Hurrying and scurrying along the perimeter path.

SQUIRREL ON PATHWAY1

There was increased activity on the perimeter path yesterday and today.  Not only has the warmer weather brought all the regular walkers back from their basement treadmills and the local shopping malls, but I believe every single squirrel at Council Point Park was out of their trees and hustlin’ for peanuts.

Having just passed the five-year anniversary of walking at my favorite nature nook, I’ve come to the conclusion that squirrel mamas and papas teach their young ‘uns to hustle for peanuts as soon as they are old enough to “work the trail” … yup, pointers are passed on to the next generation, so they know all the savvy tricks to appeal to animal lovers.  Cute antics like standing on your haunches with a pleading look, scrambling on all fours while flicking that furry tail, or even dancing around on your benefactor’s shoes, are all moves that squirrel magnets like myself find endearing.  Endearing translates to doling out extra peanuts for those select few that try harder.

I’ll bet that squirrel parents even teach their wee ones how to play both ends against the middle.

I understand the art of “playing both ends against the middle” because, as an only child, I had to blaze new trails when one parent said “no” as there was no older sibling for me to protest that they had rights, thus so should I.  Instead, if the relief requested was denied, I’d hustle over to the other parent to plead my case/state my request for whatever was happening at that time.  Of course, I thought I was pretty smart until one day my mom said “Linda, are you playing both ends against the middle with me?  What did your father say?”   My response was “what does that mean?” then to pretend that notion had never entered my mind, but I think they were both wise when I resorted to such antics.

Likewise, the squirrels try that same trick.  There are two other people who feed them peanuts.  The two gentleman usually arrive around the same time or shortly after me.  Sometimes I’ll see those furry pals chowing down on the opposite side of the walking loop, but they’ll come scurrying over to my side like they are absolutely starving, just as soon as I set foot on the perimeter path, or even in the parking lot, they’ll hunt me down.  My little furry friends are fickle sometimes.

In yesterday’s post, I mentioned a passel of squirrels who were swarming around.  People smiled and remarked on their presence since there were more than usual, and the same thing happened again this morning.

Yesterday, Mike, a fellow walker and another squirrel magnet, ended up at the beginning of the trail at the same time as me.  However, he was coming from the opposite side.  So we stopped to chit-chat, and in our respective peripheral vision each of us saw a few squirrels moseying over to us.  Just like Pavlov’s dog, we simultaneously opened our bags of peanuts in anticipation of the “rush” of furry pals.  Sure enough, soon a contingent of squirrels raced over.

UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL

But, those squirrels were a bit perplexed, and I could almost hear the gears clicking in their minds:  “wow, this is awkward, who do we go to first and will they both give us peanuts?”

We were laughing as the squirrels surrounded us.  First, four, six, then a few more, until soon there were a dozen squirrels circling us.  Mike kept saying “I’ve never seen anything like this – where did they all come from?”  It was amusing and I took some photos of our furry friends as they darted to and fro.  I was able to only get about four in a picture at one time.  Those squirrels are faster than the shutter speed on the camera because many of  the shots ended up as images of snouts or tails only, and some were just the asphalt trail with no squirrels at all in the picture.

Then I took a few photos of Mike, who asked “want a picture of me feeding them by hand?”  I gasped and said “you do that?”  “Sure, all the time” he said, “they eat right out of my hand.”  I’m a little timid when it comes to hand-feeding, even with my favorite pal Parker, but here is Mike enticing a few squirrels to come up to him.

MIKE ENTICING SQUIRRELS

Then another photo of him feeding one of our peanut pals.

MIKE FEEDING SQUIRRELS

So, the squirrels were double-dippin’ but who could blame them?  It’s was an overlong Winter and a wicked Spring for all of us, so I’ll overlook the pushy ploys by those peanut pals.

