I’ve been on baby watch.

Just like the Brits that awaited the newest Royal, who finally made his debut this morning, I’ve been on baby watch too, and what better time to write about it then during Mother’s Day week.

As you know, while walking at Council Point Park, I’ve been scoping out hidey holes for goslings, peering around reeds for ducklings and glancing up at tree branches for Mama Robins sitting on nests.  Even in the neighborhoods, there are no egg-filled nests that will soon house hatchlings.   Alas, no luck at glimpsing any of these fine-feathered friends’ offspring so far this Spring.

But … not to worry, as I have another venue to scout for babies – that is at Dingell Park down in Ecorse.  Mike, one of the walkers at Council Point Park, told me last year that Mama Mute Swans like to swim with their cygnets in the cove that is just off the pavilion area at this park.  Mike is retired and passes the time after walking by chitchatting every morning with the fishermen at Dingell Park.  These anglers often stop at the café across from the pavilion for breakfast, then bring baked goods to toss out to the waterfowl.  Nope, not the seagulls, but a Mama Mallard Duck who builds a nest in a planters box in the pavilion area every year.  People bring Mama Duck treats so she does not need to leave the nest unattended and can incubate those eggs full time.  One morning, just like this little chick pictured above, those babies will hatch and a stream of ducklings will hop to the ground, waddle across the pavilion, then plop right into the water.   I wish I could be there to see that cute parade, don’t you?

So yesterday, I went to Dingell Park looking for Mama Duck.  Mike told me the story about her last year, but the eggs had already hatched and all that remained was an empty nest with feathers and broken shells by the time I stopped by.  This was because we had nine rainy weekends in a row, so getting to Dingell Park was dicey. This year I aimed to do better. 

I saw Mama Mallard Duck and I spoke to her softly so I could approach and take some photos.  I didn’t want to scare her by getting too close, so the pictures aren’t great.  I took them from two angles. 

I should have brought a treat for her, despite this brand-new sign I saw in the parking lot. 

Visitors to Dingell Park, including the fishermen, will continue to feed the ducks, swans and geese that converge at the pavilion for handouts – it is the seagulls that are problematic.  They invite themselves to every food fest.

Here is where the planter is located – the parking lot is on one side, and a scenic view of the cove area and Mud Island on the other side, so it is a somewhat secluded spot for the mallard nursery.

At a glance, you can barely see Mama as she is hunkered down amongst the plants in the cement planter.  I’ll keep checking for ducklings, as well as swans and their babies which ride along on Mama’s back and of course I’ll share those photos if I’m lucky enough to witness this wonder of nature.

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SUNday Strollin’.

It was an entire day of beautiful sunshine, and, like the TV anchor quipped yesterday … it was enough to make you giddy.

I decided to start my Sunday strollin’ down at the Detroit River … I figured if the runoff  from the River was still evident, I’d just get back in the car and go somewhere else.  I even parked about a block away and walked through lovely downtown Wyandotte to get to Bishop Park.

The Silver Bass are running.

The boardwalk was full of fisherman this morning.  They lined up and down with fishing poles pressed up against the railing and waiting patiently for their dinner. 

What anglers weren’t jammed along the boardwalk, or on the pier that juts out into the Detroit River, the rest were out in boats.  They were all over this morning, with huge nets and big buckets, hoping to land enough fish to grill for Sunday dinner.

It didn’t matter that a huge hulking freighter was not too far off in the distance – they were fixated on fishing.

As I strolled along the River’s edge, I couldn’t help but notice the cement sidewalk near the kayak launch area was soaking wet. 

Though the water has receded since the photos on Thursday which showed the Detroit River spilling over the seawall and onto the boardwalk with each successive wave, some water still lapped up and over.

There was no waterfowl at the River this morning, not even a single seagull or tern, so I returned to my car and drove to Dingell Park.  The waterfowl were nil here as well, but the fishermen were out in full force.  I stayed about five minutes and headed over to Council Point Park.

The dandelions were a’bloomin’.

Unbelievably, I left Council Point Park a mere 24 hours before, and stated that there was not a single dandelion.  Well, it was like a different Park today!  There was a sea of dandelions this morning – there must have been thousands of them!

I’d only walked about a mile and a half at Bishop Park and Dingell Park, so I knew I had some serious steps to get under my belt to reach my six-mile goal for today.  So, off I went, sallying down the pathway, peanuts stuffed in my pocket and camera in hand.

