Look who I found …

USE FOR HEADER

… or perhaps I should say found me?

Aah, today was like a breath of fresh air after this stifling and sultry weather we’ve had for one solid week. It was a joy to walk again.  Just as predicted, last night we had a storm and torrential rain and it was that weather event that broke the heat.  Before the storm, we soared to 96 degrees and it was the seventh day in a row over 90 degrees with high humidity.  The meteorologists were chock full of weather stats and I’ll throw a few out as well:  in 2018, we’ve had thirteen days at 90 degrees or better, and usually we average only about eleven days the entire year.  Luckily, we’ll get a two-day reprieve with cool weather, than back to the 90s again on Monday.  Ugh!

Earlier this week, I found an old friend.  I’m always glancing around as I walk through the neighborhood, and not just to ensure I don’t trip over an uneven sidewalk or miss a car pulling out of a driveway, with the driver not mindful that I am happening along.

You might recall in the tail end of May I discovered the family of robins nesting in a homeowner’s gutter on Pagel Avenue.  The chicks were about ready to fledge.  They were so big, and the nest was so crowded, that when I walked by, they were standing on the edge of the nest waiting for Mama Robin to take them on flying lessons so they could get certified to leave their twiggy home.

The very next day when I walked past, the nest was empty and one of the chicks was sitting on the fence.  I am sure it was his first time flying solo, and I was his first human encounter.  He sat there for the longest time, a little wobbly and clinging to the chain-link fence.  I wrote about that sweet little guy with the feathery tuft on his head in this post I entitled “Empty Nesters”:  https://lindaschaubblog.net/2018/05/24/empty-nesters/

Every time I walk down Pagel Avenue, I look for my little pal, although I can’t say for sure I’d be able to pick him out in a crowd.

But … I think he knew me.

The other day, as I strolled down the last leg of Pagel Avenue, just before reaching River Drive where Council Point Park is located, I looked around, just as I always do, and saw a robin alighting on that same homeowner’s roof.  It landed with its back toward me and sat there.  I stopped and pulled the camera out of the case.

Then I waited.

A few seconds later that robin redbreast stole a backwards glance at me and I took its picture.

BACKWARDS GLANCE

Then, did I just imagine there was a glimmer of recognition that I was the one who spoke softly to that baby bird as he timidly perched on the fence the first day he fledged?

He turned his body around and faced me, perhaps for a closer inspection?

CHECK ME OUT-THE JUVENILLE

Well, I inspected him too.  The spotted breast feathers are gone and his orangey-red chest and dark plumage stood out on that pale-colored rooftop.  I called up to him, and, while we were not going to have a conversation of course, next I saw him open his beak and a few notes came out.  And was that a smile?  Look at the picture up at the top of this post, then you tell me.

This robin obliged me and posed for these pictures, warbled a few notes, then flew away to find worms, grubs and other goodies that robins are fond of and I continued on my trek to the Park.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 44 Comments

These days, a walk in the park is …

HEADER

… NO walk in the park, as that expression goes.  I detest this hot weather, despite gritting my teeth and scowling at each shovelful of snow hefted and every ice pellet that stung my face through an overly long Winter and cold Spring.  Yes, I swore I would not complain come Summer when temps soared and humidity made me want to melt into a puddle on the ground.

This is day #6 of the heat wave, once again with the scorching temps and high humidity.  Singer Jimmy Buffett makes a gentle island breeze and the tropical clime sound oh so inviting and fun.  Sadly, I’m somehow missing the feel-good of the tropics with this weather though.

The heat may be hindering any painted rock drops at the Park these days.  I’ve not seen any of the colorful beauties at Council Point Park, so perhaps kids and parents are painting away, but not heading out in these searing temps, hoarding them instead in air-conditioned homes until the weather is just right for placing and discovering. We will get a small reprieve in the heat this weekend, so I’ll be on the prowl for all those pretty rocks to surface.

However, I did glimpse this Old Glory painted rock across from Council Point Park a while ago and saved the photo I took of it for today’s post.  My friend Ann Marie painted many flag-inspired rocks and hid them around Council Point Park last Summer.

I hope you’re having a safe and enjoyable 4th of July.

I’ll leave you with a quote for this Independence Day holiday, right after this photo of a painted rock with a meaningful message.

LIVE

There are two educations:  one should teach us how to make a living, and the other how to  live. ~ John Adams, second U.S. President and one of the Founding Fathers

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 30 Comments

Are these the Cat Days of Summer?

