Christmas in July?

heritage park sign

Since mid-April, I’ve been miffed at our weekend weather, all those soggy Saturdays and Sundays, or weather that resembled a steam bath. But, this weekend we lucked out as we have been blessed with coolish temps, low humidity and sun!

I decided this picture-perfect weather called for a scenic venue for today’s walk, so I headed to Taylor’s Heritage Park.  I must confess, that it was not just that walking path and historical village that lured me there today – it was an event at the Park’s Petting Farm.  Yes, I know I am a little long in the tooth to be visiting a petting farm, even though I enjoyed doing such a visit many decades ago.

However, each time I go to Heritage Park, I hesitate near the entrance while thinking “am I too old to go in here; will I look foolish?”  But, when the petting farm advertised an event called “Christmas in July” featuring a beachwear-clad Santa sitting next to his main squeeze Mrs. Claus and a few reindeer … well, I was “in” and figured I might get even some photos to use on this year’s Christmas cards.

The event didn’t start until 11:00 a.m. so I left an hour later than usual.  I figured I’d feed the ducks, meander through the village, do a couple of laps around the entire Park, then head over to the farm.

Well, what a difference an hour makes …

The early bird walkers and bicyclists were likely done with their exercise regimen by the time I arrived.  The first thing I noticed as I walked toward the village area, was a woman with an easel, umbrella and stool near the parking lot across from Maggie’s Sweet Shop.  The house is a candy and ice-cream store and also conducts music lessons.  Around the perimeter of the house are several old-fashioned perennial gardens created and maintained by the Taylor Garden Club.

painter 1 sweet shop house.jpg

The artist had a canvas on the easel which already had an outline of the back of this house.

painter 1 beginning.jpg

She also had a sketchbook with a completed watercolor of the sweet shop which she glanced at while working on the painting.

painter 1 watercolor

I approached her and asked if I may watch as she painted and also take some photos.  She seemed a little reluctant at first, stating that the sun would soon be in her line of sight, so she had to work quickly.  I responded “okay – no problem” and started to walk away.  She relented, so I honed in on a few shots then scooted out of her way.  As I walked past Maggie’s Sweet Shop, the door was open and someone was learning how to play the oboe.

I walked through the village and even visited the Goodwill Garden.  I was surprised to discover there was a wooden gate barring access to the area.

community garden.jpg

It was not locked,  nor was there a sign to “keep out” but I didn’t want to trespass, so I took some pictures over the fence.  Last year I did a post detailing how many people have plots of fruits and vegetables in this community garden and that produce is donated to local food banks and other charitable organizations.

sign at garden.jpg

I peeked over the fence at the gardens bathed in warm sunshine, and was quite surprised that not a single person was tending to their plot … not even hoeing, harvesting, or watering their gardens.


While walking along the mulch path back to the village, there was a passel of pooches crossing my path.  From a distance, I thought they were guide dogs in training, but they wore no harnesses, and then I spotted a Pit bull and an Akita in the group, so I realized my initial guess was wrong.

Suddenly I heard a loud voice call out “heel your dogs!”

dogs heel.jpg

Then came the command “tell your dogs to sit!”  In short order, most of those pooches plunked their butts down on the asphalt simultaneously.

dogs sitting.jpg

I cornered a young woman from the group to inquire about the dogs and was told it was an intermediate obedience class.  Well, that was a first to see at Heritage Park.  The group went all through the village area, and, even at a distance, I watched those dogs either walk quietly alongside their master or mistress, or sit on command.

In the main village area, I paused to chat with still another artist.  It seemed unusual to see two artists in one morning.  I’ve seen plenty of photographers around this Park, but never any artists.  This time it was a garden of colorful flowers that was being recreated by a woman who sat on a stool, and, while balancing her sketchbook on her knees, she dabbed her brush in the array of small pots of paint.

painter 2 bigger.jpg

Here is the patch of flowers …

painter2 flowers.jpg

… and here is a close-up of her painting thus far.

painter 2 with pic.jpg

Like before, I asked if I might take a photograph of her and her work and she was more than happy to accommodate me.  We chatted about my blog and walking and the weather.

