Memorial Day 2023.

Sometimes you have to write from the heart …

Bleeding Heart blooms at the Volunteer Garden at Memorial Park.

Admittedly, just like so many other “worker bees” I am enjoying this three-day respite from the regular routine, but it is always good to take a few moments to reflect on the real reason why we have this respite a/k/a the Memorial Day holiday.

So I decided to write about Sergeant Craig Frank, a young military man who hailed from Lincoln Park, a war hero who lost his life in 2004. Craig Frank was the only soldier from the City of Lincoln Park killed in Iraq.

Sgt. Craig Frank’s image from The National Gold Star Family Registry

I’ve written about Sergeant Frank in the past, but before I knew most of you. Last year I read in the local newspaper (The News Herald) that on October 15, 2022, a portion of M-85, a main highway in this City, would be renamed “Sergeant Craig S. Frank Memorial Highway” after Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed such legislation (House Bill 5712 – 2022).

The highway street sign was paid for by “Running to Honor” which is a non-profit group dedicated to keeping the memory of fallen soldiers and veterans alive. Their 5K runs/walks raise funds for various veteran-related causes. They have an annual 5K that takes place at Heritage Park.

Here is a photo of Craig Frank in military gear and the street sign which appeared in The News Herald.

A little background.

Our City’s Memorial Park has an old cannon, a pavilion with park benches donated on behalf of various pillars of the community and a huge cement monument lists the City’s war heroes from World War I, World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.

Most of the names, like from the two world wars and the Korean conflict were engraved right into the stone. A few more casualties from the Vietnam War have been added using individual plaques affixed to the monument.

But Sergeant Craig Frank stands out from the rest … he has his own monument that honors a life cut short way too soon.

This memorial statue is a tribute to Sergeant Frank, a member of the Army National Guard’s 1775th Military Police Company out of Pontiac, Michigan. It is found next to the monument that commemorates all the City’s war dead. Craig Frank was elevated to Sergeant four days following his death on July 17, 2004 from injuries sustained from a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) that struck him from behind while he was providing armed protection for an American military convoy north of Baghdad, Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Sergeant Frank’s Fallen Heroes Memorial is a concrete pillar where a likeness of the 24-year-old’s boots, firearm and helmet have been cast in bronze and sit atop the pillar.

You can read about Sergeant Craig at this Fallen Heroes Memorial site.

This is not the original memorial. I went to see the original memorial after reading an article in the local newspaper, but not long after the dedication, metal scrappers dismantled the statue. There was outrage and money was raised to replace it and since then, Sergeant Frank’s memorial statue has remained intact, silently honoring him, year after year and season after season.

Because I knew I would once again spotlight Sergeant Frank, I made multiple meanders over to the veterans tribute pavilion at Memorial Park to take pictures of the statue honoring this young man’s valor. I’d already taken photos in the Fall for a prior post, so I will include a few here. This year, on a snowy Winter day, I made a brief foray to the memorial, then in early Spring and my most-recent visit was to see/photograph the flags placed in advance for the Memorial Day ceremony held May 21st.

Memorial Park meanders in various seasons.

In Autumn, the golden glow of leaves littering the ground made it very picturesque – the ambiance was peaceful.

On one Summer visit l noticed a flag had been entwined with the boots and gun and secured with a plastic poppy.

When I visited Sergeant Frank’s memorial in the Winter, there was something new added – a baseball cap from a Vietnam vet.

When I returned in early Spring, I was pleased to see the cap was still there, although it was hanging off a different boot.

The cap remained in place just prior to the Memorial Day parade.

Our new mayor, Mike Higgins, was Craig Frank’s swimming coach, so he knew him as a high school athlete – had he lived, what would Craig Frank be doing now at 43 years old?

Have a safe Memorial Day.

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Just Chillin’. #Wordless Wednesday #Feeling ducky!

Wordless Wednesday – allow your photo(s) to tell the story.

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Learning on my terms.

