Saturday in the Park …

.. I WISH it was the Fourth of July! (Then again, when it is the Fourth of July, I’ll be whining it’s too hot!) I tweaked a lyric from an old tune by the band Chicago after my original blog title fizzled out and my Saturday, January 22nd agenda did not happen from the get-go.

The long-range forecast for SE Michigan was we should get slammed with snow around mid-February – well that prediction suited me just fine as we’re that much closer to Spring by then. I may complain about the cold weather, but at least it doesn’t impact driving or walking.

So, on the 22nd, I planned an excursion to visit all the Detroit River shoreline parks. That trek would give a nice photographic overview of the icy venues along the riverfront, I’d get a long walk done and be able to warm up while driving to each venue. An added bonus would be the car would get a good run before that evening’s predicted wintry mix. Even before I left, I already had a title for the post bubbling around in my brain: “Dilly-Dallying along the Detroit River” – but, once I stepped outside, I knew I would not be languishing on many boardwalks thanks to Mother Nature and her darned Alberta Clipper.

Lotsa layers and close to the vest.

Though it was a tad warmer than the previous Saturday, the wind chill/real feel of 6F (-14C) was the exact same. This time there was a stiff wind as well. It was gray and gloomy, with the promise of a ray or two of “ineffective sunshine” as the weatherman termed it. I had on multiple layers, so hopefully I’d stay toasty, especially my fingers and toes which often send me scurrying to the car to warm up.

I took an extra camera battery and kept it zipped up inside my polar fleece vest. For my digital compact camera, I need to replace the batteries every two years. I always have two and rotate them, so I’m using these old batteries while the weather is so cold and saving the new batteries for Spring. When I took the icy pics at the Detroit River for my “Frozen Foray” post, the brutal temps were problematic for the camera. I pushed the button to shut it off and retract the lens, but the lens would not retract. To fix the problem, I had to go to the car and wait for the car to heat up to shut off the camera and put it in its pouch.

The bitter cold wasn’t a crushing blow to my original agenda – it was Winter after all; I’d just pare the park venues down a little. But first I would make a pit stop at Council Point Park to feed my furry and feathered friends and warn them icy and dicey conditions might keep me away.

The Peanut Lady is in the house.

I was packing peanuts, sunflower seeds, suet and a seed bell. I was going to wait until February to hand out their special treats, but I relented due to the bitter cold. I still had more suet, walnuts and hazelnuts in my stash for the critters come February. Besides, there is always Amazon, or my friend Phil at Wild Birds Unlimited if the cold weather persists and I exhaust my supply. While I don’t feed every single inhabitant at this venue, the regulars know my arrival time, so they are the lookout for me.

I laid out goodies on the picnic table, where a few squirrels were eating the corn that they initially turned their snouts up at. They raced over to see what The Peanut Lady had brought. The suet is never a go-to treat, so they let it sit there, nibbling on the sunflower seeds instead.

I only intended to walk around, dispense treats, then get going

But then I saw this squirrel, whose image you see in the header, as he used a fallen log to cross the frozen Creek. With all the precision of an Olympic gymnast tiptoeing along the balance beam, he/she then scrambled up the Creek bank and over to the picnic table. I barely got the camera out quickly enough to capture the last part of the crossing.

Since the camera was out after I hurriedly shucked off the mittens and slipped on the gloves I use for picture-taking, I decided to take some more photos and yes, I reminded myself there would be no standing on the cement ledge to get any fish-eating-duck shots on this trek (or any other for that matter). The City had salted and plowed the path, so it was clear and easy walking. A light layer of snow was on the grass and along the edges. Most of the Creek was frozen – what a bleak morning.

I took a few pictures of the squirrels in the Safe Haven Tree. Its wayward branches do not make for good photos, but you get an idea of how cold my furry friends were – notice their tails wrapped across their bodies to keep them warm.

I stopped along the way near where I used to feed the squirrels and birds at the fallen log and tree stump and laid down some peanuts and sunflower seeds and soon a few furry friends emerged from their hidey holes to eat.

My fingers felt as if they were frozen solid … blowing on them wouldn’t help as I’d have to pull down the mask to accomplish this task. Sigh. So, I put the camera away, intending to finish up on the perimeter path loop and head to the car.

