The seasons are sparring.

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Winter refuses to depart and keeps leaving its calling card behind.  Like this morning, when I went outside and it was 22 degrees F (-5 C) with a northeast wind making a “real feel” in the teens (-10 C or so).  That bit of ugliness, along with 1½ inches (3.8 cm) of snow made me know that March exited like a lion, just like it arrived.

Because the traffic reporter mentioned much slipping and sliding, I figured a walk was out of the question and I’d just hustle in and out to run the car  in the garage.  But, when I opened the door to feed my “porch pals” the pavement was clear and dry, although ice was on the porch and snow was on the grass.

I made a spur-of-the-moment-decision to head to the Park, packed up some peanuts and layered up (but not enough) and decided to head out.

But, first I needed to tend to my furry and feathered pals out front.

Hail, hail … the gang’s all here

… or most of them anyway.

The “porch pals” have provided some smiles and plenty of fodder for my blog.  Those of you that have been following this blog for a while, know that one morning last Fall, I returned from walking and had two peanuts left in the Ziploc bag.  A cute gray squirrel caught my eye and I offered him the remaining peanuts.  He was too timid to approach me, so I tossed them onto the cement and that met with his approval and he scrambled over to eat them.  I went into the house, but little did I know this would cause a routine that has existed for nearly six months and kind of snowballed.

The next morning I found this cutie pie on my porch.  I had taken the car and run some errands and was later than usual and there he sat on his haunches, obviously waiting for me.  So, how long was this poor little squirrel waiting?  Of course, I gave him peanuts, even extra ones to reward him for his wait.  Soon he was there like clockwork every morning, rain or shine, snow or sleet – he is like the mail carriers.

I called him Grady the Gray Squirrel and just like it is hard to keep a secret without someone discovering it and seizing the info, Grady soon found himself sharing peanuts with a Fox squirrel (like Parker), who was twice his size.  For a while I put the peanuts up high on a brick ledge, thinking Grady was more agile due to his small size, but the Fox squirrel soon learned to scale those bricks just as easily.

But, it was not just the two squirrels that beat a path to my porch.  As Winter settled in, soon a pair of cardinals and a pair of jays were helping themselves to peanuts as well.  Now, we have also added a couple of black squirrels to the mix in the past few weeks.

It’s been fun and a break in the monotony of Winter to open the front door every morning to see four birds in my neighbor’s tree and squirrels slinking down from their nests and racing over to grab some peanuts.  The squirrels do their share of pacing if I am later than usual (like yesterday), but the jays simply don’t tolerate tardiness.  They may be singing when I open the door and immediately start screeching, which I’ve not decided if that is berating me, or calling to their peers that breakfast has just been served.  The savvy birds  have mastered the art of “swoop and swipe” and usually grab the biggest bounty of peanuts much to the chagrin of the poor squirrels.

Transparency is good … most of the time.

One of the buzzwords floating around these days is “transparency” and this morning, when I decided to capture some shots of my porch pals for today’s post, I realized transparency was not working to my advantage at all.

I opened the door and tossed out about a dozen peanuts, just as I do every day.  I lay them on the ledge near the door and also under the door stoop.  That way the porch pals can disappear into the bushes if any danger looms, like a hawk.

So, I watched and waited, camera in hand for the gang to show up.  Unfortunately, the storm door glass started frosting up almost immediately.  I had to run into the kitchen to grab a paper towel to wipe it clear.  When I returned, not more than 30 seconds later, I saw a flash of red, blue and black … the male cardinal and blue jay did a fly by, each with a peanut and the black squirrel was hauling his booty away.

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I called out:  “Wait a minute – come back here!  What about my photo op with you guys?”

But my words fell on deaf ears.  The cardinal was already munching his peanut high up in my neighbor’s tree.

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Then he, and the female, (whom you really couldn’t see as she blended in with the background), proceeded to stare me down, waiting for me to close the door, so they felt safe.  They, of course, did not realize that glass separated us.  I figured that little gem out after standing there for about 15 minutes.

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I also took note of Grady and one black squirrel watching me from afar, although the black squirrel had raced down, grabbed a peanut and took it back up to his tree to enjoy.

