Great Expectations.

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My favorite season has been plagued by gray and gloomy weather and relentless rain.  After a soggy Spring and a horribly hot and humid Summer, I had great expectations for Fall.  But instead, this usually awesome season has turned into a rather abysmal Autumn. Yesterday was an all-day rain and this morning there was a window of opportunity to get in a walk, as rain was holding off until mid-day, then a steady rain through the evening would ensue.  I knew I’d better make the most of those few hours.

I always carry my compact digital camera with me because I would hate to miss a great shot just because I left it at home that one time.  What I did leave behind, however, were my mittens with the convertible flip-back to half-fingers, which I use for taking pictures in the cold weather.  One look at that gray sky told me it was doubtful I would be pulling the camera out of the case.  I grabbed a half-bag of peanuts and didn’t even bother dividing them into Ziploc bags.  I knew I’d finish them off since yesterday’s rain likely kept everyone off the walking path.

The car needed a run and I arrived at the Park to see only a handful of cars in the lot.  Most of the walkers must have been at church, Sunday brunch, or looked at the sky and took to their treadmills instead.  I did see Mike, one of the regular walkers, who was headed to his car.  He said “the squirrels were looking for you because none of us were here yesterday due to the rain.”  Mike also feeds the squirrels, so my quick retort was “they’ll look at me like they haven’t eaten peanuts in days, having already eaten some of yours, so they’ll feed on my handouts, as well as my sympathy!”  He laughed.

Against a mottled gray sky, the trees looked like rich jewels dotting the blah landscape and soon the squirrels also dotted the still-damp perimeter path looking for peanuts, which I doled out here, there and everywhere.  I was sure I had enough peanuts to last my entire visit on both the “critter-laden side” and the “boring side” and I planned to cross the street into the neighborhood in case Parker was there.

Now that the City has cleared some bushes and trees permitting us a bigger glimpse of the Ecorse Creek, though I initially resisted the wide-open look, I’ve been able to peer at the mallards and check out the foliage on the opposite side of the Creek.  So, when I spotted a splash of red across the water, I took out the camera to capture that image.

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They were a row of fire bushes.  I must say my fire bushes have never looked a vibrant shade of red – ever, and they were planted back in 1985.  I wondered how I never noticed this riotous red color before today?  I decided to venture down to the Creek banks to get a better photo.  I’d not been down that way since the male swan chased after me last Winter.  You may recall I only wanted a photo, and he got in my face, snorting and stomping the snow with those wide-webbed feet.  I scattered peanuts on the ground and beat a hasty retreat.

I picked my way carefully along the slippery and muddy makeshift trail …

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… while pushing aside a few tall reeds and overgrown weeds, hoping the photo op was worth this much effort.

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The bushes were beautiful and I also had a nice view of the wider portion of the Creek.

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I got my shots, then turned on my heel to walk back to the perimeter path, only to find a squirrel looking up at me.

feed me please

Whoa, well hello there!  He was lucky I didn’t step on him as I was not looking down, but instead was distracted by not sliding on the slippery leaves and wet mud, which likely had already oozed into the ridges of the soles of my shoes.

He looked like such a pitiful wee soul sitting there.

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I don’t think this furry fellow was one of the “regulars” as he was cautious and skittish, yet HE had approached me first.  I dug into my bag and the crinkling of the hard cellophane seemed intensified by the still morn.  That noise spooked him, so he ran up a tree.

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I told him not be afraid and to come closer and held out a peanut, then dropped some on the ground.

He came down the tree reluctantly.

The leaves that are littering the path and grounds make it tough to see the squirrels sometimes, let alone for them to see peanuts. I try to move the leaves so they see where I dropped those nuts and sometimes the squirrels blend right into the leaves and landscape, like in these photos where it appears as if he was playing peek-a-boo, before inching over to see me.  Well, we were making progress.

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He grabbed a peanut and ran away, reluctant to sit there next to me like the squirrels often do.

My eyes followed him to his sanctuary where he noshed on his peanut.

