Marsh Meander.

This is part 2 of my very long walk at Lake Erie Metropark last Saturday after the riverboat cruise. What began as a very chilly morning, morphed into a warm and sunny afternoon. You might have thought the rustic and paved Park trails would have been bursting at the seams with happy hikers and bicyclists, but I suspect they were doing harvest-type activities at our local cider mills.

Though the hues on trees and bushes were subdued, it was a beautiful stroll, so tag along with me, okay?

After hopping off the E.V. Clinton around 12:15, I drove three miles to Lake Erie Metropark. I parked near the Marshlands Museum, intending to register six miles on the pedometer before I packed it in and headed home.

Cheery chrysanthemums at the Museum garden were a welcome sight when I stepped out of the car.

My first stop was to visit Luc, the resident Bald Eagle, who lives down the hill in an aeire, or outdoor enclosure. Luc is a rescued eagle from the Bay City/Saginaw, Michigan region. He is blind in his left eye and since he has a permanent injury to his right wing, he cannot fly. Luc was moved to his wooden enclosure at this Park in 2009 when he was five years old. His name is pronounced like “Luke” – the spelling of his name is French-Canadian.

I always stop and visit with Luc whenever I am at this Park. I’m sure he is lonely most days, but when schools have field trips, Luc is always part of the trip agenda. On weekends, I am not the only visitor stopping to say “hey” … this is a view of the side of Luc’s enclosure from the boathouse and several people were interacting with him.

This nearby tree was ablaze in color just outside the front of Luc’s digs.

I noticed a new sign on the railing in front of the aeire.

My photos of Luc never turn out great … all the mesh that is part of the enclosure makes it difficult to get close to Luc and he always looks a little blurry. But, every click of the shutter causes him to swivel his head around.

Not far from Luc, is the boathouse. I noticed the fresh paint job right away. It was teal colored the last time I was here, when there was so much mud from the Spring rain that I could not get to the overlook and view this area of the marsh. There are usually mallards paddling about here, but I saw none. The only activity was the bulrushes bending in the breeze.

I double-backed and trekked down the road so I could meander around the marsh area.

At the first available opening, I stepped onto the wooden overlook for a better view of the marsh.

The wooden overlook, which runs parallel to these marshy areas on either side of the road, was littered with leaves. I was surprised to see many large trees were already bare, no doubt from all the gusty winds last week, yet, the spindly saplings or bushes had retained their leaves and were adorned in subtle shades of red and yellow.

Thus, you would see the occasional bursts of color along the way …

… which prompted me to stop and take some photos of those leaves and berries.

At the end of the overlook is the boat launch area, not to be confused with the marina, which is three miles away.

This is a hoppin’ place from September through November as people flock to the boat launch area to hopefully view the raptors who pass over this venue on their annual migration. Photographers with long lenses and people with binoculars pressed to their eyes were scanning the skies for a sign of these birds of prey.

Lake Erie Metropark’s boat launch area is like a stepping stone to the official Detroit River Hawk Watch site five miles away at Pointe Mouillee State Game Area, part of an organization called Hawk Count where every day the list grows of migrating birds of prey passing overhead. The tally of raptors nationwide, and in our state, is updated online and our handwritten local list is proudly displayed in a window at the Marshland Museum. You’ll be shocked at the amount of Turkey Vultures from the most-recent total as well as the season total. (I should be as red-faced as a Turkey Vulture that I came home with no photos of them!)

I hung out for a few minutes, hoping to see at least one feathered friend, but even the seagulls were not around. My next destination was the Cherry Island Marsh Trail that goes through a wooded area along the Lake Erie shoreline and past some marshy areas as well.

The sun felt great and I unzipped my coat, finally having warmed up from that chilly air on the return trip of the cruise. Just as I opened my coat, I heard voices and a group of young runners blitzed by and greeted me with smiles and “have a good day” as they passed.

Clearly, all things considered, of the five of us, some were either underdressed or overdressed and I confess to being the latter.

Though the Park had a barren look in some places as I showed you in the last post, the still morning and the reflection on the water had me reaching for the camera.

I spent three hours walking around Lake Erie Metropark and usually I come home with a treasure trove of waterfowl photos. No mallards, herons, egrets or Canada Geese and as mentioned above, not a single raptor. Just one little ol’ critter that scrambled up a tree when he saw me. There are signs that say feeding the wildlife is forbidden, so I soon figured out his mindset … this fellow wasn’t going to waste his time socializing with me as there was nothing in it for him. 🙂

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“D” is for Desolate.

Autumn 2019 in the Northern Hemisphere began on Monday, September 23rd, exactly one month ago today. It’s anyone’s guess whether Mother Nature follows the rules about what we THINK Autumn should feel and look like and what we actually see before our eyes. As I mentioned in my riverboat cruise post, I anticipated peak colors on the shoreline, but due to all the rain in Spring and early Summer, our Fall foliage will peak two weeks later than usual.

I have been picking through my photos taken on my six-mile stroll at Lake Erie Metropark last Saturday. As I walked along, I not only admired the subtle colors and beauty during my marsh meander, but sadly realized that I could make a post with a theme based on a park devoid of activity, a venue filled with desolation and barrenness as Fall has kicked Summer to the curb. I have many more pictures to winnow down for a separate post, same which will show the subtle color changes and this Park’s beauty. I sure hope to get back before month-end to view the vibrant colors.

The picture featured above was on a trail and a ray of sunlight illuminated this rather bedraggled leaf giving it an eerie look (to me anyway).

I was struck how lonely and barren those benches look:

Likewise this picnic table lacked the pizzazz of a red-checked tablecloth and the ants were MIA.

The vast American Lotus beds which are featured all around this Park, are similarly just ghosts of their former beauty. In this post last year, I showed a photo of how they look during their peak. There are various Lotus beds and they stretch as far as the eye can see, lovely, delicate blooms rising out of leaves that resemble an elephant’s ear. Only the dark-brown pods, with seeds the size of marbles, remain now, and those leaves were flapping a bit in the slight breeze.

This tree is stripped of leaves (and a few branches as well it seems), but casts a nice reflection on the lagoon.

The Chinese philosopher Confucius once said: “The green reed which bends in the wind is stronger than the mighty oak which breaks in a storm.” I was reminded of that famous quotation when I witnessed the Phragmites reed below, bending in the slight breeze.

Though dead leaves were scattered along the trail and wooden overlooks, likely the result of last week’s wicked winds …

… this tall reed is bending, but not breaking … no acquiescence here.

Please stay tuned for Part 2 of last Saturday’s marshland meander, where I’ll spotlight some lovely wildflowers, spots of red and gold as I meandered along the Cherry Island Trail, the shoreline at Cove Point and the boat launch area (separate from the marina) where Hawk Watch occurs.

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Boat Trip!

Last year I took a two-hour riverboat trip on the E.V. Clinton out of Lake Erie Metropark.  It was a “discovery cruise” designed to combine a boat trip with a learning experience and was entitled “Eagle’s Eye Nature Cruise” and I really enjoyed it.  You can read my post about the trip here if you would like.

On that cruise, we explored Lake Erie and part of the Detroit River to check out eagles and eagles’ nests.  So, as a past Summer Discovery Cruises “cruiser” I was e-mailed information about a brand-new Fall cruise being offered by Lake Erie Metropark with a similar destination.

Well, I jumped at the chance to sail again and check out the Fall foliage and be part of the raptor migration for which Lake Erie Metropark is renowned.  Most Fall weekends at this venue, you will see photographers with long lenses, or folks with high-power binoculars, watching the skies for a myriad of raptors which fly over the boat launch area from September through November.  There are so many raptors that are in this annual migration, that they keep score of the totals and their species.

