Chillin’ with my chalk peeps. #Wordless Wednesday #Chalk your walk

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

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Ode to Dad.

It really doesn’t make much difference whether you’re a human dad or a Canada Goose dad … there are similar dilemmas, exasperating or even cringe-worthy moments. If you’re a dad, yep … I can see you shaking your head in agreement.

But … wait a minute. The way I see it, unless you are blessed with multiple offspring at birth, Papa Goose has it far worse than you ever did. Imagine dealing with a lot of ornery offspring at the same time.

The father figure always protects his young’uns.

It was a bright-and-sunny morning in late May at Council Point Park. As I rounded the bend, through the bushes and trees, I noticed there were two Canada Geese families grazing and resting on the grassy slope near the cement ledge. We usually have three or four families that make their debut in early May – at this point there had been only one sighting for Spring 2021 and that family was paddling down the Ecorse Creek. Among the walkers we thought this lack of youngsters was unusual – where were all the proud parents parading their goslings down the perimeter path? Even though we deal with goose histrionics, including that bright-pink tongue wagging and hissing, a whole lot of wing flapping and copious amounts of goose poop, in general, we walkers love to ooh and aah over those fuzzy, lemon-colored babies once they arrive.

But I digressed … back to the loosy goosies.

Two Canada Goose families.
I slowly unzipped the camera case, then crept behind a bush for a good glimpse of the goslings.
This gander on the left evidently had assumed the role of sentry for the group.
See how he’s checking me out?
His radar went up and he gave me a defiant stare.
How dare this human intruder stand 20 feet from them?
I spoke softly and it calmed him down.
He turned around and resumed watching over his “flock” –
Whew I must’ve passed muster. Good to know. 🙂
Whoops, I spoke too soon.
The Guardian of the Goslings was still wary of me.

His head swiveled over once again as if questioning my motive for being there.
That gander was a “Nervous Nellie” and gathered up the goslings.
He herded the gang of geese and goslings to the Creek.
He figured the Mallards were less bothersome than me.
Off they went, the first family of goslings, then the second family on their heels,
er … feathery butts.
Like a paparazzi, I followed them as they paddled along the Creek.
They returned to the perimeter path.
I was mindful to stay socially distant from the guardian gander.
They dodged me (or so they thought).

They grow up so quickly!

Where do the years weeks go anyway?

Just like your kids, the goslings grow up quickly.
It seemed like just yesterday they were a precious ball of fluff.
Treat them like princes and princesses, except when they get attitudes.
Cuz, after all who’s in charge anyway?
Turn around for a split-second and they are stretching their wings,
eager to escape Mom and Dad.
Meanwhile Dad frets and stews the kids will run with a fast crowd …
Papa and Mama Goose know soon they’ll only see the kids at holiday gatherings;
(they don’t come home to do their laundry).

Happy Father’s Day from the geese and goslings at Council Point Park and me!

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Hmm … why is only one knob rusty? #Wordless Wednesday #Someone forgot to use Rust-Oleum!

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

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It was a bloomin’ good time!

This trek was taken six weeks ago, back on Saturday, May 1st, the first day of the virtual “Tulip Time Run/Walk With a Twist” event. “Tulip Time” is an annual event that takes place in Holland, Michigan, about three hours from my home. Out-of-town tourists and Michiganders alike flock to this venue annually in early May to view the 4½ million tulips found in parks and around town. I hope to visit one day, whether to just gawk at the beautiful blooms or participate in the on-site run/walk event.

My 5K trek took me tiptoeing AROUND the tulips, rather than THROUGH them, which might have left angry neighbors shaking their fists and/or vicious dogs chasing me down. Below are some of the images captured during my virtual 5K walk which began at my home and took me along my regular route through the ‘hood …

… then just one loop at Council Point Park. On the way home I made a quick detour to Memorial Park and stopped at the Green Team’s volunteer gardens where a host of orange tulips awaited me …

After completing the 3.2 mile/5K trek, I hopped in the car and went to the River to log a few miles more and look for animated seagulls.

