Mother Nature shakes things up!

Someone trounced on Mother Nature’s toes … big time! You know who you are, so please apologize. We cannot blame this snow event on Old Man Winter, because, as you know, Winter does not arrive for another 40 days … on the calendar anyway. Besides, last week I saw a Tweet that said it may not be politically correct to blame bad Winter weather on Old Man Winter, because Winter should not have a gender. Yes, I was shaking my head too.

So you’ll pardon my pun, when I say this is how it shakes out for Southeast Michigan and countless cities across the nation today.

Mother Nature has her snow machine cranked up, doesn’t she?

When seasons collide.

Last week I posted pictures of the pretty snow on the pumpkins and leaves –it was easy to ooh and aah over those frosty crystals plopped on the brilliant red leaves because …

… happily, that snow melted a few hours later and we had a clear, but very chilly Friday and Saturday and today was gorgeous and felt tropical after the weekend’s cold and blustery weather. So, I savored every step I took, knowing today’s 3-5 inch snow event and the Arctic Blast that arrives tomorrow, might mess up walking for awhile. Sunday I put seven miles on the pedometer between walking at two different parks and raking leaves. I still need to walk 115 miles/185 kilometers to reach my year-end goal.

There simply is no rhyme or reason to this season.

We went from lawn mowing, to leaf blowing and snow blowing in the course of a few days’ time. Yesterday, while I scrambled to rake leaves in advance of the impending snow, I heard the drone of lawn mowers and leaf blowers … or perhaps it was homeowners tuning up their snow blowers?

I want to stand here and shake my fist at Mother Nature, though I know it would not do me a bit of good, except letting off a little steam and that would only fog up my eyeglasses.

Thus, the walking will come to a grinding halt today, probably the next few days, but there will be minimal worries about the flurries – for the short term anyway, because I will shovel the sidewalks, driveway and porch, secure in the knowledge that my pedometer is tallying up each step that I will take.

My furry and feathered friends at Council Point Park are stomping their feet too … I hope they don’t know about my “secret” porch pals, who, like their Park counterparts, have been getting extra peanuts to tide them over while the snow messes up everyone’s routine. Anyone want to help me set up a pneumatic tube that goes from my house to Council Point Park? It’s just one mile away. I know Parker could monitor it and retrieve peanuts at the other end … he’s a smart little squirrel.

Back in the day, the seasons slowly morphed into one another, gentle and easy. We had time to get acclimated to the colder weather, as we would first add a fuzzy headband to cover our ears, then move on to a wool cap (toque for my Canadian friends). Gradually a scarf was introduced into the mix. Light gloves became polar fleece mittens and so on and so forth. Guess those days are long gone.

I will now publish this post, drag out the boots, dust off my shovel, suit up and head out – so far Mother Nature has not inflicted too much damage out there; it looks like later today is when the most snow arrives, so how many days ‘til Spring?

Posted in nature, walk | Tagged , , , , | 19 Comments

“When the Frost is on the Punkin” * …

… it’s usually just frost and not snow! Well, they warned us the snow was coming overnight, or in the early morning, and this time the weather folks got it right! Yesterday’s snow event lasted about 15 minutes, with flakes flyin’ furiously, just enough to whiten the grass and leaves.

That pesky snow sugar-coated my Burning Bushes which haven’t even turned completely red yet – that’s real nervy Mother Nature!

Although I must admit the snowy Dwarf Spruce and Eunonymous both looked a little festive …

This wintry precip put down a snowy layer of “hair” on all the pumpkins which grace this porch and garden, much to my delight since I aimed to use this famous poem title for a post.

These pumpkins have also been delighting the neighborhood squirrels. I’ve come home from walking several times since Halloween to see a squirrel’s tail swishing back and forth behind one pumpkin, or paws inside another pumpkin, eating its way through the face. I’ve not been quick enough, or lucky enough, to get a shot of that though, but I’m hoping to have the camera ready the day I see a squirrel poking its head out of a pumpkin’s face and looking me right in the eye.

