Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.


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Orange smile

I know you saw my orioles already. But it’s early in the season and I’m sure you don’t mind seeing a better image of the youngster that’s hanging around. He’s not fully grown up yet, I figure he’s one of the babies from last season.

I’m young, but I’m still the most handsome dude around.

I’m glad he’s made it home, because he, and the rest of them, make me smile.

More exciting news, my hummingbird couple arrived at our feeder today. I’m sure I’ll have images to share soon. They’ll make you smile too, guaranteed.


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They have arrived!

I’ve been watching beautiful images on Facebook birding groups of Baltimore orioles arriving from locations all over Michigan. Even my own Facebook memories show orioles at my feeder the first of May last year, and here it is the third and I haven’t seen a glimpse of that brilliant orange in my backyard.

I began to worry that the new house built this past winter on the lot behind us had contaminated our yard in the orioles eyes. It’s certainly changed how I see our back yard.

And then this afternoon, as I walked into the living room I saw that flash of orange and I smiled. He was only there for a moment, my movement into the room scared him away.

You’re that crazy photo-taking lady, aren’t you!

But later in the afternoon as I was sitting in my big chair by the window my husband told me there was an oriole on the shephards hook. As I turned my head the big orange bird flew away.

Still…I had hope.

Tonight as I sat in a chair on the far side of the room, facing the window but too far away to be noticed by a skittish bird, I was thinking about going to the store to pick up some oranges. Though I had grape jelly in the feeder, something large had stolen the oranges last night that I’d put out yesterday.

And suddenly, even as I was encouraging myself to go get the car keys a burst of orange arrived on the feeder. I grabbed my conveniently placed camera, complete with long lens, and began to shoot. And while I was still looking through the viewfinder there were suddenly two.

Hey, what do you think is up there?

They were both very wary and I was glad I was a long way from them. They kept scanning the yard in between sipping grape jelly. They didn’t stay long, but this time I have proof.

It’s hard to enjoy dinner when you have to be on guard.

And then, just after they left, a youngster showed up. He surprised me so much that I didn’t get him in focus. But I’m excite to know that three different orioles visited tonight.

My dad told me this was a good joint for dinner.

I’m looking forward to seeing the females soon.


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Our girl

On this beautiful spring day our girl, the Princess Katie, is at an emergency vet clinic having surgery to take our her gallbladder. They will also biopsy her liver while they’re in there, as her bloodwork shows a marked increase in values that are worrisome.

Our backyard this morning.

I had planned on putting the tent up yesterday afternoon, and spending last night with her camping in our backyard. We’re having unseasonably warm weather and she’s been a bit listless. I thought she’d enjoy a night outside.

Hopeful yellow everywhere.

But we found out yesterday that she’s listless for more scary reasons than just being bored.

One strong blossom sitting alone.

She’s in surgery now. She (and we) would appreciate any good thoughts you have to spare. She’s a senior girl, but she’s one of the strongest seniors I’ve ever met.

Hope shines.

If any dog can get through this at her age, she can.

Pure love.

Our girl.

UPDATE: 11:30 am She’s out of surgery, in ICU, they are waking her up now. She did good, some biopsies were taken and are off to the lab. Now we wait for those reports. She’ll stay in the hospital for another day or so. Can’t wait to kiss her nose again.


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Birding in a pandemic

I think I’d be happy spending the majority of my days photographing birds. Or trying to anyway. And I’m lucky that, even with the pandemic keeping us home more, I still have lots of birds to study, right in my own backyard.

I get a lot of images like this. Not intentionally.

Of course I am frustrated by reflections in windows, and sheltie girls that move just as I’m getting that shot, disrupting the carefully posing feathered ones.

The male cardinals get so much attention, but if you really look, the females are just beautiful.

I’ve tried to get around the sheltie interruption by sneaking past her when she’s sleeping, but it sure seems like she only closes one eye lately and she’s always up to see what I’m focused on. She assumes there’s trouble outside if I spend too much time at the window, and she feels a responsibility to handle it for her mama.

Look at all the different colors she carries around with her.

And of course I’d love to be outside with the birds, not shooting through a window, and I’ve tried that. The birds aren’t too frightened if I stand in the far corner of the deck and stay still. I’m sure they’d get used to having me around and come down from the trees when I put out fresh food if I keep trying.

A dancing chickadee comes down for an irresistible peanut.

But then again, there’s the sheltie-girl who puts up a howl when I’m outside and she’s not. So more sneaking around might be in order.

OK, the guys are pretty too. It’s just that they’re so OBVIOUS about it.

Once I tried taking her with me out on the deck and only the chickadees would tolerate her. Plus she doesn’t know how to stand still. She’s a princess you know, and a princess does not stand in the corner.

My first time seeing a Carolina wren at my feeder. She (I decided it’s a she) was sooooo cute!

And I’m thinking about getting a longer lens so I don’t have to crop so much. So much detail is lost, and so many interesting things are just outside the reach of the lens I have, though it’s a very nice lens.

Lots of people don’t like these starlings, but just LOOK at the color!

Still. I have so much fun trying. I’m pretty sure you don’t mind looking at my birds either, right?

This little guy used to be shy but now he’s one of my vocal visitors. Especially if the feeders are empty.

