Photo Walkabout at Okehocking Preserve

Before I get to the Piper pics, just a quick update to say that yesterday’s 5K was awesome. Despite the unseasonably (insanely!) muggy weather, our runner/walker turnout, enthusiasm, and venue exceeded all expectations! I’ll do a post on the 5K soon, but for now, I have some Piper photos to share!

Last Friday on the drive home from work I realized that the lighting conditions – flat, bright lighting with an even, white cloud cover – were perfect for photography.  Before my 8 minute commute was over I had decided that I would take Piper to Okehocking Preserve for a quick photo walkabout (aka an aimless hike with a dog and a camera in search of nice light!). I cajoled Matt into coming with me (someone needs to hold Piper’s leash while I snap her picture!!) and by 5PM my camera and I were standing shin-deep in the middle of Ridley Creek while sweet, happy Piper splashed around in the water.

The lighting and scenery were beautiful, and over the course of 40 minutes Matt, Piper and I meandered around the park, seeking out the best lighting and backgrounds. (Thank you Matt for your patience!!)

Piper enjoyed every second of our hike, and tackled the hills, stone walls, and high grass with her usual gusto. The shots above and below were taken at Okehocking’s historic bank barn.

Compare Friday’s pics to these two from three years ago, also taken at the bank barn when Piper was just 4 months old.  Same memorable white whiskers (and coincidentally, same leash!), just three years apart.

Here’s another fun comparison: three year old Piper in Ridley Creek last Friday vs. the shot that got my Instagram following started back in 2014. Same bend of Ridley Creek, but one looking upstream and the other downstream.

Six hundred photos later, the sun signaled the end of our photo walk as it slowly dipped behind the tree line. Just before the sun disappeared we found a spot on a hill with perfect “golden hour” light. Piper plopped down in the grass, happy to oblige in exchange for a few pieces of sliced meatball. No amount of photoshopping can produce glorious lighting like this!

Is it just me or is Piper totally posing in this next photo? Clearly, she is not camera shy.

If you’ve made it this far, thank you for putting up with my constant photos of Piper! Which photo from Friday’s walkabout is your favorite? I am torn between the very first shot and this last one… 😄

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The End of Blog-Crastination

Is it possible that I haven’t blogged since September? Yup. And the worst part is, the longer I wait to compose a new post, the harder it becomes to get motivated to actually sit down and write! Case in point: I have now run seven (SEVEN!) races since my last race recap. I’m a stickler for chronological recaps, and knowing that I need to reminisce all the way back to a mediocre race in early October before I can regale you with tales about my first California race (in San Diego!!) and my most recent 5K with Piper makes it that much harder to buckle down and get the writing done.

But today I’m putting an end to my blog-crastination! I am ignoring all of those accumulated races and turning to my favorite four-legged friend for inspiration. So without further ado, here’s a selection of photos (in chronological order) of Piper doing her thing from May thru December. Enjoy!

Did you make it through all of those photos? (Thanks!😉) Which is your favorite? I’m partial to Piper in her orange goggles. 🤓

Liebster Award

Liebster Award

I was nominated by Jenny at Cello’s Corner for the Liebster Award – thanks Jenny! Cello’s Corner is a blog about Jenny’s two German Shorthairs, Cello and Hooch. These two lucky pups spend their days camping, hiking, dock diving and hanging out at dog-friendly wineries. Bailey and Cello were dock-diving buddies and hopefully Piper will get to meet both of Jenny’s dogs in the coming year.

As part of accepting the Liebster Award I get to answer 11 questions. I love that these are dog-related questions because (in case you didn’t notice) I LOVE writing about dogs! Without further ado, here we go…

1. Most bloggers have a moment where they say to themselves, “I need to tell the world about this!” What was that moment for you?

Well, the moment that comes to mind actually has nothing to do with dogs. It’s when Matt and I made Shrimp Scampi for the first time. Dinner was SO delicious that I had to share the recipe IMMEDIATELY. Here’s a link to that post if you’re in the mood for a really yummy pasta dish: Shrimp Scampi. We had it again last week!

2. What is the craziest thing you have ever done with your dog(s).

Hmm, does driving 30+ hours from Pennsylvania to Wisconsin and back with only 2 hour break count? Because that was pretty crazy! Matt and I did this in order to bring Piper home from her breeder back in October.

PIper slept through most of the 15 hour ride home.

PIper slept through most of the 15 hour ride home.

3. More and more establishments are starting to become pet-friendly. What are your thoughts on this policy? And do you hope that it becomes more of the “standard” in the future?

I’m all for pet-friendly places but hope that dog owners will use common sense when deciding to bring the dog along. Dogs should be under control and on a leash. Also, owners should always, ALWAYS clean up after their dogs! I am a major dog lover but I still absolutely hate it when I see dog poop on the grass medians in the parking lot outside a pet store or other pet-friendly establishment. Come on, people!

4. Have you have taken your dog to a dog-friendly winery/bar/restaurant/attraction? If so, what was your favorite place, and why?

No, but a dog friendly winery sounds like my kind of place! Grace Winery, the vineyard where Matt and I got married, hosts dog-friendly outdoor tastings on Sunday afternoons so maybe Piper will get to experience that in the Spring.

5. What is your favorite game to play with your dog?

We like to play around with wobble discs, cardboard boxes, and other random objects to encourage Piper’s balance, hind leg awareness and general interaction/attention skills. Here’s a collage of her on wobbly inflated discs when she was 12 weeks old:

Wobble Pup

6. Does your dog sleep in bed with you?

Nope! Piper sleeps in her crate right now and when she’s old enough she’ll graduate up to a dog bed in our bedroom. Bailey (pictured below) wasn’t allowed to sleep on our bed either, except if we were traveling and staying at a pet-friendly hotel. Then we made a special exception and she got to snuggle on the bed with us. 😊

How Bailey prefers to spend her time inside.

