Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.


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Walktober in the trees

We began our adventure under a dark and ominous sky.


There’s a new park, located about an hour north of here, billed as a walk in a tree canopy. Intriguing. Plus it seemed perfect for a Walktober.

So this week we went.

Come on! Let’s go explore!

We thought if we went during the week crowds would be less. And maybe they were; if you want to go on a weekend you have to purchase your tickets in advance so the crowds must be pretty thick on Saturday or Sunday.

The ramp circles up from below, so the walk is accessible to anyone using a walker or a wheelchair.

But even on a Friday afternoon, and though the sky was dark and the wind was brisk, plenty of people had ventured forth to explore the new park.

A busy day at the park.

Walking between the pods.

Along the elevated pathway were two pods made of curved wood. The docent said they were designed to represent curled queen anne lace flower buds.

The Docent likes bugs. (That’s a pin on her hat, it’s not real.)

One of them was connected to the main path by a net which had people lined up to cross.

Looks fun.

And out on the end of one of the walks was a play area filled with similar netting for people, kids and adults alike to rest or roll around, depending on your mood.

Lots of fun.

It was pretty up there, I think it would have been even nicer very early in the morning on a sunny day with the light playing down through the trees.

Not really in the canopy, but still fun.

Down below the structure are paths, some paved, some softened with fallen leaves and pine needles, through the forest.

More my style.

There were fewer people there, and immediately I felt more at home. Walking among the treetops was fun. Walking between the trees was comforting.

Viewing those still up top who were enjoying the view.

There wasn’t a lot of color yet, most of it was on the ground in the form of fallen maples leaves.

Even on a rainy afternoon the color was nice.

Truly beautiful.

It wasn’t really raining much, just damp.

It did seem odd to see umbrellas out on a walk through the trees. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone walk through the woods under an umbrella.

But it made for some fun photography.

Not exactly what I was going for, but I sort of like their blur.

We had a really good time walking in and around the trees.

Fun times.

If you’re ever near Midland Michigan check it out. The elevated part isn’t that long, but it’s interesting. And if you have children they’ll have a blast.

Subtle colors enjoyed by people who bring their own colors along too.

But make sure you also take time to wander the woods that surrounds the structure. That’s where the real magic lives.

Walking the ropes.

PS: Look around, I bet you have somewhere pretty or interesting or both near you. Take a walk. Take a couple of pictures. Post it and link it to Robin’s Walktober post (or any of her posts). We’d all love to come along on your Walktobers!

PPS: Our park in Whiting Forest is located right next to Dow Gardens, and our $5 ticket gained us entrance to both. I was going to include that walk in this post, but I think it deserves it’s own. So stay tuned. Here’s a hint:

Where does this curving path go?


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Katie does Walktober

Katie here. Am I first? Huh? Huh? Am I? Huh? I bet I am! If so I deserve a treat and if not it’s mama’s fault and I should get a treat anyway. I am, after all, a princess.

I think this pumpkin looks a lot like a Walktober gourd, don’t you?

So I told mama that I wanted to do my own Walktober and she said I couldn’t go out and do it all alone. She said she had to go with me. I don’t think that’s fair, she goes for walks by herself all the time. I think she’s just trying to horn in on my walk, but since I don’t have my driver’s license, and I wanted to do a Walktober somewhere besides my own backyard, I had to let her take me.

Here I am in front of a great smelling restaurant.

At first I thought she pulled an epic failure. She didn’t take me to a park! She took me to a town! When she got me out of the car I was shaking cause I knew it wasn’t any of my parks and I thought maybe we were going to the vet or the groomer or maybe even camp!

Mama’s been known to be sneaky that way.

But no, she took me to this little town that always dresses up with pretty fall arrangements. Including a huge pumpkin.

Isn’t this just the coolest pumpkin? It compliments my colors too!

Mama likes to take my picture with it, and this year I even stood on a little bale of hay for her. I don’t usually like standing on top of little things, so she was real impressed with me. I got double treats for that. Score!

Mama thought these were pretty. I thought they were boring.

Then we walked down the street to see what else was pretty. That’s where the Walktober comes in. It’s a real nice downtown, with lots of cute stores.

