Nature Friday ~ March 5, 2021

Nature Friday

Happy Friday folks! Once again we join our weekly hosts, Rosy, Sunny, Arty and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard to see exactly how crazy it has been. Don’t forget to click on the link to check out to see what all Blogville has shared.

Will you lookee here…despite last weeks snow dump, signs of spring are popping up all over. Yay…color me happy!

One of the nicer aspects of our long walks is that the dogs get to sniff around and explore. Elsa is my huntress Ninja and I can always tell when she’s tracking a bunny or squirrel who’s run through a yard. Her nose undulates as her head slowly moves back and forth taking in all those delicious smells. It’s good for her mind as well as her body that she can track critter scents. When she’s looking for a place to pee, she adopts the “Goldilocks…this one is just right” approach, turning in circles over and over and over again. On a cold blustery day it can be maddening and I’m often mumbling, “just pee for crying out loud already.” But it’s her process and somewhat ‘entertaining.’ Norman’s only prerequisite for peeing is ‘yup, looks just fine to me’ method. Corners and trees always receive extra attention, especially now that 95% of last week’s snow has melted and the ground is damp and apparently full of interesting smells.

We normally pass by a few gardens in the neighborhood every day where spring is definitely sprouting. Take for instance these tulips. What an inspiring sight to see tulips after the bitter cold and snow from recent days.


Last weeks wild weather didn’t impact the reticulated irises that had begun to bloom or the crocuses either for that matter. They seemed to flourish after the moisture almost in defiance. Look at this bouquet of sunshine!


I even noticed a tiny emerging bit of sedum mixed in with the irises.


My own garden seems to be waking up too. Yesterday was a chilly day (after a gorgeous sunny and warm Wednesday) with a bit of drizzle but these emerging hyacinths still caught my eye with their bright green color against the brown mulch and leaves. Note to self, time to start cleaning up the flower beds of blown in leaves. Again.


Considering the lack of sun exposure in my yard (it’s pretty shady from large trees), this was a most welcomed sight. I can expect there will be lots of victims candidates for Norman’s sniffing sessions in the near future. A word to the wise…lupines…you’ll need to grow strong and expect lots of ‘water’ in the future.

Any big plans to enjoy nature this weekend? Whatever you do, hope your time outdoors is well spent and you are able to catch some visible signs of spring bursting forth in your neck of the woods.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

In Purrsuit of Flavours ~ March 2021

NormanWelcome to the March edition of “In Purrsuit of Flavours” hosted by our ‘fur-bulous’ chefs and hosts, the Weim boys over at Easy Rider and kitties from Canadian Cats in sharing a recipe made in a single pot. Make sure you click on their links to see other recipes being shared. Chef Norman is ready to go!

While I’ve posted this lasagne recipe before, it’s still a good one since everything gets put together in a pot single baking dish. You couldn’t ask for a dish that’s easier or quicker to throw together and perfect for cold winter meals. It’s easy to make whether for 2 or 10 people.

Purrsuit of Flavors

What I love most about this dish is the opportunity to use whatever is on hand. The basic ingredients are ravioli, pasta sauce and shredded cheese. This time I had a couple of different jars of pasta sauce that needed to be used up and was a bit shy of shredded mozzarella cheese so used Parmesan in the layers. First world problems, right? Parm makes everything taste better so I wasn’t particularly heartbroken. I did add some Burrata for the top (like a cherry on top). What is Burrata you ask? It’s an Italian cow milk cheese made from mozzarella and cream. The outer casing is solid cheese, and the inside contains stracciatella and cream, giving it an unusually, soft texture. It’s delicious and every so creamy.


Because I’m basically lazy when it comes to cooking, I cut corners wherever possible. I NEVER precook ravioli when preparing this dish.


Begin by pouring a layer of your sauce on the bottom and lay the ravioli on top of that first layer. Top with more sauce and sprinkle with your grated cheese on top.


Continue layering until you either run out of space in your dish or ravioli. I used a different kind of ravioli this time, triangular shaped filled with spinach and mozzarella. Bake at 400ºF for about 45 minutes. While dinner baked, it allowed me time to make dinner for the Chef and his food critic sister. A quick tossed salad (which I forgot to photograph-my bad), a slice of toasted bread spritzed with a little olive oil to sop up that tasty sauce and voila! a tasty dinner is ready to enjoy.


