Hello October!

Hello october typographic design.

And hello Post #1,000 on this WordPress blog.

Today was another beautiful Fall day and it kicked off the month of October.

We were so lucky to enjoy a perfect weekend-weather day, and once again I was eager to get on my way and down to the Park to walk, then it was an afternoon of pulling weeds and taming bushes with “whiskers” or unruly branches.  Sadly, that yardwork was long overdue, and the weather was absolutely perfect to do anything outside, and to enjoy the sunshine.

Meanwhile, Fall has really permeated the Park!!

Between the crumpled-up leaves on the perimeter path and hints of color beginning to infiltrate so many of the trees, it appears that Fall finally means business.

crumpled leaves

Every time I visit Council Point Park there seem to be more trees sporting shades of red, orange and yellow, and it is very picturesque looking.

C

B

My favorite season of the month is Fall, even though I know by the end of October the days will be so much shorter that long walks at the Park will have to be relegated to the weekends, so I hope the good weather will continue each weekend as we progress through the month of October.

In the meantime, I will make the most of each sunny day and keep racking up the miles toward my goal  I am now at 720 miles walked for the calendar year 2017, with 35 miles left to meet my goal.

And, racking up the miles with my feet is one thing, but I’ve also racked up the posts on my blog, so that today is the 1,000th post since I began this blog on February 11, 2013.  That is a monumental feat for me.

Onward and upward to my goal.

I’ll leave you with this quote:

“I cannot endure to waste anything so precious as autumnal sunshine by staying in the house.” ~Nathaniel Hawthorne

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Many geese a honkin’ …

two geese gone

What a gorgeous day!  I could not wait to get out and enjoy the beautiful morning … not too hot, not too cold, (well, okay … maybe a tad chilly and breezy) and the sun was shining brightly.

I headed down to Council Point Park and joined a slew of other walkers and runners, also eager to enjoy their walk in this little nature nook.

“Nature nook” was an apt description this morning.

The squirrels were out foraging for food as I happened along, and I had that usual warm feeling when they come running up to me.  I’m such a softie, especially with my favorite little squirrel that plunks himself onto the blue bench and then scrambles over to see me as I approach him.  I stopped and took out the Ziploc bag and put a peanut near my foot and scattered another four or five nearby where he could see them.  His face lit up and he contently munched on a peanut, taking his time, secure in the fact that the rest of the stash was his for the taking.

But … not so fast my little pal, because a Blue Jay was screeching loudly, from a nearby tree and flew down onto the perimeter path, clearly ready to cry foul about why he was excluded in these treats, which he no doubt was eying from his high perch.  I reached back into the bag and quickly tossed a few peanuts in the direction of the jay, hoping to thwart an argument over what each critter though was rightfully theirs.  The jay quickly gobbled up a peanut and took another “to go” so no conflicts arose.

Next up was the gopher.  I was busy chatting with another walker, and there he was, running just as fast as his roly-poly body could take him with a rosy-looking apple clenched between his teeth.  He saw us and ran into the bush and vanished.  Unlike last time, when he saw me and quickly popped into his burrow, his hidey-hole was not nearby, so he had to have a Plan “B”.

On my second trip around the entire perimeter path, I passed a gaggle of Canada Geese who were grazing in the nearby baseball diamond.  One goose stood apart from the rest and was honking loudly.  For every honk uttered by this goose, across the Park and around the bend at the nearby Ecorse Creek came a response.  In the still of the morning, in a wooded area secluded from traffic and only the fog horns or the occasional train to interrupt the peaceful morning, the back-and-forth honking was quite intense, and really piqued my interest.  The entire time I was walking in that area, there was this little tête-à-tête going on between Goose #1 and Goose #2.  It was as if they had their own secret language between them, yet, neither made a move to join the other.  As I neared the cement landing, the honking got louder, so I then wondered if the goose in the Creek was injured, so I went to investigate.  Slowly, I inched down the steep grassy slope to the cement landing to have a look.  I discovered a pair of geese who were gliding compatibly down the middle of the creek, one was honking its head off and the other was silent.  The honking continued on the other side, then suddenly it stopped and the signal caller must have given the sign and the whole flock took to the air.  The pair from the Creek glanced up, saw their friends and took off as well bringing up the rear with another straggler, as seen above.  I was shooting blindly as the sun was in my eyes, so I was surprised I even got the pictures featured today.

