Critters and Covid

Critters and Covid

March 31, 2020 - ???   (June 15, 2020)

The global pandemic COVID-19 has disrupted our lives and impacted every single person in one way or another. Illinois was given a stay-at-home directive effective March 20. (I"m typing this on May 14 and the order is in effect until May 30.) 

Once my cancelled show, "Abstract, Traditional and all In-between" was posted online March 31, I turned my energies into making masks and entertaining neighbors walking past the house.

The spark for the lawn display was a neighborhood email proposing an outdoor "scavenger hunt" with suggested themes for certain dates to give families some variety and interest while they walked. The "hunt" held no appeal to me, but the idea of a change in scene was intriguing.

Over the years I have accumulated a lot of outdoor critters such as a plastic owl, a resin fox and a concrete seagull. On March 31, the fox appeared at the top of a pile of wood chips. The next day, the owl challenged him to be "King of the Hill" and it went from there.

Each day something changes. I take a photo and send it to my toddler grandkids to provide them and their parents a few moments of distraction. Passersby offer enough smiles and positive comments to encourage me to continue. It's keeping me entertained as well!

Below you will find a photo (or two) for each day. To start from the beginning, scroll all the way to the bottom and work your way up.

I plan to continue until May 30 (the current end of the stay-at-home order) or until the critters tell me it's time to move on.

You can see a story of critters and masks at

June 2, 2020

Restrictions eased a few days ago. How long will the critters stick around?

Well, several neighbors have expressed appreciation for the changing tableaux and encourage me to continue. Plus, the critters are an innocent diversion from the very scary, all too real, outside world. Those are strong motivators for the critters to stay visible.

It's also a creative challenge for me to come up with daily ideas that don't take hours of prep time and use only items on hand (and that the real animals won't bother).

So to answer the question of how long the critters will stick around - don't know.

June 14, 2020

The critters told me loud and clear four days ago that they were ready to move on. Today is the grand finale. Like many performing troupes they are not anxious to relinquish the stage even though the show is over. They will be hanging around one more day for the neighborhood.

I'm surprised at the pang of sadness I feel with the critters leaving. The yard is open for them to return anytime!

Day 77

June 15, 2020

A view from the back on the final day.

Farewell, critters.

Stay safe, everyone!

Day 76

June 14, 2020

The grand finale and curtain call.

Happy Flag Day!

Day 75

Critters are gathering for their curtain call.

They told me they were done.

At least for now...

Day 74

It's a girl! Welcome to the family!

note:  When I went out to set the day's scene, another critter had joined the line. Thank you, neighbor! (And you are very welcome for the masks.) It seemed only fitting to have the newest critter become part of the new baby story. Can you see the little bird head sticking out of the pink pouch?

Day 73

Racing back to see what the big announcement is.

Day 72

Eek! Swarming alligators!

Will the critters continue their journey or return home?

Day 71

Intrepid explorers leaving the yard.

How far will they get?

Day 70

Fish in the ditch!

Day 69

Brave hikers going into new territory.

Day 68

Another birthday party! Fun!!

Day 67

What will they find next?

Day 66

Yay! Something new to look at!

Day 65

In transit.

Day 64

Hiking, walking - destination unknown.

Day 63

June 1, 2020

A new day, a new month, a good camping trip. Let's take a hike!

Day 62

The fire is out and the critters are sleeping under the stars.

(It's hard to see in the photo, but the light fabric is covered with sparkly stars.)

Day 61

Telling scary stories around the campfire.

(Did you notice a marshmallow fell into the fire?)

Day 60

Roasting "marshmallows" 

I couldn't use real ones because the living, breathing critters would have eaten them.

Day 60    bonus

right       The critters threw a surprise party. 

Surprise - your birthday was yesterday!

Day 59

A quiet campfire after the party.

Day 58

Happy Birthday, Dad!

(The parade is gone.)

Day 57

It seemed appropriate to put up the banner featuring a band director's dog since the parade is still set up.

Day  56

Memorial Day May 25, 2020

Since people cannot gather this year to celebrate the unofficial start of summer, the critters have a parade, a ceremony, a bbq and boating.

Day 55

Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start of summer and it's in the mid-80's. Yay!

A great day for water parks and frozen treats.

Day 54

Taking turns on the water slide.

Hope that alligator isn't hungry...

Day 53

It's Friday of Memorial Day weekend. Let's go to the water park!

Day 52

Looks like yesterday but a racoon showed up.

Day 51

May 20, 2020

Congratulations to the Class of 2020!

(Finally a dry, sunny day to set this up. We had 6" of rain in the last week.)

Day 50

Where did the water and the fish go?

Day 49

The picture changed.

All good things must come to an end.

Today, May 17, is the last day for masks.

Day 48

Oh, is there a show?

Day 47

Just moving around.

Day 46

A small snail made it to the game.

Day 45

Yay, a sailboat on the water.

Day 44

What is that thing by the turtle?

(Really, what is it?)

Day 43

How did a grasshopper get to the top of the hill?

The neighborhood seems to all have masks.

After making 226 (203 adult and 23 child) it's time to move on.

Stay safe, everyone!

Day 42

Happy Birthday, Eric and Laura!

Day 41

May 10 - Happy Mother's Day!

Day 40

Happy Mother's Day weekend. (Rain is predicted for Mother's Day.)

Day 39

Oh no, an alligator!

Day 38

And another fish.

Day 37

There's another fish.

Day 36

Cinco de Mayo party!

Day 35

May the 4th be with you.

Day 34

Happy Birthday, Rose!

Day 33

Is that a turtle on top of the hill?

Day 32

May 1 is May Day. The critters are dancing around the May Pole!

Day 31

Where are the flamingos going? What are the others looking at?

Day 30

The bucket spilled.

Day 29

Yay, a butterfly!

Day 28

The goldfish found some hair dye to swim in so now they are orange and white and red!

Day 27

Water has appeared along with a bigger fish.

(Where did the goldfish go?)

Day 26

Is that a whale?

Day 25

Two faded concrete fish in front of bear.

Day 24

Moving around.

Day 23


Day 22

A bear.

With a "No Fishing" sign.

Of course,

Day 21

The snail finally made it to the hill.

Day 20

Where are you going?

Day 19

Ooo, a fire. Let's join the circle!

Day 18

Two snowmen join the circle.

Why is it so cold?! It's April 17!!

Day 17

Tropical birds gather 'round the fire to stay warm in this unseasonably cold weather.

Day 16

April 15

Bunnies built a fire to stay warm.

Day 15


Day 14

Still some eggs to find!

Day 13

April 12 

Happy Easter everyone!

Day 12

Three pink flamingos.

(Spoiler alert, the one by the tree lights up and moves!)

Day 11

Two pink flamingos. Where are they going?

Day 10

Every gathering needs a pink flamingo!

Here is how I offered the masks.

Day 9

Two more ducks found their way.

Day 8

Just in case no one has noticed the game, a larger lighthouse will get more attention.

Day 7

A duck showed up.

Day 6

A Scottie dog and lily pads.

Day 5

A lighthouse to call more players.

Day 4

Two more come to play. (A deer and a lizard)

Day 3

A frog on top? Really?!

Day 2

Look this way!

Day 1 

March 31, 2020

Hello neighborhood, want to play?

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