Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.


First snow!

I wish I could be as enthusiastic as Katie about the first snow of the season.

Really mama? It’s snow. I should be running, not sitting here getting my picture taken again!

I know that people in the South had much more snow than we’ve received. I guess I should be thankful that we don’t have more.

That’s better mama!

But I also know this is only the beginning of the long winter in Michigan.

Let’s do that again mama!

Katie thinks it’s about time there is snow to play in.

I think it’s time for a treat!

Of course she’s not going to shovel the driveway.

Silly girl.

This is my woods mama!




Katie here. No I’m not the surprise…you knew I’d pop up again sooner or later. I’ve been mostly resting since we got home from our grand adventure. I still get my mama up really early every morning, but then we go back to sleep. She seems to need more sleep these days. Guess she’s getting old.


Yesterday afternoon it started to snow. Mama made me go sit in it.

Really mama?!

She thought I looked pretty with the snow on my fur. I thought she was being ridiculous. I mean, when it rains I don’t make her go stand around outside do I? Oh. Well, yes I do, come to think of it.


Mama was surprised that so much snow had stuck around when we got up this morning. It was all over the tops of trees, but didn’t seem to get to the shrubs underneath. She says it was really pretty and we ran outside to take pictures.

Hey mama, come on out, the snow is great!

Well. She took pictures, I spent the time sniffing stuff, checking to make sure it was all safe you know. But when she called me to COME! I ran right over to her. I love doing that because, as you all expect, mama has a treat for me. Sometimes I run with my eyes closed, dreaming about that luscious treat.

Running for joy in the last snow of the season.

Mama was fascinated with how the snow emphasized the shapes of the trees…

Birch branches outlined in fresh snow.

…sometimes, she says, you don’t notice things like this until the snow points them out.

Look at all the cool shapes out there!

And then do you know what happened? The sun came out! Man oh man that sure made stuff even prettier!

Blue sky and fresh snow…with a little bit of cloud action.

Look at all the colors!

A special moment in time.

The green of the pines and the yellow of the forsythia buds next to the white shrouded birch trees was spectacular! I almost didn’t notice but mama pointed it out to me. She’s good like that.

But my feet were getting wet and cold and I was hungry. After all I’d only had one tiny treat and it was way past time for breakfast. So I made her take me inside. But that didn’t keep her from taking more pictures as the hungry birds stopped by for breakfast too.

Incoming chickadee!

I guess having a little spring snow isn’t all that bad, mostly because I know it will be gone by this afternoon.

Already melting.

And this weekend is shaping up to be warm and sunny. I’m going to get mama to take me to my park. Or maybe a couple parks.

A girl can hope anyway.

Waiting for summer.


Spring redux

Spring. It happens in waves across the country. When Katie and I were in the South we saw spring in all it’s glory. We reveled in the sun and warmth. We forgot that it wasn’t spring everywhere.

One reason to be in the South in the winter.

And then we drove home, north into the gray skies, leafless trees, muddy trails. Cold. It snowed this week.

Why is it snowing??

It was a shock, but all is not lost. As Katie and I explored the yard this past weekend we found traces of spring. Daffodils are popping up from the wet cold ground. So are some of the perennials. The bleeding heart is reaching for the sky.

Purple pink sprouts pushing up through last garden debris.

It will be in bloom sooner than you think. And the monkshood is peeking out too….

Monkshood, excited to see the sun. will bloom next fall — which will also be sooner than we think.

Katie and I went for a walk in her park this weekend. The sun was out, the water was blue. It felt like spring had arrived.

Mama! Is it spring now??

We weren’t fooled. We know, here in Michigan, that winter will take at least one more swipe at us before April ends. But don’t tell that to the goldfinches, they’re already changing into their summer gold.

Hey lady! This feeder needs to be filled!!

Katie and I are very lucky this year. We get to watch spring arrive twice! The daffodils are all done down South. But here they will be arriving any day now.

That’s a very good thing.

You’re going to make me pose with our Michigan daffodils next week aren’t you mama!