A lot of the stores had their doors open and I tried to go into every single one of them. I don’t know what the heck was wrong with mama, she kept saying “No baby, you can’t go in there.” She didn’t even try to get me inside and some of them smelled real good! Mama is a loser.

When we turned around I figured that was it for my Walktober and I was quite disappointed to say the least. I gave mama the stink eye in several of the photos she tried to get.

Really mother? THIS is a ‘walk?’

And I did my best never to look at her while she waved her hand around and called my name. That usually makes her give up and take me home. I was sort of glad when the photo shoot was over and I took a nap in my car on the way home.

But imagine how surprised I was when she opened the door and we were at one of my favorite parks! I secretly think she felt bad about me not having a good time in town. All those people walking by and noisy trucks and cars on the roads made me nervous. So I guess she figured she owed me.

Hey! It’s one of my parks!

She was right.

I even got to run around off leash because nobody else was out there! Boy oh boy it felt so good to run, especially since we got cold weather that day!

This feels so GOOD!

It was my kind of day at the park, cold and windy. Perfect!

A cool breeze, perfect for a Walktober!

I didn’t even mind posing for her on the sledding hill that was all green and beautiful. I got lots of treats and the wind in my fur. We walked for a long time.

This is the toboggan run. It looks beautiful in winter too.

It was all good. Well, mostly all good. There was this one time when I was sitting on the sledding hill and the sun came out and mama said the tips of my furs lit up like a halo and she was trying to get the shot and the stupid memory card was full. That wasn’t such a great moment.

Oh and I guess since this is a Walktober I should at least show you that we have a little bit of fall color. Not a whole lot, but we found some to share with you.

See? We found a little color for you!

All in all I had a pretty good day with mama, going on my very own Walktober. I want to thank Miss Robin for hosting the walk, and mama for taking me and providing bribes treats.

And my advice to all of you that are planning your own Walktobers? Make sure your memory card has a whole lot of memory left. Cause you’re going to need it to capture the pretty places you’ll be sharing with us!

I think we should come back next week mama!

We can’t wait to see what you all come up with. Mama says she’s going to do one by herself, but I don’t see how it could top this one unless she’s going to run down a hill too, but that would be copying.

Try to think outside the box mama.

Talk later, your park guide Katie-girl.


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Stormy weather

It was a dark and stormy afternoon.


Up here in Michigan it’s been unseasonably warm. I’m loving it. In the 80s today, tomorrow’s high will be in the 50s. I guess all good things must end.

Our trees are starting to change into their fall fashions.

The changing weather created an interesting sky and I ran over to a local park to watch.

A tree stands alone.

Our weather is, however, nothing at all compared to what’s happening in Florida, Georgia and Alabama right now.

It’s a beautiful park.

Hurricane Michael, roaring up from the Gulf is going to go right over the top of most of my siblings. They live many miles from the coast, but this storm isn’t slowing down even now that it’s reached land.

This is the museum and banquet center.

They’re hunkered down and I’m sure all will be well.

But all of that weather sure makes me appreciate my relatively calm Michigan skies up here.


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This is a test, this is only a test.

Rain made all the colors seem more intense.


Robin over at Breezes at dawn coordinates a walk each October called Walktober. People from all over the blogasphere participate by taking a walk, by themselves or with others, and then posting about the walk with or without pictures, linking back to Robin’s original Walktober post. Then at the end of October (or whenever she can find the time after that) she puts out a post with links to everyone’s Walktober posts and we get to visit and read all about them.

It’s so much fun to read about people taking walks in areas so different (and sometimes so similar) to our own places. I always look forward to October and one of the reasons is because I love doing Robin’s Walktober!

Lots of color out there if you look for it.

Of course right now I can’t find her post with this year’s dates, but you can read more about the idea of a Walktober at this post she did in 2014. This year the dates will be slightly different, and I’m sure she’ll let me know what they are. Then I’ll fix this blog and tell all of you!

EDIT: Robin says her Walktober dates are October 14 through the 28th. But if you want to walk sooner, go for it, and just wait to write that blog and link it to her when she posts on October 14th. And if you need to go later, let her know, she’s flexible and will wait (within reason) for your walk!

