The Munch Bunch.

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I keep reminding myself it is Autumn, and that was difficult to do this morning, after I stepped outside to 74-degree temps.  It felt like an August day with high humidity and dew points and wet pavement everywhere from a pre-dawn rain.  Once again it has been a rainy week, but I’ve been lucky enough to be unscathed by those droplets, timing my walks around the rain, but, it also meant staying close to the ‘hood as storms or rain loomed large … that is, except for yesterday.

On my list of Fall favorite things are apples.  Michigan is 3rd in the nation for apple production.  Our orchards produce 900 million pounds of apples a year in 16 different varieties of this sweet treat.  I like Honey Crisp and Pinata apples best, and, to me, nothing beats a juicy apple with a slice of cheddar cheese alongside it.

Every Fall I treat my furry pals in the Park to apples and small unwaxed pumpkins.  Now there’s something they enjoy and can really sink their teeth into.  The last time I went grocery shopping, I bought a couple of bags of Jonathan apples.

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The apples were small, perfect for paws and very tiny mouths.  I had not been to Council Point Park as much as usual the last 10 days or so, due to sticking close to home because of rain or storm threats, or weekend excursions.  I do stop at the Park on my way home from weekend treks, but most times the squirrels are not out and about like they are in the morning.

How do you like dem apples?

So I toted both bags of apples and several Ziploc bags of peanuts down to the Park to make amends for my absence.

I had just crossed into Council Point Park’s entrance when I got the first taker – Parker, of course.  Thankfully he waited until I crossed the street, then zoomed on over and began dancing around my feet.  I gave him a peanut and he started chomping happily.

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I tossed out a few more peanuts, then slid in an apple for good measure.  He sniffed it, but grabbed a couple of peanuts and scurried off to the soccer field, his go-to hiding place for peanuts.  I waited briefly for his return, but he was digging furiously and I had apples and peanuts to deliver so I moved on.

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I didn’t get far as a few more squirrels were there to greet me.  Each got goodies like this.

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Hmm … at this rate, I needed three bags of apples and peanuts.

In the past, I’ve always just placed the apples along the trail, about every 20 or 30 feet or so, in the areas where the squirrels frequent.  They’d see them and eat them on the spot.  Well, enjoying that apple on the spot was worrisome to me this year due to the hawk(s).  I sure didn’t want to see a hawk swoop down on an unsuspecting squirrel, who was too engrossed in eating the apple to be “on guard”, so my plan was to place the apples around the picnic table area under the pavilion roof.  Thus, the squirrels were protected from a hawk swooping down on them.

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It looked like someone chewed on the one side of the picnic table.

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Well, silly me … I was thinking like a human, not like a squirrel.  I soon discovered a squirrel will seize something large like an apple or a cache of nuts, and haul it away to a hidey-hole, so I needn’t have worried, and I could banish that image of squirrels lined along the pathway, and the hawk trying to pick them off out of my mind.

I placed most of the apples along the top of a few picnic tables and underneath them as well, keeping aside a few in my pocket as I saw several squirrels on the trail.  As soon as that trio of squirrels saw me, I held out an apple to lure them to the pavilion area so they could see the other apples.  I shook my Ziploc bag of peanuts so they knew even more treats were in store for them.  It worked and soon I had squirrels heading toward the pavilion.  (Yes, I know I missed my  calling as a squirrel trainer.)

Apple antics.

Next, I went back out onto the perimeter path and a group of squirrels gathered around me as I scattered peanuts and the remaining two apples from my pocket.  A couple of them fought, swiping a paw against the other, trying to claim one apple.  Fisticuffs – really?  I had to toss down more peanuts to intervene and along came a few squirrels, stopping to get their apple, clenching it between their teeth, or half dragging it along.

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Conflicted.

The peanuts were the bigger draw it seemed, as the squirrels often abandoned an apple to lunge for the peanuts, an action that reminded me of kids, who were happy when mom put down a plate of SpaghettiOs or macaroni and cheese, instead of meat and vegetables, but the nearby package of Oreo cookies were much more tempting, so the choice was easy.

Red was the color of the day.

Since I was here last, the City cleared lots of brush and chopped down a few trees that lined the banks of the Ecorse Creek.  I really don’t like the look as it seems too open now, and the bare areas, and remaining stumps have made my favorite nature nook lose some of its ambiance.

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The remaining bushes along the water’s edge continue to turn beautiful shades of red, and since there was not even a hint of sun until I was home and ready to walk in the door, those red leaves and apples looked vibrant in the gray morn.

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I walked around the entire first loop, while squirrels continued to come out of the woodwork and race over to me for peanuts.  I glanced at the picnic tables, saw a few birds pecking the apples and watched this squirrel making the moves to get his treat.  Good, I got through to them; they knew where to go!

