Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.


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Backyard fun

The squirrels have taken over. Katie would be incensed.

“I leaped over here for breakfast, but something seem to be amiss.”

They do provide entertainment though.

“That feeder should be RIGHT HERE!”

And distraction. They all take flying leaps over to a hanging birdfeeder, then eat until they are full.

“I’m so hungry I can hardly move.”

Or until one of us goes out and chases them off.

“The food service around here has declined. I should write a new review for Squirrels Monthly.”

But they come right back. So mostly we just sit and watch the antics.

“The food lady here is pathetic. I’m starving to death and she’s inside taking pictures.”

And then this guy showed up. I thought he was a female, one of the mama deer who are hanging around with their babies.

“I need to watch over my ladies.”

But I guess he’s not a her.

“Maybe I can get something to eat while I’m here.”

Sure is beautiful though.

“Nope. The squirrels are right, there’s nothing good to eat around here.”


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Hope

I’ve told you about this fluffy bit of joy before. But I just have to tell you about my experience this morning.

Even though I stopped filling my bird feeders this spring, due to the bird disease in our state, many of my little birds are still stopping by. I watch them check out where their feeders used to be, or be-bop among the branches of the trees and shrubs we planted just for them.

And lately whenever I go out on the deck one particular chickadee arrives, almost instantly, and looks at me intently.

So I go down the steps to the seed bucket and grab a small handful. By then the little bird is waiting expectantly in the beech tree near the bucket. He won’t come land on my hand, but if I move it toward him he doesn’t fly away. And he will move closer and closer, until he’s on a branch within my reach. Then he carefully leans over and selects a seed from my palm.

From another encounter a few years ago.

Generally he flies to a higher branch and eats it, then flies away. He has never come back for a second helping, though he always makes me smile.

But this morning, as he was hopping down the branches to my hand another fat chickadee landed near the top of the beech tree and started to make a lot of noise while flapping it’s wings. I thought it was admonishing my little guy for getting too close to me.

Still, he reached down low, hanging almost upside down and carefully selected a seed, then flew part way up the tree and cracked it open. And then he flew up next to the noisy chickadee and fed the precious treat to the other bird!

Visiting the birdbath last summer.

By now I was smiling ear to ear as I stood still, hand still out, more treats awaiting. Would he come back?

And he did; almost immediately he bounced back down to the branch near my hand, grabbed another seed, moved up and opened it and then took it to the chirping fat bundle of feathers near the top of the tree.

Then he came down a third time. This time he and his friend (or mate?) took off with the seed, maybe to their new home.

Last fall at Kensington.

I think there’s something right in the world when a tiny little bit of nature can trust us scary humans. I’m still grinning hours later.

I hope you’re smiling too.


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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!


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On a rainy day

What do you do when it’s a cold rainy day, when the rain never stops falling and everything seems to be grey and soggy? Well, you go out and take pictures! Of course.

So here’s the story of the tree branch…first noticed when I was taking Katie out on a walk up the street. I noticed the horizontal row of raindrops on the tree in our front yard. It looked interesting.

Hmmmmm, that could be interesting.

So when we got home I put her inside and grabbed the camera. Katie, of course, wanted to go back out too. Because if mama has her camera, surely Katie herself would be the subject. And there’s that one shot, one treat clause in her contract.

Silly girl.

Not quite what I was imagining.

I took her with me anyway, because she asked nicely, even though I knew it would be harder to capture those raindrops with her. And it was. Cars going by, sniffing, tugging on her leash, all of it caused me to stop doing what I was doing. Which was trying to focus on the drops of water.

I eventually just put her leash under my foot.

Still an especially noisy truck was coming, and I had to stop once again and pick her up, she squirming, me grumbling under my breath. Especially when I slipped in some poo that somehow I had missed while cleaning up the yard earlier in the day.

Yep, it wasn’t easy. But this is what I was looking for.

Our world, captured upside down in each drop.

For me, it was worth the soggy coat, soggy dog, poo on the shoe and cold rain down my neck. But I’m sure hoping for sunshine tomorrow.


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Descent of the cardinals (and their friends).

I interrupt my eagle search to bring you this morning’s craziness right here at home. We’re getting a light snow. It’s cold. Katie and I were napping as the early morning light began to invade our dreams.

“Come on over, there’s plenty for everybody!”

I glanced outside and was both amazed and guilty as I saw birds all over the empty feeders, searching frantically for something, anything, to eat.

“Hey! Can we get a little water over here?”

Stuffing my naked feet into an old pair of sneakers, and throwing on a sweatshirt, not slowing for a coat, gloves or boots, I ran outside. Katie waited in the comfort of her palace, watching me intently.

“I think this lady serves the best oilers in town.”

My freezing fingers fumbled with the seed bin lid. The birds stayed close, not flying to their usual safe places, sitting on the deck, in the honeysuckle bush, the beech tree, hovering around my head.

They were too hungry to be afraid.

“Don’t judge me, I’m having a bad hair day.”

I filled the thistle feeder, the oiler feeders, the suet cage and then spread seed along the railing so that all of them could eat without having to wait their turns.

“I think I’ll head over to the quieter thistle feeder. These cardinals are crazy”

And they did. And in return they let me take their pictures.

“Yep, she puts on a great spread. She was a little late today, but it was worth the wait.”

I’d say it was a even exchange.

“I heard there was a ‘one shot, one treat’ rule around here. I already gave you my one shot.”