Hmm – does that fur coat REALLY keep you warm?

Winter had still not arrived on the day I took this walk at Council Point Park. But you could have fooled me – it was gray, gloomy and very cold. This was Saturday, December 19th and I’d not been to the Park in two days. While walking home Wednesday morning, the snow flurries were flying furiously, then by afternoon, the landscape was white. We didn’t get much snow, but layered in, once again, was a little freezing rain, which slickened up driveways and sidewalks. A little overnight snow Thursday night provided an additional frosty layer. This time, however, fewer homeowners shoveled or swept, which necessitated walking in the salted street if I hoped to make it down to the Park without wiping out along the way.

When I arrived at Council Point Park, the parking lot was a mishmash of small piles of salt and hunks of snow and ice in other spots where the salt spreader had totally missed, so I opted to walk on the grass to get to the start of the perimeter path, that “fork” that I showed you recently in the four-seasons photo.

I didn’t fare much better on the pathway, as it had not been plowed and ice and crusty crud crunched under my feet as I set out. The winds had picked up a bit and buffeted me as I picked my way along the path. Very quickly I decided to walk on the grass and hurried to the Safe Haven Tree, where a few furry friends scampered over and a Jay heralded my arrival with a few screeches to put out the call to his brethren. I had brought sunflower seeds as a treat since I know they’d missed two days’ “droppings” and I sprinkled them liberally over the memorial stone and spread peanuts too.

Puff descended the Safe Haven Tree lickety-split and bolted over to the sunflower seeds, completely bypassing the peanuts.

I wanted to feel his forehead, while thinking “why didn’t I get more sunflower seeds to leave for those bad-weather days when the predicted forecast tells me I will not be showing my face at the Park?”

I was right up close to Puff when I snapped these photos of him sporting a smidgeon of snow. “He must be freezing” I thought as he bounced around, despite his added girth. The dull daylight, made his usually glossy black fur, look like it was tinged with brown.

A few more squirrels and another Jay had joined the feeding frenzy so I moved on. I eyeballed the pathway ahead and sure didn’t like the look of the lumpy-looking, snow-and-ice-covered surface and decided that I wasn’t going to walk it, despite wearing lug-soled hiking boots. I quickly cut across the loop, by walking on the snow-covered grass. I’m still counting my steps, but since I’ve passed my goal already I decided now was the time to cut corners.

I headed over to the woodsy area which I have designated as a second “safe haven area” and was pleased to see a few furry and feathered friends come to greet me. I’ve been feeding the squirrels and Jays, even a few Cardinals, at this location for about a month now. I knew that collection of logs and the tree stump left behind by the tree cutters back in early Fall could serve some purpose, so I’ve been placing peanuts and treats there. This woodsy little nook is not large, but the logs provide a refuge from flying predators and the Creek bank is behind the log, so no hawk is going to risk swooping through the branches and harming itself. No worries guys … I’ve got your backs!

So, I left peanuts there and some sunflower seeds that quickly disappeared into the snow – oops, I should have cleared the “table” off first, but they had a surprise when the snow melted!

Fluff, my cute gray squirrel peanut pal, scoped the goodies and me out from his perch, the snow serving as a nice backdrop for this shot.

A Fox squirrel grabbed a few peanuts and posed nicely.

Soon a friend joined him and they sat in the still morn, noshing nuts contentedly.

I stayed a few minutes to ensure everyone was tucked into this little niche and no predators were flying about. I didn’t see any other squirrels, geese or ducks, so I just returned the same way to leave for home. It was a short visit, but it served a purpose of getting some fresh air, racking up about three miles and feeding my furry and feathered friends.

This Hunny-Bunny made me shiver!

I left the camera out as I wanted to take a photo on my way home of this Cottontail Rabbit nestled in the snow. It was there earlier and hadn’t moved at all.

I took this picture …

… and, when it didn’t flinch, I stepped a little closer, snapped the photo, then returned to the sidewalk before I scared it (or got my hand slapped for trespassing).

I first saw this bunny a few weeks ago. Its brownish fur blended into this homeowners’ lawn. I did a double-take when I saw it, hunched down into the grass, its ears slicked back. Immediately I was concerned it was sick, but I didn’t want to approach it closer to startle it, so I continued on my journey. Belatedly, I remembered my neighbor was mowing the lawn many years ago and found a bunny nest right out in the open. The mother had abandoned her kittens (the term for baby rabbits) and Marge went to the pet shop to ask how to take care of the babies. She came home with nourishment and tiny bottles to feed them. Unfortunately they were so small, they did not survive.

