National Grab a Handful of Nuts Day. #Wordless Wednesday #Am I squirrelly cuz I love nuts as much as my peanut pals?

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

Posted in #WildlifeWednesday, #Wordless Wednesday, nature, Squirrels | Tagged , , , , | 47 Comments

Lotsa loosie goosies.

It has been a while since I regaled you with tales of the Canada Geese I see every day at Council Point Park and/or at larger park venues.

That is because Summertime is molting season for these geese, so they are congregating en masse in park venues with large bodies of water, in the event of land predators lurking about.

The Canada Geese have been missing from Council Point Park since the end of May. I always know their departure is imminent after the adults’ large feathers begin appearing in the grass and pathways. These are their primary or flight feathers and soon thereafter, the geese and their goslings are gone until around Labor Day. Our Council Point Park geese make their exit via the Ecorse Creek for just a quick one-mile trip to the Detroit River at Dingell Park. You can see how the feathers are sparse and a little funky-looking here.

Truth be told, I kind of miss them and their bossiness and histrionics. Even the kids, er … goslings, have issues and attitudes and do their fair share of hissing and wing-flapping at us humans by the time the family departs for their annual sojourn to the River to await their new plumage.

In Summer ’22, an exception occurred as to that River Summer Vacay.

I’ve been walking the pathways at Council Point Park for almost a decade. Once the geese depart, they’re gone for three months. Recently, I was spreading peanuts and seeds under the pavilion roof and chattin’ it up with Parker, who scampered over to feast, (completely bypassing any niceties like begging or nuzzling the toes of my walking shoes), so I was chastising him for his bad manners. A woman was sitting on a nearby picnic table and said “so you’re the person who leaves those mounds of sunflower seeds and peanuts.” “Yes, I’m the Snack Angel” I said, while raising my hand in the air.

I learned she had recently started walking at Council Point Park. She told me “it is so peaceful here. This morning there was a huge group of geese on that cement ledge on the other side.” I admit I was a bit dumbfounded by that statement and said “this morning, really?” She said “yes, I took a picture – I’ll show you” and before I could say “oh, I believe you, I’m just surprised” her phone was out of her pocket and she showed me the photo. I told her I was incredulous as “our” geese are always MIA from this venue June through August and I’ve never seen them here once they depart for the River.

Query: did the geese miss the ducks and turtles, or maybe the squirrels and songbirds? Or the walkers?

By the time I passed that ledge, they were gone. Strange times we live in, even in the critter world.

A gathering of the clan – so where do all the geese go anyway?

In the Summer months, I like slipping down to Dingell Park to watch the freighters and stroll the long boardwalk. That boardwalk eventually dead-ends at a secluded and fenced-in area where boats fuel up. I found a group of geese, no doubt some refugees from Council Point Park. They were busy picking at their feathers.

I was as quiet as possible, but a “lookout goose” spotted me and became anxious and alerted the others. Soon that group paddled out to join a cluster of about 50 geese who were congregating, a safe distance from land. I guess the collective mindset was I was deemed a potential predator, causing each goose to vamoose. They were quite far from shore, so they looked very small. I omitted those photos of them bobbing around as they looked like specks in the water.

It might be like your kin’s annual family reunion … even more so when you see some squabbling going on. Be sure to note the adults’ necks lowered to the surface of the water, (that happens before the hissing begins), plus the gosling is flapping its tiny wings. Canada Geese are definitely drama queens sometimes.

So now that Your Roving Reporter has caught you up on the who, what, when, where, why and how of our feathered friends’ Summer holiday, I have a few photos to share about what the geese are doing on land at Elizabeth Park.

Elizabeth Park is a year-round haven for Canada Geese.

If you like these attractive-looking geese, so named because the Latin species name, canadensis, translates to meaning “of Canada” (though folklore tells us these geese were named for John Canada who discovered the species), then you will enjoy some of the goose family photos and scenarios I have rounded up for you from my visit to that venue over Memorial Day weekend.

The massive population of geese at Elizabeth Park continues to grow in leaps and bounds every Spring. If you have an urge to photograph some goslings, just visit in May and June and you are sure to find some, like these cutie pies I found along the boardwalk.

