Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.


Snowy baby pictures

Hey Peeps, Penny here. You don’t mind being called Peeps, do you, cause I think of you all as my people! Yep, every single one of you. Mom says you can never have too many Peeps, and since I’m just a baby still, I’m taking her word for it.

Speaking of baby, mom took a bunch of pictures of me a thousand weeks ago when we had lots of snow, and she’s hardly shared any of them! Mom says she doesn’t have time to sort pictures cause she’s running around making sure I’m happy.

Personally I think she needs to hone her time management skills, in fact, as I recall my sister Katie told me this very same thing. Mom gets tied up with too many things and stresses out. Katie and I both suggest she just focus on the puppy all the time. I think mom’s stress level would lower right away if she did that.

What do you guys think?

Any-hoo, I’ve been bugging her (my most important job as new puppy in this household) to post my baby snow pictures before the daffodils bloom. I understand once the yellow flowers start showing up I’ll have to do a lot of modeling, and it would be embarrassing to still be working through snow pictures. Bad for my modeling career, you know, to be so far behind.

So far I’m still sleeping through the night and I’m mostly house trained. I can sit when asked but I’m not going to stay. No siree, there’s no stopping this girl when I get moving, and I’m mostly moving all the time.

Mom puts me in a timeout if I get overly excited or if I’m cranky. It’s not so bad, I have a big cushy bed in there, and some of my toys and a water bowl, so I don’t really mind going into my timeout pen. My Auntie calls it my rest stop. I do mostly fall asleep in there, so it’s a good place for me.

And when I wake up mom or daddy take me outside right away. I love my yard, but there’s a lot of presents from the resident deer out there that are apparently off limits. I don’t know why, I think they smell fabulous! Sometimes mom and daddy are no fun.

So this is my life right now. No parks quite yet, no walks with friends (I don’t even know if I have any friends!), no visits to the store, no adventures unless you call a sedate walk down the driveway and back an adventure.

WAIT! I DID have an adventure!

Mom promised me one last Friday and I was sort of excited. Not a lot excited because, never having had an adventure, I wasn’t even sure what an adventure was, but kind of excited. We ended up at the VET! And they stuck me twice!! I’m gonna check with Katie, but I’m pretty sure this is not what she was talking about when she told me about all the fun she had going on adventures.

Well, Peeps, I’ll sign off for now. Time to get a little shuteye in my rest stop. If you can, please poke mom for me (I do plenty of that but a girl can’t be poking constantly, it’s not lady-like) and see if you can prod her into taking me on a real adventure soon.

I’m counting on you,

Your adventure-girl, Unstoppable Penny.


Learning to puppy

It’s been a long, long time since we lived with a puppy. Some thing had to be relearned immediately. Some things are lifestyle changes that we can grow into even as she grows.

When you have a new puppy you have to look in all directions before you move your feet. She could be anywhere and most of the time she’s behind your feet, between your feet, next to your feet or chewing your feet.

When you have a new puppy you must never ignore sounds no matter how faint. She’s almost always doing something and sounds are your first hint of it all going wrong.

Tearing sounds, gnawing sounds, throw up sounds, peeing sounds, the sounds of toenails racing in places she shouldn’t be, clanging sounds of food bowls being overturned, the sounds of shoes being dropped in other rooms…the possibilities are endless.

When you have a new puppy you must give up cleaning, unless it’s cleaning up poo or pee. There’s no time to do anything but follow your adorable little puppy around, ensuring there’s less poo and pee to clean.

When you have a new puppy you give up your luxurious long morning snoozes. Little puppies have little bladders and need to go OUTSIDE RIGHT NOW! It’s OK, because being an older new puppy parent you probably need to GO RIGHT NOW too. Hopefully not outside though.

And speaking of snoozes, when you have a new puppy you learn to nap when she naps. Which, if you’re perfectly honest, is quite often. And you’re probably sleepy (see early morning observations above) so take that nap!

When you have a new puppy your vocabulary is reduced to “Awwwww” and “NO!”