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It was so peaceful … there was no one around, and even the mallards were silent, instead of their usual cacophony of quacking and splashing antics in the Creek.  I could hear his teeth cracking the peanut and then the shell falling down onto the dry and crispy leaves.

This is what peace sounds like.

H scrambled over for another nut then scurried away again, still unsure if it was safe to stay near this tall stranger, even if I did coming bearing gifts.  That’s okay –he is wary and perhaps he has tangled with a human before and had a reason to be scared.

I bided my time, sneaking a few more peanuts into his little pile on the grass, awaiting another potential photo op.  He returned, grabbed another peanut and this time he raced over to the tree with the graffiti on it, that beautiful twisted tree, framed by the Creek.  Hold that pose please!

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Before I got back on the paved path, I walked through the sopping wet grass to clean my shoes off.  I saw more squirrels, all who acted like I had not trod that pathway two times already and dropped peanuts at their feet.  By then I was travelling on near-empty, with only about five peanuts left and those had Parker’s name on them.

I decided to head over to Pagel Avenue to see if Parker was there.  I tried not to cloud my mind with images of him versus a hawk or the coyote, since I had not seen him Friday morning either.  Here, I was greeted by a Fox squirrel who made a beeline down a maple tree to greet me and danced around the toes of my walking shoes while I dug the peanuts out of the bottom of the bag.  I still held onto the camera in my hands which were freezing since I’d taken my glove off a good half hour ago and it was just 40 degrees.  I happily spread the five peanuts out and he happily went to eat them.

OK, time to go home – I’d seen Stubby and Parker and a slew of other squirrels, so I was good to go.

But … I got to the parking lot and neared my car and discovered a squirrel sitting next to the driver’s side and he came over to me … well, that had to be Parker!  Wait a minute, who was that a few minutes ago, the squirrel who emptied my bag of peanuts and danced around my feet?  I assumed he was Parker!  Well, this squirrel did similar antics – is there an imposter?

Meanwhile, I was mortified and apologized for being empty-handed.  I even took the bag out of my pocket and turned it inside out saying “Honey, I’m sorry I have nothing for you – I’ll make it up to you tomorrow.  I’ll bring you a peanut butter sandwich, heck – I’ll even bring one of the two bags of walnuts I’ve bought for Thanksgiving and Christmas.”  But those eyes pleaded with me for peanuts.

For a minute,  I toyed with the idea of making the two-mile round trip home to get more for him.

My fear was he would not move from the car and I didn’t want to run him over.  I opened the car door, and his head popped up and I thought he might try to climb into the car.  There was no one around to ask to watch where he was so I could pull away.  I honked the horn to chase him away from the car but still didn’t see him.  I waited and waited – no one came along, so after 15 minutes, I honked again and pulled away, saying a little prayer he was not underneath a tire.

As I backed out of the parking space, I was scared to look up.

But I did.

There he was, sitting on the curb staring at me.  My heart melted.  He was safe.  I got out of the parking lot in a hurry before he followed me, feeling badly.  I’d better be real nice to him tomorrow morning.

As I was pulling up in the driveway, the first little spits of rain splashed onto the windshield and the rain hasn’t stopped since..

It seems we were all full of great expectations today … me that the weather would cooperate so I could get a long walk in, and my furry pals who awaited a fill-up by their favorite benefactor.

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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62 Responses to Great Expectations.

  1. Your going to have to knit them each a different coloured winter coat so you know who’s who! May I suggest to always keep some crackers or peanuts in your glove compartment. He’ll be ok he just don’t understand.Show up tomorrow & he’ll forgot all about it while chewing on a tasty peanut!
    Your going to have to search their bodies for ID markings.One may have only 4 fingers,another may have a black tipped tail. I bet after awhile you’ll be able to ID them at a distance.It just takes more time to learn these things.

