The Sass Menagerie.

On the heels of the robin debacle yesterday, I sure wasn’t looking forward to seeing what progress my fractious feathered friend(s) made in the past 24 hours, so I procrastinated going to the front door this morning.

As has been my morning routine for about the last four or five months, along with checking out the weather before I go outside, I also spread peanuts on the porch for my furry and feathered friends. As you know, that ritual all began with tossing out a couple of peanuts to one critter, that cute gray squirrel I named “Grady” way back in the Fall.  Now the “breakfast club” that convenes on the porch includes a fox squirrel, black squirrels, jays and cardinals. 

I steeled myself for the mischief as I walked down the hall

I opened the door, the bag of peanuts at the ready.  Right away I couldn’t help but notice a long and skinny strip of blue cellophane dangling at eye level and blowing gently in the breeze.  I looked up to discover half of the coach light elbow was filled with a collection of twigs, brush and long strands of dead grass.  There were even some pieces of newspaper balancing atop of the nest fixin’s and some of that debris had landed on the mailbox lid.

While shaking my head, I spread some peanuts onto the porch and resolved to nip this nest-building venture in the bud before it was too late, i.e. blue eggs, hatchlings and chicks, the likes of these:

I ran around collecting a few supplies as I decided to do this quick-and-dirty job from the door stoop rather than pulling the car out of the garage and dragging out the ladder, thus missing my walk.

However, in my haste to pull down this nest in progress, I made a faux pas … I forgot to be mindful of the porch pals.  When I opened the storm door to poke the nest materials into the garden with a sturdy piece of cardboard, four squirrels scattered to the wind, then quickly regrouped at the base of the steps with a reproachful look that said “you scared us – we were eating peanuts!”

I took two flimsy grocery store bags, filled them with more store bags, then poufed them to fit into the elbow and on top of the light, all the while muttering that I wasn’t running a nursery here.  Finished, I took a look – well, it was no candidate for “House Beautiful” but I crossed my fingers it would do the trick. 

A whole lotta of cheeping and chattering going on.

I stayed at the door a few minutes.  I had that uncomfortable feeling that I was being watched – the squirrels with their unblinking gazes, still circled around the steps and the male cardinal cruised on by, as did the blue jay.  The blue jay screeched, an obvious attempt at getting me to close the door so this tall human was not looming through the glass, or hovering near those peanuts, so they could be snapped up and enjoyed.  Hmm – so what about this sass coming from my little menagerie?

And then there was the robin sitting in my neighbor’s tree, most likely the primary builder of the home for his missus.  It didn’t take long for that bird to discover its handiwork was gone.  I could see the scowl and hear the chattering through the storm door glass. While he had visions of “Home Sweet Home” I pictured the coach light crashing down with the weight of a couple of worm-filled robins nearly ready to fledge like this pair.

I was tempted to run and grab the camera to capture the moment for this post, but instead I tossed out some more peanuts, a little peace offering to the pouting porch pals for their inconvenience.  I felt a little guilty.  After all, I enjoyed monitoring the neighborhood and Park robins and their offspring, then sharing those photos in my blog posts in the Spring of 2018.  I know it is all about location, location, location – just as the ads state, but, I just couldn’t have them setting up house there …  anywhere else I’d have been agreeable to.  After all, who doesn’t want to witness the miracle of life before their very eyes?

Perhaps I’ve tarnished my crown of nature lover just a little?

I’ll leave you with this quote below; the full version of the poem can be found at the attached link: https://allcreaturesgreatandsmall.com:

All things bright and beautiful, All creatures great and small, All things wise and wonderful, The Lord God made them all. ~Cecil Frances Alexander

[Header image from Pinterest]

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Tuesday Musings.

Easter Sunday is almost here, though it’s hard to imagine little kids crawling around on the soggy ground searching for eggs or candy treasures in their Sunday finest.  It is still very chilly and rainy here in Southeast Michigan, but, at least the lawns are as green as cellophane Easter grass.

Linda and the Lenten Season.

Soon the Lenten season will end – did you follow through and abstain from what you promised to give up for forty days?