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Finally I shut the door, a little exasperated, and got ready to go out.  By the time I went around the house, just a couple of peanuts remained, but, even with my camera handy, there were no takers.  “Well that’s a bummer” I thought and went into the garage to get the car.  When I went to close the garage door, the black squirrel, who I’ve named “Soot” came around from the side, thinking I was gone.  I wish I had captured the look of panic on his face – it was “OMG … I thought you were gone already!”  I purposely stood back and urged him to go to the porch.  He did, even though I am sure his heart was still pounding a mile a minute.  He got a pair of peanuts and I was lucky to get a pair of photos of him. Check out the two-fisted peanut eating.

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Poor Soot has “mange” and is missing a lot of his fur, but he sure was lively.

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The jays were missing in action, as was the Fox squirrel.  But what WAS hanging about, much to my dismay, was a huge hawk that glided ever so slowly overhead as I was backing out of the driveway.  I’ve not seen any hawks in a few months and now I’ll worry about my porch pals being targets for the hawk.  They can just drop down into the bushes in a second.

There was fresh snow at Council Point Park as well.

I’m no fan of snow, but this kind of snow is fine with me.  The snow only covered the grass at home, and at the Park.  Surprisingly, with all the rain we had yesterday, there were very few slick spots.  I forgot my flip-up gloves, so I figured I would only pull the camera out if something cute or interesting came along.

Well … the camera spent more time out of the pouch and my fingers were nearly frozen as I snapped pictures of Parker and a few of his pals … that is Parker in the header photo by the way.  He was frolicking in the snow when he first spotted me.  He ran with his peanut over by the tree.  He may look shy here – he is not shy in the least.  You must see the priceless look when the Red-Winged Blackbird stole a peanut from under his nose.

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Midnight, the black squirrel that I see very occasionally, showed up today and must have really been hungry.  The black and gray squirrels are much smaller that the Fox Squirrels and more skittish.  But, he came right over to me, so I traded peanuts for poses – isn’t he a cutie?

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The male cardinal at the Park often flits from tree to tree when he sees me feeding the squirrels.  That beautiful bird will study my every move to strategize when to pop down to the ground and snatch a peanut.  Well today, with only one walker around, I had the trail to myself.

I watched him.

He watched me.

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He finally made his move.

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I feel lucky to have seen two beautiful cardinals in one day.

I whined about the rain yesterday and was not happy about the snow either.  The sky was dark and looked more like dusk than mid-morning.  I took these two shots of the first loop of the pathway.

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Sure enough, about five minutes after I tucked the camera back in the pouch, flurries filled the air, and, not wanting to get in a snow squall, I cut my walk short.  The last squirrels benefited big-time as I gave them the rest of the Ziploc bag of peanuts.  I’m happy I got out and got some miles walked and some cute shots to share in this post.

 

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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53 Responses to The seasons are sparring.

  1. Fred Bailey says:

    I remember living in that part of the world and that you could not count on no more snow until Easter was past. I don’t live there anymore. Great shots, loved the cardinal…something i had to leave behind.

    Liked by 2 people

    • lindasschaub says:

      We had snow here in Michigan up to the first week of April last year, then the following weekend we had a torrential rain which began 9 weeks of rainy weekends. Some part of the weekend during those 9 weeks was salvageable, but it was pretty miserable. People couldn’t cut their lawns, then we had mosquito and tick issues galore. I don’t like this “new norm” for the weather at all. We will be having three okay days and snow Wednesday into Thursday. It won’t last since it will warm up, but still … glad you liked the shots Fred. I was happy with the cardinal pictures. The cardinal at the Park is emboldened and gets closer and closer to get ready to make his move. They are especially pretty sitting in the bare trees or snow-covered trees.