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I gave everyone their morning giggle.

The other walkers, having witnessed the distribution of apples and peanuts as they passed me on the perimeter path, were smiling as I stood there amidst a flurry of furry, four-legged friends.  I tried taking some photos of the group, but often, once I had the camera ready, in my peripheral vision I’d see another squirrel begging for peanuts at my feet.

Some squirrels had pieces of apple clinging to their fur around the  mouth – well, it was good eatin’ and gave them a sugar high to go hunting and gathering long into the afternoon.

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Please know that I am not their only benefactor, so my absence was not forcing them to eat pine cone nuts and whatever else they can forage around the Park this time of year.  The mulberries are gone and I didn’t see many apples on the wild apple tree this year.  So yes, it is easy for me to fall prey to those dark eyes and pleading looks, but there are at least three other people feeding them peanuts on a regular basis, mostly after I’ve left for home.

I walked the same loop again, this time in a hurry, as I’d lingered a little longer than usual.  I would have liked to have returned this morning to see if any apples remained but I know, if it is anything like in the past, those apples are long gone by now.  As I walked past my first “dropping” – the peanuts were gone, and most of a munched-on apple was still there – oh he’ll be back, I guarantee it.

apple at the end

It was fun interacting with the squirrels yesterday.  Today is “National Animal Day” so I’ll leave you with this quote I got from Twitter.

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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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49 Responses to The Munch Bunch.

  1. Ann Marie stevens says:

    Miss Linda……………………………..I loved all the apple/squirrel pictures very cute indeed…………….and of course the changing colors on the leaves and trees……………….Mr. Albert Einstein’s quote is quite breathtaking…………………………..

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      I am glad you liked the pictures Ann Marie. I usually do this a few times in the Fall, when Meijer has their apples on sale. The squirrels were pretty excited yesterday to eat them as you can see. The nice colors are those bushes and high weeds along the first loop to the right, on the Wyandotte side – now you can see the boat docks clearly, but I preferred it the other way to be honest. I liked Mr. Einstein’s quote as well – it is appropriate for today and always.

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  2. I love Honey Crisp, too. They were being harvested at our local orchard a couple of weeks ago. The photos were fun, especially all those with splashes of red. I’m in the mood for red.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. ruthsoaper says:

    It’s kind of funny that while you are buying food and feeding to the wildlife we are working to protect our crops from the wildlife. We have picked most of our apples and didn’t have a problem with crows and squirrels getting them first this year (like last year). The apples that remain will be left for the wildlife. Mostly we have seen evidence of the squirrels gathering or eating hut (hickory and acorns) They leave piles of hickory husks laying around – including on our picnic table. LOL.
    Mean while I am preserving our apple crop – canning apples sauce, freezing pie filling and making (dehydrated) apple chips.
    Your pictures are always so much fun to see. Have a great day, Linda.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      I’m glad you enjoyed the pictures and post Ruth. Those little squirrels are full of energy and liked the apples, even if they were a little too big for them to eat at one time. I guess I could have cut them in quarters for them. We had a neighbor years ago who had a huge apple tree in her backyard. Her husband didn’t think it was necessary to spray the tree, so often they had worm holes in the apples. He’d climb up a few times in the Fall and collect them before they fell on the ground. Her and my mom made applesauce, baked apples, pies, and the ones that fell on the floor I took into work for my boss’s wife because she owned a horse. We had two oak trees in the backyard until they got carpenter ants and had to be cut down – the squirrels used to ping the acorns down on the patio awning/roof and the metal shed in the backyard all Fall. You’d hear them knocking the acorns off the tree and then they would go collect them because the roofs both had ridges, so they rolled into there. Pretty smart, huh? You’d cut the lawn and hear pop, pop, pop from the acorn husks.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. your like a squirrel Santa Clause! I bet they all had a great sleep after this Thanksgiving meal! Its out Thanksgiving this weekend. Love the quote too!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Yes, I’m going to be famous at the Park for my treats. As long as my little buddies are not looking for pumpkin pie for your Thanksgiving or ours. I liked the quote too and was surprised it was from Einstein.

      Like

      • their American squirrels,they won’t expect any pie this weekend.All CDN squirrels get a big slice of pumpkin pie with maple syrup drizzled all over it!
        Than they stagger to the forest & fall over.We loose more squirrels each Thanksgiving weekend!

        Liked by 2 people

      • lindasschaub says:

        I’ve never tried pumpkin pie with maple syrup drizzled over it. That would be good as pumpkin pie can be blah alone. Those squirrels will get a sugar high for sure. Here in the States they only have ice cream on their apple pie, not a slice of cheese. We thought that was weird when we first moved here.