This year I have failed miserably and I must say it is the first and only time I did not follow through with my abstention intention like I have for decades and I am not pleased with myself at all.

Beginning when I was a little girl, my mom and I always gave up sweets for Lent.  My father did not give up sweets, so Mom still baked, but we just abstained from eating any sweets.  I think most people give up food for the Lenten period, making sure they load up on carbs, sweets or treats on Fat Tuesday.  It was tough sometimes through the years, as either my mom’s birthday, or mine, would fall within that forty-day period, so birthday cake and ice cream just had to wait until Lent was over.

After my mom passed away in early 2010, I continued with the abstention from sweets during Lent, only I kicked it up a notch.  In 2010, I decided to give up sweets forever.  That seemed doable since I’m no baker, thus I wasn’t smelling baked goods that would lure me like a magnet to brownies, cookies or cake.  I never got to eat much candy as a kid, so I never had a sweet tooth for chocolate bars or hard candy and I had to give up gum when I had braces on my teeth in my early 20s, thus I could live without gum as well.  So, I was off and running on this no-sweets-or-treats regimen.  I permitted myself very few indulgences, but I did decide that the cornbread I bought at the grocery store was not technically a sweet, nor was the honey I dribbled over it.  That glass of chocolate milk I downed after a walk, was just brown milk – it was not like it was a chocolate milkshake!  Thus, I permitted myself a wee bit of wiggle room.  But that was it – I never had a single sweet treat for eight years until my friend Ann Marie brought me goodies in 2018.

Since I breezed through giving up sweets and treats, every year going forward I gave up something else that I liked to eat, both for the Lenten period, and then permanently.  Some of those items included fried food, fast food, prepared food, salty snacks, white bread/rolls, flavored coffee creamer, cold cereal and red meat.  Nope, not a single French fry or onion ring has touched these lips in many years, but admittedly, my meals sure were boring, since I denied myself almost everything tasty.  I plodded along until last year when I decided I had to stop this madness, and just eat treats in moderation, though I still haven’t strayed back to the dark side with fried or fast food. 

So, when Ash Wednesday rolled around on March 6th, I was perplexed what to give up this year.  I racked my brain and finally decided to give up something I really like to do – grumbling.  I rationalized that Spring was on the way soon (or so I thought), so my weather worries and groans would be minimal and how difficult could it really be to stop grumbling, complaining or whining for forty days?

Unfortunately, I blew it big time before the sun set on Ash Wednesday, and, just like on New Year’s Day when you set out with the very best of intentions for the soon-to-be–new-and-reformed-you, it is easy to set the bar too high and then fail miserably.  That was the case for me.  Every day during Lent, I’d wake up, bound and determined to follow through with nary a grumble or a grrr leaving my lips, but it just didn’t happen.  Let’s face it, sometimes I’m a malcontent.

Next year, I’ll give up something tangible again – it shouldn’t be that difficult as I’m sure not perfect.

So what was I grumbling about today?

Well, when I opened the door to feed the porch pals, I saw a dark-and-gloomy-looking sky.  Spring 2019 has been abysmal so far.  The days are running together with this ever-present inclement weather, and this morning was no different … just another gray day smack dab in the middle of a string of rainy days.  But, since there was nothing falling from those very dark clouds, I hurried to get ready to get out … even if I just hung out in the ‘hood, it was a chance to rack up some miles.  

I went downstairs to get my coat, turned the basement light on and saw movement on the floor – OMG, a centipede that was big enough to go to work skittered across the brown runner, then disappeared under a piece of furniture.  Yikes!  Did he/she have friends?  Now, it was “at large” in the basement.  This is already the third centipede this year and more will be arriving with all this wet weather.  I sprayed peppermint oil around upstairs, but why did I not do it downstairs as well?  I took my coat from the hall tree, shook it wildly, turned it upside down, then inside out, hoping my multi-legged visitor had no relatives that had strayed to a coat sleeve, or a pocket.  I wasted a good ten minutes before I put the coat on, then laced up my shoes and hurried out.  I opened the storm door so quickly that it scared Grady who was hustling to the front porch for peanuts.  That poor fur baby freaked out and ran the other way.  “C’mon back here Grady!” I called.  “I’m not going to hurt you!”  But, he had already bolted for the backyard, up a tree and was looking down at me rather accusingly, i.e. the big, bad human who had spoiled his breakfast.  (The fact that I had put those peanuts there to begin with did not seem to matter.)