Even though water was dripping everywhere it was a pretty day for a walk.

So anyway, Saturday was a rainy sort of day. Lots of downpours in the morning, and then sprinkles through the rest of the day. I couldn’t stand being inside, so I took myself to my favorite park after the worst of the rain had stopped.

Walking around under the dripping trees I was glad I wore my raincoat. I kept my camera under the coat most of the time. Oh who am I kidding. I was shooting pictures most of the time.

The trees haven’t really taken on their fall colors yet, but in the wetlands there was quite a bit of color. The bright reds and oranges showed off in the dim grey light of a rainy afternoon.

The boggy areas of the forest were just beautiful.

I had a pocket full of sunflower oilers too, to share with any birds that might be hungry. At first I didn’t hear any, but eventually, as I was taking pictures of some soggy berries I heard the familiar flutter of wings near my head.

I got really wet trying to get this image.

I’ve posted pictures of the birds in my hand before, so this time I’m sharing those that were either just landing, or just taking off. Though these images aren’t as clear as some, I find the energy in them interesting. I figured you would too.

Come get something little one!

It was mostly chickadees and titmice that showed up. They’re the bravest of the little birds out there in the woods. Other times I’ve had woodpeckers and nuthatches land on my hand too.

Incoming! Or maybe Outgoing!

These little guys were pretty soggy from the rainy day, and there was another batch of thunderstorms coming in so I didn’t stay there very long. In fact I had dropped my handful of seed on the path and moved on, taking pictures of the storm clouds moving fast across the horizon when I heard more fluttering near my ear.

Time to run for the car.

I looked up and this little titmouse was standing on a railing near me. I told him there was a bunch of seed just down the path, but he wanted something directly from me.

Hey lady! You’re keeping the good stuff in your pocket aren’t you!

So of course I offered him a little bit.

And this nuthatch showed up after I had emptied my pocket onto the ground. But he got his fair share even though he was late to the party.

Hey! I heard there was free food around here!

It was a lovely, if damp, walk but it wasn’t my Walktober. Oh no. It was just a warmup, a good place to walk out my frustrations about things outside the woods. And I figured you’d enjoy coming along with me, even if it wasn’t an official walk.

Katie was quite put out that she didn’t go, so this morning I took her out to two of her own parks. She says every time I take myself for a walk without her I have to compensate her with walks in two parks.

I guess I better not leave her home very often. She’s debating whether she’ll do the official Walktober. Last year she did. She got hers in way before I got around to mine, but she’s like that. She says if you’re not early you’re late. Little stinker.

Anyway….I hope you all will consider going for a walk and sharing it with us this month! I’ll let you know the dates as soon as I hear from Robin. It’s a lot of fun and we all are looking forward to seeing something from your part of the world!

And if you live near me…well….I’ll meet you in the woods!

Dripping still.


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De-Politicizing. Is that a word?

Sunshine captured in fall petals.


Saturday morning I went out for my second shift of door-to-door canvassing, getting the word out about my chosen candidate for Congress. She’s closing the small gap that existed a few weeks ago between her and the incumbent. According to his polls he has a 2 point lead. According to her polls she has a 4 point lead.

I think neither team can claim victory yet.

Everything’s looking good at my park mama!

And so I and my canvassing partners hit the streets again. I hoped more people would be home on a Saturday morning versus the Sunday afternoon we worked last weekend. I was disappointed.

Lots of color at Katie’s park.

We knocked on 38 doors and talked to perhaps 10 or 12 people. But this time the people were more welcoming, more ready to listen to our story. And that made it a nicer day. Still, it wasn’t fun or comfortable.

Canvassing is definitely not something I want to do on a regular basis.

This little guy must have worked hard to get up on this big rock. We didn’t disturb him.

I don’t know how far we walked because my Fitbit died earlier this week, but it felt like a long, long way. The distance between houses was greater, the lots bigger, the roads had more hills.

Will pose for treats.

But it was a beautiful day, as many of the people we talked to mentioned. Most of them seemed to appreciate that we had given up a pretty morning to walk their neighborhood. A few people told us to have a good day as we left their porches. One wished us luck.

Standing tall.

