Make no bones about it …

10-30-14
… it was bone-chilling this morning but I managed to eke out a walk, albeit small, just in the neighborhood, to pile on a couple of more miles toward the big goal. I toyed with the idea of sleeping in instead, which sounded mighty fine while I was curled up so cozy when the alarm went off, but decided not be a lazybones and get out there and walk. Last year I was kicking myself at year end for those last two weeks in October when I deemed it too dark in the early a.m., and not worth my while getting suited up and out the door for a mere two miles. Bonehead, that I was back then, I stayed inside instead; then, at the end of the year I was wishing I had those measly miles and did not have to traipse in Memorial Park in the snow, ‘round and ‘round like a draft horse stomping out the required miles to meet my goal. This morning, it took forever to get light outside, however, and I just did a couple of laps around Ford Park since it was too late to head down to Council Point Park; I’ll reserve that outing for the weekend and next week after Daylight Saving Time ends. Nothing spooky this morning … it’s crunch time as leaves were falling and fluttering all around me as we get ready to close out October and speed toward November. The leaves were still intact on this mini King Crimson Maple from where I found Mr. Skeleton hanging from a branch, his bones wiggling and rattling in the slight breeze. He looked kinda cold – they could have at least given him a muffler and mitts to keep him warm.

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Ghastly and ghostly … well, ‘tis the season.

10-29-14
I scurried out for a short walk this morning, blustery and cold as it was. Before heading outside I piled on some extra clothes and my wool headband and set out when it was finally light enough to do so. The Halloween décor in the neighborhood was blowing in the breeze, making it seem even spookier than normal, especially those ghastly looking spider webs with their humungous spiders hanging from them or those gauzy-looking ghosts. It looked like alot of the Halloween decorations have already ended up on neighbor’s lawns due to the windy weather we’ve had of late, which is too bad as you know they’ll never find their way back home again. I just walked in the neighborhood, since it was later, and it seemed like I was just chugging along and I glanced at my pedometer clock and it was time to turn back home. I sure am looking forward to the time change this Sunday, that is, unless the sidewalks and streets are snow covered … I hope they are wrong about this upcoming Halloween forecast, but it doesn’t sound like it – not only is the frost on the pumpkin, but it sounds like it will be covered in snow as well.

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Whole lotta rakin’ going on!

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Shakin’ too … as those leaves are often wiggling precariously when one big wind whoosh will whisk them down to the ground. Most of the time they are hanging on for dear life, their jewel tones glistening in the warm sun, and the unlucky ones fluttering silently onto the lawn or sidewalk. Alot of them came down in yesterday’s wind and today’s as well. I surveyed my back and front yards, but there are not enough leaves to rake yet. My neighbor’s maple tree is ablaze in yellow and red and those leaves are already starting to drop, so inevitably raking will be on next weekend’s agenda for sure. I had to go grocery shopping, so I drove the car to Meijer and then walked around the neighborhood to get a couple of miles in before going into the store. As I walked through the neighborhood I heard the scrape of rake tines hitting the concrete and the rattle of yard waste bags. This time of year it seems sometimes you need an assembly line to open and ready the bags to dump in all the leaves … they fill up that fast. It seemed everyone was shoveling rakefuls of crisp leaves into those yard waste bags, hurriedly trying to get done to get back into the house for the Lion’s game at 9:30 a.m. That’s why I chose this morning to go to the store – I figured everyone was either at the big Meijer sale yesterday, then watching the Lions or at church services today … well, I was wrong on all counts. Guess everyone had the same scheme going on. I got in four miles between my walk and running around in the store and hauling bags back-and-forth into the house after I came home. Not bad for the last weekend of October and the last week before Daylight Savings Time ends … I still have 45 more miles to go toward my goal.

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There’s one in every crowd.