The parents were nearby lest I try to abscond with one of their darlings.

You’ve heard of a traffic jam – this is a goose jam.

Elizabeth Park is a man-made island, separated from the mainland by a vehicular bridge that crosses the canal. You enter and exit on the one and only road that runs the perimeter of the park. There is a speed limit as there are walkers, with or without pooches, bikers, rollerbladers … and geese, lots of geese. In fact, if you have to be somewhere and exit the park timely, be sure to arrive at your car in plenty of time to allow for goose traffic.

The families cross together causing a bit of a goose jam.

Also, prepare for long hold-ups because sometimes our feathered friends are a wee bit conflicted.

Here the idea is to cross the road from the right side to the left side
Halfway across, they decide to double-back and return to the right side.
Ultimately the signal caller a/k/a Dad decides to implement Plan “A”.

At the time I was walking, not driving, so I had a good opportunity to watch and photograph the antics.

Please don’t feed the geese!

Tossing a few peanuts to the begging squirrels is A-OK, but tossing food to the geese is a no-no in this park. There are signs everywhere, like here at the canal.

But, who can resist the sweet goslings when they toddle after their parents and look you in the eye? Some people bring along bread to toss to them anyway. A gaggle of geese and just a few crumbs of bread is not the equation for a happy situation for everyone as you will see below.

Some geese and goslings were grazing near the road.
Nearby is the “Please DO NOT feed the geese sign.”
A car goes by; a couple of bread chunks are tossed out; the car leaves.
Junior discovers one of the bread chunks.
“Mine, all mine!
I scored a piece of bread and I’m not sharing!”
“I’m outta here, before my brothers and sisters bug me for a bite!”
“Boy, this hits the spot!
I’m soooooo done with grass.”
Dad opens his beak and gives a low hiss at his offspring:
“Time to share your treat with me!”
“Did you hear me son?”
Dad hisses as the gosling beats a hasty retreat.
Ignoring Dad, the gosling is on the move, munching away.

It’s been a fun year for documenting Canada Geese with photos and accompanying narratives, beginning with the goose eggs I discovered on Easter Sunday. Next week’s trek will be about Mallards at picturesque Heritage Park.

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Peekaboo Doe. #Wordless Wednesday #This soon-to-be Mama was shy, so I couldn’t get too close!

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

Posted in #WildlifeWednesday, #Wordless Wednesday, nature, walk, walking | Tagged , , , , | 54 Comments

The moon and stars were aligned …

… because this visit to Lake Erie Metropark on the Saturday of Memorial Weekend was one of my best ever in the four years I’ve been going there. My all-time favorite was the near nose-to-nose encounter with a fawn whose mom disappeared for a snack and a swim and left me to babysit Bambi. Oh, what a hardship that was! About 50 camera clicks later, Mom emerged from the bushes to collect her offspring and Bambi trotted off, politely and perhaps even wistfully, looking back at me. My heart melted and I think I floated home. As fellow blogger and wildlife photographer Wayne of Tofino Photography is fond of saying “it’s all a matter of being at the right place and right time.”

Last Monday was part one of that Saturday morning stroll, mostly meandering along the Cove Point Lake Erie shoreline which encompasses three miles.  The highlight of that portion of my day was the blitzing Barn Swallows.  You can read about it here if you missed it.

After heading to the car, I rested up a few minutes, then drove over to the other side of the 1,607-acre (6.50 km) park to garner more steps and see if my photo luck might continue.

The landscape is quite different there, with more marshes and lagoons and a few rustic trails.  I always park by the Marshlands Museum and stop to visit Luc, an 18-year old Bald Eagle.  Since 2009, Luc has lived in an “aeire” or outdoor enclosure.  Due to an accident, Luc cannot be released into the wild; he is blind in one eye and one wing is permanently damaged.  I always call out a cheery “hello Luc” as I approach the cage, mindful not to look at the enclosure’s bottom where Luc’s breakfast is usually slung across a low tree stump.  While a dead white rabbit or white rat may appeal to an eagle, I’d just as soon not see it.  I make eye contact with Luc only and my eyes never stray beneath the middle horizontal bar of his enclosure.