I’ll leave you with this quote:

Animals have a knowing when someone has a good heart through their vibrations and feel safe being close to that human ~ Thomas Barrett

About lindasschaub

This is my first blog and I enjoy writing each and every post immensely. I started a walking regimen in 2011 and decided to create a blog as a means of memorializing the people, places and things I see on my daily walks. I have always enjoyed people watching, and so my blog is peppered with folks I meet, or reflections of characters I have known through the years. Often something piques my interest, or evokes a pleasant memory from my memory bank, and this becomes a “slice o’ life” blog post that day. I respect and appreciate nature and my interaction with Mother Nature’s gifts is also a common theme. Sometimes the most-ordinary items become fodder for points to ponder over and touch upon. My career has been in the legal field and I have been a legal secretary for over three decades, primarily working in downtown Detroit, and now working from my home. I graduated from Wayne State University with a degree in print journalism in 1978, although I’ve never worked in that field. I like to think this blog is the writer in me finally emerging!! Walking and writing have met and shaken hands and the creative juices are flowing once again in Walkin’, Writin’, Wit & Whimsy – hope you think so too.
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30 Responses to Hurrying and scurrying along the perimeter path.

  1. Iriowen says:

    Linda I think the warm weather brightened everyone’s mood. Today’s post is very funny. Oh yes! animals also got a couple tricks up their sleeves to help them have a fuller belly. Lol. Your colleague is so much fun too, I bet those adorable squirrels love you guys and your treats so much. Today was so warm that I went to visit the beach, the only problem was the swarm of mosquitoes that virtually chased everyone home. 😄

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      I should go ahead and feed them as well Iri; I just figure one of them might have a bad day and bite me. But,.when you think of it, how many times do you hear that people have pets that turn on them and bite them? And those are their pets that they love and cherish and supposedly that love is reciprocal? I’ll bet we had at least three or more dog maulings of children and adults last year, all resulting in death. Glad you are enjoying your freedom now that the school year and exams are over. My friend in grad school is just frantic right now as she gets papers written, tests taken and presentations with her “team” finished. She is studying gerontology administration and will be finished in May of 2019. There doesn’t seem to be enough hours in a day are there? For her, she is returning to school after an absence of forty years! I can’t imagine that. I’m amazed about the mosquito situation in Chicago already since you had the same cold Winter and Spring as here in SE Michigan. I hope that does not mean an overabundance of skeeters this Summer!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Iriowen says:

        Nah! Those squirrels will never turn on you, they know you’re kind. For dogs who hurt children, some of them were provoked, I see how my 11 month old annoys our poodle 🐩 by pulling his fur and yanking his tail. The nice poodle would scream and run away, but a mastiff or bulldog may fight back. Skeeters are abundant in the summer in Chicago, that’s why all buildings have netted windows and doors. 😊

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        That’s true … some breeds have a lower tolerance than others. You’re lucky your poodle is tolerant of your 11-month old. Are you near the water in Chicago then? That surprises me.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Iriowen says:

        Yes! I live right off the lake on the Northshore. Mosquitoes are common in areas nearer to the lake in summer.

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        Ah, no wonder … you trade the cold and cool for heat and mosquitoes … stay safe from them Iri.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Iriowen says:

        Yeah! They’re only around in the morning and at dusk. They don’t like the heat of the sun. 🌞

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        Gotta be careful due to West Nile – I wonder with this cold Winter and chilly Spring how it will affect the mosquito population overall? Hopefully not make them worse!?

        Like

  2. John says:

    Lovely photos!😊 It’s an incredible feeling when wild animals come out and can be hand-fed. The only animals I hand fed is the tame mallards in the amusement park. But I have managed to pat the grass snakes as they lie in the sun and warm up. They even climbed up on my hand!😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      I should just go ahead and feed them John, but I hold back as we’ve had so many dog maulings this year and all by people’s pets – moslly pit bulls, but pets nonetheless. And it is not just kids, but adults as well. I think I worry more about the squirrels’ bites due to rabies and they get very impatient if you don’t pay attention to them. 🙂 Yesterday I was taking some pictures of cardinals and red-winged blackbirds that swooped down for the squirrels’ peanuts – some more squirrels came around and nothing would do that I didn’t stop what I was doing and feed them right then and there. The ducks I’d trust too,

      Liked by 1 person

      • John says:

        Right. The squirrels you have there may be affected by rabies. Here in Sweden there are bats that may be affected, but the probability is just as small. But I probably would not hold one without gloves!😁

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        You are brave with the snakes John as you said in your earlier post and you handle them with ease. I’ve only seen one snake in my life. I think the squirrels can be trusted, but they get a little exuberant when waiting for their treats, so I guess that is why I am wary. My friend lives in western New York and her house in a rural area. She sits on her back deck when its dark and watches all the bats flying around … she likes them, but I think they’d freak me out.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Andrew Finnegan says:

    so much nicer as the weather improves

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      That’s for sure – just heard we’ll get 83 degrees today and the same tomorrow, but it comes at a price … severe weather on Thursday … weather got too warm too fast.