Reilly and me

Katie here. HEY! After years and years of a long distance relationship I finally got to meet Reilly the Cowspot Dog in person! Nose to nose! Well, more like nose to behind at first, but now we’re on a nose to nose basis. He is so tall, dark and handsome! I just love him to pieces. I think he likes me too.

Me and Reilly - taken by Reilly's mom.

Me and Reilly – taken by Reilly’s mom.

Mama and I got down to Florida on Thursday evening, and we all spent some time getting to know each other. There’s Reilly the big boy, and his little brother and best man Denny. And of course his mom and dad.

My Reilly and his brother Denny.

My Reilly and his brother Denny.

I like everyone here, though I have to admit I did show Reilly my teeth a tiny bit right at first. But now all three of us doggies can run and chase the ball in the living room. Reilly usually wins, cause he’s the biggest. And to be truthful, I generally just jump up on the sofa when they’re playing, as is due my stature as a princess. That way I can watch the action without getting stepped on.

I also have sucked up…um…bonded.. with Riley’s mom and dad. In fact my mama and Reilly’s mom went away for most of the day today and I hung out with Reilly’s dad. It was fun. I got to sit on the sofa with him and chill out. All us pups slept a lot today which is a good thing. Cause the moms are making us go on lots of mini adventures while I’m here.

Our first adventure was a walk on the beach!

Our first adventure was a walk on the beach!

I’ve been to the beach! On the Atlantic Ocean! Oh my dog, that’s one big lake!

But mama!  Reilly and I want to explore those sandy hills over there!

But mama! Reilly and I want to explore those sandy hills over there!

And I’ve visited a couple of Reilly’s parks Everything is so green!

It looks like summer around here mama!

It looks like summer around here mama!

I’m not used to that in February; usually I have snow to play in…but it’s pretty wonderful here right now. No snow, but not so hot as to make a sheltie-girl miserable. No bugs to speak of either. Mama saw some great campgrounds that we would have loved to explore. Maybe someday we’ll be back with our tent!

It's like a jungle here!

It’s like a jungle here!

I had a lot of fun. When mama asked me last week if I wanted to go on an adventure I never dreamed it would be like this!

Going for a walk with my guys.

Going for a walk with my guys.

I’m not sure what we’re going to do tomorrow, but I heard someone say something about a sunrise. Maybe I better hit the sack early tonight so I can be sure to get mama up extra early.

I know she’d appreciate that.

My man Reilly.  Isn't he beautiful?

My man Reilly. Isn’t he beautiful?


And then we got stuck

Katie here.

It’s been a mild winter here in Michigan. There’s been hardly any snow which I personally find very disappointing. I’m a sheltie and I love the snow, as long as it’s not higher than my tummy. And as long as my folks plow me a potty path. I am, after all, a princess.

Anyway, the last couple of nights it’s snowed here! Just the perfect amount too! And then the most amazing thing happened. The sun came out! We haven’t seen the sun in weeks and weeks, maybe even 10 dog years! Mama got all excited and told me that we could not waste a day like this.

I love snow!

I love snow!

So she grabbed her camera and me and we hustled it over to one of my favorite parks!

I got to walk on my trail through the woods. We were the first ones out there that morning and I trotted off, nose to ground so excited to be out in my woods. Mama kept saying ‘easy easy baby’ but I ignored her. Especially when we were going down hills.

She finally just dropped my leash so she could protect the camera as she inched her way down the bigger hills. I had to wait for her a whole bunch. Mama is sort of slow.

Come ON mama!

Come ON mama!

I got to do a lot of running too. Mama didn’t always get great pictures of me, what with all the shadows from the big tall trees, but I had a blast anyway.

Get those treats ready mama!

Get those treats ready mama!

Oh – I have a new policy! I’ve let my mama know she’s only got one chance to get her shot. I’ll pose for her, cause I know she’s got treats. But once I hear that camera click I’m going to get right up and trot straight up to her and expect payment. One shot, one treat. That’s the way it’s going to be mama. Get used to it.

One treat, one shot mama!

One treat, one shot mama!

Anyway, after we’d walked a long way back into the woods mama said her hands were cold and we needed to turn around. I said ‘no way mama!’ but she turned around and headed back. I hung around for a bit but then I remembered she had all the treats, so I ran after her. I’m a smart princess.

