Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.


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Camping with a friend

HI! Come on and let me show you the way!


Katie is sleeping, still, after two days at home. I’d let her tell the story, but she’s snoring and you know what happens when you wake a sleeping dog. Nothing good.

So let me fill you in on our latest camping adventure. We had company this time, Karen and her cocker spaniel Deuce spent the weekend with us at a state park. Deuce had never camped before so we were all curious how he’d feel about the whole experience.

Katie and Deuce the first day.

Turns out he’s a natural.

NOW WAIT JUST ONE MINUTE MAMA! Katie here! What are you doing? This is my story to tell! I can’t believe you’re doing this while I was laying right next to you, upside down and snoring! You are one sneaky mama!

So anyway…I, Princess Katie, wasn’t sure I wanted to share mama with anyone else so I was skeptical of the whole ‘camping with a friend’ concept. But I figured the only way it was going to work out was if I showed Deuce the ropes. Which mainly revolve around sleeping in the dirt and begging for good treats and going for long walks in the woods.

He caught on right away.

At the end of a long day.

Now, before the love of my life, Reilly Cowspot Dog, gets upset that I had a boy with me for an entire weekend, let me assure you that we had separate tents. Mama and I stayed in our tent and Deuce and his mama had their own. It worked out great.

The blue tent is mine, you can have the red one.

And each day we went on long long walks in the nice cool, green woods. Mama and her friend were very careful to make sure I got lots and rest breaks and drinks of water whenever I asked. Which to be honest was frequently. I wasn’t always thirsty, you know. Mostly I liked to make them stop and look at me.

Taking a break.

But the woods sure was pretty! At the end of this blog I’ll have mama put in a slide show of us exploring. There were so many beautiful places!

Deuce and I got along pretty good. In the beginning we didn’t want to sit too close to each other, but by the end of the weekend we were fine sitting next to each other. We figured it was easier just to do what the moms asked. The sooner they got their stupid pictures the sooner we got our treats. Deuce let me in on that concept, and he’s definitely right.

Isn’t this an amazing spot?

One time we were sitting next to each other and they took their pictures, and then Deuce’s mom said “OK!” and Deuce took off to run to her. Since it wasn’t my mama saying anything I wasn’t sure if I was allowed to move…but I didn’t like that Deuce left without me!

Hey! Wait up!

Mama laughed and said “OK sweetie, you can come too.” I was relieved. I didn’t want to be left behind when there were treats!

Mama took a lot of pictures (so what else is new, right?) and she was messing with her settings in the deep dark woods. A lot of them ended up blurry because Deuce and I just didn’t want to sit still and the light was so low. But this one was blurry because she totally messed up, nothing to do with us at all! She thinks it’s cool though, so humor her, OK?

Look at us! Moving faster than the speed of light!

As long as we got treats we didn’t care if the pictures came out or not.

We sure had a lot of fun! By Sunday afternoon we were dirty and exhausted, true signs of a successful adventure! We were both sorry to see the tent come down, but we think we’ll probably get to go camping together again next summer.

We’re not letting you guys pack up this tent!

Here’s a few more images of us having a grand time in the woods, I hope you enjoy the slide show!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

And really, if you’re a doggie out there reading my blog, ask your folks to take you camping! It’s an amazing experience and one you don’t want to miss!

See you guys later,

Katie, camping tour guide extraordinaire.

Me and my tent.

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No adventure, but fun anyway

Katie here! As you can guess, mama took me camping this week! She was a bit silly in her scheduling as I had a grooming appointment the same day we started camping. So I was nice and pretty, my feet all sparkling white when we arrived at our campsite which had no grass and was entirely dirt.

What a pretty site! And all that shade!!

I was in heaven! All that nice cool dirt to lay in. My mama just sighed. But we got lots of shade which is important on these hot muggy summer days, and we couldn’t see any neighbors at all, so it was pretty perfect.

We had company every evening. One night mama’s friend brought her young dog Tonks to visit us. Tonks had never seen a campsite before but she loved it. We went on a walk and than sat around the campfire. Mama and her friend got to eat s’mores. Tonks wanted one. She wanted one a lot.

Hey! I want that!

Notice I was being good, but let me tell you, if she dropped that treat I’d have been on it! Too bad our mamas knew that we couldn’t have chocolate. Sigh. It’s not fair.

I think she’d like camping!

