So, how about dem apples?

08-17-17aa

I left the house earlier than usual this morning, while anticipating another refreshing walk.  I decided to tack on those extra steps in order to pass the 500-mile mark, so I’ve now walked 501 miles in 2017.

Just like the past two days, the air felt Fallish and very comfortable for walking.  The cooler temps made we realize that Labor Day, the unofficial end to Summer, is now less than a month away.  Soon all the delightful pumpkin-spiced treats will be available and people will be queuing up to buy apple cider and donuts.

Another sign of Fall is that the apples are already ripening on trees around the Park.  I’ve also seen them strewn along the perimeter path for a few weeks now.  Though they are not full-sized apples, they look to be the McIntosh variety, dappled in colors of red and green, crispy-looking and with white flesh.  No doubt some of the apples landed on the ground from the high wind, or the many squirrels as they clamber up and down and around those trees.

08-17-17bb

But, it wasn’t until I saw my favorite squirrel sitting on the blue Park bench, happily munching on one of those very apples, that it dawned on me that this was why no squirrels were running to greet me as usual on the perimeter path.  It appears they have another source of food, besides me, and the other good-hearted souls who routinely carry around a bag of peanuts in the shell to dole out to the Park’s peanut pals.

08-17-17cc

To see that squirrel munching and crunching away on that apple tells me it fills his stomach much more than a half-dozen or so peanuts … or, even a small bag of m&m’s.  And, he probably gets a little meat as well, as the close-up photo reveals those apples are wormy.

08-17-17dd

That’s fine my furry little friend, but come Fall, you’d better come hither to get peanuts to hide for the long and cold Winter ahead when your favorite benefactor does not make her way down to Council Point Park.

So, how about dem apples?

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Welcome back Canada Geese and ….

08-06-17

… a fond farewell to Mickey and Minnie.

The Canada Geese are back after an absence of nearly two months!  This morning I saw about a dozen of them flying overhead in the traditional V-formation, and decided they might be headed south, given the last few days of cooler-than-normal morning temps.  Honestly, I had missed their cantankerous hissing, honking and my need to duck down and protect my head when a flock of geese flew overhead.  The nature nook was not the same without them.  So, evidently their flying feathers have grown back and the geese have returned as well.

Yesterday’s session in the garage stretched from mid-morning to late afternoon, and, by the time I was done, I had rounded up three bags of garbage, mostly that papery cellulose that was piled up in corners, behind shelves, or even embedded in the lawn equipment.  Unbelievably, strands of gray cellulose even dotted my “reserve” silk flowers I have on hand (just in case the existing ones should blow away during a stiff wind, even though they are weighted down in their respective pots and baskets).

In cleaning the garage, I decided it was also a time to bid farewell to two old faithful garden friends “Mickey” and “Minnie” which, as you see above, are a pair of life-sized Canada Geese who have graced the backyard since the 90s.  The past few years they have, however, been relegated to the garage for no particular reason.  I vividly recall the time we brought them home.  One day my mom and I were walking around Johnny’s Nursery, our favorite go-to spot for landscaping and annuals, when this pair of Canada Geese just called out our names.  We bought them on the spot, and, on the way home, on a lark, decided to name them.  They are so realistic looking, and their markings so resemble that of real Canada Geese, that through the years, whenever new neighbors moved in, they did a double take (until they realized the geese pretty much held the same pose, and they soon figured out they were not the real deal).

The picture above was taken by my neighbor Marge, when she got her first digital camera in 2006, and she surprised me by e-mailing me a series of pictures of my garden later that same day.   Here is another shot of the geese from the same day:

08-06-17A

Sadly, the backyard, which included a big butterfly garden as well, and, to me, was like paradise back in 2010 when it was really exquisite, lost most of its pizzazz after Polar Vortex #1 came through, dealing a punch and knocking down three butterfly bushes and some rose bushes and evergreens.  Then, the following year, Polar Vortex #2 wiped out most of my perennials.  I had been proud of my black-eyed susans, coneflowers and daisies which had lined each side of the yard since the mid-80s.  I decided it was “paradise lost” and I was fed up and vowed then to never put that much effort into a garden or yard again.  The walking regimen I began in the Fall of 2011 also contributed a lot to that mindset.  Now, I use silk flowers instead of annuals and have reduced the rose garden and enjoy it and the perennials that made it … I’ve not replenished anything.   This past Spring, I was dismayed to find my longstanding  Nellie Moser clematis, which I had trained to climb a tall pole, did not make it.  So, still another touch of color in early Spring is gone forever.

