Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.


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Saying goodbye to the seasons of 2018

Seasons come and seasons go.

Spring

Summer

Fall

Winter

So long 2018, you showed me lots of pretty things but I’m looking forward to finding even more amazing and beautiful images in 2019.

And Happy New Year to all of you, dear readers, Katie and I appreciate your visits to our blog more than you know. We wish for all of you a wonderful 2019!


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Trent’s Weekly Smile or A Bird in the Hand

During the holidays I’ve lost track of Trent’s Weekly Smile challenge, but surely there are things to make me smile this week. After all Christmas was just this past Tuesday.

Come along with me, there’s got to be something to smile about down here!

Still, I was feeling kind of blue, typical for me around this time of year, with the anniversary of my dad’s death on the 23rd. And this year I had the loss of two people I’d call friends, one in his 80s who was a big supporter of our community band, another a friend from almost forty years ago, someone I haven’t seen in many years but still count as a friend. Both died this week of cancer before Christmas had a chance to arrive.

So early this morning I headed out to my favorite park with my new camera, intent on figuring some camera stuff out while searching for a smile. This park never lets me down.

Even though it’s winter there are still colors here.

My goal was to figure out the manual settings on the new camera, how to set the aperture, the iso, the shutter speed. I’d read the manual and I’d searched youtube. Still, though it made sense while I was sitting on the sofa, I hadn’t been successful on the fly once in the woods.

New ice.

Maybe without Katie to distract me I could figure it out today.

I hadn’t intended to grab images of the birds eating out of my hand this time. You’ve seen those before.

Sure, I’ll pose next to these berries for you lady. That will be one seed please.

But I did have a pocket full of seed, hoping to lure them to me so that I could get good photos of them in their ‘natural’ habitat.

Got anything for breakfast lady?

But darn they were cute on my hand too. They were so hungry! I think I was the first human out there and as soon as I started down a trail they’d be swarming overhead.

Wait your turn!

So I set the camera back to auto and tried to get those iconic ‘eating out of my hand’ shots.

Back off titmouse!

One thing I noticed is that it was harder to get a clear focus. I think I’ll need to work on that. And I haven’t figured out how to fire off a bunch of shots at once yet. So I missed a lot of stuff. But I still had a blast.

Does this seed make me look fat?

I didn’t spend too much time feeding the birds at the beginning of the trail, I dropped some seed and moved along, and around the next corner was the flock of turkeys.

Nom nom nom nom.

I tossed them a bit of seed and kept on walking. The birds were following me and making a fuss so I stopped and took a video with my phone just to show people how crazy it was. And while I was doing that a male cardinal showed up.

Surprise!

This has never ever happened. I’ve had a cardinal here and there that was interested in the fact I was feeding the birds, but they’ve always been too shy to hop up on the hand themselves. They generally waited till I tossed some seed on the ground and moved away.

Good seed lady!

This guy startled me, I’d been focusing on the little birds and suddenly my hand was full of a big red bird!

He sat there and ate until he finished all the seed. I talked to him, stopped the video and clicked through some stills, he tipped his head and looked me in the eye, then casually selected another seed.

Yep, I’m pretty from all angles.

He was obviously king of the birds, because all the little birds waited on the ground or flew around my head while he was eating. One chickadee was braver than the rest and did a fly-by and grabbed a seed without stopping. Everyone else waited respectfully.

Meandering makes me smile too.

Finally he finished the seed, nodded at me and flew off across the swamp. I couldn’t stop grinning.

And that’s my smile for the week. A cardinal sat on my hand for a long time. Maybe he was sent from Aunt Vi, or my friends who have recently moved on. Maybe he was just a hungry bird. I don’t know and it doesn’t matter.

These guys are still hanging around. They make me smile too.

I couldn’t ask for a better smile, it’s one I’ll remember forever.

And when I got home this little bit of nature was napping on our deck.

I hope the images here made you smile too.

Magical.


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Holiday shopping cheer

I have what little shopping I needed to do done. It’s even wrapped and shipped.

I am not doing Christmas dinner this year, so I don’t have to make those last minute frantic trips back to the grocery store for things I’ve forgotten. If I’ve forgotten it this year we just won’t eat it.

Katie is not demanding anything specific for the holiday, unless you count her perpetual demands of park visits. But that’s not really holiday related.

Looking for holiday cheer I decided to do my daily walk up at the mall these last two mornings. What better place to people watch and listen to Christmas music all at the same time?

Especially when I didn’t have anything specific I just had to buy.

So I wandered around and snapped pictures of things I thought were pretty or fun or interesting.

