His face lit up like a Christmas tree …

… and that’s likely because he had a big green sugar cookie shaped like a Christmas tree in his paws and was nibbling away at it.

Season’s Eatings – 2019 Style.

The past few years I’ve taken some extra treats for the squirrels and birds for Christmas and left those items there for them to enjoy while I was walking and for afterward. I usually do this on a weekend, when I can monitor who is enjoying (or discarding) what treat, on each successive lap around the Park. I also check out the progress of nibbling the treats in the days to come (if they last that long).

I’ve never taken Christmas cookies before and this year I parted with six “Voortman Bakery Assorted Festive Cookies®” out of my package. (I tore the bag when I opened it, so I’m borrowing this photo from Voortman’s website.)

They were all sugar cookies and I was thinking the squirrels might just play nice and share them with the sparrows, who watch me every morning, hoping for a morsel of food that they can enjoy. Unlike last year, when I lumped everything together on one of the picnic tables under the pavilion roof, (click here to see their food fest I left them), this year I decided that the birds would actually get a chance to enjoy their bird seed bells, without the squirrels misappropriating them like they do any kind of food, whether at home on the front porch, or at the Park. The squirrels can be piggy sometimes, especially the Fox squirrels (like Parker and Stubby).

So, I took along some long pipe cleaners, (a/k/a craft chenille stems), and hung the two feeders up in a tree near the end of a branch, where a clever squirrel might not feel secure venturing out on such a narrow perch.

But, I’d barely turned my back to start arranging goodies on the picnic table, when I heard the unmistakable noise of claws scratching on bark … I whirled around and there was a squirrel crouched down, contemplating his best move to reach the bells. Perhaps the noise I heard was the gears clicking in his head as he planned his attack.

The rest of the goodies I had toted with me, I then proceeded to spread along the picnic table. I like dates or raisins plus shelled sunflower seeds in my morning oatmeal, so I took along some dates and seeds and mixed them with some peanuts. I also took along two berry-flavored suet cakes which I had speared with a knife at home to “start it” for the birds. Those treats were ostensibly for the birds and they were welcome to nibble on the sugar cookies as well, if the squirrels didn’t glom onto them first. Before leaving home, I swabbed peanut butter on the heads of the two snowmen cookies and laid them with red and green sugar cookies along the picnic table. Just for laughs, I picked the table with the graffiti, and in particular, to show the scrawl that said “do yo squats” (a subtle reminder as we ease into the holiday fare, so we can still ease into our clothes). I’ve taken different shots, including up close, so you can see the array of goodies.

Every picture tells a story

I was wearing cumbersome gloves and unfortunately I dropped one of the snowmen cookies onto the cement floor, still in its plastic bag. I had put each of the cookies with peanut butter into separate Baggies, so the peanut butter would not make a mess on my gloves and I could just slide the cookie from the bag onto the table. Before I had time to retrieve the bag from the floor, a black squirrel darted over and took the Baggie containing the cookie which had now broken in two. He grabbed the bag between his teeth and beat it up a tree. The picture is not clear, but he hooked the bag onto a twig and pulled out what he wanted and soon was happily chomping away on it, leaving the rest for later (or maybe his mate)?

Then, I began walking on the perimeter path, an open bag of peanuts in one hand, the camera in the other. It was very cold and blustery that morning and a few snowflakes were skittering along the pathway, as well as landing on my jacket. The squirrels were nowhere to be seen on the path the first time around, even though I jiggled the cellophane bag to announce my presence, just in case they missed me (even though I think I’m fairly easy to find).

Soon I had walked the 0.9 mile first loop where all the critters are, without a single one stopping me to beg for peanuts. There was not a single Blue Jay either. As I neared the pavilion area, I saw Parker dash over to see me, but he made a U-turn when he saw the Blue Jay flying toward the picnic table. Never one to miss out on a hub bub of activity when it involves food, Parker climbed up onto a seat at the picnic table to check out the offerings.

Hmm – don’t mind if I help myself” he thought, then he hightailed it over to scope out the treats and gave a cookie the sniff test.

Forget the sensible snack, i.e. peanuts, Parker grabbed onto a green cookie and scrambled up the nearest tree, the cookie sticking out of his mouth sideways.