I’ll sneak in just one squirrel photo below, but I must say that the sun brought not only the dandelions out – I think everyone and everything was happy to enjoy the sunshine.

I’ve got a worm and you don’t!

Last year I took some photos of a Robin redbreast and remarked on the “head tilt” … I remembered my pet birds through the years doing the head tilt, as if they tried to comprehend something; it always made me smile, thinking of the “gears turning” inside each of their little heads. 

Fellow blogger and naturalist, Wayne, of Tofino Photography commented on that post that the robin tilts its head as it listens for worms or grubs underground.  I didn’t know that factoid – so, how amazing is that?

Well, I watched this one robin who permitted me to get fairly close to him as he  hopped around, listening and looking for his brunch.  After a patient pursuit, he landed a plump worm.  The sequence of photos is below.

Who or what else did I see?

A few violets mingled in with the dandelions along the Creek edge … I have got a ton of them at the house in the back and front yards as well and I think they complement the dandelions. 🙂

Some delicate white blossoms had opened since yesterday.

Mama Mallard was sunning on the cement landing that covers the storm drain … I zoomed in on her and you can still see some storm debris.  Like yesterday, her mate was nearby, but was spiffing himself up like it was Saturday night date night, so, after five minutes, I decided I’d just take her picture due to his incessant preening.

I saw the Red-Winged Blackbird which swooped down for peanuts and he is this post’s header image.  While their disposition may be nasty sometimes, their colors sure are striking, aren’t they?

I watched a squirrel with muddy paws eye me like I was an intruder in his space.  He was King of this park bench until I coaxed him over to the perimeter path by luring him with a couple of peanuts.  Afterward, it seemed like he trusted me a wee bit more but I decided he was not a regular at the Park and probably from the nearby neighborhood.

As I meandered around the Park, from my vantage point on the perimeter path, I was still scoping out the underbrush for goslings.  There were only two geese grazing and I saw no youngsters, so I guess they have not hatched or are well hidden.

I saw Gil and Sam, two guys who usually walk in the 10:00 o’clock hour.  I asked them if they’d seen goslings yet and they had not.  I then asked if they’d heard the bullfrog or seen any turtles as I worried for their welfare after this brutally cold Winter and seeing all the dead shad that washed up near the cement landing.  They didn’t mention the bullfrog, but said “sure, the turtles are sunning themselves right now – we just passed them.”  They told me where to look and sure enough, on the log were a passel of turtles enjoying the sun just like me.  The pictures are not very clear as I had to peer at them through the bushes, but they lived though the Polar Vortex, so that’s good news. 

While clicking away to capture the images of the turtles, I saw movement in the water.  Thinking it was a diving duck, I stood poised with the camera, only to catch a glimpse of a long tail streaming behind a brown body – a muskrat!  The picture did not turn out as he was submerged just seconds after spotting him.  Better luck next time.

I didn’t see the Great Blue Heron and his kids, but the highlight of the day was the furry critter I saw at the tail end of my trip.

Oh no!  Please don’t hate me!

I was walking on the first loop, the area with the optimal critter and bird experience, and up ahead a large critter lumbered across the pathway.  I got the camera out and took its photo before trying to zoom in.

It was a groundhog.

I know there are a few of them at either end of this Park.  I don’t see them very often though.  Last year, I was looking at some fish leaping high in the water while chasing one another, when out of the corner of my left eye, I saw something dark and furry on the branch next to me.  I jumped back and wondered how I could have missed that huge groundhog that was happily munching on mulberries not even a foot away from me?  The walkers here call them woodchucks or groundhogs interchangeably. 

Well this groundhog streaked over to the grass once it caught sight of me and disappeared down into some tangled brush. 

I edged closer to where it went and realized it could not have gone far and sure enough, it had dipped into its burrow to escape me.  He (or she) wondered if the coast was clear and popped its head back out and saw me. 

Down went the head again, but curiosity either got the best of this critter, or it figured I’d moved on, so its head popped out, this time for good.  Too bad there was a shadow on its face.

Hmm – I’ll call the second picture a “Groundhog side eye”. 

My camera was trained on his burrow opening and head, hoping that groundhog would scurry out again but it did not.  I guess he figured I’d scold him for a lousy Winter and Spring, so he stayed put.

