Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.


They’re back!

I’ve heard the herons are back out at Kensington, I’ve even seen pictures on Michigan birding Facebook groups of them flying around repairing and remodeling their nests in preparation for this year’s branchers. (Did you know baby herons were called branchers? Me either, I had to look it up!)

Everybody claims their place in the neighborhood.

This morning, feeling restless, I decided to go out to see even though it was spitting snow and ice cold rain. But the forecast says it’s only going to get worse around here in the next week so I decided to just go this morning.

Bringing in additional building material.

I arrived at the nature center around 7:45, it was dark and dreary and there were no other cars, unusual in my experience. Apparently most photographers knew better than to even try. I worried that there wasn’t enough light for my long lens.

Coming in for a landing.

As I was standing on the boardwalk, struggling to capture the comings and goings at the heron rookery, I heard a very loud cry right next to my right elbow.

Hey lady!!!!

This guy was demanding breakfast. It kind of felt like I was still at home with a certain short fuzzy little girl. I stopped what I was doing and offered him a couple peanuts from my pocket. He eagerly jumped into my hand and scarfed them up.

Hurry up lady, I’m starving over here!

I had been wondering, on my drive to the park, whether the female blackbirds had arrived. And yes they have. At least one has. And she was disgruntled to be out there in the snow, so I gave her a few peanuts too.

What’s with the snow, lady? I expected spring would get here before I did!

I took a few more shots of the herons, vowing to come back some sunny morning, then headed into the woods. I was looking for skunk cabbage, a sure sign that it’s spring around here, even though it’s still snowing.

Nobody every gives me anything.

And of course I’d be visiting with my favorite little birds. I’ll share those with you in the next post.

We and our lady friend will wait right here until you come back, lady.


Owl….no barn…no owl…hunt

Sunday morning, in preparation for the Super Bowl, I left home with my camera.

Multiple barns make for an efficient shot.

OK. So maybe it didn’t have anything to do with the Super Bowl, maybe it was just me wanting to get out of the house for a little bit. With a camera and nowhere specific to go.

Artsy-fartsy sun on pole. No owl.

A friend had told me about a snowy owl that she’s seen a few times over near Katie’s vet. Lots of open fields and telephone poles out that way so I figured maybe I would finally see a snowy owl if I headed in that direction.

So I did.

Barn with multiple additions.

And I might have seen one. Something kind of large flew directly over the car, while I was still on the freeway. I only caught a glimpse of the underside, the same color as the light grey sky, it blended into the nothingness above me and then disappeared. It might have been a hawk. But it felt more round than a hawk in flight would be.

Starting to snow again.

Anyway, when I got to the town nearest the vet I entered a pretty heavy snow squall. It was hard to see anything, and I was trying to figure out if I should just turn around and go home. How in the world would I see a white owl in a blizzard?

Hard to see a white barn in a blizzard too.

I crept along, passed Katie’s vet and turned south on the next big road, looking for the small rural road she said the owl had been seen on. It seemed sort of far, and figuring I had missed it, I stopped looking at the street signs just about the time I passed the road.

Darn it all.

But sometimes it was sunny.

So I drove on to the next road and a place to turn around. But what was that over there? A very nice barn? Well, might be I should just go over there first and then go back and find that owl road.

White barn, white fence, white snow.

And up there at the next, quite far away, corner, well that looks like a good barn too. And wait, over there, I need to see what’s over there for sure. Good thing the snow let up.

White on white.

And that’s how it went. On my way back to the road that might or might not have an owl I kept finding more barns. And the snow came and went.

Still pretty.

Sometimes on the left would be sunshine and blue sky while on the right a blizzard raged.

Another version of red, white and blue.

I eventually did wander down the road I had originally intended to explore. Never did see an owl of any color. Saw a couple turkeys cross the road, but they didn’t want their pictures taken.

Such a pretty farm.

And then I turned a corner and saw the sweetest little barn with a dormer. Something niggled at me and then I remembered. I’d been by this exact barn about a month ago. I had no idea where I was by then, but I knew if I was repeating barns it was time to head for home.

Why do you look so familiar?

I have to say this adventure was mostly a barn hunt on which I might have seen a snowy owl float overhead for a moment. In fact I think I’ll just say that’s what it was.

