Gone fishin’.

06-02-17

Thankfully it is finally Friday, and, don’t you wish you had gone fishin’ on this beautiful day, just like this guy I saw at Council Point Park yesterday?

This fisherman had high hopes of catching dinner … he had cast his line into the water, plus, you’ll note, he even had a spare pole and line, which would be helpful having both hands free, just in case he snagged a big old fish.

Or a muskrat.

Or, even an old shoe.

I left earlier than usual so I could look for him today and hear any fish tales he might want to tell me, that I could in turn share on this blog. But, he wasn’t stationed at his post on the cement precipice, and, in fact was nowhere to be found.  So, my query of how many fish he caught and how many got away, will now have to wait until next time I see him.  I want to know if I should keep my eyes peeled for big fish leaping out of the Creek water.

Most of us were lucky enough to enjoy a long weekend over Memorial Day. We crammed in many activities in that three-day period, working around the anticipated rain, and the eventual stormy weather.  And then, all too soon, Tuesday was here and we trudged back to work. Then, it seems we paid the price for that extra day off as we sought to cram five days’ work into four days.  That  was my week anyway.

I think we need another three-day holiday by now. Besides, I was just getting used to what day it was, since I was  a “day off” all week – you too?

I love our state’s “Pure Michigan” commercials, and the “Gone Fishin’” commercial is one of my favorites. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dRkL700sOWE

Don’t you wish you could just hang a sign up whenever you felt like vacating the premises, whether it is work or home – just to get out of Dodge and do something fun, like fishing?

It was another cool and sunny day at the Park, a flawless blue sky overhead and lots of walkers who, like me, got an early start at the Park. Something new was added to the mix as a skateboarder was on the perimeter path.  That was a first, and I waited to see the reaction by the geese to this “movin’ man” but, not a goose was to be found.

I think the critters are hiding behind the wild rhubarb which grows all along the perimeter path. The leaves are huge, some are as big as my head.  You sometimes think your eyes are playing a trick on you, when you see a squirrel or rabbit dart from the path into nowhere, only to see a telltale tail peeking out from behind the oversized leaves.

The weekend has arrived, and, so also are those pesky weekend tasks that rob us of “me time” … get them done early, then maybe you, too, can head off to a favorite fishing hole, just like this guy did.

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A little sun is good for the soul.

06-01-17

It was so chilly in the house this morning, that after the alarm buzzed, I promptly shut it off and my warm hand met the cold metal clock. Yikes!  I quickly burrowed back into the covers, with only my head exposed, to stay warm.  It was 72 degrees in the house when I eventually got up and at ‘em, but, to me, it felt very cold, even though it may not have been frosty or polar-like on this first day of June.

Finally, the stiffness of pulled muscles from two days of yardwork have left. Even though I walk 3 ½ to 4 miles a day, all those steps don’t really make you limber.  I woke up feeling like a Mack truck ran over me the day after each yardwork session during the long holiday weekend.

Reluctantly, I finally flipped back the covers and padded down the hall, intent on wrapping my hands around a hot cup of coffee, which would warm my fingers and my innards at the same time.

Last week, I decided no more running the furnace until the Fall. For the past decade, I have fretted about the house being too cold on those late Spring or early Fall mornings when the outside temps hovered around 50 degrees.  That was because, since 2006, I worried about Sugar, then Buddy, my pet canaries, and that they would be too cold, so I cranked up the heat for them.  But, now that both are gone, I will just put on a sweater and deal with the chilly house.

When I finally headed outside, I decided to take the car for a spin and leave it in the parking lot while I walked my four miles, which is two entire loops at Council Point Park.   Each walker I passed made a comment on the sunny, but cool weather.  But, they were not registering complaints, as if Mother Nature would listen even if we did complain.  We walkers sure were enjoying these cooler temps.  After all, who really wants to traipse along the trail during a hot Spring and Summer like we had last year?

Today, I saw more people than critters, thus no photo ops. I may have taken 90 pictures the other day, but since waterfowl and squirrels are on the move most of the time, a lot of those photos end up being duds.  But, many of the shots were indeed salvageable, and I’ll be sharing them in future blogposts, like this turtle on the log I discovered last Sunday.