So I made a reservation the same date I got the e-mail, August 22nd

Though we had spectacular weather two weeks ago, this past week’s weather has been a bit of a dud.  We dipped to near freezing two mornings and had extremely high winds.  I felt like a tumbleweed as I did my laps around Council Point Park. On the other side of the Mitten State, the gales of November came early, with 13-foot waves crashing about and knocking back 20 feet of the Sand Dunes.

I had already decided that if the winds did not subside, I was not going on this boat trip – no way.  I don’t know how to swim!  Luckily, the winds were calm for the 10:00 a.m. trip, but it was cold when I left the house at 9:00 a.m. as you see below.

I debated what to wear as the day would eventually warm up and I wanted to spend the afternoon walking around Lake Erie Metropark post-boat trip.  On the other hand, I wanted to sit in the stern where it was all open to take photos without being obstructed by windows.  Do I take along another coat or a hoodie? Honestly, I fretted more than a teenager getting ready for prom night, but finally settled on a Winter coat, wool hat and my fingerless gloves with the flip-back mittens for taking photos.

I arrived at the marina early enough to get a few pictures of the calm water and the remaining boats which were not shrink-wrapped or out of the water for the Winter season.  It was picturesque and still.

We assembled at the dock while the crew was still squeegeeing the boat’s windows from the heavy dew which you see glistening on the grass at the marina.

We got on the boat at about 10:15, allowing for one passenger who arrived late – Carol was teased by the crew and passengers mercilessly, but it was all in good fun.  We walked up the metal gangplank, which swayed slightly, then each of us were given a hand and helped aboard by Captain Joe, who was also our Captain on the last cruise.  After we were seated, Captain Joe pointed to the life jackets stowed above and said “you won’t  need them but here they are” and also asked that we not all sit on one side during the trip as the boat would list to one side.  Then he added “oh, and by the way – no Titanic poses on the bow either, okay?”

As we pulled out of the marina and up a narrow passage into Lake Erie, the foliage colors we left behind were jewel toned and spectacular along the shoreline.

We were humming along, churning up the water from my vantage point in the stern.  Occasionally, fishermen standing up in their boats would give us a friendly wave.

As we glided on, the Fermi 2 Nuclear Power Plant was in the distance, easy to locate from the plumes rising out of the twin 400-foot towers.

The blue skies belied the fact that it was really late October, and, if not for the chilly morning, it could have been a mid-Summer cruise as we went past the Grosse Ile Yacht Club.

Our interpretive guide was Paul Cypher.  I’ve had Paul for some trail tours in the past, and his interpretive lectures are very thorough. He has worked in the Metroparks system for 25 years.  This is a picture of Paul as he was doing show-and-tell with an Ovenbird.  (This is a small, brown-speckled songbird in the Warbler family, not a turkey by the way.)  The duck decoy on the wall is a Canvasback duck.  In the background is Captain Joe in the wheelhouse demonstrating “look Ma – no hands” for a split second as he turned the wheel loose.  (No, the boat did not run away from the Captain.)

We learned about the migration of the Monarch butterflies to Mexico, and, if we didn’t blink, we could have seen two Monarch butterflies that flitted right past the boat.  These beauties should have donned their long underwear on this cold morning.  We saw photos on how to distinguish male and female Monarchs and a photo of them swarming together.

Though it is smack dab in the middle of migration, we only saw Turkey Vultures. Paul said there were thousands of them migrating through.  I saw a few far away, but didn’t take any photos of them.

It is always exciting to see freighters on the Great Lakes and most times, if you’re down near the Detroit River, from April through November lay-up, you’ll see a few if you’re lucky.  So, we were very lucky and saw three while “at sea” Saturday.  Paul had an app on his phone and was able to tell us the specifications about the freighters we saw.  We were really impressed with the MV Saginaw, which sails under the flag of Canada.   It is 639 feet (194.84 meters) long and carries up to 20,200 tons.  Here are two photos showing the bow and the stern.

We watched as she slowly disappeared from the area we had shared only moments before.

Here is another freighter on the horizon.

