Cuddle Alert!

It’s Valentine’s Day weekend, so I will squeeze in one more post for this Hallmark holiday.

I wish I could say I coined the phrase “Cuddle Alert” for those frosty and frigid mid-Winter nights here in Southeast Michigan; no, it was not my clever idea, but the trademark description belongs to a local weatherman named Chuck Gaidica.

Saturday morning, the alarm rang and I hopped out of bed, put on the radio to hear the news, then scurried back to bed and listened from under the covers where I would contemplate my day’s agenda. Nice … the wind chill was -1 F (-18 C) with an air temp of 11 F (-11 C). Those stats made it so tempting to crawl back under the covers for a few hours … or hibernate.

Decisions, decisions – do I stay home and tackle the dust bunnies, or, do I get going and take a long walk before the sun is supposed to sneak back behind the clouds at 11:00 a.m.?

Yes, of course – you’d go on a walk too, as the housework can always wait.

For Valentine’s Day I gave you CUTE; today I give YOU CCCCCCC-COLD.

Yes, this is what cold with a side of snow looks like in my part of the world. I suited up in multiple layers and while getting dressed (it took me about 15-20 minutes to do so BTW), the weatherman said it had dropped to a -4 F (-20 C) wind chill. Yikes! Add more layers? Nah – I may look like the Michelin Man in my down coat and not be able to move my arms and legs. I told myself to just get going as there are two hours of sunshine max! (Not that the sun was going to warm anything up mind you.)

My destination was Heritage Park in Taylor, a ten-mile roundtrip.

Cuddle” alert – hmm, it looked more like a “huddle” alert to me.

My squirrel pals Parker and Grady are so cuddly looking with their soft fur and endearing looks, that you might like to pick them up, like you would a puppy or a kitten. The Mallards and Canada Geese at Coan Lake at Heritage Park won’t elicit the same feeling, but I guarantee it will melt your heart to see them huddled together on the cold ice or paddling in the frigid waters of the man-made pond known as Coan Lake. Yes, I’m a bleeding heart for these fine feathered friends congregating in one section of the lake. Unfortunately, I cannot make a panoramic shot that would show all of them, so there are many more that were not included in the header shot either.

This is what cold looks like.

On this sweetheart weekend

… it appears no one was the object of his affection.

I always watch the waterfowl when I see them at a Park. No matter the size of the body of water, there is always one duck or goose that gets stirred up and causes a ruckus. Here this Canada Goose prepares to go into attack mode.

A split-second later, this goose was hissing at one of his counterparts. Check out that nasty face! A few chose to quietly exit the scene …

… while others got the heck out of Dodge in a real hurry! No worries – everyone was fine and they only flew to the other side of Coan Lake – look how they churned up the water during their mass exodus!

A heart-smart hike focusing on red, the color for February.

After taking a ton of shots of the geese and ducks on or around the ice, it was time to move on. I decided to keep with the February heart theme and take pictures of red items around Heritage Park – this was easy to do as you’ll see in the below shots of the Taylor Conservatory and Botanical Gardens and Petting Farm which are on the fringe of this Park.

First the Gardens.

I had a bit of a hike from the historical area of Heritage Park to get to the Botanical Gardens.

First, I had to pass the Community Gardens, where you may recall that people buy garden plots to grow flowers or fruits and veggies and a good portion of the Community Gardens are planted and tended to by prisoner detail and that food is donated to the Fish & Loaves Food Pantry. The Community Gardens look a little desolate, but the evergreen roping, wreathes and festive bows add a touch of color to the blah landscape.

Then, after hiking the length of those Gardens and a large, snow-covered grassy area, I arrived at the Botanical Gardens. I last visited this venue on a hot and humid September morn while in search of hummingbirds. I’ve visited here often in the Summertime – it is a delight to walk through and the volunteers are all friendly and knowledgeable. This was my first Winter visit and I wanted to photograph THE HEART and I think I picked the perfect weekend to do so.

Winter does not do the heart garden justice – you must imagine the beauty of blooms planted at the base of the dedication plaque and for special occasions, the heart is lit up.

I moved along over to the main structure which looked a little barren without all its flower adornments.

Scattered around the pavilion area were potted flowers that have survived the cold weather, pelting wintry precip and I was in awe of these pretty red flowers tucked among the evergreens and their delicate beauty on this frosty February day.

Now onto the other touches of red around this Park.

