[Don’t be squirrelly … make sure you see my message which continues below]
While roaming ‘round the ‘hood lately, I noted the themes for Halloween range from ghostly to ghastly. Each year there is one homeowner on Emmons Boulevard that devotes the entire front lawn to recreating a ghastly graveyard, complete with wacky tombstones and ghoulish figures rising from the grave. I have shared some of those images in my blog in the past, but today, I’ve got something better for you. This cemetery is the “real deal” with vintage tombstones and it comes with a little bit of history too.
If you are really brave, you’d visit a very old graveyard on Halloween night, especially this year, when there is a full moon … a blue moon to be exact. But I am not THAT brave, so I visited the “Old Burial Ground” as locals refer to it, on a sunny Summer afternoon. The graveyard is located just a stone’s throw away from Elizabeth Park. It was a long-time bucket list item, as I’d wanted to check it out whenever I passed by when driving to/from Lake Erie MetroPark. It is located on the corner of West Jefferson and West Jefferson … yes, it is a corner as West Jefferson Avenue wends around that bend once you leave downtown Trenton.
First a short backstory …
A couple of years ago, I stopped by Oakwood Cemetery, long rumored to be haunted. It is in Wyandotte, Michigan, which is just a few miles from my home. I had not been to Oakwood Cemetery, which was built in 1869, in almost 50 years, though I pass it all the time when going to downtown Wyandotte to walk along the Detroit River boardwalk at Bishop Park.
The occasion for visiting that ancient graveyard as a young teenager was because I took a free art class offered by our City, wherein every Wednesday we traveled to different sites to sketch charcoal images. I wrote at length about visiting Oakwood Cemetery in my blog post “Tiptoe through the tombstones with me.” You can read that post by clicking here if you are interested.
So, in the spirit of Halloween, I’ve got another graveyard trek to share.
I was not brave enough to visit the Old Burial Ground in the dark, so I hope you are not disappointed. It is a small graveyard, tucked away on this busy street corner. If you blink, you might miss it. The site is surrounded by a fairly high wrought-iron fence which gates were left ajar, so it was easy to just sneak in and get some pictures.
Once I passed through the gates, at once I noticed the cemetery was chock full of very old tombstones, some quite dilapidated, a few were listing to one side and one was pieced together. In some cases, the words were worn off the stones. I found it interesting reading the descriptions on the tombstones, that begun “here sleeps” or “aged 71 years and 3 mos.” or perhaps identified as “Little Willie” – what a step back in time!
Just like Oakwood Cemetery, there is some historical significance to this graveyard. To save you straining your eyes on the historical marker, here is what it says. I have put the more interesting facts in boldface:
In 1849, Giles & Sophia Truax Slocum deeded this land to be held in trust to the Trenton Odd Fellow Lodge No.33. In 1867, it was deeded to the Masonic Lodge, F & AM No.8. In 1918, the deed was transferred to Monguagon Township. Here rest forty-four early pioneers, Civil War veterans, and Trenton’s first doctor. The cemetery was once larger and the grounds unfenced. Townspeople objected to children from the adjoining “South” school playing among the tombstones, and re-interments occurred in 1874 and again in 1890. In 1929, the ornate fence was installed. Named the Odd Fellow, Masonic, and finally the Walnut Street Cemetery, it will always be known as the “Old Burial Ground”. It is now maintained by the City of Trenton.
So come and join me in my meander around the Old Burial Ground.
P.S. – In visiting this graveyard, I was reminded of my late mom, but in a fun, not macabre way. When I was a little nipper, we often went to visit and enjoy Sunday dinner at my grandparents’ house. We would drive from where we lived in Oakville to Toronto. We went past a cemetery and my mother would say “I wonder how many are buried there Linda?” The first time I “fell for it” and took a few minutes calculating how many people rested there and whatever number I said, Mom said “all of them Linda!” Even when I was older, whenever we passed a cemetery anywhere, Mom always repeated her line from this old family joke … but I never fell for that trick again.
Wordless Wednesday – allow your photo(s) to tell the story.
See what I did there? In the interest of keeping the headline short and sweet and because I like alliteration, I combined the words “gold” and “orange” and “red” all which are colors that dominate Autumn.
Outta my gourd.
Over the years, expressions fall in and out of fashion … “out of one’s gourd” is one such expression. I never hear it anymore. Back in the day kids used to say “I’m bored out of my gourd” or, if they thought you said something crazy, they’d reply “you’re outta your gourd!” I suspect I probably just dated myself.
So, I figured I should have at least one post that mentions pumpkins since we are immersed in harvest season and also embarking on Halloween week.