And by the time I left I felt better about the whole holiday thing, and grateful that I don’t have anything left to accomplish except a holiday nap.

We wish all of you an equally peaceful, happy and contented holiday!


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Another rainy one

I don’t know what it’s been like where you are, but around here it’s been grey and rainy most days. Seems like we haven’t seen much sun in weeks.

I guess there are pretty things even in the rain.


We had an early winter, early snow, early cold temperatures and now, though it’s warmer, it just rains and rains.

There won’t be snow for Christmas, but that’s OK with me. I’d just like to see some sun.

It’s hard to remember when you’re walking the dog around puddles in the street, hood up to keep the rain off your glasses that just a day before we had walked in her park with beautiful skies overhead.

Katie’s park, yesterday afternoon.

How soon I forget!

The late afternoon light made the grass glow.

So I will endure this, another rainy day, because who knows…tomorrow could be filled with sun!

Evening shadows creep across the park as we said goodbye.

We hope each of you enjoy a beautiful day today, rain or sun.

Hoping for sun tomorrow.


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A Christmas visit to pay respects

This afternoon, with the sun popping in and out of high clouds, I visited the nearby veterans cemetery hoping to find images that remind us all how important the people resting here were and still are.

The sky couldn’t decide between clouds and sun.

When I first arrived the sun was hiding and the images seemed flat. Still, there were stories to imagine as I read headstone after headstone.

Everybody here has someone missing them.

There are so many buried here, with room for thousands more. It’s a peaceful place way out in the country, surrounded by farmland, far away from the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. Still there’s a bit of Christmas tucked among the stones.

A wreath stands among the white headstones.

Some sections of the cemetery had wreaths placed against each stone, other sections had what looked like more personal decorations, perhaps placed by family members.

Some holiday cheer in a solemn place under dark skies.

I was just about to leave, not pleased with the images I had, when the sun come out, spotlighting the edges of the lines and lines of stones.

Sunlight changes everything.

Then a gun salute went off somewhere on the other side of the cemetery, and taps was played as another soldier began eternal rest. And the sun continued to shine, showing this place in all it’s beauty.

The sky clears.

If you have a similar cemetery near you, take some time and explore it, even if you don’t have family or friends there. There are many stories on the headstones, each one telling us a bit about the person resting below.

Notice this young man died at 24 years old, and the stone just to the left and back one row was a WWII vet, dying in the same month and year, but with so much more life lived.

We owe them at least a bit of time. I think you’ll find it a beautiful experience, especially this time of year.

Wishing you all joy and peace this holiday season.

Merry Christmas Mr. Kirchoff.


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It’s my birthday part 2

Katie here! I’m taking time out from my day-after-birthday-nap to let you know how it went. While it wasn’t spectacular with balloons and cake and hundreds of guests giving me presents, it was nice, and very specific to mama’s and my relationship.

We spent it in the woods.

Nobody out here but us!

You know mama can’t give me anything more special than a walk in the woods, right? No amount of toys or treats….wait a minute…let me revise that. No amount of toys could add up to the joy I get spending time in the woods with my mama. Especially with mama and my treats.

So yesterday afternoon, after I napped outside a good part of the morning, mama took me to two parks! First we went to my park here in town so that I could get a little antsy worked out. Plus she wanted pictures of me with this stupid grass.

Hey! It’s MY birthday, why do I have to sit over here?

I figured since it was my birthday I’d get double my usual fee for portrait sitting. Sounds fair, right? But noooooo. Mama’s new camera has a different sound when the shutter goes off so I didn’t recognize it, and mama got lots more images than usual before I got up and came for my reward.

I have a strict one click one treat contract and mama broke it!

After I got over it (cause what are you gonna do, right?) we went to mama’s favorite park. Again I ask you, if it’s my birthday why are we doing what mama loves?

At first I was all whiny and stuff cause it’s kinda far away and I had to sit in the back seat for longer than I felt a birthday princess should be confined. But I guess mama really does know best, because we ended up at Kensington Metro Park, and in a special spot that looks like nature trails but isn’t really a nature trail. (Cause they don’t let dogs on nature trails.)

I’m so happy to be out here!

Usually when we’re at this park we walk on the bike path, but that apparently stresses mama out because she has to always listen and watch for bikes and joggers headed our way.

I like walking on the bike path, there are tons of great smells!

I like to walk on the opposite side of the path than mama walks on, just on principle, and she’s worried about me tripping up somebody going by. Not to mention my propensity for barking and lunging at all moving objects within range of my mama.