As I headed to the walking path that encircles Heritage Park I had to pass the first artist again, so I stopped and glanced over at her painting.  It was half completed as you see below.

painter 1 half done

The petting farm is at the other side of Heritage Park, so that was a trek in itself.  I wandered around the back and side of the farm while I awaited the 11:00 a.m. admission time for the event.


dont feed the animals.jpg

There was only a handful of people, all with kids in tow, when I arrived.  As I mentioned above, I just swallowed my pride showing up at an event geared for kids, and told myself “okay, just blend in, even if you are five feet nine inches tall … just blend in with the crowd as you’re here for some entertainment and a few photos for today’s blog post.”

Christmas music was blaring from many speakers.  The barnyard had doors from the barn to allow the animals to access their individual pens outside.  Most of the critters were out and about and eating, so it sure was hard to coax a smile out of them with their head bent to the ground or nose deep in the hay trough.  Maybe I had to grab a handful of hay and thrust it at them?  Uh … maybe not.  I decided to wait until they got closer and hoped that they brought a little personality, (but no horseflies), along to the edge of the white wooden fence where I stood.  There were many trees around the pens, so while the canopy of leaves afforded the animals some welcome shade, it didn’t help much for the photos, so these are the best of the bunch.

The cow’s name is Gracie and she looked very bony (does this girl have a pair of hips on her, or what?)  This was one bored-looking bovine who gave me the once-over as she slowly chewed her cud.

cow gracie

The pig was waddling around the barnyard giving an occasional grunt or snort.


There are two alpacas, Rudy and Perry, but only one was out in the daylight today.  It wasn’t wearing a nametag though.

alpaca rudy or perry.jpg

Well, the goats were being goats – they were chowing down most of the time.  Hey, these goats were quiet and didn’t make any screaming or howling noises like those goat videos you see on the internet.  Perhaps those goat videos are fake news?


Another goat checked me out between the fence slats.

goat maybe

Now this is what I call synchronized eating.

goats - synchronized eating


There were no photo ops with the pony – all he did was eat, just like the sheep.


After I walked around the barnyard area, I went to the wooden bridge over the pond where there were plenty of Koi fish darting among the water lilies and some other yellow pond flowers.  But these were coy Koi fish.  Every time I approached them from the wooden bridge, they hid under the pond lilies.  I guess they were coy AND camera shy.


The Pekin duck and Hybrid Mallard were delightful in their child-sized pool.


The farm had started to fill up by now and I wanted to ensure I made the rounds to see the stars of the show, Santa and Mrs. Claus and their reindeer.  I saw the big guy and his main squeeze, but I was told the reindeer were not arriving for a few hours because their caretakers thought the warm temps might be too much for them as the day dragged on (the event ran until 4:00 p.m.).  Well, that was a bummer for sure but I did get a shot of the Clauses.


There were a couple of trains that took kids and their parents around the entire farm area, but I didn’t climb aboard, preferring to add some miles on my feet instead.


I left the Farm and walked to the Taylor Botanical Gardens which is next door.  Every time I’ve stopped there in the past, there was a private event and I couldn’t get into the garden area.  Today, I had free access and enjoyed myself immensely.  The botanical gardens had every type of flower imaginable and because it was sunny and warm, the butterflies were out and about, so I was able to get some photos of both butterflies and blooms which I’ll share in a follow-up blog post.

All that trekking around today yielded about 4 ½ miles – not bad since I stopped so many times to chat it up and take photos.

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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35 Responses to Christmas in July?

  1. susieshy45 says:

    I enjoyed reading everything you wrote. I got so involved- why was Gracy so thin ? Was she being starved or is she pregnant? Then I started looking at the other animals and they looked medium. Maybe there is lack of food for the animals.
    Glad you got a lot of miles and that you went to the farm despite everything and enjoyed your day. Glad the weather was good too.
    Looking forward to see the botanical gardens through your eyes too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Susie – I just typed a comment and it flew off the screen into cyberspace. Hmmm. Sleep deprived as I stayed up so late writing this post and then I posted at which took about 1/2 hour loading my content there. Anyway … this cow Gracie was so bony looking and I have some other pictures of her where she looks even bonier in the backside … I will send you one and you’ll see what I mean. The day was beautiful though and today it is not looking so good, cool which is great for walking, but the sun is absent so far. I may just use the botanical gardens photos today as a follow-up to yesterday. They have events there all weekend and during the week as well, so I’ve never been able to get in as they just allow event attendees. I could take photos yesterday because I’m not a professional photographer – the pros have to arrange for a shoot. So, I enjoyed it and lingered as well. I just peeked quickly at the photos when loading them up – hope my butterflies came out. This cool weather is here tomorrow as well … I wish I could send some to you for some relief at your end.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for sharing your special day in the park. The suspense was great leading up to Santa’s photo. I laughed at his loud shirt and his more demure wife. What fun!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Glad you liked it Anne – since it was so early, Santa and Mrs. Claus were strolling around the farm, but they had an area sectioned off with bales of hay and blow-up palm trees for photo ops later when the reindeer arrived. I guess I would think the reindeer would have been okay in the cool morning, but I didn’t wait to see if they showed up as they couldn’t really pinpoint the 1:00 p.m. arrival for sure. Yes, I liked his shirt and I was surprised she was not dressed the same. It is beautiful at that Park.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Michael says:

    Wiper what A quite wonderful place. So much going on..

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I would go! If anyone looks at your like you don’t belong just say, “Where did my grandkids go?” Works every time!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Ha ha … that’s a great idea Kate and I’ll remember it for next time I go somewhere like this. I walked in with a woman who was with her young son and I said “I always wanted to check this out and I’ll use this special event to do so and I’m wondering if people wonder why someone as old as me is here” … so she volunteered I could say I was with Gavin, her son. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. msluckyduck says:

    I would have happily joined you today Linda. Makes me so happy to hear about your adventures as you partake life!!!

    Glad the weather was nice.
    Love that you had a good day!!!😉

    Liked by 1 person

  6. That looks like a really nice walk. Artists, gardens, animals, and Santa! I’m glad you decided to take your inner child to the petting farm!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thanks Janis – you would be surprised how many people have said “I’d have gone too – doesn’t matter how old you are!” Yes, the artists and the dog walkers were a different twist as usually it is just the walkers, and there are many dog walkers at Heritage Park. They even have water fountains down low to accommodate dogs.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. John says:

    It looks as a very nice and interesting park!😊 Age is no problems, I had also gone if I wanted even if there are most kids. Parks like this is for everyone, I think. The kids parents have sure so fun as the kids and they are adult. When my children were young, I sometimes took them to cartoon movies on the movies that I wanted to see! Could “blame” that they wanted to watch the movie.😁😁😁

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Ha ha – that is funny, and a good excuse to see those cartoon movies and treat the kids at the same time. Going to places like this keeps you young! It is a nice Park in every aspect and I never tire of going there. Today I just finished a long post about the botanical gardens. I lucked out as they were open, but they had another private event, so I had just enough time to see everything then they were going to shoo everyone out for the scheduled event. They have a policy on taking pictures there – I could go in and take photos, but a professional photographer who schedules a shoot of people posing in the domed Conservatory has to reserve that shooting time and pay a small fee. But, I’m no pro, so I was good to go in and happy to do so. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. AJ says:

    Oh I’m glad you got to go, but sorry you missed the reindeer

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Me too AJ … I was bummed and that was one of the reasons I had gone as I told you earlier in the week. I store my photos on Shutterfly and they often have specials on greeting cards, so I thought maybe I’d create some Christmas cards with the reindeer and Santa/Mrs. Claus. So I guess my next option is nature-type pics like I usually do.

      Liked by 1 person

      • AJ says:

        Awww that’s too bad you didn’t get the photo op:(

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        I know and it seemed strange they did not schedule them in the morning when it was cooler – it was not a hot day yesterday. I would have stayed another hour, but not two hours, because they could not confirm their arrival at 1:00 either. Oh well, I tried.

        Liked by 1 person

      • AJ says:

        That is weird! You would think they would have the animals out in the morning! I don’t blame you for not waiting for two hours!

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        Made no sense to me at all – I looked at the previous years and they had pics of the reindeer. I was going to include pics of it/them with yesterday’s post and attribute it to them, and there was nothing. No, I had no patience for that. I’ll look at pics of reindeer on Pinterest instead, but I wanted to include them here and see them myself.

        Liked by 1 person

      • AJ says:

        Of course!

