Tuesday Musings.

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Summer marches on … but not for much longer.  How many days ’til Fall arrives?

People may be sipping pumpkin lattes and assembling harvest décor for their front porches, but the weather here in Southeast Michigan belies the fact that Fall is just around the corner.  The 7:00 a.m. weather forecast reported a real-feel of 77 degrees and 91 percent humidity.

These days, merely stepping outside is akin to being on a tropical island like singer Jimmy Buffet croons about.  So, I wore the lightest clothing I had, and, as I stepped out the door, the humidity enveloped me, just like those filmy spider webs that suddenly appear overnight in late August and September and their sticky filaments settle onto your body.  Yikes – I hate that feeling!

So, I was conflicted … do I go to the grocery store to walk where it is cool and perhaps pick up the fixin’s for a coconut bra and grass skirt, or, do I go to the Park and melt into a pool of sweat?

Well, I opted for the latter and pointed my feet in the direction of Council Point Park.

There was a passel of furry pals from the moment I stepped onto the perimeter path.  The dew was so heavy that every squirrel that had romped through the grass came over to greet me with a soaking-wet snout and paws.  That’s okay, I wasn’t bending down to pet them.

I walked three loops, then began to head for home, and, before I left, I am sure I had fed them all.  One of the young’uns grabbed a peanut, then hustled over to the soccer field and began digging furiously.  At a glance, his posture, with the slender tail curved into a graceful shape, reminded me of the flamingo yard ornament I pass daily in the neighborhood.

Squirrel Tail

Flamingo

Well, it sure feels tropical enough for a flurry of flamingos to descend on the Park.

As to my furry friends, I counted noses for those squirrels I can identify like Parker, Stubby and Midnight.  Everyone was present and accounted for, as are my human friends who have endured Florence, whether as a hurricane, high-powered winds, flooding or torrential rains.  Cheryl and Anne in North Carolina and Margaret in South Carolina all came through without incident; Evelyn had some flooding at her home in Richmond, Virginia.  We might get a little rain Friday, the tail end of a devastating natural disaster.

Meanwhile … I have to crow about my mileage as it’s been awhile since I gave you a tally.  As of today, in 2018 I’ve walked 776 miles and have 275 more miles to go to reach my year-end goal (1,051 miles).  I’ve walked my socks off and hope the weather cooperates as the days get shorter.

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Discovering doors.

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While I am still on a high from yesterday’s waterfowl extravaganza at Heritage Park, today I’m going to focus on the historical aspect of that beautiful venue.

Last year I visited Heritage Park for the first time, after many decades of whizzing right past it while enroute to Southland Mall.  On that hot August day in 2017, I spent a half-day familiarizing myself with the Park, between trekking the path that encircles the Park, and wending my way through the historical village, as well as wandering over to the petting farm and botanical gardens.  I’ve made many return trips since that first visit.

As I mentioned yesterday, things were hopping around the three-acre, man-made pond known as Coan Lake, which is in the heart of the historical village area of Heritage Park.  It was peaceful with all the waterfowl, so I was reluctant to leave there to walk on the perimeter path which follows along the fringe of the park.  I decided instead to revisit and take pictures of the vintage homes and objects, and their signage, which gives a synopsis of each one’s historical value to this village.   While taking nature-related photos is usually more my shtick, I wanted to participate in a fun blogging group consisting of unique door devotees.

I have been following a couple of bloggers whose Thursday columns feature beautiful doors they have discovered.  Janis Heppell’s blog is entitled https://retirementallychallenged.com and she has spent considerable time in the town of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.  Janis has amassed such a large collection of door photos, that she has divvied them up into weekly categories of doors that are rounded, adorned, weathered or carved, and much much more.  Last Thursday’s post, at the above site, was about chapel doors.  All are unique and in exquisite colors!

