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Tuesday, 22 April 2014
Sammy Squirrel Wants Stories to Tell His Children - a squirrel story
Topic: Stories
Sammy Squirrel  was up in the tree shelling and nibbling the peanut he had just retrieved from the critter feeder. He had to put a bit of effort to lift the wooden lid of the feeder and reach inside for a peanut, but it was quite doable for him. Sometimes he stayed right there and ate his peanut. Other times he might go bury it somewhere. This time one of the neighborhood cats was hanging around looking at Sammy. Sammy took his peanut up the nearest tree.

Cat,squirrel, and bird animation by Catinka Knoth

One of his favorite trees, a large maple tree, was no more. It had been taken down before a big storm several weeks earlier. The people had taken it down. This was a big surprise to Sammy because his nest had been high up in that tree. It was a nest of dried leaves. This was where he slept and hunkered down. The mass of dried leaves  kept him insulated against the bitter cold winds that blew all winter. The dried leaves, his thick grey fur and his bushy tail kept his body heat snuggly around him so that he was warm. He slept a lot in the winter so that he would not need so much food - food that was not growing in winter.

But it was spring now. The tree buds were starting to come up. Life was starting to brim again. And Sammy just wanted to be able to tell some stories to his family..He still had to find Mrs. Sammy Squirrel. Sammy was young himself, so this spring he had to find and meet a squirrel who would be Mrs. Sammy Squirrel. But here was Sammy wanting to make stories to tell his children.

He gnawed his peanut hardly tasting it as he wondered how to make up a story. Every parent had stories to tell their children he was sure. That was what parents did. Children loved to hear stories. Sammy had loved hearing stories from his parents. What were the stories his parents told him? That seemed so long ago that Sammy could hardly remember, especially after sleeping so much during the long winter they had just had. Could he tell them about some of his dreams? He could if he could remember them. The dreams too seemed so long ago now that winter was over and the spring was pushing through. He had no idea how he would be able to tell stories to his children. He would have to start all over again with stories. He might not even have time to learn how to do it. What ever he told them would have to be good enough. Sammy worried his peanut shell and then threw it to the ground off his branch.

Sammy Squirrel would go around and ask the others in the neighborhood how they made up stories for their children.

Sammy Squirrel went to ask Cory Crow how he told stories to his children. Cory told him that he did remember all the stories his parents and his grandparents had told him. Bluejay said he remembered about three or four stories from his parents and just told them over and over again. The cat hanging around in the yard said he could remember his dreams and told those to his children. Mostly they were about chasing Sammy Squirrel around the ground and partly up a tree, or waiting patiently for a mouse to come out of a mouse hole. The mockingbird said he had lots and lots of stories for his kids. He liked to sing them all in one song, one right after another. "When you hear me singing my medley, I'm telling them about all the sounds I hear." said the mockingbird. Chippy Chipmunk said he would tell his kids about the day he got stuck first in the truck, and then in that store, and got so scared. He would keep telling them that story so that his children would be careful not to get lost like that. It had been just so lucky that he had been able to get back home after that adventure.

Sammy asked Fergy Fox about telling stories to his kits. "Sure I tell them stories. They just pop in my mind all the time. I know so many tricks and ways to go. It is just as easy for me to tell a story as it is for me to figure out how to sneak up on an animal that I'm hunting, or to quietly steal  eggs from a chicken coop and disappear before anyone knows I did it. You know lots of ways to go through the tree branches. It is the same thing. The more tree branches there are the more ways there are for you to twist and turn and hide or run when you are escaping... Say, what are you going to do now that that big old maple tree is gone? That used to be a good bridge for you from one set of trees to that apple tree over there. Will you have to run across open ground all the time just to get between the apple tree and the critter feeder?" Fergy Fox could not help but want to know how Sammy Squirrel would act when he had to run from him again. They were friends right then, but there were times when Fergy got very hungry and just had to try to catch Sammy for supper. Fergy had had a big breakfast that day, and did not care about trying to catch Sammy. Sammy could always feel when he was safe around Fergy. And Fergy did not come down to the critter feeder too much. Fergy mostly came out at night and preferred the woods and the wilder neighborhoods.

An idea came to Sammy Squirrel for how he would make up a story to tell his children.

Yes, he could tell them anything he remembered about things that had happened to him. Or the stories he might remember from his parents. Or whatever he remembered from his dreams. This idea however seemed like it could be fun for him to try. He would go out and find five things he could bring home to the nest. Or he could just look around him and think of five things he saw around him. There was the old car with all that stuff in it. There was an old table sitting under the trees. There was a cat statue sitting in the flower bed. There was a ragged old windsock hanging from a pole. And there was a bucket full of water that used to be snow. Sammy wondered what would happen if he pretended these things talked to each other. What would they say? They must have seen a lot of things when he was not watching. Sammy would tell his children whatever he could think of that these five things might talk about. Each night Sammy would ask his children which of these five things did they most want to hear about that night? Sammy thought he was pretty sure he would be able to take it from there and be able to tell stories that he thought the five things might have seen in a day, or in any day long ago. Yes, this sounded like a good idea for Sammy Squirrel to try. Now he just had to go find Mrs. Sammy Squirrel. Where could he find her?