      Like

  2. Rebecca says:

    We don’t have the black squirrels around here, so I’ve never seen one. They are beautiful! Very nice photos of all!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thanks Rebecca. We have black squirrels in the neighborhood but I rarely see them at Council Point Park. I think this black squirrel is a little tamer, perhaps someone in a nearby neighborhood feeds it. They are like the gray squirrels, quite skittish. It was a lucky photo day considering I didn’t plan on going any farther than the driveway.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. susieshy45 says:

    This post was worth every word of it Linda. I saw all my friends through your eyes. Love the mangy black squirrel- it is the first I have seen a black squirrel- I never knew they existed. Midnight is beautiful and looks like she has combed her hair for her peanut treat visitor. Parker doesn’t seem to have lost his winter fat yet and yes, he is a cutie, touch wood.
    The red of the cardinals is amazing. The poor creatures think the glass door is non existent and they think you are watching their every move. The poor things. Maybe you can start feeding the hawk too and he will leave the furries alone.
    Thank you for being there in my world, Linda.
    Susie

    Liked by 3 people

    • lindasschaub says:

      I’m glad you enjoyed these photos Susie – it was a lucky day for taking pictures … everyone seemed willing to pose for peanuts. I figured it was a lost day when they said that the wintry precip had left roads slick and there were lots of accidents in the early morning so it was a nice treat for me to get out. Parker sure is a cutie, and just as fat as ever. This was an unexpected appearance by Midnight at the Park. I have not seen him there since Summer and I think someone in a nearby neighborhood must be feeding him as he rarely strays to the Park. Lots of schools are closed for Spring break so perhaps his human family was not around. Yes, I am sure the critters think I am standing a few feet from them and don’t associate the glass as a barrier between us, so I gave up on watching them come near because they only did so when I turned my back. I was happy to get a few Parker pictures for you Susie … he had been romping in the snow with another squirrel and they both came running. They take their peanuts away to be by themselves … sometimes they stay on the pathway, so I included that picture of two of them and the Red-Winged Blackbird eating peanuts. It made my day seeing all the furry and feathered friends yesterday.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. AnnMarie R stevens says:

    Miss Linda……………………………those were gorgeous pictures of handsome Parker…………………..and Soot and Midnight…………………….and I love all of the bright red Cardinal pictures too……………………….you’re a great photographer!

    Liked by 2 people

    • lindasschaub says:

      Hi Ann Marie – I was very lucky yesterday and the time I was out, it was so dreary and dark in the sky, so I hoped those pictures would come out okay – I was pleasantly surprised. It got so dark just before there were flurries again, so I left the Park early. The cardinals were so beautiful, in the front yard in my neighbor’s tree and also at the Park. They are such beautiful birds. Thank you for saying I am a good photographer but I think it was sheer luck yesterday because the critters were hungry and cold and willing to come close and stay awhile as a trade-off to fill up with peanuts.

      Like

  5. Joni says:

    That was a great post Linda – the photos and the descriptions. Enjoyed all of it… Parker with the snow on his face, the black squirrels, the cardinals, and the tales about the porch pals. Nice to catch up with all of our friends!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thanks Joni – originally I intended it just to be a short post to update on the porch pals. When I realized there were no slick conditions on the road (after the traffic reporter saying to beware of icy precip that had frozen), when it was lighter outside, I realized I could eke out a walk too.
      It was bitter cold there and the wind was whipping around. I meant to mention in my post that you could see the Park cardinals feather stirring a little from the wind. Winter is not done yet – we are having a little more snow Wednesday into Thursday and you probably have the same conditions – ugh!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Love the Cardinal, I recall when a child we had a Red Breasted Cardinal visit our bird table non-native to the UK so obviously an escaped pet.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thanks Andy – they are striking with their bright red color, crested head and masked face. Another blogger told me she saw one in Hawaii, also a visitor from afar. Years ago I fed a female cardinal when I got home from school – she got a small Dixie cup of safflower seeds, just for her … she would fly down to the sidewalk and I went in and got her treat. I tried the safflower seeds at the Park after Tom Peace said the peanuts may harm the cardinals and jays, but they would have none of it – they wanted to scam peanuts from the squirrels, so I was powerless to keep them from doing it.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Laurie says:

    So glad you ventured out for your walk in the park, Linda. I don’t remember seeing very many pictures of black squirrels in your blog before, and now we have a bunch in one post. They have always been my favorite. I just think they are so handsome. They are not as good at posing as Parker is, are they? I feel so sorry for the poor little guy with mange! I am glad he survived the worst of the winter. In the battle of the seasons, I think you know who I am rooting for to win!