Katie says she thinks you’d rather look at her, and that might be so, but this is not called Katie’s blog, so once in awhile I think we have to focus on something else.

Now this is another prevalent bird…er….how did HE get in this series?

But don’t tell her that, I don’t need a mutiny here at home. Especially during a pandemic.

So much fun to watch!


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Sharing sheltie smiles

Hey everyone! Katie here, checking in to see how all your new years are starting out. I have to say that mine has been stupendous! Cause we got snow both Saturday and Sunday! Fresh, pretty, light, beautiful, photogenic snow!

So many things to sit in front of!

Well, not as photogenic as me, but still pretty. And of course mama said we had to get right out in it so as to enhance the photogenic-ness of our yard. On Saturday I wasn’t sure I wanted to go.

It’s pretty nice out here, mama.

But once I got out there and realized that mama and I were going for a walk in my yard and she wasn’t just leaving me in my pen, well, then I decided I’d have a good time!

I kept posing for her, even when she was trying to get a photo of some stupid leaf. I’d just go around in front of her and sit. Repeatedly. Even after I figured out she hadn’t brought any treats for me.

I wonder if anyone over THERE has any treats?

Eventually she got the idea and took some pictures of me before she went back to her artsy fartsy stuff. I swear, I don’t know why anyone would want to look at anything besides me.

Mama kept looking over my shoulder at this stupid leaf. She thought it was cool.

Then on Sunday, oh my, oh my, oh my…this is what we woke up to!

Isn’t this amazing??!

It was even more beautiful than Saturday’s snowfall! Mama and I just couldn’t wait to get out there with the camera.

Let’s go exploring!

I was less interested in posing for her Sunday. After all, I’d sat for a bunch of pictures on Saturday and gotten zero treats. I figured she wasn’t any more organized Sunday morning and I was right.

What? I’m not sitting in front of this bush, I did that yesterday and it netted me nothing.

But I did grant her a picture or seven dozen. Sigh. You just can’t get mama to stop taking pictures, even when there are much more interesting things to do. Like breaking up sticks. I found this perfect stick and went right to work on it.

This stick is oversized and needs to be reduced in length. Pronto.

Mama said, ‘stop baby, you don’t want to hurt your teeth.’ But I kept on working on that stick because it needed to be broken up into little tiny bits.

Yep, it’s a pesky stick, that’s what it is.

It’s my purpose in this world to break up sticks. And protect mama from squirrels, but a girl has priorities and Sunday morning it was all about stick breakage.

Come on you stubborn stick!

So mama kept shooting pictures and I worked on that stick until it was nothing but stick dust.

Take THAT you stick!

And then I thought maybe mama was laughing at me, and I was not happy.

What? You think this is funny woman? You don’t know what I sacrifice to make you safe from stick assult!

I expected to get a treat for my bravery in defeating the dangerous stick.

I would like extra treats please.

Mama felt bad about almost laughing (and also about not bringing treats), so she asked me if I wanted to chase a snowball or three. Really mama!?!?!

I’m ready mama!

Throw it, mama, just throw it!

I’ve got it mama!

It’s mine, mine, mine!

Everybody back off, this one is mine!

You can’t get away from me, snowball! I will chomp you with my teeth!

I’m a natural, I tell you!

Here comes the world famous stick breaker and snowball chompper!

Making a run for it.

Well, geeze, mama, if you’re going to throw it way over there….I’m not going to go get it. You can find it yourself.

Really, mother?

And so the game was over. Mama failed miserably at making sure I could catch that last snowball. Sometimes she forgets I’m a princess and a princess should never miss. Therefore the princess servant should make sure to only toss things that are catchable.

Sometimes mama forgets.

After all these years I should not have to explain this to her. Again.

Anyway, don’t tell her, but I had a fabulous time and when we went inside I happily spent time pulling tiny snowballs out of my furs and depositing them all over the house so that my folks could enjoy the full meaning of winter wonderland even while they were inside.

Good thing I’m beautiful.

They haven’t thanked me for that yet, I’m sure it’s just an oversight on their part.

Mama says she guesses she’ll write about the pretty snow in her own post. She says I have hijacked this one and it’s all about me. As usual.

Me and my yard.

Well of course it is, mama.

I always say you should give the people what they want. Right? That way a sheltie-princess can share the smiles…another life purpose, but don’t tell mama. It would ruin my image.

Smile!

Outdoor lights make people smile too, so I have decreed that they will stay lit until spring.


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Feeling sad for my buck

Our visiting buck walked through the backyard this morning.

Not more pictures lady!

He’s not putting any weight on his left front foot, so he limps slowly as he moves through the yard. I remember thinking his front leg was folded weirdly in the images I shot a couple evenings ago.

Stopping to look both ways before he crosses the road.

When Katie and I went out to do snow photography later in the day we could see his tracks, one foot dragging. When he runs, though, you wouldn’t know he’s injured.

Startled by some people walking on the road he heads for the woods.

I know it’s the same buck that visited with his girl earlier in the fall. In those photos I noticed a big bloody gash on his back hip. Today I got a shot of him from that side and there’s definitely a healed over wound back there.

Over exposed so I can see the wound on his back right haunch.

I hope his leg doesn’t hurt too bad, but I think it might, and that makes me sad.

I’m sorry, big guy.