Linda called us “Butterballs” … is that bad? #Wordless Wednesday #Mirth and girth!

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

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It’s harvest thyme!

I’ve often mentioned how Autumn is my favorite time of year. I love the colors, smells and the cool and crisp weather is perfect for taking a post-Park Saturday stroll in the neighborhood.

Since I began my walking regimen in 2011, I always ensure a few treks take me past this home on Emmons Boulevard. The homeowner really does a wonderful job of jazzing up his house for every season and/or holiday and harvest time is no exception. I went by twice to get some photos and saved them for this week when Thanksgiving and a tasty holiday meal are on our minds. While I know the holiday dinner with loved ones will be a little different this year, I think most of us will be blessed to break bread with some of our family members and hopefully Thanksgiving 2021 will be back to normal.

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Friday Frivolity.

I thought I’d dust off “Friday Frivolity” as it has been way too long and we need a smile. It’s been a few weeks of weather weirdness – we had Summer, Fall and Winter-like conditions cycling through and finally Fall seems to have won. During this time I needed to listen closely to the weather forecast before leaving on my walk because one time temps dropped some 33 degrees in one day alone!

It’s easy for us to deal with the weather eccentricities – we will just stick another log on the fire, or add a hat, scarf, gloves and a heavier coat before departing the house. My squirrel buddies at the Park are not so lucky because they can’t simply don or remove a layer. That’s why they’ve been foraging like crazy for months, tucking away treasures like acorns and begging shamelessly for peanuts. What they haven’t promptly buried, they’ve eaten as they’re bulking up for the long Winter months ahead. I may like to think I’m helping them fatten up for those lean days, but Mother Nature has done her part too – she’s given my peanut pals an extra layer of fat to keep them warm and their fur thickens too. Right now they look like roly polies and I’ve got a collection of pudgy peanut pals to share in an upcoming post. We’ll have a little mirth at their girth.

If you’ve followed this blog awhile, you’ve met Parker, the cute and precocious Fox Squirrel who has my heart.

He had my heart twice on this past Valentine’s Day – you can read the post by clicking here or just admire him below:

Meet Puff and Fluff.

The Park is full of gray and black squirrels too. They are much smaller than the Fox squirrels and timid by nature – sometimes even rattling the bag containing the peanuts causes them to split, right up the nearest tree. I try to sweet-talk them down, even tossing a few extra peanuts onto the path, or at the base of the tree as an incentive, to no avail. I sometimes think it’s a ploy on their part – “let’s see how many extra peanuts Linda will give us by staring at her from up here!” They’re not so dumb are they?

But two furry fellows in this crowd of petite squirrels are a little friendlier and have appeared in some of my recent photos taken at the Park. I’ve named them Puff and Fluff. They look cuddly and let me approach them without bolting … so far anyway.

This is Puff, a sweet, jet-black cloud of fur with a floofy tail.

I tried his name out and he turned and looked at me – he liked it!

Puff soon discovered that he got extra peanuts for being so attentive …

… a tasty reward which he promptly put to good use cramming two into his mouth.

This is Fluff, aptly named for his huge tail that he often swishes wildly, or in this case, is using to keep warm.

I think Fluff is pondering what pose would net the most peanuts – what an endearing, but shy boy here.

Well it worked … soft touch that I am, I gave him extra peanuts and even pointed them out as they were hard to find in those colorful leaves.

I walked away as he was happily munching, but the next time I passed by, I got this look … who could not smile and toss out a few more peanuts?

I’m sure you’ll be seeing lots more of Puff and Fluff and their friends in the months ahead.

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Funky punkins; mischievous munchkins. #Wordless Wednesday

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

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Wow! A Canada Goose convention.

Unlike we humans in this year 2020, our fine-feathered friends, a/k/a Canada Geese, are free to congregate, break bread … er, graze, just as much as they want. They don’t follow any social distancing guidelines, and, if they decide to cross the road for better-tasting grass or clearer canal water … well, they are going to do it and take their sweet ol’ time doing so.

I took this trek on Halloween morning. It was one of several parks I went to that day, all the while enjoying exquisite weather. Elizabeth Park is one of my favorite venues to visit and it turned out that orange and black, the colors we often associate with the spooky Halloween holiday, were in abundance. Just have a look at the beautiful orange leaves and in this photo, the Canada Goose, with its sleek black head peering at me, looks like a periscope in a sea of dry and crackly leaves.

