Nature Friday ~ June 24, 2022

Welcome to this week’s edition of Nature Friday. Award-winning international correspondent, Elsa here joining our fur-pals, Rosy, Sunny and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard with their weekly Nature Friday blog hop. Don’t forget to click on their link to see other posts about nature from around Blogville.

Norman: Ahem…when did you become an award-winning international correspondent? May I remind you that you were born in Northern Colorado?

Elsa: Geography is subjective, brother…besides I needed to beef up my ‘brand’ by creating a compelling presence for these Friday posts.

Norman: Does Mum know what you’re doing?

Elsa: You better not rat me out, hairball or I’ll make your life miserable.

Norman: Trust me, I won’t be the one to tell Mum her blog has been taken over by a fraud someone who’s ‘creating a brand.’

Elsa:  Whatever. Didn’t anyone ever tell you it’s better to ask for forgiveness than permission? Besides, you’re ruining my byline with all this chatter. Let’s get on to showing off this week’s images my pawsome reporting skills.

Norman: Go right ahead but don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Elsa: Thank goodness, maybe now that dolt will let me get on with doing my job. Sheesh…so this week…let’s take a look at some images mom took recently when she went up to the foothills in Morrison, Colorado to meet with family and friends. They met up at a place called The Fort.

What is The Fort, you ask? It’s a full scale adobe replica of the 19th century fur trading fort, Bent’s Fort. Created by Sam’l P. Arnold and his wife, “Bay” (Elizabeth), local amateur historians who wanted to create an authentic adobe home for their children to grow up in the country outside Denver. Purchasing the Morrison property in 1961, they began building the adobe structure consisting of 80,000 adobe blocks for the main building. When construction costs exceeded the budget, Sam’l and Bay had their builders redesign the lower level into a business location while the upper level served as the family’s living quarters. The furniture, gates, doors and chairs were hand carved by Taos artists in the same style as they were in 1833; their restaurant opened for business in February 1963. Today’s menu is inspired by the same recipes that pioneers ate along the Santa Fe Trail of the 1800’s. While the food is terrific,  the scenery is what we’re going to showcase today.

Foothills

As you prepare to enter The Fort, one of the first things you’ll notice are the surrounding rolling hills and scenic vistas. Then you’re greeted  by quite a sight. Yikes, is that a SNAKE? Mom, what are you doing hanging out with snakes?

The Fort

Mom: Well, Miss award-winning, international correspondent, isn’t that part of your job of due diligence/research for this story?

Elsa: Heh, heh…ummm, I’m going with that’s some fancy kind of kinky artwork on the surrounding red rocks. We’ll leave it at that. Moving right along…

Door handles
Doorway to The Fort’s restaurant

Let’s continue, shall we? The courtyard boasts signage about The Fort’s history.

Sign

After reading the sign, you are blown away by the adobe construction and full sized teepee inside in the courtyard.

Courtyard

Teepee

The bear carving is a replica of the adopted Canadian black bear cub the Arnold’s daughter played with as a child. ‘Sissy the Bear’ lived with the family for 19 years.

The Fort

The Fort is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Fort

An outdoor patio has a few water features that add to the ambience of the area.Water feature

As you prepare to order a meal, you can look out toward Denver and imagine what Native Americans and pioneers alike encountered with the landscape while enjoying a lovely evening.

The Fort

Well, that’s it for this week. Join us again next time when we look at all the remarkable sights Nature is kind enough to provide us. We hope you are able to enjoy Nature the weekend. Stay cool if at all possible, and drink lots of water, okay. This is Elsa, award-winning international correspondent signing out  but before I go, don’t forget it’s “Take Your Dog to Work” today. I hope this means I’ll get lots of treats in the studio. You did bring home a buffalo bone or two, right mom? Have a great weekend, everyone.

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Monday Musings ~ June 20, 2022

Smiles

As Norman decides if it’s summer or winter (trust me, it’s DEFINITELY summer), we’ve been visiting the ‘neighbors’ near my Dad’s house. More pics to come later in the week.

Signs

Have a great week.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ June 17, 2022

Ranch HandsGreetings, nature lovers! Elsa here with this week’s gander at some of what nature dished out this week. We’re joining those Land of Enchantment cuties, Rosy, Sunny and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard with their weekly Nature Friday blog hop. Don’t forget to click on the link to see spots of nature from around Blogville.