The door slammed shut as I rounded the bend and surprised another guest, a plump robin that was so startled it dropped a long piece of plastic and some dried grass from its beak.  My head immediately swiveled upward to the coach light where some serious nest-building had begun.  Incensed, I shouted:  “this will not happen this year – do you understand me?”  I ranted and raved for a good five minutes, while that red-breasted bird sat on the split rail fence and watched me as if I’d lost my mind. 

Perhaps I had.

I got a second wind from my tirade and lashed out again, telling that robin that if it wanted to make itself useful, I’d take it downstairs where it could seek out and destroy that centipede and have a meal on me.  We stared at one another until finally the robin dropped its nest materials and went to look for worms, bored with my lecture. 

I went into the garage to run the car, and ten minutes later I was ready for my walk.  I stepped outside and while locking the door, it started to drizzle.  Through droplets that landed on my eye glasses, I saw, then heard, the whir of wings as TWO robins blitzed by me.  I looked up at the light – yup, the robin had brought a friend and more nest-fixin’s had been placed in the bend of the light.  I have gone through this ordeal for years, even climbing up and filling that open cavity with a bag of styrofoam peanuts or crunched-up newspapers.   But in the past, those robins were just as savvy as me.  They used their bright-yellow beaks and pecked the bag until it fell out and landed in the garden, then proceeded to build the nest again. 

So, do I just suck it up and live with this nest in the light?  Or tear it down?  Yes, I am a nature lover, but this is out front and it looks terrible!  Through gritted teeth and with patience wearing thin, I threatened the pair, saying “go ahead, build that nest – I love mud and poop splats landing on my mailbox lid, or grass and twigs falling down on my head when I open the front door until your chicks leave the nest … well this chick will evict you like I did a few years ago!”

The solution? I’ll just print out and re-date my original 2013 eviction notice to the robins and have it ready to hang on the coach light because their nest no doubt will be finished when I go out tomorrow morning.

YOU ARE HEREBY EVICTED! This is an open letter to the Robin family who became the avian equivalent of DPs, or displaced persons, this morning. Please understand that I really like birds, and believe me when I say I am neither happy, nor proud, that I evicted you. I am sorry that my slate “Welcome” sign seemed to invite you to become permanent residents here, and that you mistakenly thought my coach light was something special, made for your needs and move-in ready. You built your nest in record time, but sadly, now that home is gone. I suppose you and your kin shall hold me in the same esteem that you did the last time I tore down a nest at the side door. Yup, Dad sat on the cyclone fence and chattered angrily and loudly while I dismantled the nest. And, yes, for two or three years after that, every morning when I watered my flowers, and picked a few weeds, or re-arranged the mulch, you went right out, while I was still there, and pecked pieces of mulch out of the garden and threw it over the rubber edging and onto the lawn. I appreciated that. Thank you. Yes, I know it was under the guise of “looking for worms” that you just grabbed the mulch and picked it out of my garden. Every time I went outside, you stalked me and gave me an evil look. But that nest dismantling was not an isolated incident. How many nests did I need to tear down on the front and side coach lights, eh? A dozen perhaps? And, I had to put bags stuffed with styrofoam peanuts and a pinwheel on the bend of each coach light to deter any more settling in. Finally, we both moved on and I threw the contraptions away and figured you and your kinfolk relocated to another neighborhood. Well, evidently you have a short memory because once again this morning what did I find? A large nest in my front coach light. And yes, I am guilty of evicting you on the spot, no eviction notice even tendered – out on your fractious feathered butt! I hope we have now reached an understanding. You will see that I had to put a large puffed-up bag in the coach light’s elbow in the front yard to deter a return visit. Lookin’ good in the neighborhood now! I do, however, have to admire your tenacity in building this remarkably made nest in record time. I went out to check the mail at 3:00 p.m. yesterday and there was no mail. The rains and storms began around 4:00 p.m. This morning I went outside to walk. I thought I’d check the mailbox to see if mail arrived after the last check. There were huge spots of dried mud on the lid. In the dried mud spots were large pieces of grass, weeds and tangled-up dried vines. The front door had similar mud spots and splats up and down the glass and dripping from the door. Of course I looked upward. I saw a fully-formed nest, about one foot in diameter, resting solidly on the elbow of the coach light. Yes, I knew it was a Robin, since I’ve obviously seen your calling card before. Yes, it was duly noted that two of you were watching me as I left on my walk, and again 3 ½ miles later, when I returned and rounded the corner, you were taking more nest fixin’s … perhaps you were adding on another room? I can’t deal with any of this and I am sorry. You were messy and it will not be tolerated. While I am angry with you, and you with me, I still marvel at how you modeled this durable home for your mate to lay eggs and sit up there. The mud that “glued” the nest together had not even dried yet. The nest lifted out with a small rake, was intact, and it was large and fully formed, anticipating the big event. Mercifully, there were no eggs in the nest. If I could have, I would have taken it somewhere else for you. I apologize for leaving the whole nest sitting in the dustpan momentarily in the driveway while I collected my thoughts on what to do next – I did not mean to taunt you. You looked at me with anger and hurt in your eyes. I felt somewhat humiliated and still do; I am not a mean-spirited person and the last thing I would ever do is harm a living creature. That is why I put your handiwork into a white plastic bag and took it to the end of the street to the alley.
Please don’t hate me – I feel badly enough.
~Signed, Homeowner.