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      • a couple slices of warmed extra old cheddar on a home made apple pie is to die for! …..& if so desired a “separate” bowl of vanilla ice cream (Haagen Daz) ……with maple syrup drizzled over!

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        You do have a sweet tooth! Must be real Canadian maple syrup too, not the fake stuff! And always cheese with apple pie and apples too.

        Liked by 1 person

      • all Canadians have maple syrup running through our veins!

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        We can get the real maple syrup here, but just in small sizes. What a difference in taste. This is why Canadians are so sweet. I can remember having corn syrup on pancakes when I was young too – I mentioned it here and no one had ever heard of that. It was in a dark blue metal tin.

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      • I use to pour some corn syrup into a bowl,butter up two slices of fresh bread & enjoy watching cartoons Saturday mornings! I’d sit in front of the heating vent & relish the warm heat when the furnace kicked in!

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        Those were the days … cartoons on Saturday morning, and Captain Kangaroo during the week. I don’t remember what I ate while watching cartoons but I remember having milk and cookies while I watched Captain Andy in the afternoons.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Laurie says:

    What a beautiful post! One of my favorites of all times. The pictures were amazing and the description of your day was so enjoyable to read. I just loved every bit of it. It makes me want to go out, buy some apples and peanuts, and try it myself. The graphic at the end of the piece with the Einstein quote is the perfect way to end!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thanks Laurie – I am glad you liked it. I think I enjoyed the morning down there as much as they did. They are really cute and not shy about begging for treats. And apples might be a nice treat, but clearly they were looking for peanuts, so they looked up at me expectantly like “so, where are they?” You should go to a park and do this – it will make you smile. One of the walkers will hand feed the squirrels, putting a peanut in between their fingers to hand feed them, or in their hand with a glove on when it is cold outside. I’ve never tried that before but I bend down close and talk to them all the time and lay the nuts in front of them. I liked that quote too and was surprised it was by Einstein – never knew he was a nature and animal lover.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Laurie says:

        The closest I ever got to this was crushing an apple one fall day and watching the butterflies cluster around it. Wasps eventually took over the apple, and I didn’t want to watch wasps. There is a park nearby with lots of squirrels. I will have to give it a try!

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        I used to have a butterfly garden in my backyard and I loved watching the butterflies gather, rest on the big rock to bask in the sun and I had a “puddling dish” for them … an earthenware low dish filled with sand and water where they drank from. I lost most of my butterfly-attracting bushes and flowers after our first Polar Vortex and I did not replenish them. Good thing as we had a Polar Vortex II the following year. Now is the time to befriend the squirrels – they are eager for treats to fill their stomachs and hide with their cache of nuts they have started. Even the younger squirrels are coming around. I can tell them apart from the parents, because they have much skinnier tails and are a little thinner and longer, more like the black squirrels look. They were quite skittish all Summer, but better now. We have rain again this morning but I’ll get out on a walk later when it stops … I did that yesterday, in between a total of five torrential rainstorms. I’ll just walk in the neighborhood. This is highly unusual weather for SE Michigan. But the squirrels are out and about in the morning – I’ve gone down mid-day if I had errands or it was raining and they are never around, so I think they forage early, then take the rest of the day off!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Laurie says:

        I usually go in to town in the morning to visit the gym so it will be easy for me to visit the park after that. I can often see butterflies puddling on the gravel path below my house when it rains.

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        I’ll look forward to seeing how your interactions go Laurie … they latch onto you quickly and I have to tell you it makes my day seeing them. They always put a smile on my face, especially Parker when he comes running to see me.

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  6. They know you so well. Here comes the food lady!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I can’t believe he picked up the entire apple! They are so lucky to have you!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I feel I’m being put to shame with their super healthy snacks, apples and peanuts! 🙂 Dizzy loves a nice apple too. 🙂 xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Well Heather, I told them Winter is coming, and flu season too, so apples keep the doctor away better than Nutter Butters. 🙂 I guess if they tried ginger biscuits, they’d just sneer at the apples then. Years ago, we had a squirrel who lived in the backyard and we gave him treats, along with peanuts all year around. One time for Christmas, my mom said “let’s give Sammy a few peanut butter sandwiches for a Christmas treat” … we had those little loaves of bread they sell at the holidays in rye and pumpernickel. We even put nice chunky peanut butter on the slices and laid them on top of the shrubs at the side of the house. We looked out the window and Sammy was licking off the peanut butter and throwing the bread in the bushes! Guess who had to pick up all those bread pieces later?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hehe, that’s so funny! He obviously was not impressed with the bread. It sounds very nice bread too! 🙂 xxx