Tonks was cute, and she settled in after the treats were all done for a nice nap on her mom’s lap. I fell asleep on the ground near my mom. In the dirt. Sometimes a princess just needs to feel the earth, you know?

The next night Tonks’ mom brought out her big sister, Peep. Peep and I have gone on lots of walks together through the woods around here, and she’s visited me at my campground before too. I like her a lot, she’s a good friend; we pretty much ignore each other when we’re together and that works out just fine.

Isn’t she a happy girl? She’s always smiling.

She’s a pretty girl too, just like her baby sister.

On our third evening another friend brought Deuce to enjoy a walk and the campfire. He and I enjoyed a walk through the woods, and then we hung around the campfire while the moms talked.

A couple of friends enjoying the campfire.

Eventually Deuce napped in his very own chair. I personally think mama should bring a chair for me too. I’m the princess you know.

Zzzzzzz….

Anyway…all of us dogs had a very nice time at this campsite. I did spend a lot of time with just my mama, walking on trails and looking at stuff. I made her go on lots of walks.

Come on mama! You’re so slow!!

Lots and lots of walks. Pretty much every time she sat down to read. Cause it’s all about what I want, all the time. Naturally.

I had so much fun in my tent under the big white pines! I wanted to stay there forever!

This is my tent. I share it with mama cause I’m nice like that.

But then one morning mama started moving around faster than normal (she’s pretty much a slug you know) and I asked her what was going on.

What are you DOING mama??

She said we had to pack up and leave! But I didn’t want to go! I decreed we were not leaving. I am the Princess!

I told you NO mama!

But she just kept packing up the car. I tried to stand my ground.

This is MY towel mama, and you’re not taking it!

I told her she could go but I wasn’t going with her. No siree. I was staying in my campsite. Mine. I was sure she’d relent and get my tent put back up.

But then it happened. She packed my blue towel too. And she started to walk away!

Hey mama! Don’t forget to pack me in the car too!

Well, I thought about it for about .00000005 seconds and decided that wherever mama is, well, that’s where I want to be too.

So we drove away and I was feeling sad, but then we got home and I remembered my house, and my daddy was waiting inside and I got all wiggle-butt again and did my happy dance. I guess after all there’s no place like home.

Hurry up mama, we’re HOME!!

But…hey mama! Where are we going next?

Let’s go mama!


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Hilltop summer afternoon

Katie here.

Pretty flowers mama. Now can I have a treat?

I don’t suppose it actually qualifies as an adventure, but after spending weeks and weeks doing nothing at all I’ll take what I can get. Sometimes even a Princess can’t be picky.

You’ve all seen mama’s fun with her family, and I liked it a whole bunch when my Uncle and Aunt came to visit me. But I didn’t get to go on any adventures and then she went away for ten whole days! That’s about 70,000 days in dog years!

So you can see why I’ve been bugging mama to take me somewhere now that she’s back home. Somewhere mama! She keeps promising but nothing ever happens. Why I even had to raise my voice today to get her attention! And trust me, a sheltie-girl like me knows exactly how to do that!

This is not the way to treat a Princess!

But I guess it’s true that the squeaky dog gets the grease! (And I’d like mine to be bacon please mama!) After barking at her for hours she finally took me to a park today! And I even got to ride in dad’s truck! Mama says not to get excited about that, I only got to ride in the truck because our car is broken.

Whatever mama.

So we went to a park not too far away and I sat under a picnic table for awhile, just sniffing the park air. It’s definitely different and better than my own backyard air. Lots and lots of interesting things to smell at the park!

You done reading yet mama?

Then mama got done reading and said we were going to walk up this big mountain! Really mama? Remember I’m ten and a half, a senior doggie you know!

Hey mama! Running down this hill is fun!

But it was OK. We stopped along the way and mama took pictures of me in the pretty flowers.

And once we got to the top there was a lovely breeze blowing and I got to run around off leash! Mama says that’s because we could see where all the other people and doggies were from up there and we had the mountaintop all to ourselves. (OK, it’s not really a mountain, it’s just a sledding hill, but it’s huge compared to me!)

You called?

Mama took lots of pictures of me up there and on the back of the hill when we walked down the other side. We even sat in the grass together and just chilled out. I acted like a puppy, all excited to spend time with her, just her and me.

I’m just going to walk over here, OK mama?

