Pumpkins for munchkins.

Today is National Pumpkin Day, so what better day and way to feature last Sunday’s annual tendering of pumpkins (and peanuts … of course) to the munchkins at Council Point Park. 

Every Fall I gather gourds to treat my furry friends …

… but I confess that I think I get a bigger kick out of this adventure than they do.  Two bags of mini pumpkins were enough to treat all the squirrels, with one left at home to brighten up the corner cabinet in the kitchen, plus I set one aside for Grady too.

I suspect if I entered the Park with my two mesh bags of pumpkins and no peanuts, they’d roll their eyes and just amble away.  So, that’s why I bring peanuts along too, because ‘tis the season for nut gathering and hiding, even though in a month or two, the ground will be frozen and snow-covered and the squirrels, by then roly-poly from that extra layer of fat Mother Nature provides them with for Winter, are left scratching their heads, wondering where the heck they buried those nuts and how to retrieve them?  If they venture down from the cozy nest on snow-and-ice-free days at the Park, they will beg shamelessly when each walker bearing a Ziploc bag of peanuts steps onto the perimeter path.  [For those newer followers, please understand that this Park does not plow, brush or sweep off the 1.9-mile walking path, so if we’ve had snow and ice, I may not always get to the Park.  This is why I try to bulk up on peanuts in the Fall, so they are well fed.]

In an ideal world, I’d place pumpkins along the pathway and the squirrels would sit there, posing nicely against a backdrop of colorful leaves …

… with pretty, perfectly shaped leaves on the pathway, or lots of leaves fluttering down around them. 

My furry pals would wait until I was done taking pictures, before scurrying off to bury their cache of nuts or running up into a tree with one peanut. 

But alas, it is far from a perfect world when it comes to photographing squirrels and, after four years of giving out gourds every Fall, that is far from what actually transpires.  So, I deliver pumpkins and peanuts at the same time.  Perhaps the pumpkins will get a passing glance, but the peanuts are like a magnet, drawing my furry friends to them.  After all, the peanuts are portable … they can be buried, carried up to the nest or simply noshed on.

I always dispense pumpkins on a weekend, when I have ample time to put treats out, walk a few laps, then return to take pictures as they’ve finished the peanuts and are ready to wrangle the mini-pumpkins (if I’m lucky).  There were a few hang-ups this year and I ended up spending more than three hours at the Park to get this “assignment” completed. That was not a hardship as the weather was glorious, the trees were ablaze in color and it was Sunday, so I had all the time in the world.

Ever mindful of the Cooper’s Hawks which sometimes soar high above the Park, I glanced at the sky – whew, no hawks around that morning.  Hawks are my furry friends’ enemy as you might imagine. So, I made “droppings” around the Park, immediately piquing some interest as I bent over to place pumpkins and peanuts on the perimeter path and on benches along the way.

Naturally, there was a mad dash for peanuts. 

Yep, the pumpkins were ignored, just as I predicted.

Enter the Interloper.

We break bread with our family, friends and co-workers (and our dogs who whine incessantly for just a taste of what we’re eating).  Here at Council Point Park, while the squirrels were in nut nirvana, a pile of peanuts and a pumpkin within easy reach of their small paws, Mr. Blue Jay was stewing up in his tree, as he looked down with disdain, and perhaps a little envy as well.  If a thought bubble was over this Jay’s head, it would say “why should these furry critters have all the treats and I have none?  I’d love me some peanuts too!” 

So Mr. Jay was biding his time until the right moment, and, in the blink of an eye …

… this beautiful blue bird, swooped down to help himself to a nut or two.  Ah, but he’s a wily one.

Mr. Jay got to ground level, but now … how to pack a peanut or two into that long, sharp beak. After studying those nuts, he decided one at a time was the way to go, so he took it up to a tree, noshed and then returned a few minutes later.

On his last trip, he taunted his peanut-retrieving prowess right in front of the squirrels …

… who watched this brave bird with stunned OMG expressions, as Mr. Jay scammed them out of THEIR peanuts.

