A little Friday frivolity …


… (at the expense of my fine-feathered friends, a couple of Great Blue Herons).

Yesterday, en route to Council Point Park, it sure was blustery.  I saw Christmas decorations swaying with each gusty puff of air, and homeowner’s wind chimes were rattling away, swinging slightly and emitting a range of pleasant musical notes.

The Park is even windier than in the ‘hood due to the wide open spaces and I snuggled down further into my coat.  Sometimes the individual hairs on the squirrels’ furry tails were sticking straight up, as if they’d seen a ghost.  Ooh, that’s how wicked the wind was.

I was handing out peanuts to the left and right side all along the trail, when fellow walker Mike hurried over to see me and said “do you have your camera with you?  You’ve got to go back this way because the big bird is just sitting there on the side of the Creek, but not in his usual spot.  I’m on my second time around and he hasn’t budged an inch – go before he moves and you can get a picture!”

So, that was my cue to get going and I momentarily abandoned the squirrels (well kind of – they followed along behind me) and high-tailed it over to the direction Mike had pointed, while pulling the camera out of the zippered hidey-hole in my squall jacket.

Well I saw that heron, looking relaxed and just gazing ahead, so I turned around and scattered a few peanuts behind me to keep my furry pals occupied so I could take that heron’s picture.  I  sneaked, snuck … well, let’s just say I crept up behind this feathered fellow.  He didn’t see me and the gusty wind was lifting the feathers at the top of his head ever so slightly.  He definitely needed a little hair gel to tame those wayward feathers which gave him a punk rock look.

heron with ice in background

That Great Blue Heron gave me the side eye, first from the left …


… then from the right.


Mike was right – he never budged an inch!

I took a slew of pictures and moseyed back onto the trail again, and … if I didn’t spot another heron.


Mike didn’t say anything about TWO herons, so I wonder which one he sent me too?   Right away I pegged him to be the resident heron here at Council Point Park.  He was ankle deep in the cold water.

That heron looked around, the wind raising a tuft of feathers on his crest, giving him a rather comical look, just like his predecessor.  I inched slowly down the leaf-covered slope to hone in on him for a close-up picture, but he was wise to me, plus the crispy leaves underfoot crackled and made my presence known.


That heron shot a look at me, then let out a screech that could raise the dead, and he promptly flew across the Creek, clearly miffed at my presence.

I left the Creek bank, not quite with the same flourish and pizzazz as he did, but I climbed back up to the trail where four squirrels sat on haunches with sad eyes and rumbling stomachs and one squirrel chattered and looked disapprovingly at me from a nearby tree, as if I should not be taking care of any business, but squirrel business first!


I guess I should be glad he didn’t give me the cold shoulder like the herons.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 50 Comments

Fun in the sun with my furry and feathered friends.

tree reflections.jpg

It’s a good thing it was beautiful and sunny yesterday, because it sure made up for this morning’s blustery and bone-chilling 18 degree-wind chill and very gray sky.  But all was not lost in today’s dull and dreary day, because I managed to snag a few shots of the heron who was daydreaming and didn’t see me.  I got a tip from fellow walker Mike that “the big bird” was down near the water so I should keep my eyes peeled for him.  And I did and that adventure will be shared later.

This post is about yesterday’s trek – I wanted to crow about reaching my walking miles goal yesterday, so I held onto these pictures and my tale.  As you know there’s always a tale to tell.

Yesterday was cold as well, but not so blustery.  I got down to the Park and after doing the meet and greet with the squirrels, I set out on the trail.

I’ve been overfeeding the squirrels so they don’t have to go into their respective, long-term stashes and I’ve been giving them five or six peanuts apiece.  I try to drop a little pile for each of them, though that doesn’t always work, because sometimes one of them thinks I’m not doling out nuts fast enough and they raid the other squirrel’s nut pile.  I hate having to be the mediator, but sometimes it is necessary – kids!