The cruise was over by 12:15 p.m. and I headed three miles down the road to Lake Erie Metropark where I spent the afternoon getting my steps in at that venue.  Peak leaf peeping here in Southeast Michigan is another two weeks away this year.  So, just like the shoreline, the trees were not totally vibrant colors yet, just the occasional pinky-red or yellow-orange leaf was scattered along the trail, but the trails were dry, which was welcome as the Cherry Island Trail was quite muddy and soggy the last time I visited from our incessant rains earlier this year.  I will write about my marsh meander in a separate post.

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Happy Sweetest Day!

Everyone should have someone who looks at them with adoring eyes.  If you’ve been following this blog for over a year, you’ll recognize this picture from last Sweetest Day … yes, I could not help myself and had to use it again.

I’ve got a few new squirrel photos to share though, and, on a lark, I decided to use some of these fun photos with Parker’s input for this Sweetest Day post.  After all, the title of this blog suggests “whimsy” right?

Now, I know Sweetest Day is not celebrated everywhere – just a handful of states across the U.S., not in Canada,  not overseas and basically, it’s a Hallmark holiday that’s guaranteed to get you into the store for an expensive card, or to buy chocolate or flowers … but all these trappings really aren’t necessary.   Spending time with your significant other, growing together, never apart and reaching the golden years is the best testament to a perfect relationship.

At the risk of getting too schmaltzy, I promised Parker he could be a guest blogger today for Sweetest Day (but only if he asked first, which he did).  So here goes nuttin’, er … nothing.

What Sweetest Day Is All About. – By Parker the Squirrel

First of all, I’m a one-girl squirrel. 

Sure, Linda and I have a special relationship, but nothing like what I have with the little woman, a/k/a my mate.  We’ve been together for a few years now. Linda understands completely how she ranks in my world.

When I first saw my main squeeze Penelope – yikes, it was like a thunderbolt hit!

I was awestruck by Penelope’s beauty … such delicate ears, soft whiskers and big dark eyes.  I knew right then and there, she was the girl squirrel for me.

She gave me a second glance and my heart just soared.

Penelope made me giddy just to be in her presence.

I was at a loss for words sometimes when she batted those eyelashes and oh, those big brown eyes.

I went and introduced myself before she was “taken” by one of my buddies.

Man, I was just smitten. I even shared some of my choke berries with her – they are just delightful and my favorite treat (besides peanuts of course).

We played hide-and-go seek and I chased her up a few trees and wore her out – she was breathless (of course, I’ve always had that effect on people to be honest). 

Even I was worn out and I always have lots of energy.

Then I invited her to go nuttin’ with me. I wanted to show her what a good provider I was by scoping out peanuts. I knew she was impressed.

But, I felt the need to impress her more … hmm, what to do?  Hang upside down by my feet, now that was a good idea.   Anything to grab her attention.

But no, I decided I’m not a gimmicky kind of guy, so I played it cool and just asked her to be my mate on bended knee(s). Girl squirrels like it when you get all mushy and sentimental.

She said yes! I was over the moon.

Once you’re an item, you can relax a bit.  Hang out with your friends sometimes … you don’t have to sit in the nest on each other’s tail for goodness sake – a little space apart is okay.

Soon the kids arrive and the years becomes a blur. If you’re smart, you never stray far from the nest. And you simply must have the occasional “date night” to keep your relationship fun and lively, especially with the youngsters around. For our “date night” we love to play hide-and-seek.

So that’s how it’s done mates … enduring love; no seven-year itch for me. Well maybe once when I got a bad case of “the mange”.

Sure, there are gray days, but there are sunny days too and they outnumber the gray days. These are the times when you go roaming around the Park, oblivious to the rest of the world, just the two of you. Love at its finest.

And when you get a little older, sure you can’t climb the highest tree at the speed of sound, and occasionally you make a misstep and fall off a low branch and fall on your noggin, but it’s all good.