That day in early May was Mother Nature’s version of Spring at its finest … the grass was still lush and the blooms were colorful and perky. Since then, we’ve slowly come to realize the moderate drought prediction by our local meteorologists on the first day of Spring has come to fruition. The sun’s searing and unforgiving temps, oppressive humidity and dew points have made this season zero fun. It’s been a roller coaster of hot and cold temps, mostly hot and the weather, coupled with the computer debacle at work (not to mention the freakish and whopping 1.1K SPAM comments over a couple of days’ time at this blog site – grrr), have all left my energy and spirits zapped and I’ve fallen hopelessly behind here with my WordPress family and everything else in my daily life. Though I have walked regularly and taken tons of pictures, I have excursions from four or five treks I’ve never even looked at – perhaps over 4th of July weekend. In the meantime, I still have many pictures to share from late April and early May.

Below is my race swag – the black tee-shirt was an optional purchase, so I just got the bib, finisher medal and a buff.

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#Sunshine on my shoulders, er … shell makes me happy. #Wordless Wednesday #Sunbathing beauties at Council Point Park.

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

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Log jam.

The critters at Council Point Park are mighty miffed as I’ve been writing about waterfowl, 5Ks and flowers, but not about them. I suspect this indignation was spurred on by Parker. As I walked around Council Point Park early Sunday morning, the heat was already oppressive, with no breeze to speak of. As a dribble of sweat slowly trickled down the side of my face, I watched my furry friends either walking in slow motion to retrieve their treats, or simply glancing down at me while splooting on a tree branch. You may, remember that word “splooting” from last year, when I showed images of the squirrels stretched out on branches, paws dangling down, tail flared out behind them, or listlessly spread out like frogs in the cool grass to cool off.

But wait … that was back in August, not the first week of June!

During the Fall, Winter and Spring, my two locations for feeding my furry and feathered friends, (the Safe Haven Tree and small alcove with the fallen log and stump), were perfect to spread out peanuts and sunflower seeds, but, between the rainy and uncharacteristically hot weather, the grass and weeds have grown out of control. The City’s mowing service is not weed whacking and with near knee-high weeds and mud, plus our tick infestation this year, I have resumed feeding my Park pals along the perimeter path again.

I have collected a series of photos of what WAS a picturesque spot. I was hoping for Rex the Red-Bellied Woodpecker to put in an appearance, but he only showed up once when I left the camera at home as rain threatened.

So here are some Park pals enjoying breakfast at the woodsy area. I’ve thus appeased Fluff, Puff, Parker and my avian pals.

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#Pickin’ and grinnin’. #Wordless Wednesday #Morning Ablution.

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

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“The Healing Field” 2021.

I have written before about Memorial Park, a venue in my City that is dedicated to all Lincoln Park fallen war heroes. There is a permanent granite monument honoring those service personnel, and, in pre-pandemic times, the City’s annual parade always preceded the solemn ceremony of laying the wreaths for all military factions in front of the war memorial. After that moving ceremony, a lone bugler played “Taps”.

Our City is named for President Lincoln and his visage is found all around our town. The guest of honor in the Memorial Day parade bears a striking resemblance to the 16th President, with his tall and slender physique, bearded face and stovepipe hat. He waves to the crowds lining the curb as he walks the mile-long parade route alongside his wife Mary Todd Lincoln. But there’s been none of that frivolity, followed by the solemn honoring of the dead, for two years due to COVID.

I was surprised to learn that Memorial Day’s origins were in part due to President Lincoln. Although the term “Memorial Day” has been used since the 1880s, this commemoration event/holiday was officially known as “Decoration Day” for more than a century. It was President Lincoln’s intent after the Civil War to honor the war dead that gave the ultimate sacrifice “to care for him who shall have borne the battle and his widow and his orphan” and this became part of this president’s legacy.

Flags for remembrance.

The Lincoln Park Exchange Club places about fifty flags throughout the Memorial Pavilion area every year around Memorial Day. However, every few years “The Healing Field” comes to Memorial Park, and, although I wrote about the traditional fifty flags just last year, when I read in the local newspaper that this special event would be there from May 16th to 30th, I made a point to stop by.

My visit was last week, in the morning, before leaving to walk at Council Point Park. I had hoped to see the flags flapping briskly in the wind, just like a smart salute an officer would give his superior, but it was a balmy morning and it seemed most of the flags were still. I wish I could have made a panorama shot as these photos simply don’t do “The Healing Field” justice.