Interestingly, it is not only the squirrels raiding each other’s peanuts.  From high in a tree, the Park birds have a perfect perch to gaze down on what is happening on the perimeter path.  You might recall in the Spring, there were a pair of cardinals that routinely swooped down and snagged peanuts from the pathway, with the squirrels sitting a mere foot or two away from those peanuts.  This misappropriation of peanuts caused consternation on the part of the squirrels.  I even went and bought safflower seeds to entice the cardinals to fly to the ground for those seeds, (a favorite of cardinals), to no avail.  This went on for a few weeks and I never saw another cardinal all Summer or Fall.

Until yesterday.

Yesterday, while the squirrels were feasting on their peanuts, I was feasting my eyes on two beautiful birds – a male cardinal and a blue jay.

First, from his high perch, the blue jay was eyeing the peanuts I had scattered for the squirrels.  He watched a squirrel enjoying that nut …

squirrel noshing nut before cardinal.jpg

… but decided not to pursue snatching one for himself since there were too many people on the path at that time.  But it didn’t stop that jay from glancing down.

blue jay in tree.jpg

I walked a little further down the path when Mike, one of the other walkers, stopped me, and, in a hushed tone, asked “have you got your camera, because look at that beauty in between the branches over there?”

cardinal in bush.jpg

The cardinal, just like the jay, was eyeing those peanuts on the path, but, as I inched closer to get a better picture, that cardinal nonchalantly turned his back on me.

cardinal in bush backwards.jpg

Shortly after snapping his picture, the cardinal, obviously braver than the blue jay, threw caution to the wind and swooped down to ground level and walked over to help himself to a peanut.

cardinal on path.jpg

The squirrel, who was suddenly minus one peanut, looked stunned!  If you could read his mind it would be “hey, what just happened here?”

squirrel hey what happened here.jpg

The blue jay remained, at the top of the tree and peering down at the commotion on the path, the commotion being squirrels, fellow walker Mike, me and a guy who came along with his two dogs.  I had the camera out and was freezing my fingers off anyway, so I asked for a photo with the dogs.  “Sure” he said, and HE complied, the dogs not so much.

guy and dogs.jpg

I moved along and stopped near the cement landing to take a picture of the vapor rising up off the water.

vapor on water.jpg

The mallards were paddling away, seemingly oblivious to the mist, which concentrated itself in some portions of the Creek, but not everywhere.  For example, across the way, the weathered trees cast an amazing reflection on the water …

tree reflections and ducks

… and that didn’t faze them either.

tree reflections and ducks1

It’s been ages since I took any shadow pictures at Council Point Park.  Do you remember how I’d rate the sunny days on a “shadow meter” sometimes?  The notion of rating a shadow is pretty hard to do with the sun so scarce these days.

I saw some spooky-looking tree shadows on the perimeter path.

spooky tree

I decided to try and get another picture of Parker and me and our shadows.  One of my all-time favorite pictures from the Park is this one of us from  back on March 5th of this year:

After I took the picture, I looked in the display window at my shot.  I had to laugh at my Long, Tall Sally shadow on the perimeter path.  Parker was busy noshing on nuts and his shadow was nothing more than a flicked tail and snout to the ground, but I look like I’m wearing stilts don’t I?

long tall sally.jpg

I noticed the sun’s rays were getting stronger, so I hung out with Parker, doling out a few more peanuts, (much to his delight), as I awaited a chance to get another shadow shot, but anything I took were just pale imitations of the shot back in March, as mentioned above.  Surely, there will be other sunny days down the road!

A little sunshine is good for the soul – I walked five miles and felt ready to take on the world.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 24 Comments

I’ve walked my socks off and …


today I reached my goal of 1,051 miles walked in 2018, one mile more than I walked in 2017.

My year-end goal is always to surpass the prior year’s total by at least one mile.  I thought I’d finish yesterday, but I didn’t push myself hard enough.  I know if we would have had better weather this year, I’d have easily done another 100 or more miles, because I missed so many walks due to the weather.  In the Spring, we had nine weekends in a row where it rained, and many of those weekend days it was a day-long torrential rain event.  And then there was the snow … we had a total of 62 inches of snow, which began in earnest in mid-December and lingered through early April.  I despised that Groundhog, believe me!

