I was late to the party …

… the Christmas party at Heritage Park that is.

Long-time followers of my blog know that Heritage Park is one of my favorite places to visit all year around.

There is an asphalt track which encircles a large area of picnic tables, pavilions and soccer and baseball fields, where you can easily rack up about 2,000+ steps each time you walk that 1.2-mile track, or you can even take a brief detour into a forested area.

But my favorite part of Heritage Park is the historical village where you can walk amongst vintage buildings and enjoy the ambiance of the covered bridge over Coan Lake with its many Mallards that gather beneath that bridge.

As a special 2020 holiday treat, Heritage Park hosted an event called “Winterfest” that included a spectacular animated light show called “The Blizzard of Oz”.

In order to set up, display and subsequently take down the event, the historical area, Botanical Gardens and Petting Farm were fenced off and closed to the public (except for the nightly shows) for a total of two months.

Well that was a bummer, even though, admittedly, when I visit this venue, I usually take the same ol’ photos of the Mallards, Little Red Schoolhouse, water-powered Mill, old-time log house and other historical buildings nestled within the small village area.

So when Heritage Park’s Photo of the Day Facebook site announced the park was once again totally open, I hustled up there the first chance I got. That would be January 23rd, a very frosty morn. It was only 17F (-8C) when I left the house. I’d already spent about 90 minutes at Council Point Park tendering treats to the squirrels and birds and taking photos for my Valentine’s Day blog post before I headed here. Surely the six-mile ride to Heritage Park would give my frozen fingers time enough to thaw out.

Duck Soup.

In the Winter, I always hope to get some photos of the Mallards huddling against one another on frozen Coan Lake. Surprisingly, despite the frigid temps, the water only froze on one side of the lake. On previous Winter jaunts, I have seen Seagulls, Canada Geese, Cormorants and Herons dive bombing, then plunging through the ice, thus creating a private swimming hole, where they will preen or catch a fish, while the Mallards usually just huddle together on the ice or hang out near the shoreline.

The Mallards didn’t disappoint though. There had to be at least 40-50 of them paddling about in Coan Lake.

The ducks were quacking and splashing, so I don’t know if those verbal utterances were a sign of approval or disapproval with the weather. I know they are well equipped to handle the wintry weather, but I felt sorry for them anyway. I had brought along some sunflower seeds and broken-up WASA crackers and quickly scattered them on the shoreline, but neither the seeds nor crackers appealed to them, so hopefully Coan Lake had been stocked with enough fish to feed the masses. Fishing by humans is catch-and-release only.

An equal number of my fine-feathered friends were lazing along the shoreline.

There was a faint sun out and a few were snoozing, always with the “lookout duck” present. Though those rays of sun, that were bouncing off the water and ice were welcome to see, they didn’t provide much warmth and I was glad for my multiple layers under my squall jacket. Soon, despite a double layer of gloves, my fingers were cold, but I wanted to take photos, so I just lived with it.

Last Winter I visited the Gardens on Valentine’s Day.

I enjoyed my 2020 Valentine’s Day meander at the Taylor Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. The post I did afterward reflected the beauty of the Winter’s day, a breath of fresh air for the Winter-weary. With the color red being the theme of Valentine’s Day, I took images of the bright-red schoolhouse and Fitz’s Caboose and Boxcar against the snow along with the “(he)artwork” that is prominently displayed on the grounds of the Gardens. Francesca’s Heart is a permanent display; these photos were taken this year.

The Botanical Gardens loses some of its charm when the landscape is blah and the flowers are not blooming out front or in pots under the dome and grounds.

A little bit of Christmas leftovers sure did bring a smile to my face. Because the “Blizzard of Oz” event had just closed, there were still traces of Christmas around, so, I got to see the Gardens decorated for that holiday. Here is some of the décor, including the header image.

I strolled around the grounds, stopping to take pictures of those vintage items mentioned above. One day I will see the listing tree below on the ground next to the Little Red Schoolhouse.

There were a few walkers getting in their daily steps and one person walking their dog. It was a quiet morning, just how I like it. By the time I got back to the car, I’d been outside for five hours altogether and the temperature was still only 22F (-5C). Talk about a couple of brrrisk walks!