And you know what else? Even though you wake up with bed head and spikey-looking fur sometimes, or your formerly slim physique may have packed on a few too many ounces (blame that on Linda with her M&Ms, Nutter Butters and peanut butter sammies she used to feed us all the time), love handles ARE acceptable because she looks the same … ya, you’re both fat and sassy! Tee hee!

To the world you may be one person;

but to one person you may be the world. ~ Dr. Seuss

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They say it’s your birthday!

I have to pause, amidst the miscellaneous and sundry squirrel posts, to duly honor my favorite nature nook. Council Point Park turns 25 years old in 2019. There will be no fanfare. No cake and ice cream. Not even balloons; that’s okay, balloons are bad for wildlife. But I did write the City and say “hey, did you know this little gem parked right in the middle of our City is turning a quarter of a century old this year?” I got a nice response to my query – no, they didn’t know about that significant date, so they’ll include that tidbit in Lincoln Park’s quarterly publication “Happenings” that appears in the mail and online.

Though I never discovered Council Point Park until the Spring of 2013, when I first began exploring this venue, I learned from the sign in the photo below, the Park was established in 1994; hmm, where was I for nearly 20 years, living under a rock? I learned that the inline skating rink was dedicated to a high school classmate of mine, Dave Ward, a Lincoln Park fireman, who sadly lost his battle with cancer.

It probably seems like happenings at Council Point Park revolve only around the squirrels, but that’s not true. I recently wrote that I missed the waterfowl which were gone for months, thanks to a thick coat of algae bloom on the Ecorse Creek, which runs parallel to the walking trail. I realized I was more fond of the geese than I thought and actually missed their bossy ways. Also MIA was Harry the Heron fishing from the cement precipice, because that landing, which is built over a huge sewer drain, was flooded since Spring with the water lapping over the cement surface … so what’s a heron to do?

But, as often happens, I no sooner launched that post, then a day or so later, I saw Harry fishing for his breakfast. As I rounded the corner, I saw him and quickly snapped his picture, then zoomed in with the camera and approached him slowly, knowing full well he’d bolt for the passageway, while making that horrid screechy noise, like I was terrorizing him or something. And, that is exactly what happened. He moved so fast, I got the passageway pic only, no Harry – he was long gone.

Well, I was bummed out about missing a great heron photo op much more than Harry, who likely was eyeing some shad for breakfast until I happened along, but soon there was the unmistakable sound of ducks quacking. How I’ve missed their raucous noise in the morning! The bushes, weeds and reeds along the Creek banks don’t give me full viewing access to where the ducks hang out, so I did my best by peering through the bushes, but there they were, paddling and quacking up a storm.

I’ve even heard and seen the Cardinals and Blue Jays again, up to their old antics, trying to outwit the squirrels and steal their peanuts right from under their respective noses.

It sure felt like Summer all last week and I savored every day as I meandered through the Park, getting my steps in and taking lots of pictures. I knew this week would be a blast back to reality and sure enough, we’ve dipped to near freezing, with bone-chilling temps and blustery winds. So last week’s weather was a real treat. The sun not only felt good on my hatless head, but the angle of the sun’s rays caused really long shadows.

Here I am, a tote bag containing a cache of peanuts hanging from my left arm and my messy bun a bit askew from the breeze. The squirrels don’t care a whit about my appearance; as long as they identify with my face, it’s all good. Check out those long legs … I am five feet nine inches tall, but look like I am on stilts! I definitely have that old-fashioned clothes peg look in this photo. Through my shadow, you can see the tiny yellow locust leaves littering the walking path and outlining the edges where asphalt meets grass. I can remember as a kid standing and laughing at these oddball shadows – it only goes to show, it’s fun to feel like a kid again.

Not to be outdone, Parker was showing off his unique physique with a little shadow play of his own.

