All the leaves are brown …

single leaf

… and the sky is gray,

I’ve been for a walk,

On a Winter’s day.

bench

desolate looking

The opening part of this song [“California Dreamin’” by The Mamas & the Papas] just tells it like it is on a gray and cold Winter’s day.  However, I need to pinch myself to remember Winter is not here yet, despite how it looks or feels outside.

Well, it seems as if I’ve been absent from posting in this forum for weeks and really it has only been four days.  I know I was behind in commenting and reading blog posts – it is all because last weekend I went on a mission of sorts.

Three weather stations predicted our weather would turn ugly starting tonight with sleet and rain, and continuing all through the upcoming weekend.  It is pouring as I write this post.  So, I bemoaned the fact that another weekend would be lost to ugly weather, and decided to take advantage of last weekend’s back-to-back sunny days.  It didn’t matter that the wind chill hovered in the teens when I went out – it was sunny and dry and that was all that mattered.

So, I layered up and made the most of those sunny days and meandered around five different parks.  I walked 6 ½ miles each day, maybe closer to 7 miles on Saturday.  I took tons of pictures – way too many pictures in fact.  Admittedly, it is too easy to click away a second or third time just because the seagull took a different pose on the boardwalk railing, or maybe even wiggled an eyebrow at me (if indeed seagulls have eyebrows).  I cannot tell you how many different photos I came home with last week as I studied Harry the Heron’s feather configuration which, thanks to the wind, gave him a definite punk rock look.  Back in the days of using a film camera, two entire days of walking and picture-taking would never yield an eighth as many images as I took over the course of these two days – I am still sorting them out and hope I don’t forget any of the little stories that are going to accompany those photos!  I made it my mission to enjoy those two days to the fullest.

The sunny weather brought out a handful of folks who preferred a walk in the marsh to a trudge through the mall.  I went to five different parks over Saturday and Sunday and met some nice fellow nature lovers and will share some conversations and nature-related pictures I took over the next few weeks … how about I intersperse those posts with some Christmas posts?

I hate being inconsistent and doing three posts in as many days, then no posts, but I was scrambling the past few days as well.  My boss was in meetings all day Monday, so I went off on errands and grocery shopping, making it my mission to finish any running around for the rest of this year.

I made it back to Council Point Park yesterday and today, though this morning I barely made it there on time to get back to work.  My alarm did not go off this morning … oh, it wasn’t broken, I tested it later today.  I just forgot to pull it last night.  (And how many years have I been getting up to an alarm clock in the morning?)  So, I scrambled to get ready and out the door, not very well put together, but I don’t think the squirrels care … at least they didn’t let on they noticed!

I have a new trick up my sleeve with my furry pals.  I knew last week I’d be going to Lake Erie Metropark, Elizabeth Park, Heritage Park, Bishop Park and Dingell Park and would not be there to feed them, so last Friday I showed Parker and his pals a new place where I can stash peanuts … the water fountain at Council Point Park has never worked and so I dumped some nuts in there for them.  The cement base that supports the water fountain is porous enough for tiny paws to climb up and hold on, then the platform up top is perfect for sitting and eating those peanuts.

drinking fountain and stubby

You must give our squirrels friends some credit here … it took me just ONE time of having Parker and his buddies watch what I did with those peanuts.   I did this exercise again Tuesday morning, and this morning, the peanuts were gone and they were waiting by the fountain for me.  (Better than waiting in the parking lot.)

drinking fountain whole

Also, every day I have been saving a couple of peanuts to toss to a little gray squirrel in the neighborhood just before I come into the house after my walk.  Since I ran errands on Monday, I returned home to find this gray squirrel sitting on the porch patiently awaiting my return.  I felt so badly!  Obviously he was waiting for me to return from my walk and I was several hours later than my usual time.  He had a sad face and I went scurrying into the house for a treat for him.  I am always a sucker for a cute squirrel and he got about ten peanuts … yesterday and today, he was waiting when I returned from walking so I guess we have established a rapport and routine between us.  I just bought six more bags of peanuts at the grocery store Monday, some peanuts which will be destined to go to this guy who I think I’ll name “Grady” as that name works nicely with “gray squirrel” and “Go-Getter” doesn’t roll off the tongue so well.