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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74 Responses to I was late to the party …

  1. This looks like such a lovely place to go – all of the photos of the Christmas baubles make me miss that time of year. Loved reading this!!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Linda Schaub says:

      I really like it here Coffeeandcream and once the trees come out, it is really gorgeous. I try to get here about once a month. The Botanical Gardens are beautiful at their peak around mid-August. You can go into the Conservatory or just stroll the grounds and there is always something to see.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I can see why you love Heritage Park — it’s very picturesque, especially the historical village, covered bridge, lake, and the abundance of mallards. I imagine with the gardens in full bloom it is even more beautiful. But I love the picture of the dead seed head, a winter treat. “Francesca’s Heart” reminded me that I knew a Francesca once, way back in elementary school. I wonder why that evergreen is leaning over next to the schoolhouse. I enjoyed taking this long walk with you, Linda!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Glad you enjoyed the long walk Barbara. Boy, it was cold that day and I wanted to take pictures and my fingers were frozen, even in two pair of gloves. The covered bridge is used by many for posed pictures for weddings, proms/homecoming dances and graduation shots in cap and gown. A lot of people have the photographer who has a studio (a house right in Heritage Park) take the pictures. Some of the buildings, like the log house are very old and they used to have an event twice a year where you could go into the schoolhouse, log house and mill for a tour and narration about it by the Taylor Historical Society. They had lots of grasses and dead seed heads. The Gardens has live music there every Wednesday all Summer; I’d like to go sometime. Also they have weddings in the Conservatory with receptions in the nearby pavilion. I am sure that tree must have sustained heavy wind damage to lean like that!

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      • The photographer who has a studio in the park must know all the best spots and times of day for lighting — I bet his photos are extra good. Pretty soon spring will be here and we won’t have to contend with freezing fingers for a few months. 🙂 I hope you do get to go hear the live music outdoors — that’s one of my favorite things to do in the summer.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Linda Schaub says:

        They do have a prime spot there … it is actually a woman photographer and she used to work from her home and bought this vintage home as she does a lot of photography at the park for all special occasions. She also does all wedding arrangements, including arranging for the chapel at the Park (it sustained heavy damage from a fire last Fall and is closed … I took photos but my post was picture laden so I omitted it). She is so busy that she has several assistants, a videographer and photographers working with her. Sounds like a dream job doesn’t it? We had a beautiful sunshine-filled day today but the windchill was 17 when I left this morning – brrrr. I would like to go to some of these events once things are normal again. They also have a chalk artist named David Zinn. He is famous around here for his 3-D chalk drawings and is usually there every year doing artwork while the band plays on. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Sandra J says:

    Such a wonderful park, it is so nice to see cities work at keeping the parks nice for everyone. That was a lot of ducks. I don’t think I have ever seen that many in one spot.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Yes, it is Sandra. I really enjoy walking there so I could hardly wait til they opened the entire park up again. It is a lot of ducks – probably several generations there at Coan Lake, all at the same time. It was odd that there was ice on one side and not the other side?

      Like

  4. Rebecca says:

    Such an interesting stroll! Fun to see all the ducks huddled together there. Hopefully warmer days are not far away.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. AnnMarie R stevens says:

    Dear Miss “brrrisk walker”………………………………….I like how you make-up words!…………………….Heritage Park in Taylor should hire you for your beautiful narrative display of their community resources………………………………………….

    Liked by 2 people

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Thanks Ann Marie – glad you liked brrisk walk because that it was and thank you for the compliment about spotlighting beautiful Heritage Park. I know you like walking here too and used to take your class here for special occasions when you still taught school. I just love the historical area and all those ducks under the bridge. I miss the old ramshackle barn with its white fence which they tore down and put up a new building and painted it red to look like the old barn and they store maintenance equipment for the park now.

      Like

  6. Gorgeous photos all the way through!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Michael says:

    What A fab place Linda!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Linda Schaub says:

      You would like walking here Michael. We will never have buildings as rich in history as those in the UK and Europe, but it is nice to imagine earlier times and life in a one-room schoolhouse or log cabin when walking through this venue.

      Like

  8. restlessjo says:

    I think I might wait till it warms up, Linda! I don’t do minus anything. I’ve become a proper softie since my move to the Algarve. Nice to see a bit of your world though. Thanks for sharing, and give my love to the ducks 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Linda Schaub says:

      I admit it’s not fun having frozen fingers but I don’t mind suiting up if it is clear and dry and the sun is a bonus, but I’m not fond of walking in ice and snow, something we had a lot of throughout February. Glad you liked this sampling of SE Michigan and ducks are a favorite of mine too Jo!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Laurie says:

    Mallards are funny ducks. There are lots of them in the park in Lititz too. Sometimes when we feed them, they mob us. Sometimes they turn up their noses. You never know which response you are going to get.