Pumpkins – like ‘em, love ‘em?
When you think of pumpkins, what comes to mind first? Beautiful harvest displays in the neighborhood with pristine pumpkins sitting atop hay bales? Perhaps those scary-looking jack-o-lanterns come to mind, or Autumn delights like sipping a pumpkin spice latte or savoring pumpkin pie?
I waited until mid-September to go to take any pumpkin pictures. My first stop was a local gas station about four miles away. You may recall I went on a wild-goose chase looking for sunflowers at the tail end of August, only to find a large garden of sunflowers at a gas station located on a busy intersection. I got some pictures and took note that at the base of those sunflowers was a tangle of large leaves and delicate yellow flowers. I figured those blossoms surely would have morphed into pumpkins by now, so off I went to get some pumpkins-in-the-raw photos.
Well, so much for that idea, as those gourds had already been harvested. I walked back to the car and continued on to Heritage Park. I knew that soon the Botanical Gardens would be dismantled and the annuals and tropical flowers hauled away to overwinter safely from the harsh weather elements, so it was best to hustle up there and get some pictures.
It was a gorgeous September day, so I planned to spend a few hours walking at this picturesque venue.
First up – the Botanical Gardens.
This beautiful venue never disappoints and as I stepped into the Conservatory area, I had to chuckle to myself, as the volunteers who take care of the Conservatory plants and adjacent gardens, had placed gourds in many of the large planters. Here are few of them:
I walked around the Gardens and decided “why not capture images of the golds, oranges and reds that so define this season?” Here are few of those blooms and an ornamental pepper plant:
I then had the bright idea to check out the Community Gardens and see if people were growing or ready to harvest pumpkins and gourds there.
The Community Gardens were looking a little desolate.
Most gardeners are a bit wistful when growing season is officially over. They pull out the annuals, packing away the pots and baskets for next Spring. Perennials and rosebushes are lopped off in advance of next year’s growing season after many months of dormancy. As I walked through the Community Gardens, it looked like most gardeners had already put their gardens “to bed” for the 2020 growing season. I managed to get a few shots of gourds, still growing and almost done.
And, as I walked down the center mulched pathway looking for pumpkins and/or gourds, I found some fun items in the various Community Gardens plots.
I may have to use this door for Norm’s Thursday doors blog site.
The goose-crossing sign near the Petting Farm was laying on the ground while a new driveway was being put into place … hmm, hopefully drivers will beware of the Canada geese as they cross busy Pardee Road, because everyone knows those lazy geese never cross with the stoplight.
I have not returned to Heritage Park during Autumn for several reasons. There were activity weekends for kids at the Petting Farm and at/around the Park in September and October, plus all the historical buildings are being revitalized, including paint jobs, so this year I skipped my usual outing to capture images of the beautiful leaf colors.
Autumn arrived without skipping a beat, even though life, as we’ve always known it, seems to take stranger twists and turns daily. But in 2020, the leaves still fall, as do the temperatures. We still reach for a coat to ward off the chill and search for our hats and gloves … just in case we need ‘em. But gone are the hayrides and corn mazes this year, although we can still enjoy cider (maybe even donuts) and similarly feast on Mother Nature’s eye candy, those glorious leaf colors – to me, this is what Autumn is all about.
I always have my compact digital camera within easy reach, so last Sunday, when it poured raining the entire day (grrr), it gave me a much-needed chance to check out the photo card which I hoped was groaning with awesome Autumn shots. You already saw those cutie pie squirrels and cunning Blue Jays, all clamoring for and devouring peanuts and the (too) many signs around the ‘hood these days. I’ve also collected some harvest décor display pictures which define this too-short season – they’ll be in a post in November as I have some Halloween pics to share first. I do love Autumn, even if clouds are on the horizon … those clouds being snow and ice. The cold temps I’m fine with, just not the icky precip.
Since I last did a post about Council Point Park, the transition to Fall began with bushes suddenly bountiful with vibrant berries, snatched by eager Robins, who bemoaned the cooler weather and wondered if their worm supply has suddenly become freeze-dried.
Tinges of red and yellow on raggedy bushes and saplings along the Ecorse Creek made for a pretty backdrop in the morning sun.
And the many Maple trees slowly began to turn beautiful shades of gold.
It’s been an interesting month at my favorite hangout and with each passing day, more thoughts and comments crowded my brain, until I knew I just had to commit them to a blog post.
Like this funny item I noticed. Someone was feeding the critters veggies from their garden. One day it was a large green cabbage and a couple of red peppers. I had not taken the camera that day as it looked like rain, but the next day, the remaining split-open red pepper made a nice spot of color in this tiny alcove.
