Sharin’ the love and a little …

… trail mix.

As you know from prior posts, I met my walking goal (1,255 miles/2,020 kilometers) on November 29th. That was the earliest ever for me and I really pushed myself over Thanksgiving holiday weekend, since I had time for four leisurely walks and the weather was clear and dry. I even incorporated a 10K virtual walk into the mix.

On that long trek on November 29th I walked seven miles/11 kilometers, so I figured it was the perfect time to take some pictures of my furry and feathered friends at the Safe Haven Tree since I would be going ‘round and ‘round repeatedly on the walking loop, and, thus could monitor them enjoying their treats with both my eyes and the camera.

I decided to add a special treat to pique the peanut pals’ interest.

Believe me … I thought long and hard how to provide peanuts to the furry and feathered pals over our harsh Michigan Winter, especially with the picnic tables in the pavilion area gone and Cooper’s Hawks lurking. Safety-wise I had already trained the squirrels since October to look for food beneath the Safe Haven Tree. With that step accomplished, next I needed to keep them interested by putting the food up higher when the snow began a’ flyin’. So I crept under the tree to take pictures of the branches so I could study the photos to see what feeder(s) worked best. My solution was to buy two feeders: a small suet/treat dish and a wooden platform feeder, both to be hung under the tree and secured so the critters would not knock them down.

But I had to start out small

… until they were used to seeing the dish and what it was used for. Then later, once the snow began in earnest, I’d bring the larger, wooden platform feeder and fill it with peanuts and use this smaller feeder for seeds or suet. Satisfied, I had it all figured out, I even mentioned my plan to Arnie and Joe, two others who also have been doling out peanuts to the squirrels. As an incentive to visit the new feeder, I filled it with trail mix. Yes, it was healthy for them – I shared some of mine I’d just made up that morning.

I bought hanging hooks and a chain as I wasn’t sure what would work better to suspend the two feeders from different tree branches. Well, the hanger hooks didn’t work as I knocked against the hook and the whole set-up fell down, spilling trail mix onto the ground.

No worries … it wouldn’t go to waste. In fact a couple of Blue Jays positioned themselves in a nearby tree, eager for me to move on, so they could move in and get some nuts and berries.

I had also brought along a small bird feeder chain, that luckily I bought when I got the feeders. I wrapped it around the tree, secured the feeder and clicked the hook shut – it was good and secure. No bored squirrels or birds would be messing with this feeder and it would stay put (or so I thought).

I had even brought extra trail mix along, so I refilled the blue feeder to the top, then stood back and took photos of the set-up under the tree from two different angles.

By now, a few squirrels had positioned themselves nearby, anxious to get first dibs on the peanuts, when they heard me jiggling the cellophane wrapper. This rattling of the wrapper is a ritual that would be the same as me ringing the dinner bell for the critters.

I scattered the peanuts, then grabbed the camera. I was looking for a shot of a Cardinal or two to go into this post. I was hopeful when Mister Cardinal and his Missus were early guests and landed on the nearby chain-link fence, even before I had time to unpack all the goodies. Obviously I took too long, so off they went in search of grubs, never to return.

Patience was a virtue to those furry and feathered pals who endured the wait and they all hurried over when I stepped away to resume my walk.

The Jay showed an interest in the trail mix. I guess it was easier to grab a cashew, than have to take a peanut up to the branch, hold it in your foot and stab the shell with your beak, just to retrieve the nut.

Parker surveyed the trail mix. I could imagine the thought bubble “Hmm, do I want a carrot or tomato Goldfish cracker or a cashew?” He checked out all the snacks, but moved on.

That’s because Parker thought this was newfangled stuff – he preferred peanuts and wondered why I was wasting his time; trail mix is for hikers, not squirrels in his humble opinion.

Puff knew exactly what he wanted and opted for a peanut from the get-go.

As did Fluff who is pictured up top.

On my last lap, most of peanuts had disappeared from under the tree, but as alluded to above, the peanuts would not be the only thing to disappear.

After multiple trips around the Figure-8 walking loops, always with my camera in hand, and more peanuts dispensed as necessary, I was surprised the squirrels and birds had not yet tried the goodies in the feeder, although I had witnessed the woodpecker as he inched up the tree for a look-see. Eventually Rex settled on a peanut in the shell instead.

I headed for home. I knew I likely would not return until Friday, if not Saturday, as the weather folks predicted about a half-foot of snow arriving the next day (instead, we had 3 1/2 inches which subsequently melted in the warm temps).