I walked four miles again today.  I wanted to work in the yard and had to take the car out of the garage anyway, so I got two laps of the entire park in … four miles in just under an hour, then hurried home to hustle out for weeding and trimming the bushes and rapidly filling up yard waste bags.  Why does everything look so wild in just a few weeks’ time?

Now I am done with fiddling around with the house and can enjoy the remainder of the Summer.  There are still some odds and ends to do inside and start shopping and gathering pantry items for the Winter, but I am happy to be done with this humongous effort to get the house in order once again.

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

“Summer breeze, makes me feel fine …”

08-05-17

I was thinking of that summery song from the 70s by Seals and Crofts as I strolled along the perimeter path this morning.  Those lyrics, and this chalk art, sum up a perfect Summer day.  I took the photo of these chalk etchings a few weeks ago and decided to tuck it away, then match it up with a sunny, Summer-lovin’ day like this one.

Anticipating the refreshing walk, I got an early start and took the car out for a spin to Council Point Park.  I wanted to get my four miles in, so I could hurry home and start cleaning out the garage. The garage was fairly organized after I decluttered it and cleaned it out in the Fall of 2016, but, unfortunately, on June 9th the contractors for the insulation job threw everything in a heap in the back of the garage and also left hundreds of foam tidbits and cellulose pieces in their wake.  I swept out some of those papery particles and others have glommed onto everything, even inside closed cabinets.  It was quite the colossal mess, so I decided that I’d make use of the cooler, less-humid weather to tackle this job.

Slowly, but surely, in the year 2017, I have declared war on disorganization, clutter, and/or mess – whatever description you want to use, and I’m still anxious to finish everything to enjoy some “me” time.  I just hope it doesn’t rain every weekend once my designated “me” time finally arrives.

Despite that big, bold sun, there sure was a “Fall feel” in the air, and it made me recall that I heard Accuweather’s long-range weather forecast on August 1st and jotted it down, to look at around Thanksgiving to see how accurate they were.  I really don’t know whether to believe these same weather folks, who predicted a snowier-than-usual Winter for 2016-2017, and, it turned out to be a fairly mild and low snowfall season (not that I am complaining).

Anyway, the Accuweather meteorologists predict that Michigan will have a “very dry September, a very moist October and a wintry November” (hmmm, I’m glad they used the word “very” for the first two months only!)  At that rate, I’d better keep motivated and moving along with my steps and miles, just in case October and November’s weather put a big dent in my daily excursions, thus messing up my final goal.

Most of the regulars were at the Park today, and I chatted with a few folks, then hastened to get my two laps in so I could get home.  I did not even make a single pit stop for my peanut pals, because they were all MIA, so that full Ziploc bag filled with peanuts that was slapping against my thigh the two trips around the entire Park, went home with me untouched … well, there’s always tomorrow.

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

These Dog Days of Summer sure are ruff.

08-03-17

That was some torrential rain last night, but we sure needed it.  The lawns were getting downright crispy looking.

This morning the weatherman said it was 93% humidity and shallow fog.  Well, no wonder with all that rain!  I peered outside and saw no fog, but, there were leaves and debris littering the street, hours after I saw that same flotsam floating in the rain water which had collected in the street and was rapidly rising to the top of the curb during the height of the storm.