The best part of this meal was the addition of ooey gooey Burrata on top but this is the first time I’ve used that ‘secret ingredient’ and I’m so glad I did. Sorry for the melted mess. I cut it before it had cooled down for the cheese to form up but let me just say it tasted great.

On a cold night, this meal can really hit the spot with plenty leftover for future meals (yay, no additional cooking-just heat and serve).

Hope you don’t mind the repeat of this recipe, but like I said, it’s quick, easy and can be made as different as your onhand ingredients. Norman says “Bone Appetit!”

Live, love, bark! 🐾

National Read Across America Day ~ 2021

Dr. Seuss


Welcome to “Read Across America Day.” Created in 1998 by the NEA, the celebration was created as a way to encourage children to read. Yesterday marked the start of National Reading Month which focuses on motivating kids to read. The annual reading day has typically been held on March 2, Dr. Seuss’s birthday. Even Blogville is celebrating today so be sure to check your favorite blog.

Around the Ranch, “Thing One” and “Thing Two” will celebrate (as soon as they wake up from their latest naps). I recently ordered a couple new dog books and today seems like the perfect time to begin reading them. Having Thing One and Thing Two in my lap will make it all more fun.Dr. Seuss

We hope you’ll celebrate today by reading a book to a child but a fur-kid will work too. Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss.

Live, love, bark! 🐾


Monday Musings ~ March 1, 2021

Welcome to March 1st! Remember, just under 3 weeks until the official arrival of Spring. Color us happy!

Winter has been fine, but to a certain Ninja, it’s become rather boring. It’s a hard rule that bored dogs get themselves into mischief. Notice anything missing?


So when I came across this smile, it definitely seemed poetic. Elsa has not been amused with my sense of humor. Here’s hoping all your squeakers survive the week.


Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ February 26, 2021

Nature FridayWelcome to Friday where we share scenes from nature  around our ‘Hood. Today is the last Friday of the month and its gone full circle crazy. Once again we join our weekly hosts, Rosy, Sunny, Arty and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard to see exactly how crazy it has been. Don’t forget to click on the link to check out to see what all Blogville has shared.

The week started out with the promise that spring was getting ready to make a glorious entrance. We’ve been keeping an eye out for subtle signs and indeed, things seemed to be moving along nicely.

The sky had been brilliant blue and sunny and highlighted the moon early in the week.


We pass by a certain magnolia tree every day on our daily walks, it being just a few houses away. Magnolias are not common around here so they always captivate my fascination whenever I see one. For weeks it’s looked like all the other trees in the “Hood and then practically overnight, it began to signal a bit of a change. Check out those buds.


A couple of days later another garden we walk past also suggested a change might be coming…reticulated irises and a few more crocuses. Despite a sea of brown, those little irises with their vivid pop of color always provide me hope that change is coming.


On that same walk, the dogs and I noticed a new visitor and one I don’t see very often. He caught all of our attention because he was fairly low to the ground but moved up the trunk quickly once I pulled my phone out. Apparently he’s a bit camera shy. If I’m not mistaken, he’s some kind of Flicker woodpecker. His little red ‘hat’ provides a nice contrast, don’t you think?


So the week moved along heading toward the weekend. A weather forecast said we’d probably have a brief storm with 1-4″ of white stuff blowing through. No biggie, this is February, the driest month of the year in the Mile High. Check out what 1-4 looks like to weather forecasters.

SnowWell shut my mouth! I can’t recall a February where this much snow fell at one time. How deep was it? Well here’s some perspective from the front walk.


Were it not for a good Samaritan neighbor on the next block over, I’d still be shoveling the heavy white stuff. Bless him; he brought his snowblower and made two passes over the whole corner lot along with the rest of the block…on both sides! It gave me time to bake up some cookies for all his efforts as a small token of appreciation.

So from 70ºF early in the week to low teens this morning, reticulated irises to a white landscape, we’ve kind of seen it all this week. The weekend looks promising again though with temps moving toward the 50’s by the end of next week. Excuse me now while I put a neck brace on from the whiplash.

We hope you have a groovy Friday and weekend and enjoy a bit of nature, whatever she doles out.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

A Tuesday Smile ~ February 23, 2021

To say I’ve been overwhelmed by all the kind messages about Angel Sam would be a definite understatement. Thank you all for your notes of comfort. It has meant the world to me.

Because yesterday was a sad day, let’s turn things around and share a smile. After last week’s Nature Friday post, my old pal Vince the Sign Guy from Indian Hills delivered a timely follow up bit of advice. Enjoy it and have a good day.