        Liked by 1 person

  9. I go to Perry Farm’s Children’s Nature Museum and look around and it’s very interesting! I don’t care one bit about what people think. People are usually wrong even about the basic essence of their very being, not to mention about a million other things! 🙂


  10. Rebecca says:

    A lovely, interesting walk. Looks like a perfect way to spend a day!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Yes and the weather was just perfect for a change, no hot and humid or rainy days for us here in Southeast Michigan this weekend. This is such a picturesque Park and you would enjoy walking in it Rebecca.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Ann Marie stevens says:

    Miss Linda……………………that was a delight today on your Heritage park blog……………………it was so interesting and great pictures of the goats, the ducks in the pool, and even the coy Koi fish!……………………You truly are an interesting and great writer…………………who would think that all of those wonderful activities were happening right near us in Taylor MI

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Ann Marie – now I know why you took your students to Heritage Park so much while you were teaching. There is always something to see there … the petting farm was somewhere I had seen every time I was up there and always was “meaning to go to it” …


  12. I love all of your posts but this was great on so many different levels. I love the idea of you being the only one without a child at the event and it sounds like you had so much fun. Christmas in July in also a fun novelty 😆. You must meet so many different people whilst out and about like those 2 artists. Thanks for such a lovely post and well done on getting more miles in. You are doing amazing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      I’m glad you enjoyed it Zena. Yes, I wavered for so long about visiting there, wondering what people would think, and, to tell you the truth, I really don’t worry about what people think like I used to when I was younger, so I’m not sure why I was so restrained bout going. 🙂

      It was fun and it brought back some nice memories of going to a petting farm as a youngster. I know our family was traveling somewhere on Route 66 when I was about 8 years old and we stopped at a place which had a trained chicken. It could do tricks and it was like when you see the parrots that do tricks – this chicken was smart and played piano by walking over the keys – it was a recognizable melody too. The farm was geared for kids but adults would get a laugh too.

      The artists were something different and I’ve never seen people sketching or painting at the Park. Imagine, they had toted along all their gear to paint pictures.

      At first, when I saw the group of dogs, I saw a couple of Labradoodles and right away thought of Munch. One was light brown and the other a dark color. Those women could not control their dogs, they were wiggling their butts and “smiling” with their tongue lolling out like that recent picture of Munch.

      I hope the weather improves the second half of the year – I am happy we may have an El Nino Winter because last Winter was horrid … very snowy (62 inches of snow for us) and snow, ice, and sleet lingered almost to April! I will keep on pushing toward that final goal.


      • I love the idea of a trained chicken 😆. My mother used to keep chickens so I will have to tell her it is possible to train them. A piano playing chicken sounds so beautiful, I love it.

        Yes every person I have spoken to who have a labradoodle say the same. They are such loving gentle dogs but trying to train them properly is nearly impossible as they have such big personalities 😆

        Good luck with your final goal.

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        I wish I had pictures of that chicken – it was in Oklahoma and long, long ago. It has to be about 55 years ago at least. Big personalities are good … Munch does his job with seriousness, but is fun-loving … who could ask for more in a trusted companion?

        Thanks Zena – I will keep pushing myself to get it done. I am at Mother Nature’s mercy though.


  13. Ellie P. says:

    Nice post. I’m intrigued by watercolours myself. Would love to take a course in it someday.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Me too Ellie. Years ago I had taken a Summer class at the City (a free class and they transported us by bus to various venues to sketch) and I had the pastels and charcoals and was interested in doing it. But schoolwork, then work-work made me put it away. They are downstairs and one day I’ll get back into it. I liked watching these woman painting “on the fly” – they were very quick to do their sketches and fill them in.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. We have a similar petting zoo here, which I took my mom to a few years ago as she wanted pictures of ducks for a Ducks Unlimited contest. All petting zoos must be the same! Including the cho-cho train. Not sure why the artists would resent people looking at their word if they are painting “plein air” as I would think that would be expected. We have them painting outside during the garden tour, one artist in each backyard.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      That petting zoo has several activities per year – first time I went and now I remember that this was why I went so late in the morning – I prefer going earlier in the day and it was hot that day. I don’t know why the first artist was reluctant but the second artist was very nice and we chatted for a while. I’ll have to go later in the morning other times and see some other things this year.

      Liked by 1 person

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