This is the same sweet gray squirrel that gave me multiple poses; he was eyeing peanuts, not the red pepper below.
But there were other changes afoot in and around the Park besides veggies … some were/are annoying or worrisome.
One morning as I started on the perimeter path, in the distance I saw big orange signs. I strained to see across the Park, and, while I could not read the signs, I saw a tree-cutting service and a couple of tree cutters hard at work. The signs were to beware of the machinery. We walkers were forced to veer off the path onto the wet grass to avoid getting too close to the wood chipper, which was busy gobbling up branches and saplings.
The two or three times I walked past them, the workers were tackling the growth of straggly-looking bushes along the banks of the Ecorse Creek. “Good” I thought, thinking I’d have a better view of the waterfowl who frequent the Creek, without my having to climb down close to the edge where it’s often slick. I must admit I wondered about lopping off this branch?
But my happiness over the potential better view was short-lived, because the next day I quickly noticed several nice trees had been chopped down. Unfortunately, none were the long-dead tree you see overlooking the Creek …
… but instead, one was this Common Juniper where a Golden-crowned Kinglet had its nest and trilled its tinny-sounding notes to me on bitter cold Winter mornings. The Juniper berries take three years to ripen to a bluish color, then they provide some sustenance for our Park birds. A small branch with a few ripe and unripe berries was left behind after the tree was felled.
This is all that remains now of the Juniper – I hope that Kinglet had a Plan “B” for the family.
A little farther along on the path, I stared in disbelief at the twin stumps of two Redbud trees, similarly cut to the ground by the tree cutters. The remnants of the Redbud trees left me in dismay.
This spot was a favorite hangout for the geese and their goslings every May and photos of it were often featured in my Spring blog posts. Since the Park was closed this May due to the pandemic, I dug into my blog media files to show you this lovely tree.
The next time I saw fellow walker Arnie, we collectively shook our heads, lamenting over the loss of these two trees, which we both have passed for many years while walking at this venue. All we could say was “why … such a loss.” He said they should have let an arborist pick and choose what trees to remove as those trees were an asset, not a hindrance and would never have gotten so large that their roots would have been destructive.
In early September, I shared the path when the local cross-county teams began running every morning. I took a few photos of them as they passed me by on their morning practice sessions. One day I went to the Park and there were painted lines everywhere, i.e. across and encircling the perimeter path and running across the “donut hole” (the grassy area between each walking loop). I learned the painted lines were in advance of a cross-county meet. The event is long gone, but white paint remains, competing with the ever-growing graffiti.
There is scuttlebutt in the Facebook Neighborhood Forum that the City is looking into turning my favorite nature nook into a dog park, or portioning it off for a miniature golf course. Well, I may not be able to vote as I’m not a citizen of this country, but I fired off a message to a mayoral candidate asking if we could not utilize any of the other 21 parks in this City for those two ventures and keep this natural setting intact? I hope the points I shared are taken into consideration. Council Point Park actually prohibits domestic animals on the premises; a sign with an ordinance and fine info is posted at the entrance of the Park. However, the ordinance has never been enforced and dog walkers blitz past the sign, then you get this … a dog which terrorizes the squirrels on a near-daily basis.
Well – what are you going to do? I had been standing feeding and taking photos of the squirrels and Jays on the path (pictures that were the subject of this past Monday’s post) – they all quickly scattered to the wind when they saw this dog. But, as you see above, one squirrel scrambled up the high chain-link fence and was trembling.
It’s not just the dogs at the park … the Cooper’s Hawks have returned (sigh).
Much to my chagrin, the Cooper’s Hawks have made an encore performance at Council Point Park, bringing with them the sad predator versus prey scenario to contend with, something that fills this bleeding heart with worry. A few years ago, my first encounter with one was directly after feeding Stubby, the Fox squirrel missing half his tail, and, just as I whirled around to resume my walk, suddenly a brownish blob was in my peripheral vision. With talons outstretched and an artful dip and dive, that hawk honed in on Stubby, whose only thought at that time was enjoying his pile of peanuts on a beautiful Summer morning. The hawk was also thinking about breakfast. Just then I screamed “oh no” and Stubby dropped a peanut and ran as fast as his four legs could carry him, diving under a picnic table for shelter and the hawk angrily sped away.
After that occasion, (wherein I was likely more horror-stricken than Stubby), it taught me that unless I have some extra time to kill and can hang out on the path with my peanut pals, I must try to put the peanuts near the base of a tree or a bush for their easy access and getaway.