Sometimes Luc will return my greeting with a good morning chirp. Perhaps with his one bad eye he mistakes me for the person delivering room service? Sometimes he just stares at me or turns his back … that’s okay too.

I left Luc and was grateful for the pea gravel strewn across the muddy entrance to the overlook – at least my shoes were not going to get muddy. I walked to the edge of the wooden platform that juts out over the marsh. A pair of Great Egrets multi-tasked, as they waded and simultaneously studied the water for their breakfast.

I hoped their eyesight was better than mine because across the marsh from where I stood, the water was green and murky looking.

Yep, green gook was everywhere.

Here’s a good example of that green gook, which glommed together near the overlook.  My overactive imagination told me this looked like the footprint of a Heron or Egret embedded in the muck and mire, but more likely it was a stick floating on the surface.

A Mallard drake was preening that green gook off its feathers, a rather futile exercise and a Mama Mallard, her seven ducklings in tow, was trying to find a clear space to navigate.

I watched the ducklings’ tiny bodies alternately bobbing  and dabbling for seaweed.

It was otherwise boring – no big bullfrogs belching under cover of the green gook, so it was time to move along.  I stepped off the overlook.  Once again my thick-soled walking shoes crunched as I picked my way across the pea gravel, but suddenly a squeaky noise made me turn around.  I knew it wasn’t Luc.  What in the world?  It turned out to be a groundhog, which I’m grateful didn’t scurry past me when I was near the edge of the overlook as I might have tumbled over the railing and into the water.

Yes, the gravel-crunching noise likely startled this fellow who shot me an indignant look, but my heart was thumping too! 

That grumpy groundhog hightailed it off the overlook as it vamoosed.

I stopped and told Luc all about it.  He seemed disinterested, merely swiveling his head around with a pained look as if to say “if you really want to get on my good side Linda, see what happened to my morning RATions.”

Heading to the boat launch area.

There is a long road leading to the boat launch area where swooping seagulls often fill that little harbor’s skies. You can start the Cherry Island Trail from there as well. There is the option to walk on the road or walk along the very long wooden overlook that runs parallel to the road.

Along the way, I got a close-up of one of the Egrets I was watching earlier.

Across the lagoon is the view of the overlook and boathouse. I strained my eyes to see if I could see my groundhog buddy, but he was long gone.

A flash of white in the distance caught my attention. A pair of Mute Swans and their cygnets. How exciting, even if they were far away across the lagoon! I hung out for about a half hour hoping they were divas and would appreciate the paparazzi, but they stayed put. Here are the closest shots I got and I will cross off that wish from my Birdie Bucket List!

Reluctantly I left the Mute Swan family as I’d reached the boat launch and the beginning of the Cherry Island Trail.

Navigating the Cherry Island Trail.

Visits to this park don’t often include this trail unless I time it just right and there’s been no heavy rains for a while. To the left is Lake Erie and to the right are a wooded area and bogs – lots of bogs. So, just in case I can walk this route, I always ensure I’m wearing long pants and long sleeves to thwart mosquitoes. Here are some shots taken along the 1.25 mile (2.00 km) Cherry Island Trail and, as you see from the signage …

… this sometimes-rustic trail goes along the waterfront …

… or near a lagoon …

… maybe along a grassy path …

… or becomes an overlook …

… then dumps out onto a rustic trail again. (I was right behind this Robin.)

The Cherry Island Trail meanders through the marsh, filled with cattails and a few small Water Lotus beds that will be spectacular by late Summer. Nothing much to see now. Mr. and Mrs. Mallard didn’t look too enthused to see me (or each other for that matter).

Poplar fuzz was floating around and landing everywhere I walked.

On the last leg of the Cherry Island Trail, I saw some movement in the bushes.

A doe fixated her gaze on me – should she trust me or stay under cover in the forested area? She stayed put, but seemed fascinated with me. I’ll save those photos for Wednesday as this is already a picture-laden post.

Clearly I need a self-driving car or a driver.