The weather here has been beyond crisp; it’s been downright cold, at the freezing mark and then a “real-feel” in the teens. Mother Nature teed up this blast of pre-Winter conditions, with a Canadian air mass headed our way the beginning of next week. They’re already calling it a mini Polar Vortex – well thanks Canada!

Last Sunday I was meandering along the perimeter path at my favorite nature nook, doling out peanuts and apples to any takers (there were very few) and I began dwelling on our impending Winter, that calendar date still many weeks away. I walked with my head down as the wind was gusting and it was cold as a pale sun was tucked behind the clouds. Ugh – the weather was nothing special. Winter USED TO BE when the wind howled outside, snowflakes were twinkling to the ground and you hunkered down and stayed indoors wearing fuzzy slippers, and a bulky cardigan – that scenario didn’t usually happen until December or January – not in early November! As I meandered, my mind wandered and I found myself wishing I was sipping a big mug of hot cocoa laden with fat puffy marshmallows, or eating comfort foods like shepherd’s pie, baked mac-n-cheese, or one of the hearty soups that my mom would have simmering on the stove in the heart of Winter. Heck, even a simple dish of Campbell’s Tomato Soup and a grilled cheese sandwich would have been wonderful to come home to after my walk on this blustery day. No, I was going home to put the yard to bed, do outside chores and rake leaves.

The whole time I was raking, I was thinking about that creamy tomato soup, which my mom made with Carnation milk to make it thick and creamy, and an ooey-gooey grilled cheese sandwich, cheese oozing out past the crust and in the corners of my mouth too. I decided I should buy the fixin’s to make this treat for myself the very next day.

So I popped into the grocery store, but being the untalented cook that I am, I decided to cut corners:

Yes, it tasted like the “real deal” if you stop to savor each chip slowly …

… otherwise it was a tasty, milder version of BBQ chips.

I gave it a fair taste test, polishing off half the bag at one sitting. I didn’t want to make a hasty judgment of course. 🙂

No worries, I also got the proper fixin’s to indulge properly – after all, how old am I and how difficult can this be anyway? It’s an easy enough assignment, right? So, next week, when the weather dips way way down, and the two to four inches of snow arrives, I’ll be in a nostalgic nirvana state of mind, burning my tongue on my Campbell’s Tomato Soup and dabbing melty cheese from the corners of my mouth.

* To read the poem “When the Frost is on the Punkin” by James Whitcomb Riley, please click here. And, if you want an earworm for the rest of your Friday, here’s the poem set to music, just a click away.

Posted in nature | Tagged , , | 48 Comments

Bye bye birdies … (and Fall too it seems).

I’m glad I took this little jaunt to Heritage Park to view the Fall foliage the weekend before last. I knew waiting until “peak color week” in early November wasn’t going to fly because of the predictions for incessant rain and windy days on the horizon. Even mediocre Fall foliage is not a spoiler at this venue, because there are always a few feathered friends’ images to capture at Coan Lake, which is in the middle of the historic village.

You all know about my affinity for seagulls and I wondered if this was my seagull friend, Jonathan, from Belanger Park, as he posed nicely and made sure to show me all his best sides – he was a bit of a ham. While it could be Jonathan, I tried not to read too much into our photo session. 🙂

I had to have a goose fix because the Canada Geese made their return to Council Point Park in late September, then promptly disappeared again. So, I was lucky enough to see my feathered friends goose-stepping around Coan Lake …

… as well as giving me the side-eye and shooting me a look of disdain for daring to take a photo without asking first.

Although the geese featured in the header image took flight shortly after I arrived, they weren’t necessarily migrating to warmer climes. Here in Southeast Michigan, our Canada Geese hang out in the Mitten State throughout the Winter. You may see great Vs in the sky which are likely geese from colder parts of Michigan who are just passin’ through, or “local” geese taking a notion to fly to another park.

The ducks were their usual spunky selves, strutting around the grounds, or giving me coy looks, as well as even paddling and diving in the icy-cold water, while I watched, a cold shiver traveling through my body.