When I finally returned to the Park Friday morning, I had a Ziploc bag filled with more trail mix and black oiler sunflower seeds for the blue dish. I was eager to see if they ate what I left Sunday.

To my surprise, the chain had been removed from the tree and the empty dish had been thrown on the ground, but not under the tree. Obviously the squirrels and birds had not removed the chain, nor taken it. I was irritated, but put the blue feeder beneath the tree and emptied the contents of the Ziploc bag into it and spread out some peanuts.

I continued on my walk and decided the feeder could stay on the ground for good now. However, a few days later, the blue feeder was the next item to go missing. I scanned the grass and pathway and it was nowhere to be found. There will be one more post with the blue dish before it went MIA. The wooden platform feeder will NOT be going to the Park and hopefully the snow does not pile up too much under the tree. It is not my memorial tree, but given the fact that the tree looks unkempt and unloved, I’m pretty sure the owners are not regular visitors to the Park and therefore had nothing to do with this. My solution may be I must tramp down the snow so peanuts don’t disappear into the snow when scattered on top.

The moral of the story is … sometimes ideas are better left in your brain or on paper.

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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41 Responses to Sharin’ the love and a little …

  1. Witty moral, but the trick did work.. Eager to read the next post.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You are wonderful! Homemade trail mix for the wildlife, complete with whole cashews! And, to be so thoughtful, and so prepared, and so creative. I just love your dedication and heart for this project. There is an answer, and you will find it. Keep posting your progress, I’m hooked on this saga! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Thanks DiAnne – it pains me that they took the picnic tables away which not only served as a place to put peanuts, suet cakes, seed bells, sunflower seeds (and even cookies) in the past, but it was a place the squirrels and birds could congregate without fear of hawks attacking them. The food remained dry as it was under the pavilion roof. No one was going to picnic in the Fall/Winter months anyway but I assume it was due to COVID. I hope this is a good option – this was last year’s Christmas feast: https://lindaschaubblog.net/2019/12/16/his-face-lit-up-like-a-christmas-tree/

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  3. I wonder if a groundskeeper cleaned it up or maybe some kids. As I read the story I wondered if it would be allowed to stay. We are again in a lockdown so all benches and tables have disappeared. I’m hoping the vaccines make a dent in the numbers sooner rather than later.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Well that’s a good explanation Kate, but we don’t have any groundskeepers … that one walker used to pick up the trash as a nicety. Two city workers arrive in a dump truck every Monday a.m. and remove the garbage bags that are in cans around the Park and take the bags away. In the Summer they come twice a week to do that chore. The City has a service to cut trees and another service to cut the grass and volunteers arrange “garbage grabs” in the Summer, where they designate a Saturday to go out in canoes and grab trash that is thrown in the Creek. So, I don’t think it was the City. The squirrels and birds do make quick work of the peanuts. They did remove the picnic tables but left the benches in late September. The benches are probably permanently in the ground. Yes, the roll-out of vaccines sounds promising – I heard yesterday on the news that we will have a semblance of normalcy by next Summer, though no large gatherings (there goes your family reunion again) and a better sense of normalcy by year-end of 2021 if 85% of people take the vaccine.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Sandra J says:

    Well, you had to try it though. I imagine someone took it down. It was a good try though, and the trail mix looks wonderful for the critters. What a great treat for them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Sandra, yes – I was more concerned they’d knock it down or wouldn’t use it and it never entered my mind that someone would take it. That chain did work well around the stubby branch … it held the dish stable so the birds could have perched on either side of the dish to eat and it would not have wobbled or fallen. The trail mix is tasty – I only make it up at the holidays and decided to share. 🙂

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  5. This was an excellent post, but the results were not what we would have voted for. Your idea was superb.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. That looks a 1st class “posh” feed you put together Linda. Shame about the feeder.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Thanks Andy – they are not always that lucky; that was just because I shared some of my own trail mix with them. I had some sunflower seeds ready for the rest of the time. Yes, I feel badly but won’t take the larger feeder now.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. AnnMarie R stevens says:

    Miss Linda……………………………don’t give up…………………………….don’t lose hope…………………….whoever did this unkindly deed aren’t nature lovers like you ………………………you will win ……………….I’m glad you have lots of ideas in your brain…………………

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Thanks Ann Marie – I don’t know why it happened. It was not fair to take it – it wasn’t theirs to take, but then, as a practical matter, it was not my tree to use in this fashion. I will tramp down the snow beneath the tree … that is the next best idea.