There are always the songbirds present, even if the ducks and geese are absent, but the squirrels must’ve been hiding as well, save for one lone squirrel who pestered me for peanuts. He spied me coming down the path and scrambled over to greet me, just like Lassie used to come running for Timmy when he stepped off the school bus.  Gee, it made me feel kind of special for a few moments, until I got a grip and realized I was merely one of several benefactors to the Park squirrels.  This morning, I ditched the coat, and thus had tied a grocery store bag onto my fanny pack to hold the bag of peanuts until I needed them.  The chill morning air made my bare fingers numb, so I couldn’t get the knot opened.  That squirrel did not have a lot of patience for me and my clumsiness in attending to his needs, so he paced back and forth, as my cold fingers struggled to gain access to the bag, and, then I still had to open the Ziploc bag.  In short order, that squirrel became downright fretful and finally stood on my left shoe, then on his haunches, as he tried to reach the bag himself, perhaps thinking I was ignoring him.  Well, that was cute and daring of that little squirrel, and, I finally settled him down by rattling the bag to announce I would be dispensing peanuts onto the perimeter path for him.

I guess there are more inhabitants underwater than the lowly muskrats, bullfrogs and cute turtles at the Ecorse Creek. This morning, a man was fishing from the cement precipice.  He cast his line way out, dropping the baited hook into the murky waters of the Ecorse Creek. If it hadn’t been a work day, I’d have stopped and chatted, and asked if he was there for sport, or, anticipating a fish of some sort, because I’ve never seen a fish bigger than a minnow jumping around in this Creek.

I had just started on my second trip around the perimeter path, when suddenly the pale sun morphed into a bright sun, and the whole Park was bathed in sunbeams. Ahh  – finally I might warm up a bit.  As I passed the half-submerged log in the Creek, I noticed the contingent of turtles had made their way out of the cold water and onto the log.  Maybe they ought to call this slight bend in the creek “Turtle Creek”?

The turtles were lined along the log, sunning themselves, feeling the warmth of Ol Sol on their shells, their heads and legs exposed. I could finally push up the sleeves of my sweatshirt and felt that burst of warmth as those rays bounced onto my bare forearms and my head.

A little sun sure is good for the soul, isn’t it?

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Back off Bud!

the glare

We were blessed with another beautiful morning, so I set out for the Park, intending to pick up the pace and add more steps to my morning walk. I hate that I didn’t make my Memorial Day walking goal, so I’ll work harder on meeting my next goal for Independence Day.

It was a breezy morning at the Park and that wind whispered through the trees (and my ears as well). The sun was high in the bright-blue sky and soon I had shucked my jacket.

Today, the walkers were plentiful, as were the moms pushing strollers – four in all, and, not just strolling and rolling along leisurely either. There are two young women at the Park who routinely jog while pushing their baby in a stroller.  Energized by the beat of tunes from their iPods, these women go like the wind, whizzing past all the walkers and bikers, ponytails streaming behind them.  Often their offspring’s ringlets or baby-fine hair is swirling around with each breezy gust encountered.  Those babies may not be able to take in all the sights, but they are getting a good dose of fresh air and sunshine, while their moms are working to shed that “baby fat” – pretty smart idea, huh?

After taking about 90 pictures on my unhurried Sunday stroll, I’ve carried the camera, but never even taken it out of the case this past three days.  I saw a large muskrat swimming in the Creek – well, that was something different, but he took a look at me, and dived back underwater.  I didn’t think I looked all that scary looking, but the brisk wind had no doubt left me a bit disheveled, with my messy bun probably a little messier than usual.  Oh well … muskrats aren’t really my cup of tea anyway.

The long grass had been freshly mowed throughout the entire 27 acres of the Park, totally changing the landscape from yesterday. I saw the lawn crew gearing up with their big mowers for this massive task, just as I exited the Park Tuesday.  So, as a result, not as many geese were grazing as in recent days.  I saw only one family and the gander was in a rather fractious mood as I walked by.  Actually, I think it is the same goose who was prone to hissing and some histrionics on Sunday, while I was taking all the pictures.  I wanted to say “back off Bud!” to him, as he was really riled up once again.  Clearly, something, or someone, had ruffled his feathers this morning, and it wasn’t just the wind.