And why can’t two different species break bread, er … peanuts, on the perimeter path? Because the squirrels’ Mamas never taught them to “share and share alike!”

But soon all the peanuts have been gobbled up or buried

… so the squirrels returned to grab a gourd. Those furry pals who were around in prior years know what they are and took a big bite without hesitation.

But the younger squirrels were not sure what to make of these orangey orbs.

On the picnic table where I left a half-dozen or so mini pumpkins, there was a bit of trepidation.

First, there was the “sniff test” …

… then climbing from the seat to the top of the picnic table, inching ever closer, while wondering “will it hurt me?” Or “does it bite?”

Hope this post gave you a smile. So, how will you celebrate National Pumpkin Day? A slice or two of pie? Carving up your porch pumpkin? Toasting pumpkin seeds to snack on later?

I also share apples every Autumn with the munchkins, and I’ll be writing about that little adventure in an upcoming 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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61 Responses to Pumpkins for munchkins.

  1. I have my large pumpkin on the front porch. There are a few scratch marks on it but after this week, I’ll move it to the back yard where the squirrels will work on it along with the frost until it’s a deflated orange shape on the ground!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Ha ha – I like walking through the neighborhoods after Halloween and seeing the squirrels climbing inside – they emerge covered in dried pulp, sometimes a few seeds attached to their fur as well. I’m going to be doing another post this week about a squirrel ravaging a harvest display. By the time I left, he had pulled down the cornstalk, knocked over a huge pot of mums and taken a huge bite out of the front of the pumpkin. He was a little devil and like before, gave me a look like “what’s wrong with you – this isn’t your house!”

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Fred Bailey says:

    Great pictures. I’d forgotten how splendid blue jays are!
    Fred

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thanks Fred – it was a truly spectacular weather day. Those blue jays are beautiful aren’t they? They are always mindful of my presence come Fall when the berries and bugs are no longer at their disposal. They are very quick, from the time they leave the tree, swoop down to the path, then return to the tree again. Back in the early ’80s we had many jays and cardinals infected by the West Nile virus. Their numbers decreased significantly during that time period, but slowly both species have come back.

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  3. I enjoyed your account of the antics of squirrels and a blue jay. What fun and lovely photos!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thank you Anne – I am glad you enjoyed this post. It was fun to write … I had some colorful tree pictures to include as well, but I thought I’d concentrate on these treat-loving critters instead. The blue jay sure was teasing the squirrels – it made me smile.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I didn’t know that squirrels eat pumpkins! Your blue jays are gorgeous and I love how this one got away with some of the peanuts. What a lively outing to your favorite park, Linda!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Glad you liked these pictures Sabine. I like “pumpkin day” and it’s been an annual event for a few years, as is “apple day” … the squirrels eat peanuts first always, then decide they’ll have a go with a mini pumpkin, unless they are scared of it. That’s why I put so many on the picnic table under the pavilion. They can go there and eat them and the hawks won’t swoop down on them there. I was happy to get a picture of a pumpkin with a bite taken out of it. They may appear hard to us but the squirrels have no problem chewing them. You’ll see that when I do the post this week about the mischievous squirrel and the huge bite he took out of a large pumpkin – I thought I’d wait til closer to Halloween to post it. That blue jay is striking isn’t he? He swoops down in a matter of seconds, a blur from treetop to ground and grabs a peanut and heads back to the tree. Sometimes he’ll fly from tree to tree screeching while I am walking on the pathway, as he waits for a squirrel to show up so I feed it and he can fly down and swipe a nut. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • The squirrels chewed all the way through our deck once so I’m not surprised that they can tackle those pumpkins. They are rodents after all! And yes, your blue jays are gorgeous!! We don’t have those here, but I saw some in Florida a few years ago. Happy Sunday, Linda! 🙋

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        The squirrels like to chew – they got into my grandmother’s attic and chewed and made a lot of damage. She had to call in pest control to catch them and take them away – they were not killed, just captured. And then she had to have a carpenter in to repair the damage. They were black squirrels, the only kind they had around where my grandmother lived in Toronto. She was furious. She doesn’t know how they got into the attic and she could hear them running back and forth – there was no food up there, so I don’t know how they survived? It finally cleared up later this afternoon after our soggy Saturday and early Sunday morning and wicked winds to boot.