Now I’m doubly excited because I got her to set up the tent in the backyard! I supervised while she put it up and made sure she put in my favorite pillows just for me. It’s going to be a beautiful night and I’m going to spend it hanging out with my mama. I can hardly wait for it to get dark outside.

This is my tent. I let mama share it though.

Gee, now that I think about it, I guess I don’t have so much to complain about after all.

It was a good day mama!


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Nothing to see here

What to say, what to say. There’s nothing happening around here, yet I feel a need to share photos with you. Photos of regular life in summer here in Michigan.

Little League at Katie’s park under a summer sky.

The grass is growing, the birds are sucking down food from the feeders, trees are fully leafed out and the afternoon skies are often filled with clouds.

It’s been pretty amazing.

Though we’ve seen lots of storm clouds we’re really short on rain. The yard is already turning brown. Watering the gardens will soon be a daily if not twice a day ritual. We’re not even to July yet.

No rain in these clouds.

It’s finally warm enough at night to camp and Katie and I have been on one adventure, but plan on scheduling a few more before the leaves start to turn. It’s still an adventure if it’s scheduled – right?

Hey mama! No rainfly!

For now we’re enjoying the air conditioning and watching the oriole feeder right up next to the window. Lots of things besides orioles visit.

Got any more oranges lady?

They all apparently watch for me to fill the feeder and then rush in to get their share. Or more than their share, depending on their size and boldness.

There you go Mr. Woodpecker!

The flowers have been beautiful so far this season. But now we’re moving into the dry heat of summer so we’ll see. A lot will depend on our watering habits.

Lantana smiles every day.

Really, so little to say, so much to show you. Guess I need to take you on a more formal walk sometime. Lots of beautiful places to go; what would be your choice? A lake? A woodsy park? The back yard? A bike path?

Wonder where that path goes?

All good choices, but each will require me to leave my comfy chair. And I can’t do any of them until I get some weeding done.

Still weeding is better than working a job…so I can’t complain.

Katie can, and does, but it’s all in fun.

Hey mama!


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Being in the woods

Usually Katie-girl tells you about our latest camping adventure. But she says we didn’t do anything exciting so she’s willing to let me talk.

This time.

Spring has been fickle here in Michigan, Cold and rainy and then sunny and hot. When the weather people said we were going to have a couple of days in the 80s (26.6C) with nights in the 60s (15.5C) I thought we should head to the woods for this season’s inaugural camp.

This is a pretty good site mama!

I was lucky to score a site that, though small, had a spot to tuck the tent under some shade trees. It lacked grass, but that’s the price you often pay to have shade. And Katie, though she’s a princess, doesn’t mind hanging out on dirt.

I didn’t make a list of things to take. I just sort of grabbed things as I thought of them and piled them all up next to the front door in the days preceding our scheduled trip.

Katie watched intently.

On Wednesday, as I began to pack the car she stayed under my feet, “helping” me get everything stowed. Even with her help, however, I forgot the bug spray, the sunscreen and the broom, all important things on a camping expedition. I blame her.

Still, even without important essentials it was heaven to be under the trees, enjoying the breeze and reading, then going for a walk, helping ourselves to a bit of a snack. Then a nap and repeat.

Hey mama! These are pretty!

On a Wednesday afternoon I was privileged to be sitting under a blue sky watching the leaves dance in the wind and the light move across the landscape. Not at work, not at the grocery store, not doing laundry, not vacuuming.

Just being.

Katie is very good at just being, but me? Not so much. It’s an acquired skill, I think, the art of just enjoying where you are when you’re there without worrying about what happened yesterday or might happen later in the day.

Let’s go explore mama!

Our first night was perfect, not too cold, not too hot. I slept great, and even Katie lounged around until after 6 a.m. Thursday the sun bore down on us and the winds were strong. I watched the tree limbs above our tent flail about and pictured them crashing down. The temperatures rose, the wind roared.

Katie and I went for a drive in the air conditioned car, she sitting in the front seat with her nose in the air conditioning vent. We headed down to the lake where were we could watch the clouds skip across the blue sky and the waves rush to shore.

Hurry up mama! My fur is getting messed up!

We enjoyed walking on the trails too. The wind wasn’t too bad back in the woods.

Cool stump!

Later that day we went back to the lake to see the sunset, and even though there wasn’t much of a show we enjoyed being out there, though the temperatures were dropping fast.