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        I told my mom he was downright rude. Over here they have what they call party bread or cocktail bread. They are small loaves sliced very thin, and they only have it around the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, and people use it for lunch meat and cheeses on party trays or spreads. It just comes in pumpernickel and rye. So we pictured him holding the sandwich and eating it like you or I would … not his thing I guess. Now it is funny – at the time it was not. Not only that, I used to subscribe to this nice magazine called “Birds and Blooms” and they had all these tips for gardeners and people who feed the birds to attract more birds to your yard. So one idea was to string dried cranberries and popcorn (also raisins if you wanted) on heavyweight carpet thread and then lay it on the bushes or along a chain-link fence to treat the birds. So we got some plain popcorn, popped it and my mom spent an evening stringing treats for the birds who never touched them! That was the end of anything but birdseed for the birds and peanuts for Sammy in the backyard. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Lol, I went to a huge pond last year with kale for the ducks. I was trying to give them a super healthy lunch, and not one of them would eat one. A bit accidentally floated in a ducks beak and he spat it out! Some even flew away from it. I was very disappointed, and ended up eating most of it myself for dinner. xxx

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        That is funny Heather. When John was still here posting about his mallard ducklings, he mentioned buying a huge bucket of the gray and white sunflower seeds. He was feeding them that … now I always fed the ducks oyster crackers or bread, but he said it was bad for them, discouraged it and so he got the sunflower seeds. But the problem with that is the seeds sink into the water and unless the water is clear and shallow, they can’t find them. He was feeding them by hand until the Mama intervened and wouldn’t allow it once they were about a week old as I recall. He found them the day they were hatched. They are like kids or us even … some things have more appeal. I love the idea of the duck spitting out the kale!!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Bread is bad for them, that’s why I tried more healthy alternatives, but they just weren’t having any of it! There is special duck/swan food that you can get, they will eat that. 🙂 xxx

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        Yes, I won’t do that anymore even though I know they like it. I know that they like grapes and small chunks of fruit, but that is expensive to feed them that. The guy at Heritage Park a few months ago, told me he takes them the big bad of cracked corn and the ducks love that. But sometimes the ducks are already in the water, so cracked corn would only work on land. I didn’t know they made special duck/swan food – I just Googled around and found it on Amazon, and looks like it originates in the UK but it out of stock with no date of when it is available. https://www.amazon.com/Wildthings-Nuggets-Wild-Things-1-5kg/dp/B00366YH54

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Yay apple season! I’m not sure if you are training the squirrels or are they training you? Silly city girl/lives where it doesn’t snow question: are they out and about when it starts to snow or do the hibernate?

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      I love apple season too Janis. I think the squirrels have me wrapped around their little paw quite honestly. They will be out and about in the Winter, scurrying along the trails when there is no snow or little snow. I won’t get there as much come Winter as the City does not plow the path and the snow and ice melts/freezes and it is dicey walking. Sometimes I walk alongside the path in the snow if it is not too high and feed them under the pavilion roof as it is dry underneath. They do stay up high in their nests though and you can see the nests after all the leaves fall off.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Those pictures were amazing! I have squirrels in my backyard but did not know they liked apples…..so I’ll have to try leaving some treats out for them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thank you – I had fun treating them and watching their antics. They had apple bits clinging to their furry faces. They’ll love you forever and splitting them in half with a little peanut butter on top … they’ll never leave your backyard! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  11. When i lived in Michigan, on Long Lake, i loved the local homemade apple cider (and ice cream). 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Some of the bigger produce markets like Westborn Market carry the Honey Crisp apple cider – it is very good, tastes more like apple juice than cider and more clear than cloudy looking like traditional cider. Bob-Jo’s custard stand missed out on a lot of business. They always close up in September when they run out of product – we are having 80s next week! They could have made a little more $$ … they are always a hoppin’ place and people swarm this tiny stand on their opening day in Spring.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Warm weather for October! We are getting tons of rain!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Wow such a beautiful post ❤. I love your compassionate dedication to your furry friends. You are right Linda, you would make such a great squirrel trainer. It’s never too late to start. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      I was so determined that I would not make them “sitting ducks” for the hawk to swoop down and I thought I could get their attention, herd them over, then they could go back on the trail and have peanuts as usual. It worked for the most part. That is true – I should have had a career involving animals. I had wanted to be a veterinarian, but my grades were not good in math and science. I did okay in biology and zoology, but not the other sciences, or chemistry either. Our high school lost the millage our first two years of high school so we had only four classes, basic classes, no college prep classes, and they cut all amenities like drama, sports, music/band, all the things that many students would hope to get scholarships from. In our third/last year of high school, we got the classes and extracurricular activities back again, but two years of “no frills” school, was not so great. I loved those James Herriot books and movies – what an inspiration for anyone who enjoys animals like we do Zena.

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