The trek to deliver Valentine treats for the Park sweeties for my Valentine’s Day blog post actually happened three weeks ago, on Saturday, January 23rd. It’s Wintertime in Michigan and you never know what the weather will be, so I had to plan ahead.
While that was a fun and flavorful visit, I am convinced that my trip yesterday to dispense peanuts and sunflower seeds was most welcome and the treats savored even more because I had been MIA for eight days, the longest I’ve ever missed walking at Council Point Park since I discovered this venue in 2013.
My HEART was in my mouth yesterday as I walked down the driveway to begin this journey.
After a week of angst over ever-deteriorating sidewalk and road conditions, brutally cold temps and snow nearly every day, the missed steps from my walking regimen took a back seat to my inability to provide sustenance for my furry and feathered Park pals. Yes, I know I am a bleeding HEART. I hoped they stayed tucked in their nests and didn’t go to ground level to see if I’d been by.
Yesterday, notwithstanding the weather forecast of snowing and 15F (-9C) with a real feel of 10F (-12C) and NE winds gusting to 12 mph (19 km), I headed out the door at 8:30 a.m., determined to make it to the Park. I knew I’d return home in a HEARTbeat if it was too slick, but I reasoned there was already a light dusting of snow that might provide a cushion for the still slick street that remained unplowed and unsalted. I tested the pavement with my boot and deemed it safe to head out. It felt tropical after the last week of brutal wind chills every time I stepped outside.
My walk was peaceful as the neighborhood was silent and the snow fell softly. I walked in the street, only needing to dodge three vehicles and then I stepped onto the grass to let them pass by. I meandered slowly down Pagel Avenue, the winding street which encompasses most of my one-mile journey from home to Council Point Park. I was happy to reach the Park so I could walk on the snow-covered grass without worries of wiping out.
I didn’t stop to count snow-covered noses – there were squirrels everywhere!
Just as I embarked on the perimeter path, squirrels came scurrying over to greet me, their snouts covered in snow, where presumably they had been trying to find overlooked peanuts at the Safe Haven Tree, or unearthing other long-buried treats. I didn’t take a camera as it was snowing when I left, but I would have had some cute shots of my pals as they waited impatiently at the base of the tree as I doled out nuts and seeds. Soon they munched contently to their HEART’s desire, at both the Safe Haven Tree and a few minutes later at the Stump/Log Hideaway. Arnie came along and I told him how worried I’d been and he waved off my worries saying “I was here a couple of times since I last saw you and I suspect they stayed in their nests as they weren’t on the path.” Whew – what a relief to hear that – those furry friends have my HEART as you might guess.
So, I’ve digressed … how about my light-HEARTed Valentine’s Day post now?
The morning of January 23rd was brutally cold, but sunny. It would be a two-park day for me. After my little Valentine treats shoot, I headed to Heritage Park in search of Mallards-huddled-together-on-the-ice-under-the-covered-bridge shots. That trek will be fodder for another post.
I’m just nutz about you!
The night before, I made up the cookies. I really sweetened the pot by using “Nutter Butter Double Nutty Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies” which are supposed to have twice as much peanut butter as the regular Nutter Butters. Of course I tasted them to ensure they were fit to give the squirrels. I had to taste cookies from each side of the package… I wouldn’t want my furry friends to get sick would I?
Way back in the Fall I bought the red icing, a small bag of pistachios and some pecans to make the cookies festive looking for Valentine’s Day. Here’s how I put them together:
I left them uncovered overnight so the icing would harden and I could pack them up. I also had the rest of the bag of whole walnuts left over from Christmas.
At the Park, I spread out the cookies, the walnuts and some peanuts in the shell under the Safe Haven Tree.
A few squirrels were immediately interested in the smorgasbord, did the sniff test, but opted for the walnuts from the get-go, then later noshed on a few peanuts, finally trying out the cookies.
It was a similar scenario at the Stump/Log Alcove. Here were the goodies and I had just strewn them on the stump when a Fox squirrel ran over and grabbed the top of one of the cookies … I guess the pistachios appealed to him, the rest of the cookie not so much, however, the rest of the cookies disappeared more quickly here for some reason.
These were my favorite two photos at this spot.
I walked around the loop two complete times, then finally headed to the car, glad to crank up the heat and warm my fingers up once I stepped in.
Cold-hands, warm HEART, on that day and yesterday, all the while sending joy in the journey.
Happy Valentine’s Day and please enjoy this animated card.