And even the guy that opened his door with the statement “if this is political I don’t want to hear it.” laughed when I told him to remember the middle aged women slogging through his neighborhood when he was making up his mind at the polls on election day.

I think he’ll remember us. I hope he remembers us in a good way.

Pretty afternoon light makes me smile.

I’m pretty sure I got my 10,000 steps in on Saturday because as soon as I got home I hugged my dog and began the process of de-poiticizing my brain and body. Working the kinks out, relaxing the shoulders, stretching the aching calf muscles.

Mostly I de-politicized by bundling Katie into the car and immediately heading out to her park where we walked along her pond and sniffed the pee-mail left by other dogs.

Peaceful.

Well. She did the sniffing. I mostly took photos. As you’ve probably guessed, all the photos here are from our Saturday afternoon together.

But the strain of doing something so outside my sense of normal required me to take Katie to two parks Saturday afternoon. After visiting her local park we drove down to Kensington, my favorite park, for a short walk among tall trees and along the lake shore.

Still posing for treats.

Katie thought she was in heaven. Two parks in one afternoon! She couldn’t stop smiling even though it did mean her supper was late. She made me pay for that later, but I was just glad to be out there so it was all good.

Red and green working together. Congress should take note.

Katie-girl is very good at de-politicizing her mama.

Balancing reflections.

The work will continue, there’s no letting up now, but whether or not I will canvass again is a question I’ll have to answer once I’m home from our impending trip to DC.

Politics. I just can’t avoid it. Wish I could.

I’m here for you mama.


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Responsible adult

The pull of the road is strong even though I just got back from a quick 5 day road trip to Minnesota.

The long and winding road.

I know I’ve been gone the majority of this summer, off to Alabama, or up north to camp or to DC for a meeting. Or somewhere.

The soybeans are turning yellow. There’s no time to lose!

If I was a responsible adult I’d buckle down and get some things done around here.

Little puffy clouds were starting to pop up.

If I was a responsible adult I’d work on weeding the gardens.

Hundreds of swallows were enjoying the warm sun.

I’d order more mulch and get it spread before we turn the corner toward winter.

The classic red barns in yellow fields of soybeans.

If I was a responsible adult I’d unpack Katie’s luggage and put it all away so that I can find her stuff again when she has to go back to camp.

A lonely white barn sits with a bit of attitude on a small hill.

In fact, I’d clean out her cupboard in the laundry room where years of stuff she no longer uses are stored in sloppy piles.

There was a barn around every corner.

If I was a responsible adult I’d empty out the freezer and toss out all that frost covered unidentifiable stuff hiding in the back.

I loved the green stripes in this plowed field, combined with the wildflowers up front and the clouds above.

If I was a responsible adult I’d sort through the camping gear and toss the stuff that is old, broken, moldy or never used.

Then there was this field, full of dark green sugar beet foliage, followed by the yellow of soybeans and the barn off in the distance.

Then I’d rearrange it on the shelves in the basement so I knew what I had before next season comes around.

Barns closeup are interesting too.

If I was a responsible adult I’d do the same for the pantry. You don’t even want to know what old, broken, moldy or never used stuff is in there.

So many old barns.

If I was a responsible adult I’d clean out the oriole bird feeder and put it away for the season. The hummingbird feeders need some attention too.

A touch of red among the yellow, blue and white.

But I haven’t done any of that. Instead I heeded the call of the road and went in search of barns.

It was a good afternoon for photography.

And I don’t feel guilty one bit.

A spectacular late summer day on the farm.


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Last one of the season.

I picked Katie up from camp on Monday. Can you believe the people there say she never barks at all? Me either.

She made up for it by telling me off the entire thirty minute drive home. And then barking at her dad and me off and on the rest of the day. She was pretty wound up. So after one restless night at home we set out for one last camping trip in the north.

Since it’s after Labor Day here in the United States, most people don’t think about camping and campgrounds are pretty empty, especially during the middle of the week. But it was going to be a beautiful couple of days, with highs in the 70s (23 C) and lows at night in the mid 50s (11 C). Plus the skies were supposed to be clear, and better yet, there would be no moon.

Perfect to make another attempt at taking pictures of the night sky.

