Nature Friday ~ October 15, 2021

Nature FridayWelcome to this week’s edition of Nature Friday where we take a look around our urban neighborhood to see what Nature has served up. As always, we’re joining Rosy, Sunny, Arty and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard.

Leaves changing colors continues to be hit or miss. One tree will show color while the tree right next to it steadfastly holds on to the green. It’s one of the oddest autumns I’ve ever seen. Earlier in the week, mild warm days graced the Mile High which allowed for extended walks around the ‘Hood.


So let’s check out this week’s most interesting plant discovered on one of our afternoon walks. I’ve seen these eye-catching plants around before but never knew what they were called until I did some further investigating. Castor bean plants (Ricinus ommunis) are often planted for their striking foliage. Originally native to Ethiopia, the plants are now cultivated throughout the world. Caster bean seeds have been found as far back at 4,000 years ago in ancient Egyptian tombs. The oil obtained from the plant was used to light lamp wicks and is still cultivated as a natural laxative or massage oil. With it’s extremely high fatty acid content, it can be useful for treating dry skin. Caution should be exercised however when planting these striking plants around small children and pets, as the seed pods are extremely poisonous. After looking it up, I was grateful I didn’t touch those seed pods. {shudder}

Castor Beans

Castor bean

Yesterday Mother Nature decided to do a runner and skip town with temperatures plummeting and snow falling in some metro areas (though not in my neighborhood). The nearby mountain ski area, Arapahoe Basin received 14″ of white stuff and will officially open one lift this weekend, bringing a collective hear-hear from Front Range hardcore skiers.

Here in the city, a light freeze from a few showers left a hint of frozen water in the solar bird bath last night but warmer temps will return by Sunday (forecast calls for 75ºF/23ºC). Colorado’s yo-yo weather remains intact.

First Freeze

While I don’t mind temperature changes since Nature has been more than generous with warm temps thus far, it will take some time getting used to juggling two leashes with poop bags while wearing gloves. The dogs seem to not only enjoy the crispness in the air but also the inability of my easily adapting to manage yet one more thing in hand on morning constitutions. Elsa in particular finds these are her best squirrel hunting moments and seems to relish turning me into a kite at the drop of a hat. Stay turned, no doubt there’ll be a good story about me landing on my back side while the dogs enjoy seeing me trying to ‘master’ the art of prestidigitation.

Any plans to get out into Nature this weekend? Whatever you do, we hope you have a ‘pawsome’ outing.

Live, love, bark!🐾

62 thoughts on “Nature Friday ~ October 15, 2021

  1. Hi Monika,
    There are so many lovely photos there, and it certainly does seem strange seeing the green tree right alongside the red tree. Did their message go missing in the post? I’ve never seen Castor Bean plants before. They’re incredibly striking. As you know, Geoff and I went out for a bushwalk to photograph the flannel flowers locally. They’re deceptively simple but so striking.
    Hope you’re keeping well.
    Best wishes,

    1. I think most of the remaining green leaves will look like your neighborhood this year. Have a pawsome weekend, Lulu.

  2. Back from vacation and happy to be catching up – we knew caster beans were poisonous but they sure are pretty in flower aren’t they. Fall is falling here too and we love the beautiful colors of Fall!

    Hugs, Pam and Teddy too

    1. Welcome back! No doubt it was a ‘pawfect’ vacation and I can’t wait to hear all about it. Castor is an especially striking plant but definitely one whose taxonomy needs to be respected. 😉

  3. The trees are just starting their annual display around here…but the driving rains may make them all fall off before they can really be pretty. Its soggy here…

    I used a nose harness for MJF back in the day…for a 25 pound pup he could PULL. My arm would be out of my socket. All other so called antipull devices were no match, he just ignored them. Put on the nose harness, and presto, he heeled like a model pup! LOL! I tried it on the current puller, Benji, but he freaked out, so we just use a harness with a front d ring. (A Kurgo.)

    Hope you are not too bruised up and sore from the effects of the squirrel chaser!