Thinking that Council Point Park might be a haven for mosquitoes this morning, I decided to take the car for a spin, and just walk laps at Meijer and enjoy the air-conditioned store, rather than endure buggy or muggy conditions.  But, out of force of habit, I was halfway to the Park before I realized “oh-oh … wrong destination” so I blamed my brain fog on the warm weather and just stayed the course, because … doggone it, how hot and humid could it be there anyway in the early morning?

I parked and headed toward the pavilion where I saw the perimeter path was already filled with most of the regular crowd, so I decided that I had made the right decision to swelter at the nature nook versus ten trips past the produce, dairy and meat departments, and, at the other end of the store, strolling past the school supplies.  Yep, they’ve been out since 4th of July.

But, if you check out this Great Dane and his master, a pair I regularly see walking the perimeter path, they both look hot and dog tired, don’t you agree?  Usually, on their morning meanderings, the dog is walking with its head high, and is very regal-looking next to its handler. This pooch and his master do look a little pooped to me, and the dog kept stopping on the path, four feet planted firmly in place.

Unfortunately, there was no breeze this morning, but there must have been quite a bit of wind at the Park last night during the storm because there were leaves, and even some small branches, scattered about the grounds.  It was nothing compared to Memorial Park which I passed on my short road trip, where there were large branches laying everywhere.

Actually the walk was not so stifling as you’d think, since the sun had been just filtering between the clouds, but, on my last walking loop, the sun finally popped out and was full strength.  Whew!  I was beginning to regret my decision, but, I got four loops walked, (which was four miles), and more steps than I’d have garnered at Meijer by walking laps around the perimeter of the store, especially since I often stop to chitchat along the way.

Hang in there – the “Dog Days of Summer” are here ‘til August 11th … thankfully, relief is in sight this weekend, which ought to make us feel frisky and like young pups again.

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Tuesday Musings.

close up planner page

I set out on this first day of August with a spring in my step, albeit a subdued spring, since slowly the heat and humidity have crept back into the Summer weather equation.  We’re back to dealing with the tropical-like feel once again.  And, there’s nothing like tropical garb to go along with those delicious fruit smoothies or rainbow-flavored popsicles you are no doubt indulging in while you soak up the sun’s rays.

In July’s crusade to end the clutter in my basement, I found some tropical-looking duds, luckily just in time for the escalating temps.

08-01-17A

About a month ago, I was walking down Merrill Avenue, enroute to Council Point Park, and passed by a house, where the homeowner had painted their shutters, front door and trim in a delicious-looking cantaloupe color.  The vibrant hue gives an almost quaint, cottage-like look to this house.  On this particular morning, a woman was sitting in a chair on the porch and wearing capris in that very same cantaloupe color.  We said “good morning” to one another and I told her “your capris exactly match your house trim” and she looked down, then laughed and agreed, saying “I never thought about it, but you’re right!”

As I walked away, still chuckling, I said to myself “I have capris in that very color and style and I haven’t seen them in years, so what the heck happened to them anyway?”  I remembered they were a gorgeous melon shade and I never saw them upstairs with the rest of the clothes.  So, since that morning, I grew rather melancholy about my melon-colored capris, fearful that I might have even forgotten to pick them up from the cleaners.  At one point, I even absurdly thought perhaps the cleaners sold their cache of unretrieved garments and this lady was wearing MY capris!

Well, I don’t have to wonder any longer.  On the clothes rack downstairs, wedged in between some sedate-looking dress pants, I discovered those cantaloupe-colored capris hanging right next to a black pair of capris with embroidered pineapples, watermelon and cherries festooned all over them.  I was definitely thinking Summer when I made that purchase!

Nothing like kickin’ up your heels and feeling carefree in capris that look like they belong to Toucan Sam of Froot Loops cereal fame!

08-01-17B.jpg

August of 2016 was the hottest month in meteorological history … I sure hope we don’t go there this year.

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Let’s bottle up this day and tuck it away …

green heron

… ’til February.

We were blessed with yet another beautiful day today.

In fact, this day was 3G … great, glorious … yup, a true gem, and one we’d like to tuck away and pull out in the dead of Winter.