These pictures are of the goose who had his gander up when I first encountered him on Sunday. The picture up top I’d call “The Stare” … or, maybe “The Glare” might be a better title.  Below, I later met up with him on the perimeter path, and there was that bright pink tongue as he hissed for me to stay away!

boo hiss

boo hiss2

I got those extra steps done and arrived home ravenous, disheveled and a little worse for wear on this windy Wednesday, but happy for the brief escape from the City.

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Remembering our fallen heroes.

05-29-17

Well, despite the dire predictions of an all-rainy weekend by every local meteorologist, I think we fared pretty well, though the tail end of today is turning out to be a washout. As I type this blog post, I hear thunder rolling and we might be slated for another downpour … easily the third or fourth this evening.

I soaked up enough Vitamin D this weekend to last me until the 4th of July, between walking and working out in the yard under sunny skies.  I am convinced that yardwork is for younger legs and now rue the day that I made the decision to put ornamental rocks around the perimeter of the house and that planting small bushes in those rocks would look great!  Well, maybe it has given the old abode considerably more curb appeal, but keeping bushes trimmed small to complement the house and keeping the lava rock, river rock, plus mulched garden beds, weed free becomes a Herculean task each Spring.  But, it is done now and I am thankful for that.

Today’s trip to Council Point Park was uneventful compared to yesterday’s journey on the perimeter path. There was no chattering away as fellow walkers were scarce, and, even the critters were absent – not one squirrel came begging for peanuts.  A lone goose booed and hissed at me for no apparent reason as I crossed his path on the first loop.  It was not as if I got in his way, nor was I taking photos of him, but, all of a sudden, there he was, flapping his wings, repeatedly arching and contorting his long and slender black neck like geese do when agitated, and, of course, there was the bright pink tongue hissing at me.

Even my latest nature nook find – the turtles – were missing from their partially submerged log in the middle of the Creek.

Well, it was a holiday after all, so perhaps everyone was sleeping in.

The first long weekend of the year, long touted as the gateway to Summer, has come and gone. Once again, we had the opportunity to honor our fallen heroes for their bravery, and, for giving the ultimate sacrifice.  Though I have never lost a family member, nor friend, due to war, we have had several neighbors through the years, whose sons returned from an armed conflict wounded, unable to complete their tour of duty, and they retired from the military thereafter.

I spent some time at Memorial Park earlier this week when I went to view the many flags that were placed there by the Lincoln Park Exchange Club. Those flags remained there as of this morning, flapping in the early morning breeze, a symbol of patriotism and honor for the fallen service personnel in our city.

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Wide-eyed wonderment.

05-28-17

It was calm and quiet when I left the house to head to Council Point Park this morning. That’s not unusual for the middle day of a long holiday weekend. Windows in homes were cracked open, so there was no contingent of air conditioner units humming along the way. Cars were scarce and people were scarcer.

It was quiet yesterday as well, that is … up until around 11:00 a.m. when the neighborhood came to life. It seemed as if everyone who did not get their yardwork done on Friday evening, decided to fire up their mowers, weed whippers and blowers at the same time. I had been busy trimming bushes with the electric shears for a couple of hours, so I, too, was contributing to the cacophony of noise. The neighborhood dogs rebelled at the whine and drone of the yard equipment and much howling and/or barking ensued.

After a noisy Saturday, topped by a series of fireworks in the neighborhood last night, this morning’s peace and solitude was welcome. I swear that when I set out this morning I could hear the slugs as they inched along the concrete, leaving their slimy iridescent trails behind them. The only sounds were the birds who were greeting me from their respective perches in each neighborhood that I passed. Poplar tree fuzzies were abundant, and noiselessly clung to my sweat suit as I walked along.

This morning’s trip to the Park was perfect … it satisfied the steps quotient for the day and provided a little wide-eyed wonderment as well.

First, I met several other nature lovers, who, like me, were enjoying the many picturesque moments this Park has to offer. And, just like me, they paused to appreciate the view with their eyes, as well as to capture the images with their cameras.

Last Friday, I wrote about the many families of geese at Council Point Park. There were easily twice as many geese there today, all segregated by their respective families. I counted at least seven families all together. You really could not look anywhere without seeing geese – on the trail, in the grassy areas, or in the water. The geese sure monopolized the perimeter path, blocking the trail as they meandered slowly across, their offspring trailing close behind them. There was much booing and hissing as we humans neared, and, on several occasions, we were forced to leave the trail and walk on the grass since they refused to budge. There were more photo ops as several families went down to the precipice and accessed the Creek, one by one, as they plopped into the water, and several families paddled in tandem down the middle of the Creek.

