Nature’s Gifts.

On Saturday, December 7th, I spent my day visiting three parks. First, it was Council Point Park for a quick jaunt to feed my furry and feathered friends, then there was a foray to Lake Erie Metropark, followed by Elizabeth Park. I already knew the picturesque beauty of the latter two venues would be muted somewhat by the late date in the Fall season, plus it was a gray and blustery day, but I made stops at both parks anyway, camera in hand, because it is Michigan after all … who knows how many days, weeks – even months it might be before I returned to either place? A little cloud cover and cold was not going to hold me back at all. [It turns out, the weather has been fantastic and will be great until the end of this year!]

It was rather desolate looking at Lake Erie Metropark, with the ochre-colored spent bulrushes and reeds and just the occasional mallard paddling through what portions of the marsh were not frozen over. I saw a muskrat emerge from a break in the ice and watched it trot across the frozen surface. I glanced a second time to see its mouth was full of pond lilies, something which is part of a muskrat’s diet. I’ll write about that park adventure in the new year.

You may recall my recent post about stepping out of the car to find a collection of squirrels who hurried over, quickly surrounding the car and me. I was amused and wished I had more peanuts to give them, but I’d used up most of my peanut stash on the early risers at Council Point Park. I remarked in that post that I was sure that I had “Peanut Lady” emblazoned on my forehead.

Well, I vowed to return to Elizabeth Park before the snowflakes began to fly, only this time with a whole package of peanuts, just for those sweet squirrels.

I didn’t expect to see, just moments after scattering most of the peanuts on the ground, a gathering, not only of squirrels, but birds as well, among them Jays, Nuthatches and Woodpeckers … suffice it to say I was in my glory. All this wildlife surrounding me, just for the price of a bag of peanuts. I have used the phrase “simple joy” before – I admit I am easy to please and I was delighted to see them.

I took a lot of pictures of the gathering of my furry and feathered friends happily munching away, then I moseyed and meandered around the rest of Elizabeth Park enjoying the view. It was really cold, but I was dressed for it, except for my fingers which persisted in freezing, despite two pair of gloves.

The trees were mostly bare; the many majestic oaks had dropped their leaves and a carpet of brown and withered leaves was everywhere. In some instances, ice was still embedded amongst the leaves from a cold snap earlier in the week.

I scuffed through loads of them on the grass and some leaves littered the boardwalk.

I stopped to check out the etchings of young love declared and painstakingly “engraved” into the painted metal railings along the boardwalk. I took a few pictures of those hearts, doodles and curlicues, thinking they might become the topic of a post, perhaps at Valentine’s Day, but decided to just use them here.

And, alas … there was love gone wrong too it seems.

I returned home, having driven 50 miles (80 kms), walked almost seven miles (11 kms) and I was gone for six hours doing so. My breakfast was down in my toes and I was ready for something warm to eat and drink.

The images of the Park’s inhabitants that day remain in my head, as well as captured by the camera, so let me share my favorite photos of the day and weave a little rhyme in there as well, about Mother Nature’s gifts, a timely topic as we are immersed in the gift-giving season.

On the 7th of December, Mother Nature gave to me:

A mess o’ squirrels that came runnin’ when they saw the Peanut Lady!

A Blue Jay scamming peanuts in between screeching like Mariah Carey.

A Red-Bellied Woodpecker that spotted nuts and stopped drilling on a tree.

A White-breasted Nuthatch who scoped out peanuts and began yelling “Yippee!”

I tossed peanuts, they gathered, posed and feasted … they must’ve been hungry!

I was happy to share the love and I left with a spring in my step and feeling merry.

Then down the road a little, there was …

A gaggle of geese goose-steppin’ on the icy grass slowly and very precariously.

Some seagull shenanigans – even one dozing off and looking quite sleepy.

I watched Woodpeckers at the feeding station checking out the seeds with glee.

I felt blessed I had chosen this time and place to walk and see the menagerie.

Wide-eyed wonder

I hope that every walk in nature continues to fill me with wide-eyed wonder just like this squirrel and that I will always remain mindful of the words in the quotation up at the very top of this post.

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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53 Responses to Nature’s Gifts.

  1. May you continue to have great walking weather.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thanks Kate – it has been absolutely gorgeous here – nearly 50 degrees yesterday and today and bright sunshine. This is the Fall that we missed out on and this great weather is supposed to continue to year end.

      Liked by 1 person

      • It’s been cold here but we will get your mild weather starting tomorrow.

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        Enjoy it! I feel it is a reward for that cold Fall we’ve had. Here in Michigan we had no sunshine for the entire month of November. It broke a record … not even a single ray.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Wow! It’s sunny here today but we don’t get a lot of sun during the winter either.

