Nature Friday ~ November 22, 2019

It’s the Friday before the U.S. Thanksgiving Day holiday and nature apparently thought it would take some time off from showing much beauty with the palette largely greys and browns-blech. That said, we happily join our furry friends Rosy and her brothers from LLB in our Backyard as nature around Blogville often shares its bounty in surprising ways.

Our urban landscape is now in full drab mode and more than slightly dreary despite very welcome warm days earlier this week. This time of year may not be so unusual for most of the country, but in sunshine rich Colorado (there are over 300 days a year sporting sunshine), it’s noticeable. The forecast is now shifting toward cloudy days with cold and snow in the near forecast. Just before the weather shifted, nature provided a lovely surprise to an otherwise bland palette. Why is November so generally dull?

As the afternoon sun began to set, a bright glow from the western sky filled the living room as I began to think about fixing dinner. Scenes like these images will go a long way in making November far more pleasant.

In a matter of a few fleeting moments, the sky went from subtle to ‘gonna knock your socks off.’

Sunset

Sunset

A slight glance southward showed a scene that just lit up my soul (with apologies for the hideously visible power lines). In less than ninety seconds, nature’s beautiful show made me forget all about drab November.

Sunset

May you experience some beautiful sunsets over the weekend. Do you have any fun plans in store before the holiday season begins in earnest?

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Treatful Thursday

Sam here. Look what arrived at the Ranch!! Mom decided to treat us with some new treats that she didn’t make. I love it when she makes treats for us, it’s one of the few things she does well, between you and me.  I mean the woman bathes me regularly for crying out loud, so when our favorite postwoman, Cori dropped them off a couple of days ago, Elsa and I were both pretty stoked.

Neither of us could figure out what the occasion was for this new bag of treats since we each had already celebrated birthdays and gotcha days earlier and we knew of no other ‘howliday’ were treats might be given to us good dogs.

Sam: I dunno, Ninja…I mean, I’ve been saying mom’s been losing it for a long time. Maybe she finally lost her mind completely?

Ninja: Who cares, they’re TREATS!!

Sam: Good point. You think they’re for us?

Ninja: If I have any clout around here, you better believe they’re for us! I’ll play the puppy mill survivor card if necessary.

Sam: Let’s practice our starving, soulful eyes since she never resists when we look at her like that.

Ninja: Pfft, I do just that at every meal or treat.

Sam & Elsa
Come on and give us the treat already. We’re sitting patiently for cryin’ out loud!

Sam: Let’s take a closer look at the bag. Ooh, they’re from our paw-friend Luke at Wag ‘N Woof Pets, from their Barking Dogs Organic Farms shop.  Let’s take a gander at the ingredients. Uh-oh…I see veggies and fruit. I’m not sure if I’ll like them.

Ninja: You Knucklehead…those aren’t just fruits and vegetables. Those are superfoods for super dogs!

Sam: Hmm, I’m still not convinced. Mom better beg me to try these.

Ninja: You. are. a. fool. It’s food, dummy. And look closer…there are no preservatives, just 100% organic ingredients. You love eggs, why not give ’em a try.

Sam: Well…o-kay, but only because you asked nicely. Should I wag my tail too?

Ninja: Wagging is optional but my guess is you’ll do it because they’ll be tasty. Trust me, brother.

Treats

Sam and Elsa: Nom, nom, nom. {drool, smack, gobble} “Hey, these are wagnificent!”

Elsa: See, I told you. Luke’s mom makes some tasty treats doesn’t she? Mom said it was also easy to order from their secure website. Check out Wag ‘N Woof’s shop page to order your own tasty treats. We’re not planning on sharing ours.

Sam
Can I have another?

Note: we were not compensated for our review and only share our opinion of a product we think you might like.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Monday Musings ~ November 18, 2019

Time to start a new week out with a smile within a tiny bit of a rant because you know me subtle is my middle name. The Knuckleheads and I were recently on a morning walk and came upon a fellow walking his little dog. So far so good. I’m always glad to see people walking their dogs, especially in the morning. As we got closer, I noticed he was looking down at a personal device. We stopped to wait for him to realize he was about to walk into a couple of excited Spoos…but no…he kept looking down at his phone. “Ahem.” I cleared my throat loudly hoping he would rejoin planet earth to alert him of our presence (his dog was weaving back and forth from an expando-leash, a second no-no in my books but that’s another story). By the time he was about 4 feet away, he finally glanced up, gave me the stink eye and an exasperated ‘hrumph.’ Oh Dude, you did not just do that! We each went on our way without incident and as I turned around to throw mental darts at his back, I noticed his head went down again reading his screen. I’m not sure if he was catching up on his social feed or proof reading his notes for a cancer cure but jeez…what the dog?! I may also have prayed for an open manhole.