Mama says all of that doesn’t make for a very relaxing walk.

So she found a spot with a track between two picnic areas. It was covered in leaves and smelled really really good. We found all sorts of pretty places, even though the light was ‘dead,’ a term mama used for the fact it was a flat grey day again.

Look at the beautiful color mama! No, not me, silly, the tree trunk!

We walked for a long way through the woods and down by the lake which was frozen. Mostly I got to be off my leash because we didn’t see anyone else there at all.

I’ll sit here, mama, if you want me to, but I’m not going to pretend that I like it.

But mama put my leash back on when we were near the lake. She could just imagine me exploring out on the ice and she has a vivid imagination. Silly mama, she knows I don’t get my feet wet. Still, she says her first responsibility is to keep me safe and I appreciate that about her.

I also appreciate that she’s a treat dispenser.

Did you happen to bring birthday cheese?

We had the best time! OK, mama did slip in the mud and maybe mess up her shoulder, the other one, not the same one she messed up a couple years ago, but I figure she’s a tough old broad….um…mama and she’ll be fine. It did slow down the number of pictures she took, so I was sort of grateful.

Don’t tell her I said that.

Thank you all for the happy birthday wishes you wrote on yesterday’s post. Gee, I got to get on here two days in a row! That’s probably a world-wide record or something.

There’s some green over here!

Mama says I shouldn’t get used to it but I’d like to point out that she gets more comments on my posts than most of her other posts. Combined.

Just saying.

Well, I guess I’ve monopolized your time long enough. Plus it’s time for me to bug mama about making dinner. I know. Dinner isn’t for four hours, but a girl’s got to keep things in line around here, and there’s no time like the present to remind her of her meal prep duties.

Have a wonderful Sunday everybody! I’ll see you around I’m sure. Mama’s got that new camera you know, and who better to capture in imagery than me?!

Talk later, your birthday girl Princess Katie.

PS: Mama says to tell you that these pictures are the way they came out of the camera, no editing required. So far she’s happy even though she hasn’t figured it all out yet.

Got another treat mama?


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It’s my birthday!

Katie here. Mama said it was OK for me to hijack her blog cause it’s not every day that it’s my birthday. I know I get spoiled every day, but that’s not the same thing. That’s just what’s due me as a princess.

Obviously.

We got sunshine!

But today, Saturday December 15, is my birthday! I am now a big mature girl of 12. Mama says I am too old for cake and ice cream and presents and that I should be happy to just go to my park for a birthday walk.

Does she think I’m going to buy that?

Whatcha mean no presents mama!

Well…going to a park for a walk is my most favorite thing to do. But geeze, mama already took me to two different parks this week. So she’s going to have to up the ante a bunch to make it a special enough walk to qualify as my birthday adventure.

Do I get an extra treat for standing up here?

The pictures I’m posting today are from our two walks. One was last Tuesday when we had our one day of sun. Mama said we shouldn’t waste it and we hurried right over to my park.

It was extra cold that day so I was very very happy. I trotted around that park like I was a puppy! I love it when it’s cold out. Mama? Not so much.

Yep, the pond’s frozen. Must be winter now.

She was wearing about 50 thousand layers and she was still cold, but she let me sniff wherever I wanted and we stopped to take a lot of pictures (of course).

Mama says it’s very hard to take a selfie with a sheltie. I personally think it’s very hard to take a selfie with a mama.

What’s that over there mama?!

Then on Thursday we woke to new snow all over my yard and mama said we shouldn’t waste that either, so she bundled me up in the car early in the morning before it all melted.

Are you going to make me sit in front of a bunch of stuff again today mama?

I was scared. Usually when we go somewhere in the morning I end up at the vet or the groomer or camp. But this time we ended up at a new park!

There was a nice wide path that had been mowed and it moved through the woods which were covered in the new, wet and sticky snow. It was beautiful!

It was hilly too, mama said we did the equivalent of 6 flights of stairs!

But not as beautiful as me!

I don’t know what I’m getting for my birthday, but mama got a new camera for an early Christmas present and Thursday was her first time taking pictures with it. Of course most of them were of me.

Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful.

Personally I don’t think she needed a new camera to take pictures of beautiful me. I look good no matter what camera she uses. I can’t help myself.

Which way should we go mama?

But anyway. We had a great time walking through the snow even though the sun didn’t shine until we got home. Mama says that figures. I don’t know what that means but I hope it means we get to go out again soon.

Come ON mama! You are sooooo slow!

Like today, for the promised birthday adventure. Maybe even without the silly camera.

A princess can only hope!

Happy Birthday to ME!