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        We got to 52 today and sunny, but this morning it was 38 when I went out to walk and there was a coating of white frost or something on the driveway, sidewalk and road. It surprised me since it was above freezing, but it was slick, so I turned and went right back into the house. I “Googled rime ice as I remember Anne Mehrling mentioning it, but this was not rime ice. Otherwise, this weather is great – the rep from “The Old Farmer’s Almanac” was a guest on the radio today and says we are getting lots of snow starting on the 8th of January and a Polar Vortex the end of January. That doesn’t make me jump for joy.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Linda, I love the Blue Jay and Red-Bellied Woodpecker neither birds seen in the UK.

    Liked by 2 people

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thanks Andy – you would have been clicking away and enjoying yourself too, I assure you.
      It was the first time I saw a Woodpecker of any kind up close – usually they are way high up in a tree, or a telephone pole. We only have Blue Jays around here – there are Stellar Jays and Scrub Jays, but not near me, but I think the Blue Jays are much more vibrant looking with their plumage and that crest. They have a lot of attitude too – they see peanuts and begin screeching to one another before swooping down to retrieve one. You have the cute little Robin that I like seeing in your pictures. Our Robins are larger and also have a lot of attitude.

      Like

  3. Fred Bailey says:

    Lovely photos as ever. Happy Christmas.
    Fred

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Prior... says:

    Wow – linda – many of the photos here have a professional vibe – like the last one with white sky and the “yippeeee” one that looks like it is floating –
    And the love gone wrong! Followed by the scratched in active loves.
    Grabbed a nice social vein there!
    Thanks for sharing nature’s gifts that you also gifted with you

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thanks Yvette and I knew you would get a kick out of the “etchings” as you like street art. They were too good not to share and are all along the railing at the boardwalk. I also was laughing that someone came back and scratched out the names. 🙂 Young love. I had originally thought to use those etchings in a “Twelve Days of Christmas”-type post (“my true love gave to me” etc.) but couldn’t pull it together with the requisite amount of wildlife I needed – though I certainly had the geese and the squirrels. 🙂 That woodpecker gave me a smile too – I didn’t see that picture in mid-air until I looked at the photos – lucky capture!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Prior... says:

        The 12 days of Christmas would have been fun – maybe next year….
        🌲😊⛄️

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        Yes, I think so too – I tried last year, having seen a lot of swans and geese one trip to Lake Erie Metropark, and would have improvised to substitute critters for lords, maids and ladies, but perhaps if I get these critter shots throughout the year, it can come together.

        Like

      • Prior... says:

        Yes! It could come together very well.
        And I love thinking a little about Christmas during the year.
        Sometimes in summer they have those Christmas in July sales and I grab a few nicely priced items – and then it is awesome to open up the bin and have fresh stuff ready to
        Go

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        Some good planning in the Summer months with the most critter activity. Funny you mention the Christmas in July sale – I just finished writing a post about “Christmas in July” – it will publish tomorrow morning – I figure after that people are doing their own thing and not on Reader so much. We had a neighbor many years ago, and every July, over the 4th of July weekend, he would have a “Christmas in July” party. He decorated the house and yard and had Christmas music blaring from the garage … lots of people went to it and their cars lined the street. He was not friendly with the neighbors so we were never invited, but it was the talk of the street. I had another Christmas post to write but it’s too late now and have two more ideas for next Christmas to tuck away. It is funny how your mind is always churning when you blog … always thinking to the next post topic or event to write about.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Prior... says:

        Agree about the churning of ideas that comes with blogging – one of the top things I like about it.
        And interesting about the 4th of July party as the Xmas theme – I guess I think of late July as being the times I have always heard of anything related to Christmas in July.
        And too bad the neighbor did nkt invite all the neighbors in the area – it is sweet when things are more inclusive.
        And side note – did you know there is a Christmas little town in Florida (between Orlando and Titusville off route 50)
        And in early 90s had friends that would go there to have their holiday cards stamped with that postal area. So festive .

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        Me too Yvette – I am always thinking about what pictures I’ve taken to correspond with my walks and when I’ll use them. This is the first year that I did not post on the day of a walk, with the exception being the four 5K walks I did in May and June – I posted that same day – perhaps a handful more, like the two lighthouses. For the most part, I’ve deferred posts as they were picture laden and time consuming to prepare and generate the same day.