The other morning, the same scenario played out before my eyes when a black squirrel, happily noshing on nuts, was blissfully oblivious as a Cooper’s Hawk sped past me, swooped down, its huge wings flapping silently as it aimed for the squirrel. This time it was not me that cried out, but a nearby squirrel sounded the “alarm cry” (a loud noise that resembles a caterwaul) in the nick of time for that little fellow to beat a hasty retreat. The hawk did an about face, flew over to the chain-link fence where it pouted and glared at the Town Crier. I didn’t have the camera out and was a bit too shaken up to drag it out for a photo of the hawk who took off a few moments later. I was uneasy the rest of my walk and ended up leaving instead of going around another time on the loop.
And finally, there’s this. For some reason the picnic tables have been removed at the pavilion.
The City’s Parks and Recreation workers used to move the picnic tables to a fenced-in area every year as Winter approached. The last two or three years, the workers left them under the pavilion roof all year around. There are no organized Winter activities at the Park where people might want to bring food and/or hot drinks and sit a while, but the tables were a boon to me as I placed peanuts and treats, including birdseed bells and sunflower seeds, even cookies, for the squirrels and birds, especially when the weather forecast was for prolonged periods of ice or snow and I might not be around. So, I don’t know what’s up with that as the picnic tables are MIA for two weeks – perhaps off being refinished from the last round of graffiti?
Other than these blips on the radar at my favorite nature nook, life goes on … the crisp leaves crinkle and crunch beneath my heavy walking shoes and when it rains, those same wet leaves plaster themselves to the soles of my shoes, sometimes riding up the sides as well.
I’ve watched the crescendo of color for the last few weeks – below is an array of leaf colors encountered recently at Council Point Park; this past week was considered peak time for leaf colors here in Southeast Michigan.
I look forward to the time change on November 1st allowing me to bulk up my steps with the added daylight.
Wordless Wednesday – allow your photo(s) to tell the story.
[Arrow image by Gerd Altmann f/Pixabay]
My furry, peanut-eating pals at the Park have muddy paws these days. That’s because they have been digging holes fast and furiously to bury their peanuts ever since we experienced a chilly spell that lasted about ten days the tail end of August. It was right around that time we humans shivered (without even having the A/C cranked up) and the weather folks made their initial predictions about our upcoming La Niña Winter i.e. lots of precipitation, maybe rain … maybe snow. Ugh.
And, even though it was the 5th hottest Summer on record for Michigan, that chilly week or so set off a roller coaster ride of hot and cold temps ever since. The weather’s been downright weird. “Blame it on climate change” the learned experts say. So, stats, charts and jet streams tell us a rough Winter is in store, but I could have told you that because that same week in August, the squirrels began planning ahead too. I’d toss down some peanuts and before a single one was enjoyed, off each one of my furry pals went to bury some of this cache. I remarked on it to Arnie, the other walker at the Park who feeds the squirrels and he noticed it too.
This time of year, now that berries, pine nuts and walnuts have either been savored or buried by my furry friends, they now rely on me more than ever for food. Even the Blue Jays are a little needier than usual, scamming as many peanuts as they can get away with from the squirrels.
But sometimes the squirrels and Jays call a truce and even “break bread” together as that expression goes and you will see below.
Meanwhile, I heard these comments at the Park recently:
“Is that peanuts I smell? Yay, the Peanut Lady’s here!”
“We were starving – what took you so long to get here Linda?”
“Yes I’ll pose any way for peanuts – what do you think is my best side?”
“We take as many peanuts as we can fit in our mouths and paws ‘cuz we don’t have big cheeks like our cousins the chipmunks after all! Watch us carry off one, two, three – maybe even four nuts at a time – quite a feat, don’t you think?”
“The Blue Jays are mean and sneaky! They stake us out …
… then swoop and swipe!”
“Linda says we have to share our treats, so we guess we’re okay with splitting our peanuts with the Jays, as long as they don’t steal too many!”
“There will be lean times when it snows or is icy and Linda can’t visit us … that’s why we bury some of our peanuts closer. After all, who can dig through a foot of icy snow to retrieve one lousy peanut? So, we’ve taken to hiding them near the path to find them easier. Linda says it is a dumb idea. What do YOU think?”
“Soon we will all look like little Butterballs from peanuts and the extra layer of fat and heavier fur we’ll get for Winter. Hee hee … we’ll look nearly as fat as you humans do with your Quarantine 15 … only cuter.”
Whether the above Mallards are mates, best buds, or just pals sharing a quiet moment, I chose the pair for my annual Sweetest Day post.