As you see in the picture way up top, there he sat on his perch, nibbling away, not even mindful of the bird seed bells in such close proximity. Here’s a few more shots since he posed so nicely. Check out his gleeful face. Hey … who does not like cookies, whether you’re human or a squirrel?

But wait – there were four more cookies – so would they be saved for later and the nuts noshed first, as is done when I take apples, mini pumpkins or even Nutter Butter cookies? Hmm – was he partial to the green cookie due to the color, or the fact it was shaped like a tree, admittedly his favorite hangout spot? Well, I’m no squirrel mind reader, but likely it was just due to an appealing scent, as squirrels are colorblind and they don’t hang out in evergreen trees. When I stopped at the goodies table after my second trip around the perimeter path loop, I decided Stubby and Parker were determined to keep this table of treats “find” all to themselves.

I peered again at the picnic table top … okay, one snowman cookie was gone, but the nice Jif® peanut butter that I had swabbed on so generously as a special treat for my favorite furry friends had been removed. No, not licked off and enjoyed, but left behind in a sticky gob. Nice goin’ guys, making a mess like that! Hope I don’t get fined for littering!

I looked around the area – surely the cookie culprit did not go far, although admittedly, it takes me about 15 to 18 minutes to make that trip around the first loop, especially with no critter interaction. Ah, there was the little rascal … it was a gray squirrel gnawing on what remained of the snowman’s body.

I turned on my heel to go and noticed Stubby had just arrived and he made a beeline up to the table. I wanted to chide him and say “you’re chubby enough Bud – maybe just stick to peanuts.” But, in the blink of an eye, just like Parker, another squirrel also snatched a green sugar cookie and took it to go, but up in a different tree. Well, I was still chasing after my mileage goal, so I stepped away onto the perimeter path once again and let him be after snapping this picture.

I walked at a brisk clip, the wind racing up my sleeves and whipping around my neck, its windy fingers slicing through my wool scarf and making me shiver. Although I attempted to keep my parka hood up over my head and hat, the wind kept pushing it back down again. While hitching that hood up one more time, I discovered he had moved with his treat over near the Creek. I guess he was subtly telling me he was done with our photo session, because as I inched closer to him, he shot me a rather exasperated look like “Really?!”

… before fixing his attention on the remainder of that prized cookie.

By now the Park had come alive with squirrels scurrying back and forth along the path and climbing onto the picnic table. The sparrows circled around, with a renewed interest in the offerings, especially sunflower seeds and cookie crumbs. Even the cardinal was looking for goodies, first pausing at the table top to grab a sunflower seed, then he was wise enough to realize several of those seeds had slipped between the cracks of the picnic table, so he might as well grab them off the floor before the other cardinals discovered them. No … birds should never be labeled “bird brains!”

After walking several loops and gleaning a lot of shots of my Park pals enjoying their grub, I was ready to head home, and wrap my freezing fingers around a mug of coffee and enjoy some sugar cookies.

P.S. – When I returned to the Park a few days later, both bird seed bells were empty, and only the center sticks were left dangling from the tree branch. The two trays of suet were frozen solid as we had some brutally cold weather move in. I had driven that day to give the car a run. I went to the car and got something to break the suet apart and when I returned Thursday the empty trays were on the cement floor upside down, and only crumbs remained. I’m sure it was the squirrels that helped polish off the suet.

About Linda Schaub

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, so 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 four 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, though 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. - Linda Schaub
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44 Responses to His face lit up like a Christmas tree …

  1. Fred Bailey says:

    Linda:
    You’re working on a new sub-species; the Rubenesque Squirrel.

    Liked by 2 people

    • lindasschaub says:

      They are pretty chunky looking Fred. If they get any more roly-poly, they will be rolling along the perimeter pathway. Mother Nature outdid herself plumping them up this Fall, so likely that means a horrible Winter.

      Like

  2. Joni says:

    What fun! A squirrel Christmas smorgasbord! Those green cookies seem to be the fan favorites.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      I’m going to use that word “smorgasbord” next year Joni – that is exactly what it was. I wondered why the green cookies went first and that’s why I Googled “do squirrels only see certain colors?” The answer was they are colorblind. Who knew? I stocked up on bags of peanuts for the Winter, but because we’ve had clear weather I’ve been walking a lot and I took a whole bag of nuts to Elizabeth Park last Saturday. So, this morning I went grocery shopping and thought I’d better get more bags (I have six or seven left) … they only had three bags on the shelf. They usually have a huge display and have salted, unsalted and raw bagged peanuts. They do not sell them loose … either a lot of people are feeding the squirrels or munching peanuts themselves. Usually they are piled high in the display. I might be sharing peanut butter on crackers with them if it happens next time I go to the store in the new year.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Joni says:

        Maybe there’s a peanut shortage? We had such a weird weather year. I heard the other day the coffee crop was bad so coffee will go up in price. You should get a tax deduction for all your charitable supplies!

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        There’s an idea – I have never seen that happen before – I just Googled and there was some crop damage in some peanut-producing states and the late Fall crop did not produce as much, so you are correct Joni. Meijer does not sell any kind of loose nuts; they used to sell all types because years ago we had a backyard squirrel and occasionally I’d get a few walnuts for him, until one shell caught in the push lawn mower and nearly wrecked the blade, so that was the end of that nicety. They have a large table stocked high with three types of peanuts – the only kind they sell there … I scooped up the salted even though I pass out unsalted, as we are having good weather the next 10 days after this little blip tomorrow night, so lots of walking and I can’t go empty-handed! I heard that about coffee and was happy I got all my instant back in the Fall when I was “laying in supplies” for Winter. I need to claim them as depends pretty soon … them and the porch squirrels.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Joni says:

        Yes, dependents, should be eligible for a tax deduction!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Sounds like a food orgy!

    Liked by 2 people

    • lindasschaub says:

      Ha ha – they were better behaved this year. Last year I put the bird seed bells on the table, embedded in the dish of birdseed, and the squirrels sat in the dish and were in their glory. They are piggy sometimes. Hopefully the birds got their fair share.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Laurie says:

    Why did I think about Parker when I read the title to this post? You are just too good to your furry (and feathered) friends, Linda. I’m sure they appreciate the holiday cheer treats from you. The squirrel getting the cookie out of the plastic bag is amazing! Animals are smarter than we give them credit for, I believe. I wonder if the squirrels were able to figure out how to get the bells or is the birds polished them off.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Laurie – You know Parker well. He never misses anything food related. I can give him peanuts and get to the other side of the perimeter path and he see me there and begs shamelessly like he’s not seen me in weeks. I’m glad I tried the Christmas cookies as it was fun to watch and take pictures of as well. That black squirrel zipped up the tree and I could see it opening the bag to explore like a kid would open a package! Very funny to watch. I agree with you – people underestimate what is going on animals/birds’ little heads. That cardinal saw the tabletop crack, seed spilling into the space and headed to the floor. I wish I knew who ate the bells – I thought I was clever. I knew the next day was going to be rainy all day, then transition to freezing rain, so I’d miss monitoring the scene, but at least they had plenty of treats to keep them occupied/fed until I got back again.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. ruthsoaper says:

    Linda Claus. LOL. Did you wear a Santa hat? Those squirrels are tough to outsmart and as you say a bit piggish. Looks like everyone had a great time though. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 2 people

    • lindasschaub says:

      Ruth – Glad you enjoyed the post. That would have been so cute to wear a Santa hat. Maybe next year I’ll do it before distributing the goodies. I generally wait til closer to Christmas but who knows with this weather anymore so I just did it last Sunday. I don’t trust our weather folks much – I am not complaining here, but several stations predicted 1-3 inches of snow tonight and they now say it is all happening in Ohio, not here (whew). They never predicted the flurries yesterday morning and we had squall-like conditions in the a.m. They are saying Wednesday morning will be blustery and some frozen precip likely – hope you don’t have anywhere you need to go.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. AnnMarie R stevens says:

    Miss Linda…………………………..those are poster pictures you have taken of the squirrels eating all of the treats!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Ann Marie – I had a lot of fun sharing the love (and treats with them) … first time to share Christmas cookies with them and they went over well as you can tell. Glad I have given you your smile for the day!