7. What is the silliest thing you have ever seen your dog do?

Piper is full of quirky, funny, amazing puppy antics! The silliest thing that comes to mind was a few months ago when she accidentally peed on the kitchen floor, then galloped through her pee puddle, slipped on it, and totally wiped out, skidding several feet across the kitchen floor. It was messy but boy was it funny.

8. Does your dog participate in any organized activity, competition, or sport?

For now Piper is just in obedience training mode. She completed puppy class and I really need to call What a Good Dog to schedule her next round of classes. I never remember to do that during business hours though… maybe this post will remind me tomorrow!

9. What type of training [treats] do you use with your dog?

I’m adding “treats” to this question since I already covered some training above. Piper’s favorite training treats are (in order): Bil-Jac’s Gooberlicious peanut treats (aka Little Goobers), string cheese, Zuke’s rabbit-flavored mini-naturals, and Zuke’s jerky.

Treats

Treat time!

10. How many dogs total do you have? Have you ever thought about adding another to the pack?

Just one! Maybe we’ll get Piper a friend in the future but we’re good for now.

11. Do you carry a first aid kit with you when traveling with your dog? If so, what do you think are the most important items you have in your kit?

We used to travel with a camping-style human first aid kit that included gauze, aspirin and Benadryl (all things that a dog might need too). We haven’t brought the kit along lately but I figure that we’re usually never more than a short drive away from a pharmacy or some other store where we could buy supplies in an emergency.

~~~

And that’s it! Thank you again to Jenny from Cello’s Corner for nominating me. It’s nice to have an excuse to share more about Piper (not that I need one!).

Rather than nominating specific blogs, I’d like to welcome my readers to answer any one of the questions above in the comments. If you don’t have a dog that’s fine… tell me about your cat, goldfish, (child?) etc. Have your pets done something sillier than wipe out on the kitchen floor in their own pee? 😉

5 Months Old

01 beautiful little Piper

Piper is 5 months old today!  As I type this she’s stretched out on the couch, sleeping soundly with her head resting on Matt’s leg and her left ear flipped inside out.  Piper is the sweetest, most affectionate pup ever!

02 Piper's 5 month mug shot

Matt and I spent last week in Las Vegas on a work trip.  Piper got to stay with her best buddy Hershey at my mom’s house (thanks, Mom and Rob!) and she had a fantastic time.  Piper has approximately one million percent more energy than Hershey and she happily funnels this excess into constantly pestering her chocolate lab friend.  Luckily Hershey is extremely tolerant of Piper and gently puts up with all of her puppy antics.

03 'what puppy antics??'

“What puppy antics???!”

After a week of fun with Hershey Piper was still very excited when Matt and I returned home on Saturday morning.  She wiggled and wagged and snorted at us before happily curling up between us on the couch.  Piper then snoozed for hours which was good because we were really tired from our red-eye flight!!

04 little piper

After two days at home Piper still seems extra laid back but I think she’s secretly just saving up her energy for the snow storm we’re supposed to get tomorrow…  I’m sure that more snow puppy photos will be coming soon! 😃

Snow Puppy

As I type this my little Piper pup is on the couch next to me, exhausted from today’s hiking adventures.  She is sleeping on her back with her hind legs splayed open (she’s not the most ladylike puppy I’ve ever met!) and her breathing sounds like something between a snort and a snore.  She’s been sleeping this way for at least an hour – a long time for a nap in Piper’s world! – so I’m taking advantage of this afternoon lull to do a quick photo post!

3331 Piper

Last Tuesday we got about an inch of snow in eastern Pennsylvania and I snapped some photos of Piper playing in the back yard on my lunch break.  Piper seemed totally undeterred by the sub-freezing temperatures and had a blast romping around in the snow, chasing sticks and snatching up the occasional mouthful of snow… she loves this weather!!

We’ve had Piper for 11 weeks now.  Only 11 weeks!!!  It seems like she’s been a part of our family for MUCH longer than that!  Matt and I are having a blast with her and I can’t wait to see what the next 11 weeks bring!!  😄

Okehocking Preserve

Piper and her reflection in Ridley Creek

Merry Christmas Eve!  Matt and I are hosting dinner tonight… bone-in short ribs over polenta with brussel sprouts braised in cream.  YUM!!  The food is prepped, the house is clean, I got in a nice 4 mile run in the rain and now I’m just waiting for family to arrive.  I thought I’d take advantage of this lull in the day to share some photos from one of our hikes last week.

2834 Piper at Okehocking

Matt and I are fortunate to live very close to Okehocking Preserve, a 180-acre conservation area with miles of trails, a scenic section of Ridley Creek and an off-leash, unfenced dog park.  We’ve been taking Piper to Okehocking a lot lately, in part to socialize her but also because the preserve’s close proximity to our house allows us to squeeze in the maximum amount of outdoor time before the sun goes down.  (Hooray for the shortest day of the year being BEHIND us now!!)

So far Piper has really taken to Okehocking.  She sniffs and snorts around in the tall grass, has fun climbing on rocks, walls, and fallen trees, wades into (and tries to drink all of) Ridley Creek and, of course, has a blast playing with other dogs in the off-leash area.  I’m sure we’ll be spending many, many afternoons at Okehocking over the next several months.  If you’re from the area I would definitely recommend visiting Okehocking… maybe we’ll see you there!

2794 Piper drinking

Okehocking Preserve
5316 West Chester Pike
Newtown Square, PA 19073
Preserve Map | Web Site
My Okehocking post from 2012