One day after I commented on these amazing-looking doors, Janis steered me to a blog by another door aficionado.   Norm Frampton, a Canadian who hails from Montreal, Quebec, has apportioned an entire page of his blog to door enthusiasts and features doors which are often severely weather-beaten, ornate, unusual, or even extraordinary.  Norm also invites fellow bloggers to submit photos of any interesting doors to add to this burgeoning collection.  Here is Norm’s latest post on interesting doors at the Annapolis Royal Courthouse in Nova Scotia: https://miscellaneousmusingsofamiddleagedmind.wordpress.com/2018/09/13/thursday-doors-september-13-2018/

So in that vein, and now that you are familiar with the backstory regarding today’s post, I thought it would be fun to turn this into an assignment of sorts, and then submit this post to Norm’s page about my own door discoveries.

Historical Heritage Park.

Not every building in the scenic and historical village area of Heritage Park would be classified as vintage.  A few are reproductions of old buildings, recreated to meld into the village atmosphere.  For example, the Little Red Schoolhouse is colorful and quaint.  It was used for confirmation classes way back in 1882.  It has been restored, but, as adorable as this building is, its door is nothing special, so I did not include it in today’s post.

However, some vintage buildings and artifacts are genuine, i.e. the “real deal” … so here they are.

Where does this door belong – any guesses?

One glance at this weather-beaten door with the red background would suggest it might belong on a barn, right?

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This is actually a door on a railroad boxcar at the entrance of the historical village area.  Just look at the weathering on the door and imagine what cities this car has rolled through.  Now you see the door at a distance – it’s too bad that silver object has been hung on this door, as it distracts you from the severely weathered look.

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The old barn door.

Well, if you guessed wrong about the weathered door above, and you were thinking it was a barn door, I’m glad you’ve stayed with me here, because below IS a real barn door.  The way it is barricaded shut makes you scratch your head and wonder whether that object is to keep the barnyard animals and fowl from escaping, or the two-legged prowlers from breaking in?

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Admittedly, the barn and the fence could stand a new coat of paint, but that would surely take away from the weathered look which drew me to this spot to take the photo in the first place.  Here is a shot of the whole side of the barn which is located within Heritage Park.

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A modern photography studio.

Another very old building located within the village is the Sell/Schonsheck House which was built at this location in 1909.  Its current owner is Rosecrans Picture Perfect Photography.   The door looks a little weather beaten, but that entranceway, just like the windows with their old wooden frames and opaque  panes, all contribute not only authenticity, but a lot of charm to this 109-year-old home.

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The jewel of Heritage Park is an 1800s log cabin.

We all know the saying “home is where the heart is” and how many of us have strayed away from home, only to return to our roots many years later?  Well, I’ve saved the best for last, because here is a structure which was built around 1850 and is the City of Taylor’s oldest existing home.

The weathered-looking door matches the logs of this tiny cabin which sits within the confines of the historical village.

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I stepped back and took a picture of the house at a distance.   Check out the windows on each side of the door; those pinned-back curtains probably are many decades old.

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The left window features an ad for an October 6th celebration of the City’s 50-year anniversary, where you can actually go inside these historic buildings.  Many of the buildings received new roofs recently, thus preserving them for many more years to come.

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Then, I went to the side of the log cabin to check out the windows …

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… and the rear of the structure to see the rustic-looking back door.

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It’s always fun to revisit the past, whether you are time-travelling by simply flipping through the old family photo albums, visiting places associated with your past, or just chattin’ it up with relatives.

Getting a glimpse of the olden days makes them seem like golden days – to me anyway.

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Play misty for me.

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The morning was murky, with a fine mist which permeated the air which was already thick and heavy.  Today is the halfway mark for September, and unbelievably, it was 97% humidity and 70 degrees at 8:15 a.m.  It was overcast, so the sun would not make me overly hot on my morning walk, but that dull-looking sky would not be great for picture taking either.

I decided to head to Heritage Park as it never disappoints, no matter the weather.

The backdrop of trees that frames the Park and seems to stretch for miles, looked like dark blotches in the very misty setting.   I noticed that the water-powered mill’s wheel was illuminated and turning slowly, and, with that misty background, I knew immediately this was destined to be the main image for today’s post.

I decided to head to Coan Lake first, as I recalled the gentleman who arrives at the same time daily with his bag of cracked corn to feed the mallards.  Well, I missed that man … but barely.  The mallards were still scrambling about, enjoying the remains of their treat.  Other ducks were lazily preening, or sleeping in groups around this man-made pond.