Well, the camera didn’t remain tucked away for long ….

Wait! What is out on the ice?

I saw a flash of orange on the ice … at first I thought it might be a Fox Squirrel, but though they bulk up for the Winter months, they are never THAT big. I was excited – was it a fox? I understand that there have been deer, coyote and fox sightings in this venue when the Creek freezes over, but I’ve never been lucky enough to glimpse any of those animals … perhaps now? Was this my reward for staying at my favorite nature nook this morning? I hurried over to the Creek banks to get a better look, even though my view was partially obstructed by brush.

The mystery critter was a cat and it was wearing a disgruntled look (who could blame it) as it was crouched on the ice looking very miserable. You’ve heard the expression “cool cat” but this frozen fellow had long ago surpassed being cool. I got as close as I safely could to the Creek bank and got this shot. Notice the frozen shad near the cat.

My interest was piqued – where did it come from? I made a mental note to check the Facebook neighborhood forum to see if anyone was missing an orange cat. There was another walker and we chitchatted about the cold and when I looked over, the cat was busy eating, no doubt dead shad, as some of the conglomeration of shad you saw in last Monday’s post, had shifted downstream after a day of high winds.

So this kitty was content … food-wise anyway. Later that evening when I finally got online, I checked the Facebook sites for missing cats – there were none and I’ve not seen it since.

Okay … I couldn’t help myself.

I had to glance over to see if the alcove was still a happenin’ place for the shad-lovin’ ducks. Yes it was. I only took a handful of pictures this time. Surprisingly, despite the bone-chilling temps, ducks were bobbing around in a small area of open water, delighting in what fellow blogger Heather quipped was an all-you-can-eat buffet.

With frozen fingers, I finally left the Park and was on my way, enjoying the heated seats; I blasted the heat very high to thaw out. I made it to the next destination, but on the way home, those predicted snow flurries came early, as fat flakes quickly pasted themselves onto the car window and Fort Street, making for a slippery trip home. We ended up getting a few inches of a wintry mix Saturday night and again Sunday night, so there was no walk for me until later in the week.

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.

63 Responses to Saturday in the Park …

  1. peggy says:

    Quite a walk. I loved the squirrels. I often see the squirrels here putting their tails over their body and head – sort of like their coat. Those squirrels had to love those peanuts. That was probably a stray cat taking care of himself. We have a lot of those here. Those Ducks looked like they were in Heaven with all those fish. Great post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Thanks Peggy – glad you liked the post. I only see the squirrels do that in extreme weather … you have to wonder how much warmer they are with their tails like that. The cat looked well fed, so whether it had been feasting on fish I’m not sure, but it was big and not scrawny. They don’t take cats at our animal shelter, dogs only. Those ducks are still in Hog Heaven and there are a lot of fish left so good eatin’ for awhile longer.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Sandra J says:

    Thank you for all these wonderful photos Linda, despite the frozen fingers. I love seeing the squirrels, while we have been out and about this winter, I have not seen hardly any squirrels. They must all be up north. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Glad you liked the photos Sandra. I looked for a gray squirrel up in the tree to have one of each type, but none to be found for some reason. It was bitter cold that morning and I think they only came out of their nests for food. I can’t find my warmer gloves – I have to look harder I guess.

      Like

  3. Anne says:

    So many squirrels and they all look slightly different from each other. I am amazed to see all those dead fish – and even more surprised at the sight of the cat on the ice!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      We have the Eastern Gray squirrels too Anne but none were up in the tree, just that one going across the frozen Creek. There are a lot of ducks at this Creek, but many more fish, so I’ll bet it will be a while until they are gone. This morning the Creek was frozen over and had some snow on top – ducks huddled together along the shoreline and no visible fish. That cat surprised me too and I’m wondering how he scooped out the frozen fish, unless there were some floating on the water.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. ruthsoaper says:

    At least the cat was eating good. We are supposed to get a big storm this week. Are you ready?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Yes, he looked well fed Ruth, so I wondered if he was from the neighborhood. They don’t take cats at our animal shelter, just dogs. I think they ask the River Rouge shelter to take the cats that are found in our City and this was a Saturday, so not sure they’d respond. Oh, this storm … they are saying it’s the worst storm in seven years. (Earlier today it was the worst storm in five years) and the storm totals keep going up, up, up. I wish the freezing rain was not coming in first, then two days of snow. That’s worrisome for power outages. Stay safe Ruth …. I know you are prepared. My weather alarm went off this morning as I was going out to walk – a “severe alert” and almost two days in advance – that surprised me.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a cat in your park pics. Looks healthy so hopefully he’s getting enough to eat.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I love the squirrel pictures! They look so warm and comfy tucked under their colorful tails. 💙 That poor cat — I hope he finds his way home. That fish must have been worth stepping out on the ice for him to get some. I like the second to the last picture of the duck floating in the middle of the shads. I’m impressed by how carefully you plan for your squirrels’ treats. 🙂 They’re pretty lucky creatures to have you looking out for them! Glad you made it home before the snow got too bad. ❄️

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Glad you liked my squirrel pals who looked so cozy in the tree Barbara. That Weeping Mulberry where I put their food is fairly big and they travel from tree to tree, then go down the trunk to ground level. They may do that to evade the hawks in the Park – that’s my guess and they are somewhat sheltered in that tree, even without leaves, as its thick branches weep almost to the ground. I ended up giving them the last of the treats yesterday as it’s been so bitter cold and we are now getting a major snowstorm Tuesday night through Thursday night … two days of snow off and on and up to 16-18 inches of snow over the two-day period. It starts out as freezing rain which will make a colossal mess. I don’t expect to be walking until Sunday (if I’m lucky) … maybe even longer, so not back to the Park for a while to give them any food. I chop up the suet in the dish, but they won’t eat it until the treats they like are finished. That was the last time I drove the car as my “service tire monitor” light came on while I was out so that will curtail any trips until I get it fixed. I just got four new tire monitors in 2020. It’s always something.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Life is just one thing after another, it never ends! I hope you find a way to enjoy the great indoors for a while. Sigh…

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        Well I’m going to try to get to the Park on Sunday. It will be in single digits Friday and Saturday, so given all the snow we’ve had, it might not be wise to go Saturday. I am grounded for a few more days. Sigh indeed. No complaints about the heat and humidity when it arrives.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. J P says:

    An all you can eat buffet is right! The cat must have missed the announcement, sitting elsewhere and making do with a frozen dinner.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Yes, the poor cat was far away from the ducks and I wondered if it was jabbing its paw into the frozen water, or a fish happened to float on by. The Creek was frozen and snow covered this morning so no one was dining on fish today.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. might be a feral cat that was once someones pet from a while ago? If you see it again, call it “Garfield”.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Yes, I’m thinking that too Wayne – it was a huge cat and except for it crouching on the ice, it looked healthy and had an appetite. Our local shelter does not take in cats – they put them to another nearby shelter. I like that name “Garfield” and its coloring is just like Garfield’s!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Dave says:

    One of my favorite Chicago songs! The lyrics and instrumentals come back to me like it was yesterday. Once upon a time, I had ALL of Chicago’s albums in my collection. “Nine” (Greatest Hits) was the best of them and included your blog title song.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      One of my favorite Chicago songs too Dave! When I was in college, our newspaper staff hung around the newspaper office between classes and we often went out as a group. So we got “series lawn tickets” to see Chicago and the Beach Boys every Summer. We got the series tickets to ensure we got to see Chicago and Beach Boys as those two went quickly and we’d see America, the Four Seasons and the Four Tops – the same line-up every year. Chicago’s songs are so identifiable, just by a few notes and you can I.D. it.

      Like

  10. I’ll be feeding the squirrels later today! 😁 I hope it’s not addicting!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Rebecca says:

    Brrrr … too cold for man or beast! Enjoyed all your photos.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      You’re right about that Rebecca. Our Saturday that just passed was equally as cold and now we’re getting a possible 18 inches of snow … I hope it fizzles out. Glad you liked the photos – I wanted to offer hot chocolate to my little pals. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Laurie says:

    Bill has the same problem with his running watch battery that you do with your camera battery – they just don’t work very well in the cold.