C.K. 4/21/14

Posted by Catinka Knoth at 9:55 PM EDT
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Sunday, 20 April 2014
Sammy Squirrel's Easter story, and some Easter Egg cards.
Topic: Stories

It was Easter morning. Sammy Squirrel had promised his friend Rudy Rabbit he would help him with his Easter delivery rounds. He had really wanted to do this when he promised. But now that the morning was upon him, he just wanted to sit there and muse upon things. To sit and look at the world just around him. To ponder the way of it. To be idle. He loved being idle and being able to daydream. He also loved to rush around and do things. It felt good to get excited and make things happen. The things Sammy Squirrel liked to do, or usually found himself doing, was to find food and either eat it then or find another place to hide it. Usually he would scurry off from where he found the food, dig up a little hole in the ground, put the food in the hole, and cover it over. He kept very busy at this task for most of his day.

One could think it was work. Sammy liked doing this. He could not help but do it. He had to do it. It felt so good to him to do this, it was so easy for him to do. Was it really work?

Often times other animals, like bluejays and crows, followed Sammy Squirrel around as he buried his treasures. They knew what he was doing. As soon as Sammy was done covering one food cache, they would go uncover it and take out the food for themselves. Bluejay might go hide it somewhere else himself. He did not usually bury it in the ground. He just put it in a pile of leaves or old grass and covered it back up. An acorn or nut could get moved around a few times. Perhaps a crow or a seagull would see what the bluejay had done with that nut. Crows and seagulls do not have the patience to bury something themselves. They are bigger and need to eat all the food they can find when they find it. Seagulls are not fussy what they eat.. 

Seagulls are so gluttonous they will swallow things that are too big for their throats, just so they can eat it before another animal, even another seagull, can get it. And then the seagull squawks around with the lump of food in his throat, while another seagull follows it hollering at it to try to take that food hiding in the other seagull's throat. They squabble and tussle over a bit of food. Anyone watching might worry that the seagull with the food in his throat will get stuck like that.

This also happens along the piers and harbors, where the people set out their fishing lines. A seagull might grab hold of a fish as it is being pulled in on a line, and swallow that fish that is on the end of a line. Now the seagull is on the line too. What happens? How often does this happen?

Here was Sammy Squirrel thinking he did not want to go help Rudy Rabbit. He wanted to daydream about all the acorns and nuts he would find that day and go bury in the lawn that had just started turning green after the long cold winter. 

He'd seen where the crocuses were coming through and blooming. That had already started over a week earlier. There had been yet another snowstorm just a few days before, but that did not matter. Sammy knew it would not be long before it got warm and stayed warm. Before there were lots of plants around. Before there was lots of shade because the trees were full of green leaves. Everything would be green. There would be lots of bugs around. The sun would shine a long time on most of the days. In the winter the sun seemed to shine for such a little while every day that it was out. It always felt as if it had hardly come up for the day before it had to disappear again for the night. 

That was why it got so cold during that time. It got so cold that there was not much food around. The best someone like Sammy could do was to sleep as long as he could. He would curl up in his leaf nest high up in the tree branches and go to sleep. During this cold weather there was also no good place to hide food if he found it. The ground was too cold. It was so cold it was frozen. 

On some winter days it warmed up a bit and the ground thawed a bit. Those were the days that Sammy's friend,  Rory Raccoon, who slept most of the winter time, woke up and came out to look for a snack. 

The day had flown by as Sammy Squirrel sat there pondering and  munching on the acorns from the pile he had dug up. He had not gone to help his buddy Rudy Rabbit with his  Easter job. He had seen children running about with Easter baskets on their arms, screeching with glee every time they spied an Easter hunt trophy. Some where cleverly hidden waiting for the older children to find. Some were practically out in the open for the youngest children to find. When they had found all there was to find, they went in their houses to eat their goodies and play with any toys they might also have found. Sammy knew they might also be having a big feast for Easter. Not all families did that though. Lots of kids were fussy about their food and did not even like the foods served at Easter dinner. One child he knew only liked ham and Easter cookies at Easter. Perhaps the fussy eaters were served hamburgers and hotdogs. 

Sammy sniffed around at some of the candy wrappers that blew through the grass in the spring breeze. He did not care for chocolate. He could smell some peanut odors  in the wrappers but there were no peanuts with these wrappers. 

Cory Crow flew down and picked up the shiny candy wrappers. Cory Crow liked shiny things. He collected the wrappers and took them off to his special treasure cache. He even put some wrappers in his nest. They would make his nest sparkle.