10-25-14

What a beautiful Autumn day! I noted all the U of M and MSU flags flying as I walked through the various neighborhoods enroute to Council Point Park this morning. There were a few houses divided as well, flying or displaying two different team flags at one residence. When I arrived at the Park, the sun was just starting to filter through the trees, which seem to be getting barer by the moment, and many will be stripped of their leaves after today’s gusty winds. It was a quiet morning in the Park and I peered through the bushes and trees looking for the elusive deer and raccoon or trying to catch sight of the huge heron, but all I saw for the longest time were some chubby squirrels whose appearance made me remember I once again forgot to tote along their peanuts, because I left without wearing a coat. I ran into a fellow walker who said he and his friend had been looking for me because I would want to see the pair of white ducks that had been in the cove all this week. I thanked him and told him I’d look for them. I rounded the bend, and there they were, looking very beautiful against the drab water’s edge and the mallards that were swimming nearby. I tried to take their picture a few times, but they seemed to spend more time dipping their heads under the water than surfacing and just placidly swimming along like their mallard counterparts. The many now-bare trees and bushes permitted a glimpse of the Creek where a group of about a dozen mallards were frolicking in the water. I climbed down to get a closer look at them, being careful not to step on any twigs or crumpled-up leaves which would alert them to my presence. As I quietly descended the Creek bank, all of a sudden a fracas ensued. One of the male mallards went airborne, wings flapping wildly as he skimmed along the top of the water, all the while chasing down another male mallard who quickly responded in kind and flapped his wings in anticipation of a showdown. I don’t know what caused the fractious behavior and who stepped on whose toes, er webbed feet, but much quacking and splashing was going on until they settled their differences and five minutes later were swimming placidly along with the rest of the group. Dissention in the ranks – maybe they, too, each have their own favorite team for today’s backyard brawl. I did two complete trips on the trail at the Park, then slowly meandered my way back home stopping to walk the perimeter of Memorial Park since it was such a beautiful day, and added a total of 6 more miles toward my ultimate goal.

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With a quack, quack here and a quack, quack there …

10-23-14

Well, at least the sun peeked out from behind the cloud cover this morning, so I was able to leave a little earlier for a walk and to brave the near-frosty temps. I had to layer up a little more, but luckily, we are heading into a warming trend over the next week. Today’s jaunt took me to the Harrison Street bridge at the other end of Lincoln Park. I was chatting with a jogger at Council Point Park about a month ago after he spied me sharing some withered-looking apples with the squirrels along the trail. We were talking about feeding the critters at the Park and he mentioned going to this particular bridge if I wanted to see where all the ducks congregate. I told him I had been searching for them since Spring when they all vanished and I presumed they had not survived our brutal Winter. Since our conversation I discovered a handful of ducks roosting on an old wooden log near the original alcove, but that’s it – there had been a daily gathering of at least 50 male and female mallards all last year. So, I trudged over to the borderline of Wyandotte and Lincoln Park via the bridge over part of the Ecorse Creek this morning to have a look. From nearly a block away, and even before I arrived, a cacophony of quacking filled the still morning air, so I knew I was in the right place. Despite the frosty air, most of the ducks were nose-diving into the chilly water, shaking their wings and tail feathers, then preening themselves right afterward. It made me shiver just watching them, but for them, it’s no big deal as the oil in their feathers keeps that cold air from seeping through to their skin and ending up getting soaked through. They were just happy to be paddling around with their brethren and enjoying a quick dip. I watched for awhile as they splashed away thinking of the expression “it’s just water running off a duck’s back”. I know I’ll make a return trip, but next time with a bag of bread in tow, to throw out to them once the air is much colder and that water gets a thin veil of ice on it. Some bread will be a welcome sight when they can’t feed on the usual Creek fare. So, I’ve found a second go-to place for my morning nature infusion, hopefully through the Winter months as well.

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All God’s creatures.

10-22-14

My morning got off to a rocky start when I switched on the kitchen light and saw a big brown spider skittering along the narrow ledge of the Formica countertop in front of the stainless steel sink. Well, that wasn’t good. I didn’t want to use a shoe on the countertop to smack him silly, so instead I spent a good 15 minutes hovering and hyperventilating nearby with five Kleenex tissues wadded up for “the attack”. It was a narrow area, and, if I missed and he landed on the floor, he’d be at large in the room where I would spend 95% of my day. Finally, I just gritted my teeth and went in for the kill. Gotcha! Then I ceremoniously wrapped that Kleenex and him in three Baggies knotting the end to ensure he wouldn’t further terrorize me. (we are nearing Halloween you know). Only then could I concentrate on making and eating breakfast.