If you’ve followed this blog for a while, you’ll recognize the big red barn of the Heritage Park Petting Farm. I am a little bummed that they leveled the decrepit red barn that was badly in need of a paint job, boarded up with a multitude of old signs and always seemed like a stiff breeze would blow it down. A white fence was around the barn with a huge lilac bush and it was very picturesque in the Springtime. But all these photo ops have vanished and the City is building sheds to accommodate Park maintenance equipment. The new structures will be built to resemble the barns to keep with the Park’s quaint look.

No trek around Heritage Park would be complete without taking a photo of the little red schoolhouse, especially with a snowy background. Check out the evergreen tree that is listing to one side. (Note to self – don’t walk too close to it.)

My last stop on my brutally cold trek was at the red wooden Fitz caboose and accompanying boxcar.

The sun was fading fast as I snapped this photo; if my frozen fingers could speak, they would have said “no more pictures please!” Even with two pair of gloves on, it was no match for the brutal cold, so I called it a day at Heritage Park. I made a brief pit stop at Council Point Park to leave peanuts on the table for the squirrels, as I didn’t see any out and about, then headed home, ready to wrap my frozen fingers around a large cup of coffee. When I returned home, no pleading faces awaited me and I saw none of the squirrels who hang out at the house had eaten their peanuts … feel their foreheads? No, it was just that cold!

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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52 Responses to Cuddle Alert!

  1. You really hit us with the cold!!! Brrr! The photos featuring red were dramatic and lovely.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thanks Anne – I am sure the photos by the water remind you of your daily walk you took when you still lived in NY, so I am happy I conveyed just how brutal the cold and wind were yesterday. The dribs and drabs of red around this Park sure were enhanced by the recent snowfall. Unbelievably, this morning it is 30 degrees warmer!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Sandra J says:

    Your photos are terrific Linda, the amount of geese and ducks. I love the one where they all took off. It is fun to see all of them hanging out together. I did not go on a walk yesterday, but I just went with you with your photos. That is such a beautiful park.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thanks Sandra – I was hoping I conveyed just how cold it was in this photos and I try to get to Heritage Park at least one time in Winter because of all the ducks and geese that huddle together. Usually they huddle near the covered bridge which makes for a nicer photo, but this time they were off center. 🙂 That was the case until one rabble-rousin’ goose got feisty, then the others all took off to the opposite side … it happened so fast and I hoped I got at least one shot of their hasty departure. I really didn’t intend to do a post until next week as I’ve done so many recently, however, I got the “huddle” and “cuddle” and red touches theme humming in my head and decided just to go with it and do this post which took me from late afternoon to evening as I got a ton of shots (many duds). However, it made me behind in Reader and responding to comments … sigh. I will catch up a little now and finish tonight – we’re having a pretty good weather week, so I’ll work in the house today as next weekend promises to be milder and sunnier.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sandra J says:

        I so enjoy your post. It really covered the cold that you walked in to just get those photos. That was quite few ducks all huddled on the ice. It does look like better weather coming up. I like how you said the dust bunnies will have to wait. I have not heard that in awhile. They can always wait, they never seem to go anywhere. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        I thought of something I wanted to mention to you Sandra right after I replied about this walk, which now escapes my mind – I may have frozen my brain yesterday too. What I liked was no one was around, so all I heard was the crunch of the hard snow under my feet and the occasional quacking or honking … not much noise though, until the one goose with the attitude. I think every duck started quacking then. This is a beautiful park – I sure wish they had not taken down the barns and I had to take photos around the new shed construction. Thirty degrees warmer today!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sandra J says:

        That is the best part about going out in not so nice of weather, you have the place to your self. I like that also. The new stuff just does not have the character like the old, especially barns. I am heading out here in a little bit. Looks like it will be nice and sunny this morning.

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        I like the solitude too. Yes, I need to step away from here – I hope it is not sunny if I don’t go out, but I will work diligently so this doesn’t happen again. I kept going out every weekend, assuming the next weekend would be a blizzard – that is what they kept predicting over and over, big snowfall and nothing happened. No complaints mind you. Have a good day Sandra – I will catch up on comments tonight.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sandra J says:

        You to Linda, talk with you later.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Laurie says:

    You should be commended for getting out and about in that COLD! It is supposed to warm up here today – 50 degrees, I think. It will be a good day for a run. We have a lake near us where snow geese congregate. Bill and I visited that lake this week. I believe there are 100,000 snow geese there now and the numbers are going up. It is quite a spectacle to see them land or take off!

