Squirrels, sunshine and Saturday bliss.

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We couldn’t have asked for a brighter or more beautiful Saturday, despite the fact that it was only 13 degrees F (-10C) with a “real feel” of -5 degrees F (-20C) and it was windy to boot.  I bundled up in multiple layers, and, with a brand-new bag of peanuts in hand, I set out for the Park.  I figured that Thursday’s rain and mild temps had wiped out the ¼ inch of ice we got the day before, but I wore my hiking boots anyway and was pleased to find I didn’t need them and I got four miles walked today.

Before I left, I tried to get a photo op with Grady and his friend, but I was surprised they didn’t show up … maybe they sleep in on Saturdays.  So much for that idea.  No worries … one or both had stopped by, as evidenced by a trail of peanut shells and redskin chaff they left behind.

I drove to Council Point Park to give the car a run and surprisingly the parking lot was empty.  No diehard walkers today?  So, for the first hour I was there, I had the Park to myself … oh, and about 15 or 20 squirrels too.

Unlike the warmer weather, when Parker meets me in the parking lot, or the beginning of the trail, there was no welcoming committee this morning.  I thought to myself “well, you’ve stayed away since last Sunday and they probably thought you abandoned them.”

Well banish that thought as the first furry friend, came bounding over to see me moments later.  It was none other than Parker, who planted his little body in front of me and looked up as if to say “so, don’t hold back – where are my peanuts?”

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For Parker, it’s peanuts first, THEN a photo op and that’s because I’ve indulged him since day one.  But this morning, I got my photo of him taken before he could protest.

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Today, there was no carting away of peanuts to hide as he was clearly aware the ground was too frozen to find any long-buried nuts or other treasures squirreled away, long before this deep freeze set in.  About the only place the squirrels could hide peanuts now would be in the large area of mulch that is under the playground equipment in the center of the Park.  I wonder if any of them thought of that?

I gave Parker his treats and I knew he would be in peanut nirvana.  I was carrying a plastic bag on my arm to reach in for peanuts, so I shook it, guaranteed to stir the senses of each and every squirrel who might have missed “The Peanut Lady” as she started on the trail.

I had to laugh, as rattling that bag of peanuts did the trick, and soon at least ten squirrels were beating a path across the soccer field to see me.  I now know that squirrels may have better hearing than eyesight.

The bitter cold temperature and a stiff wind made it difficult to dispense peanuts while trying to take pictures. I had on gloves with liners and they kept getting caught in the camera strap, and jockeying around the bag and keeping it away from all the ground-level shots, while feeding my furry friends was difficult.  I came home with lots of shots of squirrels missing tails and snouts.

These squirrels were chasing one another in this tall tree, two silhouettes on the bare branches against a flawless blue sky.

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They saw me and quickly began their long descent to ground level.  Watching them almost made me dizzy as their sharp claws expertly carried them down the bark.

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They arrived at the base of the tree, then came racing over as they skidded to a stop and both eyed the pile of nuts placed near my feet.  I was hoping for a photo op of the pair cozying up to my boots, but that didn’t happen.  They each ate a few nuts, then took a few “to go” … only “to go” didn’t work out so well, when one squirrel tried to bury a peanut …

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… and quickly realized the ground was too frozen to do that task.  Note the sheepish look on his face, as he wondered if anyone was watching him.  Priceless!

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These same two squirrels paused a few moments together, and I got this shot.

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Then they scurried back up the tree to munch contentedly.

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By now, the word was out that I was packing peanuts and every squirrel on site was in close proximity.

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It was so quiet at the Park that I could hear those squirrels cracking the peanuts with their teeth.  Most of them ate on the ground …

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… but others preferred to munch atop a tree branch.

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This past two weeks of harsh weather has taken its toll on the Park.  Even the bushes that line the perimeter path have been stripped of their bright-colored berries, no doubt by the birds or squirrels foraging for precious morsels of food.

The Creek was frozen over completely, and, unlike last week when a small, ice-free area near the storm drain permitted the mallards to paddle around freely, today the area was barren and completely devoid of any waterfowl.  Traces of snow that fell last night stayed on top of some of the icy surface.

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I didn’t even see a single bird flitting around the trees.  How I wish we could fast forward two months when the call of the Red-Winged Blackbird would echo through the reeds and phragmites, tender green leaves would be unfurling and tendrils of ground cover would slowly be filling in the bare spots beneath the trees and bushes.  The ducks would be quacking and the geese would be honking as Spring begins in earnest at Council Point Park.

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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20 Responses to Squirrels, sunshine and Saturday bliss.