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Every visit to Coan Lake brings a sense of calm and peace.  That beautiful bridge cast a reflection on the water, even with the gray sky.  Barn swallows dipped and dived from beneath the bridge roof, and I stepped over to see if there were still nests and little ones inside, but I could find none.

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It sure was a mixed bag of waterfowl today.

The Canada geese were carrying on, squawking and raising a ruckus – it was as if they could not stand the tranquil setting, so they set about creating a little noise to liven things up a bit.

The many mallards satisfied my hankering to see a few ducks, because there must have been at least 150 or more of them, divided equally between the water and land.

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Seagulls also were mixing and mingling with their feathered brethren.

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I’ve been to Heritage Park about a dozen times in the last year, and the usual ducks, geese and seagulls are always around, but today there were two newcomers … well, for me anyway.

I’m curious about these guys – are they Cormorants?

My attention was drawn next to two birds with exceptionally large wingspans, wide webbed feet and unusual-looking beaks.

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I was mesmerized by their actions and it seemed to me that they were putting on a display for anyone who cared to watch them.

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The pair hogged the cement platform that rises out of the water.  From that perch, they alternately preened, stared into space, or appeared to be airing out their wings in the moist and humid air.

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airing armpits with ducks

I spent at least a half-hour at the water’s edge, plus took about 30 photos of them to ensure I got a good enough image to identify the pair, which I believe are Cormorants.

Well hello Mr. Heron!

You’ve followed my tales about the elusive Great Blue Heron at Council Point Park.  He catches sight of me and bolts, no matter how hard I try to sneak up on him.  I’ve gotten a few fairly good shots of this heron, when he was daydreaming and didn’t see me approaching.  Today, after picking my way through the very dewy grass, full of feathers and goose poop, I was about to head back to the path that winds through the historic area of Heritage Park, when I saw a Great Blue Heron.  This was the first heron at Heritage Park for me.  He blended right into the retaining wall of Coan Lake.  I took some pictures, but his gray body morphed right into the cement wall.

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I stood there patiently, without moving a muscle, to see if he might pick a better location.  Fifteen minutes passed and, finally, he began walking slowly on those spindly legs toward the middle of the lake.  Excellent!  Perhaps I could observe him there and get a better picture.

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He began stalking something in the water.  Coan Lake is stocked with fish, and people fish for sport, as it is “catch and release” only, although I assume herons don’t necessarily abide by the catch-and-release rule.  He jerked his head and plunged it into the water, but came back up empty-handed, er … empty-beaked.

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I got a few shots in, then I was greedy for some close-ups, so I inched forward, being careful not to slip into the “drink” as I was precariously close to the water’s edge.  Behind cover of a tree, I got to see him in silhouette.

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Just then a mosquito or some other pest, landed on my ankle and began to drink thirstily, and I had to swat it.  My movement caused the heron to bolt, but he left gracefully, without the horrid squawking noise that usually accompanies a heron’s takeoff.

With all this waterfowl activity, I was reluctant to head over to the walking path that encircles Heritage Park.  I didn’t want to miss anything, and besides … that heron never got his fish  – I knew he’d be back.

Well he stayed on land this time, perhaps he was tired of having wet feet.

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I walked along the path that goes through the village area once again, keeping my camera close at hand in case any Kodak moments arose.  I chatted with a couple of people who came over to ask me about the pair of birds and what they were.  I told them I was curious too and had taken enough pictures that surely I could identify them once I saw their image on the computer screen, but I believed they were Cormorants based on a bird flying overhead at the nature walk two weeks ago.  We also discussed the heron as they’d not seen him before either.  Suddenly, the woman raised her arm and pointed – “look over there, the heron has landed.”

Of course you know I followed it, hoping for a picture of that heron by itself, with an uncluttered background.

Suddenly, the sun pierced through that veil of gray, and just like that, it got uncomfortably warm.  I know I should have gone earlier since I knew it was going to be hot and humid, but the morning mist held me back.  Once the sun made an appearance, a warm glow bathed the entire Park … how many sunbeams does it take to light up Heritage Park I wonder?