And this is why I’ll never give up grumbling for Lent again.

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“B” is for “biting the bullet” and …

… a host of other things that I’ll discuss later. Just BEAR with me okay?

It was with a lot of trepidation that I decided to tread into Gutenberg, the much-ballyhooed new editor for WordPress, though, if I’d have had my druthers, I would have stayed in “Classic Editor” forever, BECAUSE why confuse my BRAIN with just a BIT more, especially as I must embark on another adventure: Windows 10 at work this week, i.e., a new Windows 10 laptop for home, desktop at work and a BRAND-spankin’ new accounting program … sigh … much BRAIN-drain is on the horizon for this writer. I’m kicking myself in the BUTT since I still haven’t learned how to use my camera with the manual settings, a task that was on my Winter BUCKET list of new things to try, er … learn, er … master, … ya master (right) during the long, cold and snowy Winter season.

So, I mused over my coffee this morning, while muttering about all that rain and no walk, then I confronted myself. I said “Self – why do you always procrastinate on learning new stuff? Do you just resist change or is your BRAIN getting lazy? Or BOTH?”

BABY steps I tell ya

So, I drained that coffee cup, ate some oatmeal, ruminated some more and came online to visit with all of you and check in at work (crossing my fingers everything went okay after the new server install yesterday). I meandered through social media, and whew … where did the morning go? (The fact that I slept in much later might have had something to do with that.)

I decided to eat lunch. Fortified with Tostitos dipped in medium salsa, a roast beef sandwich on marble bread and a cookie or two (okay three … and a half), I came here to WordPress to embark on learning the Gutenberg Editor. By the way, the goodies are not my usual fare, but once in a BLUE moon I throw caution to the wind and have goodies since I eat way too BLAH and BORING most of the time.

So, how did I fare?

Well, it’s very different and I really wasn’t all that adventuresome – you see one picture only and the “undo” button was my friend. Right now, I’m saving my draft fiendishly, lest a pinky finger should hit a stray key and wipe out the entire post. To be on the safe side, I set the “publish” date to April 30th just in case I launched it prematurely. So, who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?

What a BUMMER that I had no photo of Parker sitting at a computer, so this is a squirrel-free post, but I’ll work on getting that image for the next WordPress upgrade, okay?

Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

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Patience is a virtue …

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… especially when it comes to peanuts.