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  8. Joni says:

    That must have been upsetting! What do you think happened to it? Also, Parker needs to expand his food diet and try new things!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      It was upsetting Joni as I had achieved what I set out to do …the squirrels and the birds understood it was a safe place to go to eat …they began to look for me, sometimes waiting at the tree when I arrived, or they’d see me and run over to the tree. This set-up would have kept the food off the ground and even though the snow can filter through the tree, it still would be better than having snow bank up under the tree. I’d like to know who took it and, if the same person, why didn’t they take the chain AND the dish the first time? I have one more post coming up with the blue dish in it, then no more. I have the camera with me, but I’ve not been taking any more photos the last week or so – too gray and I have a ton of photos from the last six weeks. I’ll wait til we get some snow for snow pics.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Joni says:

        Was the chain still there, when the dish was on the ground the first time? Do you think a wild animal – coyote or dog could have yanked the dish down after smelling the food? And then someone picked up the dish later thinking it was litter? It is puzzling?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        No the entire chain was gone my first time back Joni (so it was removed sometime between Sunday afternoon and Friday morning); the dish was on the ground, but not under the tree, but away from it, laying on its side empty. The chain and feeder were really secure – I know how squirrels used to work hard to get at the bird feeders in my yard when I still had them up, so I wrapped the chain around twice. Then later in the week, the dish was gone … I was really angry to be honest. It sure is puzzling. I won’t take the big feeder down there – it will likely be taken as well!

        Liked by 1 person

  9. I love the picture of Fluff! I wonder if these lucky squirrels and birds have any idea of the trouble you go to to look after them? I’m sorry your plan didn’t work out but it was worth a shot. It seems like someone else was working at cross-purposes with you. 😦 I hope tramping down the snow works well enough in the meantime. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Isn’t Fluff just so cuddly looking that you want to pick him up like a puppy? The gray squirrels do have the cutest looks sometimes. Thank you Barbara – I am both sad and mad this happened but I won’t take the bigger wooden feeder down there now and I think the tramping down of the snow will have to work until next year when hopefully they leave the picnic tables there. I do think the squirrels and birds are appreciative … the people feeding them has dwindled down. I don’t see Arnie and his wife there much now and Joe, the guy on the bike who fed them is now gone til next Spring he said. A couple of older ladies walk there, not every day though, but they bring corn and cocktail peanuts. They like that! Someone broke up a donut and left it on the trail. The ducks and geese will go for that sweet treat.

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      • Cocktail peanuts! LOL – those squirrels are living the good life when sweet older ladies show up. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        I know – it makes me smile too Barbara. The ladies are really sweet and we often chat about the squirrels. When the ladies are there, the squirrels are fickle and eat the cocktail peanuts that they sprinkle on the path for them and ignore my peanuts as they know they will still be there later. Arnie remarked they were spoiled in that they don’t even have to shell the nuts now. At Elizabeth Park which is about ten miles from me, people drive around the perimeter of the park on a regular basis and stop and dole out peanuts or other treats for the squirrels – they have a huge squirrel population there. My friend Marge did that for years. But, if you stop the car and get out to feed them, they run over like Pavlov’s dog … “Hi, got peanuts for me?” I know you’re hunkering down for the big storm – stay safe and get some nice pictures for your blog if possible.

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  10. Laurie says:

    Wow! Such elaborate plans for your little furry pals. I hope they appreciate all the planning you did for them. So sad that your feeding set up went missing. Sad for you and for your furry and feathered pals.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Thanks Laurie – I thought I would combine the best solution for keeping safe and also letting their food stay up high/dry as well. The dish was such a bright color – maybe it caught people’s eye, though this tree is near some big bushes and a chain link fence so I thought no one would notice. Yes, my plans were shattered so I hope this safe place can continue to keep my furry and feathered pals returning. This morning there were a couple of chickadees. They were trying to open the peanuts in the shell and could not. Tomorrow I’ll take some sunflower seeds for them. I can’t feed any birds at my house – not with that hawk present.

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  11. Parker and Friends must be the most loved and well nourished critters anywhere, Linda! Strange how the platform feeder went down. My guess would be that maybe a raccoon or possum could have done it, but perhaps it was a human. I’m surprised you can leave food out like you do, we’d get in trouble at our parks here. Many have signs up asking people not to feed wildlife. The places where you can they have very specific rules on where and what you’re allowed to feed the critters. Around here it probably has to do with avoiding attracting rats and mice. Hopefully you can figure out a way to do it without frustrating yourself and leaving the critters hungry.