Another family of geese lurked in the marshy area and I got some close-up shots at that venue of the parents and goslings, but, I had already tucked the camera back into its case, when a Red-Winged Blackbird decided to antagonize this family, just as the parents were herding the goslings from the water and up the embankment. That bird tried to land on one of the parents and much hissing and wing-flapping occurred as that goose tried to shoo the Blackbird away. But that bird persisted in buzzing around the geese, until it tired of the game (or perhaps feared for its life) and flew back up to a tree.

After an absence of a few weeks’ time, the hawk was back, circling overhead, and several of us walkers stopped in our tracks, gazing up in the sky, and shading our eyes from the sun, as we watched the hawk soaring, that large wingspan taking it higher and higher, until it was just a dark speck in the sky.

I walked along with a man and woman, and suddenly, a group of squirrels gathered around us. Just like two cowboys ready to draw their pistols to engage in a gunfights at the O.K. Corral, the gentleman and I each pulled a Ziploc bag of peanuts from our respective pockets simultaneously. That was the cue, so those squirrels were just shameless – they knew both us provided treats, so they didn’t know which one to “pester” for peanuts, so they gathered at each of our feet, sitting up on haunches and begging for treats. Of course, their antics were soon rewarded.

The couple then asked me if I had seen the turtles on the log in the Creek. “No, I haven’t, but I’d really like to see them – can I tag along with you?” was my response. So, we ambled along companionably, and soon they both pointed to a log, partially submerged in the water. There was a big turtle and two smaller ones. “There are more of them when it is sunny, as they like to sun themselves on that log” the woman told me. I had to peer at them through the trees, since they advised if I got any closer, the turtles would soon seek refuge in the water. Well, there is something else to look for in my journeys around the loop.

My head swiveled back and forth and my camera was busy clicking images to share with you in future posts. I didn’t want to take the time to upload the pictures and choose which ones should accompany this blog post since severe weather will soon be on our doorstep.

For today, I am sharing a photo of a wide-eyed bunny I saw on Friday morning … he, like me, was in wonderment about the sights and sounds at Council Point Park.

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Sprinkles, spritzes and a gaggle of geese.

GAGGLE

Well, the way this weather is going lately, you’ve got to grab any dry day you can, that is … if you want to stay the course in your walking regimen. I’ve finally reached 300 miles walked in 2017, but my goal had been 350 miles walked by Memorial Day weekend. Oops! I’ll just blame my lackluster stats on Mother Nature’s soggy Spring.

Of course yesterday’s all-day soaker had me skipping a walking day, so, despite the gloomy sky and threat of morning raindrops, I headed out to Council Point Park to get in a few miles.

The prettiest part of Spring which we all enjoy – that balmy weather, sunny days and those beautiful blossoms, all have seemingly vanished, and, in their wake, they’ve been replaced by chilly weather, gloomy skies, spent flower petals, and now maple seeds littering lawns and sidewalks.

I hurried down to the Park, and, as I crossed the large parking lot, the first sprinkles and spritzes of rain arrived. Sigh … so, do I turn around and head home or just keep going and hope it blows over? I opted for the latter and was happy to discover they were just a few random “spits” and, in the end, it didn’t spoil my walk at all.

There were only four people on the perimeter path this morning. The squirrels were absent, but, as I rounded the corner on the first loop, I saw a huge gaggle of geese. Clearly there were at least three families, as each set of parents and their offspring tended to huddle close together as they grazed on the overgrown grass.

PROUD PAPA

 

The grass has gone to seed, and the blades, with their frilly-looking tops, were so long, that every so often, when one of the goslings was grazing, the grass must have tickled its nostrils, as it shook its head back and forth a few times. Perhaps the young ‘un felt a sneeze coming on?

MUNCHKINS

As I stood on the perimeter path, at a safe-enough distance back from the families, I noted that the parents were very protective of their offspring. They never left the goslings’ side, even though they are now nearly half the size of their parents. The goslings have grown in leaps and bounds since I last saw them on May 13th. In the photos below, you’ll see how large they are and that they have reached that awkward and gangly stage, so they aren’t really cute and fuzzy anymore.

