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Woman builds tiny rooms for squirrels


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#1 CatsAndBats

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Posted 17 April 2017 - 11:47 AM

She builds tiny rooms for squirrels and then snaps photos. The result: Four books.
 
 
Kellycol_177.JPG?uuid=o-NjKh4MEee7WadMyv
Canadian photographer Nancy Rose builds tiny sets on her back deck to attract squirrels. She has published three books of her squirrel photos. A fourth is on the way. (Nancy Rose)

By John Kelly Columnist April 10

When Nancy Rose and her husband were house hunting last year, the first question she’d ask whenever they visited a property was, “Are there squirrels?”

The confused real estate agents would invariably reply: “Are you scared of squirrels?”

“I’d say, ‘No, I like squirrels,’ ” Nancy said. “ ‘I take photos of squirrels.’ ”

In fact, squirrels are as vital to Nancy’s work as paints are to a painter or stone is to a sculptor — or, perhaps more accurately, as a ballet dancer is to a choreographer.

Squirrels are Nancy’s raw materials. She photographs squirrels engaging in human activities: mailing a letter, cooking dinner, doing the laundry, vacuuming, going camping. Three of her books have been published in the United States and Canada. A fourth is on the way.

Kellycol_178.JPG?uuid=v0LGdB4MEee7WadMyvNancy Rose set up a shoot for her furry models. She lures the squirrels with peanuts. “Those who know what I do think I’m kind of crazy,” she said. (Courtesy of Nancy Rose)

“People still think the squirrels are Photoshopped into the scenes,” said Nancy, who lives in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia.

They’re not.

“The way their little paws are kind of wrapped around something is pretty much impossible to Photoshop,” she said. “Or the way they’re standing against something or behind something. They’re just funny poses.”

Funny poses that are the end result of a lot of work. Nancy erects tiny sets on her backyard deck in a Halifax suburb and dresses them with squirrel-scaled props. Then she lures squirrels — red squirrels are the species up there — with peanuts. She stands at her tripod-mounted camera and waits for the squirrels to come.

“Those who know what I do think I’m kind of crazy,” she said.

Nancy’s slide into squirrelography was gradual. A onetime home economics teacher and school guidance counselor, Nancy had always been crafty. Ten years ago, she took a digital photography course and started taking pictures in her back yard.

“Flowers, scenery, birds,” she said. “Then one day the squirrels were there. I thought, ‘Let’s try to get some of those.’ ”

But after a while, the squirrels bored her. “They were always looking the same,” Nancy said.

A squirrel is a squirrel is a squirrel.

Piling peanuts into a cat food dish and snapping a photo was only mildly amusing. Nancy decided: “They need something their size.”

She started constructing backdrops, gluing together Popsicle sticks, molding things from self-hardening clay. “My eyes are always open for something that might be squirrel-sized,” she said.

Nancy came to understand the rhythm of the squirrels, when they were most active, how their natural curiosity would lead them to puzzle out where a nut was hidden. She posted her photos on Flickr. She made calendars for friends. Then she landed her publishing deal. Her books include “The Secret Life of Squirrels,” “The Secret Life of Squirrels: A Love Story” and “Merry Christmas, Squirrels!”

To me, Nancy’s masterpiece is the cover of “The Secret Life of Squirrels.” A squirrel appears to be dropping an envelope into a mailbox.

She made the mailbox out of a blue file folder. (Earlier she’d made a red mailbox, like they have in Canada, but her publisher told her that wouldn’t appeal to an American audience.)

She taped a tiny envelope in the opening of the mailbox and put peanuts inside the box.

“I always have the story in my head,” Nancy said. “Then it’s just a matter of praying that he’ll do it.”

And he did. Nancy fired off shot after shot as the squirrel’s little paw swept across the envelope, creating an anthropomorphic illusion.

It can take a lot of trial and error, as when Nancy made a papier-mâché school bus.

“What I really wanted was the squirrel standing by the door of the school bus, like a child waiting for the bus, or in the driver’s seat, like a bus driver,” she said. “But the squirrel kept going through the front window or out the side window.”

A defenestrated squirrel would not be attractive.