This Mama Mallard was on the move …

… I know how she feels walking on the wet leaves this time of year.

She eventually caught up with her friend/mate as you see below. Or perhaps he caught up with her?

As mentioned above, the reason I hustled up to Heritage Park was to see some colorful trees and this venue never disappoints, even though it had just rained a few hours before and the sun was a pale imitation of itself. Here are some of my favorite Fall foliage shots, albeit not at peak color:

We’re quite frosty these days, with a little wintry precip to boot. All too soon, I’ll be posting photos of an iced-over Coan Lake with a contingent of ducks huddled together to keep warm and seagulls and geese riding companionably together on mini ice floes. Can we please skip right to April or May?

Posted in nature, walk | Tagged , , , | 35 Comments

Yippy Skippy – it’s November!

I know … you are feeling the same way as me, especially if you’re a Midwesterner and accustomed to the change in our four seasons, (which often happens more abruptly than we’d like them to). Perhaps I should have taken a photo of my glum face as I turned the calendar page over?

Everything is dropping!

November is not for the faint of heart, especially if you’re a walker. All of a sudden everything is dropping from above … rain, snow, and, of course the temperature is dropping like a rock. And, if you’re not contending with drops, it’s drips, as the cold air causes your nose to run as well. Other walkers suffer the same malady – frozen faces and dripping noses are a fact of life while getting our steps in. Whomever is still walking at the Park on a cold November morn generally gets a mumbled “good morning” through frozen lips. Of course, the critters don’t care if your nose is running and your lips are turning blue, as long as you keep on doling out peanuts.

Yep, precipitation is a pain you know where

As an avid walker, precip is your enemy, especially rain-slickened leaves on uneven sidewalks … oh, what a treat that is!

A few raindrops here and there on crinkly leaves is acceptable …

… it’s those shiny and slick leaves that you must watch out for.

Since my regular route through the ‘hood to the Park is STILL under construction, I’ve been driving to the Park more and more. So, what might await me there (besides the usual cast of furry and feathered characters)? Well, the pathway is often coated with a thin veil of ice as the overnight precip, be it heavy dew, or even frost, creates dreaded black ice – yikes! Many times I’ve gotten to the Park and opted to walk on the grass where I won’t be slip-slidin’ away. Or, I’ll still get my steps in, often a block or so away, doing laps around a park with no designated path, just walking on the grass.

Let’s not forget about the wicked winds – more joy.

We’re all familiar with Gordon Lighfoot’s song about the ill-fated freighter, the Edmund Fitzgerald, and the phrase “when the gales of November came early” – extremely high winds caused waves to reach 25 feet (7.6 meters) just before it sank. We had high winds last night … how fitting for Halloween. While a little wind and spooky noises are one thing, raging winds made the house feel like it was rockin’ and rollin’, so now I know how Dorothy and Toto felt.

Mother Nature was in a bit of a mood last night. After she provided two days of soaking rain, she turned the water spigot off and on went the snow machine moments later, around 9:00 p.m. We’ve not had snow on Halloween since 1993. Then she ramped up the winds, and the combo left an overnight “real-feel” that was in the teens! There was something for everyone, whether we liked the outcome or not! Fellow blogger Wayne commented recently “Mother Nature plays the fiddle and we all dance to the tune.”

Wily winds and critters don’t mix!

The critters don’t like the high winds much either. A few times when I’ve been to Council Point Park on a windy day, the squirrels are scarce, likely afraid to venture out of their nests in the trees. The birds stay put as well – they probably can’t fly straight.

On a recent windy day, take a look at Harry the Heron. His spindly legs were bracing him as he fought to stand upright on the cement landing. His heart was not into fishing for his breakfast, yet he didn’t bolt and screech as he usually does when he sees the whites of my eyes. Harry’s head feathers were reminiscent of Little Rascals’ star Alfalfa, who sported his trademark cowlick; this heron looked a wee bit comical. But I didn’t laugh at Harry. Instead, I gave him a break by taking my shot and moving on quickly so he could ruminate in peace.