Enroute to Lake Erie Metropark, many hours before, as I was driving along West Jefferson Avenue, a parade of Mallard munchkins followed their Mom across the usually busy street. I’m glad there were no vehicles coming from the opposite direction. I gladly stopped while the group waddled across the street. While I was driving out of the park to go home, I saw a version of a Bambi and Thumper Kodak moment. Of course I was driving again and the park discourages stopping along the road. A family of geese and their goslings were grazing. The parents were close by as the goslings nibbled grass and a doe crossed the road, head bent down, clearly with the intention of visiting, not harming, the goslings. The gander went ballistic and amid the hissing and wing-flapping that ensued, the poor doe was scared and loped off. What a fun encounter to photograph, yet I drove on, but never saw another vehicle as I exited the park, so I could have stopped and pretended I didn’t see the signs.

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“Home Tweet Home” #Wordless Wednesday #Tree Swallow Nesting Boxes at Cove Point

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

Posted in #WildlifeWednesday, #Wordless Wednesday, nature | Tagged , , , | 75 Comments

Just chillin’ on a chilly morn at Lake Erie Metropark.

It was Saturday, the first day of Memorial Day weekend and chilly by late May standards, so I left the house wearing a light jacket. Because dark clouds were brooding, despite a predicted perfect day weather-wise, I wavered whether I should even make the 30-mile roundtrip drive to Lake Erie Metropark. I sure didn’t want to be several miles from the car and the sky opened up. I decided to take a chance.

Enroute to that park, the cloudy skies parted and a few rays of sunshine poked through, so I ditched the coat on the back seat and set out in short sleeves. Well that was a dumb move as the sun did a disappearing act several times, so it was chilly and yes, what they tell you about getting sunburned on a cloudy day is true, because my forearms and forehead were sporting tinges of bright pink before the day was done.

I spent hours and hours at Lake Erie Metropark, starting first at Cove Point and walking the entire shoreline to the marina and back, then heading to the wooden overlook where I got an up-close view of Barn Swallows perched on a dead tree, seemingly oblivious to my presence.

After returning to the car, I rested for a few minutes, then drove clear across the park to the boathouse area to visit Luc, the resident Bald Eagle and to navigate the Cherry Island Trail without sloshing through mud or water – that was a plus. That portion of my day at Lake Erie Metropark is picture laden and will be the topic of next week’s posts.

Cove Point was picturesque as usual.

I began at the shoreline where the largest Water Lotus bed is located. Some green leaves were evident, but nothing to take photos of yet. By Fourth of July weekend, the leaves would have grown to the size of a dinner plate, then by Labor Day the leaves will be gargantuan and have morphed into a sea of green with beautiful white Water Lotuses reaching skyward.

Almost immediately I saw clouds on the horizon. As mentioned above, I trusted the wisdom of the weather folks who predicted a stellar day, so I hoped that it would not rain on my parade.

I was the only person meandering along the paved pathway. I didn’t even call out “good morning” to this fellow, whose gaze was intent on the shoreline as he pondered life alongside his faithful friend.

I reached the marina, which I assumed would be teeming with sailors eager to get out on the water and was surprised to find the marina was rather desolate. I grabbed a few shots of the boats.

There was a sailboat on the horizon, no masts up – the “Sloop John B” perhaps?

I saw no sign of life in the nearby marsh either. In the past, I have seen deer swimming in the murky water, the occasional Great Egret or Great Blue Heron, but evidently the critters slept in, so I headed back to where I started.

Walking back to the car I saw that Monarch Butterfly which I featured in a recent Wordless Wednesday post. I followed it until it alighted. Finally a sign of critter life, no matter how you define a “critter” and, after clicking away, taking pics of that butterfly which likely wondered why I found it so fascinating, I moved along.

Oh no you don’t Mother Nature!

I saw this …

… and thought “there’s no escaping these pesky seeds … no matter where I go” but at least I didn’t have to sweep them up, a chore that awaited me sometime over the holiday weekend. Just as I was musing over these Maple seeds, I saw some weeds with red leaves on them. “This is a fluke” I muttered to myself. “No way are the leaves turning colors already!”