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It’s “Hike Like a Girl Weekend” so …

… if the shoe, er … fins fit, why not go for it?

Well, actually the concept of hiking this weekend might be better said than done. 

It was a dark and stormy night

We’ve had a wicked week of weather here in my part of Michigan, especially, Wayne County, which got hit hard by torrential rain April 30th into May 1st.  The rain fell fast and furiously, bringing a total of 3½ inches of rain in a seven-hour period.  Our Governor declared a State of Emergency for Wayne County, after 3,000 homes and businesses were affected by both the rain and water damage from local rivers and streams. In my city alone, 400 people ended up with flooded basements and structural damage to their homes and three houses were declared uninhabitable.  Our flooding woes made the national news, after 14 feet of water submerged a portion of a major expressway.  As the water began to recede, it was not just debris discovered in the funky sewer water, but five vehicles flipped over on their side were uncovered as well – luckily they were empty.

The sun’s been on strike!

Thankfully today was dry – unbelievably, we had rain for nine days in a row!  I was skimming through news on Twitter before I began this post, and a local TV anchor quipped:  “Tomorrow it’s sunny from the  beginning to the end of the day.  Plan accordingly.  I’m giddy.”

I am grateful that Mother Nature finally turned off the tap, but I was mindful that 5 ½ inches of rain in the course of one week meant this gal was not doing any hiking anytime soon, unless I felt like sloshing  through water in all my favorite venues.  You saw how it looked last Sunday when I tried out a new park with no paved walking path.  Not so great, unless you’re a duck.  Thus, a trip to Elizabeth Park, Bishop Park or Dingell Park would not happen, as they all run parallel to the Detroit River, which, after the storm, surpassed the seawall, spilling water onto the respective boardwalks.  The photos on Facebook were amazing.  Heritage Park was going to be my go-to spot today, but pictures of this park showed it waterlogged with ponds all over the walking paths as well.  It was such a sloppy mess that they cancelled today’s annual Clean-up-the-Park Day.

This “new norm” for constant rainy weather already caused me to invest in waterproof shoes and now rubber boots as well.  Both are not christened yet, but that’s okay too.  At the rate we’re going, they are sure to be well used.  This season is just as soggy as the Spring of 2018.

So, this morning I headed to my old standby, Council Point Park, to visit with my peanut pals who no doubt missed me as I didn’t venture past the neighborhood the last two days.  I was able to walk, luckily just after the drizzle stopped, but the sky was such an ominous shade of dark gray, I decided not to stray too far from the ‘hood.  Wednesday I never left the house due to the storm.

It was more like the first week in April, than May.

It may have been dry, but it was cold, not even chilly!  It was just 42 degrees with a stiff north wind blowing.  While I am ready to ditch the Winter coat, hat and gloves, I decided to be comfy and just wear them.  As I walked down to Council Point Park, I was glad I was in my woolens and Winter coat.  Just a handful of walkers were on the perimeter path and similarly attired – hey, it gets very windy down there in the open spaces!. 

Actually, there were more squirrels than people, and, as soon as I got on the trail, the boys, a/k/a my furry little pals, appreciated my presence and came running over.  I took a couple of cookies for Parker as a special treat for the second time around when I would pull out the camera. 

Parker decided since he had sweets AND peanuts, it was wise to take a few peanuts to go, so off he went to bury some of his stash.  So did he forget about last year’s cache of nuts or does he think it feels like Fall, therefore Winter is on the way?  For sure that frozen ground that lingered through April made it impossible, even with his sharp claws, to retrieve those peanuts.

Spring continues to load slowly at this venue.  Unbelievably many of the leaves have still not unfurled completely and I was dismayed to see how many trees don’t even have buds.  I don’t think they are late bloomers – I believe they died after this very frigid Winter.

Mr. Sun – Where forth art thou?

I travelled sans umbrella as I wanted to get some shots of the Park, and the umbrella dangling from a strap off my wrist just gets in the way.  Besides, the weather folks, (if they are to be believed), said no rain today after all.

However, I was ready to go out on a limb …

… and declare there would be no sun today.

The clouds were deep gray and so low slung, it appeared if you scrambled up a tree to reach the highest branch …

… you’d likely be able to pull one of those ugly-looking clouds down.

Where are the young ‘uns?

I decided to trek one entire loop around to feed my pals, then pay special attention for goslings toddling around.  Before I left the house, I looked back in my blog for the first week of May last year to see when the goslings appeared.  It was this very week.  I generally have a few shots of them to use around Mother’s Day.  But I saw no goslings at the Park today.