This lone squirrel on the perimeter path was trying to see what I was offering. I jiggled the bag of peanuts and he huddled nearby, his bushy tail not flicking or swishing, but instead it was tucked around him, as if he was afraid of the wind …

… or maybe me? Maybe he was cold and using that furry tail as a barrier to the wind. I gave him extra peanuts for being brave and being at ground level, then I had to call it an early day … the winds, gusting 22 – 25 mph (35 – 40 km/h), were not fun for walking. No one wants to feel like a tumbleweed for goodness sake.

[“Hello November” header image courtesy of Pinterest]

Posted in nature, walk | Tagged , , , , | 74 Comments

A “fangtastic” Halloween?

Hardly! It sure isn’t “fangtastic” weather-wise today … in fact, it is about as ugly as it gets out there. We’re in the midst of a 36-hour rain and gusty wind event. Ugh. No … make that double ugh!

I was very young, and still living in Canada, when my Halloween costume was Little Red Riding Hood one year. It was chilly and a little drizzly and my parents said “just around the neighborhood once and then home, okay?” Candy-wise, I wasn’t allowed to eat any of my goodies anyway, especially those chewy and gooey, black-and-orange-wax-paper-wrapped peanut butter kisses, so Halloween for me was all about parading around in my costume, which consisted of a mask and a chintzy-made, red satin dress and matching cape. A plastic bag emblazoned with “Little Red Riding Hood” was included for goodies and completed the ensemble. In those days we didn’t use plastic pumpkins with handles, nor pillowcases, to collect our treats. Mom bundled me up in a heavy coat under the costume – wisely, parents usually bought (and still do buy) the costumes a size or two larger to accommodate cold weather on October 31st. With an umbrella in tow, and holding onto my father’s hand, off I went to yell “shell-out, shell-out, the witches are out!” with all the other kids in the neighborhood.

The slight drizzle turned into a downpour and my father soon had enough of traipsing through the damp conditions and we went home. We stepped into the house, standing in the vestibule, both of us dripping wet, when Mom discovered I had a hole in the bottom of my bag, likely because I had dragged the bag on the cul-de-sac’s gravel roads. All that survived the bumping along Sandmere Place was an apple and a popcorn ball. But that was not the worst of that Halloween night excursion … the cheap, satiny costume had bled red dye into my wool coat, leaving huge stains, which the drycleaner could not remove. Money was dear in those days, so I had to wear the coat until the next season, which, by then, I had grown out of. My parents would often mention that unfortunate Halloween event in great detail when I was growing up. I would not don red satin for many more years … more on that later.

Since Halloween fell on a Thursday this year, I was sure I could find a photo of myself in a Halloween costume and label this post “Halloween Throwback Thursday” but, to my surprise, none existed. I went through all the family and friends photos I painstakingly scanned in two years ago, to no avail. As an only child, believe me when I tell you that through the years my father, with his 35mm camera, or Mom with her Baby Brownie, captured hundreds of images of their offspring. But unbelievably, not a single photo of me existed where I was dressed like a fairy princess, a hobo and not even in the fateful Little Red Riding Hood costume – shame on them!

The only costume photos of Yours Truly back in the day were my high school friends and me at our Millionaire’s Party. This was an event at our high school where we dressed up like characters from “The Great Gatsby” and paid to gamble with paper money at roulette, black jack and, if memory serves me right, slot machines. There were real croupiers that were brought to the high school cafeteria for the event. So we paid to play and all money raised from the event helped to fund our All Night Party on graduation night, June 13, 1973.

My mom must have taken this shot because the top of my head is not cut off. I was proud of my outfit which I sewed myself, even the small satin purse, sequined headband and garter, which I made sure to flash – this was the early 70s after all!