REAL TIRED

A round trip to Council Point Park, plus one loop on the shady side, was all I could muster on this muggy Monday morning, with temps at nearly 80 degrees and humidity to match.  Ugh!  I didn’t even get to the cross street before I felt like my clothes were sticking to me, but I hung in there anyway, wanting the steps and happy it was not raining so that I could venture out.

The weather folks like to call this mugginess “air you can wear” and, in a radio news story, I heard a New Yorker remark that even though she was sweltering with this heat wave, it was way better than shoveling, so I made that reasoning my mantra as I trudged along on my walk today.

Everyone has heard of those dreaded Dog Days of Summer which are defined as a slew of days with sultry temps that occur in July and August.  According to “The Old Farmer’s Almanac” the Dog Days of Summer traditionally begin on July 3rd and end August 11th.  Of course you are shaking your head and saying that there are much hotter days in mid-to-late August, but the Dog Days of Summer coincides with the rising of Sirius, a/k/a the Dog Star.

All that astronomical info is heady stuff and maybe too much for my brain to absorb after spending time out in all that heat and humidity, but I think that cats are entitled to have their own days in the Summer too, don’t you?  At least until tomorrow when those “Dog Days” will kick in.

I decided cats should claim their fame after watching a pair of felines reacting to the hot day as I walked by them.  First, they both came trotting down the driveway as I approached the house.  Right away I realized I was dealing with “watchcats” and that was a new concept to me.

They stopped in their tracks and stared me down.  An old proverb states “curiosity killed the cat” and in this case, these cats didn’t die but sure looked mighty puzzled by me.

HEY YOU 1.jpg

HEY YOU 2

What gives here with the intense look by each of them?

I whipped out the camera for some photos, deciding I had today’s blog post readymade if the photos came out okay.  I got a sleepy-looking grimace from the orange tabby cat who lounged on the hot cement.

REAL TIRED1

Then, after checking me out, this cat, with markings resembling a Holstein cow, disregarded me in favor of a roll in the cool grass.  There’s apparently an art to cooling off your furry body on the lawn … here, have a look:

A

B

C

D

E

This heat wave stretches across 2/3rds of the U.S. right now and may be deemed less than “purrfect” weather unless of course you’ve taken off this week for the Independence Day holiday and have access to a pool.  Here in Michigan, since the Spring was cold and snowy up to April, the Great Lakes are still too cold for swimming – maybe dipping your toe in, but that’s about it.

I got about 3 1/2 miles walked, then beat a hasty retreat into the house to hydrate and get cooled off from the A/C.  Three more days of this heat, then a reprieve thankfully.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 38 Comments

Take thee to the seashore to cool off.

HEADER

After pounding the hot pavement along Fort Street, with occasional interludes under the shady tree at the “Ponies in the Park” event yesterday, I decided it was time to enjoy a nature jaunt again.  The car needed to be taken for a spin, so I thought I’d head down to the closest thing to a seashore that is around these parts … Bishop Park in Wyandotte.  Hearing the seagulls screech and seeing the water lapping up against the boardwalk and pier walk, could fool you into believing you were enjoying a day at the seashore.  Though there may be no seashells to collect or snuggle up to your ear, and no beach glass to discover in the sand, at Bishop Park the view at the Detroit River is scenic and there is usually a gentle breeze blowing as you stroll along the boardwalk.

I arrived at the pier at 8:00 a.m. and soon discovered I was not the only one who thought that a cool breeze from the Detroit River might temper the heat so as to complete one’s morning exercise regimen.  Several walkers chatted animatedly with one another, a pair of skateboarders whizzed by, as did a couple of joggers almost as soon as I stepped onto the boardwalk.  Just a few minutes later, I found one of those joggers resting on a park bench, looking exhausted, legs akimbo and with a soaking wet face.  Truthfully, she looked pretty wiped out and was clutching a dripping water bottle.  I asked if she had just doused herself with water from the bottle, or was she THAT hot … she laughed and said “I am THAT hot from this humidity – whew!  And yes, it is sweat!”  Well, of course there is the old joke that ladies perspire rather than sweat, but in weather like this, let’s not mince words … ladies sweat too.  It was already 80 degrees and 76% humidity when I left the house.

The fishermen were likewise up and at ‘em.  They were stationed along the shoreline as well as on the pier.  I heard many of the fishermen muttering “the bass aren’t bitin’ … must be the heat” as I watched them reel in empty lines, just with their own minnows or night crawlers attached to the hook.  I strolled along, camera in one hand and a box of oyster crackers in the other.  I was looking for hungry ducks to feed, even though I knew that along with those mallards, I’d likely get a torrent of seagulls as well.  That’s okay, the seagulls are always good for a few “seashore-type” photos to accompany a post about visiting the Detroit River.