      Like

  4. Bryan Fagan says:

    Nice pictures! We have our share of squirrel’s too. they are fearless. We have three cats who try to intimidate them and it doesn’t work.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thank you Bryan … sometimes I am in the right place at the right time, but I still come home with lots of digital pictures in the camera that are duds. 🙂 Until I get squirrels posing with their peanuts, they run like crazy all over the perimeter path or run in circles around me. Sometimes they get impatient and climb on my shoe or stand on their haunches trying to reach the peanuts in my pocket. I have to tell them I’m hurrying as fast as I can. The squirrels are fearless, especially when they overtake the bird feeders in the neighborhoods! I’ve had that happen in the past … had to get squirrel-proof feeders and they still did acrobatics to reach the seeds.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. So, again a great post and oh my those guys steal my heart. I like the quote too, thinking it to be true. xo kim

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thanks Kim. Those squirrels are really sweet and they will steal your heart, especially when they come racing over in a group and gather all around you. As an animal lover, you would fit right in at this Park, I assure you. That quote is very accurate – animals know who to trust. I find myself not making any sudden movements when feeding them, to not startle them and keep that trust going strong.

      Like

  6. janowrite says:

    Love the photos – so sweet! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. WalkFrederick says:

    Living on the east coast I almost NEVER see squirrels that go up to people. I was in Colorado a month or so ago and I was shocked to see a squirrel begging for food. It took us a few minutes to figure out that’s what he was doing. Lol.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      That’s funny Michelle, but not all squirrels beg. But I walk the same way to the Park all the time, and there is one street with many trees. One squirrel has singled me out as a soft touch and every time I near his “tree” he scurries down to ground level to greet me. We have fox squirrels in our neighborhood and at the Park and they are fairly large. We also have black squirrels and they are much smaller and sleeker looking, but they are not as friendly for some reason. They can’t be coaxed down from trees for peanuts and run away when they see you coming.

      Like

  8. There’s a big nut in the White House that you can give them! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Ann Marie stevens says:

    Miss Linda………………..I never had anyone explain to me: “playing both ends against the middle”,,………………..thanks………………..no I wouldn’t feed the squirrels with my fingers either……………and I do like very much Mr.Thomas Barrett’s quote on animals sensing sincerity in people

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Ann Marie – my mom would tell me I did that “trick” sometimes. I was raised very strictly, so I really had to toe the line and never “talked back”, but sometimes I tried to get a little “wiggle room” as well.

      I am reluctant to feed the squirrels too, cute as they are, as they do get impatient sometimes, for example, if I am in the middle of taking a picture, and they start climbing on my shoe, or trying to reach the Ziploc bag in my pocket, so I am a little leery to do so. But Mike feeds them by holding the peanut between his fingers with no gloves on.

      I like that quote as well Ann Marie … I think animals should get more credit than we give them.

      Like

  10. I loved your phrase, “work the trail”. That puts extra umph into the begging routine.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Ellie P. says:

    WOW, look at them all! I see quite a few around where I live too. Lots of trees for them to climb, hide in etc. The other day I spotted a muskrat! I posted pics of it on my Facebook page, unsure of what it was. (Groundhog? Badger?) Was told by my pals: muskrat. Didn’t know they had spindly rat-tails!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      There had to be a dozen of them and I couldn’t fit them all in the photo without cutting off their tails or snouts! They were swarming around the two of us. It was funny really, and this morning I was there – not a single squirrel came out. I don’t have a picture of this, but sometimes I’ll be walking along the path and someone coming from the opposite direction will laugh and tell me to turn around – I’ll turn around to see two or three of them following behind me. I feel like the Pied Piper of Hamelin. My grandmother lived in Toronto and the first time she visited us over here, she was amazed at the fox squirrels as they only had black squirrels in Toronto. Every time she went outside, she’d come back in with a story about them. I see those muskrats from time to time at Council Point Park and they are big and that tail – yes, ugly like a regular rat tail, only thicker and when they swim, the tail floats on the water behind them. As long as one does not cross my path, I’m okay with it. There are groundhogs down there as well, but they see you and dive into their burrows.

      Liked by 1 person

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