Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.


36 Comments

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!


30 Comments

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.


21 Comments

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.


15 Comments

Shenanigans on my deck

I’ve started putting some seed along the deck railing for the birds, and by default the squirrels.

The downside is that they are making a mess and I’ll have to go clean up after them soon. The upside is that they make me smile every day. And seriously, who doesn’t need a few smiles during these scary times?

We’ve been slowly getting over the virus, though both husband and I still have difficulty taking a deep breath.

I tried playing my clarinet a couple weeks ago but didn’t have the air to do it. Maybe that would have been the case after weeks of not playing anyway. Or maybe it’s the result of covid. It would probably be good respitory therapy to play a little every day even though it sounds, well, to be honest, bad.

I’ve been reading too much facebook, too many dog friends have crossed over the rainbow bridge lately. In particular, Sarah the bookstore dog, who I’ve met a few times and who was always glad of a head scritch and posed for me without demanding a treat. I will miss her.

And Nico, a sheltie I’ve never met in person but who showed up in my FB feed every morning with a greeting and sweet semi-worried face. I will miss him too. And the other shelties, so many, including Dallas and Dakota, I will miss hearing about all of them.

2020 has been a year of loss and I don’t suppose all that will just stop on New Years Day. But there are bird and squirrel shenanigans happening daily on my deck and there are vaccines on the way.

All told there is reason to hope. And even smile.


28 Comments

Morning smile

Wow, what a crazy time we are living in. But this morning I received a gift and I thought I’d share it with you.

A couple weeks ago, while in a wildlife store purchasing thistle seed for my finches I heard that evening grosbeaks were being seen on local feeders even though their range doesn’t normally come this far south.

I’d never seen an evening grosbeak, so I looked them up in my birdbook and began to keep watch. Nothing much showed up, at least while I was watching, but this morning as I was passing by the glass door in my kitchen I noticed a shape on the railing that didn’t fit my regular bird visitors.

The early morning light is bad, but there she is!

Whatever it was was bigger than my little birds, and sort of the shape of a smallish robin. And then, in the early morning light there was a slight flash of yellow. And that white bar on the wing. The light was so poor, but I couldn’t help but grab the camera, change the lens to the long one, amp up the ISO and try.

I was satisfied with the bad photo because I had proof of my visitor. And that made me smile.

Then the bird, I think it’s a female, flew up into the tree above the birdfeeder, watching the chaos that always surrounds morning breakfast.

A little more light, but still not great.

Still the light was bad and I had to up the ISO until the image looks more like an illustration than a photo. But I was smiling.

She dropped down for a try at the feeder.

“Maybe I’ll grab a quick bite during this lull in activity at the breakfast bar.”

She made it in to grab a seed but the bully bluejays were right there chasing her away.

“Gotta be quick!”

I put the camera away to tend to the dog. But passing by another window I saw morning light slice across her as she sat on the railing, picking up seed others had left behind.

The rising sun gives us just a peek at how beautiful she is.

And then, wonder of wonder, she dropped down to the deck, right into a patch of light.

“Nom, nom, nom.”

I think she did that just for me.

I especially liked this shot, that shows the dog footprints on the frosty deck. Katie and I had just been outside, filing the feeders and sniffing for good stuff.

“Hmmmm…smells like dog around here.”

I’m sure glad she stuck around to show me herself. She’s definitely part of the good stuff around here. She was a gift this cold November morning.

And now I’m sharing it with you.

Smile!

Look how pretty the wings are from the back.


19 Comments

Magic in the morning

As I stepped off the front porch this morning at 3:30, Katie tugging on the leash looking for her favorite early morning spot to do her business, I searched the sky, as I always do, to find the big dipper.

And just as I found it a shooting star flared right through the middle of the constelation.

Then I noticed the pair of deer in the next yard, watching me watching them. When Katie was finished we casually walked back toward the porch, the deer walked casually off into the darkness.

Later in the morning I was tugged out the back door by Katie, intent on going to her pen the better to enjoy the beautiful early morning sun.

The doe, almost hidden by the forsythia bush, glances back toward her guy.

There, feet away from the deck, were our deer couple. They watched us for a moment, we standing still on the deck, Katie at full alert, fur puffed up, tail in the air, and they just on the other side of a small garden, tails in the air as well.

Then they raced off into the backyard. She went behind a forsythia bush, almost far enough to be hidden, but not quite.

He veered off to the left to stand behind a pile of brush along the back of our property.

Do you see him back there?

I didn’t figure they’d be there long, but I put Katie in her pen where she could bark protectively, and went for the camera. They both watched me as I circled the brush pile to get a better shot of him.

Here’s a better angle.

He watched me and glanced over at her. Eventually he snorted and lept into the air, headed toward her.

I almost got this shot. Looks like he got injured sometime recently.

One last look at me from over near her, then they bounded back into the woods.

See you later, lady!

Everything about this morning was pure magic.

Morning light.