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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40 Responses to All the leaves are brown …

  1. What a wonderful post, Linda. Describing the leaves, the rain, running around shopping and blogging and then stopping. I like that. I also like consistency. I don’t like changes too often. I hope your squirrel friends do find through this wet season. I wonder: how do they protect themselves from the cold, snow and rain? Nature is amazing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thanks Martha – I am glad you liked it. I felt like I was just scrambling around for four days trying to catch up. I kept thinking I would do a little recap of my weekend on Sunday night and the time just got away from me … I have a few cute pics and little stories to tell and will break them up and include them in posts down the road. I am glad I found some alternatives to feed those squirrels at the Park. I also leave peanuts, and have left the pumpkins and apples as well, on the picnic tables, and they are covered under the pavilion, but there will be snowy and icy days that I don’t get down there, so hopefully they have taken some of their nuts stash up to the nest with them as it will be rough digging in the ground under the snow. They will stay up in their nests in the really bad weather and only venture down to the ground level to forage for food and dig up the peanuts they buried over the past few months. They stay huddled together in the nest to stay warm … they sleep close to retain body heat. This little guy was so cute sitting there on the front porch – I thought to myself, what if he had missed me coming home and was sitting there all day? I can feed him out the front door if necessary.
      Nature is amazing and always makes me smile. It is pouring hard now and maybe will turn into some snow, a coating to an inch perhaps – ugh … hate Winter, but I can deal with the cold, just not the precip. Now they are saying it may not be as crummy the entire weekend. Weather folks get alot of wiggle room sometimes!

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  2. Great post Linda! The Mamas & The Papas are a favorite group of mine. I can’t imagine living in such harsh conditions. Lucky for the squirrels to have you help them make it through the winter. I hate it when I don’t wake up on time too! Throws off your entire day! Stay warm and safe with all your winter weather! ☃️

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thanks Sabine – The Mamas and The Papas were one of my favorite groups as well. Like them, I could be California dreamin’ in this cold weather; we have a warm-up in the next week after all this cold weather, almost to 50 degrees a couple of days. The weather is just crazy. As long as it is dry, I’ll just deal with the cold weather and layer up. I was really aggravated by waking up late – just like you, it threw off my entire day too!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I so enjoyed reading your post. It is great that you found a way to leave treats for our beautiful friends. I admire your works.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. If someone goes to get a drink and sees peanuts, that would be funny. 🙂 If the squirrels don’t eat them quickly, or take them, crows will have a feast.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Yes, they’d sure do a double take. 🙂 I have not seen them turn on that water fountain since I’ve been walking there. I saw a bird alight in the fountain once and hurried over with my camera thinking there may be water pooled in the bottom after the rain and a bath was forthcoming, but it was dry. I don’t know what it was looking for. Not everyone puts peanuts in the water fountain for safekeeping for the squirrels. This new squirrel hanging around my house is very funny – I imagine him (or her) spotting those peanuts and thinking “nobody else knows about these and I’m not telling anyone!” We don’t usually have gray squirrels – they are similar to the black squirrels to me – very quick on their feet and a little skittish.

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  5. Mackenzie says:

    These are definitely the pictures of winter, and yet you still manage to capture them so beautifully!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Laurie says:

    Linda, did you ever read “The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill”? Your writing about your relationship with the squirrels reminds me so much of that book. You should write a book about your squirrel study! You could call it “The Wild Squirrels fo Council Point Park”! You have such good rapport with them, you understand them so well, and your observations are so interesting and easy to read.

    And now I’m going to be singing “California Dreaming” in my head for the rest of the evening!

    Liked by 2 people

    • lindasschaub says:

      No, I have not read that book Laurie – it sounds interesting and I’m going to jot down the name. I do like catering to them and when they come running over it does make me feel good. I thought I’d try the drinking fountain for the peanuts to leave them there in case I wasn’t back the next day. I mentioned it to the other walkers thinking they may make a “drop” as well, but no one seemed interested to do that … I’ll work on them! And this squirrel by my house – he is timid yet and a little skittish, but bold enough to sit on the porch and wait for me to return home and get his treat. I was hours late on Monday and there he was – I felt badly. I know you’ll have an ear worm – I always liked that song and we could use some California sun coming our way for sure!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Ann Marie stevens says:

    Dear Ms. “Go-Getter”……………………………….that’s what you are………………………..it was a nice warm sunny day today for a great walk…………………………….early this morning though……………………..the black-top was very icy to walk on

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Hi Ann Marie – Walking these days is like “seize the day” … or “seize the moment” … yesterday I expected NOT to go as it had been raining and below freezing; I waited until it hit the 33-degree mark as I worried about black ice … you were walking earlier than me, so you got the dreaded black ice. I waited and got a walk in, just in the neighborhood though, too late to head to the Park by then. Lucky you – you can go to the treadmill in the exercise room at the apartment, catch the morning news or talk shows, and get your steps in at the same time. I’m staying home today … too foggy and rainy for me this morning.

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  8. ruthsoaper says:

    Now this will be my song of the day. Love the Mamas and Papas. 🙂 It certainly won’t be “It’s Beginning To Look a Lot Like Christmas” LOL.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      I love them too Ruth. I’ve left you with an ear worm as I did to myself when I listed to the song on YouTube before writing the post. I bet I could use old song titles for my posts at least a few times a week because they seem to fit so well! I hear we will not have a white Christmas which is okay with me as I’m no snow fan, but I do understand people want it just for the day … so one day is fine, then it can go away again. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Shelley says:

    You made excellent choices this week (way to put on the miles!!). Your post is full of fun rewards for all to read and enjoy, and those lucky little furry friends enjoyed your visits. They no doubt recognize your kindness! xx

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Wow I can’t imagine walking that far every day! I just told my husband the other day that when we retire we need to start walking. You are an inspiration! Oh and I am going to buy stock in peanuts…😂🤣😂🤣😂🤣

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      I think you will like a walking regimen – and get your husband to blog about the walking. One of the bloggers I follow is a retired teacher. She is an avid runner. Her husband runs too, and he is retiring this month after 40 years of working. They both like being outside – running, bike riding, etc. so they will have an enviable new life, plus they will travel, visit grandchildren and family, plus they have their enjoyable exercise regimens. This is something we can look forward to Diane. All those years of working – this will be our reward. Get those peanuts – there will be lots of takers. Even this little squirrel near my house – already he is an every day visitor … he says to himself “how lucky I am she discovered me!” 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • We still have about 7 years to go but like you we have many gorgeous Metropark’s for walking. It seems like that day will never get here..lol I doubt I could ever do 7 miles a day! I have a better chance now that both knees are replaced though!

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        Wow double knee replacements. There is a fellow blogger and she had both knees replaced and she is in her 70s and walks every day with her husband. I think they do three miles but still … just start out small. I started out in 2011 with just one City block and gradually increased a little at a time … I only walk 6 or more on a weekend and it was very cold last week, which was actually better than walking in the extreme heat – I am no fan of the humidity. The Metroparks are gorgeous. I had not been to Lake Erie Metropark since late September as there are so many car-deer accidents in October and November, so I held off as it is quite rural there. I still have a while to go to retire as well – I have another 4 1/2 years to go. And, yes, it does seem like that day will never come!

        Liked by 1 person

  11. You forgot the part about “I’d be safe and WARM if I was in LA” I always think of that song in November. You will be proud of me Linda….I have walked the past 3 days in a row….only 30 minutes around the neighbourhood but it’s a start…..see how you inspire people. Did not see a single squirrel however. You do have those squirrels well-trained, and it doesn’t take long for them to figure out the new place. Your last comment to me when to the SPAM folder again so I won’t reply to it here, but will wait until after I get an answer from WordPress as to why that is happening.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      I am glad I inspired you Joan and that is how I started, walking around one neighborhood block, then started going another block every day, increasing just a little so you don’t get shin splints. Now I hope your weather cooperates so you can go every day and enjoy it before it gets snowy and icy. Did you finish all your Christmas errands so you can go on a walk daily and have some spare time to write some Christmas posts? Sorry you didn’t see any squirrels – I will have to take some pictures of my new little friend, but he doesn’t come very close as he is quite skittish. He watches from afar and then waits til I go inside. That’s okay for now – he is not trusting humans. There are lots of walkers at the Park, so the squirrels are used to sharing their “space” … the black and gray squirrels are smaller and skinnier and much more timid than the larger Fox squirrels like Parker and his pals. This little guy is cute and I put out some peanuts this morning – I didn’t walk this morning, nor go out of the house. I did my Christmas cards as I am usually done with them long ago, but did them and put them in a bag in my mailbox … I put out some peanuts on the porch and tossed some in front of the house from where I was standing on the porch … when I looked out this afternoon to see if the mail lady took my cards, all the peanuts were gone. I wonder why my comment went to SPAM – I have had three legitimate comments go to SPAM in the last week, however, I’ve noticed that I have far less SPAM than usual. Remember I mentioned I had all the sports gear SPAMS – maybe 15-20 a day? You said maybe they target me because of the walking. All of a sudden there are 2 or 3 daily which is fine with me.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I walk about 20-30 minutes which is enough to start with. I don’t get much spam, maybe one a week, but I will contact a Happiness Engineer as I don’t know why your legitimate comments are going into my spam folder – the one that was there was about Xmas decorations – I don’t put much up outside either, a wreath on the front and back doors and a few partridges in my birch tree…..but the new neighbour at the end of my street has over 30 of those awful inflatable balloon things – talk about overkill – I tried to count them one day and stopped at 30 – plus a whole bunch of other stuff – yes, I am a firm believer in “less is more.” It’s so bright at that end of the street their neighbours are complaining they can’t sleep! The weather looks good for walking for the next week…..so hopefully I can keep it up. I wrote a Toyland blog yesterday, and posted it this am…but the Dickens one will have to wait until Monday….I am thinking about how to do it as it will be too long and I may have to split it into parts, but it is good to be writing again, as I had about a 3 week break and felt rusty!