Through my teens and beyond, I always had my Kodak Pocket Camera handy, so I fished it out of my purse and handed it to my friend’s father, (alas, also short in stature, just like my father, who, at a half-foot shorter than me always managed to cut my head off whenever he took a photo of me). Looks like Linda Wilson and I lost the top of our heads, and, in her case, her updo, as we towered over our friends. This was a group shot of us girls before we headed to the event. (Sheila decided to don a fedora and borrowed her brother’s suit for her costume.)

It’s month end … time to mark my miles.

Well October’s weather was fabulous at times, meh at others and the last week or so, it’s been horrible!

I am glad I was able to boost my miles substantially during that wonderful week of warm and sunny weather and I walked my socks off, gleaning lots of steps in a short amount of time. Thus, I was really pooped sometimes after getting my daily, five-mile trek done. Whew!!

Dare I say that these five-mile trips in an hour’s time are for younger legs than mine?

After that week of beautiful weather, from one day to the next we dropped thirty degrees and the weather folks said “cover up your plants (and yourselves) as we’ll likely have a hard freeze tonight!”

I soon had a bone to pick with Mother Nature as I scrambled around to gather woolens, gloves, a hat and a hoodie, all items packed away since Spring, before heading out into the bone-chilling weather. Yikes! Here I am huddled under a hoodie, my teeth chattering.

I’m looking forward to the sun’s earlier appearance after this Sunday, so I can get out and on the road earlier. To gain steps, I’ve been getting home later and later and it’s been a mad scramble to get to work timely. This morning’s weather is abysmal! I wonder how there could be any rain left in those clouds and I’m already fretting over losing power due to gusty winds. Sadly, those beautiful October days are now in the rear view mirror and I’ll forge ahead to get those remaining 166 miles/267 kilometers done to meet my eventual goal of 1,242 miles/2,000 kilometers by year end. In recent months, my steps were on dewy morns on paths damp from an early a.m. rain …

… now there are leaf-slickened sidewalks to traverse, incidents of black ice to beware of, and soon, maybe even tonight, that dreaded, four-letter word “snow” will be uttered – oh no, please say it isn’t snow!

What about the status about my fellow striders on the perimeter path at my favorite nature nook?

Well, as is the case every year, slowly but surely, the regular walkers at Council Point Park are packing it in for the season, resorting to mall walking or using a treadmill in the comfort of their homes.

So, sometimes it is just little ol’ me trekking along my route to the Park or visiting my furry and feathered friends … who knows what dangers are lurking around the ‘hoods or the pathway at the Park?

Meanwhile, I’m trying to keep a grin on my face so I can get this goal accomplished.

On a separate note, I want to tell you that Mike Posner, the young man I profiled in my blog earlier this year has completed his trek. Mike’s 2,851-mile journey began by dipping a toe in the Atlantic Ocean in New Jersey on April 15th and walking coast to coast across America. He reached his final destination of Venice Beach and jumped into the Pacific Ocean to celebrate on October 18th. I followed Mike’s trek from Day #1 on Twitter. He had hardships along the way, like a three-week hiatus after being bitten by a baby rattlesnake in Colorado, but he persevered and got his journey done. He says he is a better person for making this trek and for the rich experience and continues to rise daily at 4:00 a.m. to meditate and practice yoga and is still walking, but with no more goals for the immediate future. This map on Mike’s Twitter feed shows his rigorous journey.

I am inspired by Mike Posner and will do my best to achieve my goal, hopefully striding purposely and not just muddling along in the bad weather. At any rate, I am reminded of this quote I saw recently and will make it my mantra for the remaining months of 2019:

Posted in nature, walk | Tagged , , , | 63 Comments

Making mischief – Part 2.

The sign in front of the house read “Welcome Little Monsters” and seeing this sign gave me a chuckle because, just down the street, a squirrel was wreaking havoc with a harvest display – boy, would those homeowners be mad when they came home! They would not have to wonder what “little monster” had come trick-or-treating early, because the teeth marks, big bite out of the pumpkin and pulled-down cornstalk pointed to the obvious: a squirrel had come a’ callin’. Yes, this squirrel definitely did more damage and plundering than the other squirrel I wrote about in this post back in September.