Noisy honking made me swivel my head upward to see a flock of Canada Geese, a sight usually reserved for my Autumn outings.

They evidently set their sights on a patch of grass for grazing and soon fell out of formation.

The chilly morn even had a Fall feel to it – say it isn’t so Mother Nature!!

It was “Home Tweet Home” on the shoreline.

As I ambled along, parallel to the Lake Erie shoreline, I saw a slew of wooden nesting boxes. I believe I’ve mentioned in prior posts that volunteers build those nesting boxes and attach them to wooden stakes to entice Bluebirds to nest along Cove Point’s shoreline. I’ve been visiting this venue since 2018 and have not seen a single Bluebird because the Tree Swallows have overtaken those boxes.

Below is one of those Tree Swallows staking its claim, with the soon-to-be decommissioned Trenton Channel Power Plant in the background. I’ll have more pictures of the birds and boxes in this week’s Wordless Wednesday post.

I heard a Great Blue Heron’s raucous screech, then saw a shadow overhead as it glided by. If you’ve never heard their screechy call, it is “loud enough to wake the dead” as that saying goes. The Heron likely saw me and took off with a harrumph. It perched delicately on a branch over a rock that juts out along Cove Point. I took this faraway shot of the regal-looking Heron …

… and, it held that perfect profile pose as I got closer.

The Barn Swallows blitzing about made my day!

I was back where I started, having taken a few wildflower photos along the way. I went to the wooden overlook for a glimpse of the Lotus beds from there – it was the same progress as Cove Point.

As usual, a lot of Barn Swallows were swooping and diving non-stop around the marshy lagoon and I heard tiny tweets and twitters. Happily the sun finally agreed to stick around which made for some nice reflections as you see below.

Dozens of times I’ve tried to capture their moves and come home with blurry black blobs, but today I was lucky. Evidently a few Swallows, weary from flying, paused to perch on the branches of a dead tree. I could not believe my good fortune to be about ten feet away from them. I was afraid to make so much as a peep as they might leave. What a beautiful bird with its distinctive forked tail, buff-colored breast and iridescent cobalt blue plumage.

There are literally hundreds of these birds, either nesting along Cove Point, or swooping and diving around the wooden overlooks. Barn Swallows are continuously in motion, catching and feeding on insects in mid-air and even feeding their young while hovering in place. After years of trying to get pictures that were not blurry of these pretty birds with their forked tails, I considered myself lucky that they posed so nicely for me.

The up-close-and-personal visit with the Swallows made my day, but my adventure continued on the other side of Lake Erie Metropark with Mute Swan cygnet sightings, something to check off my 2022 Birdie Bucket List! Stay tuned next week for that post.

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Mr. Tree says:  “Come up and see my etchings!”  #Wordless Wednesday #Beetle graffiti!

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

Posted in #Wordless Wednesday, nature, walk, walking | Tagged , , , | 35 Comments

Whilin’ away the hours …

… in the good ol’ Summertime.

During this last decade, walking and blogging have become a huge part of my life, effectively crowding out my former hobbies of reading and gardening. And, though I no longer keep a fast pace turning those literary pages, I continue to buy books, despite the fact there are plenty of unread pocketbooks purchased long ago and languishing in cupboards and drawers upstairs and in Rubbermaid tubs downstairs. They await my highly anticipated “golden years” – sigh. I’ve already begun to think of the hobbies I will revel in when I have endless hours to myself and, as you know from this recent blog post, I hope to take charcoal and pastel crayons to paper, plus dabble a little in paint as part of that R&R.

“There is no friend as loyal as a book.” – Ernest Hemingway

Just like the quotation above, being an only child, I learned at an early age how to self-entertain and reading books was a perfect means to do this.

I was an avid reader from the time I was a tyke and attribute that to my parents. I had a wicker basket filled with Little Golden Books that I read and reread and had memorized long before I started kindergarten. After starting school, on weeknights, after dinner and dishes were done, while I did my homework at the kitchen table, my parents pored over the pages of The Toronto Star and Oakville Beaver newspapers. I don’t recall them watching the nightly news on TV, but instead preferring to absorb the local, national and worldwide news events on those printed pages.