Finding this meme made me chuckle as I totally see this clown behind the wheel of a vehicle with no turn signals too. Sadly the attention too many of us give those little mini-computers in our pockets is not only rude, it’s unsafe.

Monday

However your week goes, and we hope it’s pawsome, just be sure to use your turn signal and make it a safe one. And ditch that expando-leash so your dog doesn’t poop in someone’s flower bed.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ November 15, 2019

Welcome to Friday, a favorite day where we look forward to a weekend of friends, family and fun. As always, we join our friends, Rosy and her brothers from LLB in our Backyard as we check out the beauty of Mother Nature around Blogville.

Pikes Peak
Distant view of Pikes Peak from my parents house

Things around the Ranch are pretty drab with loads of various shades of brown. Gone are all colorful leaves and autumnal perennials but there’s still loads of beauty all around the 303. Let’s take a look south at one of the most famous of Colorado’s 53 ‘Fourteeners,’ peaks of at least 14,000 ft. tall (4,267.2 m), the infamous “Pikes Peak.”

Historical Background

The Ute Indians (the Tabeguache, the “People of Sun Mountain”) were the first documented people in the Pikes Peak region who referred to the mountain  located near Colorado Springs as Tava or “sun,” the Ute word they used to refer to Pikes Peak. In 1806 Zebulon Pike was sent westward to locate the headwaters of the Arkansas River.

In the late 1800’s, a carriage road to the summit and the Manitou & Pikes Peak Cog Railway was built. In 1893, Katharine Lee Bates ascended the mountain in a prairie wagon, was so moved by the breathtaking views and wide sweeping plains, and later wrote the poem which inspired the song; “American the Beautiful.”

Pikes Peak“Oh beautiful for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain…”

In 1806 Pike named the mountain “Highest Peak,” and was commonly known as “Pike’s Highest Peak.” American explorer Stephen Harriman Long renamed it “James Peak” in honor of Edwin James, a doctor and botanist, who was the first documented climber, and who is also credited with discovering the state flower, the blue columbine. Mrs. Julia Archibald Holmes was the first woman to climb the mountain in 1858 which was later renamed “Pike’s Peak” in honor of Pike by the United States Board on Geographic Names in 1890. After Pike’s failed attempt to climb to the top in November 1806 due to a blizzard, he wrote in his journal:

“…here we found the snow middle deep; no sign of beast or bird inhabiting this region. The thermometer which stood at 9° above 0 at the foot of the mountain, here fell to 4° below 0. The summit of the Grand Peak, which was entirely bare of vegetation and covered with snow, now appeared at the distance of 15 or 16 miles from us, and as high again as what we had ascended, and would have taken a whole day’s march to have arrived at its base, when I believed no human being could have ascended to its pinical [sic]. This with the condition of my soldiers who had only light overalls on, and no stockings, and every way ill provided to endure the inclemency of the region; the bad prospect of killing any thing to subsist on, with the further detention of two or three days, which it must occasion, determined us to return.”

The striking beauty that inspired Katharine Bates and thrills nearly six million other people visiting the Pikes Peak region each year offers breathtaking vistas. Nearly 700,000 visiting the Peak itself enjoying hiking, picnicking, fishing, and other attractions.

There are three ways to ascend the mountain. The Manitou and Pike’s Peak Railway, the world’s highest cog railroad is operated from Manitou Springs to the summit (conditions permitting) but is currently closed for refurbishing. It should reopen in 2021 while a temporary shuttle system has taken part of its place with several private outfitters providing transportation up the mountain during the renovation.

Vehicles can drive to the summit via the Pikes Peak Highway, a 19 mi (31 km), road that starts a few miles up Ute Pass with numerous switchbacks on the northwest side of the mountain. The world famous Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is held annually on the last Sunday of June. The toll road is maintained by the City of Colorado Springs and has been fully paved since October, 2011.

Visitors can walk, hike, or bike the trail. While the Barr Trail is rated as only “Class 1 hike,” it is a long and arduous hike with nearly 8,000 ft (2,400 m) elevation gain, and a one-way 13 mi (21 km) trek. The Pikes Peak Marathon, a trail race has been held since 1956. I don’t know about you but a thirteen mile hike straight up calls for a cab in my books.