Last week I received an e-mail – the re: line was “Hello, Dear LPHS 1973 Classmate!” and the topic was our LPHS 50th Reunion. Even though my previous RSVPs were a hard “no” it seemed the flyer attached to the e-mail was supposed to evoke fond memories, i.e.:

You probably noticed those memories didn’t mention the scholastic aspect of high school. I have to tell you that our senior year was more memorable for the 1973 LPHS grads as we crammed three years of fun activities into that final year. That is because the sophomore and junior years were strictly scholastic due to millage issues and not only did we lack extracurricular activities, but we had a bare-bones education with no college prep classes or foreign language studies and, for those students hoping to get college scholarships based on athletic prowess, there were no sports. Band/chorale/drama and clubs, even driver’s ed were not on the school agenda; thus, for two years we trudged to school for half-day classes, basically no-frills high school.

However, all amenities returned our senior year, so school was a little more exciting as we cheered on our “Rails” at football games with the marching band in attendance, we oohed and aahed when our classmates suddenly morphed into thespians at high school plays and school dances in the cafeteria gave us a chance to show off our dance moves and/or advertise we had two left feet.

Our high school education was not stellar, but I never realized that until I arrived at Henry Ford Community College in September 1973 where I soon learned that students from the many local high schools had read all the classic books, some which I still have not read as of today. They studied Shakespeare and Beowulf (ugh). That was an education – our education was shabby in comparison.

A lot of classes were mandatory and even today, I don’t see how Algebra and Geometry were useful. How about diagramming sentences for English classes? And we spent months learning about American History, only to gloss over World Wars I and II as the end of the school year was quickly approaching. We were living in the moment with the Vietnam War as I can remember hearing “Tie a Yellow Ribbon ‘Round the Old Oak Tree” on the school PA system in anticipation of our soldiers returning from the Vietnam War and soon yellow ribbons encircled tree trunks.

And then there were science classes

Though I’ve shared with you in the past how I wanted to become a veterinarian, my lack of good grades in math and most of the science classes was the death knell for that career choice. Memorizing a shadow box of rocks and their properties for physical science, or mixing up beakers with concoctions for chemistry class sadly did not hold my interest. But perhaps if I had fellow blogger, retired chemistry teacher, Laurie, as my high school chemistry teacher it would have been different. The most-exciting part of chemistry class was when classmates filled the lab with a dark purple smoke … we, of course, thought that was pretty cool, since “Smoke on the Water” by Deep Purple, was a popular song at the time. Mr. Mumau was not amused.

But Biology class – well that was a whole ‘nother story. Notwithstanding classes spent dissecting a worm, frog and fetal pig (exercises which served no purpose in my humble opinion), Mr. Gray did make class fun. He once passed around a box of chocolates and soon thereafter fellow classmate Richard Long got green around the gills after he learned he had eaten a chocolate-covered bug.

All was not lost … I still received that diploma and went on to further my education. Education is never a waste of time – it is good to learn and not let your brain stagnate. So, nowadays, learning is on my own terms, immersing myself in the experience instead of becoming book smart.

A slow stroll through nature

So, that is why ten days ago I found myself at the Environmental Interpretive Center at University of Michigan-Dearborn’s campus. You can read about it by clicking here.

I thought I would do this immersive experience and learn along the way. The visit was part of a trifecta of treks taken that day, which I began by enjoying the woodsy vibes of the Rouge Gateway Trail and a morning meander around the Ford Estate to see and smell the 154 Persian Lilacs.

Today’s post will focus on the trails behind the Environmental Interpretive Center. There are organized bird and wildflower walks, but I decided to do a stroll on my own. So what would I see? I knew there was lots to see because this nature preserve touts its biological diversity:

250 species of birds
80 species of trees/woody plants
170 species of wildflowers
12 species of reptiles
9 species of amphibians
24 species of mammals

I never knew about this place until Phil at Wild Birds Unlimited posted some pics about a hike taken with his wife and suggested we visit to check out the birds and wildflowers. It is just one-half mile down the road from the Ford Estate.