    Liked by 2 people

    • lindasschaub says:

      Ha ha – they all tend to look alike Wayne and right now, the only exception is Stubby with a very short tail. I will start studying them closer. I thought Parker was identifiable since he would run up and jump on my shoes and look up longingly (maybe at me, more likely at the bag of peanuts that are in my pocket or in the mesh bag I have hanging from my fanny pack) … it looks like the other squirrels have caught on and decided to play the same game. I still think Parker is a little more loyal since we’ve been interacting longer than the others. We’ll see this morning when I go bearing more gifts for him to make up for yesterday. I’m usually good with two big Ziploc bags of peanuts. I lingered longer and made up for a rainy Saturday and ran out – oops!

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  2. Ann Marie stevens says:

    Miss Linda…………………………..maybe Parker is a twin??!!…………………….I would have been leery about backing away from the parking space too with my disappointed friend leering at me!

    Liked by 2 people

    • lindasschaub says:

      Now there’s an idea Ann Marie – why didn’t I think of that? I knew if I got out of the car to check where he was, he’d circle around and meet me and it would be a Catch-22 and where were the other people in the Park that I could have asked to check if he was under the car? I should have called you because you, Ann Marie, would have come to my rescue!

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  3. John says:

    Your picture of the cute squirrels is so beautiful, they look so curious.😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Hi John – nice to see you again. I’ve been posting lots of squirrel photos lately and think of you when I do so as you always enjoyed them. They are all over the Park, hurrying and scurrying while laying in nuts for the Winter. We’ve had a cold few weeks and I believe they think snow will soon come and blanket the area so they are desperate to collect peanuts. I hope your weather in Sweden has improved … surely you finally have a respite from your horrible heat wave!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. susieshy45 says:

    I loved reading this epistle. When you referred to the first fox squirrel, something inside me said, why isn’t Linda calling him ” Parker”- from all indications, he was Parker, then why not name him so ?
    Soon I understood that the one in the parking lot was probably Parker – did he get into the car on the driver’s side, Linda? He must have been starving, poor darling.
    One of my 15 kittens, seems to have eaten the poison- he is looking so sick this morning- I thought this year, the poisoner hadn’t struck and he has indeed. The poor kitten, whom I looked after through the summer, is probably not going to make it- I wonder if it is worth taking him to the vet’s to get him to get the poison out of his system.
    I was a little negligent with the feeding over the last few days, as I was a little short on money. I will need to get more cat food for them today. If their stomachs are full, they don’t eat any food given by others in the compound. I did my best Linda but sometimes some of them slip through the cracks.
    Susie

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Hi Susie – yes, I wasn’t sure how to approach that part of the story – do I call him Parker when he was in the neighborhood across from the Park? You’ve asked me before how I could tell them apart – I was sure I knew Parker and Stubby as Parker’s antics and Stubby’s tail were the giveaways, but now I’m not so sure. We’ll see if Parker (or his imposter) comes to see me this morning. I’m going to fix him a peanut butter sandwich to take with me. It’s whole grain bread with lots of peanut butter and I’ve given it to him in the past, mostly in the Winter and he really loved it. I’m sorry to hear about the poisoner being back – what is wrong with people Susie? And especially that your kitty that you’ve nurtured all these months may have been the victim. I will tell Carol … poor Carol lost one of her cats last week. It was 12 years old and had been sick with a variety of problems most of this year and she sought treatment at several vets, had a specialist, an internist all checking out Harley June. She was going to undergo radiation therapy for a pancreatic tumor but would require having Valium at the local vet, then a 5-hour trip (one way) to a specialist for the radiation and they’d be staying over after that was done. Last Monday Carol decided to have Harley June euthanized. I cried when I read her post … it was heart wrenching. She still has Harley June’s brother, Smudge, and their father, Dudley, and is still tending to a few ferals as well. I told Carol that it made me sad and mad that she tended to the strays, yet could not save her beloved cat,

      Liked by 1 person

      • susieshy45 says:

        Dear lina
        After 5 years of losing cats after cats to the mysterious poisoner, I have decided to accept it as a fact of life as long as I am in this place. God knows best. He put them in my life so I could have some one to love and they provided me with so much. And then their work was done and they were taken off from my life. I want to look at it as being about me – it is comforting or I would be crying buckets.
        I am so sorry about Carol’s June. God needed her more, I guess.
        Susie

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        Sorry I am late to be responding to you Susie – I wrote a long post tonight about my first job – it was forty years ago today I left that job and it was a probably over-long post, but I had a lot of nice thoughts about that job and my boss and his wife and they were like family to me. It is sad that you dared to care and look what happened. That is like Carol who bends over backwards to shelter and feed and give water to the feral cats and then her cat gets sick. She tried everything to find a doctor who would determine exactly what was wrong. She loved that cat. She originally thought it was a male kitten and named it Harley as it had a loud purr, like a Harley motorcycle, and then she discovered it was a female, so she added “June” to the end of it. She was a beautiful cat. You are right – God needed her more than Carol. – Linda

        Liked by 1 person

  5. It’s amazing how they can make us feel guilty while they have surely just had treats from someone else. Maybe that’s just us.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Laurie says:

    Linda, your peanut-feeding reputation must have spread far and wide amongst all the squirrels in or near the park. even the ones who are unfamiliar to you are coming up to you requesting a handout!
    I am also fearful about backing out of a parking space if there are critters around. Usually, a toot on the horn gets them moving, though!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Laurie – I had a passel of them following me around this morning and the other walkers were laughing. I can’t take a picture of them following at my heels and I usually walk alone, but would give you a smile. I feel like the squirrel whisperer sometimes. I kept wishing that someone would come along as a “spotter” to watch for me. I am running late tonight as I did a very long post tonight so won’t stray to Reader tonight, just catching up on comments. I hope you did well in the marathon?

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Rebecca says:

    Super cute squirrel photos. They make me smile!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Uncle Tree says:

    Pretty pics! 🙂 Nice post, Linda. And you got home just in time.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Marvelous shots, Linda, especially the close-ups! 🙂 When i worked in the small town of Dwight, Il, before i retired, there were all black and all white squirrels there to often see! Lots of large black walnut trees in that town to feed them! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thanks Tom – I just loved the way the squirrel got in my face. I literally turned around and there it was. So here I am 5′, 9″ tall – I’m so glad I happened to look down. I’ve never seen white squirrels – that would be a nice sight to see. I don’t think we have walnut trees around here. I couldn’t even find whole walnuts in the stores, I had to buy the ones without the shell for them.

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  10. Mackenzie says:

    So sorry this Autumn has not been great- but your little squirrel friend is just the sweetest !

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Wonderful squirrel photos Linda! We get three different kinds here, but only the regular ones are aggressive. I used to feed them in the yard, but whenever the peanuts ran out they’d come right up to the patio door and stare inside!! When they started to destroy the feeders and chewed a giant hole in the deck I put up baffles and made it more challenging for them to get to the birdseed. Now we get along better. The Western Grey Squirrel and the tiny Douglas squirrel are much better behaved. Your park looks like a great place to enjoy nature!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Glad you liked these squirrel photos Sabine. I’ve had luck getting nice pictures of squirrels because they come up fairly close for their peanuts. I’ve been feeding them as long as I’ve been walking at Council Point Park and that is five years now, so they come close and pose nicely. That squirrel was so funny – I turned around and he was there, bigger than life and really was not going to move. We had the same problem when we fed the backyard squirrels. My mom was on a cane and it took her a few minutus to get in and out of the screen door. You literally had to feed the squirrels some peanuts first and hope it kept them busy for awhile so she could get in and out safely and no squirrels ran into the house. I finally quit feeding them for that reason and they also raided the bird feeders, and the yard is fairly small, so a baffle wouldn’t help, nor did putting it in the center of the yard, as they plopped down from fences, the shed, the patio roof, a tree. They were fearless. It is a beautiful park and I really enjoy walking there.

      Liked by 1 person

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