Speaking of offspring, the blue birdhouse, which was move-in ready a month ago, is still vacant.  I peered into the dark hole but saw no sign of life inside. 

Likewise, I checked low-hanging branches for any nest-building efforts by Robins, so I can begin to monitor eggs-to-hatchlings-to-fledglings just like last year, but not a single nest was found.  It seems that everything associated with Spring is in slo-mo this year.

I caught a glimpse of a Black-Crowned Night Heron across the Creek.  He was hunkered down, head and neck scrunched into his body.  I wouldn’t have noticed him nestled in the trees, except he made a loud grunting noise to no one in particular and it startled me.  He flew off before I could get a photo.

Fellow walker Mike came along just then and I mentioned the heron.  We saw this type of bird several times last Summer.  Mike said he’s seen the Great Blue Heron on the cement landing with a few offspring.  I am truly sorry I missed that sight – hopefully when I return tomorrow the small family is there.

Finally, the sun put in an appearance.

At last, a pale yellow orb peeked out behind one of the clouds.

A couple of sleepy Mallards lazed on the grass near the storm drain.  I didn’t take their picture as it was obvious the water had risen above the storm drain as the cement landing was covered with mud and debris and that would have showed up in the shot.

A Red-Winged Blackbird and a Cardinal both swooped down to swipe peanuts from the squirrels, as I stopped to feed them.  The Cardinal was content to go back to its tree and await another opportunity to snatch a peanut … or two.

A Canada Goose had the catch-of-the-day and was finagling a way to slurp down that flailing fish. 

I suggested he watch the Robins who have no trouble swallowing wiggling worms whole, though last year I captured some images of a Mama Robin slicing and dicing up a big worm on the perimeter path to take to her youngsters.

As for ambiance in the Park, well the squirrels were their usual fun-loving furry selves, but the landscape remains Winter weary and drab.  Surprisingly I saw not a single dandelion, despite them peppering the lawns of most homes right now.  When I looked back at posts from this time last year, the trees were leafed out, a few wildflowers were blooming and it was a sea of dandelions on the Park grounds. I do believe Mother Nature needs an attitude adjustment!

[Header image of “Hike Like A Girl Weekend” from Twitter]

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Only 1,000 more miles to reach my goal!

Well, saying 1,000 more miles to go … put that way, it doesn’t seem like I’ve made much progress in my walking regimen in 2019, nor does it seem probable that I’ll reach my goal of 1,242 miles (or 2,000 kilometers) before year end. 

As to walking, the weather has been horrid the past two months and in April we had 3.72 inches of rain and rain is still on the horizon.  Happily, I got out yesterday and today because the rain held off until after I walked.  That’s good because I had set a mini-goal for myself to reach 242 miles by April 30th

Meet Mike Posner.

So, I’ve been following the trek of Mike Posner, a Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter who is a Michigan native.  While in high school, he ran varsity track and cross-county and he has a degree in Sociology from Duke University. 

Mike’s claim to fame is not just his music, but the fact that he is currently walking across America.

It took seven months for the 31-year-old to prepare for this journey, which began in Asbury Park, New Jersey on April 15th

He hopes to be in Venice Beach, California by year-end, where he plans to jump into the ocean and celebrate with his friends.  He had originally counted on six months to accomplish this trek, but got a late start after injuring his foot earlier this year.  Mike also concedes that his original time line goal will be delayed since he will now be crossing through mountainous regions and there will sometimes be snow to hamper his travel.  He has a friend who drives a van and they sleep in it every night, unless folks he meets along the way offer the pair to stay at their home that night.

Hmm – I feel like a slacker!

As you see in this post from three days ago, Mike walks rain or shine …

… in the morning and evening, and is building his stamina to walk about 20 miles per day.  (Yikes – I feel like I’ve accomplished something when I walk six miles in one day!)  He begins as early as 4:00 or 5:00 a.m. and often stops at various venues (like parks) and grabs his guitar, sings and does impromptu pop-up concerts.  Mike advises his daily progress on Twitter and Instagram – he uses the same handle at both sites:  @MikePosner.

Mike is asking people to walk along with him when he is traveling through their city or state and by following his daily posts, you’ll know where to meet up with him to do so.  If he is nearby, I think it will be fun to join him, don’t you?