A quick glance across the water informed me that once again there were no freighters passing by, but there was a passel of pleasure boats out this morning, and every so often they’d generate a lot of wave activity.  The water came precariously close to the boardwalk a few times and I found myself jumping back to avoid getting the camera or me splashed.

Soon I found myself at the kayak launching area.

KAYAK GATE

KAYAK AREA WITH FENCE

I noticed the wooden platform nearby was not stationary.  I watched that platform moving to and fro with each big wave and every time it swayed, it would creak very loudly.  That noise would have driven me crazy, but I noticed a family of mallards were perfectly content to enjoy their floating perch.   Some were even snoozing on it.

I watched Mama and Papa mallard, who preened for the longest time, and their ducklings must have gotten bored and decided to explore.  So, one by one they plopped off the wooden platform and into the water, where they soon investigated the shoreline, and frolicked in the Detroit River.  Now was a good time to dispense some of my oyster crackers

2 DUCKLINGS AT WALL

DUCKLING HEAD IN WATER

DUCKLING BY HIMSELF

DUCKLING AND OYSTER CRACKERS

But their parents, once they were done preening, soon noticed their brood’s absence, so they waddled over to the edge of the platform to find them.

MAMA DUCK

DAD MALLARD

I noticed Mama mallard kept holding her foot up – did she injure it?

MAMA DUCK HOLDING FOOT

Meanwhile, the ducklings soon tired of fun and games.  Some began to preen and a few decided to get some shuteye with a lookout sibling watching over the others.

DUCKLINGS PREENING

2 DUCKS 1 WATCHING

It was peaceful watching the little family and I took a lot of photos from my spot on the pier.  It was all good until a few fishflies arrived and one landed on my arm.  At first when I felt it, I thought it was just a fly, or even a strand of hair had fallen onto my arm.  It must have settled down ever so lightly onto my skin.  Normally, I detest bugs, and those who know me, are aware that it is more than just not liking creepy crawlies, but I am afraid of them, and petrified I’ll be in a situation where I can’t escape from them.  I know it sounds silly to some people, but I’ve always been that way and nothing is going to change now.  Centipedes and spiders are the bane of my existence.

However, I’m okay with flying insects and I flicked this fishfly off my arm thinking “I’ll let it live – it will only last a few more days anyway.”  My goodwill toward the fishfly resulted in next seeing it on the front of my shirt.  Ugh!  Well, it presented a photo op anyway, so you can see what a fishfly looks like.

FISHFLY ON ME.jpg

We have just passed the height of fishfly season here in Michigan.  Sometimes, when they gather at or near the water, they will cover a building, or a boat – even you, clinging on for dear life.  They only live about a week after hatching, but they arrive en masse and cause misery to those living or working near the water.

Three anglers that had been fishing at the far end of the pier, packed up their gear and headed down the wooden plank toward me.  They must have left behind some food or food wrappers, because as soon as they departed, one enterprising seagull honed in and began pecking away at something on the walkway.

SEAGULL WITH FOOD

He didn’t have his treat to himself for long before two more gulls joined him on the pier.  If you’ve never heard or watched seagulls squabbling over a measly piece of food, it isn’t pretty.  Seagulls are the original angry birds when it comes to food.  They swoop and dive trying to take possession of it, often wresting the tiniest morsel from another gull amidst a snapping beak and flapping wings.  Such drama!

SEAGULLS FIGHTING WITH ONE ANOTHER

It was around this time, that a few gulls noticed the oyster crackers that were on the surface of the water which had floated away from the ducks and ducklings.  So, those gulls began a series of calisthenics to retrieve the tiny crackers from the water.  They made some ungainly moves while swooping and diving and half-landing on the water’s surface.  Suffice it to say seagull table manners are not the best.

SEAGULLS ON THE WATER

After several rounds of fighting at the pier, one seagull was left with his food and the other gulls exhausted themselves landing on the water.  All was quiet and it was time to head to the car and drive to Council Point Park to see if I could find some hungry squirrels to feed.  Before I left Bishop Park, I heard, then saw, a man sitting on a bench playing his guitar.   How peaceful that was.

GUY IN PARK

At Council Point Park, I walked three loops on the shady side and called it done.  It was hot, humid and I was ready to head home and get hydrated and cooled off.  Just four miles today, but I’m not going to beat myself up over it given the extreme heat and humidity.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 23 Comments

Steppin’ back in time.