I was at Elizabeth Park about 90 minutes and got a few pictures as I walked around.

Loosey Goosies.

As I made my way back to the car, from my vantage point on the perimeter road, I saw at least 80+ Canada Geese congregating and grazing near the canal area. I wish I could have made a panoramic photo for you to see, but they likely would have looked like black dots on a sea of still-green grass. I had heard a lot of honking overhead as I walked around Elizabeth Park, but did not realize they were all headed for the same spot. I didn’t even see a single goose in the canal, just on the grass. These photos show just a few of the bunch.

One of the geese evidently appointed itself “The Leader”

… and “The Leader” proceeded to rally the troops up the hill.

Follow me where I go

This is how it looked as they played “Follow the Leader” and got in line, single file …

… and believe me, I was not the only person who took a gander at those geese and thought “oh-oh, I’m in for a long wait to get out of here!”

Elizabeth Park is actually an island and the one and only road that encircles the park is one way and the speed limit is 15 mph, in order to beware of humans as well as geese which often cross the road, (usually one or two at a time, not en masse like this). There was a steady stream of geese waddling across. This is just a few of them crossing shot from different angles.

I had to laugh when soon a long line of vehicles, with drivers wearing exasperated looks, a few wringing their hands, were waiting for the geese to waddle across. People know not to go around them, nor honk their horn either. Patience is a virtue sometimes.

I walked between a few of the geese, got into my car and soon found myself at the tail end of the queue. The wait was not all that long – perhaps 15 minutes, then the coast was clear. Everyone hurried and put the pedal to the metal before the geese all decided to cross the road a second time back to where they came from!

I resisted the urge to call out ” mercy sakes alive, looks like we got us a convoy!” (I know I lost most of you on that reference to “Convoy” the CB song by C.W. McCall, circa 1975).

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Ruffled feathers.

Ruffled feathers … now there’s an expression that means “to upset or offend people” … or perhaps describe a seagull with feathers all aflutter.

Well, I could very easily have turned this post into a topic about discontent, because, as you know, it certainly abounds. But, let’s be honest – 2020 has been an entire year of discontent, so let’s not go down that sad road, okay?

Instead, today’s post is about a breezy stroll along the Detroit River boardwalk at Bishop Park. I’d already walked six miles at my favorite nature nook and was at this venue simply taking in a little ambiance.

There was just a handful of people there, likely due to the breezy, chilly and gray day. The waves were lapping up against the seawall, partly from the wind and also because motorboats held groups of fishermen, hoodies pulled over their heads, as they struggled to keep their fishing rods from catching and taking them out of their grip with each gust of wind.

The seagulls swooped and dived, hopeful for a fish and if no fish was to be found, perhaps a human would share some of their breakfast with them.

A cacophony of noises

A group of Canada Geese came in for a landing, their signal caller telling them to veer left, then plop down, so they did.

Several gulls were screeching, their usual raucous noise that one would associate with walking along the shoreline of a favorite beach or seaside locale, and, if you shut your eyes, you might transport yourself there for a minute … but no, Fall was definitely here and Winter lurking in the background. [More about the wacky weather at the tail end of this post.]

I like the boardwalk here, because if you wait long enough, you’re sure to find a seagull that settles onto the wooden railing and stands like a statue, allowing me to grab a dozen photos which all seem to look the same once I get home and see them on the screen. Here are a few shots of my seagull friend on that day.

As I strolled along, I noticed someone had given their artistic touch to the boardwalk.

I was struck by seeing the clash of seasons … a thriving weed inches away from a crumpled leaf in a seawall crack along the boardwalk.

I wanna be that girl someday!

I stopped to chit-chat with a woman walker and I feel badly I did not ask her name or take a picture of her, though I generally don’t take photos of people I chat with unless there is something I want to show, like a fish that was caught, for example, or, sometimes I’ll sneak a shot in off to the side. But in this case, I was about ready to go and had already put the camera into its pouch.