Yep. I saw a snowy owl on Sunday, and I got home in time to watch the game too.

Last year’s corn, this year’s snow.



Reporting in

Katie here.

I’ve heard through the grapevine (OK, from mama) that some of you are wondering how I’m doing. I guess mama gets worried and writes stuff and then you guys get all worried too. Mama says it helps to share her worry, cause sometimes she gets overwhelmed by all the ‘what ifs.’

My backyard during the ‘storm of the century!’

Mama says sometimes she looks at me and wonders if I’m still happy, or if I’m hurting but not telling her. Or maybe she’s just too blind to see. But I have to ask you all….do I LOOK like there’s something wrong?

I love snow!

I thought not.

But of course you all know there is. I’m in stage 4 of kidney disease. I’m eating the special food and taking all my meds like a good girl, but you can’t change the fact that I’ve got an incurable disease.

I got my toes trimmed and the nice groomer gave me a scarf!

But let me remind you that I’m fifteen now, and that’s a good old age for any sheltie-girl, even a princess like me. Of course I’d love to live to be 17 or 18 like mama sees sometimes on Facebook, but honestly? Only if I still felt like a puppy, and I don’t think that’s possible.

Yes mother, I know I’m not supposed to be eating the birdseed under the feeder.

As it is I sleep a lot, and I have some trouble getting up and down because my hips are stiff. Mama and daddy have talked about this with the vet and I’ve got some meds for that, but the meds seem to make me unsteady and sometimes I can’t get up off the floor at all!

Sometimes after a good walk a girl needs to take a nap.

Mama says I look like a beached seal, flapping all my legs trying to get them under me. But she’s not laughing when she rushes to pick me up. Once I get my feet back under me I’m just fine and I usually ask her for some lunch. Or at least a snack.

They took me back off the meds and will discuss all of this at my vet appointment next week. Mama and Daddy are really hoping my numbers aren’t getting worse. I hope they’re getting better, but mama says that isn’t likely. Well. A girl can dream, right?

Mama says she’s really happy that I’m getting to experience all this snow.

Meanwhile I’m pretty happy most of the time, so don’t worry about me. Mama and daddy are taking real good care of me, and in return I’m being my normal annoying demanding self. I figure it’s my responsibility to uphold the princess job description.

Royalty always carries on, and I’m definitely the one most royal in my family. I’ll have my staff keep you up to date on my progress.

Heading back to the house, following my own footprints home.

And thank you all for the kind thoughts and notes that mama gets. They help a lot especially when she’s having a bad day. She should learn from me to take each day as it comes.

Can we go on another walk mama?

You’d think after fifteen years she’d know to follow my lead. Silly mama.


No place like home

We’re hunkered down again, staying away from indoor groups of people, hoping to get through this latest surge in covid.

Nom, nom, nom.

But actually hunkering down here isn’t that bad. I have a beautiful yard to explore with my girl…

Waiting his turn.

…and lots of birds visiting daily.

And yesterday it snowed which made everything so much prettier.

Snowy holiday light.

Funny how fun snow is now that I’m retired.

Ho ho ho.

Yep, there’s no place like home for the holidays.



One of my brothers flew into town last Wednesday, and on this last night of our Thanksgiving weekend I am thankful for all the family time I’ve had these past five days.

Thanksgiving yummy food and big smiles.

My husband, brother and I spent Thursday with my dad’s sister, my aunt, talking about people from generations before, and eating traditional Thanksgiving fare.

The rest of the weekend we hung out around home, watching the nature in my backyard…

Hey! Are you guys going to share any holiday treats with me?

…and today I took him out to Kensington to experience the bird in the hand phenomenon.

Artsy-fartsy bird in the hand image.

All of it was so much fun.

I’ve got my eye on a treat!

He goes home tomorrow, his own dog is anxiously waiting for him, but Katie sure loved having another admirer in the house. We played together in the new snow a couple of times, and she was all smiles.

Uncle Paul took this picture of me. He didn’t know about my treat policy, but I let him off with a warning.

I’m not looking forward to telling her that her new loyal subject won’t be around to wait on her after tomorrow.

I think I’m late leaving for a warmer climate. Maybe I’ll hitch a ride with that Paul guy.

She and I are both going to miss him.

See ya later, Uncle Paul! Come back any time!