There was much more happening than just shadows on the walking path, because I saw a Woolly Bear caterpillar. Folks who live in a four-season state may already know the legend of this caterpillar and its infamous rings. Did you know that folklore tells us that seeing a fuzzy Woolly Bear caterpillar with a wide, rusty-brown band means we will have a mild Winter? But the wider the black band on this crawling critter, the more severe the Winter. So, what do you predict from seeing this caterpillar below? The Old Farmer’s Almanac has already predicted a cold, snowy and lengthy Winter for Southeast Michigan. I hope they are wrong!

I have not seen a Woolly Bear caterpillar in a few years and was bent down examining it, when a woman walker with her little boy came over to see what I was looking at. I explained the caterpillar story, as well as the supposed prediction by the Almanac, and she wrinkled up her nose in disgust, while her youngster was pointing at this creature who was inching along rather quickly.

This encounter made me recall a few years back, when I first met my friend Ann Marie, a fellow walker, who used to frequent this Park. One morning I was examining a caterpillar and she wandered over to see what I was doing. I explained the significance of the Woolly Bear caterpillar and its rings and our upcoming Winter. It turned out the caterpillar was about half-and-half for its stripes, and it was one brutal Winter.

Even though the weather was warm and wonderful, Mother Nature was still working her Autumn magic around the Park. It’s hard to tell the real deal leaves from the silk leaves in this wreath:

A splash or a dash of red infused in the green leaves on this bush is a nice touch.

Sometimes even the plain-colored items are photo-worthy, at least in my opinion. This is a clump of milkweed seeds which I found along the path.

The brown seeds hanging from this tree are dry and brittle. On a windy day, they rattle on their stems when the breeze hits them.

Never one to pass up an occasion for a photo op and extra peanuts, behold Parker who donned his birthday hat for this momentous occasion. Since cake and ice cream are not an acceptable treat for my furry friend, he was giving me his best pleading eyes and “please feed me peanuts now” look. It worked!

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Discoveries …

Today is not only Canadian Thanksgiving, but it is also Columbus Day. When I used to work downtown, it was a day that the bus was empty and you could sit anywhere you chose to, as so many regular bus riders had a three-day holiday. The business district was filled with various banks that were headquartered in downtown Detroit. Do you think those bank workers were paying homage to ol’ Christopher Columbus by savoring a fine Italian meal and toasting him by sipping a nice Chianti, or, … were they simply enjoying their three-day holiday?

When I was a kid growing up in Canada, I learned all about Columbus and his three ships: the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria. My history textbooks informed me he was heralded for discovering America. Many years later I learned this was a misnomer – “fake news” – in fact, Christopher Columbus never even set foot in North America let alone discover it. Details, details – who wants to muddy up the story with details, right?

But the headline to this post says “discoveries” so today we’ll focus on a cute squirrel who discovered peanuts in my backyard and provided some photo ops to share with you. In case this squirrel looks familiar, it is Grady the Gray Squirrel that I shared stories about last Fall and Winter, and early Spring as well. You first glimpsed this cutie pie in this post where he made his debut, well … his picture debut anyway.

I first “met” Grady after I tossed him some peanuts when I finished my walk one morning last Fall. My Ziploc bag was nearly empty and I shared what I had with him on the ground and he scampered over. I rarely see gray squirrels in the neighborhood or at the Park, and he was so small and a wee bit skittish. He took his peanuts “to go” and I continued feeding him when I returned from my walk the next few days. Then I ran an errand one morning and was home later … there he was, sitting on the porch waiting for me. Sucker that I am, I gave him extra peanuts, which he happily accepted and this treat became a permanent ritual. Soon, he was joined by two black squirrels, a pair of Northern Cardinals and a pair of Bluejays, all noshing on nuts on the front porch. Well, I was willing to accommodate his friends who also showed up and I watched in delight at my front door. It was all good until a big, fat Fox squirrel (the same species as Parker) came along and hogged the peanuts for himself, parking his fat butt on top of them and chasing the other squirrels into the street and not allowing the birds access either. So he ruined it for everyone … I worried Grady or the other two squirrels might get run over by a car, so it was already April and I ended the treats altogether.