What makes “The Healing Field” so special is that each of the 200 full-size (3 X 5 foot) Colonial Flag Foundation American flags honors one of our City’s military personnel. For example, each flag has an I.D. tag. There are 134 flags in honor of a Lincoln Park soldier or sailor who died in service to their country and whose name is memorialized on the Lincoln Park War Memorial. These are two examples:

Additionally, 64 flags are placed in honor of someone who is now serving, or who has served, in the armed forces.

Yesterday, in a ceremony at the Pavilion, the named flags of deceased military personnel were given to the families of the war dead, if they desired to purchase one.

The City has always honored its war dead, perhaps due to an allegiance to the president for which Lincoln Park is named, or simply because it is the right thing to do.

I will leave you with this quote by President Abraham Lincoln.

[Image of President Lincoln’s quote from Pinterest]

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Seagull Yoga #Wordless Wednesday #Wanna join me? #Downward Dog is for the birds!

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

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Into the forest and through the trees ….

Long before Spring arrived, I scheduled myself for three virtual 5K events to take place during this season. To date, I’ve completed two of them and have up to June 15th to do my Fishes & Loaves 5K, which event raises money for a local food pantry.

I follow a lot of nature sites on social media, so when the Michigan DNR’s “Happy Little Run for the Trees” appeared in my news feed, that event called out to me. This trek could be taken between Earth Day (April 22nd) and Arbor Day (April 30th) at the location of your choice. I signed up, lured in part by the very cool swag: a fun finisher’s medal, (which is a reproduction of a painting by Bob Ross during “The Joy of Painting” series 26, episode 1, “In the Stillness of Morning”)

… plus a tee-shirt emblazoned with the likeness of Bob Ross.

But that frivolous reason aside, all funds raised help to fill the coffers at Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources and will be used to replenish the trees in Michigan’s many forested areas.

A little background info about the “Happy Little Trees” program.

As I write this post, the maple seeds, a/k/a “helicopters” are fluttering down from the trees, collecting on rooftops, in gutters and all over the mulch and sidewalks – grrr. And, if you think those mini maple seeds will never amount to much if you don’t weed them out of your garden, I’m here to tell you they will indeed grow up to be towering maple trees. My neighbor has one such tree. Long ago, the previous homeowners, a young couple in their starter home, were ecstatic to see a maple seedling embedded in a bare spot on their City property lawn. First they put a jar over that seedling, then, when it was bigger, they secured it to a stick, put a fence around it and fertilized it. It seemed every time I was doing yard work out front, they were either admiring that maple seedling or fiddling with it. Suffice it to say it got a lot of TLC. I must admit to having secretly rolled my eyes at the time when I witnessed those antics, but that tree two decades later, yields at least a dozen or more 30-gallon yard waste bags every Fall … on my property alone! That’s what I get for rolling my eyes and many a time I have wished I’d pulled that seedling out when no one was looking. My neighbor is not enamored with the tree either and has mentioned cutting it down, so I shared this little story with her.

But, because we can’t always depend on this method of growing trees, nor leave it up to the many squirrels who hide nuts, then forget to dig ‘em up, the DNR, in conjunction with the foundation of the late painter and PBS star Bob Ross and the Michigan Department of Corrections, instituted a tree-growing program to first grow the seedlings, then there is a contingent of volunteers to plant them.

The seeds are placed in the care of MDC inmates who are enrolled in an educational program where they learn horticultural practices and help to raise new trees for replanting. To ensure the trees will survive in the local communities, only native seeds are collected, (as well as seeds for shrubs and plants), then once the seedlings have morphed into saplings, they are planted in Michigan’s many state parks.

To date 2,100 trees have been planted in 20 state parks across Michigan. Through the DNR’s partnership with Bob Ross Inc., this is the third year 5K race participants raised funds to plant “happy little trees” throughout the Mitten State. A whopping $600,000.00 was raised through the 2019 and 2020 5K events.

So I was all in, and, after wavering for several weeks, on whether to venture to a state park, like Belle Isle or Sterling State Park for my trek, I decided to just go to the Rouge River Gateway Trail that winds through a lovely forested area.

I began my very long meander at Ford Field Park.

It was a beautiful morning when I set out to walk at least the equivalent of 3.2 miles/5 kilometers, and I did just that …

… and more (double in fact) by the time I returned to the car three hours later.