We continue to keep the people of Texas in our thoughts and hope fresh, clean running water starts flowing soon for everyone.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Remembering an Angel


One year ago today you looked around and suddenly decided it was time to watch over me from a different world. That cold February day continues to replay, one agonizing frame at a time and still remains incredibly vivid in my mind. Not a day goes by that I don’t choke up, shedding tears I know you’d lick from my face with a warm comforting tongue. I’ continue to recall the many ways you enhanced my life, as well as those whose path crossed yours. You are still so very missed…your sweet, gentle ways, that silly expression you had…and that Swiffer tail. A tail that always wagged so hard I often wondered how it didn’t lift you up off the ground.


I’ve gone through hundreds of photos taken of you over the years, fondly recalling each moment. I remember times when you ‘snoopervised’ my garden redesign by sleeping in the warm sunlight while I removed sod and reshaped the landscape and how you’d leap up flinging yourself like a slingshot, doing half gainers whenever someone walked by and asked about you. You were known as the Neighborhood Canine Concierge, welcoming all who passed by. How you’d go nuts barking at the mail lady like she was some sort of serial killer until the glass door opened and then you’d lean against her legs, looking appreciatively up into her eyes, tail wagging like crazy. You loved her and she loved you.

ELMC, West Pines Sam

Dogtor Sam
Dogtor Sam

I knew early on that your sweetness would make you the perfect candidate for therapy work but wondered if your knuckleheaded-ness could be properly channeled. Little did I know just how you’d morph into one truly amazing therapy dog. When we attended training classes, I worried if you’d ever be able to focus on this important job. And then you aced your tests, outperforming every dog in the class, and far beyond any of my expectations. My heart still swells with pride recalling how well you performed at your Canine Good Citizen certification.


Your unbridled joy to life brought so much happiness to hospital patients and staff alike, their squealing egged on your tail-wagging delight whenever you’d visit. You never knew a nurse you didn’t adore and watching you around ‘your harem’ always brought big smiles to many hearts.


The way you endeared yourself with the vet who performed the twice-a-year pet screenings. How you somehow managed to stick that long nose into faces, armpits, and other places to inhale the people you loved and how they’d giggle. I recall how you became a rock star entertaining mental health patients at West Pines by licking your chops on command, first on the left side and and then on the right; that long pink tongue slowly sliding back and forth on command all the while looking earnestly at the treats you knew you’d receive. They wondered why you would give so much of yourself for such a tiny reward. They just didn’t understand that was the essence of your spirit. You were always about giving, even to your last breath. You lived to hear the magic word…aww and then would respond as if you’d just won the biggest Lotto jackpot.


I will forever miss you leaning against my legs looking up at me with those gorgeous soulful eyes, as though you were asking, “well…what’s next, mom?” And how I often wondered if you weren’t part pogo stick because of your constant bouncing up and down, especially when I pulled down your hospital bandana when you’d go absolutely bonkers knowing we’d be heading to the hospital to meet all your fans. Even though you’d be bouncing off the walls, as soon as I pulled into the parking lot, a whole other Sam emerged. The calm, focused Sam who loved people with all his heart.


You were such an ambassador for therapy dogs, walking purposely, with such calmness, ready to brighten a weary heart and provided unparalleled love for everyone you met, with never any thought of judgment. You loved the idea of going to the hospital in the car, but I knew you hated the actual ride but were excited about the thought of making new friends every weekend we went to the hospital. It was always about getting there to share your love for people. Even if it meant riding in a car, an endeavor you did not enjoy but accepted with grace. The payback was what mattered most to you.


I recall the first time you rode in an elevator and how you had this panicked look with your legs somewhat splayed out to keep your balance. You looked to me for support encouragement to overcome the fear. But in no time, you became a champ elevator rider who made sure to say hello to everyone riding with us forgetting your fear. I’ll forever cherish our routine where we visited the staff in the reception area and the young college student you adored who would coo over you. When I asked you to say hello to her by putting your front feet up on the counter, you jumped up on top, all four feet in the center of her workspace and she gasped, “oh gosh, wasn’t expecting that!” Nor had I but we both laughed, your tail wagging furiously without any worry that you’d somehow breached good therapy dog manners. I still blush recalling my embarrassment that day yet I’m sure you thought you were supposed to get up close enough to say hi.