The first item I spotted was a bee hotel …

… and a lot of bird feeders.

A savvy Chipmunk was scamming seeds that had spilled near the bird feeders.

Before I embarked on the trail I stopped to see where mushrooms were “in progress” both on logs …

… and in a special glass-topped mushroom grow box. This Mourning Dove was not as interested in mushrooms as it was its reflection.

While taking pictures of the Dove, a Wild Turkey happened by …

… but quickly disappeared into an overgrown part of the trail, likely to avoid me, or perhaps to join its mate. I was reluctant to step through that matted grass and brush due to ticks, so I had to settle for pics from afar.

I saw a weather station.

Then I started meandering along Dogwood Trail.

Some fungi on a decimated tree were not part of the mushroom project.

I took the Black Walnut Trail …

… which led me to a clearing in the woods where I could decide what to visit next.

I decided to check out Fairlane Lake on the outskirts of Fairlane, Henry and Clara Ford’s Estate.

I opted to see where the trail leading to Fair Lane Lake took me and found a birder with binoculars pressed up to his eyes checking for birds in the nearby trees.  We chatted briefly and then I went along the Lakeside Trail which was picturesque. 

I could see a group and their guide across the lake.

The path was peaceful …

But I would soon meet up with another group; these were U of M students scribbling notes and watching a guide (or perhaps a teacher) discussing trees.

I don’t miss school and studies at all.  Learning on my own is much nicer.

From here I walked back to the Estate and discovered more old, architectural goodies I had missed my other three or four times visiting this venue. They will be in a separate post.


I was pleased to discover a Cardinal nesting in my barberry bush. I was lucky to see her land on the bush, then disappear inside of it two weeks ago. I walked over to find a small, cup-shaped nest. A few days later Mrs. Cardinal began incubating those eggs; I researched and found it takes 11-13 days for those eggs to hatch. I hope to do a post about the baby Cardinals at a later date

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Dandelion Darling. #Wordless Wednesday #Wanna share?

Wordless Wednesday – allow your photo(s) to tell the story.

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Tempus Fugit.

Well I’ve stumbled across a few Latin phrases after 43 years in the legal biz, a few which I’ve committed to memory, but it doesn’t really impress folks much when you throw around res ipsa loquitur or ipso facto … so I keep them in my back pocket just in case I want to appear extra smart. Trust me, there are a lot of trite things that fill my brain and take up valuable real estate there; no wonder I forget what I went downstairs for sometimes.

Lots of Latin phrases roll off our tongue in everyday conversation like per se or a few of my favorites are carpe diem (seize the day) and caveat emptor (let the buyer beware). We could fill this post with common Latin phrases ad infinitum (forever) but for today the topic is “tempus fugit” (time flies).

This post was borne out of my original intent to write about this fellow, a/k/a “Joe”:

It is a story that took on legs after I went from discussing the restoration of Joe the Monkey to delving into the past wherein I began some serious time traveling.

Before I sat down to write this post, I was thinking about just how many vintage items, besides Joe, are in this house (not counting me of course).

While the clock with the words Tempus Fugit is not that old – I bought it for my parents’ 25th wedding anniversary in 1978 – the time pieces, a wristwatch and pendant watch, belonged to my mom and they were gifts from my father, likely during their courtship – they would have been married 70 years on June 11th.

The prayer book and prayer cards are the most-vintage items of the mementos I have.  The prayer book has held up well, with the only damage being that the outer layer of the book’s spine is missing.

Mom made her communion, some 90 years ago and is pictured here by herself and with my grandparents on that day.

Moms Don’t Tolerate Monkey Business!

(At least my mom didn’t.) Though I have often sung the praises of my late mother throughout the pendency of this blog, while growing up, it was Mom who wore the disciplinarian pants in the household. During my formative years I was “Daddy’s Little Princess” and in his eyes I could do no wrong, BUT Mom kept a close rein on what I could and couldn’t do. Oh yes, I had a few spankings from Mom’s hand in my day when I pushed my luck a wee bit too far with her, but, since I was an only child and raised so strictly, believe me, those instances were few and far between.