Rudy Rabbit went home to his burrow quite tired from all the work he had done that day, delivering Easter baskets and hiding Easter eggs and treasures around his neighborhood. He felt good that things had gone smoothly, even though Sammy had not come out to help him. Ginger and Jolie Rabbit had helped. Rollie and Renee Rabbit had also.  Other rabbits saw to the Easter deliveries in their own neighborhoods. It had been a satisfying day for them. They did not have to think about it again til the next year. Now they could go back to their daily business.

C.K., 4/20/14

Caran d'Ache crayon resist and watercolor on copy paper 'frenchfold' card.

Posted by Catinka Knoth at 6:09 PM EDT
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Sunday, 30 March 2014
April Art - art workshops for adults, with Catinka Knoth
Topic: Art Class
April Art Workshops for Adults at Rockland Library

Rockland - Catinka Knoth  will lead a drawing workshop series for adults, on creating 'April Art'.  Attendees will explore themes such as Spring papercuts in celebration of Hans Christian Andersen's birthday;  Easter eggs and cards; and Spring flowers. Classes meet 11 a.m.  Mondays, April 7, 14, and 28th; in the Community Room, Rockland Public Library, 80 Union St.  Led by Knoth, participants will  create their own art. Knoth provides the classes free of charge, with materials supplied. Friends of Rockland Library host the workshops, which are open to the public. FMI Knoth at 596-0069 or Rockland Library at 594-0310.

4/07    Spring Papercuts
4/14    Easter eggs & cards    
4/21    No Class - Library  closed for Patriots' Day 
4/28    Spring Flowers - Tulips & Daffodils

Knoth will provide instruction and guidance in drawing and creating the April themes. Each week is a different subject. Participants will work with pencil, colored pencil, and crayon, and sometimes scissors, with a focus on drawing in color.

Knoth paints watercolors of Maine and whimsical animal scenes, which she offers as cards and prints. She also teaches a free weekly children's drawing class at Rockland Public Library, which is sponsored by Wendy and Keith Wellin. For more information about Knoth's work visit www.catinkacards.com. April Spring and Easter art by Catinka Knoth 01 Rabbit Papercuts

April Spring and Easter art by Catinka Knoth 02 Easter Egg card

April Spring and Easter art by Catinka Knoth 03 tulips

April Spring and Easter art by Catinka Knoth 04

April Spring and Easter art by Catinka Knoth 05 daffodils

Posted by Catinka Knoth at 5:50 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, 31 March 2014 9:24 PM EDT
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Saturday, 22 March 2014
"Let's Draw April Awakenings!" - Easter, Cherry Blossom Festival, Spring - for Children's Drawing Classes
Topic: Kids Art Class
Press Release:

"Let's Draw April Awakenings!" - Children's Drawing Classes at Rockland Library, 2014

Rockland -  Children will draw in celebration of Spring this April at Rockland Public Library. Participants draw along with artist Catinka Knoth as she demonstrates. Subjects may include fairy tale papercuts in honor of Hans Christian Anderson's birthday; Easter eggs & bunnies ; koi kites and cherry trees for the Japanese Spring Festival ; baby animals such as bunnies, puppies, kittens, lambs, and colts; spring peepers,  birds' nests and fledglings, and spring flowers such as crocuses, daffodils, and tulips.
"Let's Draw April Awakenings!" - 
4/01    Fairy Tale papercuts
4/08    Easter bunnies & eggs cards and scenes
4/15    Japanese Cherry Blossom Festival
4/22    Baby Animals
4/29    Spring Peepers,  Birds Nests, Spring Flowers

The ongoing workshops, sponsored by Wendy and Keith Wellin, for age 6 and up, (including the young at heart), are free and open to the public. Library policy requests that children age 10 and under  have an adult accompany them. Knoth expects participants to be able to work independently for the most part.  Classes provide all materials and meet every Tuesday, 4-5 pm., Community Room, Rockland Public Library, 80 Union St., hosted by Friends of Rockland Library. FMI - Jean Young, children's librarian, 594-0310.
Spring & Easter Papercut Cards
spring Easter papercut cards by Catinka Knoth Large image Spring Easter papercut panel cards by Catinka Knoth

Posted by Catinka Knoth at 6:58 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 25 March 2014 6:28 PM EDT
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Thursday, 6 March 2014
Ten subject ideas for March
Topic: Seasonal/Holiday

1) Iditarod dogsled races 

2) Women's history month

3) Ides of March

4) In like a lion, out like a lamb

5) March winds and kite flying

March winds and kite flying coloring page


6) St. Patricks's Day

7) Celtic designs

8) March Madness - basketball & ice hockey?

9) Arrival of Spring

10) The circus comes to town

Posted by Catinka Knoth at 2:02 PM EST
Updated: Thursday, 6 March 2014 2:48 PM EST
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