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Whenever I see the heron at Council Point Park, it is by itself, a solitary figure, either standing knee deep fishing in the cold Creek water, or standing statue-like on the cement precipice.  This heron was socializing – walking with great strides amongst the gulls, geese and ducks.

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And then he grew weary of the crowd and went airborne again to be by himself at the Little Red Schoolhouse,  a mere grayish streak after he landed near the old-time schoolyard.

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I finished up on the path and decided to head home as I had a few errands to do along the way.

As I was about ready to head out, I watched a flock of geese take off – they didn’t go far, circling high above Heritage Park in V-formation, then, one by one, they plopped into the water with a big splash, and fanfare to announce their arrival.

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I stopped near the Park’s historic West Mound Church, where a woman and three kids were clustered around the wishing well – were they making wishes and tossing coins in there?  I went over to investigate and say “hi” to them.  I learned the children had discovered two painted rocks in Heritage Park and they were re-hiding them.  I asked to see the remaining rock and the young girl displayed it for me.

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Joy in the journey

I asked if I could take a picture of the rock before she hid it because the words were just a perfect way to describe my morning meander with the mallards and their fine-feathered friends.

 

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Sleuthin’.

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Well, despite Parker’s antics that I described in detail yesterday, I did not don a disguise after all.  Instead, the high dew points and humidity made me subtract clothing – I shed two layers and I was still warm.  Slowly, these past two days, we’ve inched back to the uncomfortably warm weather again, but I won’t whine about it since Florence trumps ALL weather at this time.

I do my best thinking while walking back and forth to the Park, and, except for watching out for cars and uneven pavement, most days I just let my mind be a blank canvas as I walk along and enjoy the sights along the way.  As you know, once I’m down at the Park, my furry pals pre-empt any woolgathering on my part.

Today was no different.  I did my three loops, and, at the tail end of the trail, fellow walker Mike called out  to me:  “Hey, you missed the chicken hawk – it was back near the beginning of the trail, same as before.”  I sighed and told Mike I’ve been scanning the skies ever since the big hawk swooped down on Stubby back in early August, just minutes after I fed him.  Luckily, Stubby ran under the picnic table in the pavilion and escaped.  I know I will rethink putting small apples out for my little buddies when they are cheap and plentiful, as I usually do each Fall, because I don’t want the squirrels being sitting ducks for the hawks – perhaps I’ll hide them under the picnic tables.  In the second loop I saw Stubby and Midnight, then Parker again before I left the Park, so, in counting noses, I know those three were present and accounted for.  I worry about all the squirrels getting nabbed by a hawk.  I can’t really I.D. most of the squirrels – there are way too many of them, and, finally the youngsters are coming around and are not so timid as before, probably taking their cue from the adult squirrels who are similarly in hunting-and-gathering-mode.

It dawned on me enroute to the Park, that perhaps that hole I saw adjacent to the turtle nest might have been the escape route for the hatchlings.  I’ve been following the larger parks on Facebook this Summer to check out local nature events.  Last night, a post by Crosswinds Marsh Wetland Interpretive Preserve about turtle hatchlings made me stop and ponder that post, then take a screenshot of it.

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I wondered if these baby snapping turtles, just the size of a quarter, did indeed climb out of that small hole, and not the big nest area hole, to make a beeline to the nearby Creek?  Brilliant!  Why didn’t I think of that before?

So, I went past this morning, peered into the hole to get an idea how deep it was, but I couldn’t tell and didn’t want to disturb anything.  I decided to reach out to Crosswinds and see if that might have been their exit route.  When I got online, I sent a picture of the nest as well as the adjacent hole and an enlargement of the small hole.  I said I wrote a blog about walking and many people were anticipating the “birth” and growing anxious.

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Hole by nest

Soon I received a nice reply from Jennifer, which I’m going to share, because it was full of facts and since so many of you have been interested in the turtle hatchlings.

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When I thanked Jennifer, I told her I knew those eggs had to be incubated properly due to our very hot Summer, so she responded to me with this turtle tidbit:

“Yes, with this hot Summer, there were probably a lot of female turtles coming out of that nest! Most turtles have temperature dependent sex determination – hotter incubation produces females (usually those eggs at the top of the nest) and cooler incubation produces males (usually the eggs at the bottom).”