In the past, I’ve written about the “Momisms” that were dispensed. There were always words to the wise, plenty of advice and the inevitable “I told you so” which lasted well into adulthood. I’m sure you got the same lines about “monkey see – monkey do” or “if everyone else jumps off a bridge, do you have to follow?” Yes, Mom was always dispensing a ton of advice and I knew to toe the line, because if I went down any other path, I’d hear about it, or feel it on my bum.

So why is today’s post mostly about “monkeying around” anyway?

After I published my Christmastime post about my favorite childhood doll “Tilda Jane” (click here for that post in case you missed it), there were a lot of fun comments from fellow bloggers and readers alike. I no longer have any of my own dolls, nor Mom’s dolls, although through the years she often told me she wished she had saved her Shirley Temple for me.

There is, however, an honorable mention, an asterisk regarding one vintage toy. “Joe” is a felt monkey Mom hand crafted when she was a patient at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Ontario. Mom spent four long years at that hospital, as well as Thistletown, a branch of the HSC which was a long-term care facility for kids.

She was only 11 years old when she was struck down by a car on July 11, 1937. She would have 42 operations in her lifetime, all orthopedic but one … the C-section which was me.

Mom was very ill the first year and in a body cast. She was in a ward with other sick children, some who had polio. To occupy their minds, those young patients had arts and crafts, like leatherwork and constructing animals from felt, like this bendable felt monkey which Mom named Joe.

Joe sat in a corner atop the loveseat … that is, before my collection of teddy bears began encroaching into more rooms. One day, I noticed Joe was missing from his usual spot. When I asked Mom where he was, her answer was “I put Joe away in a drawer until you move some of those bears around.” Then she added “one day when you’re at the craft store, buy some brown felt and wire … that monkey is missing a tail.”

I used to sew all my own clothes back in the 70s before tall clothing was available, plus I dabbled in lots of crafts in my day, so I knew I had felt on hand and meekly responded with “okay” but I never got this simple task accomplished.

It was actually Mom who started me on the teddy bear collection when we were at the mall and she bought me a cute bear in the early 80s. As a youngster I was allergic to stuffed animals, so I grew up with zero plush toys. Mom would later rue the day she bought that teddy bear, as 51 would follow until I called it quits as to stuffed bruins. Some bears I bought, but most were gifts. Mom said “thank goodness” to ending the teddy bear collection, then turned around and purchased a cute monkey while we were at the Hallmark card store a few months later.

She suggested I name it “Linda” – well Mom was full of monkeyshines sometimes, but then she sarcastically added “you’ll find a place for YOUR monkey; meanwhile MY monkey is in the drawer, awaiting a tail.” Well that comment stung just a bit.

The tail must be fixed, or the tale cannot be told.

Flash forward to that December 19, 2022 post and in the Comments section, I committed myself to restoring Joe to his former self and in doing so I knew I would create a Mother’s Day post as well. I had about five months to whip Mom’s monkey into shape – no worries!

After the flurry of comments, that very same evening, I retrieved Joe from the drawer where he’d been tucked away a few decades, then studied him anew. Admittedly, the years had not been kind to him. Although ol’ Joe had no wrinkles to show his old age, where his legs bent, the fabric had begun to pull apart. Hmm – was that even fixable?

Then, I turned him over – sigh. How would I fix the tail dilemma?

For a split second, I toyed with the idea of finding a similar-sized monkey and swapping tails à la Tilda Jane’s head-swapping adventure. Heck, Amazon has about everything you desire, right? So, I perused Amazon for possible “fixer-uppers for a tired and worn monkey” but came away with no magic monkey fixes, (unless I wanted to dress up like a monkey – um, no thanks). So I ordered brown pipe cleaners and a dark brown waterproof magic marker and those fixin’s have been in the closet in the Amazon bag until Mother’s Day grew near.

