Pink cheeks, peanuts and … imposters!

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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 …

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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He sniffed, but acted a little odd and then he ran away again.  I said “suit yourself” and I left.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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 Pink cheeks, peanuts and … imposters!

  1. alison41 says:

    What luxuriant bushy tails the squirrels have! and they appear to be fat & flourishing, but maybe its because they’ve fluffed up their fur for warmth? enchanting pics. thank you. In the Company Gardens, in the centre of Cape Town CBD, squirrels live in the oak trees, and boldly beg for snacks (cannily sold by vendors at the entrance) but our squirrels are much thinner and minus the gorgeous bushy tails. I’m not sure if they’re an African breed of squirrel (we do have them but only found in the bush) or perhaps the city squirrels are descendants of the European animal.

    Liked by 3 people

    • lindasschaub says:

      Hi Alison – because we are so cold here, Mother Nature provides the squirrels an extra layer of fat and more fur as it begins to get cold, so, even though they do like begging for and eating nuts, part of the reason they are so fat is courtesy of Mother Nature. Those vendors are smart to sell peanuts for the squirrels – everyone loves to feed them. It could be since your weather is so warm, they don’t get all the extra fur and fat – my boss was visiting Capetown this very week last year. I remember him telling me how warm it was, while we were going through a real brutal cold and snowy spell at the same time.

      Liked by 1 person

    • elmara says:

      The squirrels in the company gardens in Cape Town, were imported by Cecil John Rhodes and are the European grey squirrels, not endemic to South Africa at all.

      Liked by 2 people

      • lindasschaub says:

        We have mostly the larger red squirrels (Fox squirrels) here in Southeast Michigan. This little gray squirrel, that I’ve nicknamed Grady, is very cute and is fairly new to the neighborhood. He is so tiny and timid compared to the larger squirrels … we have very few gray squirrels, but we have a lot of black squirrels as well. They are small like the gray squirrels. I come from Canada and we only had black squirrels there.

        Like

  2. susieshy45 says:

    Great Squirrelly post written for fellow squirrel lovers. The squirrels look happy and contended today. Impy, the impostor is shy, so that should have reminded you. Yes, his nose is blacker than Parker’s, who is our favourite. They love those nutty biscuits. Glad it was a sunny day for your walk and glad the squirrels came down for some exercise. A little sad seeing PArker’s hungry dance- God knows how many days he might have not eaten. What do these creatures do when there is no one to feed them ?
    Our days are cold. We were provided two blazers by our university all monogrammed and all. I am really happy getting these freebies.
    Susie

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    • lindasschaub says:

      Hi Susie – I knew you, a fellow squirrel lover, would enjoy these. I should have known this imposter, Impy, as not the “real deal” but then I thought I’d not seen Parker much during the last week (the weekend before I was there late in the day both days) and Friday was the only day I was at the Park, so I thought maybe it was just being aloof. I should have realized that dark nose – you think that these squirrels all look alike, but this one was an imposter. Glad I met up with Parker and yes he was a little mnore aggressive than usual to get peanuts. He could see the bag in my pocket … a couple of times he tried leaping up, and I stepped back … it is difficult in the Winter, as you know, as you’re fumbling with gloves and I was trying to balance the cup of cookies, bag of peanuts, camera and my gloves … I’m betting your blazers are a wool blend, so will look good and keep you warm … doesn’t it seem like you and I were just complaining about the oppressive heat. Our heat was not as bad as yours but that humid air in August … today we have 16 degrees (-8C) so it’ll take 15 minutes to bundle up.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. The squirrels looks so happy, and it’s such a beautiful day as well. Great walk!

    Like

  4. Fred Bailey says:

    How I envy your ability to find bliss with your furry friends in your parks. Good on you!
    Fred

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thanks Fred – I feel sometimes that the daily walk at this Park is like a mini getaway from it all, and the interaction with the critters, both furry and feathered, is the best part of the day for me.