  1. susieshy45 says:

    Linda,
    What magnificent pictures and positiv-ity you radiate through this post. Things are looking up for the squirrels. Glad you could feed them. Hope the water fowl are ok. Thanks for doing the four miles and feeding those little munchkins. I liked the sheepish look on that squirrel’s face- was it really sheepish or was it a happy ( its ok) face ?
    Susie

    Liked by 2 people

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thank you Susie – I was happy to get out and walk, given the last two weeks of erratic weather … here in Michigan we got a small reprieve this weekend, but the snow and ice is back later today and tomorrow, so I’ll ensure I get down there to feed them again today. Perhaps I should suggest they take a few peanuts up to their nests and they don’t have to come down to ground level. I liked that one squirrel’s face too … he had been trying to dig and got nowhere as I inched closer to take that first picture, then he popped up and looked at me with that look on its face. Made me smile too.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It is amazing how when it is dry and bright how we all feel better – here’s to continued brighter days.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Laurie says:

    Linda, you are such a good writer. When I read this, I feel like I am right there with you walking in the park and watching the squirrels. I enjoyed seeing the pictures of all of your fine furry friends. You have their emotions down pat! Bill and I took Benji for a long walk yesterday too, but I was not dressed warmly enough for the cold and the wind. I was wishing for a scarf since the neck of my coat is too loose. We couldn’t allow Benj to stop and sniff, we had to keep moving to stay warm. I’m with you on wishing for spring. By this time next month, the crocus should be blooming. I hope!

    Liked by 3 people

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thank you for saying that Laurie – that made my day. I try to match the narrative to the pictures so it flows like you are there. I just posted today’s trek … I hope I succeeded in giving people the flavor of the trip, especially the River because the ice on the Detroit River was just amazing. I could not believe how it was piled up in big chunks like boulders sitting on top of the regular ice. I imagine the only boat that can get through it now is a Coast Guard Ice Cutter. It was bitter cold down at the River, even though I thought I dressed for it. I had those photographer’s gloves on, with liners, but they are not like wool gloves and my fingers felt like ice by the time I got back to the car each time I stopped at the first two parks. I did a squirrels-free post today, but a couple of them came running over to me and ran into each other in their zeal to reach me/the peanuts. One bounced off the other one and hit my leg. I was afraid to look down – he looked a little dazed and I said “are you alright?” (Really – like he was going to give me an answer?) I waited to see.
      Five minutes later he was fine. I didn’t have the camera out when I stopped there as I took so many shots yesterday and they tend to look the same, especially since no snow had fallen since yesterday. Was it you that told me a squirrel fell out of a tree in front of you? A house on the next block always has snow drops coming up in March – I walk that way back and forth to the Park daily and watch for them and I always post a picture as soon as they bloom. He has crocuses too.

      Like

  4. Linda, I love the silhouettes of your friends waiting for you up in the trees! The weather you have just looks brutal! I don’t know how you deal with it every winter. Hopefully spring will spring a little early this year.

    Liked by 2 people

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thanks Sabine – I looked up and saw them there – they were playing until I came along, and that bare tree against the blue sky was just gorgeous wasn’t it? Wait til you see today’s post which I finished a short time ago – the ice on the Detroit River was very impressive. Not shiny ice, but these blocks of ice that look like boulders. I tried to capture how they looked but you really had to see them in person. We have snow/freezing now and tons of accidents out there – we have snow removal equipment and salt and they use brine and we still have accidents. I hope your snow woes are gone soon.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Great pictures! I bet the squirrels are very happy to see you!

    Liked by 3 people

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thanks Kate – watching their antics sometimes, I cannot help but smile. I went back today at the end of my other little treks … they were all over me and the peanut as if I’d not been by in weeks. They must’ve been starved. The ground is still frozen solid and we have two days of icy precip – no trip down there for me until all that mess clears up. Ugh to Winter.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: Book Tag: Two Truths, One Lie | The Captain's Speech

  7. AnnMarie R stevens says:

    Linda…………………..in the middle of replying to your blog last night my computer was hacked by someone…………………..I had no control of my mouse………………….I couldn’t do anything……………….so I called our tech support and was up until 1:30 am……………………but they fixed everything and I’m now able to reply to you……………

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      That is very scary when that happens Anne Marie – this happened to my boss right after we moved and it took our computer guy the better part of a day to fix it. It was malware or spyware and I’m guessing that is what happened to you. They take control of your mouse and keyboard – out of your own control. I’m glad your computer is okay now with no side effects.

      Like

  8. Those blue sky/tree pictures with the squirrels are gorgeous!

    Liked by 2 people

    • lindasschaub says:

      Yes, yesterday was just picture perfect. I originally planned to do today’s trek yesterday but it was even colder yesterday and I knew it would be icy at the River and decided to wait til today. We’ve had so few sunny days this Winter, that any sun and blue sky is welcome!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Mackenzie says:

    Ok ok I think Parker is just showing off now!! I feel like he is working the camera- he is making sure you get his good side, lol! I love “The Peanut Lady”, they just love you- they do a little squirrel cheer when they see you coming, I’m sure!

    Liked by 1 person

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