Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.


Let the adventures begin!

Penny, our 4 month old sheltie, has been fully vaccinated for a couple weeks now, so it’s safe to take her beyond our neighborhood. The little girl has no idea how big the world is, but we introduced her to a tiny part of it last weekend.

Where are we, dad? Is this another vet?

On Friday evening my husband and I took her to Katie’s park. She wasn’t sure about the whole adventure thing when she emerged from the car.

I think turtles have been here, mom!

But by the time we got to the pond she was having a good old time. There were so many things to sniff!

This is kinda fun, you guys, being out here in the evening!

We just wandered around the pond, we didn’t do the whole trail. After all, she’s just a little girl, and there will be plenty of time to explore the whole park in the future. This visit was just an introduction.

What’s this down here, dad?

Of course I talked to Katie quite a bit as I took pictures of Penny and her dad. Katie says she is fine sharing her park, especially with her little sister. Of course I wish she could have been there to introduce the park to Penny herself, but I like to think there was a bit of Katie there, showing us all around.

Is there another puppy here, mom?

Then on Sunday I met a friend and her five month old cocker spaniel named Whisky for a longer walk at a park Katie had only visited once.

Ok Whisky, I’ll let you give kisses to my mom. This time. (Picture by Whisky’s mom, Karen)

We walked on a combination of cement paths, wooden boardwalks and dirt paths along a fast moving river.

These leaves smell AMAZING!

Personally I liked the woods the best, and once Penny got over the abundance of leaves on the ground, and realized she couldn’t eat them all, she settled right in trotting along the path.

This place is so cool!

She also got to see lots of other people and dogs enjoying the park. She was interested in all of them. When she sees something new she sits, very alert, and considers what it might mean. She’s a thinker, this one.

What might that be over there?

I think she had a wonderful time. It was her longest walk, and in a new environment, and she was a trooper.

This was the very first log I’ve ever jumped over!

She fell asleep in her crate on the drive home and pretty much napped the evening away. But the next day she was bored at home, now that she knows there are more exciting alternatives out there.

Hey mom! Did you know I can do zoomies in the WOODS?!!

I might have created a monster.

Yep, I got a little muddy. It was amazing!


Color in a drab world

A week ago yesterday the sun finally came out. We’d had weeks on end, it seemed, of nothing but cloudy skies, cold wind, and sleeting rain.

A pretty day for a run. Or a walk if you’re not a runner.

It is, after all, Michigan in February.

This week’s artsy-fartsy image.

But when the sun broke through all the grey I couldn’t help but want to get out and see if I could find any color.

There was still ice back in the wetlands.

I went to my local Metropark, Indian Springs, because it’s close to home and the bike trail meanders through wetlands, hills and woods. Perfect for testing my spring thesis.

Red twigged dogwood

What spring thesis you ask? Well…I think about February around here Spring starts flexing her muscles and if you look and listen carefully you’ll know she’s right around the corner, just waiting to burst through the last bits of winter.

Light shone through last year’s beech leaves

My husband saw a red-winged blackbird this week, though we haven’t heard them yet. If they’re here, than it’s officially spring, no matter what the skies drop on us.

Flying free in the sun.

Oh, to be sure, I know this winter has not slunk off into history yet. There will be more snow. More cold. More windy sleet. But on that Saturday, just eight days ago the sky was a brilliant blue, and it was warm enough take pictures without wearing gloves.

You can’t beat sunshine and woods to lift the winter doldrums.

I thought you’d want to know, especially those of you even further north than me, that it won’t be long now. Nope, check your gardens, especially those near your house. You might find some hope poking up, reaching for the sun, ready to put a smile on your face.

Skunk cabbage poking up, a first sign of spring around here.

And if not, go for a walk in woods near you and keep a sharp eye out for hints that we’re almost out of the deep freeze.

I know, I know. Every year, every single year, I go on and on about spring being near, that we’ve almost outrun the cold, and then we get slammed with a blizzard.

Last year’s teasel.

I know I’m being foolish (again) by believing that this year will be different.