HEADER FINAL

Hot cars and hot weather were on today’s agenda.  When I stepped out of the house at 7:45 a.m., (ostensibly to beat the heat at that early hour), I was greeted with a blast of hot and tropical-like air.  I felt as if I should be sipping a drink with a tiny umbrella piercing a piece of pineapple and tucking a hibiscus behind my ear.

I immediately changed my plans for a roundtrip trek to Council Point Park, and two loops at that venue, then to bop over to Fort Street to watch Downriver Cruisin’ for a while.  At 81 degrees and humidity of 91%, I decided to just minimize my steps and walk along the Cruise route only.  What a Summer weenie I am turning into!

I sauntered along Fort Street, then quickly sought shade at Memorial Park when the first dribbles of sweat were running into my eyes.  By then, many Mustangs had already arrived for the “Ponies in the Park” event.

ALL OF THEM

The Mustang Owners Club of Southeastern Michigan members gather at Memorial Park during each Cruisin’ Downriver event to display their cars, which range from the original “Pony” to the later models.

MUSTANG OWNERS OF MICHIGAN.jpg

As more of the Mustang aficionados arrived, they pulled onto the grassy area, then parked and immediately flipped up their respective car hoods to showcase the pristine engines.

GREEN HOOD.jpg

I chitchatted with this guy who was buffing his already-gleaming car with a little wax.

RED - GUY WITH CHAMOIS

He told me this car is a 2015 model and he drives it year-around and it has 45,000.00 miles on it.  I sheepishly admitted I just rolled the odometer to 5,000 miles myself and my car was nine years old.  He thought that was pretty funny and I added “I’m an avid walker though and don’t drive as much as I should.”

Since he, like the other Mustang owners, had the hood up, I bent in close to inspect it and take a picture.

RED - DIFFERENT AUTOGRAPHS

As you can see, the engine area was clean as a whistle and I asked about the autographs – two were designers of both the clay mold and finished product of this car, and the other autograph was from a member of Roush Racing.

More and more Mustangs were being driven up and then sidling between their brethren.  The meeting had an almost clubby atmosphere, and I’m guessing these owners regularly meet at other cruise events.  I meandered around, admiring all the Mustangs from various years, clicking off a few shots of the rows of shiny Ponies, including a few which I remembered as the original Mustang Pony Car circa ’64.  I had several friends whose parents passed their “Ponies” onto their offspring.  This guy was willing to part with his baby for $30,000.00.  It was in prime condition.

MUSTANG 30K

I finally tore myself away from “Ponies in the Park” and grabbed a good spot in the shade, but near the curb to check out the cruisers.  It was just unbearably hot, even under the big tree.  Occasionally, I’d dash out of the shade when I saw an interesting car or truck pass by.

Unfortunately, the cruisers usually use a dedicated lane, (the right-hand lane), for cruising so spectators can see their vehicles up close.  This was not happening today as drivers were all over the road and with the traffic flow from the Rouge River Bridge Project, it was hard to get shots of unique or classic cars, but here are a few below.  I think the color red ruled, just like the red-hot weather, red was the color of the day.

HEADER.jpg

RED CAR

PINK AND WHITE STRIPES

RED FUNNY CAR

RED FUNNY CAR GOING

RUST CAR

Despite the A/C running all day, I’ve still heard the bands in the distance …

ROCK AND ROLL IN THE PARK

… as well as the ever-present hum of motors and cars squealing throughout the afternoon, so likely the cruisin’ crowd decided to tough it out on this stifling hot day – we got to 94 degrees today, with a 105-degree heat index.  Mercy me!

I may not have gotten all my desired steps in today, but I did enjoy steppin’ back in time.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 24 Comments

Around the ‘hood and under the hood.

FRONT

Summer’s long days and scorching temps go hand in hand with cruisin’ … no, not on the high seas, but cruisin’ in your classic automobile along Fort Street for the annual Cruisin’ Downriver event.

When Cruisin’ Downriver was created in 2000, the concept really took off after that inaugural year.  A local oldies radio station set up and broadcast their show at Memorial Park and various primo parking lots along the cruise route, which is six miles long and stretches from Southfield Road in Lincoln Park to Sibley Road in Riverview.

Of course cruisin’ in classic vehicles is not for everyone, especially when Southeast Michigan expects a record-breaking temperature of 96 degrees with a heat index of 105 degrees for tomorrow’s cruise.  Those classic car engines sure aren’t equipped for that heat, and, likely there will be more breakdowns and raised hoods along Fort Street than wheelies and burning rubber.  Drivers won’t fare much better than their nostalgic vehicles as they swelter without A/C and stick to those leatherette seats.