But I had a beautiful walk this morning.   I took a lot of pictures and will make a separate post about today’s trek to Council Point Park.  The sun was a real treat and it was shining brightly, making beautiful reflections on the surface of the Creek, and I got a few shadow pictures with Parker as well.  The vapor was rising off the water with the mallards swimming in and out of the mist when I first arrived.  It was frosty cold, a mere 28 degrees, so I returned home with not only a spring in my step, but roses in my cheeks.

The journey goes on – in fact, my new total as of now is 1,055 miles because it was a sunny morning, so I got five miles walked.  The weather is SUPPOSED to be favorable for about another week and there are 26 more days left in this year after all, so onward and upward to the next goal!

I’ll leave you with this quote:

“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”~ C.S. Lewis


[Image of Christmas stockings by Simplicity.com from Pinterest]

Posted in Uncategorized | 55 Comments



I’m not going to write about today’s walk because it was abysmal.  After enduring three days of ugly weather in the form of freezing rain, freezing fog, torrential rain, then still more fog and rain, I finally headed out around 1:30 p.m. today. The sun was out, but I had to look twice, because that bright spot in the sky looked familiar … but the sun doesn’t come around here anymore, so I had to double-check.  I packed up some peanuts and stuffed them in my coat pockets and headed out in the 60-degree temps.  Nope, not a typo, it was almost tropical out there, and I do believe we got our long-awaited Indian Summer we’ve been clamoring for.  I won’t dwell on the fact that our Indian Summer is only here for about twelve hours, then poof, it’s gone again.

Halfway down to the Park, that sun that looked so promising as I peered out the front door, suddenly disappeared and a gray cloud hovered ominously overhead.  I said to myself “it sure looks like a snow sky, nah – too warm for snow, but don’t tell me it’s going to rain!”  I no sooner got the words out of my mouth, when the sky opened up and it poured.  I won’t repeat the words that I said that time, once it started pouring down on me, because I had no umbrella.  The weatherman had said the rain was done for the daylight hours.  I turned around and trudged home, with no pep in my step because I was already soaking wet, so what was a little more rain going to do to me?  The sun appeared again, even though it was still raining, and, after I arrived home and dealt with all the wet clothes, the sun came out full strength once again.  Did all that rain really happen or did I imagine it?  The least I could have gotten was a nice rainbow for my troubles.  Well, I was not going back out again.  No sir, you fooled me once, I won’t get fooled again!  I figured I’m chasing my goal, and I’ll make it … but it will be Tuesday now to reach that goal.

However …

A week ago today I had a delightful walk at Council Point Park.  Even though it was a gray day and there was a chill in the air, all my favorite feathered and furry critters were there and I got a six-mile walk done.  I’ve written about “Marsh Madness” and the mallards from last Sunday’s trek, plus I teased you about an upcoming post about the Canada Geese whose honking ruled the skies, just before they skidded in for a landing on the surface of the Creek, scattering a mess of mallards and the cantankerous heron.  Soon those geese regrouped and, though a few of them went hither and yon, there were seven geese that traveled in a semi-neat line down the Creek.  It was a sight to behold and my photos don’t do that beautiful scene justice.

As soon as I saw these geese in the water, I was reminded of the holiday song “The Twelve Days of Christmas” and I was racking my brain trying to remember exactly what the geese were doing … it gets trickier the closer it gets to the end of the song.  So, who was a-swimmin’ and who was a’layin’?  I had to consult my most-trusty source, Google, and it was “seven swans a-swimmin’, six geese a-layin’” … well I figured those geese just wished they were swans, thus they were seven swan wannabes and I made up my own word:  “swannabes”.

I followed those swans from their point of entry in the water, all along the shoreline of the Creek, trying to get as many of them in the photo at a time.  Some geese wanted to hug the shoreline and some drifted away from their leader, plus it was a wee bit tricky because the metal chain-link fence posts at the rear of the building across the Creek, kept casting a reflection on the water … so how does on capture all seven geese within those wavy reflection lines?   Well sometimes I had to compromise and get three in one shot, four in another shot.  Those little rascals quit playing follow the leader and strayed away on their own.  A couple of the geese had a little tiff as you see from the pink tongue a’waggin’.  And one goose got very lost and away from the maddening crowd … but eventually, you’ll see that they all regrouped and then headed toward the Detroit River.