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    • Linda Schaub says:

      We don’t have any signs in our Park, but it is not really that large of a Park, just 22 acres altogether and each walking loop is one mile. I usually stay in the first walking loop as it has more trees, thus more critters. There are only a few of us that feed the squirrels peanuts – a few older ladies have been bringing cocktail peanuts and corn for the squirrels and birds … they are loving that! They usually will finish up what I give them by the second time around. One sees another one eating and they rush over. I am disappointed this happened. I am more inclined to think someone just wanted it for themselves so they just took it. I think if they were angry I put it there, they might have left a note. I will keep thinking of a way – perhaps just tramping down the snow under the tree will work. I am trying to think about days I don’t make it down there – once there is snow and ice, I may only get there on weekends when I can leave later, like mid-day when the ice melts as they don’t always clear the trail, so I’d leave extra peanuts there if I know we’re getting extended bad weather.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Luckily for your squirrels and birds there are others who come by and pitch in with the feeding. Between all of you they’ll probably have plenty to eat.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        Yes, I hope so – there are some ladies who feed them the cocktail peanuts and corn, Arnie feeds them and me. Unfortunately the bicyclist won’t be back until Spring when he starts riding again. There may be others who feed them later in the day (hopefully). We had a crummy weather day today. We only got an inch of snow but accidents galore (13 vehicle crashes and two semi-trailers ran off the road). There was some freezing rain I understand. I will be shoveling, not walking tomorrow – glad I left them extra food this morning. That snow started a little earlier than expected and was starting to coat the roads/sidewalks by the time I got home.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I don’t envy you for your weather Linda. It’s mostly just lots of rain here and the occasional rare snow event. When those happen the entire Portland Metro area is paralyzed since they don’t have very many snowplows and only clear the main thoroughfares. Stay safe! And warm! ☃️

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        I am glad we didn’t get what the East Coast got, but we have had snowstorms like that – in February 2019 we had a 13-inch snowstorm. I could live without snow … it would not hurt my feelings to go without it. Thankfully, although we had more snow last night, it got to the mid-30s this afternoon and the salt truck must have come around as the cement was clear, so I can go to the Park tomorrow, but must be careful down there. Thank you and you stay safe too Sabine. This pandemic is not going away anytime soon.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Happy and safe walking Linda! ☃️

        Liked by 1 person

  12. I’m so sorry somebody ruined allcyour effort! People can be so bad. However, every time I see how well you feed the critters I keep wishing I was one of them. Parker looks a bit plump and I think he’s set for winter! Lol

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      I am bummed about it Diane – I think the chain, then feeder were stolen rather than removed by the tree owner or the Park. The Park doesn’t monitor what people feed the animals, nor what anyone puts out. I had all the sunflower seeds, seed bells and peanuts on the picnic tables the last few years and set out apples and pumpkins and no one moved them. I am disappointed in people sometimes. I do spoil the critters, but this trail mix was something special to get them used to the feeder. I made some trail mix for myself for the holiday and decided to share – spoiled like pets. Parker is waddling these days as are all the Fox squirrels. The black and gray squirrels don’t have as big a fat layer or thick fur, so they are looking svelte. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  13. bekitschig says:

    It’s never fun when plans just don’t work out as planned … Your squirrels are well loved anyways 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      No, unfortunately people were messin’ where they shouldn’t have been messin’ … but, I am a realist and it was not my tree. Had it been my tree, I’d have tried again, but used a lock the second time. They no longer sell memorial trees, so that’s not an option. Yes, Jeanine – those squirrels are well loved and fed. Don’t tell your squirrels … they’ll never leave you alone!

      Liked by 1 person

  14. No good deed goes unpunished Linda. This proves that no matter what you do there is always someone willing to go out of their way to destroy! I hope they get a big lump of coal dropped on their tiny brains!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Very true words Wayne. You can see what I mentioned to you on the Safe Haven Tree post comments, that there was no way the feeder would have come loose from the chain, nor did it walk away on its own. I had to secure it well as the critters may have stepped onto it.

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      • I’d put it back up but this time secure it permamently! I’d put glue on the bolt threads! The person would have to cut down the tree! Than they can be charged. In the old days they’d capture someone like that and put them in the Stocks in centre square.
        Some old things should be brought back.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        Yes, I think someone had sticky fingers, rather than the tree owner(s). But why they didn’t take the whole set-up the first time makes me think it is two different people, but I could be wrong. The blue feeder is gone now. I took these pictures, then a couple of days later, I took more pictures (which I’ll use in a Christmas Eve post) … I put walnuts in the blue dish. Next time I went there, the dish was gone and nowhere on the ground. The wooden platform feeder is about a foot square so much bigger. So I am reluctant to put it up now. But I like the idea of the ornament.

        Liked by 1 person

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