Well, sunup is getting later every day, and today it was so cloudy that it took forever to be light enough to get outside for my walk. It was really too late to go down to Council Point Park, so I meandered over to Memorial Park instead to do several laps from Fort to Electric before heading home. It was beautiful this morning and I enjoyed strolling through the Memorial Park Pavilion that honors our City’s war dead. It is always peaceful there, but, suddenly, out of the corner of my eye I spied what I thought was a roly-poly Park squirrel ambling through the grass in front of the big church adjacent to the Park pavilion. My first thought was that whomever was feeding this furry friend, they were giving him way too many treats as it was really huge. Then it turned around and looked at me and I saw its big round face and realized it wasn’t a squirrel at all. (Also, no long furry tail was my second big clue.) This creature was big enough to go to work! It kind of gave me the creeps the way it stood up on its hind legs and stayed in that position, all the while staring me down, so I backed off and turned on my heel and resumed walking to the other side of Memorial Park. Later, when I got online, I Googled images of groundhogs, gophers and muskrats, the latter not impossible since people from these parts all know about Kola’s Kitchen, the Downriver eatery that was famous for their muskrat meals until they closed their doors a few years ago. No “muskrat love” going on there, that’s for sure, unless the diners were patting their bellies and smacking their lips after a tasty meal. I know it wasn’t a hedgehog but I thought this little guy was kind of cute so I snagged this stock photo to go along with this post since I didn’t take a picture of the mystery critter.

Next, I stopped to watch Samantha, or “Sam” as her owner calls her, playing in the schoolyard with her pet-parent. She is an adorable, small, mixed-breed dog and she has a basketball, almost as big as her, which she pushes around the schoolyard’s wet grass with her nose, yip-yapping in glee and simultaneously wagging her tail the entire time she is pushing it along. Sometimes she pushes that basketball too hard that it hits a curb and goes airborne, so she waits patiently, wagging her tail and “smiling” until it bounces back down and settles into place on the ground and away she goes again. I often see her and her owner playing in the schoolyard and he is laughing along at her antics, as do I. A few minutes of play on a sunny day … a simple little pleasure in a day so often riddled with horrible headlines and sad events. I often wish life was simple and sweet for us humans too.

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Making strides on an awesome Autumn morn …

10-19-14

It was crisp and invigorating this morning when I set out for Council Point Park. The wicked winds from these past few blustery days have whisked alot of the leaves onto the sidewalks and they were all curled up and crunchy when I scuffed along through them, now brittle remnants of their former beauty. The sunny morn with its brilliant sun belied the cold temps and the grass was still tinged with a wee bit of frosting. We sure came close to dipping down to the freezing mark last night. I’ll bet those runners were very cold at the 7:00 a.m. start time for the marathon. I glanced up at the sun after it glinted off my glasses, momentarily blinding me with its rays, and it warmed my upturned face. That felt so good and I wanted to stop and just bask in the sun. I looked for Ruby on her front porch, but she was absent again, though the big rocker hasn’t been hauled into the house yet signifying that she has shut it down for the season. Once at the Park, as I entered the trail, I saw Donna, the rollerblader, swigging from a bottle she had placed on a picnic table under the pavilion. That told me she had already been there for awhile. I almost didn’t recognize her as she was clad in long pants, a Sherpa jacket, muffler, earmuffs and warm wool mitts. I’m used to seeing her in shorts and a tee-shirt as she whips along the trail at the speed of sound, passing all us walkers by. We greeted one another, chatted a bit then started on the path together, with her skating more slowly and me picking up the pace a little to keep up with her. It had been one week since I was at the Park and my eyes were darting around for a wayward raccoon or deer lurking in the bushes, but there no critters crossing our path, save for a few squirrels who begged shamelessly for a treat to tide them over ‘til they could remember where they buried their treasured nut goodies. I’ll have to start tucking a Ziploc pack of peanuts in my pocket for my furry friends going forward … I forgot after I switched to my heavier coat. Donna and I went two times around the Park and I left to walk home and she was ready to take on another few laps before departing. As I headed home, I walked even slower to enjoy the kaleidoscope of colors in the trees that still sported their fine-looking foliage, and finished up by adding another five miles to my total for good measure.

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