It was a stunning lineup of Canada geese … enjoy my favorite pictures from this serene setting.

[Note … the caption editor was wonky tonight – some pics came out with captions; some did not, so I retitled the pics this way.]






























Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 37 Comments

Home Sweet Home.


Yesterday at this time, I was glad to be home, hunkered down in the house, fingers flying over the keyboard while the ping of freezing rain was hitting the windows.  It was an ugly and gray day, which began with a quick coating of snow, followed by that dreaded freezing rain which continued overnight.

So, this morning when I opened the screen door to head out to run the car, I expected to be slippin’ and slidin’ on the sidewalk and was pleasantly surprised to find the cement was dry and I could go on my walk after all.  A bonus day!  Since I thought there would be no walk, I piddled around before getting outside, so it was too late to make the two-mile round trip to the Park and be back on time for work.

I eked out three miles walking in the ‘hood.   That leaves me just ten miles to go to make my goal.  I hope to walk this weekend, but the window for walking is very small for Saturday and Sunday begins foggy and rainy so it will be an afternoon trek – likely the squirrels won’t be around by then because they come out in the morning, but go to bed early.

While on my walk this morning, I was watching a trio of squirrels playing tag.  There was a black squirrel, grey squirrel and a Fox squirrel (like Parker) and they had boundless energy as they chased one another in a tall tree.  They went up and down, around and around, and did some death-defying jumps as they frolicked on a huge oak tree.  I had to stop watching them as they would leap in mid-air from branch to branch in  mid-air and the one behind would follow.  Yikes!

Many of you have asked me about my furry peanut pals at the Park and where they go in the Winter.  I told you they do indeed stick around through the dead of Winter and even showed you some links of prior posts or photos I’ve taken showing squirrels noshing on nuts or looking for nuts with a snowy background.


I promised that once the trees were bare and the squirrels’ nest were exposed, I’d take some pictures of them.

By now the squirrels are set for Winter, even though we’ve got a few weeks before that actual event takes place on the calendar.  My little buddies will still appreciate if I visit and make a “dropping” of peanuts or walnuts, even though they’ve hidden enough peanuts, or other food they’ve foraged, to last three years!  You sure wouldn’t know they have such a stash if you saw the shameless begging when I arrive at the Park, and this sucker just doles out squirrel goodies like she doesn’t know those facts and figures.  That’s okay because I like to spoil them.

You may recall I told you about that extra layer of “underfur” and fat that Mother Nature provides so squirrels stay toasty through the cold and snowy Winter months, but it still must get cold in those drafty nests high up in the trees.  When reading about squirrels and their habitats recently, I learned that although most squirrels live in nests, some find refuge by taking over a tree cavity, perhaps a tree trunk decimated by a woodpecker.  Must be drafty with all those holes – hmm.  But most squirrels live in dreys, which are nests fashioned from twigs, which are first woven together by the squirrels for stability, then molded together using damp leaves and moss, even paper.  These nests are built on secure branches, often the fork of a tree, and may be as high up as 25-30 feet off the ground.  Inside the nest, in an area as big as two feet in diameter, there is shredded bark, grass and more leaves … all comfy and cozy for those long Winter nights ahead.

Since twigs and leaves are sure not as toasty as a down comforter or warm woolen blanket, the squirrels sleep with their bodies curled up together like a ball to maintain body heat and keep warm.

The neighborhood squirrels like when their humans build them squirrel boxes, which are simple wooden boxes with a hole they can pop in and out of, and they resemble an oversized birdhouse.  Our Park squirrels are troopers and their twiggy-and-leafy nests are “home sweet home” to them.

Below are some photos of nests I saw on my most-recent trip to the Park.


Here’s a couple of close-ups of the same nest:

closeup far away.jpg


You only think you are cold … what if you only had fur and a few twigs and leaves to keep you warm?

[Image of “Home Sweet Home” from Pinterest]


Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 46 Comments

Marsh Madness.


Of course, at first glance, you thought why is Linda writing about the college hoops frenzy known as “March Madness” … I sure do wish it was the month of March instead of just sliding into the tail end of November.  The weather when I walked this morning was more like January, not November.  When I left the house it was 25 degrees, with a wind chill of 14 degrees and NW winds gusting at 15 mph.