Like many places across the country, the weather has been hot, hot, hot. As a pup gardener with a black coat, it’s been brutal. Mum has to walk us at the crack of dawn so me and my dolt of a brother don’t melt. He’s not a fan of the heat either and both of us suffered until mum could find someone to start up her rooftop evaporative cooler. We’re finally online now enjoying pleasant conditions indoors. Whew…those triple digits we’ve had were brutal. But apparently the garden seems to enjoy them which proves there’s no accounting for taste.

Nature FridayThe most notable plant we encountered this week is the Mock Orange shrub. Mum goes nuts when this shrub starts blooming with its white flowers and their sweet, citrusy fragrance. Once it blooms it’s pretty unremarkable as shrubs go. Still, Norman is compelled to try and treat it like it’s a bulletin board by attempting to leave ‘messages’ to every 4-legged passerby in the ‘Hood. Mock orange has a soft texture not usually found in xeric shrubs with it’s oval-shaped leaves and billowy vase-shaped growth. It looks great in a perennial border in a naturalistic landscape and tolerates Colorado’s poor, heavy soil. It will even thrive in dry shade locations.

Flowers

Next up on this week’s photo roll are the Smoke Bush shrubs that we see along our walking route in several spots. A deciduous shrub/small tree, it has beautiful purple-pink ‘smokey’ plumes with purplish leaves which turn a gorgeous shade of mahogany in the autumn.

Flowers

A closeup below shows the trademark, flowering hairy clusters which bloom white flowers resembling smoke drifting in a breeze. Flowers

Smoke bush has an upright, multi-stemmed form that reaches about 12 ft. tall with either waxy green or purplish leaves. It is a moderately xeric shrub and prefers well draining soil.

Ice Plants throughout the neighborhood are exploding with color. I may be a scrappy Ninja but I still prefer the girlish, hot pink color. Check out this one that I see every day.

Flowers

Closer to home, the cherry tomato mum planted just a couple of weeks ago is already beginning to produce even though it didn’t have a lot of flowers formed when she planted it. She hadn’t expected seeing tomatoes for another couple of weeks but they seem to love hot days and cool nights. She actually squealed out loud when she saw this little puppy. Mums can be so doggone embarrassing.

Tomato plant

I certainly won’t eat any (blech on veggies other than green beans or broccoli) but it seems to make mum happy and as long as those hoodlum tree rats don’t try to filch any, I’m happy for her.

So what’s going on in your garden? Doing anything exciting this weekend? I’m taking a vacation from the brother where I can lounge around with all the toys while he and mum go visit her dad in southern Colorado for Father’s Day. Which reminds me, I hope all the dog daddies out there have a ‘pawsome’ Sunday with their families this weekend and hope a spot of nature is part of the celebration.

That’s it for me. This girl’s gotta go take a nap to digest breakfast. Make it a ‘wagnificent’ weekend. Signing out…your favorite neighborhood Ninja.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Wordy Wednesday ~ June 15, 2022

Given how crazy and wild things have been lately, I couldn’t help but wonder if things were better ‘back in the day’ and found this look back in history. The nostalgia was definitely noticeable on my spirits. Wordless Wednesday

Do you have an “I remember when” moment from way back when? It seems we may simply trade problems through the years.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Monday Musings ~ June 13, 2022

Smile

Not sure about you, but that’s not a problem for me. Happy Monday. May you and your ‘popular guest’ have a fabulous week. Try to stay cool this week.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ June 10, 2022

We made it to another Friday  where we join our fur-pals, Rosy, Sunny and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard with their weekly Nature Friday blog hop. Be sure to click on the link to see spots of nature from around Blogville.

Monday we actually received a little shower to the delight of germinating weeds everywhere. Since that moisture and accompanying pleasant temps, areas all over the Southwest have begun their march toward the summer solstice. Temperatures have been steadily moving into pizza oven temperature range and will likely reach the upper 90’sF this weekend. With a black dog and a dog with a ready made fur coat, we’re already beginning to look forward to autumn since not one of us do heat very well.

Offerings are somewhat on the lean side since other than before 6:00 AM it’s not tolerable enough to leisurely walk among fresh blooms, but a few things caught my eye early in the week.

First off, let’s wander around our own garden. The climbing rose near the front door was beginning to burst forth with hundreds of small, delicately scented white blossoms. The lupine were in their prime as well. P.S. Let me know if you want any seeds, there are plenty for sharing. Again. Despite brutal culling last autumn. You can hand water like crazy but let nature deposit a smidgeon of rain and it will turn it into an jungle oasis.