And, it’s not only the weather that will be a pain.  Cruisers will share the road with 18-wheelers and all other vehicles diverted onto Fort Street since the Rouge River Bridge Project began in February 2017 and is due for completion this November.  Wall-to-wall traffic on weekdays is now the norm, so the added vehicles on Fort Street will likely temper the enthusiasm of even the most diehard car enthusiast.  Though I’m not a big fan of the annual Cruise, I do usually stop by and watch the parade of classic cars go by.

The official hours for Cruisin’ Downriver are 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. tomorrow, but an evening sans rain and still-bright skies had cruisers sneaking in a few laps beforehand.  As I write this post, I’m listening to muscle cars way down on Fort Street gunning their engines and I can imagine the exhaust wafting upward at 85 degrees on this ozone action day.

This past week, I’ve seen a few classic cars tooling around Downriver, getting geared up for the big day, like this orange-and-cream-colored Chevy Bel Air parked at Council Point Park.

How about the fins on this classic car?

CHECK OUT THE FINS

BUMPER

Check out the side of this ride.

SIDE

Sticking to the seats – no fun!

STICKING TO THE SEATS -OMG

These two classic cars caught my eye while strolling through the ‘hood on my walk.  I wonder if anyone pooled their pennies and snapped up this old Plymouth yet?

GRAY PLYMOUTH

How about this fabulous Ford T-Bird?

THUNDERBIRD

This vintage car’s owner is a regular at Yum Yum Donuts at Fort Street and Emmons Boulevard.

YUM YUM DONUTS

The weather will be hot and steamy, but with no rain slated for a few days, I’ll venture out to Council Point Park, then bop over to Fort Street to check out the 2018 parade of cars.  I’ll get all my steps in before it gets too oppressive out there.  I had hoped to have walked 500 miles by the end of June, but so many days of rain kept my total miles at just 460 as of today … maybe the second half of the year will be more conducive for walking.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 17 Comments

Meet “Stubby”.

stubby.jpg

I know I said I had not seen any squirrels lately … and I truly hadn’t,  except for the pair of squirrels that were lethargic and lounging around a low branch during that hot spell we had about ten days ago.

Well, when I peered up at those two squirrels, I couldn’t help but notice right away that one of them was missing a good portion of his fuzzy tail.

But, since he and his pal were up in a tree with lots of leaves, which made it shady, I really couldn’t inspect his tail, (or lack thereof), until today.  After I walked past “his” tree this morning, I immediately heard rustling overhead, so I stopped in my tracks and looked up.  Although this squirrel paid no attention to me the last time, today he was quick to stare at me …

staring match with stubby

… then immediately started scrambling down to ground level.

tree stubby.jpg

This stubby-tailed squirrel timidly approached me as I opened the Ziploc bag of peanuts to feed him.  He didn’t race over and nuzzle my shoe or dance around my feet like Parker usually does, nor did he do any of the antics the other squirrels that are “regulars” on the perimeter path do.  I wiggled the bag and coaxed him to come a little closer, then laid some peanuts at his front paws.

He looked up at me, then I must’ve passed muster because he took a peanut and enjoyed it …

standing stubby

… then he headed off to bury another peanut, leaving two behind.  I told him I’d guard them for him ‘til he returned, because the cardinal and red-winged blackbird would likely be all over those treats.

digging stubby

So, the question is – what happened to the rest of this poor squirrel’s tail?  It looks as if it is bobbed right off.  No more flicking of the furry tail by this little guy, nor holding it over his head like an umbrella to protect him from the snow and icy pellets on those wintry precip days.

I looked down at him from my vantage point, with that pitiful tail, wondering about his misfortune.  Did he take a tumble, or make a daring escape from a predator who was left with the furry remnant of a squirrel’s tail in its mouth?

looking down stubby

I decided two things:  I would name him “Stubby” and he would get extra peanuts because I felt sorry for him.

I will still be on the lookout for Parker and his pals … I hope they turn up soon.

Doing a “meet and greet” with Stubby is about all the excitement I could scare up these last two days I’ve walked at Council Point Park.  The Park seems rather quiet without the cacophony of sounds from the geese and ducks, although a bullfrog was doing his very best to raise a ruckus in the still morn with his raucous croaking.

Our morning temps yesterday and today could best be classified as “sweater weather” and this morning when I left for my walk it was just 56 degrees.  Perfect walking weather!  Even the sun put in an appearance.  Mother Nature has certainly shortchanged us with sunshine this Spring and there have been so very few beautiful days, that a morning like this one was to be savored.  Tomorrow promises to be still another rainy and stormy day, the entire day, followed by a heat wave.

I walked five miles today … like I said in the last post, you’ve got to get going while the going is good.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 62 Comments