I parked at Ford Field Park in Dearborn.

I roamed around that scenic venue for about an hour. The beautiful Willow and Redbud trees caught my eye.

This small wooden footbridge traverses the River.

When you look down, you see the water churning as it hurries over a collection of rocks just beneath the bridge. Though I saw no waterfowl near the bridge, a Great Blue Heron had positioned itself down the River to catch some fish for breakfast. Unfortunately he was too far away to get a good shot.

Adjacent to this footbridge is a playground and a small pond, the latter which always guarantees a few photos of ducks or geese, either paddling or foraging together companionably. Such was the case on this morning. I wished I had some treats for them, but judging from the ground near the pond, they were well taken care of as I saw fruits and veggies … even watermelon slices. But this array of produce held no appeal for the geese and ducks who continued to forage and do a series of feathery-butt-in-the-air-dabbling moves, much to the delight of a few children who erupted into giggles at their foraging tactics.

I stayed a few minutes then continued on my way out of the park, then through the neighborhood.

Along the Rouge River Gateway Trail.

Though I long knew about this trail, I never walked it until 2019 when I participated in the “Mutt Strut” 5K event to raise money for the Friends for Animals of Metro Detroit, a huge, no-kill animal shelter in Dearborn. I enjoyed walking this calm and peaceful trail, which begins parallel to busy Michigan Avenue in West Downtown Dearborn.

This sign along the trail suggests that in this corridor I may encounter these birds …

… but I didn’t see a single critter, feathered or otherwise. Just the path and the trees.

As I walked, I stopped to take photos of a few trees, still unfurling their leaves, as we had uncharacteristically cool recent weather.

And, since this post is about trees, I included a few tree-related items as well.

There had been a family of bicyclists on the trail at the onset, but by the time I reached the forest area, it was just me, myself and I, as that saying goes. The sun’s rays filtered down through the trees and the sky was a brilliant blue … so peaceful. Though I didn’t see any songbirds, I heard the non-stop warbling of Michigan’s state bird, the American Robin. I whistled back at that unseen Robin and we did a back-and-forth songfest for a good five minutes, then the warbling stopped – perhaps he caught sight of a worm.

In the sudden silence, there was just the crunch of last year’s leaves underfoot as I continued on my journey.

I found myself at Fair Lane, the grandiose estate of Henry and Clara Ford, so since I intended to explore those grounds, I decided to see how many miles I had walked and was surprised to see the pedometer registered 6,800 steps – exactly 3.2 miles/5 kilometers! I had to get a photo of this for this post and for any other post where I might participate in a virtual 5K event.

Wandering around Fair Lane.

When I participated in the Mutt Strut in May 2019, one of the highlights for me was walking past the estate and extensive, flower-filled grounds known as “Fair Lane” long the home of Henry, (Ford Motor Company founder) and his wife Clara. The beautiful Redbud trees were everywhere and in the apple orchard, an abundance of trees were in blossom. I returned in August to explore the 1,300 acre estate from behind the fence and was chattin’ it up with a guard who said “you must return when the lilacs are in bloom.” So, here I was two years later to do so. (It was closed due to COVID last Spring.) My visit to the Ford estate and its many gardens, established in 1915 and currently undergoing extensive restoration, will be in an upcoming post.

After logging in a few more miles at the Estate, it was time to go back to square one and I must admit my steps were not as lively as when I began around 8:00 a.m. – whew!

This 5K Run for the Trees event was a success!

All participants received a “thank you” e-mail from the Michigan DNR in early May. We learned that 18,000 people registered for the event. A whopping 70% of the participants hailed from Michigan, runners and walkers from all 50 states participated, as well as 150 people who participated internationally (England, Australia and Mexico).

I’ll leave you with a quote by Bob Ross that appeared on the event’s website:

“I like trees that don’t just look like future telephone poles. They’ve got character. Some of them, they’re like people. Some of them have a few flaws in them, some of them are a little heavier, some are a little skinnier, something like so, and some of them maybe have a little tilt in their world, and that’s okay.” – Bob Ross, “The Joy of Painting” series 26, episode 1, “In the Stillness of Morning.”

[Quote and header image from Michigan Department of Natural Resources website]

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