Sewing was a passion for me once upon a time.

When I was a little girl, Mom borrowed my grandmother’s Singer treadle sewing machine and made a few dresses for me and my dolls, notably Tilda Jane. I remember a black/gray and white dress with a bright red sash was “our” favorite. We even had matching fuzzy pink cardigans with pearl buttons Mom knit for us. Since I expressed an interest in sewing, I got a children’s sewing machine for Christmas. It was beige, made by Singer and sewed like a regular sewing machine but used no bobbin, so seams could not tolerate too much strain or they would burst.

I would like to imagine I looked like this little girl from a vintage card site (Vintage Greeting Card Art on Facebook).

When I suddenly shot up to 5’9” tall in the early 70s, sewing my own clothes became a necessity, or else I would look like I wore my younger sister’s duds. I got a regular sewing machine in a console and matching chair in the early 70s and sewed for many years thereafter. I was not good at hand sewing, however, so Mom would baste in sleeves and zippers for me and, as each project was completed, she’d hem it and sew on the buttons. She often said “I hope you don’t take credit for sewing this from start to finish when I do all the hand sewing.”

Here was one of my creations, circa 1975, with me standing with my short parents and even shorter grandmother.

The weather was so-so, so sew-sew I did to get ‘er done.

We’ve had a few rainy weekends, so, amid a little fanfare, it was time to get the photos done for this post.

First, I grabbed my old sewing basket and got everything together for my project.

Here is Joe before. You can see the wear marks where his legs were bent. It appears his “innards” were some type of shredded flannel.

I decided to document the repair.

The easiest fix would be twisting eight brown craft pipe cleaners together and attaching them to Joe.

I wasn’t crazy about that look so decided to use them INSIDE the felt, chastising myself by saying “Linda, if you’re going to do this, you’ll do it right!”

(Hmm – talk about vintage … that red tomato pin cushion I got for 8th grade Home Ec class, circa 1968.)

After a few (okay seven) unsuccessful attempts to thread the sewing needle, I was sure Mom was looking down and laughing. Flashing back I could picture her sitting at the kitchen table ready for a hand-sewing session, saying “Linda why don’t you make yourself useful and thread this needle for me – your eyes are younger than mine.” Well, I tried to thread that needle’s eye with my glasses off, then on. In the process I bent the needle threader … finally, success and you can bet I used the longest piece of thread so I didn’t have to repeat that exercise again!

Finally the tail was done and sewn on – no, I didn’t just use a safety pin. Ol’ Joe was ready for the final touches.

I uncapped the magic marker – it smelled so badly I was sure I’d keel over from the fumes before I finished the touch-ups, but when they were done, he looked great. If only I could be revitalized so easily!

I estimate Joe to be at least 85 years old. I don’t know exactly when Mom crafted him, but I suspect around age 12-13. I posed Joe with Linda for this post.

Finally I returned Joe to his rightful spot, after about 30+ years of hibernation. I hope Mom is looking down and Joe passes muster.

Happy Mother’s Day to you if it applies!

Posted in Memories | Tagged , | 66 Comments

What photo does not belong here? #Wordless Wednesday #“Ooh baby baby, it’s a wild world….”

Wordless Wednesday – allow your photo(s) to tell the story.

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Pickin’ and grinnin’ and …

… pitchin’ in.

On any given day, loose litter blows about in the gentle wind … a stray fast-food wrapper here, an empty water bottle there. A half-eaten apple, carelessly tossed aside, reposes near the perimeter path, evidently too dilapidated for the squirrels to claim and gnaw on.