Since that time, I’ve read you should ensure to check your lawn carefully before mowing for any rabbit nests. I’m not sure if this is just a resting spot for this bunny as it does not appear they breed and have kittens this late in the year. I know she’s got that soft fur, but surely it is not enough to keep her warm on these bitter cold days and nights while resting in the snow.

Of course I feel badly for all the critters as Winter marches on. All I can do is hope they have a safe place to curl up for the evening and food to sustain them until Spring, then beyond.

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
This entry was posted in nature, walk, walking, Winter and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

56 Responses to Hmm – does that fur coat REALLY keep you warm?

  1. Lovely post, full of peanuts, hope, and warmth!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You left a nice load of peanuts! Animals that live outside adapt to the weather. Their fur grows thicker and fluffs protect their ears. They also find good protected spots for sleeping. I still worry but come spring they are all there!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Yes, I try to leave extra when I know the weather will be taking a bad turn and I might not be there. They likely eat up everything at once, assuming I’ll be there the next day. I am amazed at the furry tufts on the squirrels’ ears and the extra fur too – hope Mother Nature does that for the Cottontail Rabbit too.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Just charming photos. They make me so happy. Thank you for your animal care and sharing. Xo kim

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Thanks Kim – glad you liked the photos … I do try to keep them fed all Winter as much as I can, even leaving extra when I know ahead the weather may be bad, but it’s difficult when the weather gets dicey and icy. We are having freezing rain/wintry precip two mornings this week. I remember the ice storm you had and the photos in your last two posts … ice is our nemesis this time of year.

      Like

  4. ruthsoaper says:

    It is amazing how wildlife adapts to the seasons. That bunny should be just fine.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. J P says:

    Life with a permanent fur coat would be really interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Joni says:

    I’m happy to hear you came up with a second safe haven house for them. I’m also surprised that Puff would prefer sunflower seeds to peanuts? Looks like you got a fair amount of snow.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Yes Joni – this second safe haven is tucked away out of the open and I know a hawk won’t try to get them there as it is congested with trees, bushes and the fallen log and stump. So, my furry friends were trainable! (Maybe not for tricks, but for treats, certainly!) Hope you saw some inspiration on your last walk … I meant to add that onto my comment. You might do Christmas dinner, but no plum pudding for now.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Rebecca says:

    Nice photos of the Cottontail. Interesting how he hunkers down and finds a way to survive the cold winter.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Thanks Rebecca – the indentation, which I saw when it was away one morning before it snowed, was like someone had stomped down hard with a boot – about that size, just the right depth and width to hunker down. It must have been there for a while.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. AnnMarie R stevens says:

    Miss Linda…………………………that was a nice winter at the park story…………………………..we have to put on our winter layers of clothes to keep warm but their layers are built right in as the temps get colder………………..but we still think they are freezing cold

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Yes, and we still shiver with our layers if we stop in place too long, especially our hands. The squirrels were dashing around or eating, so expending a little energy, but this poor bunny was just there, bedded down in the snow. I felt badly for it Ann Marie.

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  9. natalie says:

    Of course a fur coat keep you warm! If only I can afford one! 😉

    xoxo
    Natalie
    http://nataliesdailylife.wordpress.com

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Michael says:

    How quickly the seasons change! Hope the bunny s ok!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Yes, and today was cold but clear – tonight a storm and freezing rain. Ugh. I think the bunny was okay Michael, but just staying in that one spot, in the indentation it put in the homeowner’s lawn. It was gone this morning though. It sure didn’t look happy laying in the snow though!