We got to this one place where the trail hangs on to the edge of a sandy hill that has a big gouge in it from when it rains. It’s sort of tricky to get over in the summer and now it was covered in snow. I jumped right over, but mama hesitated, and then her foot slipped and she flung her bad arm up in the air to catch her balance and that hurt a bunch and she yelled, and I jerked the leash in her other hand just at exactly the right moment and pulled her over to my side safe and sound. She said ‘good job baby!’ But I could tell her shoulder really really hurt. She said she needed to get home to get some aspirin.

But I don't want to go back mama!

But I don’t want to go back mama!

But that didn’t happen right away.

On the way out of the park there is a stop sign at an intersection at the bottom of a big hill. Mama slowed down to make the corner and then she couldn’t get the car to go up that big hill! So she figured she’d back up and get a better running start at it. And as she backed up she slid right off the road. So then we were truly stuck!

I suggested we just go for another nice walk until the snow melted. But she called my daddy instead and he came out with shovels and snow melt. It took a long time. I stayed very very quiet in my crate in the back of the car. I know when to keep my mouth shut, yes I do. Eventually daddy pushed and mama drove and we got going and crept up that stupid hill and made it home safe and sound.

Pretty day to be stuck in the woods.

Pretty day to be stuck in the woods.

It was a great adventure, even with the little misstep at the end. I’m glad we went. Mama is too, but we’re both pretty grateful to daddy for coming and saving us!

I know you are all enjoying any sun you get to see. We hope it sticks around here for awhile. Some people in other parts of the country have been hogging the sun and we’re glad they finally decided to share it with us!

I’m off to take a nap now, talk to you all later!

Your gal Katie.

Till next time.

Till next time.


Snow day

You know the mid-winter dark evenings when you stay awake to watch the eleven o’clock news just to see what the weather will be for your morning commute? And you know it’s going to be snowing all night and into that commute. And you can’t sleep because you know you have to get up early, maybe shovel the driveway, and start the commute early, very early, in order to make sure you get to work on time. And that the commute is going to be terrible; slippery with poor visibility and indiscernible lane markings.

Yea. I remember those.

But one of the many joys of being retired is that you can go to bed early, even on snowy nights. (Oh who am I kidding, 9 p.m. is my normal go to bed time.) You can sleep soundly without a worry. You can wake up when you wake up and look out the window to see how much snow fell because you’re curious, not because you’re worried.

And then you can do this.


I know. I’m lucky.

I'm lucky too mama.

I’m lucky too mama.


HEY! This is not the way I thought I’d celebrate!

Katie here!

What you say? You just heard from me? You wonder if mama is even doing anything interesting? Well, according to me, the princess, she is not.

Besides! It’s my tenth birthday!

That’s double digits people! It’s a big deal and I’ve been looking forward to it for months! (OK, for moments, but in dog years that’s the same as months.)

There should be cake! And treats and balloons and guests and party hats! And gifts. Lots and lots of gifts.

But instead mama got me this.

Not my color mama!

Not my color mama!

I hate it. I can’t see through it, it flops over my eyes, and it’s not my color. Everybody knows that my color is pink. This thing is not pink. And even the bandage on my leg is blue instead of pink.

Obviously a grievous error.

Mama put me back in the clear cone that the vet gave me. I like it better cause I can see stuff coming at me. Like a treat. Not that I’ve seen any birthday treats. But just in case I’m ready.

This is not my favorite thing either mama!

This is not my favorite thing either mama!

Also it makes an awesome snow scoop.

Mama says I’m really tired and since I’m on pain meds we should probably celebrate my birthday once this whole cone thing is done. What’s a couple weeks anyway she says? Just about a trillion dog years…but whatever mama.

I need a nap but mama says I have to stay awake long enough to tell you that the thing on my leg that the vet took off was just a wart and nothing to worry about.

