Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.


28 Comments

Katie’s definition of dichotomy

Katie here!

Guess what? The weather changed! I know that everybody thinks they have the most crazy weather around, but I’m here to say nobody beats Michigan for crazy!

My backyard just this past Monday!

As you know, last Saturday I was with my mama and our friend at a Michigan state park. It was sunny but cold and windy. Perfect.

Me just last weekend!

Then on Monday it snowed! Yes, snow. Not just a little bit either. It snowed most of the day, big wet, sticky flakes of snow that piled up.

I hope the lady doesn’t forget to put out breakfast for us!

The birds didn’t know what to think of it all.

Waiting for our hummingbirds.

But I knew exactly what we should do — we should go out and explore! So I bugged my housekeeper mama and out we went!

Mama! This is crazy good!

We had so much fun! Mama said it wouldn’t last long so we should enjoy it while it was there. She said she’d try not to grumble about it too much.

It’s crazy, but it’s fun too! Never complain about another fun day spent together, mama!

Then we got a couple days of rain. I don’t mind rain, it just gives me an excuse to be lazy and nap all day. (Not that I need an excuse, I get to do whatever I want because I’m the only royal resident around here.)

Do not interrupt the royal nap, mother!

Thursday the sun came out and mama said we shouldn’t waste a sunny day either. Especially a sunny day that was still cool enough for me to enjoy it.

I’m camouflaged, bet you can’t see me!

So off we went to one of my parks and we walked in the woods for a long time.

I’m a happy girl when I’m in the woods with mama!

Mama had her stupid camera (of course) so she was lollygagging along taking pictures of not me. I don’t know why.

Signs of spring were everywhere.

I had to wait for her all the time. But that’s not unusual. When I think about it, I’m always waiting for my mama.

Will you come ON, mama?

Waiting to go outside. Waiting to go on a walk. Waiting for an adventure. Waiting for my supper.

I’m still waiting, mama!

Well. I don’t wait for supper very long because I tell her off if I have to wait for that! Anyway, we had a wonderful time in the woods, and there’s proof of spring popping out all over!

Spring is hiding in the woods, ready to surprise us if we look!

Mama says if we just wait a bit it will probably snow again, and I wouldn’t mind that at all, but daddy says enough is enough, he’s ready to get on his big riding mower and take a spin around the yard! And mama says it’s time to clean up the gardens.

She says we have a lot of work to do out there.

Hey mama! You brought treats…right??

I don’t know who this we is that she’s referring to. She’s probably hired help or something.

I’m watching you, mama!

Of course I’ll be out there to supervise. Royal responsibilities never end. Talk later, I need to get rested up for the upcoming royal weeding.

–Your favorite weather girl (and princess), Katie.


34 Comments

Adventure-girl

Katie here. You knew it was going to be me, right? Cause who else do you know that loves an adventure as much as me?

This is mama’s artsy-fartsy image of me racing up a hill.

Saturday mama and I went to walk with my friend Queen Abby’s mom. You might remember that Abby got her wings in January of this year, so her mom has been a little sad. We thought maybe getting to walk together, even without the Queen, might make her feel better.

Abby would have loved this park.

I have to say it was kind of hard to be out there without Abby, but we think maybe she was with us even though she wasn’t physically pulling on the leash.

I pulled on the leash enough for both of us.

It was a perfect day for a walk!

We met at a state park I’ve never visited before, and there were a couple of trails we walked, mostly through the woods. I think I walked over a mile! It was so cold that the mamas wished they’d brought heavier clothes, but I was a happy girl, trotting up ahead of them most of the time, even up the hills!

Not going to look at you, mama!

It was such a pretty park, with winding trails and roads and it even had a campground, which of course mama had to explore.

And then we walked down near the lake. It was much windier there and I wasn’t sure about the waves blowing in. I didn’t want to stand close to them just for mama to take another picture

Don’t like those waves sneaking up from behind me!

So I didn’t.

Nope, not going to sit this close to those waves!

But I chose a spot just a little bit away from the pesky waves and let mama take one more picture.

Hurry up mama, let’s not waste any more time on silly pictures!

And then the mamas sat on a bench and talked and I took a little nap on the cement underneath. It was nice and cool and the wind ruffled my fur and I was so happy!

I wasn’t really sleeping, I was just resting my eyes.

This was the longest car ride I’ve been on since I got sick. At first I thought I was going to the vet and I was scared. But mama stopped at a rest area on the way so I could walk around and stuff. That never happens on the way to the vet, so I began to get excited.

Let’s explore up this way!

And once I was at the park and walking with the mamas I was sooooooo happy! I pranced all over that park and couldn’t stop grinning.

I smiled all day!

Thanks, mamas, for taking me on a grand adventure that was the perfect size for my status! Why, I’m still dreaming about it today!

NOW I’m sleeping! But still smiling!