two geese

It was momentary mayhem as the geese exited the Park, and with the incessant honking by the pair of geese finally stilled, and mercifully, the jay’s screeching ceased, the Park was restored to the peace and solitude on a Saturday morning that is the norm.

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It is back to reality again!

GOURDS

Be careful what you wish for.  That sticky heat and humidity was becoming a drag, and, for everyone who wished for cooler temps, well … they are here.  All of a sudden it seems like the real Fall has arrived, so it is finally appropriate to don flannels, sip cider and chomp on cinnamon-sugar donuts.

When I left the house this morning it was 52 degrees.  I added some layers but they weren’t enough to keep that chilly air at bay, so I was grateful for every turn in the perimeter path that took me out of the shady areas and into the full sun to help warm me up.

Shortly after Labor Day, the first signs of Fall emerged as people hauled out their harvest décor, and simultaneously, the grocery store amped up the sugar-and-spice-and-everything-nice Fall flavors.

It used to be we just associated Fall with apples – the sweet smell of apple pie bubbling in the oven, bobbing for them at Halloween parties, or enjoying those wonderful caramel apples, especially those that go by the moniker of “Affy Tapples”.  How wonderful those crispy apples with the caramel coating studded with crunchy peanut chunks taste.  Or, if you prefer a DIY project, produce bins are overflowing with apples and a display of those ooey-gooey, cellophane-wrapped Kraft caramels are always nearby.  Manufacturers made it even easier to make your own caramel apples by offering caramel wraps.

But now, it seems the caramel craze has taken a backseat to this pumpkin spice drink and food frenzy.  Not only is it frappés and lattes that are infused with pumpkin spice, but, every year it seems there are new pumpkin-flavored treats enticing us with their descriptive and colorful packaging.  Not to be outdone by other sweet pumpkin treats, I noticed Nature Valley Granola Bars has succumbed as well and created their own pumpkin seasonal favorite, and, even Pop- Tarts has risen to the occasion with a pumpkin pie flavored toaster pastry.  All were displayed prominently on my last trip to Meijer.

Pumpkin has even infiltrated more breakfast foods with Pumpkin Spice Life cereal and Pumpkin Spice Cheerios which were touted on the endcap at my Meijer store.  When I was a kid we only had regular Cheerios.  They were bite-sized oat  “Os” that tasted kind of blah, but they were good for you.  Now, Cheerios crowds out the other breakfast cereals with a whopping 15 different flavors.

I saw a sign for Meijer’s own brand of ice cream called “Purple Cow” which had a featured flavor of pumpkin pie – pumpkin flavored ice cream with pumpkin pie chip pieces.

Sweet potato pie

There’s certainly something for everyone, eh?

I don’t recall all the hoopla with seasonal cereals, bagels, cream cheese and sweet treats around Christmastime .  I guess one can’t have eggnog- or peppermint-flavored cereal and sweet treats, or perhaps I missed those seasonal goodies on the store shelves.  Maybe someone should invent fruitcake-flavored cereal.  I know I have poured egg nog on cereal and it is pretty tasty.  Well, if you are going to enjoy Fall, might as well be a Fall foodie and go for it with gusto.

I’ll bet that after that long hot spell, the folks that decorated their homes while the weather was still chilly at Labor Day, may be in for a rude awakening with their gourd displays.  Those pumpkins gracing their porches might have turned to mush inside and become pureed just like the Libby’s canned pumpkin you use for your Thanksgiving pie.