In Canada, they use a British term … “little bugger” when describing someone who is mischievous. My parents sometimes called me a little bugger if I tried to do something I knew I wasn’t supposed to be doing. But, that someone doesn’t necessarily have to be a human either. It might be your dog, or your cat, even the backyard squirrel that tips your bird feeder upside down to rake the seeds to its mouth with one paw, by using its claws as a scoop.

So, whether you were labeled cheeky, a rascal, a hellion or a little bugger when you were young, likely that moniker was all in fun. Now this squirrel below was a first-class little bugger and I’ll show you why.

It was a beautiful day and I took the long way home from the Park. I was short on scarecrow and Halloween decorations pics to pepper throughout my Fall posts, so I thought I’d stroll through a different neighborhood and get some shots before the elements ravaged the harvest décor.

Unfortunately I didn’t get to see much harvest décor since I paused for about fifteen minutes to watch this Fox squirrel ravage this harvest display in record time.

As I neared the display, I saw a crow scarecrow and hoped I could get a close-up of it, so I stopped. I circled the display to get the best shot and the first thing I noticed was the chunk of pumpkin missing. Then I looked a little closer and saw the bushy tail hanging out of the cornstalk on the left side.

At the back of the display, while viewing the mischief that had transpired there, I was greeted with a steely gaze when the cornstalks rustled and a head suddenly popped out from between the dry leaves. Obviously I had distracted this squirrel from retrieving the Indian corn embedded in the cornstalk. [I wish some of the photos were not so dark, but there was a huge tree nearby.]

Thinking I was a force to be reckoned with (or I wanted some of the Indian corn for myself), he scrambled over to the other side, where he shot me a rather defiant look. Well it was déjà vu … a rambunctious squirrel, a crow scarecrow and pulling on the cornstalk to retrieve a cob of Indian corn. It was so similar to the other mischievous squirrel scenario, right down to the pained look on his face like “do you have a problem with me?”

I have to admit the pair was photogenic.

For a minute, I thought he was taking the high road by jumping off the cornstalk onto the ground, but that wasn’t his motive at all as you will see shortly.

I stepped a bit further back so I could take a picture of the other pot of white mums which went flying when he jumped off the cornstalk onto the bale of hay where the pot was sitting. Nice going!

The mischief-making was not over yet. He was ready to try the other side of the cornstalk for any Indian corn he might have missed.

But this time he could not scale the cornstalk using the hay bale, so he had to make a maneuver … could he make it and jump that high?

Well, he made it as you see below and I guess it is more enjoyable to eat your breakfast upside down hanging from your feet. I prefer to eat my oatmeal by sitting in a chair … just sayin’.

He scrambled around to reach all the Indian corn he could find and something tells me he was not about to leave until every last cob was eaten.

If anyone wonders who ate all the corn, I’m sure each of these corn-lovin’ guys would point at one another and say “he did it!”

Posted in nature, walk | Tagged , , , , , | 39 Comments

Pumpkins for munchkins.

Today is National Pumpkin Day, so what better day and way to feature last Sunday’s annual tendering of pumpkins (and peanuts … of course) to the munchkins at Council Point Park. 

Every Fall I gather gourds to treat my furry friends …

… but I confess that I think I get a bigger kick out of this adventure than they do.  Two bags of mini pumpkins were enough to treat all the squirrels, with one left at home to brighten up the corner cabinet in the kitchen, plus I set one aside for Grady too.

I suspect if I entered the Park with my two mesh bags of pumpkins and no peanuts, they’d roll their eyes and just amble away.  So, that’s why I bring peanuts along too, because ‘tis the season for nut gathering and hiding, even though in a month or two, the ground will be frozen and snow-covered and the squirrels, by then roly-poly from that extra layer of fat Mother Nature provides them with for Winter, are left scratching their heads, wondering where the heck they buried those nuts and how to retrieve them?  If they venture down from the cozy nest on snow-and-ice-free days at the Park, they will beg shamelessly when each walker bearing a Ziploc bag of peanuts steps onto the perimeter path.  [For those newer followers, please understand that this Park does not plow, brush or sweep off the 1.9-mile walking path, so if we’ve had snow and ice, I may not always get to the Park.  This is why I try to bulk up on peanuts in the Fall, so they are well fed.]