FLAPPING

Oh well, I guess we’ve all gone through that gawky stage where only a mother could love us for our looks!

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Tuesday Musings.

01-03-17a2

This past Sunday, having been cheated out of my walk by Mother Nature ‘s persistent downpours, I found another outlet for my energy and made a stellar job cleaning the house. Admittedly, it was a boring day, but at least upstairs passed the white glove test by the time I was finished.

As a reward for my efforts, I decided to treat myself and watch the very last performance of Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus. Yup, the circus was in town, but this time it wasn’t under the Big Top – actually, it was no further than just a mouse click or two away.

I logged onto the computer in plenty of time, checked into Facebook that was streaming the event, then settled in to bid farewell to the circus, an annual event that I attended many times in my youth and up to my teens. As it neared start time at 7:00 p.m., I realized that all that was missing was my fellow Brownie troop members and the candy floss.

However, all too soon I learned you can’t always go back and recreate those special memories, even if the poems and songs and wise quotations say you can.

The show began, just as I remembered, with a flamboyant ringmaster bellowing to the crowd. But, he quickly stepped aside and CEO Kenneth Feld, of Feld Entertainment, and his family soon monopolized center stage.  Feld began giving praise to the performers, even those behind the scenes, and thanking the audience, past and present, for enjoying 146 years of memories.

Mr. Feld droned on and on and I began to lose interest, when suddenly he and his family exited the stage, and soon the bells and whistles began. It was dark, then flashes of color up high and alot of razzmatazz followed.  I didn’t care for the act at all and was soon bored with it, and my eyes kept drifting from the performance to the comments being posted by Facebook viewers who waxed nostalgic about their special circus memories, as well as complaining about the politically correct persons who insisted the elephants were being mistreated and the circus should cease using them in their acts.

I had to agree about the PETA and those PC people, though I withheld my commentary on that subject. Yes, the “elephant in the room” was the lack of any elephants in the show.  And, the circus is not the same without them.  The animal acts were always a favorite of mine.

Slowly my eyes returned to the screen … the lackluster aerial act continued, and then I watched some horses galloping around the stage. Ho hum and where was the excitement of the tigers leaping through a ring of fire?  Or the magician’s tricks?  Even the acrobatic feats on the trapeze,  which were never my favorite act, were missing.

It was loud and raucous – not the circus I recalled from my youth.

I tuned it out in my mind and soon turned it off.

Were the PETA people and protesters correct stating that the big cats and elephants were mistreated? I guess I am not politically correct in wishing the circus had remained as I remembered it.

The circus revenues suffered after the elephants were removed and attendance plummeted. I guess I am conflicted, because I’m all for looking out for the animals’ welfare, but, in doing so,  as it pertains to the circus, you have destroyed a family event and there will be many children who never will know the joy of being mesmerized by three rings of performers at one time, all under the Big Tent.

P.S. – I’ve been feeling mighty smug because this year the robins skipped their Springtime ritual of building a large nest in the elbow of my coach light. I figured they finally got the message, when I repeatedly tore that muddy, lice-encrusted habitat down and filled the space with newspaper and pinwheels to deter any further building efforts.  However, as I write this, I have a family of sparrows that has made a nest in my outside blind box.  I heard noises coming from the box of late, but thought it was the wind, or an over-tall, thorny pyracantha bush that had new growth scratching the blinds and needed to be trimmed back.  But, imagine my surprise when it was very quiet in the house and I was dusting down the bathroom wall and heard a lot of tiny tweets . Oh-oh … we’ve had a hatching of baby birds.  The next morning I looked outside and nest fixin’s were drifting out of the area they have decided to raise their young.  A row of sparrows looked at me, chattering away loudly, as if daring me to wreak havoc with their home.  Thus, we have a moral dilemma:  to raise the blind would likely destroy the nest and the baby birds would go tumbling to the ground or onto the thorny bush below.  Well, I will bite my tongue, and refrain from mumbling about them, and cross my fingers there is no damage to the blind as a result of their nest-building efforts.  Soon the babies  will be fledglings and then I will bid them adieu and raise the blind.

Why?

Because that is the humane and politically correct thing to do.

 

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