        They were newcomers to the neighborhood and the neighborhood was kind of clique-y. When we moved here in in 1966, the house was just a year or two old and belonged to an elderly couple who moved in with their kids. The neighbor on the corner sat on his front lawn in a lawn chair and watched our furniture going in. We had arrived late the night before and so he did not get a chance to check my parents/me out, but my father was out front and he said “we’re all older folks in this neighborhood so I hope you don’t have young children.” My father replied that I was ten years old and he responded “that’s okay then.” (And what if I was younger???) So, the long-established folks didn’t much care for any newbies moving in and Joe/Delores were considered newbies. The husband/wife across the street were friends of our family and had lived on the street since the subdivision was built and Delores used to sunbathe in short shorts and a halter top (she told my mom she was always nudging her husband to stay away from the window and quit watching her) – I haven’t thought of that story in years.

        Funny you mention Christmas, Florida because I was sure there was a Christmas, Michigan in the Upper Peninsula of our state. I remember that tidbit and just Googled and yes there is a tiny town – I think they did the postmarks too but I believe people sent their mail in a package with the stamps already on and they just put the postmark on the front of the envelope. Something else I’ve not thought about in years.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Prior... says:

        Glad to explore some past memories via our comment chatting… I am off to bed – but later will have to share a little bit about our first neighborhood (1990s) as a married couple – built in 1958 and it was interesting to see the ones who were there from the start.

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        Yes, please hold that thought and I am off to bed myself in a few minutes – where did the evening go?

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Laurie says:

    Ooooh, seeing a muskrat would be a highlight for me. I have only seen them a few times in recent years – once in a park right smack dab in the middle of town! You did get a lot of responses for the price of one bag of peanuts! That woodpecker looks like he is suspended in mid-air. What a great photo!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. lindasschaub says:

    Hi Laurie – I have seen muskrats before, but just their head sticking out of the water while paddling and the long tail streaming out behind them. They are often at Council Point Park. I saw something dark out of the corner of my eye and there he was trotting out across the ice. I sent the photo to a friend and said “my first otter!” He said “no, a muskrat” and sent me a link to read about it. Otters are cuter. When I do the Lake Erie Metropark post, I’m going to include some photos from the Summer which I never used, where the park benches were out in the lake instead on the shoreline as we had so much flooding. The cement walking paths were similarly flooded and the rustic trails were muddy and closed.

    I was just ecstatic over all the responses to the peanuts … I had never seen a woodpecker up close, just high up in a tree and yes I saw that photo that he is suspended in air, like a hummingbird, as he flew down to the ground – that was why. He is like the Jay and flew down and snatched a peanut then took off again. It was a first time seeing a White-Breasted Nuthatch too – I follow Jocelyn Anderson Photography on Twitter. She photographs a lot of birds. Every morning she goes to a large park and puts seeds, nuts and berries into her outstretched palm, then makes a slow-mo video from her smartphone (she uses an iPhone Pro). The birds alight on her hand, even woodpeckers and jays. It is wonderful to watch … that park is not near me, maybe an hour or so away, one of the Metroparks. All that action for one bag of peanuts indeed!

    Like

  7. I don’t know why but I started singing your words to the twelve days of Christmas song! 😂🤣😂
    You pictures are beautiful! I bet that was so much fun.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      I am glad you liked the pictures Diane – it was a lot of fun … critters all around me. all for one bag of peanuts. They were happy. I was happy. I did intend it to sound like “The Twelve Days of Christmas” song – I was looking to find enough critters to fill each number, but it was not doable – I will try again next year to do that. (The squirrels are easy to collect as a group.)

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Great photos! I love the “street art” and the ones of the jays the most. We used to have blue jays here in SoCal, but I haven’t seen one in years. Very sad at what is happening to the bird population.

    I just loved “my breakfast was down in my toes” – did you make that up or is it a saying you grew up with? Either way, I’m stealing it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thanks Janis, glad you l liked these photos. I had a great time feeding the entire park (or so it seemed). I had to include the “street art” because it was so unique. We lost so many of our jays and cardinals to West Nile Virus back in the 80s. The population has rallied back but it took a very long time.

      My mom was full of sayings and that was one of her sayings so I grew up with it. She also would say if we were out and about and she was hungry: “Linda, my backbone is touching my front bone – we’d better eat soon!” Go ahead and use ’em both if you’d like. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • I love that one too! Was your mother from the south? That seems to be where most of those funny sayings come from.

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        My mom was pretty funny Janis and I don’t know where she got those expressions, but she was Canadian (I am too actually … been here 53 years and still on a green card). However, my mom, as long as she lived here, still insisted on using Canadian terms and expressions (toque for hat, zed for the letter “Z” and serviette for napkins – there were others too). I worked at a diner with Southerners for five years and I love their idioms. I worked weekends and all school breaks and all Summer. At the end of the Summer I’d swear I picked up a twang and was full of idioms. I’d tease my co-workers about their sayings and they would say “we don’t talk like that.”