The collection of photos in today’s post are from last Sunday when I was amblin’ and ramblin’ around Council Point Park for almost three hours.  It wasn’t the prettiest of days, but at least I wasn’t going to have any shadows in my photos.  I’ll tell you that it was warmish though – almost 70 degrees by the time I got home.

During the work week when I walk at my favorite nature nook, I usually have the camera handy, but, if I visit on a weekend, I’ll meander around, looking for a photo op at this venue.  I surely should know every nook and cranny by heart after nearly six years, not to mention hundreds, if not thousands, of miles logged on the paved pathway.

I have a tried-and-true strategy for when I’m packing treats, which may range from cookies to apples, even mini pumpkins.   I’ll begin by making multiple trips on what I call “the critter side” i.e. the walking loop with the most trees, which translates to the most squirrels and birds.  The second loop is mostly meh, except for an occasional squirrel or bird that strays over there.

Sharin’ the love on my Sunday stroll.

I decided I’d share some love with my furry pals, so I bought along a container of “Nutter Butters” those delicious sandwich cookies that have a layer of peanut butter in between.  I buy the grab-and-go cups which are the mini cookies, so they are just the right size for my pals to munch on and their tiny paws to manipulate.

I’ve developed a  technique for dispensing treats to the squirrels and I think I’ve perfected it since my first attempt at introducing Parker to M&Ms back in 2017, when I mistakenly thought “who doesn’t love these candies that melt in your mouth, not in your hand, er … paw?”   Nope, peanuts are always primo according to my peanut pals.

Trail mix.

So, with all the time in the world, I ambled around the entire loop, distributing cookies AND the occasional peanut as well.

As mentioned above, my strategy for photo ops is to walk around the first loop twice, ensuring each squirrel that scurries over to see me gets a little stash of peanuts.  By the time I’ve walked around twice, the third time is the charm since I can pass out cookies instead of peanuts, um … most of the time anyway.

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Uncapping that cup of carb-and-peanutty goodness sent a delicious smell wafting from my pocket.  I even felt a hunger pang, so did this squirrel detect that peanutty smell?

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You would think so, but he was more appreciative of peanuts than those bite-sized bits.

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Evidently there were a few new kids on the block last Sunday because after I tossed down a couple of these quarter-sized treats, they got the sniff test, then a glance at me as if to say “thanks, this is nice, but you know I really prefer peanuts to nibble on.”

I know that look – it is the same look I gave my parents when creamed spinach and chicken livers appeared on my dinner plate back in the day.  I daren’t have complained as my parents tolerated no foolishness and I would have been told not to pick at my food, and to think of my dinner plate as a clock, thus “eat around the clock” so I could have dessert.  Blech!  I drowned the chicken livers in ketchup, force fed the spinach  and picked at the potatoes,  just to be rewarded with dessert.  As to the squirrels, after some urging to “try what Linda is giving you before you turn your nose up at it” the exploration was over and the feasting finally began in earnest … for some of them anyway.

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I get such a kick out of studying squirrel behavior here at this Park.  These critters are bold and brazen about soliciting food.  They know I’m a soft touch and responsive to those pleading eyes, so, a few of my furry pals poked at these peanutty treats, obviously finding no bliss in those tidbits, so, with an expectant look, they turned their gaze to the Ziploc bag in my coat pocket, as if another handout would mysteriously leap out of the bag and land at their feet.  Sigh – they are so transparent sometimes.

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Clearly, peanuts in the shell prevailed over Nutter Butters, so I guess I’ll stick to peanuts and find them something else for the occasional treat going forward.

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This is Parker ready to nosh on a nut on this very warped memorial bench.

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I felt badly for this mangy-looking fellow who appeared to hang back, away from of his pals.  Mangy-looking was not an exaggeration – he had mange on his stomach and part of his neck area.

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Initially he rejected my offer of cookies, and even when I tried to coax him over with a few peanuts, he preferred to scrape his body along the tree branch and run his paws over his face and neck.  I sympathized with him, even cooing a bit over his predicament.

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I was patient, until he scratched that itch and finally bounded over to see me.  It seems we were both rewarded for our patience.