    Liked by 2 people

    • lindasschaub says:

      Oh, I am rooting for Spring to come through as well. Spring is lagging behind in this footrace for sure. You are right Laurie – I’ve only had black squirrels twice in my blog, likely before we followed one another … one time in the Fall, there were a couple playing hide-and-seek around a pumpkin and cornstalk display and then this one black squirrel at the Park in the Summer. The walkers thought it was odd as he came over to me and I took so many photos of him because he was not shy in the least. I’m showing you this link to see the first picture (after the header) … doesn’t he look like a marathon runner at the start line? 🙂
      https://lindaschaubblog.net/2018/08/31/its-been-feeling-fallish/

      Like

  8. Eliza says:

    I really enjoyed reading this post
    You are lucky – two cardinals is a lot!
    I think you need to arrange a protest against the weather. I’m sorry, no fair!!!!!!
    I’m glad you got the pictures of soot 🙂 even if he was terrified (I actually feel bad for him…)
    Love, light and glitter Linda
    E

    Liked by 2 people

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thanks Eliza – I’m glad you liked it … took me all afternoon to put it together. I had a few more pictures which I left out because I wondered “hmm … okay, maybe I have too many squirrels in one post?” 🙂 Soot is sweet and I feel badly for him as well. The first time I saw him, I thought maybe he had been in the mud and gotten his fur dirty as I saw him at a distance. But up close, he clearly is missing fur – I hope he had a warm place to go all Winter … how warm can a squirrel’s nest be after all? They sleep curled around one another to keep their bodies warm in the dead of Winter. He needs a blanket. Yes, this weather has to get better. The snow melted this afternoon and only grass again. I took more photos on the way home before it melted though. We’re getting more snow Wednesday … that’s the word a of today. Never. Put. Your. Snowboots. Away. Until. May. !!! I know I missed you tonight as I didn’t leave work until 6:45. Love, light and glitter to you too Eliza.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. What a piggy! Two peanuts at once…lol Will the snow and cold ever end?

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Glad you like that Diane – yes, really … for the smallest squirrel of the bunch and there he was, a two-fisted peanut eater. Did you get the five inches of snow? A fellow blogger in Portland, Oregon has beautiful flowers in bloom and hummers and she read my post about the 1 1/2 inches of snow. She said a blogger in Michigan said they had 5 inches so I wonder if she is closer to Ohio. Our snow melted this afternoon – more on the way for Wednesday into Thursday. Hope you’ll still get your walks in!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Only ended up with 1-2 inches. Yep walked our mile today! The squirrels were running by us looking for food. My autistic client freaks out if they stop so we don’t feed them.

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        That’s good – a fellow blogger said her family had a blizzard in their part of Ohio. So two people reporting lots of snow, so you lucked out. I forgot your client does not like the squirrels on the pathway … I ran into that same circumstance one day too and the squirrel and I had to go somewhere else as she was terrified. Good for you getting that mile in – you are hooked on walking now … wait til the nicer weather!

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Sweet shots, Linda! 🙂
    Marla — this morning when i woke up — told me to look out of the window at the snow. I looked; no snow! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  11. I’ve never heard of black squirrels, Linda! What a delightful post! Love the photos of all the critters, but especially the cardinals! Your photo session in the yard sounds like it was fun!

    Liked by 2 people

    • lindasschaub says:

      I did have a great photo session Sabine, from the time I opened the front door until I came home – I’d have been there longer, but you can see from that snow sky, that the flurries were about to begin in earnest. The cardinals were so beautiful … in both places. I love that bright spot of red in the bare branches. The cardinals are so watchful before they swoop down and when they swoop down, it is a matter of seconds to land, snag a peanut and they’re off again! The black squirrels are very similar to the gray squirrels in size and temperament. They are so cute, but very skittish. Yesterday I got a photo of the other black squirrel – looks like he has mange as well.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Good to see “Soot” make his debut! Those Jays are smart! That whole family is smart!(Corvids)
    Getting out is always a memorable experience! You write very well Linda.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Yes, “Soot” made his debut – he is two-toned when you see him at a glance due to his mange issue, but yesterday I got some pictures of the other black squirrel that comes to the house and he also has mange, though not as bad … so “Pitch” will make his debut soon as well. I was lucky on Sunday … the squirrels seemed to sit still enough to get a lot of photos of them, as well as the birds. It turned out to be a great day, though I didn’t think so initially from the weather report. Thank you for the compliment Wayne – It was fun writing the narrative that went with these pictures.