        Liked by 1 person

  9. you sure nailed those shots Linda! Your getting better and better!
    I looked to see what the collective noun is for a gathering of squirrels, a Dray or a Scurry but there appears to be a dispute about using dray.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thank you Wayne – I was really very happy with these shots … especially the birds and that woodpecker. I’ve only seen a woodpecker high up in a tree or utility pole, not up close and I never noticed him hovering in mid-air til I looked at the shots and there he was. Such a flurry of activity for one bag of peanuts … I must go back again and see who else will come to visit me. I just looked at scurry versus dray too – it makes it seem a dray is when they are young and a drey is their home). So I guess this is a scurry? They are all very companionable considering they say they are solitary creatures, but they all sit, munching away – birds, woodpeckers and squirrels.

      Like

  10. Pam Lazos says:

    Great photos, Linda. You truly are the bird lady. I’m reminded of the Mary Poppins song, “Feed the Birds.” Merry Christmas to you. I hope you have a wonderful holiday.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thank you Pam – I hope to go tomorrow for a little more “cheep entertainment” – such joy to be surrounded by all that nature. I follow a woman photographer from Michigan on Twitter and every day she goes to Kensington Metropark which is about an hour’s drive from here. She takes her iPhone 11 and videotapes, in slow motion, the birds that come to take seeds from her cupped hand. Even the woodpeckers alights on her pal and picks out peanuts, but not before looking at her first. If you are on Twitter, you would enjoy a daily dose of these birds too: https://twitter.com/JocAPhotography

      I must Google that song as it has been many decades since I saw “Mary Poppins” and that song does not ring a bell like the other ones that I still know by heart.

      Thanks and same to you Pam.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Joni says:

    OMG Linda – I don’t know how I missed this post! It didn’t come up in my Reader, so thanks for sending me the notice. I should have gone back and checked when you mentioned doing two posts back to back. Those bird photos are absolutely stunning! The blue jay and the woodpecker especially. Loved the rhyming too! Will gmail you tomorrow.

    Like

    • lindasschaub says:

      Hi Joni – I mentioned it as I wanted you to see the photos but mostly how I incorporated that quote … I was not sure whether to do the quote within the post, but decided to use it up top where it made more impact. I was really pleased with these pictures and all the woodpeckers, nuthatches and jays that joined the squirrels on the ground, all for one package of peanuts! I was in my glory. Then I went to that feeder and more birds! I had planned to go here for Christmas Day but when we had the freezing fog I had to forego the trip. I am glad I mentioned it to you (shameless self-promotion) and the rhyme was fun to do as well. I had mentioned to you that I had some photos and had two ideas in my head how to incorporate them in a post. My initial thought was to do the “12 Days of Christmas” only with groups of critters. I had the “true love game to me” pictures of the railing etchings, so if I could find groups of animals, I could make that happen but I could not, so I think I will hold aside anything that I could use from my jaunts through the year. One year I did have a picture of seven swans a’swimming and made that picture my header image. It would be difficult to get that certain amount of critters – maybe I should make it a goal for 2020? P.S. – I followed myself so that I could have my bio show up if I commented on a post. A blogger wrote me a message on my “About” page to suggest I add my bio and gave me the directions to do it: https://lindaschaubblog.net/about/#comment-9575
      So I follow myself in Reader now, which I like as I can see how the pictures display there. They look different than on the site and the justification and underling on the titles do not show up … anyway, something odd happened to me recently in Reader. I posted the geese with bows post and it was not in Reader. I waited a little while and sent a note to the WP Happiness Engineers … they said it did not update on my site, so they manually updated my profile and it was okay. It is not something we can do at our end … I am glad you liked it. I know I wrote a lot last night … when you get time, as I was really bad getting back to you. You should try and get out and walk if possible before the weather turns bad.

      Liked by 2 people

  12. You are such a great story teller ❤❤. Thanks for sharing the pics. I couldn’t make them out but I showed my mother and she fell in love with them ❤❤. You brighten up so many people’s day with these posts. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thank you Zena – I am glad your mom liked them and I had a nice nature walk that day. I will be doing another post about the birds in that park later in the month, and they are gathered around a small tree where some people have hung bird feeders and a suet holder and feed the birds in memory of a family member. I took some extra seed – I had a good time treating them. Like your mom, the simple act of feeding the birds gives so much pleasure.

      Like

  13. Pingback: A Winter's day … | WALKIN', WRITIN', WIT & WHIMSY

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