Christmas is coming, the geese are getting fat …

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Our Southeast Michigan weather is so fickle … today it will climb to 48 degrees F, and it has been raining off and on all day.  On Thanksgiving, I trekked around Council Point Park for six miles, and, when I left the Park, it was only 23 degrees F.  The weatherman says our November temps have been more characteristic of January weather and today is a fluke.

Grumblings and rumblings.

Though it seems like I am always griping about the weather, especially this year, I know I am not alone.  Reading fellow blogger’s posts from all around the globe, the weather in 2018 has been extreme for each successive season.  For us, it’s been too snowy, too cold, too rainy, too hot, too cold too soon and where the heck was the Autumn we all enjoy so much?  What happened to Indian Summer this year – well pfft!

Even more disturbing than the grumblings about saturated Saturdays and soggy Sundays, are the disastrous wildfires and more volatile than usual hurricanes and tornadoes.  We had four tornadoes close to where I live this Summer, plus Southeast Michiganders experienced a minor earthquake in April and a meteorite strike in January.  The top priority item on the news this morning was the report on global warming and climate change … so folks, this funky and dangerous weather is here to stay.  Here’s the official report in case you missed it:

Because I did my fun gluttonous squirrels post for Turkey Day, I saved the narrative and pictures from that Thanksgiving Day walk for yesterday and today.  First, I wanted to write about Brian Skinner’s memorial tree at Council Point Park, as I have spotlighted other memorial trees in the past, but this one really tugged at my heart strings and today’s post will be about the nature part of that Turkey Day trek.

Brrr, barren and blah!!!

I had intended to go to make a few stops along the  Detroit River for a leisurely stroll and to take some pictures.  Beautiful Bishop Park is close by the downtown business district of Wyandotte, and all along Biddle Avenue is chock full of quaint shops and unique eateries.  I figured once Black Friday arrived, parking might be at a premium.  So I was a little bummed that the blustery and bitter cold day and sunless sky deterred me from heading to the River. despite being bundled up to the hilt.  What a weenie I am sometimes.

I did enjoy my six-mile meander around Council Point Park though.  There were two other walkers there besides me.  I guess everyone else was at home preparing for the big feast.

Some glare ice was on the perimeter path, but not as much as earlier in the week when the other walkers and I were forced to walk on the snowy grass, as icy patches covered the width of the path.  I should have taken some pictures of it, but there will be plenty more incidents of ice and snow frozen to the asphalt path in the months ahead unfortunately.

glare ice.jpg

There were still smidgeons of snow outlining the banks of the Ecorse Creek and  …

snow outline on creek

… on the stumps and logs of the recently removed trees and bushes as well.

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This is a wacky-looking tree and amazingly, it looked to have some new growth going on behind it.

wacky looking stump.jpg

Along the edge of the Ecorse Creek, the landscape is barren and blah since most of the trees are bare.  The wheat-colored reeds were riffled by the wind and blowing in the breeze.

reeds waving.jpg

dead reeds.jpg

Even the burrs are brittle and their stems are dry and dead.  I didn’t step too close so they wouldn’t try to hitch a ride on my britches like last year when I went through these bushes loaded with burrs to take pictures of the swans.

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Now the berries are hanging on dead stems.

berries on edge.jpg

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Tiny weeds and flowers still bloom against a background that is boring and drab.

dead flowers and outline

At least the evergreens lend a dab of color to the scene.

Duck soup.

A thin veil of ice covered over portions of the Creek, but it didn’t seem to faze the ducks.

far away on thin ice

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They just navigated around the ice while they preened or dipped and dived for their breakfast.

ducks in water

ducks paddling1

evergreens and ducks.jpg

Three geese were gobbling up the grass.

It was a treat to see the Canada geese, even if there was only a trio of them grazing in the “donut hole” of the perimeter path.  It’s only the second time this Fall that their visit has coincided with my trek to the Park, and both times they were grazing, and not in the water.

grazing

While watching those geese, I was reminded of a Christmas carol I learned when I was just a young girl growing up in Canada.  It was called “Christmas Is Coming” and it went like this:

“Christmas is coming, the geese are getting fat

Please put a penny in the old man’s hat

If you haven’t got a penny, a ha’penny will do

If you haven’t got a ha’penny, then God bless you!”

fat goose3

fat goose2

No squirrelling away the walnuts … they just ate ‘em up.

Of course no trip to Council Point Park would be complete without squirrels!  I did treat my squirrel pals royally for Thanksgiving by doling out walnuts … they lucked out since walnuts had been on sale at Meijer as people gear up for their holiday baking, so I bought another two bags since they enjoyed the last walnuts I took for them.  Those squirrels gobbled those goodies right up!

2 squirrels

big bite

squirrel1

I’m not sure what happened to this little guy’s tail?  This is not Stubby with new tail growth as I saw him earlier on the path.

weird tail1

weird tail

I had driven the car to the Park that morning, and, by the time I walked six miles, a few squirrels came looking for more goodies just before I was ready to head home.  One even climbed up on the picnic table, hoping I might be laying out some treats for him there.

begging on picnic table1H

As he gave me a stony stare, I found myself feeling guilty, but I said “I’m sure you got walnuts already and if not, well … you snooze, you lose.”

begging on picnic table2

They are relentless sometimes, but I know they are hungry right now.  And besides, who can resist this cute pose?   I do believe this squirrel needs some fattening up, don’t you?  Maybe I should make him the benefactor of more treats just like I spoil Parker?

sad face

I managed to evade my furry pals at the very end so I could get to the car and zoom back home before they even knew I was gone.

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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38 Responses to Christmas is coming, the geese are getting fat …

  1. John says:

    Here I have not seen any geese yet, but I have barely been out more than a round in the tivoli park. There was only mallards and gulls and no squirrels, I saw either.

    Liked by 2 people

    • lindasschaub says:

      It’s very strange with the geese John – they usually start to molt in early June and after their goslings fledge, they leave this Park, but I saw them in a large park along the Lake Erie coastline. But they never returned this year. Usually they come back, dozens of them, and only one sighting in September and that was it and only three of them the other day. I wonder what is up with that? Did you get out as planned today? Hope you got out today and your weather cooperated. I have not been to Reader yet.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. susieshy45 says:

    I enjoyed every bit of your post. The changing landscapes, the explanations, climate change, global warming everything. Man has played around with nature too much I guess. But it is fun to wonder what tomorrow holds for you. And to see if the weatherman’s predictions come right.
    Since you have been living in snowy climates for so long, you must be having all the warm clothes people have to keep warm there. A friend of mine from here who travelled to NY last year during Christmas bought warm clothes for her entire family online- some lightweight but very warm clothes, which enable people to go out even in snow. I wonder if you wear such clothes.
    In San Francisco, earlier this month, it was so cold our bones got chilled- no amount of warm clothes would warm us up.
    How do the ducks keep warm in the icy waters and what do they do when it snows completely ?
    The last squirrel was skinny and needed some fattening. I wonder what happened to the squirrel’s tail too. Have the coyotes been sighted any more ?
    Susie

    Liked by 3 people

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thank you Susie – I am glad you liked it – that walk on Thanksgiving morning, despite being cold, was nice as I took my time, no need to hurry home from work and just could walk around and take pictures, feed the squirrels and relax.

      I agree with you – man has played around with nature and this is what we have as a result. It was one thing worrying about climate change of one degree – in fact, when they announced it was one degree warmer than years ago, I thought “one degree – that is nothing!” But now when they say all these significant occurrences happening to the Earth – look at the rainstorms you sent me pictures of from your homeland, and now there will be mudslides in California as there are no trees left to stop them due to the wildfire.
      Devastation with two major hurricanes, one right after the other. Tornadoes and just other weather devastation … the Southern states now have snow just like we do in the Midwest. They have had measurable snow the last few Winters.
      Have you ever seen the pictures of the polar bears that are starving because the ice floes they used to walk on are no longer available for them to ride on to get to places where they can find fish and they walk along, tired and lifeless, skin and bones. Very sad. Our earthquake was minor, but we are not prone to earthquakes. That meteor was huge – it thudded to the ground and lit up the sky. We had four tornadoes in residential areas, not rural areas!

      I do have all my clothes from my bus days – I took the bus for decades so do have warm clothes, coats, boots and woolen hats/scarves/mitts, but the other day it was so blustery and cold, I figured walking along the water would not be fun.

      I have heard that of San Francisco, in fact there are a couple of bloggers who live in that area and they say that in August it can be so chilly, that they need a space heater in the house. As beautiful as San Francisco is, there is always the mist coming from the water and it is chilly and damp. I don’t recall what our weather was when I was there for three days back in October 1980 – it must’ve been sunny as the pictures all were bright and colorful – see these post pictures were all dull as we have had this perpetual gray skies and clouds hanging around. (Except yesterday – the sun was out for the first time in a few weeks, but not all day). Today rain from before sunrise and raining now – broke a few times but I didn’t go out.

      The ducks are all set because they have oil glands and they preen their feathers – what they do when they preen is that they pull the oil through their feathers and that helps to keep their feathers waterproof and protects them from the cold water and cold too. The ducks at Council Point Park used to be more plentiful in the Winter – the first year I walked there I took them bread all the time. Then I didn’t know bread was not good for ducks, but they did eat it. They lived underneath the storm drain – the storm drain is underneath that cement landing where the heron stands all the time. The ducks would gather, maybe 25-30 of them at one time and huddle together and stay under that storm drain to be protected from the weather. Then we had the first Polar Vortex and it was too cold for them and we had weeks and weeks of frigid weather and the Creek was frozen over most of the Winter, so they moved on – what they do now is go one mile down the road to the Detroit River. There is Dingell Park and it is right on the River an about five miles down from there on the Detroit River is Bishop Park in Wyandotte. A lot of ducks go there too. They can stay in that water because the current is swift so the ice is not as bad; it will form, but not all throughout the River like it does in the smaller Creek.

      I thought that last squirrel looked very skinny – like the picture in the Summer that I showed the other day in the “Fat-Bottomed Squirrels” post. The article I read last week said that if squirrels are healthy, they will grow that layer of fat and extra underfur … this little guy was not fat at all – but he didn’t look sick in the least. He came right up to me – he was very cute. Maybe a baby? I didn’t really look at his tail (the baby squirrels have skinnier tails, but they are filling out now as they get older) … the squirrels use their tails like an umbrella over their head when it is snowing … it protects them a little from the elements and keeps them warm like a fur coat. 🙂

      I have not seen any more coyotes and I was told on Wednesday there are now five coyotes at the Park – one is a pup. One was wounded by a police officer in the right front foot. I have not seen any coyotes in the neighborhood either, though on the crime site people saw one in the daytime in a school yard. I go to the Park and scan the sky for hawks, the trail and beyond for coyotes … no way to go on a walk and I worry about my squirrel pals getting nabbed by either one.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Those squirrels have your trained!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Ann Marie stevens says:

    Miss Linda…………………………….thank you for the words to the old rhyme: “Christmas is coming”………I used to know the poem too……………..I did an umbrella walk this morning…………..it wasn’t freezing cold out

    Liked by 2 people

    • lindasschaub says:

      Hi Ann Marie – did you teach it to your students in school or remember it from your childhood? You were good going out in the rain this morning – I almost went as it was so mild (for a change) but decided to stay home and get some things done in the house. Unfortunately snow is in the forecast for Monday morning – of course, you have your weekly trip to Detroit.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. My mother-in-law visited us at our house today (with my sister-in-law and niece) and said that the squirrels who eat out of the bird feeder in front of her window — at the assisted living place where she lives — crashed the feeder down to the ground and had a Thanksgiving celebration! I had filled it with sunflower and safflower seeds and they apparently got tired of trying to slowly get them out of the feeder the regular way. Clever little stinkers! I told her that maybe we should just put a ceramic/porcelain dinner plate on the ground and let them get that way! The feeder is broken! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • lindasschaub says:

      Oh for goodness sake and it was a nice source of entertainment and nice while it lasted! I remember when we first moved here and you could buy styrofoam bird feeders and they were filled with seed and you tossed them when they were empty. They were relatively cheap and we used to get them for the birds on the really bitter cold days. We’d go out and the squirrels were impatient and could not wait to get the seeds that were for the birds, so they gnawed right through the styrofoam and broke the feeder so the seeds would spill out for them. They broke almost every feeder my neighbor ever had out and would get their claws caught in the sock net thistle seed feeders sometimes – my neighbor saw one hanging by his paw as he scrambled to get it unhooked from his claw. That’s a shame. No matter where we put a feeder in our yard, they’d drop down from some tree or shimmy up the patio roof and attack the feeder with a vengeance.

      Like

  6. I remember that snippet of song about the geese….but not the rest of it….will have to look it up. Thanks for the info re the ducks – I wondered how they stayed warm……and I now have a visual of the squirrels using their tails as snow umbrellas! Your blog is just a fountain of information!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Looks like your winter has well and truly started.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Earlier than usual Andy – tonight we get a slushy inch of snow, but in the northern suburbs they are now slated for six inches … they upped the snowfall amount for them not long ago.

      Like

  8. Laurie says:

    Great wildlife and nature photos, as always. Your picture of the Canada geese reminded me of a sad story I have to tell you. I was walking my dog around the block the day before Thanksgiving. We live in a development out in the country, so when I get to the corner of my street, I am facing a farmer’s field. Just as we approached that corner, I heard BAM! BAM! BAM!, about 15 loud bangs. I looked around, but couldn’t find the source. Just then, a flock of Canada geese flew overhead in formation. One of the geese glided to a landing rather abruptly. As I walked down the country road, all of a sudden a goose came running at top speed out of the field onto the road. He couldn’t fly. He had been shot and injured! He ran on the road ahead of me. I couldn’t catch up to him. As I turned to go home, I found him sitting under a bush on my neighbor’s property. I was deliberating what to do when 3 teenage boys with guns came running out of the field. They had been searching for the goose they shot. They began chasing him, and he ran into a larger neighborhood. I didn’t see what happened after that. That poor goose! I was mad that the boys probably caused the goose to die a slow, painful death, and also angry that they fired their guns so close to houses!

    Like

    • lindasschaub says:

      That is so sad Laurie. Yes, they were torturing him by running after him as it probably was already in pain since it was wounded and, if it didn’t die of its wounds, would likely die of heart failure. We had some incidents here a few years ago where someone was taking a bow and arrow and shooting arrows at Canada geese who were just minding their own business and grazing by the water. It happened several times. One goose had an arrow which had pierced a wing. Some walkers noticed it and saw other geese huddled around the injured goose. They realized it couldn’t fly but otherwise seemed fine, so they contacted the DNR and someone came out and took the goose to a rehab center. They removed the arrow and kept the goose until it could fly properly. I don’t like hunting and hate seeing a dead deer slung over the top of a vehicle and not covered with a tarp. Turns my stomach. I’m glad you liked the photos and the geese I saw today were just gorgeous … they flew down from the sky with a splash and into the water and played follow the leader down the Creek passageway. Just gorgeous. The first time I’ve seen geese in the sky or on the water since June.

      Like

  9. Shelley says:

    Ah…I so enjoyed taking a virtual walk with you. Great photos! It’s hard to pick a favorite one. You’ve made me want to figure out how to bundle up and enjoy walking outside instead of my treadmill…hmm…I may need to convert to being a hat-wearing person this year!?!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Yes do it Shelley! And maybe get a nice warm sweater for Copper and take him with you! We had temps in the mid-40s and the sun was out for about a minute and a half (now you see it, now you don’t) but very nice for walking and picture taking. I took lots of pictures today of geese floating down the Creek and some mallards (and always some squirrels – they might all look alike, but they are new photos). I’m glad you’re enjoying the virtual walks … I did do 6 miles today and only 18 more miles to meet my goal, so excited about that. Then worked out in the yard … roses trimmed (finally). But we have snow tonight – slushy mess for tomorrow morning.

      Like

  10. Sarebear's Writing Spot says:

    Squirrels are the best! Loved the photos and your narrative in this piece. Quite enjoying your posts!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      I am so partial to squirrels – I love their antics and I have to admit to spoiling them like they are a family pet. They are the highlight of my walk every morning. I am glad you are enjoying the posts … I try to write them to let people feel like they are along with me on the walk. Right now I am savoring each walk as we get into the Winter season as that will cut down my trips to the Park as they don’t shovel/sweep or treat the path there and it tends to get icy sometimes. I am sorry that your comment went to SPAM for some reason??? I am later than usual tonight as I had to work in the yard all afternoon – thankfully a nice day with no rain, no blustery winds … the sun actually came out for a minute or two! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Linda, we have lots of Canada geese here in Portland. Sometimes they are so fat that they can’t fly! Some parks now have signs posted asking people to not feed them anymore. Reading about your frigid weather makes me glad to be in a more moderate climate. Happy Walking! 🙋

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Some of our larger Parks do have signs about feeding the ducks and geese and will enforce the rule if necessary. They are likely so fat as you have such moderate temperatures so they have good grazing most of the year, where our geese will struggle once the snow is on the ground and will have to rely on the vegetation in the Creek (if it does not freeze over) or small fish – they can get the fish at the Deetroit River, which is about a mile away. I was surprised to find Canada Geese eat fish, but one day I saw one flipping a small fish around in its beak as it was squirming for its life – the fish lost unfortunately!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I didn’t know they eat fish, but it makes perfect sense. I would have thought that those geese up north would migrate during the winter. It always seems like we have a lot more this time of year. I’ll have to read up on them! 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        I’ll bet they go where you are as it is more moderate than here. I would not have thought they ate fish either until I saw that goose maneuvering the fish around in its beak. I was amazed!

        Like

  12. Bryan Fagan says:

    So much fun watching your journey . We’ve had rain, rain, rain but our here in the Northwest that goes with the territory.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thanks Bryan and I am excited I only have 18 more miles to go to reach my goal. Today was actually a decent day and parts of SE Michigan will get 5-6 inches of snow overnight … in my part of town, we’ll luck out with only 1 inch of slushy snow. We have had an extremely rainy year … I had three 5K walks that I registered for, then backed out because they were heavy rains that day.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Mackenzie says:

    Such pretty pictures (even of the crazy lopsided tree 😉 ). And that squirrel really was giving you the stony stare, huh?! Always fun to read and see your adventures. Looks like a wonderful Thanksgiving walk!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Glad you are enjoying the nature photos Mackenzie. I took another batch of pictures Sunday and I am going to break them into a few blog posts … I knew the ugly weather would be coming soon, then Christmassy-type posts, so I got there on Sunday to take a few more around the Park. That squirrel had such an indignant look on its face like “did I give you permission to leave?”

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Awesome pictures! Winter is here!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Glad you got to see some Canadian Geese 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Yes, finally – I had waited all those months, then I saw the group of 7 of them swimming down the Creek, just a few days after I wrote this. I do like those Canadian geese – they lend some excitement to the Park, especially when they interact with the humans and hiss and do their wing-flapping. They are only protecting their young when they think you are venturing too close … motherhood, same for our feathered and furry friends as humans.

      Like

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