    I don’t know if I told you this before or not – I saw Francesca’s Heart was donated by the Vitale family. Vitale was my mother-in-law’s maiden name. Half of Bill’s extended family is the Vitales.

    I hope you warmed up fast when you got home!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Laurie – they are fickle and I’ve noticed that as well. They are not usually aggressive like the geese, but in a group it’s different. I still feel badly about the two abandoned domestic ducks at Council Point Park that rushed all of us walkers daily back in mid-December looking for food. I’ve wondered what became of them since the frozen Creek at Christmas time caused all the ducks to move on. We only have mallards at Council Point Park. I’ve been following the Michigan Duck Rescue and Sanctuary and been in touch with Matt who runs it, but they’ve not turned up yet.

      I remember you shared that Vitale was your mother-in-law’s maiden name when I wrote the Valentine’s Day post with this artwork. At the time I wrote that post last February, I searched for the artist of the metal sculpture to include it in the post. I found no info on the artist, but saw this article in the newspaper. Francesca is from this area. I have to believe this is Francesca as her family, the Vitales, are mentioned and a death notice listed Vitale as her maiden name – she was a newlywed. It looks like the artwork must have been commissioned after her death and put at the Gardens the following year. Another terrible story about a reckless pursuit of a driver who lives but killed an innocent person. https://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/wayne/2014/10/12/newlywed-life-cut-short-car-crash/17118589/

      I finally warmed up after being out there for hours on end!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. What? Wait where is the duck soup recipe? Hahaha just kidding. I have seen many of your pictures of this park and every time it looks different. You are so lucky to have a place like this to walk at.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Yes, they were bobbing around like they were in soup – you are the only one who commented on the heading. This park is one of my favorites Diane – it does look different with the seasons as there are so many trees. I think it looks best in Spring when all the flowering trees are in bloom. I am lucky to have a lot of nice parks fairly close to me. Now the weather is better, but our potholes are blooming like crazy from that warm-up last week after the brutal cold. Now a new worry when driving – we get crater-sized potholes around here sometimes.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. bekitschig says:

    Nice photos! The Cristmas decoration seems so out of place!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Thanks Jeanine. They had that event and I guess decided to leave the decorations up after that. It will be a while before there will be anything colorful at the Gardens … probably not until May. I think they overwinter all the plants in the Conservatory at volunteers’ houses until they can be put outside again.

      Like

  12. Joni says:

    You are a brave soul Linda…..I don’t think I could handle five hours out on that cold a day. That’s really a duck convention! Is there a story behind the listing tree?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Linda Schaub says:

      It was really frosty that day Joni. I think all the ducks gathered on one side since the other side was frozen – it was odd to me that one side was frozen solid and the other open, unless it gets more sun. It was a sight to see. I don’t think there is a story behind it, but I should send that photo to the guy who runs the Facebook page called “Heritage Park Photo of the Day” and see if he knows. He is a lifelong resident, used to be a reporter on the local paper and might just know. I will find out. It seems to list more each year. I went to the River this morning. Left quite early to be there without a crowd.
      It got to 58 degrees yesterday and very sunny. They said it would be colder and cloudy today so I figured no one would be there and I was right. It was very windy and started to flurry while I was out. I could not get my hands warm, despite two pair of gloves. I went to two riverside parks and Council Point Park. It took me hours to get warm again once I was home.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Joni – I learned about the listing tree and two nights in a row I forgot to tell you. I wrote to the photographer who runs the “Heritage Park Photo of the Day” Facebook site. He is very nice and I’ve chatted with him before, send a few posts to him when I did the 5K for the pantry/food kitchen. He checked with the Taylor Historical Commission and they said “he area all around the school is a low wet area.” They even sent him, then he sent to me, a photo of the tree when it was much smaller … they had it staked even then and I remarked to him that the tree next to it was not staked, just this one and they were small trees. So mystery solved. I knew it was not big enough to have been in that Derecho of July 16, 1980 (we had many trees along the main drag that got pushed over sideways by the wind) and we had a tornado near that park two or three years ago, but it’s been like that for a while and much longer than that tornado.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Joni says:

        Was it leaning over then even when it was smaller ie from the wet soil it didn’t take root well????