Our conversation began by each of commenting on the brisk wind. She was a wisp of a woman, whose one hand gripped onto a cane and the other hand kept reaching up to pat down a woolen cap she was wearing. She walked very close to the wooden railing, I believe hoping to thwart those high gusts from sending her over the railing and into the drink. But just then, an especially high gust had her clamping a hand down firmly on that hat and I said “I’ve been there – I’ve lost a few hats down at the park where I walk – they go airborne. I watched one cartwheel across the snow and right into the depths of the murky Ecorse Creek and one sailed off my head and hooked onto a branch over the Creek, so both were gone forever!”

She smiled and stopped, steadied herself but seemed a bit breathless, then asked what park I referenced. I told her Council Point Park and then I learned this was a favorite park for her and her late husband to stroll in, until she moved to the co-op apartments near Bishop Park after his passing. She said she was in her 90s and told me she never misses her daily stroll, unless the weather is snowy or icy … I told her that ugly Winter weather was my nemesis as well. We spoke of Lincoln Park – she had lived there for years as have I.

After a pleasant gab session, she said she had to move along as her son would be coming to visit soon and she didn’t want to be late. I told her I hoped I was still walking in my 90s and she said “you will be dear.”

My favorite shot of the day was this seagull who finally tired of being my subject and said “bye-bye, gotta fly!”

Idiosyncrasies of weirdly wonderful weather.

But now a note about this post today. I kept this Summery-like post for today due to the weather. We have had a miraculous run of warm and beautiful weather here in Southeast Michigan. How did we get so lucky to smash many longstanding records with temps soaring to 77F/21C day after day? Incredibly, one year ago today we awoke to an eight-inch (22 cms) snowfall. Our Veterans Day 2019 began with flurries that kept going nonstop all day. Of course, yesterday – reality finally reared its ugly head and we are back to November weather again. The snow and ice are welcome to stay at bay a little longer – just sayin’.

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Veterans Day 2020. #Wordless Wednesday

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

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There are no gray days …

… when colorful leaves are still around!

Over the weekend I hustled down to my favorite nature nook to get photos of what I figured would be the last of the colorful leaves. We have had September-like weather and those still-beautiful leaves added some welcome pops of color in the Park.

It was hard to believe that only a week ago, give or take a few days, the leaves were gently fluttering down, but suddenly they began to drop in earnest, as if Mother Nature had wagged a finger at the trees and set a deadline for them to get bare. Now the squirrel and bird nests were visible, much to their owners’ chagrin I’m sure. If I put down peanuts now, unless my furry friends are paying attention, they’ll likely get lost in the leaves.

I noticed leaves had swirled about and collected near some of the park benches …

… making it look a little desolate to me, especially as I saw no squirrels or birds. Where was everyone? I usually don’t need to announce my presence. Hmm. No one showed up until the second time around – they must’ve slept in.

It was a delightful six-mile stroll and the sun finally peeked through the clouds just prior to leaving the Park, which prompted me to make a detour, as I decided the pileup of chores that awaited me at home could wait because I was making one more stop, which you’ll read about in my next post.

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The squirrel whisperer.

As the days grow colder and Winter weather is on the horizon, the squirrels become desperate to create a cache for Winter. Of course, I want to help my furry friends all I can so they can gather and stash. I can relate … after all, throughout the month of October, I made countless trips to the grocery store to stock up on shelf-stable provisions to eliminate trips to crowded Meijer, as COVID-19 stats continue to climb here in Michigan.

Perhaps I walk a fine line between lavishing the squirrels with peanuts, while simultaneously providing ongoing photo ops for myself. I assure you my intentions are not self-serving and it is a win-win for both of us.

I was strolling in the Park in early October, long before the leaves began fluttering down, when, in the distance, I saw a Fox squirrel sitting on top of a park bench.

I couldn’t tell if it was Parker, and, as I approached that bench, the squirrel did not run over to greet me, nor stomp on my shoe and beg for peanuts, so I figured it was either a newbie to the Park, or a youngster, not brave enough, without benefit of its brethren being around, to approach me. Usually the Fox squirrels are fearless, while the gray and black squirrels are always skittish and reluctant to venture too close to me.

I am amused when I toss down peanuts that they obviously want, but they are fearful of coming too close to me, the tall hulking human who looms large. I can almost hear the gears in their brains clicking fast and furiously about my presence. Nowadays, they might even be thinking “what if it is a ploy … you know, a snatch-and-grab, like that flying squirrel trafficking ring in Florida last month that we heard about?”