These leaf buds are bound to pop soon!

This year we won’t have those last winter storms, when buds are opening and fruit trees are vulnerable. This year we’ll head straight into warm summer afternoons, we’ll bypass the last salt trucks and snow plows.

That blue sky just has to be a hopeful sign!

Yep. This is the year we jump straight into spring. I’m sure of it.

Aren’t you?

Head on out for a walk, you never know what you’ll see!


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.


The Princess celebrates a birthday

Katie here! Guess what, guess what, guess what??!!

Today is my 15th birthday! I wanted to share it with all of you because I was sure there would be balloons and presents tied up in pretty ribbon and visitors singing to me, and of course, cake!

I got to go on a birthday walk over the weekend! Don’t tell anyone but it’s not really a wilderness.

I mean, 15 is a milestone age, right?

There were a few times this year my folks didn’t think I’d get to see this day. With the surgery back in April to save my life when my gall bladder filled up with sludge and then the harsh antibiotics I had to take because they found infection in me and then the kidney disease…well…things haven’t always look so good this year.

The late afternoon light was amazing.

Mama says it’s been a roller coaster. I don’t know what that means cause I never get to do anything fun, but I can tell mama and daddy have been stressed.

All the more reason to spend today celebrating me and eating cake! I’m sure you agree.

Years ago there were farm fields here, this is part of a rock fence line.

But mama says I need to be more realistic, and that cake isn’t good for me, and balloons would just scare me and that I can’t expect people to just show up and start singing to me. Besides I’m deaf, so singing might not be the best way to celebrate.

Plus she said I’d just bark at people and balloons anyway.

So you know what we’re doing instead? We’re going to the vet, that’s what we’re doing!

We didn’t walk real far, but I was so glad to be in the woods!

Yes, you read that right. Mama made a vet appointment for me on my birthday. I swear the woman has no sense of appropriatness at all.

I’m just a little girl in the big woods.

To be honest, she didn’t make the appointment until yesterday. And she only made it because I’ve been throwing up after I eat. Three times this past week. She and daddy are worried and the vet said to get me in there, so she scheduled it even though it was my birthday.

This was a giant fungus. Mama made me pose next to it a few years ago too.

And then she said seeing the vet and making sure we do everything we can to make me more comfortable is the best present they could give me.

I guess. But cake would have been good too. Just saying.

This was a nice spot to stop and rest. Or get a treat.

I did get a real present from my daddy this past weekend. It came in a box from the nice guy who drives the big noisy brown truck. I got to sniff it and everything. I was excited because everything that comes into this house should be for me.

What’s in there daddy?

I’m sure you agree.

Daddy ordered it for me after mama told him I was having trouble eating out of my bowl on the floor. My bad right foot kept slipping out to the side as I tried to get my head way down there.

Those of you that are older like me know how hard it is to get up off the floor the older you get. Well, I was having trouble getting my nose way down there into the bowl, but I love eating so I wasn’t complaining.

Hey daddy! This is perfect!

The day mama noticed my problem she ended up holding the bowl up higher for me, and letting me brace my sliding foot against her. Eating is much easier with a little help.

I just love the dinner and water dish thingy daddy got me! It’s the perfect height for a girl of my stature. And it has the perfect angle too, though it’s designed to have the bowls propped up at an angle or flat. I like them propped up.

You really get me, don’t you daddy!

So I can’t say I didn’t get anything for my birthday. I just didn’t get cake. Mama is such a strict dietitian. If any of you want to sneak me a treat I won’t tell.

And if you want to sing to me while you’re slipping me that biscuit, I’ll smile and pretend I can hear you.

A birthday walk AND a new dinner dish. Guess my birthday wasn’t a complete washup after all.

Talk later,

Your 15 year old Katie-girl.

Birthday nap. Daddy got me the pink princess rug too.



Time to go for a walk!

Time to go for a walk!

It was a beautiful Monday morning when I drove to my favorite park, intent on capturing my “Walktober.” Every year I do Robin’s walk, and every year I think I want to do it out at Kensington Metro Park. But this was the first year I actually got out there.