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        I hate those inflatables and in the past have done walkarounds for the neighborhoods and the street with the nice houses on Emmons Boulevard and spotlighted their Halloween or Christmas decorations … the inflatables, especially when mixed with regular decorations is a look I just don’t understand. Thirty is definitely overkill. We have a little fog this morning but getting better. I am behind in Reader – I went to bed earlier as the midnight bedtime was just too late for me (and two nights at 1:00 a.m. was really not good) but now I am behind. I have a few Christmas-type posts to do this weekend … hope your weather stays good and you can keep the regimen up. I know you will love it and take your camera with you!! (So I made this comment and my internet went out … 1/2 hour or so ago … I removed my comment, put it in my notes, and rebooted the computer … it had two long updates and I had to wait for it to configure – unbelievable … now going to reply while the going is good … I would have just stayed off here, but I always check in a work first thing every a.m., even on weekends. The fog is dissipating but it is damp and ugly outside – ugh.)

        Liked by 1 person

  12. I think he played you like a stradivarius!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      I think so too Wayne – he appealed to me the first time, I fell for it and he said to himself “another sucker – those humans can’t resist when I show up, sit on my haunches and put on my cutest face I can muster – it works every time!!” Having introduced Grady here, I now hope I can get a picture of this elusive little squirrel.

      Like

      • Grady is a great name Linda!

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        Glad you like his name Wayne – I thought it sounded good with “gray” … however, I put out more peanuts when I came home Sunday, went out this morning, still there; came home after walking, still there, hmmm. He’s either not hungry or went home for the holidays. Maybe tomorrow? At the Park today, Harry caught another fish and a walker told me that there are three herons and that is because the shad are running. I said “shad is a fish – how big?” He said they are small and white. I Googled and there are different kinds of shad. Have to read up on this some more because yesterday, when there was four of us watching the heron fishing (people stopped when I was stopped to see what I was looking at), and one of the guys mentioned all the dead fish in the Creek last week and asked if I saw them. He said they were floating on the surface of the water. I said “no”- I asked him if he thought they died because the Creek was frozen over because it was so cold? He said the City probably dumped something in there. I know the City does do that sometimes – I know it is not nice, but they do. So yesterday I saw about 50 seagulls up in the air, and on the water. I never see seagulls do anything but swoop onto the water, then they go back in the air again. In fact, I saw the seagulls at a glance and wondered what they were and I knew they weren’t Pekin ducks. Never saw seagulls sitting in the water before. So I said to this guy this morning – is that why the seagulls were in the water like a duck … they were eating the fish? He said probably. That’s why the heron was so lucky yesterday. So then the guy says the dead fish was because they had spawned and then they died. I said “in December?” I’m going to research later and I’ve never heard of shad and it sounds like they are feeder fish. I like to hear all the stories of what people see versus what I see and tie it all together.

        Like

      • excellent work Linda! Your becoming sharper in your focus (pun intended).
        Many Gulls sit upon the water here.I watch for the spot where they are all flying about.That means directly below there are bait fish ( a collective term used for all small fish) & if the those bait fish are close to the waters surface that means something is heading them.Usually a Sea Lion or Harbour Seals.I move in with camera in hand waiting for someone to poke their head up.
        So,I’ve found that Gulls can tell me where some action is happening…..after all they have a birds eye view!

