organization, some housekeeping and logistics, and some happenings to know about during our stay here.
After the meeting I needed to run into town to pick up an assorted array of forgotten items that I realized that I needed for my residency, both for just personal living and supplies I needed for my studio practice. While I was out, I planned to stop at a Walmart or Target in Orleans, the next biggest town around here, about a half-hour drive away. While I was around the city, I noticed ahead of me was a rainbow leopard-print mini-bus with the label “The Funk Bus” on it! It was so out of sort with the historic charm of the rest of the village. What my Google Maps plotted was not a Walmart but a Shaws, a New England grocery chain. I was able to get most of the food and odds-and-ends I needed from there. As I drove away, I noticed a TJ Maxx, which would be probably the closest to the clothing/shoe supplies that I needed to purchase. I found what I needed there, and noticed that the store was next door to a Stop & Shop, another New England grocery store chain that was recently in the news for the workers being on strike for better wages and working conditions. I drove by just to see what the status was on the store, noticing a practically empty parking lot, and employees picketing in front of the the store. I also recalled that my shopping errands at Shaw’s were much busier than usual, as a result of shoppers avoiding Stop & Shop.
After that, it was around lunchtime so I stopped at Homeport Restaurant, a diner favorite the last time I stayed in Truro. The reason that I liked this diner so much was that it had like 6-10 different ways of making french toast. While I’m usually more of a pancake girl than french toast, I couldn’t argue with these many ways to make french toast. So in the end, I went with the cinnamon croissant french toast, with the apple crisp topping from another french toast option, since the menu says “all special requests honored.” It was just as delicious as I had anticipated. Also, sidenote, if you use the restroom there, it’s covered in hand-painted ocean murals.
I headed back to the farm after finishing up lunch. When I returned, I worked on finishing up my new suite of websites for my creative endeavor, Rachel Brask Studio, LLC. I still needed to finishing setting up the details before I could go live. This is several months in the making, and one of my goals during this residency was to take any dead time that I couldn’t yet get into painting and put it into finishing up these websites and link them together. Since I knew I’d be leaving the studio again for a long time this evening, I only had about an hour or two, and with just such little time it’s hard to start getting into a painting routine just yet.
Today is our wedding anniversary, but my husband and I are both about 2 hours apart today, as I am at my art residency, and he has just started a brand new fulltime job within the last 3 days. It was a long shot, but we agreed to each drive about one hour and meet in the middle for dinner tonight. I also left a backpack with some important belongings back home, so he agreed to bring it with him when we meet up. I left around 5:15pm because I needed to give myself another half-hour to stop in Hyannis at Michael’s to get some wood panels for an encaustic workshop that I’ll be participating in tomorrow at the residency. This is when the unlikely adventure begins.
As I was walking into the Michael’s main door, I noticed a man on the phone outside the front entrance. My interest was intrigued when I heard him say that he had a baby squirrel on his foot and he didn’t know what to do with it. I briefly looked down towards his foot as I passed and saw the adorable baby squirrel. I turned around and walked back to see what the guy was talking about. We chatted for a minute or two as he explained that the baby squirrel seemed lost and just came up to him, probably hungry or something. He walked over to the mulch to try to drop the baby from his foot, as he was supposed to meet his wife somewhere shortly. Once the baby squirrel was on the ground, he started scurrying around, still looking and moving towards us on the sidewalk. Once we got far enough away that he stopped chasing us, we observed the baby squirrel start climbing up the stucco walls of the Michael’s building, like spiderman, so for the purposes of this blog I’m going to call him Spidey Squirrel.
Spidey then found himself a small architectural ledge, and he seemed like he felt stuck up there, squeaking and crying the most pitiful and yet cute baby squirrel squeal. By now a small group of people had assembled, all concerned for the baby squirrel. Now we were getting afraid that it looked like the baby was losing its foothold a few times, as we feared he would fall. I volunteered to run inside to get a crate and some soft fleece yarn, which I quickly unwrapped and laid it around inside the crate, hoping to use this soft box device to catch Spidey if he fell. When I got back outside the building with this crate, the folks there informed us that he had already fallen, after climbing up even higher on the building’s facade, almost to the top of the roofline, which looked to mean he fell 30-40 feet!
It looked like Spidey was avoiding putting any weight on his back left leg as he scurried around the ground, towards the original guy. So we got the guy to have get the squirrel into the little crate of soft yarn off of his boot. Once he was in, he moved around a bit as he looked like he was nesting to find a nice place to settle. Then the yarn stopped moving, so we were a little worried that maybe he wasn’t doing so well. So then we moved the yarn a little with a stick to reveal that little baby Spidey was all balled up. As we moved yarn to reveal him, he reached out with his little forepaw to pull the yarn back over him, like a human pulling the covers back over their head sleeping in on a Saturday morning. He seemed like he was warm now, and didn’t seem eager to run away or scale any buildings again.
By this time it was just me and a young married couple who were super concerned that the little squirrel wasn’t just left out here with an injured leg that would keep it from surviving the long game, so we each used our smartphones to google phone numbers of the Barnstable/Hyannis animal rescue but they weren’t answering their phone after hours. So then I called the Barnstable police station non-emergency number to see if they could contact someone. They said they would call some wildlife place called Natural Resources, and we hoped that they would call us back, but it was after hours. We continued to follow voicemail chains until we finally got a phone number for a wildlife rehabber who answered his phone after hours. By voicemail train I mean, “Welcome to Animal Place 1, we’re not around after 4pm, so please call Animal Place 2.” Then Animal Place 2’s voicemail indicated to call Animal Place 3, then Animal Place 3’s voicemail said to call Animal Place 1.
SQUIRREL 4 PHOTOS
The wife was the one to call the phone number of the rehabber that finally picked up the phone. We got the address of their place where they could be taken to be looked after overnight and receive any care that Spidey needed. The couple volunteered to bring the crate of the baby squirrel in their car to transport it to the wildlife rehabber. I was so grateful that we finally found someone who would take little Spidey in, and grateful to this couple who stuck it out to make sure he was safe. We were all bonded by this experience of caring for this little baby squirrel. And that was the end of my unexpected adventure. On the drive to the restaurant where I was meeting my husband in Sandwich, MA, there was a really amazing sunset so I told Siri to take a photo. She didn’t do half bad.
I finally texted my husband to say that I would be about half an hour late by the time this whole squirrel debacle and that I would fill him in over dinner. I finally got to the restaurant in Sandwich, The British Beer Company, where we agreed to meet for our anniversary dinner. It was good to see him after just 2 days apart from our roadtrip up from NC, but I was so amped up from the baby squirrel rescue attempts that I probably wasn’t the best to keep company with at the time. Once I finally got some food and drink in my system, I finally calmed down, and we were able to have a pleasant dinner.
It was 2 for 1 pizza night, so we hopped on the pizza bandwagon and each ordered a small pizza, but since they said that the pizzas would all take a long time, we ordered their giant pretzel and baked brie for appetizers just because they looked good, and they both were very, very good. The pretzel actually came out on a hanging rack, which I thought was pretty cool. We caught up about our days in the short time we’d been apart, with my husband catching me up on his experience the first few days at his new job. I filled him in on the baby squirrel adventure and how it was going the first couple days at my art residency. They finally brought the pizzas and they were very good as we ate a couple slices, but then we needed to box them to-go. We did, however, save some room to see what their fried cookie dough dessert was all about, so we shared dessert. It was definitely worth saving some room because it was very tasty. After dinner I got my backpack from home from my husband’s car, we said our goodbyes for the next 1.8 weeks, and I drove my hour back to Edgewood Farm.