I arrived home after my walk with cheeks as red as my squall jacket.  My boss was out at a meeting so I had a little wiggle room and got six miles walked this morning – push, push, push to the end.

There weren’t many of my little furry friends greeting me along the perimeter path this morning, and I wondered if the blustery weather had them hunkered up in their nests.  Those few squirrels at ground level munched their peanuts, seeming not to care that the wind was whipping through the fur on their tails.  Likewise, the reeds that line the banks of the Ecorse Creek were waving wildly with each breathy gust of wind.

Meandering around the marsh.

This post is about my trip to Council Point Park on Sunday.  That day I lingered as long as I could, not only because I knew my outside tasks awaited me, but also because it was mild … a far cry from Thanksgiving or today’s temps.

I arrived early at the Park since the day’s agenda involved more than just walking, taking a slew of photos, picking through them, then writing a blog post.  No, I had that dreaded yard work to do, plus I wanted to do a post about being peeved about leaves (because I was).

So, I had my ducks in a row …

ducks in a row1.jpg

… and gave the squirrels some TLC and lots of peanuts, then set about on my six-mile meander.

The first stop was the marshy area.  The reeds and invasive grasses, wheat-colored and long dead since that first hard frost, now just bend in the wind and provide an interesting backdrop along the banks of the Creek.




The most interesting of the tall skinny grasses is the Phragmites which has large seed heads hanging off each stalk.



Perhaps I went a tad mad at the marsh

I have a wild imagination, but, if I squint just the right way, I don’t see large seed heads on this invasive wetland plant, but instead I see something resembling squirrel tails – do you see it too?

tail up close.jpg

I know I wanted to snatch one of those seed heads and give it to Stubby, the squirrel who is missing half of his tail.  Winter’s coming and squirrels use their long and furry tails like an umbrella to shield them from the snow.

The marsh may have appeared a little desolate, but I turned the corner and the wider part of the Creek was full of mallards, quacking and splashing away.  I’m sure they were enjoying Sunday’s very brief respite from the wintry temps and there must have been a couple dozen of them playing and paddling away.  This mallard was splashing and riding the waves.


I like to watch the ducks that sit on the half-submerged log because it is like they are giving themselves a break from paddling without having to come up onto land.  Unlike the geese or swans, the ducks never come up onto land at this venue.  They do at Elizabeth Park and Heritage Park, and are a delight to watch as they waddle around, but you’ll never see them on land here.

These two ducks were perched on a log making it appear as if they were standing on top of the water.



I stood and watched the tranquil scene, camera in hand, but mostly just enjoying the peaceful morning.  Unfortunately, that peace and quiet did not last long because suddenly a flock of Canada geese announced their impending arrival with a series of honks, then splashdowns that sent the ducks and a heron beating a hasty retreat.

Many of the ducks took to the air, and the heron did as well, making his trademark screeching noise, his body a bluish-gray blur as he vamoosed.  After the geese landed, soon there was a parade of geese floating down the middle of the Creek, just like a flotilla of ships, following one another in perfect form.  And now that I’ve teased you with that image, I’ll devote an entire post to them as they really looked spectacular and I took lots of pictures.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 47 Comments

Leaves leave me peeved sometimes.


On the last day of this four-day holiday weekend, I was outside scooping up wet and slimy leaves and pruning rosebushes.  I mumbled my apologies to the rosebushes about my tardiness in attending to them, blaming not myself, but Mother Nature.

But first, I savored my walk at Council Point Park this morning as we are getting some type of slushy mess in the overnight hours that likely will stop me in my tracks tomorrow morning.  I still have 18 more miles to go, and, had the weather been more cooperative yesterday (hint-hint Mother Nature), I had been hoping to get to my goal before the end of November.

Yup, that would be one month early!

But then, what do I do?  Keep going like the Energizer Bunny, just racking up more miles?  That’s what I did last year – 295 more miles in fact.  Or, do I call it “done” and the rest is just gravy?  I have a few days to dwell on this, plus 36 more days left in 2018 – it doesn’t mean all 36 of them will be conducive for walking though.