    The plaque from the Vitale family caught my eye. That was my mother-in-law’s maiden name. I wonder if Francesca, who inspired the heart, is related to Bill!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      I’ve never seen snow geese Laurie, but a UK photographer I follow has posted pictures of them- I would love to see that many in one place. I could not show all the geese and ducks together without them looking like dots – there were a lot of them. It was bitter cold and I was dressed for walking but my fingers did me in – the wind was a spoiler in yesterday’s walk and I’d have hung on and gone to the River to look for eagles in the trees on Mud Islands but for that wind which made it unbearable. I could have gone today as it is 30 degrees warmer this morning, but they predicted some snow last night (didn’t happen). I like to get to Heritage Park once every Winter to see all the waterfowl on the ice as there are so many of them.

      Interesting about plaque and I usually research into a memorial plaque before posting about it. I did a little research last night on the plaque, not the person, and could find nothing … I always like to know the significance of a plaque or piece of artwork. That is a coincidence and the AM new station I listen to has a producer/sometimes anchorwoman named Pat Vitale and she is from Ohio. Unbelievably the botanical gardens is a large piece of property and so much to see that I never noticed this heart (and the artwork is not small) – oops! I follow the Conservatory on Facebook and they featured the heart in advance of Valentine’s Day so it prompted me to get up there … I was busy taking photos of butterflies and looking for hummingbirds in the hot and humid mornings of Summer and missed it.

      Like

  4. Linda – your photos are stunning and you perfectly captured the feel of the cold. All the red too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thanks Kim for the compliment and glad you enjoyed them. I was hoping to show how those poor babies were freezing in the cold on all that ice. It was pretty brutal – I told them I was sharing their pain with my fingers.

      Like

  5. Ally Bean says:

    I always refer to any duck couple who I see as Fred & Ethel. Therefore, I gotta say that Fred & Ethel are looking good out there on the ice. ❤️

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Joni says:

    I love the red against the wintry scene – makes me wish I had left my outdoor Xmas decorations up instead of taking them down when I thought winter was over. It’s brrrrrrr here too – it seems we’ve had a colder and snowier Feb than Jan. I love the group shots and hope to get some of my own today!

    Liked by 2 people

    • lindasschaub says:

      I liked when you showed your wreath with the bow in that recent post. These were real evergreen wreaths and roping and amazingly still were fresh – it could be all the rain or precip keeping the needles moist? There are so many red things at this Park, I decided to make it a theme for Valentine’s Day weekend, otherwise I’d have put this post in line behind the others. Well, we’ve had bigger snowfalls predicted several times and then they’ve fallen short here, but often the northern ‘burbs gets it and not us (how nice for us). I thought we’ve had more frozen precip than usual here – usually all the freezing rain comes in March and we have more coming tomorrow night. Hope you got your shots Joni. These shots of all the geese and ducks do not show half of them. They were all huddled together and looked so forlorn when I first arrived.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Joni says:

        No – I’m disappointed I didn’t get my seagull shots – 50 plus pics and hardly any gulls around, but I did get a few pictures of two white swans, which I have NEVER seen before there. I had quite a nice walk along the river, as they were swimming away from me, and they swam pretty fast, but I caught them coming back, but still too far away for the zoom lens. I really need a new camera. It was good exercise anyway, and not as cold out today, with some sun.

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        I didn’t understand why there were no gulls at Heritage Park the other day – they are always around so it must have had something to do with the cold weather. I think the mute swans are beautiful. I have not seen any on my Riverwalk trips on Groundhog Day or recently. They are never at Heritage Park. Be careful of the swans as I was just taking a few pictures and a pair were in the water nowhere near me and all of a sudden the male stomped out of the water and went after me. I wasn’t doing anything to harm them but he got near and I was going to climb on a park bench but threw him some peanuts and he stopped to eat them and I got away really fast. I saw one swimming through the ice a few years ago – he was exhausted, came out of the icy creek and didn’t see me there while preening his feathers of all the ice. It was a beautiful experience being that close up to him. I think we’ll get a walk in today, then tomorrow may be rainy or wet from frozen precip.
        https://lindaschaubblog.net/2018/03/18/the-ice-cutter/

        Liked by 1 person

      • Joni says:

        Maybe all the seagulls went south for spring break!