So last week, Grady showed up on the sidewalk one day when I returned from walking. Because I have a soft spot in my heart for dark brown pleading eyes and a swishing tail, I gave him six peanuts and said “now keep this under your hat okay? This is between you and me.” The next day, he showed up and this time I opened the gate and made him follow me to the backyard. I looked behind me, and he was obediently tagging along. He knew from past practice it would be worth his while.

Three days running, I went to the backyard and put some peanuts there before I left on my walk. When I returned, the peanuts were gone.

Friday morning I stole into the backyard after returning from walking. It was a beautiful and warm day. Grady must have slept in as the peanuts were still there untouched.

Nope, he was just arriving … I pulled the camera out of the case and hoped for a pose. He posed nicely and I’ve never gotten him so close up as he’s very timid.

Who could resist a face so sweet and innocent and not want to spend one’s “allowance” to feed such a cute critter?

So pfft to Columbus and his discovery. Grady’s discovery made his day and mine too.

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They’re creepy and they’re kooky.

Mysterious and spooky. They’re all together ooky … those *&^# spiderwebs that cross my path every morning!

Yep, nothing rivals stepping right into those gossamer spiderwebs that have been spun between trees or bushes overnight. Due to the angle of the sun in late September and early October mornings, you don’t always see those icky strands before walking through them. Nothing creeps me out more; how I hate those nearly invisible threads that leave me pawing and clawing the air to ensure one did not settle onto my clothes, or worse yet … in my hair! Banish that thought as I’d likely have a heart attack if that happened!

The unsettling spiders and their mysterious webs will disappear after we have had a few hard freeze events (dipping below 28 F/-2C). But, in the meantime, it’s much morning angst for me.

We are having a lovely week of weather. Mother Nature gets an “atta girl” and it makes up for the past two seasons which have been less than stellar in my opinion. It’s been fun to stroll at the Park and just enjoy the sun on my head, coat flung open and no gloves, because who knows when the crummy weather will arrive and park itself on our doorstep until next April?

Last week I had a horrifying experience with a spider and it was inside the house! Well, horrifying for me anyway. Not all of us are spider lovers like fellow blogger and macro-photographer Tom Peace. I may enjoy looking at Tom’s extreme close-ups of spiders and their kin, with their buggy eyes and hairy legs, but in my domain, they are not welcome.

Last week I was doing laundry and pulled out the lint filter to ensure there was no lint before turning on the dryer. I usually wipe it clean with the spent dryer sheet when I take the items out of the dryer, but decided to check anyway. I saw something white on the side of the plastic edge around the filter, so I nudged it with my fingernail. I thought it was just a piece of paper. Big mistake! Suddenly, a long brown leg poked out of a half-formed cocoon and a spider began to stir. Well that was an OMG moment – how did he/she get in there and was it prepared to stow away over the Winter? It might have caused a fire? I almost dropped the filter gizmo but held it far away from me as I raced upstairs for a paper towel (okay, a wad of paper towels big enough to smoosh a tarantula). I am terrified of crawling insects and I never leave the dryer open longer than needed to take out the laundry. I’ll never reach in the dryer again without wearing cotton gloves (no judgement please).

I loved the TV show “The Addams Family” as a kid, and, when I Googled around to ensure I had the exact wording to the show’s theme song for this blog post, after many decades, I amazed myself that I knew all the words and even knew when to snap my fingers to the music. Then, for a little more nostalgia, I Googled “The Munsters” theme song. Nothing to sing to – just hum along and the latter left an ear worm the rest of the day.

Homeowners have been busy decorating their abodes in harvest and Halloween themes. Today’s photos with a nod to the witchin’ season were taken on September 21st when I was at Heritage Park. It was steamy hot that day as I stood there taking pictures of the Halloween decor at the house next to the entrance to the Park.

My parting shot is a blessing for this harvest season and an early Happy Thanksgiving to all my fellow Canadian bloggers.

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