    1. It’s going to be another dry but beautiful weekend for us; the kind of picture perfect golden light with clear blue skies that makes us feel fortunate to live here. I suffered a bad hamstring pull and might need to start walking the hooligans separately in self defense. When Elsa gets amped up, Norman decides he must adhere to his DNA and protect the pack. Never mind that she terrorizes him most of the time, by golly he must defend her if she’s getting worked up. Go figure. Trying to corral 150 lbs. of crazed movement is clearly not my forte. 😔

  4. Those flowerss are so beeuteefull….butt seed podss are poisonuss?? Scarey!
    An EEEKKKK!!!! wee thott wee herd it on our mewss ’bout snow out yore way!! Guud Greef. Meanwhile wee have warm tempss an even sum hue-midity an it iss so odd.
    Iss startin to kewl off tonite to seesonal…furinallee!!!
    Wishin all of youss’ a wunderfull weekend.
    ***purrss*** BellaDharma an <3 BellaSita

    Pee S: xtra **purrss** an 4 **paw kissess** fore mee SWEET Norman <3 <3

    1. Yup, the closest ski area got 14” a day ago. As long as it stays “up there, I’m good with it 😉

    1. Such as it is. I think there’s more green than much in the way of color change. All’s good-at least the snow shovel stays in the garage for a few more days. 😆

  5. Beautiful (autumn) colours. Here, we’ll have to wait some for them still, and very likely quite some time for our first freeze.
    Have great weekend,

    1. Thanks. It’s getting into that tricky part of autumn here but suspect there won’t be too much more color change-the leaves will just fall off. Have a great weekend!

    1. I wish I could say that happened but Elsa had other plans this morning. 😬 you think they make life size bandages?

  6. Our fall has been odd too. It’s been unusually warm (though that’s supposed to change after tomorrow). One tree can be in full color, and the one next to it already devoid of all it’s leaves! Not much green left to be seen, other than in the grass.
    I’m not sure I’m ready to get those gloves out yet, though I did just buy myself some new pretty ones that seem soft and cozy. Maybe I won’t feel so bad about it then. 🙂

    1. New gloves help deal with cold weather. At least for now. Come February, I’m sure we’ll both be sick of them. LOL Have a great weekend.

    1. Some days it does seems like it was just yesterday we were shoveling snow. Then there was relentless July, August, September…🤣

    1. It’s like dogs get a big shot of energy when the weather cools down. Bounce, bounce, bounce!

    1. That seems wild this time of year! But ever so enjoyable knowing the snow shovel rests comfortably in the garage.

  7. Those seed pods are beautiful, like a femme fatale. I don’t know if I would like all that crazy weather. Wondering if you’ve tried the harnesses with the hooks in the front. Lucy never ever pulls when she’s wearing hers. Worked on her BFF Ella, too. Didn’t make a bit of difference with Xena.

    1. I use those harnesses, which are not all that effective when Elsa gets her dander up which then prompts Norman to go into protection mode. I may give the gentle leader a go to see if it helps keep her from going after passing dogs and marauding squirrels otherwise I’ll need to start walking them separately. My body can’t take many more pull downs. 😬

    1. Neither of my guys were interested, just me. 😉 Can’t fathom ‘rifle shots’ coming from plants in the garden. That’d wig Elsa out, big time.

  8. It’s far cooler here, but the trees haven’t changed color yet. Pretty soon though.

    Have a fabulous day and weekend, my friend. Scritches to the pups and a smooch to Norman. ♥

    1. The cooler temps are sooooo welcome. Enjoy your weekend, Sandee. Elsa and Norman send their best pupster kisses.

  9. Here in the southeast it’s still in the 80s. The maple trees in the front yard are starting to shed their leaves. I’ve bought bulbs to plant for spring flowers and will get them in the ground soon. I also bought four baby crape myrtles that I’ll get in the ground this weekend.

    1. Oooh, crape myrtles…so pretty. Have fun with your spring plantings and enjoy the warm temps!

  10. Our colours are all over the place too. Though, in the past week there has been significant increase in reds and oranges, finally!

    That plant is the coolest and I’ve seen some too. Yikes on the poisonous!

    1. It really is striking with its appearance. It’s always the dangerous ones that look so enticing. Enjoy your weekend.

        1. Precisely. Had they been closer to the sidewalk, I might have reached over to touch them! Call it divine intervention or whatever, sure wouldn’t want to experience the result of closer inspection.

  11. the cooler weather is a godsend to us so we can sleep again, but cooler would be nice instead of extremes. I think your area is less extreme maybe than just East of you in Aurora. But you might be happy with the coming heat again, back to high 70’s this week, (meaning our bedroom will be in the high 80’s) Who knows what to do with winterizing the sprinklers with near 80 one day and 30 the next… does the grass know to hibernate?

    1. According to Denver Water, grass doesn’t need supplemental watering starting in October, trees on the other hand do need water unless we receive some rain or snow.

Feel free to bark your thoughts...but no growling please.

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