MUMS

I enjoyed this cool and beautiful Fall morning by walking five miles, and, once I finally warmed up, I hated to end my walk and go into the house.  The Autumn allure is just beginning and there is a beautiful weekend promised for us as well.

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Fast and furious.

09-26-17

Nope, that is not the pace that I am moving at these days in this extreme heat.  It is the phrase that describes the speed that the leaves are falling from the trees.  My favorite meteorologist, Paul Gross, says that our drought-like conditions this Summer, and now throughout the month of September, have caused the leaves to fall prematurely, up to a month ahead of time.  Gone are those brilliant shades of yellow, crimson and burnt orange that we associate with Autumn trees.  Instead the leaves are just turning a paler shade, then dropping right from the trees.  I believe him because now crumpled-up leaves are scattered all over the neighborhood sidewalks, the perimeter path, plus they’re dotting the surface of the Ecorse Creek, and strewn throughout the Park.

Supposedly our sweltering heat is on the wane and just one more very hot day and we’ll return to more seasonal temps.  I amazed a friend of mine who was born in the deep South by telling her the Detroit public schools have closed down early two days in a row because of the heat wave.  Evelyn is the same age as me, and she recalled, as did I, that we never had A/C in our classrooms the entire time we were in school.  She even went to a private school growing up.  Likewise, we never got any time off from school due to the heat, but, if we students were really lucky, since we were seated alphabetically, the configuration of our last name might have garnered us a seat by the window and a little fresh air.  Otherwise, we just melted away in our rigid and rickety old wooden desks.  It was especially bad at Huff Junior High, our ancient middle school.  I won’t go on about it, as I don’t want to preach, as did our parents, when they told tales of sitting in a windowless classroom with not so much as a fan, or, walking extraordinarily long round trips to school in snow that reached their knees.  I won’t rehash those stories, so enough said.

It’s been no fun walking in this heat but I’m getting it done, as are the other walkers, and even a few runners, along the perimeter path.  We are a persistent bunch, even if we have lost the spring in our step, and the morning regimen is more like a trudge in this heat and humidity.

I like to think I look like this chalk artist’s rendering of a girl with a flower.  After a four or even five-mile walk on a hot day, I feel a bit like that flower this girl is carrying … not as fresh as a daisy, but feeling like a very wilted bloom instead.

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Makin’ hay while the sun shines.

09-24-17

You’ve all no doubt heard this expression about making the most of your time when conditions are good for doing so.  This proverb’s origin is from the farmers’ need to harvest their hay while the sun was shining, so they could get their crops mowed, dried, then gathered into bales, so it may be sold or toted off to dry buildings to provide food for their farm animals and a cozy place for them to bed down in their respective stalls.

I’ve often mentioned my great grandparents who owned a farm in Ariss, Ontario.  Back in the late 1920s and early 1930s, the factory where my grandfather worked would shut down the last two weeks in August, so their family would travel from Toronto to the farm near Guelph so my grandfather could help bring the crops in.  My grandmother would assist her mom in “putting up” all the veggie and fruit crops, while my grandfather was toiling in the fields, mostly immersed in bringing in the hay crop.  In those days it took a lot of effort to sustain a family farm and the farmers prayed for no rain to get their hay crops in dry, so no dampness or even mold, would render them unusable.

How those farmers of yesteryear would love to hear about modern farm techniques that get the job done in minimal time, with minimal effort, sometimes even using  digitized programming.   The Internet Advisor, a computer show I listen to, has a regular caller who is a farmer and he often regales the audience with how he and Microsoft computer software pair up for planting, watering and nourishment of his crops, and also for tracking those crops’ progress, and it is all accomplished digitally.  Farming is really high-tech these days.

I’ve heard that saying “makin’ hay while the sun shines” for years and it was even present in song lyrics.  My parents were big fans of crooner Bing Crosby, so I grew up listening to him, along with a lot of country and western songs.