So the takeaway here is “girls rule!”

Perhaps there are still turtle eggs in the nest, so, I will keep my eyes peeled for these hatchlings.  I’d better still watch where I step or put up a sign “Turtle Crossing” … just imagine these quarter-sized critters streaking across the perimeter path!

P.S. – The header picture for this post is a card I got from my friend Carol several years ago.  I liked the verse and the picture and have it in a small frame where I can see it every day.

 

 

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Acting Squirrelly.

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Admittedly Parker is a squirrel, but there are some days when the moniker of “squirrelly” really fits him.

Today’s post features pictures I took of my favorite Park pal yesterday.  The sun was out in full force – what a great shadow day!  He and his brethren were all lined up along the perimeter path as I did my morning meander.  Today was rain-free, but a very gray day.

My worries about my little buddy following me out of the Park and into the neighborhood are not unfounded.  For three days in a row, he has found me both inside and outside of the Park.  While I am flattered that he loves me for myself, my cache of peanuts and/or the extra attention I pay to him, today he was just beyond squirrelly.

I’ve been pushing myself to get my daily five miles walked as we zoom through September – that means a round trip from home to the Park and three loops … two loops in the woodsy area where most of the critter activity is and one loop on the other side of the Park.

I saw Parker at the start of the pathway.  He hurried over.

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I tossed him a few peanuts to enjoy, knowing he’d likely catch up with me again.

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The other squirrels wanted part of this action too.  Check out the fancy footwork … almost as fast as a racehorse coming down the track.

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My goodies and me were being checked out at all angles.

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Next, I headed to the second loop, on the other side, which is boring, but that’s where the turtle nest is.  (I’m sorry to say, that as of this morning, no hatchlings yet.)

I was ready to leave the perimeter path for home, when I stopped to chat with another walker as she approached her car.  I always look around for my little buddy before I leave the parking lot and cross the street to head home.  “Good” I thought, “no Parker, so no worries he’ll tag along at my heels behind me and go out into the busy street.”

However, not one minute later, a pickup truck rolled up to the stop sign and he waved me to go ahead.  I thanked him and then that driver rolled down the window and with a big smile on his face, he said “looks like someone followed you out of the Park!”  So, there was Parker, right at my heels, crossing River Drive with me.  I smiled and patted the Ziploc bag of peanuts I had clipped to the side of my fanny pack and called out “it will be his second treat today, so don’t let the sad eyes fool you!”

So, Parker and I went to “our rock” in the neighborhood across from the Park, so I could dole out more peanuts while he waited beside my feet.  Knowing his M.O., he’d grab one or two and streak back across the street to the Park to bury them, only this time, he climbed onto the rock that sits on the homeowner’s property.

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I got the peanuts ready, he ran down, grabbed one, then scrambled back up the rock and turned his back on me to eat it.  Hmmm – not good manners.

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I went to leave, and he grabbed another peanut and beat it across the street.

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But, did he cross the street, like the proverbial chicken?  No, he ran to the middle of the street and parked himself there to eat a peanut.  I called out “are you crazy – get over to the other side!”  I had to run to the middle of the street myself and chase him to the grass in the Park.  He looked at me.   Was this a ploy for more peanuts?  Well, it worked.  The sucker that I am, handed over more peanuts, depositing them on the grass, and said “please stay put!”  I know he waited until I walked away, then hustled back to the rock and got the rest of them.

Tomorrow I will wear a disguise.

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Tuesday Musings.

 Sunny … yet sad.

After a few days of dreary and drizzly weather, today was a real winner.

In the past 16 years, it seems as if it has rained on this day, or been gray and gloomy, so I have associated that dismal-looking sky, or rain, with our mood and sadness we feel on each successive September 11th anniversary.