      Like

  7. Loved this post Linda! You are like the chef to the critters!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thanks Diane – hope it gave you a little giggle. I had fun doing this, especially the cookie portion … look at their smiles. 🙂 P.S. – Good thing I am not serving them cookies baked by me … they’d either be burnt or taste terrible … and the no-bake cookies you have been featuring on your blog, well those I think I can handle, but as to giving it to them, they might stick to their choppers and what is a squirrel without its choppers? 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. they are becoming so round in a strong breeze they’d be rolling around like tumble weeds!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Shelley says:

    Oh, my, I swear you could be called an official “Park Animal Whisperer”. Your attention to the details of what they love, do, and appreciate is so heart-warming. PS – I took the hint, did my squats as I dipped my cookie in my coffee while I read your delightful post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      I think I spend so much time at this Park that I know their nuances, their likes and dislikes. Taking the cookies was a last-minute idea and proved to be a good idea, as I got quite a few close-ups of Parker and pals enjoying cookies. Ha ha – glad you took my advice Shelley and did squats while dipping your cookie in your morning coffee. That meant you could enjoy another one or two cookies! You are admirable stopping at just one cookie.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Shelley says:

        Yes, you sure know how to bring the critters to life! I’m glad I haven’t baked this year…! I do need to do more squats, that’s for sure!

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        Thank you Shelley – they each have personalities, at least the ones I interact with the most. I am bringing the black and gray squirrels around too – they were very timid before and they now approach me instead of running away, but that it likely because it is so cold and they are dependent on food as they can’t get into the frozen ground. Ready to bundle up to head out in this brutal cold – ugh.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Shelley says:

        Stay warm – the critters appreciate your efforts!!

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Mackenzie says:

    I think I remember that food fest from last year! This years array of goodies is so festive. You surely threw the party of the year for them… maybe decade! Parker sure did help himself, huh? And oh my goodness, Stubby is quite the character! Thanks for sharing, Linda- this post was so fun and entertaining to read while experiencing some scary turbulence on a plane. Thanks for keeping my mind off of it! Merry Christmas ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Fantastic pictures, I absolutely love Squirrels! Very kind of you to feed them x

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thank you – I had a lot of fun with them that day – I absolutely love squirrels too and went to two parks today to get some squirrel shots and bird shots. You will find plenty of squirrel blogs here I assure you. 🙂 I enjoy feeding them and have a couple here at the house that I could claim as dependents too.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I look forward to continue reading your blogs and seeing your lovely pictures! Xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thank you – I hope to never disappoint you – I have taken a lot of pictures in December due to the nice weather. Up until this year, I always posted the same day I took the photos, but this year I have added a lot more photos to every post, so I usually post later, not same day. Also I know our Winter weather is coming so likely not as many nice long walks and pictures, so I took pics to have a “reserve”. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  13. That’s a good idea to reserve pictures. We have squirrels on the isle of wight, but they arent too easy to spit in the forest.
    Hope the new years treating you well so far xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Do the trees lose their leaves since you have a mild Winter there? Or the squirrels just hide in the trees out of sight (unless you woo them with peanuts)? We had an unusual Fall in that we had that event of snow that brought 8.8 inches (22 cm) before the trees lost their leaves. Then we had a warm spell, so some of the flowering trees, especially magnolias, got confused and got buds. Not good for the trees. Lots of trees still have their leaves even now. So far the new year had been nice weather and we cannot ask for more here in Michigan when Winter is usually so cold and snowy. We have some snow tonight but they say it will be gone in a few days – very unusual weather though for this time of year. Best to you in the new year and decade as well.

      Like

  14. Bless you Linda. Sounds like you really brightened up their day with those lovely treats ❤❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thanks Zena – I do take pleasure in watching them gobble their goodies, especially this year with the Christmas cookies. They took a real liking to the green Christmas tree cookies especially. 🙂

      Like

  15. Pingback: The Great Easter Cookie Caper. | WALKIN', WRITIN', WIT & WHIMSY

  16. Sandra J says:

    I love the look Stubby gave you while he has a cookie in his paws, like he is trying to hide behind all those leaves. Perfect photos. They run so fast in between trees, they probably need a little extra sugar for energy. They burn it off fast.

    Liked by 1 person

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