31 Comments

Rendezvous with a chickadee

Waking early to another cold morning here in Michigan, Katie and I wandered out to the backyard to fill the feeders. I knew the birds would be hungry. Katie waited up on the deck as I went down to get seed from our metal storage bin.

As I was pouring seed into a flat feeder several yards away a little chickadee dropped down to the rim of the bin, checking to see if there was anything good within reach. I waited quietly for him to decide. Noticing me, he flew up into a nearby tree to wait.

I slowly walked over and he hopped down a few branches. Watching.

I reached into the bin, grabbed a handful of oilers and offered them, hand outstretched, to him. He dropped down a couple more branches. I stood still.

From another encounter. This morning I had no camera and little light.

Closer, closer, he skipped from branch to branch, clearly fixated on the oilers in my hand. Inches away he considered how to get breakfast, but wasn’t quite brave enough to make that last hop.

I moved my hand closer to him. We were at eye level and he looked at me. I looked at him and moved my hand a fraction of an inch closer.

He stretched out and delicately chose an oiler from my palm, then hopped up to a higher branch to enjoy it.

I had a rendezvous with a chickadee this morning, and I liked it.


39 Comments

Stalked by Mr. Red

Now where was I? Ah yes, tramping around chilly Kensington Park one morning last week. I was checking out the herons on a dreary overcast day with spitting snow and drizzling cold rain.

Standing guard on a rainy morning.

And, as you know, I left the herons after a few minutes of attempting to get decent images in the low light and headed into the woods in hopes of finding skunk cabbage, a sure sign of spring here in lower Michigan.

Have a good walk lady! Don’t forget about us over here!

And of course I hoped to spend some time with my little birds too. Those chickadees and titmice and downy woodpeckers and nuthatches that hang around visitors begging for a snack.

A tiny little one waits in line for breakfast.

Since it was early, and the weather was bad I was probably the first person to venture into their woods that day. I knew the birds out on the boardwalk were hungry, they had already told me so. And the little ones back in the woods were ravenous too.

Just showing off my cuteness before I grab a peanut.

As I was being swarmed by a small cloud of birds I heard the sound of a red-bellied woodpecker high up in the trees. As I fed the little ones I watched him watch me.

I see you have breakfast bits. I’d like to place my order, please.

Down, down, down he moved. Slowly, from one tree to another, pretending he wasn’t interested in all the activity. Not interested in those luscious peanuts or succulent woodpecker suet balls in my outstretched hand.

I’ll take some, lady!

He even did a couple fly-overs, as he gaged the risk versus reward, but he couldn’t make himself land on my hand.

That’s OK, more for us if he stays away!

I waited patiently, camera held in one hand, the other outstretched filled with delicacies. Eventually my shoulders ached and I dropped a few treats on the ground and proceeded up the path and around a corner, intent on getting further into the woods.

I’ll sing for you lady, if I get one more treat before you leave!

He immediately dropped to the ground and gathered up his breakfast. I laughed and went on my way.

But just around the corner a new batch of birds waited for their snacks. I spent quite awhile there, photographing them in the branches and on the grasses near by, as they waited patiently for their turn for a treat.

Please notice how beautiful I am.

Then I heard it. The distinctive sound of the red-bellied, and there he was, just out of reach in a tree near my head. Once again I held out my hand, and once again he flew over but couldn’t trust me enough to land. And once again I tossed him a peanut or two and went on my way.

I finished my first course, do you have more?

Further into the woods a nuthatch was chattering loudly, and I stopped to give her a treat.

Don’t listen to him, lady. The rest of us are much more polite.

A bluejay showed up, and darned if that red-bellied wasn’t far behind.

Hey Mr Jay, pay attention, the lady has treats!

Sighing, I moved over a bridge to the other side of a wetland, one of my favorite places to stop and feed the birds. Several littles were waiting for me and you know who followed me over there too.

Hey, don’t forget about me!

As I was leaning over to put some seed on a bench for everyone to share I heard a gobble to my right. And there was a magnificent manly turkey, with his three wives strutting down the path.

Yes, you can admire my stunning colors. Everyone does.

He was so handsome that I pulled the camera away from Mr. Red-belly and focused it on the big boy showing off just feet away from me.

Thank you for giving us the right of way, lady.

Mr. Red-belly wasn’t having it and he dive bombed my head while I was looking toward the turkey. As the turkey harem moved on down the path I left my increasingly rude stalker with a few seeds and moved on in the other direction.

Hmmmm…what looks good this morning?

And that’s the way the rest of my walk went. Wherever I stopped to feed a hungry bird, the red-bellied and increasingly fat bird followed. I finally dropped a whole lot of treats on the ground and got away.

Everyone was hungry.

I think he followed me for at least an hour and more than half a mile. He never came to sit on my hand but he knew he didn’t have to. If he was just persistent he’d get a contactless treat.