Flowers

As of this morning, it is totally covered with small white flowers, despite being cut down to the ground last autumn. Some branches are above the roofline and there may even be a mailman or two stuck in the branches somewhere that will need to be rescued.

Here’s a close up of the blooms following Monday’s lovely shower. They really are delicate and have the loveliest, slightly spicy scent. Maybe those hi-tech billionaires might want to work on  creating scratch and sniff apps for computer screens rather than dashing off to the moon. Just a thought.

Flowers

The Queen of the garden has begun her reign. The garden has 7 peony bushes, but this colorful one is the most striking. And talk about a divine scent. Whoa Nellie!

Flowers

The poppies are likewise drawing attention to their colorful petals. The ones in my garden are the traditional orange but this one at a nearby garden is an absolutely gorgeous shade of peachy-pink.

Flowers

Our daily walks take us past a front garden that has quite a collection of cactus featured in it and this one definitely caught my attention. Quite the punch of color within the perennials, wouldn’t you say? It almost looks like a tulip but with those spines, best to appreciate from afar.

Flowers

Well that’s it from the Mile High. We hope you are able to stay cool yet enjoy some of nature’s more picturesque elements. Have a great weekend.

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Wordy Wednesday ~ June 8, 2022

We’re departing from our usual wordless format in favour of a pictorial recollection from the weekend fundraiser held at the Park Meadows location of Orvis who offered gift wrapping to their customers for a donation to the OES Rescue. We are always grateful for their support but to visit directly with customers at an event is extra special. Because of Norman’s pet therapy experience, he was the weekend’s ambassador showing the general public how great rescued dogs can be, given a chance.

Welcoming us to the store was a sandwich board showing current conditions at favorite regional fishing spots, and sporting an adorable OES face. After a quick set up of the wrapping table and after meeting the staff who showered Norman with affection. Customers began arriving shortly thereafter and we enjoyed chatting with them. My good friend and fellow volunteer, Anastacia (who arranged for this event), and I wrapped gifts while chatting with folks while Norman did his thing.

Norman

For those unfamiliar with Orvis, it’s an American family-owned retail and mail-order business specializing in fly fishing, hunting and sporting goods. Founded in Manchester, Vermont, back in 1856 by Charles F. Orvis to sell fishing tackle, it is the nation’s oldest mail-order retailer and this location is a dog friendly retailer at a large mall.

One of the first visitors was a woman who instantly fell in love with Norman and said she would return with her daughter and granddaughter. Shortly thereafter, this little cutie marched in and strolled up to meet Norman.

Her mom and grandmother chatted with us for several minutes and all enjoyed their time with Norman. His soft fur and patient disposition never disappoint.

Norman is nothing if not an equal-opportunity therapist…he enjoys youngsters as well as older folks alike.

Norman

Norman easily size people up and seems to know who will offer an ear rub and those who will offer a nice belly rub as well.

NormanNorman

Norman spent the entire day meeting and greeting customers. Most didn’t want gift wrapping but still left a donation nonetheless for which we were most thankful. To reward Norman for all his hard work, he got to pick out a toy from  numerous offerings. You may recall the customer who liked Norman so much at Orvis’ Christmas event, she purchased one that he still adores to this day.

Norman
Oh…the choices

The elephant had been intriguing to Norman back in December, but he barely acknowledged it this time.

Norman
Hmm…this one has possibilities

He thoroughly checked all the offerings.

Norman

In the end, Norman put his paw of approval on the sloth, a choice that was most unexpected.

Norman

This was THE one.

Norman
My favorite!

It was a long day yet Norman performed like the consummate professional he is. He was one happy but tuckered out boy.

Norman

Next week Orvis will host another event where a different pup and volunteer will help out Anastacia. It should be a good one for the rescue too since Orvis is running a big promotion to coincide with Father’s Day weekend. While Norman and I won’t be there, we are excited at the potential for another very successful day.

Hope you’ve enjoyed seeing a few pics from our day at Orvis. We want to thank Orvis and their gracious staff for their ongoing support of our rescue.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Monday Musings ~ June 6, 2022

It was a full and busy weekend. Norman and I participated in an all day fundraiser for the sheepdog rescue (we’ll have a post on that soon) so today’s smile seemed pretty spot on from our standpoint.

Smile

We hope your weekend was ‘wagnificent’ and today (as well as the entire week), being even better.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ June 3, 2022

Ranch HandsWelcome to this week’s edition Nature Friday  where we join the blog hop hosted by our fur-pals, Rosy, Sunny and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard.