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  11. I love how those specks of brown fur can be seen in Puff’s black fur. I’m pretty sure mother nature has given your squirrels what they need to withstand the cold and your offerings are an appreciated extra treat. The bunny is awfully cute. I think you have an advantage by walking in the same place so often. We keep finding new places to explore on our walks so we don’t get a chance to cultivate relationships with the critters the way you do. But our birds seem to remember that we used to feed them. Every day we get a few checking the place where the suet feeder used to hang. It makes me a little sad but I know it’s safer for them to not feed out in the open here. Your pictures are wonderful, Linda. I really enjoy seeing the different kinds of squirrels and seeing what they’re up to. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      It was a rare burst of sun which seemed to make his usually glossy black coat seem brown tinged. I like that bunny too Barbara and had been watching it for several weeks and one morning it was gone and I crept over to the area she vacated and there was nothing – not a nest. I’m betting she used it as a nest at some other time, so she returned, but this is on a front lawn … doesn’t seem like a good idea. The ducks will be part of an upcoming blog post. I wrote most of the post the day I came home but haven’t looked at the photos that I took a week ago Saturday. But someone feeds them consistently – when that fellow does not show up, they come looking for handouts. Poor things. This fellow told me the ducks are well fed and catching a lot of fish when the Creek is not iced over … he is bringing them corn every day. I feel bad every day when I see the pair of cardinals near my house – they’ve nested in a large bush near the house and they likely want to know why I no longer give them peanuts. I don’t want any more prey for the hawks.

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  12. you are the patron Saint of everything furry Linda! Will send a few of my bear friends down your way……..they enjoy salmon steaks….raw!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. My squirrels here would be envious if they knew how generously their relatives are fed by you! But of course they don’t have to deal with your freezing weather and can find food year round. The bunny looks just like the ones we get in our garden. I haven’t seen them in several months now and suspect they’re hibernating until spring. Interestingly I’ve seen a couple of chipmunks stop by. A first this time of year! Stay warm Linda! ☃️

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Well, this photo was taken on a day before a storm – either rain or snow, so I was ensuring I left enough in case some of them slept in. 🙂 That was their clue to load up well as I may not return for a day or so. I like bunnies Sabine. We gt lots of them at the Park once the clover arrives.
      This bunny is hunkered down in that indented spot, but it sure looks cold. It’s been there for weeks, but no little ones … I was thinking that would be fun to get some photos of the babies. I still have not seen a chipmunk – ever! Thanks Sabine – our snow is beginning to fall right now and freezing rain before dawn. That’s too bad as most all the snow had melted.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Laurie says:

    Wow! Linda, you are a dedicated walker and squirrel-feeder. I don’t know that I would venture out in the weather you described. I bet your little furry pals are thankful for their treats! I hope your little bunny is OK. I remember once Bill almost mowed over some bunnies. Their mama had built a nest right in the middle of our yard! He saw them just in the nick of time. I believe they all grew up and survived. We had to keep the dog away from that area for weeks.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      It was slick that day – at the Park it is sometimes easier to just walk on the snow, but if the neighborhoods are too icy and dicey, I won’t go, even wearing the YakTrax. Yes, they come running like Lassie to Timmy! I think the bunny is fine and it was gone this morning. I suspect it had a nest on that lawn and decided it was safe there and returned to hunker down, although it didn’t seem like a good idea to me … it’s maybe 10 feet from the City sidewalk. It’s odd they’d build a nest in that open of an area isn’t it? Glad yours all survived – my neighbor was beside herself as she lost each of the babies. The mother had abandoned them as she didn’t mess with the nest but monitored it to see if the mother returned.

      Like

  15. Linda, your pictures are wonderful! They all look cute munching away. It looks like Puff is giving a side smile as you take pictures. Seems like they got bigger in preparation for winter.
    Glad to hear the walk was safe even with all the elements on the ground. Stay safe and happy!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Thanks Esther! I know they look cute as they’re happily munching away, snow all around them and they seem oblivious to the snow. They sure did add some weight both fat-wise and some heavier fur. They need it as we have a a Winter storm that just began and will end up as freezing rain – ugh, no wait … double ugh. Yes, I was okay on this walk, this past Sunday I fell but not on the streets, sidewalk or path, but because I forgot there was a slope and stepped out into snow with nothing beneath it and ended up on my butt. 🙂 I’m going to write about it and that walk in a few weeks as I’m quite far behind in everything (sorting pics, doing posts, Reader especially). I’m going to just post 2X a week next week, with Wordless Wednesday being one day, to just keep things caught up better. You too Esther.

      Like

  16. What adorable pictures, yes even the rabbit…lol We don’t have black squirrels near us so I love seeing them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Yes funny you and I posted very different rabbit pictures … hmm. I saw this rabbit today, so glad he was back and snuggled into the grass. He likely moved when all this freezing rain arrived. The black squirrels are cute, but are the timid ones. The gray ones warm up to you after a while, but still scoot up a tree if you get into their personal space. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Prior... says:

    oh such cute photos of these fur friends – and sure does look like warm fur

    Liked by 1 person

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