By Winter’s end, paper debris plastered itself against the chain-link fence where snow or ice weighed it down, so it remained, that is, until volunteers showed up in the rain on Earth Day to beautify Council Point Park, just one of our City’s 19 parks. I saw the photos posted on the City’s informal Facebook page the evening of Earth Day, plus I saw those efforts the following day when I walked around Council Point Park for my virtual 5K walk. It wasn’t just trash either. This year’s Earth Day cleanup endeavor had folks picking up huge branches that cracked off trees following our February 22nd ice storm. They bundled them to be picked up by the City’s park maintenance crew.

Then there are the “Ecorse Creek Cleanup” events when, on three occasions each Summer, a team of volunteers, armed with their gear, i.e. gloves, pointy pick-up sticks and long-handled grabbers, converge to nab debris on land and in the Ecorse Creek, the latter endeavor done while seated in kayaks and canoes. The group gathers to beautify three Downriver Parks: Beaver Park in Wyandotte, Council Point Park in Lincoln Park and Pepper Park in Ecorse. Their efforts make these three parks a pleasant AND cleaner place to walk/run/rollerblade or bike.

Last Summer I was at one of their chosen venues, Council Point Park, on a beautiful Summer Saturday, September 10th, my wings clipped from venturing to larger park venues since my car had developed an oil leak and was going to the shop on Monday. So, I ventured on foot to Council Point Park instead.

When I arrived at the Park that morning, the kayaks and canoes were stacked up and some were already in the launching area. I chitchatted with the organizers of the group. They were registering volunteers and doling out tee-shirts and extra-large garbage bags to be stuffed with litter gleaned from the Park grounds and the Ecorse Creek.

These volunteers were on the move.

They donned their neon-colored shirts and soon were off for their respective duties. The “on-land” volunteers were spearing litter left and right, then deftly placing it into their bags. Here are a couple of gentlemen picking up litter along the Creek’s shoreline.

I took a picture of the cement ledge wall with two empty energy drink cans and a hoodie draped over that wall.

A moment later, two women swooped in and cleared those items in a heartbeat.

All that was left was the graffiti on the wall.

They were industrious as a few minutes later, they had so much trash, I saw they had to share carrying that load.

I caught up with this guy spearing litter …

… and asked him to pose with his picker stick next to, what else, but this sign about littering. Of course, they should replace that sign with a new one, but would that encourage less littering? Hmm.

I asked to take a picture of the back of his shirt and he accommodated me.

Trolling for trash on the Creek.

The Ecorse Creek is formally called the “Ecorse River” and is a tributary to the nearby Detroit River. It is 18.8 miles/30.3 km long and, because of its small size, it is merely referred to as the Ecorse Creek or “The Creek” around these parts.

I’ve been following the group’s efforts for a while through the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge Facebook site. They bring their own canoes and kayaks and some are brought in for them to use. I’ve seen photos where those volunteers extricated bicycles, baby strollers, basketballs and baby dolls – you name it, they have grabbed onto this trash, then piled it into their kayaks or canoes to dispose of properly. Here’s a photo from their site – look at all the trash! It’s a wonder the canoe did not sink!

I asked one guy wearing knee-high rubber boots how deep the Creek was and he said “only chest high” which surprised me as I thought it was deeper than that, but I’ll still remain careful that I don’t topple in when standing on the cement ledge. Here a few of the volunteers preparing for this convoy along the Creek.

I spoke to another gentleman as he was ready to begin his trash quest …

… then later he proudly showed me one of the bags of trash he had collected in that short amount of time.

The volunteers would continue paddling down the Ecorse Creek past Lions Park, just one-half mile away. I walked to Lion’s Park, took a few photos while awaiting the paddlers, but they got hung up somewhere, so I returned to Council Point Park. Here are a few shots of the shoreline at Lion’s Park.

Over the course of almost three hours and my long walk, I chatted it up with many of the volunteers. One gentleman was not picking up trash, but instead videotaping the group’s efforts. He chuckled when he saw the squirrels clustered around me as I doled out peanuts under the Safe Haven Tree. I told him my visits with the volunteers and photographing their efforts had waylaid “breakfast” so my furry friends were eager to see me. He asked if I would mind if he took a video of us and I said “not at all” then I promised to send photos to the group which I sent to Rose a few days later. [I had more photos, but omitted them here as they seemed duplicative to me.]