Let's start out here, shall we?

Let’s start out here, shall we?

Have a seat. It was so beautiful that I couldn’t stop capturing images. And then how could I choose only a few? So this is going to get kind of long. You can skim if you want, or take your time and meander along with me.

Whatcha doing lady?

Whatcha doing lady?

That’s the benefit of heading out on a Walktober….there’s no real definition and you get to do whatever suites you best.

So here we go.

Back in the woods the trees were still mostly green, but there was a bit of red if you looked.

Standing out in all that green.

Standing out in all that green.

On the entire walk the sun and I were racing each other; big puffy clouds kept obstructing the light. I’d see an image and get all set up and then the sun would go under a cloud.

So I’d wait.

A touch of sunlight made things glow.

A touch of sunlight made things glow.

Inevitably the sun would peak out again, though sometimes only for a moment. I had to act fast.

Golden light.

Golden light.

Along the way there was a lot of detail to notice too. Like this fungus on the ends of a tree that had fallen…

Orange woodland ruffles.

Orange woodland ruffles.

…and the first of the bittersweet berries beginning to ripen.

Berries glow.

Berries glow.

This is the park where the little birds like to be fed. And even though there are signs not to feed the wildlife it’s hard to resist when they fly down and hover in front of your face hopefully.

What did you bring me lady?

What did you bring me lady?

This time I got really lucky. I’ve had chickadees, titmice and woodpeckers land on my hand before, but never a nuthatch. They’ve always hovered around, wanting to get something, but a little too scared. Not today!

I decided to trust you!

I decided to trust you!

At one point I dropped the rest of the seed in my hand onto the path and walked away. The little birds flew in to finish it off. Out of the corner of my eye I saw this guy swoop up to a branch overhead.

Looks like dinner down there!

Looks like dinner down there!

“Oh no you don’t,” I said. I marched myself right back there and waited until the little birds finished off the seed. Disappointed, Mr. Hawk flew off to find lunch somewhere else. Darned if I was going to present my birds to him for a meal!

A little way further up the path I came upon a clearing.

Inviting place to sit and think.

Inviting place to sit and think.

This land was donated to the park by the estate of George and Virginia Danz in 1997. It was the site of their summer cabin. It’s just beautiful and I sent them up a silent thank you.

It was such a beautiful day for a walk. As I came to intersections on the path I always took the one that sent me further away from the parking lot. I didn’t want to stop!

Pretty no matter which way I went!

Pretty no matter which way I went!

The path wandered in and out of the woods, along wetlands, and groves of ceder. The sun poked it’s way into the deep reaches of the woods. The birds sang. I didn’t see anyone else out there until I got back almost to the parking lot.

Enticing me to go further.

Enticing me to go further.

It just kept getting better and better.

Red pops.

Red pops.

I’m sure there’s a story about this old farm implement that was sitting way out there. All of this land used to be farm so maybe this was from the original owners. Or maybe it was put there to tell a story. Guess we’ll have to come up with one on our own.

Lost in the woods.

Lost in the woods.

There was something fun no matter where I looked.

You looking at me?

You looking at me?

Eventually I had to stop, so I headed back toward the car. Of course there was one last photo…and then another…

More color across the way.

More color across the way.

…and when I finally got back to the parking lot these two guys were waiting for me. Silly birds, they’re supposed to be heading south by now.

Is it time to leave already?

Is it time to leave already?

But I’m glad I got to see them up close and wish them safe travels.

I had such a wonderful time on this year’s Walktober. Thank you Robin for organizing this every year! You make me get out and take a walk!



And for all of you readers out there, there’s still time for you to go on your own Walktober. Take a walk. Urban. Country. Somewhere in between. Take a few pictures (you don’t have to go overboard like I did!!!) and link to Robin’s blog, or just comment in her blog, and she’ll organize it all at the end. The timeframe is from October 15 through the 23rd, with blog posts due by October 25. But she’ll stretch the timing for you if you need a few more days.

I’d love to see what you see in your worlds as you walk! Share with us!