Likewise, on the weekend, for their down time, they had few favorite TV shows, but were most likely to be reading a book or a magazine. I would similarly have my nose stuck in the latest book in The Bobbsey Twins or Anne of Green Gables series. Life was good and simple back then.

I don’t recall much about visiting the library as a youngster before we moved here from Canada in July of 1966. But in middle school, because we did not have a set of encyclopedias at home, any book report research necessitated a trip to the local library.

Many evenings in my tweens and teens, would find me compiling facts and figures for term papers. My father drove me to the library after dinner was done, where soon he would be dozing in one of the comfy brown leather chairs, while I fed dimes to the copy machine, thus enabling some of my research efforts to be taken home. Once I recall he awoke with a start and called out “Linda, aren’t you done finding out about the Baobab trees and the African Hottentots yet?” (Why do I remember such trivial things … but I digress.)

Schoolkids today have it easy, with Google at their fingertips, a mere mouse click away. No trips up and down the library aisles, searching the many shelves for some obscure book. The kindly Mr. Schaefer, our head librarian during my school years, was a stickler for youngsters understanding the library, i.e. he would never assist you to locate a book, until he was assured you understood the Dewey Decimal System and likewise perused the card catalog before asking his assistance.

While I gathered facts and figures for a book report or term paper, within earshot was Miss Montie, the children’s’ librarian, conducting “Storytime” while sitting at eye level with a group of children, similarly parked on squat stools while she read to them. How fun! I wished I could join them as I heard oohs, aahs and giggles erupt as Miss Montie moderated her voice while she paged through the featured children’s book. She was so animated, often flailing her arms around to act out a particular character’s actions and adapting her voice to theirs. She really got into those reading sessions, so much so, that she’d have to hastily grab the woolen shawl which perpetually adorned her shoulders and would slip off during these animated readings.. Suffice it to say the children were mesmerized by Miss Montie’s storytelling. These were good times, even though I only vicariously enjoyed them while researching about those Hottentots in their huts.

You’re probably wondering why I stirred the memory pot in this post … after all, it isn’t end-of-school time, nor back-to-school time either. Hmm.

So here’s the backstory for today’s blog post.

I was strolling along the Dingell Park boardwalk at the Detroit River back on Friday, June 17th. Besides enjoying the breeze off the water, I was taking photos of the usual waterfront happenings and resident waterfowl. As I returned to the parking lot to drive home, I saw some activity at the pavilion area and, of course, Your Roving Reporter had to check it out.

I learned that the Ecorse Public Library was conducting its own Storytime at 10:00 a.m. under the pavilion. I met the four library staff members: Alice, Madison, Katie and Oliver and, while I regaled them with my memories of Miss Montie and her Storytime sessions, Madison, who is also an artist, was busy creating chalk art drawings to match the fish theme for that day’s reading.

Regrettably I had to leave, or risk being late for work, but that evening I checked out the Library’s Facebook site to see how the event went. Scrolling down, a colorful image entitled “Watercolors by the Water” and its description of “colorful and creative fun” drew me like a magnet; could this be the first stepping stone to joining the plein air painting group in the future? I hopped onto Amazon and ordered some watercolor painting supplies for the event.

The following Friday found me once again strolling the boardwalk after walking four miles at Council Point Park. Alice and Madison were ready for their encore performances, as reader and artist respectively, but this Storytime featured dinosaurs. Chalk art lovers will like these fierce dinosaurs and dinosaur eggs. Madison is posing with dino hand puppets.

I asked Madison if she was teaching the watercolors class – she said “yes” and I told her I had ordered supplies and registered and I was told supplies would be provided and snacks as well.

Watercolors by the Water.

On Saturday, June 9th I arrived early at Dingell Park to get a parking spot and take a few photos of the riverfront scene our group would be painting. It was a picture-perfect day, albeit windy – winds were gusting at 18 mph.

You can see the high winds a’blowin’ in these shots …

… and rippling waves in these photos.

Alice, Madison and a few City employees struggled against those wind gusts to put up a large canopy, then chairs were readied and two tables stocked with watercolor supplies.