Sometimes the squirrels study me and I daren’t make any sudden move without them retreating, that is, until hunger pangs, or their nut-gathering efforts overtake any fear of their human benefactor. Then my furry friends will give me and the peanuts on the path wide berth as they calculate how quickly they may zoom in and snatch a peanut … or two or three, only if I am deemed “safe” to be around.

Your Roving Reporter is always on the lookout for cute squirrels.

So, back to my Saturday stroll, when I saw the Fox squirrel sitting on a park bench a few paces away from me and I figured “no problem – it will stay there and perhaps I’ll get a cute shot like this photo of Parker taken on one of the memorial benches a few years ago.”

However, that idea quickly backfired when the squirrel took one look at me and sped up the tree to the highest branch. Really?! Note to self: “look in the mirror when you get home … are you looking especially scary today – it is the season of the witch after all.”

I really wasn’t fazed in the least by this bad behavior, so I drew the camera out of its pouch with my left hand and reached into the bag of peanuts with my right hand and quickly tossed a handful down, but not on the ground … on the park bench in two different spots.

Of course peanuts always pique their interest.

Meanwhile, my furry friend hovered nearby, scoping me out from the tree branch. “C’mon sweetie” I cooed softly to her. “Come get these peanuts I put here for you; they’re in two different spots – take your pick. C’mon down and you can feast while I take your picture.” That squirrel looked at me a bit dumbfounded – clearly she was a newbie and couldn’t grasp this concept of peanuts on the park bench.

I coaxed her a little more, while she continued to practice social distancing from the tree branch. My patience was wearing thin, even though it was a Saturday and I had all the time in the world. I told her “well, so be it – I’ll wait a few more minutes, otherwise Linda will be on her way as there are other hungry squirrels to feed who are more trusting.” Well, whether my furry pal comprehended what I said (highly unlikely) or curiosity and hunger got the best of her, she quickly descended from her perch and scampered over to the bench. (“Now, we’re finally getting somewhere” I thought.)

So take a look at what happened next. This would have made a great slideshow, but the slideshow feature in the Block Editor is not great, so here goes:

As you can see, I did not convince Ms. Squirrel to climb onto the graffiti-riddled park bench to get those peanuts – instead, she rationalized it was safer and easier to simply retrieve them from beneath the mesh metal seat. Hmm.

By now, I couldn’t keep from muttering to myself “really – you were just up on the seat – in fact you were sitting on the top of the back of the seat, so it’s not like you’re afraid of heights, or you’ve never climbed up here before – gimme a break!”

Nope, she continued relentlessly poking a claw through the mesh to retrieve a peanut with no success, as she went from one side of the bench to the other. Yes I thought of throwing out some more peanuts, but no, that was downright silly. I realized that although I still retain my moniker of “The Peanut Lady” apparently “The Squirrel Whisperer” not so much.

I stayed a little longer, as I could afford to linger and it was a gorgeous Fall day. As I tapped my foot, camera in hand, I remained hopeful she’d come to her senses, but she finally scampered away, dejection written all over her furry face.

Wait, there is a “take two” in this scenario.

Just as I decided to move on, (away from all this foolishness), suddenly an inquisitive black squirrel came bounding over and approached the park bench, sniffing appreciatively from ground level, then decided to have “a go at” those peanuts.

Just like her counterpart, this squirrel poked along the bottom, even stood up on its hind legs to check out the goods, then, if it did not persist in trying to pull a peanut through the mesh … nope, that was not happening, as these are Hampton Farms Jumbo Peanuts, usually a double nut, if not a triple nut inside the shell. So, slipping them through the tiny holes didn’t happen as you see in this brief sequence of photos.

After poking and pulling, this squirrel similarly gave up, and, if a squirrel could shrug its shoulders, it would have done so.

I felt badly and was about to toss some peanuts on the pathway and just leave, when squirrel #1 returned to give it another go. I watched and waited while she positioned herself just right, latched onto a peanut with one sharp claw and gave it a tug …

… nothing happened, so she circled around again, determined to give it the “old college try”

… then, without further ado, she leaped onto the bench like she’d never been there before. Well “yay, you go girl!” I told her.

Shaking my head I could not help but say “I dunno about you – why didn’t you just do that the first time – are you daft – you give women a bad name!”

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Going, going … gone. #Wordless Wednesday (Go to bed earlier!)

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

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