So now I have to wear this lovely cone of shame for two whole weeks! Sigh. I’m not very good at being a patient. I ask to go outside and then make mama or daddy walk around and around my path without actually doing anything. I mean what do they think? I can’t sniff for a good spot wearing this ridiculous headgear. But then they took it off so I could sniff and I still won’t do anything. I like to make them nuts. Especially when it’s so cold outside and the wind is blowing so hard.

And last night I made mama sleep on the floor next to me. Mostly I didn’t need her but it was nice to push up against her when I woke up scared in the middle of the night. I’m glad she was there. And just cause she did that I let her sleep all the way until 6 a.m. this morning.

Maybe I’ll let her sleep till 6:15 a.m. tomorrow. We’ll see how I’m feeling. Could go either way.

Meanwhile, I expect a big celebration of my birthday after this stupid cone is gone. I’m starting to gather my list of demands now. A princess has to be ready, don’t you know.

Katie here, signing out – thank you all for all your good thoughts and prayers when I went under the knife. I know they made a big difference, and they certainly made mama feel better.

Sending you all sheltie hugs and kisses. And if you need a cone, I have a spare.

My snow scoop.

My snow scoop.


Looking for fog

After days and days of cold littered with snow we woke this morning to more temperate weather. With the snow rapidly melting the warm air was tinged with fog. As the sun rose I headed over to the closest park to see what might be interesting. I actually caught this out of the corner of my eye as I was driving to the back of the park, and just had to turn around at the golf course and come back. (Click on any photo to make it bigger and see more detail.)



The fog was disappearing and by the time I got up to the parking lot and began the long walk down the hill toward the woods it was gone. So I began to look for other interesting things.

A flock of seven sandhill cranes flew by, oddly silent. It’s rare that I’ve seen them when they weren’t making a lot of noise as they fly. But this was pretty early in the morning. Maybe they hadn’t had coffee yet.



I liked the fact that the red twig dogwood bushes were very very red even under the dull cloudy sky. And that the fog, now droplets, was beautiful tucked among the bright twigs.

Color bursting out all over

Color bursting out all over

And there was something else bright red flitting through the forest. Some people believe a cardinal in your path is a loved one’s spirit come to visit. I see so many cardinals that I don’t think they can all be my long gone loved ones, but this one was all alone, so maybe.

Just stopped by to say hello

Just stopped by to say hello

Then there was this bird. It was sitting quite far away, and the morning light interfered with my sight. Or maybe I’m just getting older. Anyway, I don’t know what this bird is, so I took a shot blindly and then cropped it a whole lot hoping one of you will know. We have killdeer out at this park…could it be one of those? It was making quite a racket out by the road, but not making the typical killdeer kind of song.

Who am I?

Who am I?

I don’t remember killdeer having yellow on them either…so…what do you think it is?

Of course the red winged blackbirds are everywhere. At home they are eating me out of bags and bags of sunflower oilers. They are starving! But so are all the other birds, so I keep putting it out for them. At the park they are establishing their territories and this guy was not excited about me walking by on the path.

No crossing into MY territory!

No crossing into MY territory!

He fluffed up to get his picture taken though. Show off.

The pack of sandhill cranes flew back over, something must have startled them from their breakfast on the golf course. One of them still has legs hanging low. I wonder if he flies that way all the time?

Looking for brunch

We all have our own flying style lady. Get over it.

And then the sun came out! It lit up the hill I was climbing as I headed back to the car. I couldn’t resist taking a photo of one of my favorite trees.

Splendidly alone

Splendidly alone

Someone going the other way asked me if I had gotten any good pictures. I shrugged, wagged my hand back and forth. Nothing special I replied.

On my drive home I stopped at a hilly field, the home of a crabapple tree that used to grace a farmhouse yard. I’ve always admired the way the tree and the hill share the space, always meant to grab a photo. Today was the day.

Little tree, big sky

Little tree, big sky

I don’t know what it is about this tree, sitting alone in an empty field. I just like it.

So…did I get any good pictures this morning? Oh yea. Every morning that I get to spend outside with my camera is a good morning. Fog, no fog. Sun, no sun. There’s always something special to find. And to make the day even better, when I got home Katie demanded equal time and we headed out to her park.

I’m sure she’ll tell you all about it soon.

Pay attention mama!

Pay attention mama!