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  5. AnnMarie R stevens says:

    Miss Linda……………………………your blog this morning was bright and cherry…………………I’m reading it now listening to the cold rain coming down making everything look and sound cold………………I like the idea of buying those little pumpkins and sharing them with the squirrels AND with the blue Jays too…………………………………

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thank you Ann Marie – glad it gave you a smile and added some cheer to your day because yesterday’s weather was far from cheery after 2:00 p.m. I don’t know how the clouds could hold any more rain as it was non-stop and just ugly outside. And the winds this morning – 35 mph. I’m wondering how many leaves remain on the trees after those winds?

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  6. Ohh… Today was National Pumpkin Day? I actually did not know that… But as it happens, we made pumpkin pie last night and had some today. 😄

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Last Monday was National Apple Day and so I Googled to see if there was a National Pumpkin Day since I had these photos, otherwise I was going to wait until closer to Halloween or Thanksgiving. This “holidays calendar: has every holiday imaginable and, as luck would have it, I discovered there was indeed a National Pumpkin Day, so I had to hustle to get those pictures and story ready. It was fate that you had pumpkin pie last night – go ahead and have another piece!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. AJ says:

    Lol it’s just like bribing kids to eat their vegetables!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Ha ha – I never thought of it like that AJ, but you are right. They like the apples better and will often grab them the first time I go around on the perimeter path, but they’re more familiar with them since there are some small apple trees in the Park and they climb up and get the wormy apples in September. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • AJ says:

        I always eat the familiar stuff first too, so I can understand that:)

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        Me too and you are still more adventurous than I am – I stopped going out years ago though due to the Hep A outbreak. I was talking to a clerk at the grocery store recently and she said her daughter is a nurse and will not let her kids eat any fast food and they only eat at home due to Michigan’s Hep A outbreak (we’ve had 30 deaths in recent years). You can a two-part shot which is $250.00 which covers you from Hep A, but it’s not covered by insurance.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Laurie says:

    I didn’t know that blue jays would come down to eat peanuts! You must have great patience to get such wonderful photos of the squirrels and birds, Linda. I bet if you went back to the park today, the pumpkins would all be gone. Usually once a squirrel sees one of his buddies doing something and learn it’s ok, ALL the squirrels do the same thing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thank you Laurie – I have to do it on a weekend, when I have several hours’ time to feed them peanuts and walk around the Park a few times until they eat them or bury them, and then come back and take pictures. Sometimes I get more pictures of them giving the pumpkins the sniff test or taking a bite. They make me smile when they are afraid of them like the squirrel at the tail end – they are not sure what to make of them, especially if they’re young. You are right – they are like kids and take their cue from the other squirrels. The blue jay was an added bonus – the jays stay in the trees in the Fall and Winter especially, and are quick to come down to the pathway, right in front of a squirrel to swipe a peanut! The squirrels always look around like “what happened here?” This time the jay was really close to me and lingered longer trying to see if he could grab two to go at one time!

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  9. Ally Bean says:

    I may be late to the National Pumpkin Day celebrations, but our three large pumpkins are ready to be carved, maybe tonight. The photo of the blue jay getting the peanut surprises me. I know they’re aggressive just didn’t know they’d go for a nut in its shell.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Do you leave the pumpkins out after Halloween Ally? Our neighbor does that and I often come home to find the squirrel has climbed inside and all that is sticking out is his tail. 🙂 They like pumpkin, especially when it is easy to access. With the mini pumpkins, they have to “start them” to enjoy them.