In an ideal world, I’d place pumpkins along the pathway and the squirrels would sit there, posing nicely against a backdrop of colorful leaves …

… with pretty, perfectly shaped leaves on the pathway, or lots of leaves fluttering down around them. 

My furry pals would wait until I was done taking pictures, before scurrying off to bury their cache of nuts or running up into a tree with one peanut. 

But alas, it is far from a perfect world when it comes to photographing squirrels and, after four years of giving out gourds every Fall, that is far from what actually transpires.  So, I deliver pumpkins and peanuts at the same time.  Perhaps the pumpkins will get a passing glance, but the peanuts are like a magnet, drawing my furry friends to them.  After all, the peanuts are portable … they can be buried, carried up to the nest or simply noshed on.

I always dispense pumpkins on a weekend, when I have ample time to put treats out, walk a few laps, then return to take pictures as they’ve finished the peanuts and are ready to wrangle the mini-pumpkins (if I’m lucky).  There were a few hang-ups this year and I ended up spending more than three hours at the Park to get this “assignment” completed. That was not a hardship as the weather was glorious, the trees were ablaze in color and it was Sunday, so I had all the time in the world.

Ever mindful of the Cooper’s Hawks which sometimes soar high above the Park, I glanced at the sky – whew, no hawks around that morning.  Hawks are my furry friends’ enemy as you might imagine. So, I made “droppings” around the Park, immediately piquing some interest as I bent over to place pumpkins and peanuts on the perimeter path and on benches along the way.

Naturally, there was a mad dash for peanuts. 

Yep, the pumpkins were ignored, just as I predicted.

Enter the Interloper.

We break bread with our family, friends and co-workers (and our dogs who whine incessantly for just a taste of what we’re eating).  Here at Council Point Park, while the squirrels were in nut nirvana, a pile of peanuts and a pumpkin within easy reach of their small paws, Mr. Blue Jay was stewing up in his tree, as he looked down with disdain, and perhaps a little envy as well.  If a thought bubble was over this Jay’s head, it would say “why should these furry critters have all the treats and I have none?  I’d love me some peanuts too!” 

So Mr. Jay was biding his time until the right moment, and, in the blink of an eye …

… this beautiful blue bird, swooped down to help himself to a nut or two.  Ah, but he’s a wily one.

Mr. Jay got to ground level, but now … how to pack a peanut or two into that long, sharp beak. After studying those nuts, he decided one at a time was the way to go, so he took it up to a tree, noshed and then returned a few minutes later.

On his last trip, he taunted his peanut-retrieving prowess right in front of the squirrels …

… who watched this brave bird with stunned OMG expressions, as Mr. Jay scammed them out of THEIR peanuts.

And why can’t two different species break bread, er … peanuts, on the perimeter path? Because the squirrels’ Mamas never taught them to “share and share alike!”

But soon all the peanuts have been gobbled up or buried

… so the squirrels returned to grab a gourd. Those furry pals who were around in prior years know what they are and took a big bite without hesitation.

But the younger squirrels were not sure what to make of these orangey orbs.

On the picnic table where I left a half-dozen or so mini pumpkins, there was a bit of trepidation.

First, there was the “sniff test” …

… then climbing from the seat to the top of the picnic table, inching ever closer, while wondering “will it hurt me?” Or “does it bite?”

Hope this post gave you a smile. So, how will you celebrate National Pumpkin Day? A slice or two of pie? Carving up your porch pumpkin? Toasting pumpkin seeds to snack on later?

I also share apples every Autumn with the munchkins, and I’ll be writing about that little adventure in an upcoming post.

Posted in nature, walk | Tagged , , , | 61 Comments