I left for home before the clean-up at Council Point Park was finished. The next day when I arrived at the Park something at Brian Skinner’s memorial tree, near the pavilion, caught my eye. Evidently this rusted scooter was retrieved from the Creek and leaned up against the tree which had been decorated for 4th of July and the scooter remained for several weeks thereafter.

What I have enjoyed most about walking at Council Point Park this past ten years is it is a small enough nature nook to notice any and all the subtle changes, Mother Nature’s doing or otherwise. The seasons come and go and I know which trees leaf out first, or which trees turn glorious shades of orange or red and where the first tiny Spring Beauties wildflowers grow. My head is always swirling around!

I’ll leave you with a quote by E.B. White, author of Charlotte’s Web and Stuart Little among other books.

“I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority.” ~ E. B. White

Posted in nature, walk, walking | Tagged , , , | 70 Comments

Parker sez: “Five peanuts for five poses!” #Wordless Wednesday #Yep, I paid up!

Wordless Wednesday – allow your photo(s) to tell the story.

Posted in #WildlifeWednesday, #Wordless Wednesday, nature, Squirrels | Tagged , , , , | 56 Comments

Tree-hugging and trekking.

Just like many Michiganders, on Earth Day 2023, I awoke to a soggy Saturday. While I sipped my coffee, I decided that Mother Earth was shedding tears … tears for what has become of our planet. I am not talking about crime, divisiveness, social injustice … nope, none of those things, just the state of Mother Earth, the 5th biggest planet in the universe, (with a radius of 3,959 miles/6,371 kilometers) … the place we all call home.

Fortunately, the unrelenting rain, did NOT put a kibosh on the efforts of volunteers who sought to beautify the shorelines and grounds of Michigan’s many parks. They speared litter to fill their bags as they wandered through the venues we all enjoy so much. Too bad every day wasn’t Earth Day, but the event, in its 53rd year and commemorated by 190 countries, may help our environment fare better than the scientists’ dire predictions.

Okay, I’ll step off my soapbox now to begin this blog post, where I’m sharing May’s calendar page and profound thought. I like the wisdom, but the venue is a bit boring there in South Tyrol, Italy – hmm, that landscape could be anywhere, couldn’t it?

The 2023 Run for the Trees 5k event.

This is the second year I’ve participated in the Run for the Trees virtual 5K event, which is also known as the Happy Little 5K in honor of landscape painter Bob Ross. This is year #4 of the Happy Little 5k event and its good deeds have been expanded beyond Michigan to include four other states (Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio and South Carolina). Our Department of Natural Resources 5K registration funds are used to support tree planting and forest protection efforts such as invasive plant and forest pest management in Michigan state parks and recreation areas and so far has raised more than $1 million in net proceeds in Michigan.

Since this event was a virtual 5K, participants walked/ran or biked in the venue of their choice during a specific time frame from Earth Day (Saturday, April 22nd) to Arbor Day (Friday, April 28th).

Here was the swag we received well in advance of the event.

With a limited amount of days to get this 5K walk done (plus dealing with uncooperative weather), I chose Council Point Park for my venue and completed the 5K (3.2 miles) (and two additional miles) on Sunday, April 23rd. This worked perfectly as I intended to commemorate ten years of walking here anyway – so why not show some love for Council Point Park, the venue where I visit in all seasons …

… and spend more time and mark more miles than any other park in Southeast Michigan?

It was serendipity on April 26, 2013.