      The jays are really aggressive and I won’t coax them down with peanuts myself because I don’t trust them if I’m walking and out of peanuts. They are large birds and pushy and that large, sharp beak is a little intimidating. They see the peanuts on the perimeter path and will swoop right down in front of a squirrel and grab a nut and go back to the tree. They won’t eat it at ground level. I watched that jay to get the pic of it flying from its perch – they go from the tree to ground to tree in a matter of seconds. Then they sit up there and eat it. Sometimes it is so quiet in the Park I can hear everyone munching and shells flipping onto the pathway.

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      • Ally Bean says:

        We leave the jack-o-lanterns out front of the house for a few days after Halloween, then toss them [without the candles] into our forested ravine behind the house. I sometimes see a squirrel with a big chunk of orange pumpkin in his mouth climbing up a tree to a nest where I assume he dines on rotten squash! *bon appétit*

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        The squirrels would be out of their gourd to pass up fresh pumpkins. People in a nearby city take all their pumpkins and toss them in a field where there are lots of deer and then use it as a photo op – no hunting there, just an old factory site. At the Detroit Zoo every October, they have “Smashing Pumpkins Day” and designate time slots when they give the various animals pumpkins and assorted gourds to eat or play with. People just check the schedule to see when their favorite critters get their treat and flock there. Then the Zoo makes a YouTube video of a compilation of all the animals with their treats – it is funny to watch.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. why don’t you fill the inside of the pumpkins up with peanuts? They’d have to eat the pumpkin first to get at the peanuts!
    Or maybe get a real big one and carve it out so its a winter home for Grady! You could put a little heater in there with a rocker. I can see him looking through the curtains outside wondering If he should get out of bed?

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      I am a little bummed that Halloween will be such crummy weather this year (lots of rain, like 24 hours straight on 10/31, and maybe snow showers Friday morning), because I can always count on seeing some squirrels, head first in the homeowners’ porch pumpkins and just their tail flicking outside the pumpkin. Or they chew through the eyes and mouth and go in that way – if it’s nice weather I try to get pictures. Maybe on the weekend – this week is a lost cause. I have saved a pumpkin for Grady … I’m going to put it on his gizmo I’ll set up for him for peanuts in the Winter so he sees it … it is bright, he may not see an apple. He now is out back every morning waiting for me and his peanuts. Three dogs in the family were never “trainable” – one gray squirrel is.

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      • make sure you mark Grady’s name on the pumpkin so other squirrels don’t eat it!

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        Yes, I will be sure to do that Wayne. I already told him to keep his discovery of his daily peanuts under his hat, so the whole neighborhood does not show up and swipe them from “our” hiding place, but you know how kids are ….

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      • you need to buy him a small safe! He could keep all his peanuts in there!

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        Hmm – maybe I’ll need to work on getting that in place soon Wayne. I think he is a smart cookie. I’ll try out his pumpkin and peanuts this weekend on the new set-up when the weather is better.

        Like

      • lindasschaub says:

        Well Wayne – I have to have a Plan “B” now since discovering a raccoon is out and about; don’t want Grady to be a sitting duck, but also don’t want to disappoint Grady … going to put my thinking cap on.

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      • Racoons are trouble! Never been a fan of those guys!

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      • lindasschaub says:

        I’ve never seen a raccoon personally and would rather have left their presence in the pages and on the big screen of Sterling North’s novel “Rascal” – I loved that book and movie as a kid. Funny thing Wayne – I obviously have “eyes” watching my every move in the morning, because there I was, in the pouring rain this morning, a few peanuts in the backyard, and the rest on the front porch and ledge – I checked this afternoon – everything is gone from the porch/ledge … “every breath you take, every move you make …” – well you know that song. I had to smile to myself – that Grady is no slouch.

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      • you need to put up a trail camera to see who exactly is coming to dinner?

