Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.

Win/win


46 Comments

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.


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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.