I’ll leave you with this quote from Mike which is the reason for his journey:

“I hope my walk can remind myself and others that life is now.  Life isn’t in five years or after I accomplish some goal.  This is it.  We have to enjoy each step.” ~Mike Posner

Those are good words to live by – maybe they should become my mantra as well.

[Header photo from Pinterest; Mike Posner photos/logo from Mike Posner’s Twitter page]

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Foray to Ford Field Park.

Sigh … will I ever learn?

Once again I fell under the spell of the weather forecasters, taking their respective forecasts as gospel, and planning my weekend activities around the snow and slush predictions.  But, in my defense, it was not just one weatherman, but several, as well as the National Weather Service for Detroit – they ALL predicted an inch or two of slushy snow for this morning and melting around noon.  Why wouldn’t I think that would occur?  After all, the Tigers/White Sox baseball game was cancelled yesterday due to heavy snow in Chicago.

So, I decided to live dangerously and forego setting my alarm, figuring I would opt for an afternoon walk instead.  I awoke at 8:00 a.m., put the radio news on and climbed back into bed, listening out of one ear to hear just how many inches of snow we got.  Neither the newscast, traffic report nor the weather report mentioned snow, so I assumed correctly that it never arrived.  I shot out of bed, ran to the front window and it was a bright-and-sunny, snow-free morn!  I had breakfast and figured I’d best get on the road soon to get a long walk in and this blog post written.

My first stop was at Council Point Park.

I was later than usual and my furry friends usually don’t let me forget my tardiness.  I was halfway around the first loop before the first squirrel ventured out – c’mon guys, cut me some slack already!  Even Parker wasn’t his usual cheerful self.

I only went around one loop (one mile) as I wanted to try out a park in Dearborn and it is a five-mile-long trail.  I was indeed mindful of all the rain we got the past few days and last night it was pouring hard when I went to bed.  I’ve been reluctant to try any new parks with this incessant rain as I’m not a big fan of walking on muddy trails, but I decided to give it a go anyway.

Next up was Ford Field Park in Dearborn, Michigan.

I’d never visited this park before, despite the fact that I thought I was familiar with the Dearborn area, having attended Henry Ford Community College in the 70s, but, after consulting a map before I left, I discovered it was just two miles away from that school.

Here was my initial look at Ford Field Park when stepping out of the car.  I was treated to a view of the willow trees that grace the banks of the Rouge River.

I decided to start my trek across this wooden footbridge …

… that crosses the Rouge River, where the water was gurgling and churning fast and furiously.

I crossed that footbridge and there was a fork in the road – hmm, do I go left or right?

To the right I saw two young guys walking toward me, so I called out and asked if it was muddy on the trail?  “Yes, very” was the answer, so the left was the way to go in my opinion.

Quickly I realized this route wasn’t much better, judging from the soggy and waterlogged trail.

I hopped, stepped and jumped around the muddy grass and gravel, but ahead looked much more promising, so I slogged away toward a drier, gravel path.

I always enjoy crossing and taking photos of covered bridges.  I knew there were two in Ford Field Park – this is the first one.

I heard cheeps and chirps from the bridge’s high ceiling and looked for swallows or nests, but saw none, so these birds were likely hiding in the rafters. 

I am sure I  bypassed the best portion of this five-mile trail by choosing the path to the left, but I went on anyway.

There was a little pond and the sun was shining down on a pair of mallards that snoozed away, seemingly not mindful of the twigs that crunched beneath my heavy walking shoes as I approached them. 

Nearby, a Pekin duck and a pair of Hybrid Mallards also napped, although the Pekin duck peeked at me to ensure I was keeping my distance and did not pose a threat to the trio’s morning snooze.  (Just wondering … would this be a peekin’ Pekin?) 

Obviously their radar was up, because, as I approached them, they awoke and swam away, with the Mallard Hybrid casting a sideways glance my way for interrupting their nap.

There was another covered bridge which you see pictured up top, and I trekked across it, then meandered around a little more.  The water was moving quickly here too as you can see in this photo.

I saw this male robin and it was singing such a beautiful birdsong.  He stopped to catch his breath, so I whistled at him.  He looked around, perhaps eager for a friend, or a mate, then discovered it was just me; he looked disgruntled and lost interest in singing and flew away.