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      • lindasschaub says:

        Especially in the backyard … when I go out, when it lightens up (it’s very dark outside now), I’ll give him a couple of peanuts in the backyard, and more on the porch, then from now on only in the front. A trail camera would be better in the back – now that I think of it, in the front yard, cars going by may trigger it. My former side sensor light was like that … overnight, light-colored cars would turn the light on. We found that out as it shone in Marge’s bedroom window so it had to be adjusted. This light is fine. Since I am later this morning, I will be prepared for a disgruntled face(s). It is very cold and ugly outside. Maybe I should take soup?

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      • what was your temp? Don’t you have a light pole out front? You could attach the trail camera there and face it towards the house?

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      • lindasschaub says:

        We were at “real feels” in the teens last night – I was surprised there was no ice when I went out this morning. There is a sensor light/pole and its cords run underground. I could not hide it well because there are bushes that surround the entire base of the light and they are about 2 1/2 feet high.

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      • than get one of those anti porch pirate cameras for the front door!
        You should also put a door bell about 6 inches off the ground! Just so Grady could have a order button!

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Shelley says:

    Great action shots, Linda – you know these creatures so well, you’re able to predict what to catch a photo of!! Nice work. And your generosity in giving them pumpkins and peanuts – they sure are lucky you adore them so much!! Way to take advantage of a nice day at the park too!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thank you Shelley – I know that blue jay bides his time and sneaks down to the path – he is only gone from the tree a matter of seconds. I know they are appreciative and I feel badly as there are only two, sometimes three of us, feeding them now. They do get a kick out of the pumpkins … the apples too and it is good for them to have something they can’t get now as the vegetation dies off. That was a gorgeous weekend (the weekend of the 20th/21st) so I had to seize the day. We know all too well what is in store for us.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. How in the world did you figure out the liked gourds? I would never have thought that!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      If you or your neighbors put out pumpkins for Halloween and don’t take them in right away, check out the parade of squirrels visiting those pumpkins to eat them. They climb right into the inside of the pumpkin and come out covered in pulp and seeds and all you see is the tail sticking out! And tomorrow I’ll have a post showing where a squirrel took a big chunk out of someone’s harvest display!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. We are traveling so no pumpkins for us. I’m not sure I’d want to encourage our yard squirrels anyway since they have messed with my blueberries. So nice that you are tending your flock, though. The winter ahead will probably be tough on them. Lovely pics!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      I’d be mad if they ate my blueberries too. My friend grows raspberries, and lives on the edge of a forest – they finally ripen and the deer come along and devour them in a heartbeat. I’d give up if I were her as it happens every Summer. It was a gorgeous day to tend to my flock and the blue jay was such a treat to see up close.

      Safe travels to you Janis – we’ll await lots of colorful and unique pictures and some door shots as well.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Rebecca says:

    All the critters look appreciative of your treats! Beautiful fall colors!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thanks Rebecca – that Blue Jay really horned in on the squirrels’ treats – it was comical to watch him. I am glad I got those Fall foliage colors pictures as we’ve had some gusty winds and lots of rain this week, so most of the leaves are now littering the ground.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Rebecca says:

        Yes, your leaf colors were beautiful. Our fall colors haven’t peaked yet. Only the smaller trees and vines have much color.

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        Our smaller trees and vines peaked about three weeks ago already – they were absolutely gorgeous with all the red. Our plum trees often don’t peak until after the yard waste pickup the end of November, so I’ve seen those dark purple leaves littering the snow for months afterward.

        Liked by 1 person

  15. This is so sweet. ❤ I was only reading the other day about the benefits of leaving your pumpkins out for squirrels and other little creatures to consume. I had never really thought of this before as they were encouraging people to leave them in parks etc ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thanks Zena … they do love their treats but always peanuts first. A lot of people do leave their pumpkins out after Halloween and it is not unusual to see a squirrel that is head first in the pumpkin, tail swishing around and emerging with pulp and/or seeds stuck on its fur.

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  16. Pam Lazos says:

    I think I’m with the squirrels on this one, Linda unless you want to toast the pumpkin seeds first! ;0)

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Eliza says:

    Definitely!! To the gave me a smile:)
    💕🕯🌟

    Liked by 1 person

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