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        Thanks Wayne and I feel like I want to know the story behind everything so piecing together different accounts gives me more insight. The people at the Park yesterday were a different crowd as I was there much later than usual due to the fog and I took the car for a spin, plus I did something special for the birds and squirrels which I’ll write about closer to Christmas – I haven’t looked at the pictures yet, I’m watching how quickly they eat it and will monitor as it goes down … the weather will be getting wet and maybe some snow so waiting til Christmas wasn’t going to work so well. So I was later with these seed treats for them, so I lugged that to the picnic tables and set it out. I bet those are the same types of baiter fish that the heron is getting … he wouldn’t be able to swallow a large fish. So, the heron is at the same place as yesterday (where I saw him there twice) and he was staring at the water. I saw the seagulls overhead again today … almost swarming, but 1/2 in the air/half in the water. I was amazed at the seagulls sitting. A first for me. What do you make of all the dead fish floating on the water?
        I wonder if the seagulls or heron would eat dead fish like the bears do? If they were floating on the surface they’d be easily accessible. There was a post on the Detroit Audubon Facebook page over the weekend that someone spotted a cackling goose – I thought of you with your cackling goose with the the I.D. band – they had no pictures posted though. And someone posted pics of Tundra swans at Point Mouilee (about 6 miles from Lake Erie Metropark) and I said we didn’t have them around here. When I went to Point Mouilee I only saw water locusts and cat tails – there was no waterfowl there that day.

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      • the only way anyone could tell whats happened to the fish is for them to be looked at by a professional. Fish die for many reasons.Low DO (dissolved)oxygen) is probably one of the most common reasons.
        Btw,I cannot believe that the city would pour anything harmful into the water.Being found out would cost them millions in lawyer fees alone!

        Like

      • lindasschaub says:

        I was doubtful that the frozen water killed the fish, as I have that blurry picture from last Winter of the heron catching a fish … it was across the Creek and snowing like crazy, but I saw him “fishing” and tried to take his picture. I just searched for the article online – I follow the local paper on Facebook as I no longer buy the newspaper. I knew the story had something to do with sewage and because I always look in the Creek while I am walking along on the path. I noticed the color right away. It was treated sewage and they did it to avoid flooding people’s basements and it was okayed to do so by the MIchigan Department of Environmental Equality. It has happened a couple of times and this was the most-recent episode. So, it is allowed, and is treated sewage. I would guess they know about turtles and fish and waterfowl at the Ecorse Creek if MDEQ is involved. Someone comes to take water samples there from time to time – I’ve been down there and seen them doing it and you know me – I ask questions. That’s how I found out they sprayed the grass with grape concentrate to deter the geese from grazing after their goslings fledge. This is the story: http://www.thenewsherald.com/news/treated-sewage-water-released-into-ecorse-creek-to-alleviate-flooding/article_febb7162-1d08-5256-aa70-4ffd99410d7c.html

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      • this happened November 22. I don’t think you’d be seeing any fish dead from that now.

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      • lindasschaub says:

        No, this was actually last year and there was an instance in April of this year as well, but I just sent you the November link as it was a little more comprehensive. This article in April states that other cities release into the Rouge River. The Ecorse Creek runs through other cities besides Lincoln Park, but there it is not a Park like ours, however the flooding was a serious issue a few years ago and I don’t know if people received a settlement or the matter is pending but there was to be a class action lawsuit against the City … we had an all-day rain and basements all over SE Michigan were flooded bigtime. We got new storm sewers on our street in 1990 so we were unscathed, but it had happened to us in 1969 … big mess in the basement and lost some items due to flood damage. http://www.thenewsherald.com/news/treated-sewage-water-released-into-ecorse-creek-rouge-river-to/article_e7ed2f96-1df3-59a9-9387-79cf8a0738b3.html

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  13. Glad Parker and pals kniw where to get the peanuts from when you are not there. They are so clever 😁. Looking forward to hearing more about Grady too x

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Those squirrels are smarter than most people think. They follow my every move and the other walkers too since more and more of them are doling out peanuts these days. Grady is a sweetie and this morning I stayed home a little longer as we were supposed to have some freezing rain last night and I didn’t want to venture out until I knew it was about 32 degrees. Suddenly I remembered Grady whom I usually put out the peanuts for as I leave for my walk. I went to the front door and opened it and had peanuts with me – there he was looking at me expectantly. So I ran and got the camera, hoping he wouldn’t budge an inch while I was gone – I threw out enough peanuts to entice him to stay. He ran and hid every one, one at a time! I’m looking forward to tomorrow morning and seeing those pictures. Hope they came out. He is much smaller than Parker – the black and gray squirrels are smaller, thinner and move faster.

      Like

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