Madison, who is a real artist, is also the Ecorse Public Library’s Marketing Coordinator and doubles as one of the library clerks. She showed us a sample watercolor painting and set the stage for what we would be doing as seen below.

The class was about 90 minutes long and during that time, Madison and Alice checked out each of our work-in-progress paintings.

Dingell Park was a happenin’ place. Besides people enjoying the stellar weather at this park, a huge freighter passed by …

… and look at this Tiki boat drifting down the center of the Detroit River. I told the group I had to take some pictures of that boat, the first sighting of its kind for me.

All too soon the class was over and I was the last one finishing up (thanks to those pesky railings – grrr). The wind helped dry the paint very quickly and my painting was done and ready to initial five minutes after the last brush stroke of green for the grassy area near the boardwalk.

Here is my finished painting, a little abstract and heavy-handed on the colors, but next time I vow to do better.

I will be sure to try another one of Madison’s classes, especially if it is in the Summer months.

Posted in Plein Air Painting, walk, walking | Tagged , , , | 60 Comments

Me and my shadow.  #Wordless Wednesday  #Twice as nice! #Linda – can I get double peanuts?

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

Posted in #WildlifeWednesday, #Wordless Wednesday, nature, Squirrels | Tagged , , , , , | 34 Comments

Happy 4th of July 2022!

I know I keep bemoaning the fact that once upon a time we used to have four distinct seasons. Summer began sometime in June, not necessarily on the day the calendar said it was so. Nowadays, the seasons are colliding, morphing into one another. But, it’s not just here in the Mitten State – sadly, it is all around the world.

In Michigan, in the months of May and June, temps sizzled like a 4th of July firecracker on more than one occasion and well before Summer’s official debut on June 21st.

Since the Summer Solstice arrived, the days are already getting shorter, shaving off three or so seconds daily as we begin our slow creep toward Winter. We don’t really notice those few seconds but, once the Autumn Equinox arrives on September 22nd, we will have lost three minutes and eighteen seconds of daylight … then it’s all downhill going forward. I’ve known folks that believe once the Fourth of July holiday passes, Summer is on the wane, so suddenly it’s time for a mindset of back-to-school supplies and kids’ sports programs, draining the backyard pool and eyeballing new harvest-type décor to buy for the homestead.

How have you spent YOUR long holiday

I like when any of our official holidays happen on bookend weekend days, like a Friday or a Monday. We don’t have enough long weekends is what I say! Canada’s July 1st holiday fell on a Friday, so they were equally lucky this year.

Were you like me and immersed yourself in nature? I walked in five large parks Saturday and Sunday and did short laps at Council Point Park as well.

Maybe you did a little birding? – Rock garden in Wyandotte.

Did you take a trip and fly the friendly skies, like these guys?

Jonathan Livingston Seagull – Bishop Park.
Great Blue Heron – Elizabeth Park.
Mallard Drake – Bishop Park.
Jonathan Livingston Seagull – Bishop Park.

Life in 2022 is no “day at the beach” on so many levels.

Perhaps, just like me, a “staycation” was your agenda due to inflation woes, outrageous gas prices, or COVID stats (ours are on the rise here in Michigan – again).

Does a quick trip to the shore define a delightful getaway for you? Even if it’s just a few hours, dipping your toes in the water, …

“Ahh – the pause that refreshes … I’m cooling off my tootsies.

… feeling the breeze in your hair (or feathers),

“Darn – I remembered the sunscreen, but forgot the feather gel!”

… is a wonderful change of pace and who can resist the smell of hotdogs or burgers on the grill?

Do I smell hotdogs? Point my beak in that direction ‘cuz I’d love me a hotdog bun!

There’s plenty of fish dying to be your “catch of the day” (or maybe not if you look at it from a fish’s viewpoint). Lots of anglers, shoulder to shoulder, fill the boardwalk at Bishop Park dropping a line or two or three in the Detroit River while aiming to bring home dinner.

The boardwalk at Bishop Park.
The fishing pier at Bishop Park – our feathered friend hopes to snag a fish as well.
Close-up of the fishing pier at Bishop Park – arrive early for a primo spot.