I discovered my favorite nature nook when I went to investigate a three-day event marking the 250th anniversary of Chief Pontiac’s council on April 27, 1763. I had heard about the celebration on the news and while the event turned out to be ho-hum, I was rewarded with a wonderful new 27-acre park to walk, rather than just getting my steps in around the ‘hood. Those two, one-mile asphalt loops in a figure eight, provided exercise as well as something to stir my soul. Birds chirping, bullfrogs belching, bunnies bopping across the grassy “donut hole” plus a peek at a Canada Goose family had me hooked. And, of course, the squirrels begged all along the perimeter path so, before I returned the next day, I stopped at the grocery store to buy peanuts in the shell. Thus this discovery, just two months after beginning my blog, began a decade of sharing peanuts with my furry and feathered friends and sharing the love from those excursions with all of you.

So, how did that 5K walk go anyway?

Sunday, April 23, 2023 was not the prettiest day to tote along the camera It was gray and gloomy with brooding clouds, but a pale sun showed up so I managed to get a few photos of what I refer to as “The Annual Awakening” when nature unfolds before my eyes. That “Awakening” occurred earlier this year after a spate of 80+-degree days that had us changing wardrobes, from shorts and tee-shirts, back to Winter coats, hats and gloves soon thereafter. Those high temps caused leaves to unfurl …

… and a frothy flourish from flowering trees provided eye candy as the Park awakened from its Winter doldrums.

It seemed almost overnight, leaves cloaked many of the squirrel’s nests, a fact that no doubt pleased the Mama Squirrels still nursing their young in nests now safe from those dreaded hawks and Mother Robins were free to drop worm bits into demanding offsprings’ beaks while tucked in their cozy nests, without fear of the bully Red-winged Blackbirds lurking about.

Because this 5K event was in conjunction with Earth Day, I have included a few photos of the shoreline of the Ecorse Creek, which is not particularly picturesque, especially while the reeds and Phragmites are still drab and lifeless. I was scanning both sides of the Creek for goose nests. Every year, just before Mother’s Day, Mama and Papa Goose suddenly appear with their brood of goslings, but I’ve never seen a Mama Goose sitting on a nest – where do they hide? We usually have three or four geese families, but those babies do not all debut at the same time. As of this writing, on Saturday morning, between bouts of rain, I saw three families of geese with their goslings. I will be returning for gosling pics – I got rained on and it was so humid I didn’t take along the camera.

Groups of pendulous seeds were hanging from trees, reminding me that in a few weeks’ time, those Maple seeds a/k/a “helicopters” would be fluttering down and embedding themselves into the grass and gutters – ugh.

Some trees aren’t the most photogenic, like this one with lumbago.

Still others cast pretty reflections on an otherwise still-drab shoreline.

Even this teasel looked better with a sprig of green alongside it and a pale sun making the Creek come to life.

I have a widget on my blog’s home page with fifty favorite Park photos. Most of the photos are from my early days spent at this venue. Every so often, I’ll go through them, with the intention of updating the gallery with newer versions of the birds, Harry the Heron, Rex the Red-belled Woodpecker or the Eastern Gray, Black and Fox squirrels. But I kind of like those early shots, so for now they stay.

I will tell you that in ten years I have amassed hundreds of images of squirrels. Who can resist their impish actions and cute faces? And on April 23rd, I managed to capture the images of a few more photogenic faces. 🙂

I even got a few shots of Harry the Heron across the Ecorse Creek evading me after screeching “no paparazzi please!”

So, here’s to a decade of sharin’ the love with you …

… and the peanuts and seeds with my furry and feathered Park pals. Although …

… graffiti mars the Park in places, I just view my favorite nature nook through rose-colored glasses …

… and, like this Mallard pair, I will just amble on while I enjoy the ambiance.

Next week I will write about the annual efforts to clean up the Ecorse Creek. I intended to use the narrative and photos here, but this post is already bursting at the seams.

Posted in 5K events, nature, walk, walking | Tagged , , , , | 73 Comments

Spring cleaning, er … preening! #Wordless Wednesday #Now I’m good to go and I’ll get a gullfriend!

Wordless Wednesday – allow your photo(s) to tell the story.

Posted in #WildlifeWednesday, #Wordless Wednesday, birds, nature, walk, walking | Tagged , , , , , | 36 Comments