      Like

  13. Shelley says:

    I love the entertaining upbeat story you shared about your day. Way to get some walking miles in too! The pop of red of the cardinal against the white sky is stunning. And those squirrels are so darn cute. I’m thinking that you’re gonna need a bigger SD card…!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thanks Shelley – I was lucky that every critter I met up with, furry or feathered, agreed to bartering peanuts for photos. 🙂 The cardinals are so beautiful – the pair that visit the front porch and also the one that eyes me warily from the tree at the Park. You’re right about that red pop of color in the blah-looking tree. They are gorgeous birds. I’ll also be treading into getting more space on my blog as well if I keep going! When I started out, it was a one-word title, a one-paragraph post and no picture.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Shelley says:

        Cardinals are so pretty. We hear them, but don’t see them as much here. They live in the pine trees and sing when we walk by, but must have enough food there so they don’t pop by to say hi to us. Of course, we don’t feed them peanuts either. LOL! You’ve chosen excellent topics to write about as well as photograph. It’s fun to keep the blog evolving. Reminds me…I need to do some tweaking this spring too!

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        I often wonder if I’ll run out of walking/nature things to write about, so occasionally I have to go “off topic” … now Thursday and Friday will be crummy weather days, making me think that Saturday will be soggy for exploring any new parks where I’m not familiar with whether they have a paved trail versus just a rustic-type trail. I may have to stick with one of the old standbys. I sure don’t know what the robins are eating – everything is still very frozen looking/feeling.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Shelley says:

        From what I’ve seen of your abilities to tell stories, I don’t think you have anything to worry about! Yeah, the weather hasn’t been as pleasant as I’d like it to be either. We’ve had so much wind. Yesterday it rained a bit. The robins here have been eating the fruit off the trees, but they’ve also found some bugs on the ground too. Supposedly, they don’t return until they know the temps are warm enough for them to find food. I hope it warms up for you so you can get out and walk!

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        Thank you Shelley and you’ll never guess what I did today. I totally missed the boat on this topic: today was “National Walking Day” and I have written about it before and I always think I’ll remember it is the first Wednesday in April, but I’ve been swamped at work and totally forgot about it. A lost blog post topic … next year, I’ll do better.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Shelley says:

        Man…I hate it when I do things like that too. But at least you did remember it and you acknowledged your intentions. You’ll make up for it no doubt!

        Liked by 1 person

  14. Your squirreldom is amazing. I want to treat that poor guy’s mange. Also, I think you have the brightest red cardinals ever.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      They are amazing Kim, just like a following sometimes. I must get a picture of them trailing along behind me. I will feel this presence, then turn around. I feel badly about that little guy’s mange too and his pal has it as well. Got a picture of the pal I took yesterday to share down the road. He’s not missing as much fur though. I just love those cardinals – a bright spot, not only in the tree, but also in my day.

      Like

  15. Mackenzie says:

    That story about the peanuts on your porch is so sweet!! I love that. For the porch gang running away you still managed to get some great pics of them! Grady is so cute! Thanks for sharing, Linda!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I am glad the snow wasn’t too bad for you to get out and about. So lovely that the cardinals came up close and personal for you ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thanks – me too. I hope that is the last of the snow Zena – they were calling for the same amount of snow tonight, but they are starting to back off it now. Those cardinals are so striking with their coloring and coming close – it really made my day!

      Like

  17. I didn’t realize you had three types of squirrels you saw daily. I think I’ve always dealt with gray squirrels. There were black ones on David’s college campus.

    Liked by 1 person

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