When you have a new puppy you must remember she’s not the dog you had before and will probably react differently to things like opening the oven door or blowing your nose or using tinfoil. Or she might react exactly the same, crazy way.

When you have a new puppy you have to learn to manage the leash with a twirling, dancing whirlwind on the other end.

When you have a new puppy you spend more time down on the floor than you have in years, playing ball, tossing chicken toys, tickling tummies, and laughing.

When you have a new puppy you need to stop wearing earrings because little squirming puppy kisses turn to chewing on hair, noses, chins and ears. And earrings are irresistible.

When you have a new puppy that has fallen into a happy, exhausted puddle of puppy nap right in the middle of the living room floor, you tiptoe around her and settle in a nearby chair to watch her sleep.

Because she’s so cute. And because everyone knows to let a sleeping dog lie.

Happy 3 month birthday, little Penny. Welcome home sweetheart.


How to enjoy snow

Once upon a time I lived in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula where snow arrives early and stays late. You learn how to enjoy it or it will beat you down.

Your choice.

“You think it’s gonna snow all day?”

Of course I was younger then.

I learned how to use a U-per Scooper to clear my parking place, and how to snowshoe and cross country ski. It was all self defense, of course, but I learned to love most of it. Maybe not the U-per Scooper so much.

The back yard looks more exotic with snow.

I’ve lived in lower Michigan for 37 years now, my bones have become more brittle and I’m more careful when choosing my adventures. Lucky for me we don’t usually get snow in the amounts I remember from up north.

Even luckier for me I’m retired.

“One picture one treat, lady. I heard that was the rule around here.”

Yesterday, during our all day gentle snow I didn’t have to be anywhere. Husband cleared the driveway multiple times.

Abstract art.

My only responsibilities involved keeping the birdfeeders full. In return I got to watch dozens of beautiful birds all vying for a spot to grab a snack.

The feeder looked Victorian with it’s cap of snow.

At one point I counted 8 male cardinals in my shrubs, on the deck railing, and on the feeders at the same time. There were lots of females as well, they’re just harder to see. I couldn’t count all the blue jays, titmice, goldfinches, chickadees, starlings, nuthatches, ravens and woodpeckers.

“I guess I’ll share my favorite tree with the others. This time.”

Today looks like more of the same, in the bird world anyway. It’s stopped snowing, but it’s still wildly beautiful.

I even took a walk down the road, wearing grippers on my boots, for a little look see.

Didn’t have to go far to see I liked the yellow against the white.

Yep…beautiful down there too.

I wish you all could experience it from a lazy-boy chair inside a nice warm house with big windows and a lot of birds to entertain you.

Hey lady! There’s snow on my suet!”

Winters in Michigan. Be careful, or they’ll get the upper hand.

And then the sun showed up for a moment or two.

But if you can learn to enjoy them…well…then you win.


Merry Christmas!

I’d like to thank all of you who spend time reading my blog, looking at the photos and so often commenting. 2022 has been a challenging year for some of us, and it’s nice to put thoughts out into the blogosphere, as a way of therapy or just to record events.

Thank you for understanding that sometimes I write for all of us, and sometimes I write for me alone. Either way I feel your support and I appreciate it so much.

Have a peaceful or chaotic holiday, whichever you prefer and then let’s all work on making the new year extra special. I’ll be around soon, you can count on more birds, more snow, more parks, more night skies, more walks, more musings, and more adventures. I can hardly wait.

Hugs to everyone.


A little bit of everything

Here in Michigan you can expect a little bit of everything with October’s weather. Kind of like an everything bagel.

I know I say it every year, but this year the autumn colors were spectacular. Truly amazing.

And we had lots of sun.

And some snow.

Then more sun.

And a bit of snow. And rain.

It was warmer than normal.

And then really cold.

But the days when the sun shown and the wind died down were truly delightful.

I don’t think we can expect November to be nearly as entertaining.

Gosh, that everything bagel sounds pretty good right about now. Toasted. With cream cheese please.


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.