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‘Tis the season for sneezin’ and freezin’.

phragmites

As to Spring – we’re not there yet folks, contrary to the fact that I’ve been sneezing my head off, despite decades of allergy shots and popping an OTC Alavert every morning before I head outside.  Right now the pollen count is high – the leaf count is not and trees are still bare.  I see plenty of maple tree dander scattered on the streets and sidewalks, but leaves have yet to unfurl, with buds still tightly closed.

While we enjoyed a handful of days when temps reached above 70 F (21 C), today our temps dropped like a rock and tonight a wintry precip will arrive.  We have it easy though in SE Michigan, nothing like other Midwestern states which will endure blizzards and another bomb cyclone and possibly snow measured in feet, not inches.  Winter is stomping its foot and refuses to let go.

A few things appear to smack of Spring as I walked through the neighborhoods.  This morning I saw a Robin playing tug of war with a worm who desperately tried to stay put, but eventually gave up and the Robin gave one final tug and went backward a bit, almost cartoon-like.

Likewise, the sun’s rays glinted onto an iridescent trail that showed me the slugs have already begun their slimy journey across sidewalks and driveways.  Still missing from that concrete are the chalk art drawings which I like spotlighting in my blog posts – just wait until the kids get pastel sidewalk chalk in their Easter baskets and these budding artists will be out drawing once again.

At Council Point Park, though it is ten days into April, the landscape remains bleak looking.

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I did a walk around trying to find a sign of life (other than the critters of course) and pickin’s were slim indeed.

A duo of drab-looking ducks had an early morning swim in the Ecorse Creek.

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duck male

No sign of life from the turtles and frogs yet.  I have my fingers crossed they did not perish like the gizzard shad that died en masse due to lack of oxygen when all the aquatic plants beneath the frozen surface didn’t survive the Polar Vortex.

The water level at the storm drain at Council Point Park is almost to the top after the ice melted and all the rain we’ve had.  The mallards usually stay under the storm drain to keep warm in the Winter months.  The water level is so high right now, they would bump their heads.

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I pity the people who are still dealing with flooding issues from this last bomb cyclone and now will face another one beginning tonight.

The only dribs and drabs of color were found at the memorial trees.

At Erica Sharick’s tree, the tulips were up about six inches – eventually the bright-yellow tulips will bloom the same time as her flowering tree which will erupt into white blossoms.

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At James Compton, Jr.’s  tree, the vacancy sign remains, with no takers yet.  Someone moved the birdhouse and fastened it securely onto a branch – previously it was just wedged between two big branches.

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You will recall I’ve spotlighted Brian Skinner’s memorial tree before.  Well, since hockey season has ended and the Tigers are playing ball, this tree is now sporting a baseball wreath.

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The rest of the Park looks tired and Winter weary right now.  Even the trees are looking a little raggedy.

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The City needs to organize a clean-up effort for the Creek where there is debris like old fishing tackle tangled up on fallen trees, or even a wayward ball like this one.

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I think we all need a pick-me-up as we trudge through April and toward May.

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Spring Cleaning (and Preening).

hello Spring postcard

It’s that time of year to clear out the cobwebs, destroy the dust bunnies and revitalize your abode, now that Winter is hopefully in the rear-view mirror.

Please don’t forget your brain needs a little airing out too … at least mine did this weekend.  I confess to running out the door two mornings in a row, not giving a second glance to any dust that may have settled down (ol’ pesky dust) or worrying about a single thing that smacked of housework.   And, for sure I wasn’t going to do any housework today because it is “National No Housework Day” – oh yes it is!  Just check it out here.

My intent was to clear out the cobwebs in my brain first and foremost and that could not be done with a feather duster.  Nope, I needed a dose of fresh air and a couple of parks under my belt to get the job done properly.

So off I went, shutting my eyes to that dust.

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You read about my trip to Elizabeth Park yesterday, and this morning I headed to Council Point Park to visit with Parker and his pals.  There will be more on that trek later.

The back story ‘bout housework.

My mom, God rest her soul, was a fastidious housekeeper and she tried mightily to instill that trait in her only child.  But, just like cooking and baking, the housekeeping gene clearly skipped a generation.  As a dutiful daughter, I helped keep the house clean, and, when my mom was unable to handle the everyday housecleaning tasks, it became my job full-time.  Oh yes, I tried to ignore the criticism, spoken or unspoken.  I knew my housekeeping efforts would never pass the white glove test.  But, we were two different personalities, and, even people who love one another disagree sometimes as you all know.

So, I fought mightily to forgo the big, all-house cleaning that we used to do both Spring and Fall.  I made the point that Spring cleaning butted up against mowing the lawn twice a week, endless weeding, pruning and planting, plus a full-time job.  Working in a law firm all these years served me well, as I presented my case and made a valid argument, and Mom finally relented.  We settled on one big house scouring every Fall.  Buoyed by that victory, even then I protested taking never-used dishes and glasses out of the cupboards to wash them, plus washing down the insides of the cupboards.  I reasoned that we never used these items and who was looking high up in the cupboards anyway?  I won that argument too (yay me), albeit by a narrow margin, as my mother’s rebuttal was “dust will collect in there – have you no shame?”  I hate being shamed, but it made no sense to me.

Today’s cleaning regimen is an abridged version.

Fast forward several years … I have adopted a new-and-improved routine for cleaning the house.  You might want to try it.  (You can thank me later.)  No more scrubbing and washing every nook and cranny in the house (grrr), and it’s not like I plunged headfirst into that chore anyway.

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With MY housekeeping regimen, no water is involved, so no muss – no fuss!

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Now, a feather duster is my friend.   

A few tips are in order when you use a feather duster.

#1 – Make sure it is of good quality, as you don’t want feathers flying all over the house.

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#2 – Make sure all the feathers are clean before you start working.

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#3 – Angle that feather duster properly so you can tackle the dust.

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#4 – Then, with a mere flick of the wrist, feather duster in hand, just a fluff over the stuff is all you need to do.

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The way I see it, housecleaning has no gray areas, even though my method is certainly different than what you’re used to.

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But in the end, everything still looks pretty and presentable.

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So, you can still hold your head high because you gave it your all.

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And, next weekend you can hit the ground running because you finished your housework in just a few minutes.

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I don’t know if Martha Stewart, or Mom, would approve, but I hope I haven’t shocked YOU by these revelations?

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Will I ever return to the tedious business of washing down ceilings and walls, moving every piece of furniture and polishing that furniture, while knickknacks repose all over the house awaiting the polish to dry?

The answer is “NO, I believe that ship has sailed.”

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Note:  The Mallards, Mallard Hybrids, Pekin ducks and Canada geese were seen on my walks yesterday at Elizabeth Park and Dingell Park.  I must admit I grew a little impatient with the ducks who were busy with their preening and it was difficult to get them to get their beak  out of their feathers.  (I was lucky a few times.)  That, coupled with “National No Housework Day” prompted this post.

The freighter was the first one I’ve seen in the new shipping season; it was on the Detroit River and I viewed it from Dingell Park.

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Slightly Askew.

I was happy to hear we would have two nice days for our weekend, with just a bit of rain late Sunday afternoon to mar the great forecast.  The weatherman said we’d hit 65 degrees F (18 C) today.  “Right” I thought and scoffed at that notion.

It was gray and gloomy when I headed out and already 42 F (5 C).  I am not in “Spring mode” yet, so I wore a Winter coat, hat and gloves.  Over the course of the last week, I  debated on trying a new park, or two, but I figured the landscape is so boring now, all the parks look alike and I’d wait until things greened up a little more.  So, I went to one of the old standbys.

Destination:  Elizabeth Park.

I like Elizabeth Park – it’s got a great perimeter path around the entire park, plus you can stroll along the boardwalk, or cross any of the ornamental bridges to the other side.  There are usually ducks and geese around for a photo op.

Well it was just “Dullsville” at first …

I parked the car, then paused to see if the squirrel, who has assumed the role of guardian of the gates at the vehicle bridge, was hanging out there – no squirrel, he must have slept in.

I headed to the boardwalk and there were no walkers there, just a handful of fisherman.  The boaters were already in full force up and down the Detroit River.

This morning, the usually scenic park was dull and drab looking.  The sky was a gloomy gray and it was a little murky too.

The only color to speak of was the pale yellow willow trees.

And maybe those straw-colored dead reeds along the way as well.

When I first began this blog in 2013, it was to memorialize my walks … the posts were always just a single long or short paragraph, a one-word title and occasionally, I’d put one photo up top.  Very occasionally.  So, my blog has evolved into a narrative that accompanies a lot of photos.  As I walked along, nothing was happening, so I put the camera back into its pouch.  From the looks of it, I surmised I might be hearkening back to my early post days … no pictures and nothing much to write about.

And then I saw it … the lamp post that you see up top.  What in the world happened to it?  It was slightly askew.

Well, from that point on, a series of odd happenings just morphed into today’s blog post.

It seemed that every critter I saw today either was wearing a silly look, or doing something out of the ordinary.  I know it was not just my imagination running away with me.

“Hey, whatcha lookin’ at?”

The kiddie pool.   It’s probably three inches deep, just a flooded area, but don’t tell them that.

Of course we have to include a little squirrel and goose madness as well.

“Nope, no nuts up here (unless of course you want to count me)!”

“Don’t mind me, I’m just looking for a little breakfast.”

“Thanks for the treat – how ’bout a smile?”

Wait, there was more …

“Been looking for worms in all the wrong places.”

“I need a big stretch to get the kinks out.”

And then there was another lamp post that was askew … these two lamp posts were adorned with a scarf.  Now why would that be?  One scarf may have gotten tangled up there in the wind … but two lamp posts, each with its own scarf?

What the well-dressed lamp post is wearing this season.

I’ve heard of “tie a yellow ribbon ‘around the old oak tree” but this is really different.

The age-old question … “if a tree falls in the forest ….”

The flag on this pleasure boat says “Don’t Give Up The Ship!”

I noticed the trees – even they were askew … check out this twisted tree.

There’s tea with a twist … and here’s a tree with a twist.

Then I stopped to take photos of four trees that were listing to one side.

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I completed the first trek around Elizabeth Park, and it was beginning to get warm – I mean really warm!  I unzipped my coat, then my vest. I was ecstatic to see the car and seize the opportunity to have a “Spring Fling” and ditch the hat, gloves and coat – ahh, much better!

On the second go-around, a little more activity was going on ….

I passed by the area where the kindly souls feed the critters.  I have written about this phenomenon before and I think it is great.  If I lived closer, I’d contribute to this venture as well.  Someone has put up feeders and suet holders in and around a small tree and they keep them filled all Winter.  Our Winter was brutal and the Spring thus far has been cold and chilly, so these kind folks have continued with their good deeds.

The woodpecker wants to know what kind of bird has a long fuzzy tail?

“Gee, I wonder if anyone will notice me if I hide behind this bird feeder?”

Not only do people keep the birds in birdseed, but other folks stop by with peanuts and treats as you see below.  I saw some bread chunks and it appears today’s “treat of the day” was Cheetos and they were quite a hit with one squirrel.

“Oh – Cheetos, my favorite!”

cardinal

“Hey Bud – save a Cheeto for me, okay?”

The water level was very high in the canal and the geese and ducks were having a ball splashing around.  A pair of white Pekin ducks and a Mallard Hybrid decided to stay on land.  The trio’s actions just gave me a grin.

“Two’s company, three’s a crowd. Let’s ditch the speckled guy okay?”

“Ain’t we a fun-loving group?”

I passed by these seagull sentries near the big bridge:

“How’s this for a primo lookout point?”

“The coast is clear, but keep watching your side Sam – never mind looking at me!”

Two treks around the entire Park and I felt I could have walked more except it was too warm and I was still overdressed.  People were arriving at this park in shirtsleeves and shorts … I jumped in the car and put the A/C on to cool off,  so that little bit of silliness just went hand-in-hand with the rest of the day.

P.S. – we did reach 65 degrees as predicted.

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