But, today dawned just as sunny and bright as on that fateful day.  I vividly recall walking down the driveway that morning, enroute to the bus stop and thinking that I needed to cut the lawn after dinner.  Little did I know I’d be home from work much earlier than usual to tackle that chore.  Our law office closed an hour after the first attack, and, we had a client emergency, so my boss and I were the only ones left in the office finishing up some documents.  He drove me home, taking only surface streets, and I arrived around noon.  I still remember what we were working on, even what I wore to work that day – all silly and trivial things, but I think we’re always going to remember the specifics of that morning’s events, not to mention the horrors we saw on TV and in the newspaper, for as long as we live.

Is it soup yet?

This morning, while eating breakfast, I heard the weather report and it was only 56 degrees out.  I had the furnace on since yesterday and it felt good, but, even though it was a little chilly outside, I sure was not prepared to don a sweat suit just yet, so I layered up in three t-shirts and swapped the shorts for capris – that worked perfectly.  Unfortunately, we’re getting warmer and more humid weather as each day progresses, so no use dragging out a lot of heavy clothes yet.

While walking down to the Park in the chilly air, and anticipating whether the baby snapping turtles had emerged from their hidey hole, I got to thinking about the popular Lipton’s soup commercial from the early 70s, which featured the tag line “is it soup yet?”  The kids were sitting at the dinner table waiting for Mom to bring them their bowl of Lipton’s chicken noodle soup and when it was ready, Mom would announce “it’s soup!”

I was thinking that that commercial and its theme could be applicable for the chilly air which left goosebumps on my exposed arms and calves, but, also since that commercial is all about the anticipation of waiting on something special.  It is, after all,  90 days today since Mama turtle dug the nest and laid the eggs on June 13th.  This would be the last day in the suggested window for the hatching time of those little nippers.

Parker did not meet me at the parking lot entrance and I cut through the lot, then stepped onto the trail with no sign of him.  It seemed that squirrels came running from every corner of the first loop of the perimeter path – they were hungry, as I’m sure no walkers were down at the Park yesterday during the all-day rain, and, I guess my furry friends can only eat so many pinecones and mulberries.  I stopped and talked to each of them, fed them peanuts, then moseyed on.  Leaves were scattered everywhere on the path, giving the morning a real Fall-like feel.  The air was crisp, the sky was blue – one could not ask for a prettier day, after we have contended with oppressive heat, endless rain and just plain ornery weather most of the Summer.

I moved onto the second walking loop, eager to see if it was indeed “soup yet” and whether the snapping turtles had hatched.  Nope, there was the hole, just as smooth on top as before, with the dirt still damp from at least 24 straight hours of rain.  No need to take the camera out of the case as no turtles were breaking out and running for their lives to the nearest creek.  Perhaps tomorrow it will happen, and, just as the old adage goes:  good things come to those who wait.

Kids … what are you going to do with them?

Waiting was the name of the game for little Parker too, because I was still carrying my Ziploc bag of peanuts as I exited the parking lot at Council Point Park.  Well, I didn’t have to wait, or wonder, anymore about Parker.  He had apparently missed me walking down Pagel Avenue, so he ran across the street, out of that nearby neighborhood to see me.  I cringed as he raced across busy River Drive to meet me.  I bent down to talk to him, as if he might understand my warning that it was better not to run across the street, and he should either live in the Park, or the ‘hood, and stay away from the busy roads.  I don’t like to be a “helicopter mom” and I am sure it falls on deaf ears, but I did my very best to suggest a permanent address going forward:  Council Point Park or Pagel Avenue.

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Flora and Fawna.

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Well, I was ready to head out fairly early with three options for my morning meander.  I peeked out the door to see if it really was as cloudy as the weatherman said … yup, another gray and gloomy day.  At least no rain was predicted, but it was blustery and only 60 degrees.

I mentally ticked off today’s excursion possibilities:  the “Old Car Festival” at The Henry Ford, which I had planned to attend since I went to the Model A event last month.  It would be fun with all the vintage cars, old-time food and ragtime dancing in the street, all geared to mimic days of yesteryear.  Elizabeth Park and Heritage Park were also options, but with a gloomy and sunless sky, it would not be a stellar day for picture-taking at any venue.

All Summer, I’ve been hankering to go to “Saturdays in the Park” where six miles of Hines Park is closed to vehicular traffic.