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        There’s an idea – maybe the ice keeps them from finding something to eat but I have a picture from Heritage Park where a seagull and a Canada Goose were in the sky, swooped down and tried to land in the same place (a small patch of water with no ice). And there were other seagulls that day. Maybe after last year’s Polar Vortex, they decided not to hang around. Today I saw my first robin and then heard him singing – it sounded good listening to it.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Joni says:

        Is that early for a robin? I’ve never seen one in Feb. here, that I have noticed. Does it mean an early spring?

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        I saw one in Winter a few years ago Joni – got a pretty shot of one on a snowy branch – I’ll try and find it if I can figure out how to search for it.
        It was amazing seeing the robin in the snow … and the robin was singing away. I think the birds and trees, bushes are all confused. Saw buds on my neighbor’s magnolia bush yesterday.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Eliza says:

    💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💕

    Liked by 1 person

  8. AJ says:

    Cuddle alert is so cute! I would always take a walk over housework! Your duck photos look professional!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. ruthsoaper says:

    Kudos for braving the cold. I have been finding inside work for the last couple of days (Fri &Sat) instead of putting on all those extra layers. Today (Sun) was much better. Chuck Gaidica was my favorite weather guy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Yes, it was a beautiful day as there was sun, but bitter cold … my fingers were cold, but I was layered up, so did not feel the cold … well maybe my face as the wind was strong. Today was 30 degrees warmer! Unbelievable weather! They said snow last night so I went in the cold and no snow at all this morning. I always liked Chuck Gaidica and was sorry to see him go, even for a good reason.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. all you need is a pocket warmer and you’d have zero problems with frozen fingers. Dressing properly and being prepared will increase your outdoor stamina.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      I am going to look into the info you provided for next year now as they say once this next Arctic blast happens later this week, it will not turn into a Polar Vortex as originally suspected, and the weatherman says the rest of the Winter will be mild. I have to do something as I got two kinds of gloves and one is flip-top fingers and I bought a second pair of Isotoner gloves to put underneath those and the other pair of gloves are polar fleece mittens with gloves underneath with the fingertips bare – neither does a good job of keeping my hands warm. Other than that it would have been fine. It was pretty brutal by the water though.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. WAIT…..WHAT in the world are you setting your alarm on a weekend for????? I thought we were a lot alike but not anymore! 😂🤣😂 Those poor little ducks looked SO cold and I can’t believe how many reds you found!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Lovely pops of red against the white snow. I wonder what gets into the heads of the geese when they decide to cause a ruckus? Can’t they all just get along? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thanks Janis – I agree with you about the geese. It was calm and within a few seconds, one goose just went ballistic. I wonder if was prone to that behavior in the past and that’s why the others took off so quickly. He sure caused a lot of disruption. I agree with you (and Rodney King) as there’s always a rabble rouser in every crowd.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Pam Lazos says:

    What a great park, Linda! We went to the Middle Creek Wildlife Preserve today and saw thousands of white snow geese from Canada who are migrating back to Canada. It was ah-mazing. xo

    Liked by 1 person

  14. You brave soul!! Those outside temps (sun or no sun) tempt me right back to the treadmill for my walks! I love all the photos you captured, I’m impressed that you got so many on such a cold day. I find it amazing that the birds stick around when it’s that cold out – it appears the squirrels knew to stay huddled/cuddled somewhere instead of venturing out too. The pops of red you captured look so nice against the whites of winter. On a side note, how do you take care of your camera as it transitions between the temps of inside, to outside, back to inside to prevent moisture getting in it?

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      The weather folks said snow on Saturday night so I knew I might not get there on Sunday, so I went out and wanted to see that heart sculpture to use it in still another post – I posted a lot lately, but did this one more … the birds looked miserable and I told them I was sharing their misery. Sunday morning it was 30 degrees warmer. Glad you liked the photos and color.

      It WAS very cold and I was surprised that the camera was not slow responding to flash shots as happens sometimes with the compact digital. These are the original batteries. I put the car seat warmer on, but not the heat when I go to/from the Park and there is nowhere to dip into at any of these Parks, so I’m stuck outside the entire time. When I get home, I put the camera bag in the cellarway a few hours – I keep my kitchen door closed to the cellarway so it is pretty cold in the cellarway. So hopefully it didn’t have issues getting used to the difference in temps I really don’t go out too many times in weather this cold to be honest.

      Liked by 1 person

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