Not only was this a day that I wanted to go that extra mile before heading home to tackle the basement one last time (yeah!), but it was a 3G day for spotting “wildlife” usually not seen along the perimeter path.  Those three sightings were of birds and a critter whose names begin with the letter “G”.

As I passed the cement landing, a green heron was staring across the Creek and contemplating life I guess.  He stood there for the longest time.  I got a picture, then greedily, I decided I had to have a close-up shot, but as I moved toward him, he suddenly took flight.  I’m not a “birder” per se, and I may not have readily identified that tall, skinny bird with the long beak, except you might recall last Summer I spotted an unusual bird at the marina, used his photo with my blog post that day, then I e-mailed the photo to the DNR to inquire what type of crane or heron it was.  They identified it as a green heron.

Soon thereafter, a goldfinch was flitting between the branches of a small tree; you couldn’t miss his bright-colored plumage among the green leaves.

goldfinch

But, my biggest “find” (though certainly not a stellar shot), was a gopher.  It is the first time I’ve seen one at the Park and he posed very nicely, even when I made a move to grab the camera from the pouch, and I got one shot., but before I could zoom in on him, it was “go gopher go” as he scurried away and popped into his burrow in a heartbeat.

gopher

I know where he lives and now I will stalk him. 🙂

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

The resemblance is “chalking” isn’t it??!!

07-29-17

What a fantastic weather day we had and I was out bright and early to enjoy it.  This is the last weekend in July, and, happily the last weekend that I will spend in the basement working, because, with any luck, come Sunday evening I am done!

I won’t promise the basement will make the glossy pages of “House Beautiful”, nor will it pass muster with Martha Stewart, but I shall no longer cringe when I have to take someone downstairs.

Meanwhile, I have gotten re-acquainted with every item of clothing and footwear downstairs and revisited all the Rubbermaid tubs filled with “retirement stuff” (much of it squirreled away before the internet came around).  It’s been a monumental task for sure.

So, this morning, as I went tripping off to the Park, a Ziploc bag brimming with peanuts at my side, I took in the peace and solitude of the neighborhoods that I traveled through.  I enjoyed the male and female cardinal tweeting to one another and all the delightful birdsong along the way.  I smiled when I heard the fast-pecking noise of the pesky woodpeckers that were drilling holes into a tree, or two … or three.  All these morning sounds were certainly noticeable, the result of windows being opened to invite in the refreshing air, and the hum of A/C units being non-existent for a change.

At the Park, where many others who frequent the perimeter pathway consider me a “squirrel magnet”, I stopped to chat about the glorious weather to several walkers.  Of course, if I pause longer than a few minutes in close proximity to the blue metal park bench, and do so without opening up my bag of peanuts, that one squirrel (my personal favorite), will come nosing around my feet and looking up at me with plaintive eyes.  Yes, it makes you chuckle, and … yes, it is just like when your child, or a beloved pet, wants attention and cannot wait a minute longer ‘til you are finished doing something.  “Pay attention to me now!” is what he seems to say.  “Okay already!” is what I want to say, and sometimes do.  Oh, all right … I admit that I’m such a soft touch sometimes.

But, there are others, not just me, that delight in, and are enamored by, the squirrel who likes to frequent the blue metal bench, as this chalk rendition of my little furry friend appeared on the perimeter path right across from the same bench.  I’m sure that you, just like me, recognize the “chalking” resemblance to this little guy.

I love seeing children’s chalk-art drawings.  It takes me back to some school projects done in elementary school, which now repose in an old scrapbook at the bottom of a closet.  Those neatly lettered and carefully crayoned “stories” as only a child can tell them will be dug out one day and digitized to be displayed in this forum.  (Well, aren’t you all lucky.)

Hmm – perhaps that should be my next project (after I clean out the car, then the garage, plus pull weeds).  On second thought, that sounds like a good Winter project to me … hunkering down in the house while the snow is softly falling outside, and remembering, then recounting, a wonderfully simpler time.

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments