Nature Friday ~ June 11, 2021

TDIF (thank dog it’s Friday)! Welcome to this week’s edition of Nature Friday. As always, we’re joining that pawsome quartet, blog hosts Rosy, Sunny, Arty and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard to see what’s going on with Mother Nature through the eyes of Blogville’s finest. Be sure to click on the link to check out what others are sharing.

This week has been a heat lover’s dream. For six days in a row, the temp has exceeded 90ºF. All those lush lupines are beginning their final hurrah. But no fear, garden pollinators are still enjoying them.

Yesterday morning I noticed a bumblebee slurping at rhe lupines. Did you know bumblebees have over 250 species in the genus Bombus and are generally found primarily at higher altitudes or latitudes in the Northern Hemisphere, although there are some lowland tropical species that have been identified in South America. Unlike honeybees, bumblebees have the ability to sting repeatedly, but they generally ignore humans and other animals.

Most bumblebee varieties are traditional social insects which form colonies containing a single queen, although their colonies tend to be smaller than those of their honeybee cousins.

Bees

Bumblebees have rounded bodies covered in soft hair making them appear and feel fuzzy. Their coloring which is known as aposematic (i.e. warning) coloration, consisting of contrasting bands of color. In our garden, the traditional black and yellow bands rule. Female hind legs are modified forming a pollen basket, a bare shiny area surrounded by a fringe of hairs, which is used to transport collected pollen.

Like their relatives the honeybees, bumblebees feed on nectar, using their long hairy tongues to lap up the liquid. Their proboscis is folded under the head during flight. This lady must have been on a real bender judging by her tenacious drinking of the lupine nectar.

Bees

Watching this female was quite zen inducing. She buzzed from one floweret to another, making sure she got every drop of that delicious brew. I sat and watched her for quite some time as she industriously went about her work. Notice the orange-ish pollen bucket?

Bees

Bumblebees weren’t the only visitors yesterday morning. Shortly after the bumblebee moved on to another part of the garden, I heard this guy buzzing about. Not sure what kind of bee it is, but it was noisy and frenetic with its pollen search. He’s kind of hard to pick out so the area where he was at has been enlarged for easy spotting. I’m guessing some kind of wasp. Not my favorite garden visitor!

Bees

But pollinators weren’t the only things we discovered this week. On yesterday’s early morning walk, we came across this mega dandelion seed head. It pretty much stopped me in my tracks. It was so fascinating to focus on the spines that hold the actual seed. It was a good 3-4 inches across. There’s gotta be a boatload of prospective weeds in this single plant!

Dandelion

Whatever you end up doing this weekend, we hope you are able to get out early to avoid the heat and be sure to wear sunscreen and keep hydrated. It’s gonna be a scorcher here and through next week as well so we’ll be getting out at sunrise to avoid the heat or hanging out in the shade seeing what nature offers us next. Have a great weekend!

Live, love, bark! 🐾

 

Two-Word Wednesday ~ June 9, 2021

Early morning.

Flowers

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Monday Musings ~ June 7, 2021

Mum: Wake up, Norman.

Norman: Wait…it’s Monday again? Argh. My ear may be standing at attention, I’m just not feeling this whole Monday thing in my bones. Where did my weekend go?

Monday

Norman, Elsa and I wish you a happy Monday and an even happier week.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ June 4, 2021

Thank Dawg It’s Friday (TDIF)! Welcome to the first Nature Friday of June. We’re joining our favorite quartet, blog hosts Rosy, Sunny, Arty and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard to see what’s going on with Mother Nature through the eyes of Blogville’s finest. Be sure to click on the link to check out what others are sharing.

When I left the Mile High City to visit my dad, it was definitely early spring with cooler temps, late spring snow storms and our urban garden was barely awake with mostly spring bulbs taking center stage. A good week of wet, cool weather brought the garden to life. When I returned home, I barely recognized my yard. The Lupine had gone ballistic and the garden had taken on a rather jungle like atmosphere. I just stood there in awe taking in all the various colors and verdant greenery.

Just before Norman and I returned back to Denver, we were greeted with the strangest phenomena we’ve encountered in southeast Colorado. Fog. I don’t ever remember seeing fog over the years at my parents house but it provided an interesting shroud over prairie landscapes.

Flowers

It remained rainy and cool the entire time I was away (both in Denver as well as the Pueblo prairie) and when we returned home we encountered a very unfamiliar jungle.

Flowers

It was as though the lupine said ‘enough of this snoozing’ and promptly exploded into shades of blue, purple, violet, red and pink. For a second I thought I’d gone to the wrong house. These late spring bloomers showed their appreciation for all the rain that fell while we were away by exploding into colorful blooms. They completely covered the garden flagstone path that meanders through the yard. Even the ‘resident pony,’ otherwise known as Norman, was dwarfed in the lupine display.

Norman

FlowersWhile lupine is a general favorite amongst the neighbors, the real beauties making their presence known around the ‘hood are today’s featured plant…the tall bearded irises that are beginning to compete with the lupines. When I first moved into this house, I planted a small corner space of these beauties that have steadily expanded over the years.

Flowers

Bearded irises come in a variety of colors ranging from pale to deep. My favorites are the darkest of the dark or anything with a bluish tint.

Flowers

The tall bearded iris was once called “the extrovert of the iris world.” -M.Hamblen & K.Keppel, The World of Iris (1978). And no wonder. Just look at these lovelies!

Flowers

Flowers

Bearded irises are very easy to grow. Simply plant rhizomes in a sunny spot (but not too deeply) in well drained soil. Give them a bit of space, don’t mulch, and divide every 3-5 years. Remove spent blooms but leave foliage until autumn. Some varieties have variegated foliage which provides additional interest once the flowers have faded. With low water needs, bearded irises are perfect for xeric gardens. Reblooming hybrids are becoming more popular, blooming both in late spring and early autumn.

Flowers

With all their gorgeous looks, what are you waiting for? Get out there and enjoy tall bearded iris in your neighborhood.

We hope you have a great weekend and enjoy the bounty nature provides this time of year.

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

[Nearly] Wordless Wednesday ~ June 2, 2021

Flower

Rain droplets on a dandelion make for an almost prickly looking image.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Monday Musings ~ Memorial Day 2021

Memorial DayToday is Memorial Day in the U.S., a nationally recognized ‘howliday’ where we remember all those who died while serving in the country’s armed forces. Originally it was known as Decoration Day following the Civil War when Union and Confederate soldiers honored their dead by decorating their graves with flowers. The moniker “Decoration Day” was first used in 1882 while “Memorial Day” wasn’t common until some time after World War II. The name was officially recognized in 1967.

Normally thought of as the unofficial start of summer, this year is acting more like November than May. For this morning’s walk, Norman was greeted with 48ºF and a light rain. The forecast indicates it will stay cool today but will start to warm-up tomorrow.

NormanWhatever you do today, we hope you take a moment to reflect on the occasion to honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice so that you can be free to shop or BBQ. Have a safe holiday.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ May 28, 2021

Nature FridayIt’s Nature Friday where we snoop around and revel in all the beauty Nature offers. As usual, we’re joining our weekly hosts, that adorable quartet of pups, Rosy, Sunny, Arty and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard. Don’t forget to click on the link to check out what they and others in Blogville have shared.

Today may be the last Friday of May but it is also the beginning of an extended weekend in the U.S. ~ Memorial Day, where we remember and honor all those who gave the ultimate sacrifice serving their country. We hold all who have served in high esteem but especially those men and women who gave their lives so that the rest of us may continue to stay free.

Norman is going to do the honors of sharing the nature we came across this week. He travelled with me to spend some time with my dad in southeast Colorado. Take it away, Norman!

Thanks, mum. It’s been a good week naturewise. I’m not used to the landscapes of Southern Colorado where Grandpa lives but have enjoyed exploring the terrain and seeing some interesting and fascinating things around this part of the state and I’m super chuffed to be able to share them with everyone.

The surrounding area where Grandpa lives is an area that’s known for its prairie and desert-like conditions. Even though water is scarce, there is still a lot of diverse plant life. Much like the song, you’ll see “spacious skies, amber waves of grain, and purple mountain majesties above the fruited plain.” Mum only had her cell phone with her so this distance photo isn’t all that great but if you look real close, you’ll see some tiny black dots to the far left of those piñon trees who were ‘singing’ to us one morning. Mum said they were cattle from the nearby Walker Ranch. They sure don’t sound like any dog I’ve ever heard.

Mountains

Closer to the house, we found all sorts of prairie and desert flowers. I had to be careful where I stepped to avoid some pretty serious stickers called goat heads but I was a good boy avoiding them as we walked along the roadside.

Flowers

From Blanketflower to prairie daisies to yucca, mum and I saw it all. The walking stick cactus haven’t bloomed yet but may come out in the next few days. Last weekend’s moisture really brought the desert landscape to life. Just look at the ‘flowers’ on this yucca!

Yucca
Yucca

Here are some primroses we found this morning. Aren’t they a cheerful looking bunch?

Flowers
Primroses

Most of the flowers we came across are either orange or yellow but there are a few purplish/pink clusters to be found as well.

Flowers

Recent rain showers, while nothing like English weather, have greened up the prairie grass. It’s usually tan.

Flowers
Blanket flowers

There are a number of trees on Grandpa’s property including some ancient piñon trees and some Ponderosa pines he planted. This piñon is a few hundred years old and is a nice spot of shade for an English chap like myself who still isn’t 100% used to the high altitude intense sun yet. Good thing I got my summer haircut recently or I’d have been a panting fool in the sunlight.

Norman

We’ve been getting up at the crack of dawn early most mornings to start the day with a walk in the cool morning temperatures. This morning was extra exciting as I got to meet some of the ‘neighbors.’ Usually it’s just me, mum and the bus driver picking up kids for school around at that hour. Does anyone know what kind of dogs these are? The two smaller ones had the strangest bark I’ve ever heard.

Donkeys

Mum and I hope yours is a safe and happy Memorial Day weekend and you are able to enjoy some of the incredible sights of nature.

Live, love, bark!  🐾

Wordless Wednesday ~ May 26, 2021

Flower

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Monday Musings ~ May 24, 2021

Welcome to Monday. As I was looking for a smile to share, I came across this cartoon. My dogs cannot fathom spending too much time with me. They make sure it’s in the tightest of quarters just to keep things interesting. In my small, narrow galley-style kitchen, Norman apparently thinks I need tightrope walker training by ‘encouraging’ me to navigate around him while cooking. Having this dog means your joints get well lubricated as you high-step over him.

Smile

We hope your week is spent with lots of pawsome ‘underfoot’ time. Happy Monday.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ May 21, 2021

Happy TGIF and welcome to another episode of Nature Friday, hosted by our Pacific Northwest fur-iends, Rosy, Sunny, Arty and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard. Don’t forget to click on the link to check out what they and others in Blogville shared.

Nature Friday

Having enjoyed more than a few days of life sustaining moisture earlier this week, spring has ramped up its presence. Tulips continue to bloom but other spring bulbs and tubers are now front and center. Alliums, a member of the garlic family, are now blooming and are quite gorgeous. We’ve been encountering many of them along our daily walks. Allium are a genus of monocotyledonous flowering plants that includes hundreds of species, including cultivated onion, garlic, scallion, shallot, leek, and chives. Did you know allium is the Latin word for garlic? Allium vary in size in the different species, ranging from small (approximately 2–3 mm in diameter) to large (8–10 cm). 

Flowers

Bearded irises have begun blooming too, assuring lovely bouquets for alfresco dining.

Flowers

Even the heavenly-scented lilacs, are beginning to emerge from a long winter sleep.

Flowers

With all the rain we’ve received lately, woodland plants are verdant and beginning to bloom. Lupines and woodruff are some of my favorites.

Flowers

Not all the moisture that’s fallen recently has been rain. It recently has been ‘snowing’ a bit, too.

Flowers

Just kidding, that fallen ‘snow’ is just spent blossoms. Had you going there for a second, didn’t I?

It seems warmer and drier weather is in the foreseeable future and will be welcomed. Yesterday was a day of R&R enjoying the landscape while visiting my dad in southeast Colorado.

We hope you enjoy your weekend but don’t forget to use some sunscreen. Or you could spend outdoor time under an umbrella like I did yesterday. Either way, we hope any time is spent outside enjoying nature is ‘wagnificent.’

Sunny days

Live, love, bark! 🐾