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I have lived in Michigan 52 years, yet I’ve never been to this popular park, which features a long trail that encompasses 15 miles over six cities.  For me, the closest way to access Hines Park was in Dearborn Heights, so this drive was about a 25-mile round trip for me.  Luckily I found a great place to park because they had already set up the blockades within the Park.

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I began on a pathway that ran parallel to Hines Drive.  As I walked along I thought “well it could be a little bit warmer” and then I wanted to slap myself, after complaining about the heat and humidity all Summer.  But truly, that blustery wind was whipping around and the sunless sky made it feel like a late September/early October day.  Almost everyone was wearing hoodies with the hood flipped up.  Yikes!  I was in short-sleeves and shorts and probably could have layered up a tad more.

There were plenty of people enjoying full access to Hines Drive without fear of a vehicle running them down.  I saw walkers, joggers and even a contingent of teens who were rollerblading along the smooth pavement.  I must have seen 100 or more bicyclists, even a few on recumbent bikes.

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I meandered along, glancing here, there and everywhere for something interesting to include in today’s blog post.  The woods was rather dense in places.

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I heard some blue jays screeching noisily at one another and I was prepared to toss out a few peanuts for them, or to any squirrels, but no one paid me a visit.

There were a lot of trees down in this Park, but not the result of recent storms, and, in some cases, it didn’t appear they had been uprooted, but just toppled down and left there for effect – it didn’t look all bad, and the way they had rotted away was rather interesting as well.

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Up close, some of this rotted wood made me wonder if a woodpecker or two had had a go at it, or it simply rotted away from the weather?

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This fallen tree was so perfectly sliced, I wondered if someone cut it down and forget to haul it away?  I was trying to count its rings, but it was difficult to do so, because of the dark-colored edges.

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I kept trying to catch a glimpse of the water between the trees and brush and I noticed even more fallen and submerged trees crisscrossing the water.  I walked about ½ mile further and saw a bridge where I could cross and get a bird’s eye view.  I thought the trees forming an arch across the water looked interesting.

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If you look closely, you can see the water rippling in the breeze.

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As you can see, this sign is a mileage marker, but someone added a little impromptu artwork to it … is this the twiggy equivalent of those cairns, or stacked rock piles, that you see along some hiking trails?

twiggy artwork

I saw many leaves down along the path, no doubt the result of that drought-like weather we had all of July, and the hot weather we’ve endured all Summer.

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In my blog post headline, I mentioned “flora” … so, here you have it, probably the only colorful blooms I saw at Hines Park.  It was a huge group of Goldenrod which was covered with bees.  I had to be careful as there must’ve been a bee or two per bloom and I wanted a photo of them, but I didn’t want to bend over too close in case they buzzed up my shorts!

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So that was the flora part of my trek; the fauna part … well, that was a whole other story.  My “Kodak Moment of the Day” was a pair of deer I saw near the bushes, across Hines Drive, and rather far from the trail I was walking along.  Knowing deer are more fleet of foot than me, I took their photo from across Hines Drive and hoped for the best.  They watched me and posed nicely, even gave me a profile view, then, with at least three decent shots under my belt …

all eyes forward

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…  I decided to cross the street and get a closer look at them.

Well, you see how that worked out.

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Oops!  This bicyclist not only photobombed my deer shot, but it spooked that doe and her fawn, and they leapt into the woods, flashing their white tails.  I walked over to the edge of the brush where they had been grazing but they had vamoosed in record time.

I stayed on the trail that ran parallel to Hines Drive until I reached 2½ miles on the pedometer, then I made the return trip to head back to the car.  I got a great cardio and legs workout as it was frequently hilly, so all that up-and-down trekking was good for me, since most of the trails I walk are flat.  You can see the steep incline in these photos below.

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I stopped at Council Point Park before heading home  and added another 1½ miles to my total, by searching for hungry squirrels and checking on the status of the turtles.  Hungry squirrels I found – Parker was not around, but a few of the youngsters bravely came over to visit me.  The baby snapping turtles have not emerged yet … if they were smart, they would stay put until it warms up again next week.

So 6½ miles added to my walking tally, a deer sighting and I’ll sleep well tonight.

 

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