        Like

      • Linda Schaub says:

        That’s what it looked like in the picture the Historical Commission sent him shortly after it was planted. I said to Dave that there was another evergreen and it was not staked and they were not tall/big at that time. Must have had wet feet and caused it to list?

        Liked by 1 person

  13. they should hire you as Park Ambassador!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Thanks Wayne – I do love this park as it is so quaint and all the ducks are always something to take photos of. I had expected to see them huddled on the ice, but they surprised me. The sun must only hit one side of the bridge … one side of the lake was frozen solid, the other open and the ducks were paddling around.

      Like

      • you would be a great ambassador and I can see a long line of Ducks,squirrels following you through the Park! People would say “Oh look…..It’s the squirrel Lady”!

        Liked by 2 people

      • Linda Schaub says:

        Yes, like the Pied Piper … the ducks were so plentiful and they were so cold they were not interested in what I put out for them. I think I’ll wait until Spring and gosling and duckling time to return. I have already signed up for another virtual 5K for a food pantry to take place in May.

        Like

      • you used the wrong offering……they needed a big hot mug of hot chocolate! Maybe they wanted a bathtub full so they could warm their bottoms all the while sipping and paddling about?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        I think you’re right Wayne. Boy, I feel so sorry for those ducks, even though I know their foot composition is such that they don’t feel the cold. But still … standing on ice or plunking down your bottom on the ice sure wouldn’t be comfortable. I’ll take a thermos of hot chocolate and mugs next time I go. 🙂

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      • maybe an electric pad hooked up to solar panel to help warm their buns?
        Cable wouldn’t hurt either?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        Share a little of the comforts of home with them. I was down at the Detroit River looking for eagles a few years ago and there were multiple ice floes. They had seagulls and ducks sitting on them and one eagle (which looked like a dot in my photo). People were tossing birdseed and corn onto the ice floes for the ducks. There they were drifting along eating birdseed on the cold ice … maybe it is a nice respite from the icy-cold water.

        Like

      • no wonder the birds hang around, they have a meal ticket if they do!
        I suppose the eagles like the ice floes so they have privacy eating their lunch? How do people sprinkle the corn and seed onto the floating ice?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        Yes, they are lucky birds aren’t they? The eagle was all by himself that day. I should have clarified that it is just the ice floes that are drifting near the shoreline where people line up on the boardwalk or the pavilion. So there were some people scattering corn or seeds over the edge. You saw this post two years ago, but the last six pics are the ducks eating the seeds. This woman brings seeds and scatters them onto the ice or ice floes all Winter. She also gave them popcorn that day which the seagulls promptly swooped down and gorged themselves.
        https://lindaschaubblog.net/2019/03/03/just-goin-with-the-floe/

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      • yes,I remember that post Linda! That woman you ran into with two boxes of food sure made the ducks day! Gulls are always such bullies. I’m not a fan to be honest.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        I thought you might Wayne as I had gone down there thinking there might be eagles. This is across from Mud Island, the uninhabited island where the eagles perch, then go to the ice floes to fish. Yes, I’ll bet those ducks recognize her right away. There is a guy at Heritage Park (which venue I recently blogged about) and he goes to see them daily and throws out corn. They come out of the water for their corn as soon as they see him.

        Like

      • Some dummy on Vancouver council is putting forth a motion to outlaw feeding the wildlife! So stupid! How are they going to stop everyone with a bird feeder or hummingbird feeder to take them down?
        Some jogger got bite when a coyote wasn’t fed by him! Why don’t they outlaw feeding coyotes instead of throwing everybody in the same mix?
        https://globalnews.ca/news/7681604/coyote-attack-vancouver-wildlife-feeding-fine/amp/

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        I agree! That is really stupid! Outlaw feeding coyotes – who feeds coyotes intentionally? It seems strange the coyote would bit those joggers on the leg (in both instances) out in an open area. Over here, the people in rural communities have to go outside with their dogs because coyotes attack small dogs. Why should everyone stop feeding the birds and squirrels – very unfair! Last week they tried to push an ordinance through the state government that there should be a hunting season for Sandhill Cranes. That is something new, but they say the bigger Metroparks are overrun with them. However, the Detroit and Michigan Audubon Societies pushed hard to get the bill tabled for now … they did it sneakily and were going to push that bill through on the sly. The Metroparks in Michigan won’t let you feed anything, not even a squirrel.