I made one attempt during our drive across the Upper Peninsula last week, when we stopped along the way at an Inn right across the street from Lake Michigan. My husband was good enough to go out into the night with me even though he was tired from driving.

Natural and man made light brighten the night sky.

Turns out we had fun, though I didn’t get exactly what I was hoping for. My Wordless Wednesday post was one that I thought was sort of successful with it’s Milky Way high in the sky and the grasses in the front. Not entirely right, but not bad. And the image above was the best of what I got during our walk along the boardwalk.

So I was hoping for another opportunity as Katie and I headed north on Tuesday. Conditions should be perfect, and I had a sweet little lake in mind. With fewer people camping I had a better chance at getting a camp site right along the lake, and Katie and I scored a great site.

Do you see the little doggie back there?

There were only three other couples camping, each spaced far from the other. The weather was perfect. Katie and I went on several walks around the campground after we set up the tent. She was thrilled to be there, prancing along with her nose to the ground.

“Hey mama! There’s still wildflowers blooming over here!”

And then as evening arrived, we sat on the shore of our little lake and enjoyed the fading light.

It was a peachy kind of evening.

Still, it was a long time until the stars came out, and Katie got impatient and restless. I ended up going to get the car and parking it at the boat ramp so that she could nap while I worked. She was good with that.

Finally, after nine p.m. the sky was a midnight blue. I was hoping to get some images of stars reflected in the still water, but that didn’t really work out. I wasn’t high enough above the water to truly see many stars reflected. And the milky way wasn’t over the lake like I had hoped. But it was still pretty.

It was a pretty spectacular night.

I think if I had waited around a few more hours it might have moved on over the lake. But Katie was sleeping in the car and I wanted to be sleeping too. So after an hour of attempting to get the image I was envisioning, I settled for what I had and we went back to camp. None of the images were perfect. This one shows the tremor from me pressing the button to open the shutter. I can’t find my remote clicker thingy. And I think my tripod isn’t stable enough for this. Or maybe it’s just me not tightening it up enough.

Anyway, once back at our site, surrounded by tall dark trees, I looked up. It seemed like there were more stars right above my tent than all across the entire lake. I had to set the camera back up again.

Could have looked at this all night.

Even Katie seemed impressed. She waited quietly next to my feet as I clicked away. Sometimes she knows it’s not all about her.

And in the morning, after checking out the misty lake, watching a bald eagle snatch a fish out of the water, and happy with my nighttime experiment, we packed up and headed home.

A beautiful morning.

It was going to get warmer, and Katie’s not so good with heat these days. Plus sleeping in my own bed seemed pretty enticing. Katie did not agree and turned her back on me as I was taking the tent down.

“If I don’t look at you then it’s not happening.”

She tried to protest by refusing to get in the car after everything was packed.

“I’m not going with you mama!”

But when I asked her if she wanted a treat…well….she decided she’d come along after all.

“Well OKAAAAAY then!”

Yea, she’s a good girl, my Katie.

“No star is prettier than me mama!”


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Healing woods

The park overlooks Davis Lake, only a couple miles from my house!


Katie here. I noticed mama was sort of sad lately so I thought I should take things into my own paws. This morning, on this last day of the calendar summer, I told her not to turn on that stupid TV and instead I suggested we take a walk in the woods.

I bundled her into my chariot, and I let her drive, because you know my mama loves to drive, and we went over to a park not too far away. It’s a new park to me, but I’ve been reading mama’s blog when she’s sleeping, and I see that she’s been there a couple of times without me!

Let’s get going mama!

Well! I don’t know what she was thinking, but I guess I’ll forgive her now that she’s taken me to explore it myself.

I knew that once I got her into the woods she’d feel better, and she says it worked. She got all artsy, taking pictures of the wildflowers that are blooming, and the morning light shining through the trees.

Morning sun.

Mama says you can’t help but feel better when you’re out in nature. I let her take as long as she wanted, and we walked really slow up and down hills. She stopped a lot and that was fine with me, it let me get extra sniffing time. Win/win!

I had to wait for her a lot. That was OK with me.

The only thing I have to say is that when mama’s focused on her camera you should stay away from her feet because she actually stepped on me! I told her off and then I made sure to pay better attention to where she was.