Pikes Peak looms over downtown Colorado Springs and the mountain has been designated a National Historic Landmark. The mountain is composed of a characteristic pink granite referred to as Pikes Peak granite, the color due to a large amount of potassium feldspar. Pikes Peak is the most visited mountain in North America.

Pikes Peak
Photo courtesy of Paul Ehlis

So, have you ever visited Pikes Peak? What was your reaction?

We hope you are able to enjoy a beautiful weekend with nature as your traveling companion.

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Wish I Was There Wednesday ~ November 13, 2019

Mexico
Window display in Puerto Vallarta store, exactly one year ago today.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Remembrance Monday ~ November 11, 2019

Once again, today marks the anniversary to the end of World War I where major hostilities formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918, and the Armistice with Germany went into effect. Originally known as Armistice Day, this US holiday was signed into law on May 26, 1954 by then President Dwight Eisenhower to honor the service of all veterans who served in the Armed Forces. The grammar police (as well as the US Department of Veterans Affairs website) say the officially correct spelling is the attributive case (rather than the possessive) as the proper reference “because it is not a day that ‘belongs’ to veterans, but rather a day to honor all veterans. Using the apostrophe is nonetheless grammatically correct.

Today we honor the service of all U.S. military veterans, and should not be confused with May’s Memorial Day which honors those who died in military service.

Veterans DayThe Ranch hands and I salute veterans who have served their country and once again pray today brings people together as this will be a very contentious week in our nation’s capitol.  Let us remember this is a country where we all long for safety for our families and our country, where we all breathe the same air and enjoy the freedom provided by those who have served their country, and not just those with whom they agree politically. More than ever,  we urge everyone to come together as a united nation as we remember those who  served this great nation.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ November 8, 2019

It’s Friday and time to showcase a slice of the beauty from Mother Nature. It’s also the time where we join our furry buddies, Rosy and her brothers from LLB in our Backyard to check out what others in Blogville share in the hop because you can’t get too much  beauty from Mother Nature.

The weather has been pretty nice for this time of year with today pushing 60 degrees and tomorrow cresting the 70ºF mark. To which I say, yes please! While I really don’t mind cooler temps, i absolutely love the 60-70ºF range. If there weren’t dried brown leaves, you might think it was spring instead of autumn.

But enough of the weather, let’s get to the pretty. Naturally not much is blooming in the garden this time of year so let’s go into a greenhouse and check out some orchids instead.

Flowers

Orchidaceae (orchids) has over 20,000 currently known species, and they can be quite showy, with flowers in an array of colors, shapes, and sizes. While delicate looking these guys are hardy inhabitants when cared for properly.

Flowers

All orchids share some similar characteristics like bilateral symmetry of their flower, where the flowers often appear upside down, supine or upward facing. They nearly always show highly modified petals, fused stamens and carpels, producing very small seeds.

Flowers

Orchids are perennial herbs and lack a permanent woody structure. Orchids do not flower more than once on the same stem generally. Stems should be cut just above the bottom two nodes, or joints after the flower is spent.

Flowers

The showy orchids favored by most people are usually phalaenopsis hybrids (known as moth orchids). These plants enjoy strong (but not direct afternoon) light with either southern or eastern exposure. They need high humidity and turbulent airflow around the roots with regular periods of drying alternated with heavy watering (or drenching rains if you happen to in Hawaii where some of these images were taken). Orchids do best in temperatures above 50 degrees and below 85 degrees.

Orchids have graced the Ranch for somewhat limited lives but lack of long term success hasn’t deterred me from being captivated by these beauties. I mean, whenever I see something as beautiful as these exquisite plants, I want to bring those showy flowers home. Who can resist a beautiful orchid in the winter? I know I still look for something similar to this blue orchid (previously shared earlier this year) which I brought home several years ago from the local grocery store. Although it didn’t survive nearly as long as I had hoped, it sure looked lovely while it did.

Flowers

Have you had luck growing orchids at home?

We hope you are able to get out to enjoy nature this weekend and to find some of the varied beauty Mother Nature offers.

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Monday Musings ~ November 4, 2019

Happy Monday! The Knuckleheads are sharing today’s smile; they think it is an accurate representation of their torment how they feel on cleaning day. How do your dogs react whenever you pull out the Hoover?

Smil

Here’s to a spotless week with plenty of smiles to get you through the dirty parts.

Live, love, bark! 🐾