Norman: Since I kind of took the last word from last week’s post, I’m giving free and full reign to the Ninja because I’m a proper gentleman. Elsa: More like I threatened you, you gigantic heap of fur. I don’t consider this much of a gift-it’s more like acquiescence in the face of harm. I still think you owe me but mom said I shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth. So with that, let’s take a look at a springtime lovely, otherwise known as the Bearded Iris.

Beardies, as mom likes to affectionately call them, are hardworking and easy to grow. They like full sun and tend to prefer well-drained soil to keep the rhizomes from rotting. Since our soil is more claylike, we tend to water them less and they’ve done fine.

Twenty years ago before either me or the Oaf moved in to the Ranch, mom found an iris farm in the heart of the city shortly after moving in. “Iris Bob” has been in the business for years, and grows more than 400 varieties of tall Bearded Irises. Sadly, they’ve been closed to visits since the panDAMNic. We’re hoping next year they’ll reopen. It’s a real treat to wander through the rows of gorgeous flowers. For a bird’s eye view of the farm, check out this short YouTube video.

Isn’t that something?! I’m gonna see if we can get a drone so I can spy on squirrels better-it could give me an edge on those doggone tree rats! Norman: Umm, let’s stay on point, shall we? Elsa: Growl. While mom’s garden is nowhere near the extent or scale as Iris Bob’s, it became the foundation for her garden. Happy now? Norman: Indubitably.

Flowers

The house mom owned before had one nearly black iris and she dug it up and brought it with her. It was the start of her obsession of bearded irises. While her garden has mostly blue or deep purple, she as a large border of the traditional purple but they have variegated foliage. Their flowers aren’t particularly exceptional, but the striped leaves provide interest all year long.

Flowers
View from the ground at the Iris Farm

Did you know the irises take their name from the Greek word for a rainbow (also the name for the Greek goddess of the rainbow, Iris)? Some suggest the name refers to the wide variety of colors found among the many species. The “beard” refers to those short hairs that look like a furry caterpillar, and are found toward the back of the lower petals. Its purpose is to a path for pollinating insects toward the reproductive parts of the plant. Bearded irises now tend to have larger blooms than they did a hundred years ago.

While growing beardies is fairly easy, according to Iris Bob (and taken directly from his website), here are some rules that can ensure good results so you too, can enjoy these springtime beauties.

Rules of Thumb for Tall Bearded Iris:

  • Minimum of 6 hours of sunshine per day.
  • Good drainage
  • Plant 7-12 inches apart.
  • Divide every 3 to 4 years
  • Fertilize late summer with a LOW nitrogen fertilizer, 14-14-14 (or something similar)
  • Fertilize in the spring with a high phosphorous fertilizer, 0-48-0 (triple super phosphate for root development)
  • Don’t overwater.
  • Don’t plant too deep [this is one of the biggest mistakes people can make]
  • Remove dead brown foliage and bloom-stalks when last flower folds.

So let’s see a few of the pretty ones from around our garden. Mom has always loved the super dark irises. They are unusual and she likes that kind of stuff. It’s probably why she adopted Norman. They don’t get anymore ‘unusual’ than him. Norman: I beg your pardon…I would never say unkind things about my sister. Elsa: Umm, Fathead…I thought you were going to butt out of MY post. Norman: Umm, sorry…go on. {Sigh}

As I was saying before being so rudely interrupted, here are a few pics of some of mom’s favorite irises blooms.

Flowers
Black bearded iris being crowded out by the variegated irises (note to mom-make sure you divide those guys this year)

Another showstopper is this speckled iris. It’s like Mother Nature got the hiccups. Tee-hee.

Flowers

Here Mother Nature decided to compete with Picasso with a ruffled variety. What do you think…Yay or Nay?

Flowers

Here’s a peach colored one from a walk this week that looks so bright and happy. I tried to sniff it but mom pulled me away since a bee was enjoying its dinner.

Flowers

And finally, this delicate looking one that always makes mom smile.

Flowers

Notice the spots of moisture? We actually got a couple of days of showers this week-something we rarely receive. Mom was happy, but my crybaby brother can’t stand getting wet so I have to hear him winge on about it. Norman: I do not winge. I simply observe. Elsa: Whatever.

Anyhow, we hope you enjoyed our my post on bearded irises. Do you have them in your garden?

We hope you are able to get out this weekend and see things blooming now. Luckily, I’ll get a free day tomorrow while Norman goes to an Old English Sheepdog Rescue benefit as an ambassador for rescued dogs. For me it means I can destroy play with the toys by myself. Yay! Have a great weekend.

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