All too soon I was back at the wooden footbridge, so I decided to just head back to the car.  I knew I had not gone too many miles and glanced at the pedometer, and I had only walked about four miles.  I am lagging behind in my miles due to our soggy Spring, so I just walked around the length of the dry and boring, paved parking lot to get a few more miles under my belt.

You’ll notice that very few trees were out in this park – the willows were not totally leafed out yet either, however, driving home from Dearborn, it was a beautiful sight.  There are many trees in this city, and a canopy of green welcomed me as I traveled down Outer Drive.  The magnolias and flowering trees are now all in bloom and a blue sky made it a picture-perfect day.  I will return to this park when it is not soggy and check out the trail.

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Friday Frivolity.

And now the down side of Spring.

A couple of days ago, I looked at the sunny side of life, a/k/a Spring, wherein I extolled the virtues of this season where we, in a four-season state, wait breathlessly for Mother Nature to toss us a bone to reinvigorate our Winter-weary souls.

Flowers are fleeting, because if the rain keeps pelting down on them, the petals will be dilapidated.  The inch of slushy snow that will grace our region tomorrow night (more in the northern ‘burbs and mid-state) and the accompanying chilly temps, just might be enough to knock those magnolia buds right off the branches. 

The rain is a pain and look what’s ahead:

Yes, raining cats and dogs most of the time this upcoming week!

This weather gives me “the willies”.

While Mother Nature is tormenting us with this incessant bad weather, it is more than just these torrential rains tampering with my walking regimen – the rain is bringing forth all the creepy crawlies.

Last weekend I turned on the hall light in the early morning to see a huge brown spider skittering along the ceiling.  For some people, their response is to simply climb on a stepstool with a Kleenex in hand (if they’re brave), or a paper towel (if they’re on the squeamish side or their aim is bad).  My mother would grab her mop to knock a spider or centipede down from the ceiling, but often she was not quick enough to squash them on the floor, and, if they landed on the carpet, chances of mashing them to a pulp were slim to none.  Then they’d be “at large” and that is even worse.  I have always worried that taking a mop or long-handled duster might flip a creepy crawly into my face, or it would land on my hair and I’d likely succumb on the spot. 

So that particular spider made a cocoon in the hall, seemingly a perfect chance for me to ambush it while it was relaxing.  But no, I thought it might stay up there forever.  Of course the next morning it was gone.

That spider, (at least I assume it was the same one), next appeared in the kitchen two days later.  I turned the light on in the morning, and it was sitting in the curtain over the sink grinning at me.  I let out a little scream and jumped back, so my sudden movement caused it to run down the backsplash and behind the toaster and it didn’t come out again.  I guess that’s a snuggly little spot, under the toaster cover.  Right then I made up my mind that I’d never make toast ever again, until I saw its lifeless body.

As you know, I work from home and my work station is right at the kitchen table, so that day I spent some angst-filled moments wondering if it might join me over here.  My eyes kept glancing over to the counter area wondering if it was similarly sneaking a peek at me?

The more rain we have, the more creepy crawlies.  This morning a spider was on the bedroom ceiling and I can only hope this is the same spider traveling around the house.  This time I just KNEW it had to be dealt with.  In the bedroom, well that’s just a big no-no.  Mustering all the bravado that I could, I ran down the hall, grabbed the long-handled duster and unrolled half of the roll of paper towels to attack this beast.  Heart pumping, adrenalin flowing, I ran back into the bedroom only to find it gone.  OMG!  At large in the bedroom!   Hastily, since the long-duster duster was handy, I coated it with peppermint oil and swabbed here, there and everywhere all around the house, hoping that scent would cause it to return outside.  Now it smells like Starlight Mints all around the house. 

It seems the little ants have shown up as well.  I can deal with them, though I don’t like having them around.  I’ve seen about ten so far and put out two low saucers of cornmeal and left a drip at the kitchen sink tap so they can promptly eat, drink and instead of being merry, they’ll explode when the cornmeal plumps up once the water reaches it.  Yes, even me, the nature lover, would be okay with this happening.

