Nature Friday ~ November 6, 2020

It’s Friday and if you made it still in tact, kudos for you. This week has been filled with major chaos and churn. If you’ve been under a rock or without WiFi, you may not have heard there was a major election in the US. We’re still waiting for the final results but the Ranch Hands and I are celebrating some local and statewide proposals. First, Denver voters repealed the city’s 30-year long pit bull ban. This past February, the Denver City Council voted to repeal the ban but the mayor vetoed the ban. His office released this statement at the time saying, “while Mayor Hancock has always been forthright in sharing he could not, in good conscious, sign the bill to overturn Denver’s pit bull ban, he has also been very clear he supported putting this decision in the hands of Denver voters.” While I’m not 100% thrilled with the legislation which doesn’t go into effect until January 1, 2021, it is a step in the right direction. Rather than calling it a repeal of the ban, it’s more accurately a bit of a “time-out” as owners will be granted a special permit to own up to 2 dogs and must comply with other requirements including microchipping and vaccination. If there are no incidents (i.e. dog bite charges filed within three years), the special restrictions can be dropped. Our family has had first hand experience with so-called ‘pit bulls’ and they’ve all been absolute sweethearts. For the record, there is no actual ‘pit bull’ breed that exists but rather a category of various dogs with similar characteristics. A certain type of dog descending from bulldogs and terriers, have been lumped into a category known as the American Pit Bull Terrier breed. First used 1927, the term pit bull is usually considered a heterogeneous grouping including the breeds of American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, American Bully, Staffordshire Bull Terrier and occasionally the American Bulldog, along with any crossbred dog that shares certain physical characteristics with these breeds. It’s canine profiling in our books and we have been outspoken about it for years. City voters approved the repeal with 65% in favor.

Though not yet certified, it appears that Proposition 114 narrowly passed statewide allowing wolves to be reintroduced on Colorado’s Western Slope. There has been a 40-year effort to return wolf populations to Colorado after they were hunted into extinction in the 1920s.

So enough election results, let’s move on and take a gander at what Mother Nature dished out this week for another episode of Nature Friday where we joined our friends, Rosy, Sunny, Arty and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard. Our area has officially moved into the brown season where everything is drab, dry and brown. That said, there are some spots of color…but we’ll need to look indoors.

Cactus

A couple of days ago, one of two cacti at the Ranch started blooming (the other one is coral colored and doesn’t bloom as reliably as this one). It’s still a bit early but it’s vibrant color is very welcomed and hopefully will last until Christmas. Various common names include ‘Christmas cactus, Thanksgiving cactus, crab cactus or holiday cactus.’  This one is likely the genus Schlumbergera, and one of the two groups within the cultivar known as Truncata which displays stem segments with pointed teeth; the flowers are held more or less horizontally, and whose upper side is differently shaped from the lower side (zygomorphic) and been a part of my indoor garden for probably over 20 years. Flowering earlier than members of the second group, Buckley,i it is actually considered a tropical plant hailing from Brazil and requires higher water and humidity requirements than its Southwest cactus buddies. Maintaining these beauties is pretty simple. Water deeply whenever the top inch or so of soil is dry, repot if the soil gets hard or compacted, and allow the water to slowly penetrate the tight soil. Fertilize  only when actively growing or when blooming. The soil should be a well-draining potting soil mix. It likes bright, indirect light for best blooming conditions while avoiding cold, drafty spots or locations close to a heat source. Pinch back stem ends following blooming helps make for a bushier plant.

So anything blooming in your indoor garden? Do you have a ‘Christmas cactus? How’s it doing?

We hope you have a lovely weekend where we hope the week’s chaos is finally resolved. Be sure to get out there and enjoy some nature-trust me, it helps. After setting record temperatures the past couple of days conditions may become more typical with a slight chance of moisture. Keep your fingers crossed-we’re in desperate need of wet stuff.

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

69 thoughts on “Nature Friday ~ November 6, 2020

  1. Yay for the great election news in your state!!!
    I have a geranium that I brought indoors to put to bed for the winter. However, it continues to bloom so it’s sitting in a nice window for now!
    We’re enjoying some Indian summer this week, and I mean enjoying! I’m finally going to be able to finish up some outside work since it’s actually going to last into my day off – yay!

    1. Blooming geraniums are so cheerful during winter months. It’s been warm all week but will go back to 40’s and 50’s next week. Which is ok as we move toward Thanksgiving. 🦃

  2. The media was obsessed with pit bull attacks when I was a kid. If they weren’t making me afraid the Soviets were going to nuke us all, they had me worried a pit bull was going to eat me walking to school. The seeds were planted and they sprouted and dug deep roots. Most of the prejudices and biases I have in my life were born from watching TV growing up. And people look at me weird when I tell them I don’t watch the “news” anymore…

    1. Over the years there have been numerous canine boogeymen (Dobermans, Rottweilers, German Shepherds to name a few). There are aggressive dogs in every breed attributable to a lack of socialization and/or training. Humans have fouled things up but good by exacerbating special physical traits of many breeds. Me I’d much rather meet up with a pit-type dog than a Chihuahua any day!