Bopping along the boardwalk is a favorite pastime of mine. I took several trips to the Detroit River this past weekend, plus in recent weeks, taking advantage of those occasional cool mornings to slip down to the water’s edge, even on a workday.

Yep, I get it – maybe it’s not a beach-y scene with you and your buddies bobbing around in the water, …

Canada Geese, a gathering of the clan – Dingell Park.

… but hey, with a little imagination, just picture yourself walking barefoot on the sand with waves lapping gently at your feet, encroaching ever closer to you, while a few screechy gulls are cruising lazily overhead. It’s a nice image to conjure up – bopping along the River’s boardwalk is a brief respite from the reality of day-to-day living in 2022.

The “daily constitutional” (a rather archaic phrase to describe a daily walk).

It’s only fitting that I use the phrase “daily constructional” for this Fourth of July holiday. Here’s how the Farlex Dictionary of Idioms defines this phrase:

On a hot and humid morning, circa mid-1700s, can you picture this country’s founding father, George Washington, steppin’ out for his constitutional, with his powdered hair tied back in a ponytail and those famous, already-rosy cheeks aglow from the moist morning air?

To bulk up my miles in the month of June, I was here, there and everywhere, amassing lots of steps and a ton of photos. I have done a hastily-written recap of each trek’s unique sights and sounds so my memory doesn’t fail me. One of my New Year’s resolutions was to assemble those narratives and photos and get them published in a more timely manner, but that is just one more New Year’s resolution that has bitten the dust.

Here are some recent photos that define the red, white and blue colors synonymous with the Fourth of July holiday and I have thrown in a handful of Americana images as well.

American flag on vintage Ford Mustang at Downriver Cruisin’ “Ponies in the Park”.
A white-hot contrail slices through a perfect blue sky – Dingell Park.
Robin Redbreast atop a red fire hydrant in the ‘hood.
Delicate white flowers and red roses – Emily Frank Gardens.
Stars and Stripes and white Tea Rose – Emily Frank Gardens.
Red Salvia – Emily Frank Gardens.
Cottontail Rabbit in a field of white Clover – Council Point Park.
This birder found a funky-looking, red-white-and-blue rooster in the ‘hood.
Old Glory at Veterans Memorial – Dingell Park.
A touch of Americana in the ‘hood.
Another touch of Americana in the ‘hood.

So where “R” you in your journey?

I liked this blackboard with its special message. I’ve used the phrase before, showing a photo of a painted rock I saw at Heritage Park. Fellow Michigan blogger Ruth suggested I use it as a tagline on my blog, so I did. In this case, I was totally oblivious to the fact that the “R” was missing from the word “journey” until I had the photo up on the computer screen at home. Life is imperfect anyway, so … was I going to discard that photo? Nope, the message is clear, with or without that missing letter. [I updated this post for my walking miles and noticed today Jim has squeezed in the “r” in his message.]

A little inspiration by Jim Fortener – Jim’s Hair Corral.
A touch of whimsy by Jim Fortener – Jim’s Hair Corral.

I’ve walked my socks off as much as I can, even resorting to hitting the aisles of my Meijer grocery store to keep me cool and bulk up my steps. Each year I wonder if I’ve bitten off more than I can chew with my end-of-year mileage goal, but I soldier on and hope for the best.

I usually give a walking miles status the end of each quarter. I am now at 637 miles (1,025 kilometers). Half of 2022 is gone – this time last year I had 605 miles on June 30th so I’m a little ahead. My year-end goal is 1,256 miles (2,022 kilometers). I walked 14.5 miles the last two days and drove my car 101 miles (yes, feel my forehead as that is not the norm for me).

My photo at the top of this post is a holiday wreath on a wooden gate at Emily Frank Gardens in Trenton. I stopped by there recently and an upcoming post will feature flowers and garden art from this fun venue. The little white gate and Americana swag looks like the gate in this holiday card below.

Happy 4th everyone – enjoy this animated card.

Posted in 4th of July, walk, walking | Tagged , , , , | 55 Comments