    You captured the park critters very nicely. I thought your story might end with you adopting a nearly-frozen kitty! I hope he made it home OK.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      It was amazing with the camera lens not retracting. I’ve had the flash fire slowly and missed shots because of that too. I hope you are in a warm part of Florida and there are no lizards falling down on you and Bill while you’re running.

      Thanks Laurie – I felt so badly for the squirrels and the cat as well. It seemed content to stay out there dining on fish. No one was looking for an orange kitty. I didn’t call Animal Control as they don’t house cats at our City’s animal shelter – they have to get another shelter to take them. I hope it is okay too. I haven’t seen it since that morning.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Laurie says:

        I just read a story about it raining iguanas in Florida! We didn’t see any of that when we were there. We were in Key West when it was “cold”( 60 degrees). 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        Yes, I heard it on the news a couple of times Laurie and apparently they come back to life once it gets warmer. That’s an odd story if I ever heard one. You were lucky indeed, 60 degrees or not, as who doesn’t like Key West?

        Liked by 1 person

  13. Eilene Lyon says:

    Well that kitty was not about to let the ducks have the feast all to themselves!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Ally Bean says:

    I have a soft spot for cats. That poor guy looked unhappy, but at least he knew to eat some fish. Maybe not quite so domesticated as he once was?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      He sure looked miserable to be crouched on the ice. I was wondering that as well Ally. We have a lot of cats go missing that I see people posts in the community forum and lots of cats are found but no one ever claims them and our animal shelter is for dogs only.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. You are so brave to tackle the cold! I love how fluffy everyone was to stay warm! Did you fluff up too? Lol

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      It was brutal that day Diane – it was really cold this last Saturday and I did not walk that day. I had on a lot of layers of polar fleece to keep me warm but I need one of those head and back warmers like my fluffy pals have. 🙂

      Like

  16. I love the pictures of the animals. Squirrels must send frantic text messages to each other that Peanut Lady is coming. I wonder what happened to the orange kitty; he looked sad and uber cold.
    Winter is tough on humans and animals. Did you hear about the hibernating bear that woke up and killed like 18 baby reindeers? I’m not sure about the specifics but it was a large number of animals he ate.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      A “like” for the squirrels messaging each other – what a funny thought that is Esther. The Jays call to one another shrieking loudly and sometimes follow me along the path landing on each tree or wait for me since I go to the same three spots since we got the hawks. I used to just feed them peanuts along the way. That cat did look very sad and cold – he kind of looked up at me, but we have a City shelter, but it does not take cats, just dogs and it was a weekend. I’ve not seen him since – I didn’t walk today due to the rain (and expected freezing rain which was to transcend into a wintry mix). I did not hear about the bear killing the reindeer – how awful – wish I could do a “dislike” for that story. All that’s been on our news is about the weather today.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Joni says:

    Lots to like here Linda! The title (we wish…..), the weather term “ineffective sunshine”, the all you can eat buffet…and that fat cat even if he didn’t look very happy! I looked out the other night and saw two rabbits on the front lawn lying in a foot of snow and wonder how they survive in weather like this?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Glad you liked it Joni. For such a brutally cold day, there was lots to take photos of. I went down to the Park today and took pictures of the snow – at least it was dry and easy to walk, even if it was cold. That cat did not look happy at all and I’ve not seen it since, so maybe it was just there for the all you can eat buffet. It makes you wonder how any critter survives, even with a heavy fur coat. Remember that rabbit that was in a homeowner’s front yard, day after day, sitting in a small indentation in the grass, snow piling up around her. I’ve not seen her since last Winter – maybe she got tired of me taking her picture, or moved to a better location.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Prior says:

    Hi – the squirrels are so beautiful with the snowy background and they look fluffier in winter (or is it just me)
    And the cat was a fun subject to capture out on the ice.
    ❄️❄️❄️

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Yvette – you’re right; the squirrels are fluffier as they get a heavier coat in Winter (plus an extra layer of fat, both courtesy of Mother Nature). You don’t see them use their tails to keep them warm – usually just for balance, etc. I looked for a gray squirrel but none would come down to ground level while I was there. The cat was an unusual critter to see at the Park and he was chowing down on those fish, just like the ducks.

      Like

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