  3. Our two American Staffords are sweeties. Luckily the less desirable of our neighbours do not realise this/
    My Christmas cactus keeps producing flowers which are promptly picked off by the bird population on the balcony…spoilsports that they are.

    1. I’m a huge Staffie fan. Every single one I’ve ever met is such a good natured lunkhead. If they keep away potential bad-doers away is just fine with me. 😈 It’s nice you allow the birds to enjoy those plants. Must be tasty nectar.

  4. I totally agree that the problem with any animal generally is at the other end of the leash. If a dog knows only violence and fear, they pass that on. It’s not their fault – they have been “trained” by their humans. VERY SAD and has given several breeds a bad name. My Christmas Cactus has a zillion buds on it and is about to bloom – I can’t wait I love the long process of tiny bud to flower of these plants and I guess I’ve pretty much ALWAYS had one in the house! Happy Caturday!

    Hugs, Pam (and Teddy too)

    1. Socialization makes all the difference in the world with any dog but it really cheeses me off that they are the ones who end up paying for the misdeeds of their owners.

      Christmas cacti provide such beauty for an extended period of time-perfect for those drab winter days. Enjoy!

  5. Oh yes, we have a Christmas cactus. I was wondering how your plant is in blossom so early, then I realized it is already November. The sun is shining, the grass is green and heat temperatures are breaking up. This year is weird. Our newspapers are full of your election, even the covid-19 has forgotten for some days.

    1. It’s been blooming early for several years now. Not sure why. Sometimes, it’ll even bloom twice a year.

  6. Dog fighting rings are found in the area, if you know where to look. People are warned not to give away a dog or cat as they are used for bait, and several pit bulls are stolen from back yards and never seen again.
    I have no cactus, but many kalanchoes which ccan bloom most of the year. Right now, thugh, it is the salvias and lavendar the bees are hanging around.

    1. Thank you for swinging by; we 💙 visitors. Boy, I could take lavender blooming all year long! Love that stuff.

      Yeah, I fear dog fighting operations are a lot like puppy mills. They pop up and down all the time; it’s like playing whack-a-mole. 😬

  7. Yay! I thinks it’s the dog, not the breed, that is the problem. Banning a certain breed is just stupid.
    Ma has two of those cactuses, butts they are outside..all year! Yeah, they do fine, and they are like 10 years old too. Ma doesn’t do anything butts water and fertilize sometimes. It’s one of the few plants she doesn’t kill ☺ (those and hibiscus)
    Kisses,
    Ruby ♥

    1. It’s definitely the individual dog but more importantly its owner. How lucky you are to grow those cactus and hibiscus outdoors. I’m pretty jealous (except when it gets up to 115F). 😇

  8. Happy for any ‘pitties’ that liver in your area.

    That is a beautiful ‘Christmas Cactus’! I love those, but they can be ‘temperamental’! I had one years ago that was huge, and faithfully flowered twice a year…but I had to leave it behind with friends when I moved to the USA.

    I have one now full of buds, in a coolish bedroom. It gets eastern exposure. I took off shoots and they have grown into a large plant, but it only has one or two buds on it. Not sure why, its in the same place!

    I do not have plants i my living areas, since we had nibbly kitties, and now with no more kitties, I bemoan the fact that I do not even have windowsills in our very old house. I might get a narrow bench to serve as a plant shelf…for my south facing window.

    1. Thanks! Boy I know all about those nibbler pets. I had to put all the plants out of Elsa’s reach; she’s notorious for eating things she shouldn’t.

      The pit bull ban repeal is not perfect, but definitely a step in the right direction.

  9. What a beautiful Christmas Cactus!

    Love to see Denver is moving in the right direction to prevent the ban of Pit Bulls!

    1. Thank you. We’re happy about the repeal too but think the hoops pit owners will have to jump through seem onerous. But it’s good start.

  10. We have a Christmas cactus – well, in a room I don’t often enter. I’ll have to take a look on what’s going on. I knew Election Day offered many drug-related issues … including a vote about magic mushrooms … but thanks to you, I now pitbulls were also on the ballot.

        1. There were far too many citizen initiatives on the ballot (which as a general rule, I loathe). With federal, state and local issues and a whole bevy of judicial retentions, it took that many pages to cover them all. But the citizen initiatives are the worst. Just special issue items that are not well thought out. Besides, why have a legislature if you special interests are going to put things on the ballot?

  11. Glad to hear about allowing the Pit bulls back in Denver. I agree that I haven’t met a dangerous pit bull – most are just wanting love. But, I do have a cautious respect of them, especially if there are more than one running loose. The only dog that I have ever been bitten by was a Dachshund. I think the smaller dogs can be worse because their owners think it is cute that they “think they are big and brave.” Umm, no! Please keep your dog under control, regardless of the size. I do have a Christmas Cactus that usually blooms. It hasn’t this year. From your post, I think it could be because I rearranged the furniture and it now gets more sun, plus it is in front of the intake for the AC, so very drafty. I guess I need to move it. Yours is gorgeous.