“I realized I had to block the windows with stiff clear plastic so the only way into the bus would be through the door,” Nancy said.

Why squirrels in the first place?

“I guess it’s sort of the cuteness factor,” said Nancy, 63. “If you look at the Internet, people are all about baby rabbits and children, anything cute and babylike and fuzzy.”

Occasionally, curious chipmunks — members of the squirrel family — stop by, but they don’t really serve Nancy’s purpose.

 

“They don’t stand on their hind legs,” she said. “They don’t look like little people.”

Nancy and her husband have just moved to a suburb on the other side of Halifax to be closer to their new grandson. Are there squirrels?

“There are a couple of big trees in the back yard and there was a squirrel on each bird feeder when we visited,” Nancy said. Plenty of material to work with.

 

original here: https://www.washingt...dc84_story.html


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#2 Spooner

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Posted 17 April 2017 - 02:43 PM

 

 She lures the squirrels with peanuts. “Those who know what I do think I’m kind of crazy,” she said. 

 

 

In Squirreltown she is called, "That Nutty Lady".



#3 Alder Logs

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Posted 17 April 2017 - 02:51 PM

 

In Squirreltown she is called, "That Nutty Lady".

 

At least they recognize that they were not created in her image.


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#4 Spooner

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Posted 18 April 2017 - 07:00 AM

Mostly it is the grey squirrels that that chase the birds away from my bird feeders, but this morning it was a white bellied red headed squirrel.  I guess I am becoming famous as a pushover in squirrelville.



#5 CatsAndBats

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Posted 18 April 2017 - 07:47 AM

Mostly it is the grey squirrels that that chase the birds away from my bird feeders, but this morning it was a white bellied red headed squirrel.  I guess I am becoming famous as a pushover in squirrelville.

 

 

I feed all of them. Birds, squirrels, feral cats, skunks, bunnies, etc.. It's a mammalian/wildlife version of communism. :biggrin:



#6 Alder Logs

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Posted 18 April 2017 - 08:02 AM

I haven't seen my first chipmunks yet.  I guess they are waiting for the rains to stop.  This is the first year in decades that I used all my firewood.  It never got really cold, just wet all the time.  No warm or sunny breaks.   Global warming has a reverse affect this close to the Pacific Ocean.   Warmer ocean water means more rainy days.   Our red wing blackbird population has seemed to crash.  Only one or two coming to the feeder or nesting at the pond.   Last few years there were many.   I'm wondering what's going on.  Could be Fukushima.  



#7 stmhunter

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Posted 18 April 2017 - 09:28 AM

i love fried squirrel

  or squirrel and dumplings.


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#8 CatsAndBats

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Posted 18 April 2017 - 10:02 AM

i love fried squirrel
or squirrel and dumplings.


Surprise, the Texas hunter trolls the crazy squirrel lady thread full of hippies. :biggrin:

#9 dead_diver

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Posted 18 April 2017 - 05:45 PM

I wonder if she ever read the child's book called Miss Suzy published in 1964? This was my favorite book to have read to me when I was a little kid. I still love squirrels to this day because if that book.
Quoted from Amazon...
"Miss Suzy is a little gray squirrel who lives happily in her oak-tree home until she is chased away by some mean red squirrels. Poor Miss Suzy is very sad. But soon she finds a beautiful dollhouse and meets a band of brave toy soldiers.

How Miss Suzy and the soldiers help each other makes a gentle, old-fashioned tale that has captured the imaginations of girls and boys alike for forty years. Arnold Lobel's enchanting pictures are sure to make the kind squirrel and the gallant soldiers the everlasting friends of all who turn these pages."download (1).jpg download.jpg

Edited by dead_diver, 18 April 2017 - 05:50 PM.

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#10 Juthro

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Posted 18 April 2017 - 06:18 PM

Dude, you know they are in the trees, watching you right now.......

 

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squirel.jpg




(sorry, this was a pic I posted already for the photography thread, but I thought it was more fitting here)


Edited by Juthro, 18 April 2017 - 06:19 PM.

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#11 Arathu

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Posted 18 April 2017 - 10:36 PM

Hahahahahaha...............what a bunch-o-nuts............we have the entire bell curve with extended flattened functions at the limits.............

 

A


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