Not all woodpeckers are so rude, lady. Thanks for the suet ball!

Though I describe him as a stalker and a pig, I actually smiled each time I’d hear his call. I’d look for him and there he’d be, a tree or two over from me, acting like he was entitled.

Even the deer thought he was a bit pushy.

I guess he was.

As I scurried away I heard a munching sound in the underbrush. What kind of bird was making a sound like that?

I found this all on my own! I don’t need handouts!

Ahh….the infamous little red squirrel bird. He never blinked as I stood and took his picture. This guy didn’t notice me either.

Well, hey. I found my own breakfast too. Those birds asking for handouts give us all a bad name.

Everybody was hungry that morning, and I realized I was too. No one was standing around offering me breakfast, so I decided it was time to head home and find something to eat.

I should probably say thank you, lady.

But wait! I was in the woods looking for skunk cabbage, looking for a sign that spring has indeed come to lower Michigan. Did I find any? Or was I too distracted by the bird drama swarming my head?

Skunk cabbage poking up from the swamp.

Well of course I found it. And it made me smile too.


43 Comments

The gift of time

I woke up this morning and watched my girl sleeping curled up in her bed at the foot of mine. These days I watch her breathing and feel grateful for another day.

Welcome to one of my parks!

She’s doing so well, we have her stabilized and she’s been good for several months now. She’s eating meals and doing her jobs regularly. Her poo passes the ‘looks normal’ test, and she’s drinking water on her own again.

It was a cool and windy day. Perfect.

I know she’s still in stage 4 kidney disease but you wouldn’t know by looking at her. What you will notice is she walks more stiffly, and her back legs give out if she tries to jump, or goes around a corner too fast.

This is my yard today!

I take her to her parks as often as I can, knowing that she loves to be out and about, especially in her woods, on her trails, checking under her picnic tables. Her ears don’t hear much anymore, and I suspect her eyesight isn’t perfect. But her nose works just fine.

And she’s a happy girl.

I love it out here, mama!

That’s the most important thing, that she’s happy.

She still barks at squirrels on her deck, at diesel trucks going by, at neighborhood dogs, at people walking on her street without a sheltie permit. She loves her meals, all five plus one late night snack of them. She still loves her walks through her neighborhood.

Let me at that snowball!

Two days ago I took her to one of her parks and we walked the earthen levy at the end of the lake. It was a windy day, no one was out there but us and she got to roam freely. She wasn’t at all ready to get back in the car when I was. She’d obviously dressed better for the adventure than me.

Something smells different about this snow!

This morning she received a special gift. It snowed. My Katie-girl loves snow. She loves it’s cold. She loves to eat it. She loves to chase a well thrown snowball. She loves everything about snow.

I can’t stop smiling!

We went on several walks today, and explored the backyard too. While out there I grabbed some pictures because in the back of my mind I wonder if this is her last snowfall.

My yard is looking good!

Not that she looks like she’s going anywhere just yet. But will she still be here next November or December when winter closes in on us again? Probably not.

Yep, I’m a happy girl.

So for now I toss her a snowball. I watch her twirl in happiness. And I take pictures to save the moment.

Our girl.

Because each day is a gift, and I’ll want to unwrap this one again some day.

Enough pictures already, mama!


16 Comments

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.


24 Comments

Betrayed!

Katie here.

I can’t even believe I have to tattle on mama again. It’s not as if I haven’t discussed time management skills with her before. I even thought, these past couple of years, that she was finally getting the hang of paying attention to me and only me.

But she fell off the wagon yesterday.

Deuce and his little brother Ace on the shores of Lake Huron.

While I was home napping supervising my daddy she was off galivanting with other dogs. And worse, they were boy dogs! She can’t fool me, I might be old and deaf but my nose still works just fine!

I can’t believe it! Seriously, I am too old for these kinds of shenanigans. Mama should know better.

Ace is only 2, and he likes the water. Silly boy.

She says she thought about taking me but decided the drive would be too scary, what with how I shake when I have to go in the car these days. I told her that she’d shake too if the only place she ever got to go was the vet!

Deuce is 10 and smart, like me. We don’t like our feet getting damp.

So she said she was sorry, and she made me my supper and tickled my ears and tried to play lovey-dovey.

These guys will pose anywhere for a treat. I need to tell them about my one image, one treat clause.

But I told her there was only one way she could make it up to me, only one thing she could do to make me consider forgiving her this time.

Yep.

That’s how I got to go on a nice long walk with my mama in my park right after supper while the sun was setting.

You owed me mama, and you know it!

But shhhhhhh. Don’t tell mama, but I didn’t mind staying home all that much. I got lots of loving from my daddy and lots of naps and I didn’t miss a single meal either.

That was your one picture, mama, now lets get to walking.

PLUS I got to make mama feel guilty.

Score.

Me and mama are a team.