Waiting for the sun to set.

Our second night in the tent was miserable. For me anyway. Temps dropped to 43 degrees (6.11C). I wore all my clothes, doubled up the blankets, pulled the sweatshirt hood up over my ears. Still it was too cold to sleep. Katie, on the other hand, thought it was perfect and snoozed the night away.

…zzzzzzzzzz…

Lucky girl.

By morning I was more than ready to go back to civilization, with pillow topped mattresses, heat, running water, toilets closer than a half mile away. But the drive home was disconcerting. People were driving to work, fast and furious. I could feel stress begin to build just watching them dart around me.

And then I remembered. I was driving home to a hot shower and breakfast. Not to work.

Lucky me.

Hey mama! Let me show you how to entertain yourself!


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School and camping!

I love to run through tunnels!

I love to run through tunnels!

Katie here. I know! It’s been like forever since my mama let me have her blog to tell you all about me! And as we all know, everything is all about me. Me, me, me, me!

It’s all about me because, as you know, I am the princess. Well, some of you might not know as you are new to my mama’s blog. Just to get you up to speed, I am the center of the universe and once in awhile my mama lets me tell you all about it. I tell her all about it daily. Sometimes hourly. I’m a sheltie you know. We like to talk.

But I digress.

So as most of you are aware, I retired from competition a couple of years ago. I got my CD (Companion Dog) in AKC obedience and I figured that was plenty. Especially because I got my Novice and Advanced titles in Rally too. And mama was all stressed out at work, so we stopped going to school, even though I love school (mostly cause of the treats you know). We never did go get my Excellent Rally title, and mama has always been sort of sad about that.

I didn’t care, because I already know I’m Excellent!

Mama started me up last winter in a nose work class which I loved, loved, loved! All you have to do is sniff a few things and treats arrive from mama’s pocket! It’s the greatest thing since gravy! Then mama and I got all busy with traveling and camping and stuff and we couldn’t make the class. She says we’re going back tonight though! I am stoked! I remember everything about how to do this and I’ll show her that we shouldn’t have ever stopped!

Then, last week we started up another class with my friend who used to come walk me. She’s teaching rally and some agility and some obedience. I’ve been to two classes and mama is amazed that I remember so much! I don’t like to heel, but I never did like that. Mostly I’m having fun getting out and about and seeing people again. Mama is OK, but it’s fun to be told by lots of other people how beautiful and smart I am! I try to look indifferent but secretly I really like it.

Sometimes mama forgets to give me enough attention, you know?

And for even more fun mama and I have slept out in the back yard in her tent the last two nights! It’s been so warm here that we couldn’t resist giving camping one more go before winter sets in. I was very very good and slept straight through the night both nights! I think we get to do it one more time before it gets too cold here. I’m going to miss camping this winter, but if mama keeps me busy with school it will be spring before I know it!

That’s what she says anyway. I’ll believe it when I see it.

So I guess that brings you up to date with me. I know you’ve been wondering. I’ll let you know if we decide to do any competition for Rally or Nose Work. I think I’d nail it.

What do you think?

Hurry up mama!  It's time for school!

Hurry up mama! It’s time for school!


28 Comments

Last time

Katie is sleeping off her camping hangover. Both of us always come home from a camping trip feeling a bit hungover, head stuffed with sights and smells, sleep deprived.

A little damp.

Don't laugh at me.  Mama's hair looked like this too.

Don’t laugh at me. Mama’s hair looked like this too.

Since she’s unavailable I guess it’s up to me to tell you about our latest camping adventure. It was less adventure this time, given we just went up the road to our local state park. Still, our site was secluded and the park was mostly empty the first night, so we could imagine it was just us out there in the woods. We even heard coyotes yipping far away.

We were glad they weren’t any closer.

Just like camping in the deep woods.  Sort of.

Just like camping in the deep woods. Sort of.

High above our tent was a tree filled with wild grapevines heavy with ripe fruit attracting lots of robins. We enjoyed watching them fly up there to eat. We also had a tree right next to the tent that was a squirrel jungle gym. It was full of the little guys running up and down the trunk, then out onto the branches to eat acorns. Lots of acorns also fell (or were thrown) on us and the tent.

Looks like a good lunch up there!

Looks like a good lunch up there!

Katie and I were both entertained. It doesn’t take a lot to make us happy.