The colors were beautiful!

Mostly we were in the shade, but we did explore down near the wetlands. The flowers were so pretty, all tangled up together. And see down in the lower right, that monarch butterfly? Mama was happy that she got him in the picture too.

So pretty!

Mostly she took pictures of stuff that is not me. I was OK with that this time. I figured she should do what she needed to do to put a smile on her face. I didn’t even argue much when she said we should turn around and head back to the car. The sun was higher and it was getting hot anyway.

Mama liked the shapes of the tree trunks too.

And now that I know about this park I’ll get her to take me again soon. Maybe after it gets a little cooler with a bit of a breeze to make my fur blow. I think that’s my best look.

I can look beautiful in any circumstance.

Oh…and remember that I’m supposed to tell you about our trip back from up north last week? Well, next time mama isn’t paying attention I’ll do that.

A girl has to be strategic, you know.

Such a pretty place.


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How to smash a whole lot of stuff into one weekend.

I’m retired, so one day is pretty much like another. Weekends have no real significance, and Monday is now my favorite day of the week because most of you go back to work and I don’t have to.

Welcome to the 2018 Woodward Dream Cruise!

I know. That’s just cruel.

But then again sometimes weekends are filled with so many fun things that I actually am sorry to see them end. Like this past one.

It started out with me volunteering on a campaign for a woman who is running for Congress in my district. Our district has been represented in Congress by one party for as far back as I can remember. This year there’s a serious contender, a woman with military experience, who has worked for the Pentagon and was willing to sit with my husband and I for over an hour discussing truck safety issues.

It’s unique.

She’s got my vote.

So, though I am not political and have never worked on a campaign before, Saturday morning found me sitting in a small stuffy room with several other people my age, all of us peering through our bifocals at our laptops as a young campaign worker explained the data entry project we volunteered to help with.

Good to have a matching umbrella to ward off the sun.

She was so patient with us as we fumbled through connecting to their WiFi, stumbled over the password, then tried to understand the data entry program. Never once did she roll her eyes, though I have to admit I did at least once.

Lots of color and detail.

Turns out she had just graduated from high school, and was taking a gap year before she went to college just to work on this campaign. Amazing. She was nineteen and had the ability to make us not feel stupid when we asked questions as we worked through the huge pile of reports filed with information from volunteers out canvasing neighborhoods.

It wasn’t restricted to just cars.

Her enthusiasm was contagious and we willingly worked past the time we originally committed to get the job done.

And to reward myself for sitting in that small room straining my eyes for hours I took myself to the Woodward Dream Cruise that was happening in a town not so far away.

There was plenty for sale if you caught the car bug.

If you’re asking what that is, well, you’re not from around here.

In the old days, on Friday and Saturday nights the locals would drive their muscle cars up and down Woodward Avenue, through and between several towns. These days, for one weekend every August, people come from all over the country, some bringing their antique muscle cars, to do the same.

Muscle from the old days.

The streets are lined with people who enjoy watching the beautiful cars go by. Parking lots are filled with more of the vehicles.

Lots of money in this lot next door to the Porsche dealership.

They’re everywhere.

Back in the neighborhood a few blocks away from the main drag.

I fell in love with this pair of vehicles.

There’s a sort of elegance that most cars today lack. I guess we’re more functional and less stylish these days.

I enjoyed wandering around, though I walked less than one mile down Woodward Avenue, and spent maybe an hour there. I loved taking pictures of old cars, the lines so beautiful, the colors so vibrant.

Hard to miss this one!

Anyway. That was Saturday. Sunday a college friend and I went kayaking at my favorite park.

Spending Sunday morning on a lake. Perfect.

We rented kayaks there, for only $8 an hour. We told the (very) young lady there we’d be out for an hour at most, after all we were old. She smiled politely.

Pretty.

We were out for 2 hours and I’m not even sore this morning. Pretty good for a couple of old broads!

Two hours later the skies began to cloud.

And I slept out in the backyard in the tent all weekend too, getting geared up to take at least one camping trip this summer…before summer slides away!

Katie says she hasn’t gone on one camping trip all summer. She says that’s unacceptable. I have to agree.

Stay tuned.

These looked fun too, maybe next time!