        Like

      • It’s a knee jerk reaction obviously and not well thought through. The problem are the people feeding the coyote but the people who would pay for that action would be the people feeding the birds.

        Like

      • Linda Schaub says:

        Yes, that is sadly true – why punish the good people for the few who feed dangerous animals. I hope for your sake, and the wildlife’s sake, they don’t enforce this. The Metroparks forbid it because people were feeding the deer, bringing buckets of corn and dumping it on the road inside those parks and the deer would be waiting for those park goers to arrive with their food and holding up traffic.

        Like

      • I cannot see how they could enforce it? Unless they have police permanently stationed in the Park?

        Like

      • Linda Schaub says:

        I agree with you Wayne … but maybe they will use undercover police to trick people?

        Like

      • you forget every city budget is already tight,they couldn’t and nor would they afford to pay someone who will end up costing more than the tickets issued.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        Yes, that’s true – I hope they at least charge the people who are feeding the coyotes then.

        Liked by 1 person

  14. There’s nothing better than having a nice park like this close to one’s home! I love all the ducks congregating on the water. I admire your tenacity to stay out for 5 hours in those freezing temperatures! I don’t think I could.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Yes, this is one of my favorite parks to walk in Sabine. Thank you – I try to deal with the cold if it is a clear day and I just get out as I don’t like to drive in the snow, so a clear and dry day I will get out and brave the cold. I was very cold that day and this morning, I decided to go to the River at Dingell Park to see if there were any eagles (despite my telling you I would wait until 2022). The other day on that park’s Facebook site, there were several photographs. It was 17 degree windchill and very windy and kind of gray – I figured there would not be a crowd and I was correct. No eagles, but got some close-ups of some Mute Swans. Then I went down a few miles to Bishop Park and was freezing while taking seagull shots and it started to flurry! Yesterday it was 58! My hands were cold today, just like that day, despite having two pair of gloves on. There were more ducks than usual since only one side of the lake had thawed out so instead of them splitting up between either side of the bridge, they all congregated in one place. It was amazing to see.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Brrrrrrr! I’m getting cold just reading your reply, Linda! Don’t your eagles stay for the summer? We have them year round here. Keep warm and wear some Bernie mittens! 😉

        Liked by 2 people

      • Linda Schaub says:

        Yes, it was nippy … more than nippy Sabine. No, unfortunately the eagles just come there in February and early March when the ice floes are near uninhabited Mud Island and they fly from the trees on the island down to the ice floes and “fish” from there. There was eagles there when someone posted in the John P. Dingell Park Facebook site two days ago so I thought I’d take a chance. These people are going later in the day – perhaps that’s why. There were ice floes in those pics – they were all gone today. I should have gone Wednesday morning I guess. I needed those Bernie mittens this morning – I only switch to those two-part gloves when I take the pictures – the rest of the time I’m in warmer hand coverings.

        Liked by 1 person

  15. WOW- you spent 5 hours in those temps? Impressive, and your camera worked too! Great photos – there sure were a lot of mallards to see!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Thanks Shelley – I was all suited up and was warm except for my gloves, even though I had two pair on, one which were flip-back polar fleece. I ended up finally leaving because my hands were just too cold and I’d been outside since early morning, except for the five-mile drive. The mallards looked impressive here because usually there are mallards on each side of the covered bridge – one side was frozen though, so they stayed in the open water. Lots of quacking going on!

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Dave says:

    The second photo of the ducks reminds me of one of those big public pools jam-packed with people, where everyone subconsciously moves apart to create equal personal space. Looks like ducks have the same idea!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Ha ha – yes, like a day at the beach and they each wanted their own personal space! The ducs usually split up between the sides of the bridge, but on one side the water was frozen solid and this side was fine … so there they were. I like seeing that crowd bobbing around.

      Like

  17. Must have such a lovely sight seeing so many ducks together 🙂. It sounds like the ideal place that just keeps on giving ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Yes, there were ducks everywhere Zena, especially on this day when one half of the lake was frozen over and the other half was not … so all the ducks went to one side. They were everywhere bobbing around.

      Like

  18. Pingback: Jo’s Monday walk : A Faro interlude | restlessjo

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