      Like

  5. I was always impressed that you knew which one was Parker. I think I can identify two squirrels that come to my feeder. One has a lot of white on the backs of his ears, and the other is darker. Who knows? There could be five of each, and I’m feeding ten squirrels instead of two.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Actually I was going by Parker’s actions as he is like my shadow … he used to follow around behind me and people at the Park would get a kick out of it because he would be walking at my heels, very obediently and some of his pals would be following him. I don’t see him do that as much anymore, as he will run over to see me when I get there, usually at the entrance of the Park, sometimes across the street, and if I am not quick enough (now with coats and gloves instead of just reaching into my fanny pack) he gets impatient and he’ll start dancing around my feet or stepping on my shoes. But I messed up with the first squirrel – he did a similar routine – his markings were too dark. Stubby makes it easy – he is missing half his tail!You are funny – yes you could be feeding a passel of them. Marge/my mom and I had a squirrel, which we named Sammy and he spent a lot of time hanging around looking for treats – he ravaged bird feeders, anything he could get his paws on he decided was his. We fed him only once and he was “our squirrel” forever. The neighbor across the street had a coffee can of peanuts in his garage – he had a workshop in there and after he retired, he would raise the garage door and go into the workshop every day to piddle around … a squirrel wandered in there and he went in and got it a treat and next time he/wife were at the grocery store, got some peanuts and put them in this coffee can. Every day he was allotted one peanuts. One day the neighbor gave him the peanut, and his wife called and he went into the house … the squirrel opened the lid and spilled all the peanut on the floor and was happily sitting in the middle munching them.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Your pictures are always so beautiful! What kind of camera do you use?

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thanks Diane – the heron in this picture was across the Creek and I was pleased how close-up I got him. About 90 percent of the time I use a digital compact camera … it is a Canon PowerShot ELPH 340 HS and it is small so I always carry it with me. I love this camera and it has 12X zoom, so easy to use and I find it takes better pictures than the DSLR I bought last Summer. That might be user error on my part as I have to learn how to use the DSLR on manual settings instead of automatic, and I keep resorting to this little Canon. I have always used Canon cameras and never had a complaint with this brand.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Awww. You have to love squirrels. They know how to work us.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Eliza says:

    Oh my gosh. I could watch that slideshow for hours!! You’re so lucky!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Today I saw a bird on top of the tree. You know when you have a tree and perched right on top is a little bird. On the tree next to it were 2 more birds. I wanted to take pictures (but didn’t for I’d have had to zoom and my zoomed pictures are blurred). Then I decided that I didn’t need to take pictures, for the awesomeness of that bird who was there just to say hi to me. It really was just for me that bird! There was no nest there. And in the 3 minutes it took me to walk up the road it remained there, flapping it’s wings slightly but right on top of the world. The awesomeness would remain in my mind even if I don’t memorialise it with a picture.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thanks Eliza – glad this comment didn’t go to SPAM – last week they were going there and remember I had one comment of mine go to SPAM – we are not SPAMMY people, just sayin’. The nice thing about nature is that sometimes you feel it is happening just for your eyes only. I saw that cardinal and blue jay the other day at the remote area of that nature preserve. The blue jay was hiding, the cardinal was eyeing me warily but would not come down – it is like I could feel their presence … and watching carefully, just as soon as I left, he must have swooped down for the peanut. At least your birds stayed there for you to see. The slideshow was funny – he does that little dance if I don’t see him first and give him peanuts – is he spoiled? And he seems to think it is okay to put his feet on my shoes, and if that does not grab my attention, well by all means – start climbing up my pants … he sees them in the Ziploc bag in my pocket. It made my day, like your birds made yours.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. You win the 🏆 for braving those temperatures Linda!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. pjlazos says:

    Lucky squirrel!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Laurie says:

    So funny! Now there is a Parker1 and a Parker2!!! An imposter. No wonder he wants to impersonate Parker; he wants the extra treats you heap on your favorite! It’s amazing, but I think animals can “lie” to us. My dog Benji does it to get extra treats.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      I think we stand out as “soft touches” sometimes. I was miffed at myself for not recognizing it, but had to hand it to the imposter that he was that clever to worm in and get the same treatment as Parker1.

      Like

  12. Mackenzie says:

    Isn’t it funny how temperature is just all relative?! When living in Indiana people were wearing shorts in 30 degree weather after a winter when the wind chill took the temp to feeling like -30! Thanks for sharing the cute little Parker

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Very true Mackenzie! And sometimes people want to be able to say “can you believe I sported shorts in mid-Winter?” No shorts in our upcoming forecast though … 4-8 inches of snow this Saturday and another 6 inches on Tuesday and (if that wasn’t bad enough) a Polar Vortex! That Parker is a cutie – I will have to indulge him in extra peanuts this morning and tomorrow morning.

      Like

  13. I love that there was an imposter trying to take Parkers limelight 😂. I wonder if they communicate with each other and all pass on secret signals to each other to alert them all to when the lovely treat lady is near 😁

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Yes, I was surprised I didn’t notice that right away Zena as his nose was so dark and Parker’s is not – other than that, most all red Fox squirrels do look alike. I wonder about the secret signals, however, I’m more inclined to think that they see others get treats and decide “I can act cute and get treats too!”

      Like

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