So, I lingered as long as I could at my favorite nature nook since I had to come home and get crackin’ on the long-overdue yard work and outside chores.

First to cut down those rose bushes and then to tackle those leaves … and, oh those leaves.

The fact that my ornamental tree has yet to shed its leaves, but once again I had multiple yard waste bags filled with leaves, always leaves me peeved quite frankly.  Oh, it is stupid to be peeved about petty things such as other folk’s errant leaves, but it still irks me.

There are the behemoth trees that rise way about the houses behind me.  They are likely well over half a century old, if not older.  You see how large they are.  Large trees means lots of leaves.


So, just imagine all those leaves fluttering down gracefully.  In animated pictures of falling leaves, they twist and twirl through the air, landing at the base of the tree, right?  Nope, that is not always true.  They collect in the gutters and a big rainstorm comes along, the gutters overflow sending muddy droplets down, streaking your windows before you get the gutters cleaned out.  Thanks a lot trees!

My neighbor has a beautiful maple tree.  Just like clockwork, that tree turns yellow, then red, then it drops its leaves in the space of about 10 days.  It is beautiful to watch that foliage turn, and this year we had a couple of blustery days so the leaves were whisked from the tree more quickly than usual.

I was going to write a post about that tree back in October, so I took some photos of it and the carpet of leaves on my lawn.

This was one day …

bright red

… and a couple of days later, the leaves had all dropped.


Guess whose lawn those leaves dropped onto?  Hmmm.

carpet of leaves

Actually I despise that tree and have for a long time, but its time on Earth may be waning as the leaves have huge spots and some kind of disease as you see in this picture.


My neighbor and I joke about that tree and what a pain it is every Fall.  I have told her that I watched that tree from its humble beginnings.  Newlyweds moved next door – their starter home.  One day they saw a Maple seedling that sprouted up in the grass on the City property.  I was outside doing yard work, and, out of the corner of my eye, I watched them looking at that little seedling lovingly and then taking a spade to the grass.

maple seedling

They spaded out a circle around the seedling, got some potting soil and patted it down, then staked that seedling and even put a tiny fence around it.  And, oh yes … they fertilized it.  I witnessed the ritual and told my mother over dinner that evening.  We each rolled our eyes and scoffed at the idea that the seedling would survive that Winter, let alone amount to anything resembling a tree.  But, it not only survived the Winter, but with lots of TLC and Miracle Gro that seedling thrived.  I began to rue the day that a helicopter seed drifted down and took root, and asked myself why I didn’t pull it out before they began nurturing it?

But alas, there will always exist the woulda/shoulda/coulda events in your life.

Like when I was a preteen and raked leaves in the neighborhood for pocket change.  Yes, I got an allowance and had to help with our own family’s leaves, but then there were Bobby Sherman 45s or Tiger Beat magazines to buy, or whatever other little treats that a pre-adolescent girl covets and allowance doesn’t always cover.  So, I had a reasonable fee and went around the neighborhood on weekends raking leaves.

I spent the better part of a Sunday afternoon raking leaves on a corner house for a rather crotchety older woman.  It was a sizable yard and I quoted her $0.50 to do the leaves.  There was a whole lot of rakin’ goin’ on and I finished up, lining up at least a dozen plastic bags crammed with leaves along the bottom of her City property for garbage pickup.  In those days the garbage men picked up everything – no yard waste pickup existed.

Then, I went and knocked on the door to retrieve my pay.  She didn’t answer the door, yet peered at me from the side of the living room curtains.  I knocked and knocked and motioned to her to indicate I saw her watching me, but she would not come to the door.  I went home dejected and told my parents what happened.  My mother clucked her tongue and shook her head and said “poor kid” and my father called her a few choice names and said “I’ll take care of it for you.”

Well he rectified the situation the next morning before he left for work by taking a pair of garden shears and snipping off the knotted tops of each of the plastic bags and dumping them back where they came from, leaving a lovely carpet of colorful foliage on Old Biddy Burgess’s property.  He came home and told Mom to tell me he took care of “the situation” and going forward to get paid in advance, or let that be the end of my leaf-raking career!


[Image of seedling from Pinterest]

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 48 Comments