I took these two photos during my September 5th meander at Lake Erie Metropark. Both Mallards had brown-speckled plumage and were likely in “eclipse phase” which means after molting, both male and female Mallards look alike. Gradually, the males, a/k/a drakes, will see the return of their teal head feathers, white neck rings, brown chest and gray body, while the females, a/k/a hens, will retain that brown plumage with its eventual signature bright-blue wing stripe.
I know Sweetest Day is not a holiday celebrated nationwide, or globally, but it is celebrated here in the Midwest, so don’t panic if you’re reading this and realize you didn’t get a present for your main squeeze. Sweetest Day is just another Hallmark-type holiday, a more condensed version of Valentine’s Day, but it has been celebrated for the past 99 years.
I’ve not heard one radio ad for candy, flowers or cards, so sadly, I guess Sweetest Day is still another casualty of the pandemic as real-life events like wildfires, presidential debates, positive tests and alarming COVID-19 stats rule the news media stories, crowding this fun holiday out of the headlines.
I usually use a Parker photo with his big brown eyes, swishing tail and hearts swirling about his head for Sweetest Day, but these two ducks have my heart.
They’re feelin’ ducky – how ’bout you?
… and I’ve had a few doggos in my day too.
There was Fritzy, the German Shepherd …
… and Co-co, the Cocker Spaniel …
… and last, but not least, Peppy, the poodle.
Eventually my parents switched to birds for pets as they were more trainable … we never did know if it was them or us that was the problem as to puddles of piddle.
But I digress.
Today’s post is about the second virtual 5K Walk I did this year … this was the “Mutt Strut” to benefit FAMD, the acronym for the “Friends for Animals of Metro Detroit” which is a state-of-the-art, no-kill animal shelter located in Dearborn, Michigan used to provide temporary homes for dogs from the neighboring communities, including Detroit. If you’d care to see the photos from the 2019 event, just click here.
That was a fun event, geared for people and pooches to walk or run together and all funds raised benefited this worthwhile charity. Though I had no dog in the race/walk, I left thinking “ this was fun – I’ll do it again in 2020.” Well, as you might have guessed, the pandemic quashed that idea. But in mid-August I got an e-mail invitation to participate in the VIRTUAL Mutt Strut 2020.
Well “doggone it” I decided I’d do this 5K event.
I planned to take my walk in the same locale as last year, where we began at Ford Field Park in Dearborn, then trekked en masse through a neighborhood, along a busy shopping area of West Downtown Dearborn, over a wooden bridge that crossed the Rouge River and continued on the River Rouge Path all the way to Hines Park. Whew – it was a hot day and I’d have explored more of that Rouge Gateway Trail had I not already walked three miles at the duck pond with the mischievous Mallards and scenic covered bridge before embarking on this trek.
I did not pick up my tee-shirt in advance, since it was not a group event and also because it necessitated a visit to the shelter and nope, nope, nope – I was not going to do that and see or hear all those sweet animals looking for their “furever” home. I’m a bleeding heart and it’s just too tough on me to lose pets. I won’t make that mistake again of loving an animal so deeply that it tears a hole in my heart once they are gone. I know people say that my mindset is wrong and I am 100% sure I could open up my heart and home to a shelter pet … but for now, I have the squirrels.
Here we go … happy trails for happy tails!
I began my solo virtual trek at Ford Field Park, then, after a short hop through the ‘hood, this overlook behind Andiamo’s Restaurant offered a great vantage point to peer down into the Rouge River.
Well, I may have laid out that trek in my mind, but once I began walking, I realized the original plan was not going to work. There was construction, so I had to walk a few blocks out of my way, which gave me a chance to see the Dearborn Historical Society/Museum (the outside anyway).
At the side of the Museum was the Rosie the Riveter Memorial Rose Garden and a few of their prized specimens.
The roses were fragrant in the humid air. Behind the Museum was a herb garden.
Next, I headed up to Michigan Avenue and through the business district which yielded to another overlook which put me onto the Rouge River Gateway Trail.
Well, still another obstacle in this course presented itself – so much for heading over this footbridge and walking past Henry and Clara Ford’s extensive estate. While I was game, there was caution tape just beyond the bridge since there was construction being done on the trail.
No worries … I took another path and was treated to a woodsy paved walking/bike trail.
I ended up walking about seven miles that day, far exceeding the required 3.2 miles/5 kms in the Virtual Mutt Strut. I am including the photo of my tee-shirt; there was no finishing medal offered for the virtual gig.
Wordless Wednesday – allow your photo(s) to tell the story.