    1. Thanks. Hopefully yours will bloom soon.

      Owners make all the difference in the world when it comes to any breed.

  12. Most pit bull owners live in abject fear that their large dog might someday meet up with a Maltese who will quite literally tear the pitbull limb from limb. Few people realize just how fierce and powerful a full grown Maltese can be. Not all bully breeds are big.

  13. Oh, your cactus is beautiful, love that color. We have two here but no signs of blooming yet. Mom trimmed them quite a bit this year so it may not be a flowerful year.

    Woos – Lightning, Misty, and Timber

  14. These beautiful dogs are so tragically misunderstood, it’s just insane. I had the good fortune of working with them when I volunteered. They would come into the kennel with all kinds of stories, none of them good. Of course, this was made possible by criminal negligence in most cases, by humans.

    One girl in particular, I will always carry with me when the conversation turns to this. Her name was Lucy. My first encounter with her . . no bueno. Neither was the second or the third. But over the course of a couple months, we bonded and I was walking her. She wasn’t some vicious creature, but a lovely little lady that got dealt the wrong card but was making it back thanks to some love and understanding.

    As for the bloom, I love it.

    Happy Friday.

  15. Very good news on the 2 propositions. To target a breed like that in unthinkable. It’s the people who make them mean who should be targeted! My Lucy probably has some type of bully breed in her, and she is sweetness itself.

    1. That is definitely the truth. We’ve been attacked by Chihuahuas and Jack Russells more than pits.

        1. One recently attacked Norman. He was like a snappy turtle that wouldn’t let go of him leg. Little monster.

            1. I used to board — for weeks at a time — the sweetest JRT. He got along with my dogs, my cats, and played with me until I dropped (he never dropped, so much energy). He befriended all the other dogs that came to my house, too.

              1. That’s wonderful, happy you had a good experience. It just goes to show not all dogs are alike and shouldn’t be lumped into a stereotype.

    1. I never put these into direct light but they do receive a fair amount of indirect light. Sometimes you have to play around and adjust their environment to get them to bloom. Good luck!

  16. We have three indoor Christmas cactusses, Monika, but they haven’t shown their flowers yet. We hope they’ll grow as beautiful as yours😸Pawkisses for a Happy Weekend to you, Norman and Elza too🐾😽💞

  17. Pit bulls. Peeps seem to love them or hate them. I have seen fighting pit bulls and pit bulls that are as soft as butter. I’M GLAD i HAVE SEEN BOTH. i AM NOT AFRAID OF PIT BULLS. Woops….sorry for screaming. Nor am I in love with then. I give them a deep respect and wait to size up the situation before rushing in. I believe pit bulls are very protective of their families and what they consider their responsibility but the bottom line is how these guys are raised and treated. If, they are raised with violence, this is what they know. If they are raised as part of a family they will act accordingly.

    Jean

    1. Yup, everyone seems to have a strong opinion about these dogs and tend to think it’s the other end of the leash that contributes the most to their behavior. Happy weekend.

  18. Step in the right direction for Pitties! When I was ignorant of the breed, I was afraid of them, believing what the media said. Could you have a more gentle dog? Seriously. As in all cases of aggressive dogs, one must look to the owner.

    That is a beautiful cactus. I fear my green thumb has gone by the wayside. I have two plants in my whole house that are alive despite me. Once upon a time, i had so many. After the ice storm of 98, they all died except two – the ones I have. Miraculously, alive. This is the second house since, that has no room for plants. How strange is that?

    Have a fantabulous weekend!

    1. That media sensationalism has tarred various breeds (i.e. Dobermans, Rotties and even German Shepherds) over the years but for some reason, pit bulls seem to have generated greater fear. It’s what’s at the end of the leash that is the biggest problem, be it a pit or a poodle.

  19. Nothing indoors, but we just had a Magnolia and a Cholla Cactus planted in the yard and are looking forward to what they will look like next year.
    Enjoy your weekend, and take good care of yourselves,
    Pit

  20. we think the reason why a dog is dangerous often is the other end of the leash, not the breed. we currently have the courtcase in our medias, about the attack from last year what ended deadly for a woman and her unborn child, so we think there will be new rules here too. we like christmas cacti a lot, sadly ours was not strong enough for my black thumbs ;O)

    1. Breed specific bans are just wrong. Like you said, judge the dog individually, not their breed. You might surprise yourself growing one of these cacti-they are not hard at all.

  21. We have a cactus that had just started blooming before we bought it last year in honor of Radar. I call it “Radar’s Cactus” and just assume that it’s a Christmas cactus. It hasn’t started blooming yet, but it’s still early.

    1. Aww, what a sweet remembrance. This guy seems to bloom earlier every year but it comes when a burst of color is needed most.

  22. Your cactus is gorgeous. My old women’s gym had a row of cactus similar. They were beautiful and someone was always trying to start new plants from it. I’m not so good with indoor plants so I only have pothos which is impossible to kill.

    1. Thank you. You gotta love that shot of color during the time of year where things are pretty dreary heading toward winter.

Please bark any thoughts...but remember no growling.

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