I also recall those times you welcomed my sometimes over-the-top grandkids with their noisy rambunctiousness and busy fingers outstretched to touch your dandelion soft hair that smelled so incredible after grooming. You were always a model around them and often far more patient than I was at times. You never shied away from any chaotic attention, always happy to be around people, and particularly children. I often wondered if you ever realized you were a dog and not a human.


My heart aches at these memories but I will always and forever be grateful of that fateful day when a colleague shared your photo with me after seeing it on a website looking to rehome you. You turned her into one of your biggest fans even though she was not a big fan of the breed initially, thinking like many others, ‘oh they’re too frou frou’ but she knew I loved the breed having owned several over the years. But none of them were anything like you. You were…special…so extraordinarily special from any dog I’ve ever know. And I saw that specialness the first day I brought you home.

So, on this first anniversary of your passing and with tears streaming down my face, I wanted to say how special you still are to me. I know you’re welcoming all pets who have crossed the Bridge this past year, showing them your joyful self because that’s just how you rolled. Know I’ll always love you and you’ll always be my heart and soul companion.


Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ February 19, 2021

Nature FridayWelcome to Friday where bits of nature are shared from around the ‘Hood. It’s been a wild week weather-wise so let’s join our weekly hosts, Rosy, Sunny, Arty and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard to see exactly what’s happened this week. Don’t forget to click on their link to check out what Blogville shared.

Naturally the weather took front and center stage here and around the nation. Texas, known for doing things bigger, proved once again they know how to do B-I-G. Having family members living in both the Austin and Houston areas, I’ve been keeping my eyes peeled and the cell phone close by to stay in touch with family members. Despite one outdoor broken pipe, everyone is safe, dry and coping as best as they can. It’s time like these where one must take stock and be very, very grateful for the simple things in life that we all too often take for granted. Who knew heat, water and power would have such a major impact on ordinary life? As if COVID wasn’t enough.

Here in Colorado the deep freeze overspent its welcome too. It snowed about 4-5 inches Wednesday which actually ‘warmed’ things up into low double digits, practically a heat wave. Yesterday I walked a mile in steps alone shoveling snow from sidewalks as well as a suitable area in the dog run so the Ninja could pee without freezing her private parts. I was hoping the freshly shoveled space would incentivise both dogs to stay out of the wetter areas. Here’s what those efforts yielded.


Oh, Norman, you always make me smile. Normally when it has snowed, it’s quite the adventure to go out for a walk. Layers are key but even layers couldn’t combat the well-below zero temperatures so we weren’t able to walk outside beyond quick potty breaks for several days. It takes a while hitching up the entire crew to stay warm. Do you know how long it takes to put four pairs of snow boots on dogs and then dress myself for any kind of extended, warm walk?


Nature plans to be kinder but snow is expected to show up again later this weekend. Luckily the Polar Vortex isn’t expected to tag along and I hope everyone prays for the relief of those less fortunate who are still trying to get power, water, and heat restored.

We hope you have a weekend where you’ll be warm. We’ll be spending a lot of time contemplating a heartbreaking anniversary next week when Angel Sam unexpectedly departed the Ranch. Not a day goes by where I don’t think of him and cry at his loss. The Ranch hands have vowed to take good care of me and we urge everyone to take some time to reflect on the past week to find love and gratitude in their hearts. If you are able to help the disadvantaged, now would be a good time. Stay safe, warm and keep smiling my friends.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Wordless Wednesday ~ February 17, 2020

Wordless Wednesday
Near the Heceta Lighthouse~Siuslaw National Forest, Florence, OR

Live, love, bark!  🐾

Monday Musings ~ February 15, 2021

Happy Monday. We hope you had a lovely Valentine’s Day. Norman’s kissing booth was up and running all weekend and because it was so cold, he was more than happy to cuddle. Elsa said, “you can kiss my…”  She is not amused about posing for photos and is no longer even subtle about her displeasure. Norman makes up for her camera shyness, readily posing. It didn’t take him long to figure out there are high value treats when you pose. Apparently Elsa thinks nothing is high value enough.

While yesterday was Valentine’s Day, after working for 87 years in the legal field, today’s cartoon made me chuckle.


Valentine's Day

We hope you have a ‘pawsome’ Monday and a warmer week than last. While it’s still in negative territory this morning (-2ºF, with windchill at -11ºF at publication), it’s supposed to hit at least 25ºF by early afternoon. Good thing too, there are some very bored Ranch hands who haven’t been able to enjoy any walks. And we all know what happens with Ranch hands are bored…don’t we, Elsa?

Live, love bark! 🐾