Today was just a glorious day and I know the folks who live in perpetually warm climates would find it hard to fathom how 23 degrees, with a real feel of 11 degrees (-11 Celsius), could be glorious, but the sun, coupled with the lack of snow and ice, made for a perfect Winter day. My favorite meteorologist keeps saying that we may be enjoying our spate of snow-free days now, but it will eventually impact the boaters because the lake levels will drop. Well he had to go and be a party pooper, didn’t he?
I came home with pink cheeks, though I am certain the cold stained my cheeks a bright pink maybe five minutes after arriving at Council Point Park. Two different walkers asked why my face wasn’t covered? They were wearing full face masks and I saw another woman with a muffler wrapped around her mouth. I just never thought about it, and I do have a face mask from my bus-riding days, but my main concern was keeping my fingers from freezing and also my legs warm. Because I am tall, I buy sweat pants in men’s sizes so I don’t look like I’m waitin’ for the floods. They don’t fit tight to my legs, so on cold mornings like today, the wind rustles up those pant legs – brrr! When layering up for three hours outdoors in frigid weather, I don tights before venturing out.
P.S. – I was smiling most of the time at the Park today, so … if a smile froze in place, that was okay too!
For a while, I’ve suspected there was an imposter in the crowd …
… and today I caught him red-handed, er … red-pawed!
I have been mentioning that the other squirrels were pretty savvy about learning how Parker gets extra treats just for running up to see me, or following me around the Park and I “get” that. In fact, I often see them trying the same tricks … the “woe is me, I need peanuts” look …
or, standing up on their haunches with the “do I smell peanuts?” pose, which is sure to melt my heart, or that of any of the other walkers who regularly feed them.
We are not dumb bunnies – we see what antics will help glean more peanuts.
Today I decided to drive to the Park since it was so cold. I was thinking that short trip would benefit the car, not me, and I’d just make one entire trip around the park (two miles) to compensate for driving, rather than walking.
I pulled up and hopped out of the car. Immediately Parker came bounding over to see me. He had been nosing around under a pine tree and made a bee line for the car.
I said “wait, I’m coming over there because I don’t want you running back and forth across the Park entrance – there’s too many cars!” So, I walked over there to see him, but that rascal ran up into the tree, as you see in the header photo. That was odd I thought, as I’d never seen him up in this tree before? Hmm.
While he was trying to dig into the frozen turf, I sweetened the pot a little by throwing some Nutter Butter minis into his pile.
He sniffed, but acted a little odd and then he ran away again. I said “suit yourself” and I left.
I walked through the parking lot, with a northeast wind slapping me in the face, and my two sets of gloves were doing nothing to help my frozen fingers, which I had exposed while digging around for treats and the camera to take shots of Parker (or whom I had thought was Parker).
So, will the real Parker please stand up?
As I headed across the parking lot, head bent down, like I was crossing a frozen tundra, I felt a presence and saw a squirrel out of the corner of my eye. He came over to see me, his eyes honing in on the bag of peanuts which he spied propped up in my pocket … this was the Parker I know and love, so who was that imposter I handed all the extra treats to?
I sweet talked him, but kept that little nugget to myself, that I had not immediately recognized my furry friend. In fact, later on, when viewing the photos, I saw that especially dark nose on the first squirrel and realized I should have known right away.
So Parker has his ways of getting my attention, either standing on his haunches, or looking me straight in the eye, or this little dance that he does when he sees me … he hops around my feet, or steps on the toes of my walking shoes or boots. Sometimes I am talking to someone, or taking a picture, or I just wasn’t fast enough to give him the peanuts he wants. Usually, when I see him scampering over to see me, I pull out the peanuts and the camera and have it ready. So, this time, he was not going to wait around for small talk – he was hungry and not afraid to show me just how hungry he was as you’ll see in the below slideshow.
As Parker attempted to scale up my sweatpants, I was glad I had the extra layer beneath them. He got his treats and I left him in hog heaven and continued on my walk.
Despite the cold, squirrels were coming out of the woodwork!
Everywhere I looked, squirrels were running along the trail, or I heard claws gripping bark as they left their cozy nests to come to ground level for peanuts. It also just had to be because it was such a sunny day. There were a multitude of squirrels with a myriad of personalities. I know all the squirrels look alike, (most of the time anyway as I have discovered), and, out of this passel of peanut pals, these were my favorite shots of them, like this squirrel coming headfirst down the tree – was he yawning or did he make a misstep and was saying OMG?
The entire Park came alive with the sun’s rays today. The sky was a brilliant blue and the Creek, frozen over, looked like the surface was glass, especially where there were reflections from the trees that line the Creek banks. I took a few pictures of the icy conditions around the Park and will share them in a separate post … I now have quite a stack of photos and a trio of tales to be woven together for future posts.