Back in the Summer of 2017, I decided to get whole-house insulation.  I was tired of kitchen cabinets that were freezing all Winter and sweltering hot all Summer.  I researched to determine the best type of insulation and decided on a company that uses two kinds of products, and tailors it to different areas of the home.  When the salesman came to the house, I was already sold on the idea of getting insulation, but I let him do his spiel anyway.  At the very end, he said “and I have an added bonus that will make you very happy – I assume you’re like most women and hate bugs, right?” [Well, that was a sexist comment, as fellow blogger Laurie loves bugs.] I emphatically responded “yes – I’m scared to death of centipedes and spiders and consider them the bane of my existence!”  He laughed, then told me the cellulose insulation had special properties that were a natural bug repellent and I’d never see another bug in the house again.  “So where do I sign?” I asked. 

Well, that big job was done in early June 2017, and, not only did I have a colossal mess which took me every weekend in June and July to clean up, but I’ve had more creepy crawlies than ever before, including this creature that I found on my bar of gelatin hand soap in the bathroom last Spring.  I almost had a heart attack when I saw it, but still had the presence of mind to photograph it in case it became the subject of a blog post one day.   (Yup, pretty shameful on part.) 

There he was, this big bugger stationed on my soap dish. This was a glycerin soap, and it was messy and broke apart in the dish, but he liked it fine.

I studied this creature, then steeled myself with a wad of paper towel clutched in my now-sweaty palm, but I could not squash that THING to save my life.  Even seeing the photo now just makes me shudder.   So instead, I grabbed a plastic bowl from the kitchen and covered the entire soap dish.  I figured the bowl would suffocate that centipede and I’d dispose of it the next day.

There is the eloquent pheasant under glass and then there is tacky centipede under bowl.

I pushed it to the far corner of the vanity out of my sight (but not out of my mind).  I even weighted down the bowl with a ceramic soap dish.  That centipede lingered not only a day or two, but weeks.  I’d turn the light on in the bathroom and it would scurry around the rim of the bowl like a race horse around the track oval.  I wondered if this was to taunt me? 

The wily centipede is under the bowl and secured by a ceramic dish. I was not taking any chances of it escaping.

Finally it died and I scooped the entire contraption into a garbage bag and ran it outside as soon as possible, lest it was playing possum.

I absolutely hate that this towering human is reduced to hyperventilation by the mere appearance of a critter with multiple legs, that runs faster than she does, but it is what it is. 

I hope the weather improves, and no more torrential rain, just the garden-variety type of rain, so I can (maybe) venture out in my new waterproof walking shoes and walk with the worms.

[Image of raining cats and dogs from Pinterest]

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Topsy-Turvy Spring.

My favorite season is Fall, with Spring coming in a close second.  I love the Autumn colors and decor, the return of “pumpkin everything” and even that wee nip in the air necessitating adding extra clothing.  However, for me, Autumn is also the harbinger of things to come, namely Winter which I despise.

Spring, on the other hand, brings its pastel palette.  I love to watch the “real Spring” unfold as the neighborhood comes alive in an awesome display of flowers.  Here is an array of some of Mother Nature’s eye candy I enjoyed while walking home from the Park on Easter Monday.  Most of the flowering trees are out, except the magnolias and the neighborhood tree leaves have yet to unfurl as of this morning. 

These purple Hyacinths were bending down to touch the earth.
The pink petals of this Hyacinth were splashed with caked-on mud from all the rain we got last week.
A paler version of the rainbow of colors of other Hyacinths, these still looked pretty and perky.
Nothing says “hello Spring” like Daffodils, their heads bobbing in the breeze.
These tulips are still closed tightly – no tiptoeing through them just yet.
These Magnolia tree blossoms were still closed, but this morning they were just starting to open. I hope our chilly weekend weather won’t cause them to wilt and wither on the branches.
I admire this Weeping Cherry tree every Spring.
These Pansies create a riot of color beneath that beautiful flowering tree.
Pale purple Pansies, like me, turn their faces toward the sun.
Do you recognize this bright-yellow wildflower?
(Hint: it’s an ace-in-the-hole for bees.)
That Dandelion was one of many clustered at the curb at Memorial Park.
Did you know before the 20th century Dandelions were coveted and grass was weeded out to make room for them to thrive?
These healthy-looking weeds were growing in a sidewalk crack amongst the tree “dander”.
Stunning Azalea.
Shoots of Hostas. Once they sprout, the growth spurts are amazing, almost like time-lapse photography. Maybe not great looking now, but gettin’ there.

Spring continues to load slowly, but I believe we have finally progressed to more than just an entry on the calendar.  Why?  Because a little birdie told me so!

This songbird was surveying its “kingdom” and studying me intensely!
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