Down at the park headquarters someone planted a whole lot of sunflowers. Katie and I noticed them as we drove in, so we went back there the next morning to see them up close.

Pretty!

Pretty!

They were simply amazing. Some of them had been eaten by deer down to little sunflower stumps. But hundreds had grown to maturity, their heads following the sun. I particularly liked the way the sun looked shining through their petals. The shapes were beautiful, even from behind.

Following the sun.

Following the sun.

And during our campout we had visitors too! Peep and her mom Wendy stopped by for a walk. We always have a good time when we get together.

Hey Katie!  Does your mom always take this many pictures?

Hey Katie! Does your mom always take this many pictures?

It’s obvious the chairs were meant for the girls to enjoy. So they did.

Later in the day we wandered down to the beach to see if there would be a sunset. We got there about an hour before official sunset, but the light was already pretty.

Looks like fall visited this tree early.

Looks like fall visited this tree early.

I took a ton of photos as the sun dropped. The clouds turned a lovely pink and were reflected in the still water.

Reflections of a beautiful day at the park.

Reflections of a beautiful day at the park.

And while that was happening, further to the west the sky was turning gold.

The sun leaves a bit of gold behind.

The sun leaves a bit of gold behind.

It was hard to choose what to shoot. So I quickly took pictures of it all. Including, of course, my Katie-girl who waited patiently for me to finish.

This light is perfect for a princess mama!

Ready for my closeup mama!

She only huffed at me a little bit and then only because I hadn’t spent enough time focusing on her in the golden light. A princess knows when the light is perfect and will show off her best features.

Once it began to get dark Katie and I headed back up the hill to the car. I was loading her into her crate in the back, when glancing over my shoulder I saw this:

Surprise!

Surprise!

Obviously Katie had to be patient again. Even she was in awe of the moon, and she didn’t huff once.

I think this was our last camping adventure for the season. Time to put the camping gear away for awhile. We’ll have to be satisfied with dreaming about next year’s adventures.

Katie says she can’t wait.

What do you mean the season's over mama??

What do you mean the season’s over mama??


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Star gazing night two

It’s getting better, my night photography. Not by much, but there’s some progress. I studied white balance and made an adjustment. I think it helped.

Still…

Once again I slept in the tent in the backyard. Set my alarm for 3:00 a.m. and fell asleep with the camera on the tripod, ready to go. It was a hot and muggy night, but I fell asleep right away and didn’t wake until the phone began it’s gentle song.

Groggy, I pushed my sweaty hair out of my eyes and glanced up through the tent roof. I almost hoped the sky had clouded over, that the stars were hidden so I could go back to sleep. But as my eyes adjusted I had to admit there was a mix of stars and clouds up there.

Enough stars to give it a try.

So I crawled out onto the freshly mowed lawn and set up what I was hoping would be a less pink version of the sky.

High thin clouds obscure the stars.

High thin clouds obscure the stars.

I think the white balance is better on these shots than those I took the night before. But I also know I should start thinking about shooting in RAW. If I did that I could adjust the colors in post processing.

I looked into that last summer, and once, out on a walk with Katie the dog, I managed to get my camera into RAW (If I remember right it’s not difficult, but I just can’t remember anymore how to do it.) and took a couple pictures like that, then changed it back and took the same shot using my regular settings. But when I downloaded those photos the RAW shots didn’t download.

So I gave up. But clearly I should be able to figure this out. I need to go out and take more photos in RAW and try again.

Meanwhile, on night 2 of the great star shoot experiment I set up an image of my tent lit up, and hoped I got a bit of sky above. It turned out OK..lots of room for improvement…but it was fun to try.

Camping in the wild back yard.

Camping in the wild back yard.

So what have I learned?

Lots of things. Like…remember to take your glasses with you when you crawl out of a tent into the night to take pictures. Because without them you have no idea if what you’re doing is working. And don’t forget to do something with the focus. Just setting it to manual is not good if you haven’t actually set it to infinity or focused it on anything. And make sure the tripod is actually locked so it doesn’t sink in the middle of a 30 second shot. And for heavens sake, go find that remote thingy where you can hit the shutter without shaking the camera.

And mostly….it’s a lot more fun spending an hour outside after midnight in the winter when there aren’t any mosquitoes. And when sweat isn’t running into your eyes.

Stay tuned. This adventure is not over yet.

Humid night.

Humid night.