I was thinking about that little proverb while out walking this morning.   After a couple of days of record-breaking heat, although the sweltering heat has not been fun for walking and errands, the weather has been dry.  So, like the farmers, I’m grateful for that lack of rain to keep me staying on task for my walking goal.  I do recall the long-range forecast called for an exceptionally dry September and I can’t remember the last time rain spoiled our weekend, can you?

I am also mindful of those farmers and their hay-making process, as I see more and more harvest décor like gourds placed on top of hay bales and cute scarecrows gracing homeowners’ front yards.  I like these two scarecrows making goo-goo eyes at each other.

Hay … er, hey, I’m really marking miles toward my ultimate walking goal!  Another five miles walked today and my new total is 695 miles walked in 2017, with 60 more miles to reach my ultimate goal.  Onward and upward!

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Another weekend; another park.

bench closeup

Whew – well it was a hot and sticky morning once again.  I left early, but, unlike in mid-Summer when I try to beat the oppressive heat and humidity by leaving long before the sun is out full strength, Ol’ Man Sun is lazy these days and sleeps in later, so I can’t enjoy those cooler early morning temps.

The sky was flawless, with not even a whisper of a wind when I set out.  I decided to head over to Lion’s Park after I finished a short walking stint at Council Point Park, just to change things up a bit, plus to continue my theme of visiting different local parks.   So, after only one go-around, I headed over to Lion’s Park, which is like a miniaturized version of Council Point Park.

bench

It has an asphalt trail, which runs along the Ecorse Creek and is pretty and picturesque in some places, like this one, with its little peekaboo feature.

park

There is a woodsy feeling as you stroll along, but no chance to walk near the water,  unless you go right down to the Creek’s shoreline, thus, there are fewer glimpses of waterfowl.  There are very few squirrels to interact with, and no geese are walking around giving you a piece of their mind.  But, to me, it is like an extension of Council Point Park, so I had a double-dose of nature nooks this morning.

There’s the expression of  arriving at a fork in the road and what path to take, but what about a fork in a tree?  If you check out the pair of trees in the photo below, you’ll see they both look like giant slingshots.  I wonder if I am the only one who sees a slingshot, or a wishbone, when looking at that pair of trees, or that these two trees list just a little to the right?

lean on me - fork in the road and tree

It’s an imperfect world for humans, and critters, and apparently that is true for trees as well.

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Hello Fummer, er Sall, … er, make that Fall!

09-22-17

Meteorologically speaking, Fall officially arrived here in Michigan today at 4:02 p.m.  The weatherman said that Summer is working overtime.  I agree, so perhaps we should call these next few wickedly hot days “Fummer” or “Sall” – what do you think?

The calendar says September 22nd is Fall and Oregon is already shoveling snow.  While I don’t love this heat wave, it’s better to have heat and humidity than snow (in my humble opinion anyway).

I decided to take the car for a spin to Council Point Park to arrive there extra early to get my walk in before it got too warm.  It seems everyone else had the same idea.  The weather is always a common topic for the walkers, and this latest heat wave, just like the chilly weather we had a few weeks ago, created a lot of chatter.  An informal poll amongst walkers revealed that people loved the cooler weather and this heat and humidity not so much.  If there were no crumpled leaves littering the asphalt pathway or occasional glimpses of red or yellow-tinged trees scattered throughout the Park, I’d swear it was mid-Summer.

I did four miles today and called it quits with rivulets of sweat dripping from my brow.  As I pulled into the driveway, my car odometer registered 4,500 miles and my car will be eight years old tomorrow.  I have 685 miles walked so far this year and 70 more miles to go to meet my goal.  Quite honestly, the 31st of December seems far away since I am writing this blog post and can hear the strains of the ice cream man’s truck as he travels down the street on this very hot first day of Fall.

I’ll leave you with this quote:  Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadows.  It’s what the sunflowers do – Helen Keller

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