Labor Day Monday ~ 2020

Holiday Labor DayIt’s Labor Day today in the US and its territories where we celebrate and acknowledge the contributions of workers. Every first Monday in September we honor the labor and union movements (if you work 40 hours or less a week, you can thank unions) as well as the role all workers made to the strength and well-being of the nation. Many of us will have today off (Labor Day is a national holiday) and this day often signals the new school year along with the start of football season. Although with the current age of the COVID panDAMNic, nothing is the way we were used to on past Labor Days when swimming pools, amusement parks generally close at Labor Day, summer concerts and festivals wrap up the season. Labor Day is usually considered the unofficial last weekend of summer with BBQ get-togethers often being a frequent pastime as well as any number of retail sales events. All that has been turned upside down if you’ve been following common sense, local mandates about personal distancing and mask wearing in public.

Ungodly heat has marked these past days of summer (we send particular sympathies to our friends in California after the weekend of hellish temps), and because it’s 2020, nothing is normal this Labor Day (including tomorrow’s forecast of snow with temperatures in the 30’s after again being in the 90’s today.

If you’ve ever wondered how Labor Day came about, a look at history indicates that as the trade and labor movements began to grow, calls for a day commemorating workers’ contributions were proposed. Colorado has long been progressive on social issues and was one of the first five states to enact legislation recognizing Labor Day, with Oregon being first to officially make it a public holiday in 1887. Labor Day became a national holiday in 1894. Our Canadian neighbors to the north also celebrate “Labour Day” on the first Monday in September.

But as is often the case with social change, it wasn’t all roses and candy. Following deaths of workers during the Pullman Strike of 1894, Congress unanimously approved legislation making Labor Day a national holiday and Grover Cleveland signed it into law by shortly after the end of the strike.

So on this Labor Day, we hope you celebrate (safely of course) with pride for all your work accomplishments, just like we will.

Sleeping dogs

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ September 4, 2020

Holy cow…September already?! Where did this year go? Oh yeah, to Blursville is where it went. Well at least I KNOW where I went this week. A few days in the mountains gave me a whole fresh outlook and rejuvenation. You may have remembered I said I was going to Glenwood Springs to celebrate my Dad’s 90th birthday with family which meant that I’d be driving near the fire ravaged area to get to my brother’s house. Fortunately their new home is located southwest of the burn area and while I-70 finally opened up to traffic, it seemed a better option to take the alternate route over Independence Pass (through Aspen) being far more scenic. Boy was I right. Although it took a little longer, it was well worth it.

So let’s join our weekly hosts, sisters Rosy, Sunny, & brothers Arty and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard. Don’t forget to click on their link and check out what Blogville dished out for our enjoyment on the blog hop.

I can’t remember the last time I drove over Independence Pass-it’s not a direct route to Glenwood. A smattering of rain was encountered but then I noticed some peaks with a dusting of snow. With the summer that we’ve experienced, it was such a welcomed sight. The whole state needs the moisture.

Mountains

Mother Nature was kind of enough to wait until everyone arrived to begin to cloud up. A small shower rewarded anyone who had recently washed their vehicles but then this happened. I can’t remember such an intensely bright double rainbow.

Rainbow

Pretty cool clouds, huh? Mt. Sopris is hiding behind those clouds just out of frame to the right. The rainbow and clouds cleared enough to allow the almost full moon to begin to rise. The view from the patio was gorgeous and relaxing. Bring on the margaritas!

Moon

My brother’s home is a stone’s throw from the Roaring Fork River which means ‘wildlife’ is never too far away, both domestic as well as non-domestic. Meet Angus, the resident (but still kitten) cat who follows the uprights around and thinks he’s the dog brother of the two resident Chessies, Rudder and Axel (they were featured in our Meet the Breed post recently). Angus is enormous being a Maine Coon, but I’ll always think of him as a Puma rather than a house cat. He’s a big boy and still growing. Rudder tends to avoid the hustle and bustle of our family get-togethers (we ‘may’ be considered a tad rowdy) but Axel is always close by, ever ready to swipe your sock to play a good game of keep-away with you.

Cat
Angus, the ‘kitten’ Maine Coon (aka the resident Puma)

Angus is learning how to hunt and I expect to hear he’s nabbed his first humming bird soon. He nearly caught this guy a couple of times while I was there.

Hummingbird
‘Future’ meal for Angus
Axel
Handsome Axel
Moon
Almost Full Moon

Anyone who is an angler knows the Roaring Fork River (a 70 mile long tributary of the Colorado River) is a great place to fly fish with an abundance of rainbow, brook trout, and browns to catch. While we were there, several family members snagged some gorgeous fish, including a 20″ Rainbow trout that was caught by my nephew.

Roaring Fork River
Roaring Fork River

After a few days of family, fishing, food, fun and rejuvenation in the mountain air, it was time to head back home. This time the route was  over I-70 to check out the fire damage along Glenwood Canyon. The canyon is rugged, and even along those sheer rock walls you could see the burnt silhouette of trees along the top ridge line as well as along the lower elevations. It was super sad to see wide swaths of dead trees.

Wildfire
Grizzly Creek fire ~ Glenwood Canyon
Wildfire
Grizzly Creek Wildfire

We hope you are able to check out Mother Nature’s good, bad and ugly this Labor Day holiday weekend but above all, stay safe.

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Monday Musings ~ August 31, 2020

Monday

Spending the weekend with my family on Colorado’s Western Slope while celebrating my Dad’s 90th birthday definitely turned me into a peacock. We hope your weekend was equally as special. What a treat to wake up to crisp cool temps. While driving over the pass, I noticed a small smattering of aspen trees leaning toward their autumnal golden beauty and even noticed some snow dusting on several peaks above timberline. Let the autumnal commencement begin.

Have a great Monday and an even better week!

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ August 28, 2020

With the concept of time being totally upended during this panDAMNic, how in the world did we get to the last Friday of August…otherwise known as Hades for those of us in the midst of wildfires with scorching temps and little moisture. With 24 days until the official arrival of our favorite season, we’re hoping the weatherman is correct with his forecast for cooler temperatures beginning today. I’m not sure I’ll know how to act in temperatures that aren’t in the 90’s but you can bet your sweet bippy I’ll be sure to give it a go. Well enough about the weather. Let’s join our ‘fur-iends’ Rosy, Sunny, Arty and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard. We hope you’ll click on the link to see what the Gang and others around Blogville have showcased this week.

This week saw me being confined to the house. After a dog on human accident last Sunday where Elsa zigged and I zagged, I haven’t been able to give them their usual walkabouts where we explore our urban nature. Luckily I did manage a quick early morning visit to the Denver Botanical Gardens over the weekend, the first since it reopened with timed reservations and reduced visitors. And despite cutting my visit short, it was definitely worth going.

Waterlilies

The waterlilies at the botanic gardens are in fully glory and are a frequent favorite of visitors. August and September are prime viewing times for waterlilies with the most awe-inspiring “Water Platters” (Victoria ‘Longwood Hybrid’ and Victoriacruziana) taking center stage. They are measured in feet sometimes as much as 6-feet across), unlike the smaller waterlilies that are merely inches in size across. Both are beautiful and make the pools a garden favorite. An interesting footnote regarding the “Monet Pool” as shown below is the addition of a non-toxic, food-grade black dye to the ponds weekly when needed in order to maintain the dark coloration seen throughout the displays. This dye performs multiple tasks. The first being it blocks out sunlight deterring growth of algae, all the while hiding the planting containers and creating a beautiful reflective surface that makes the aquatic plants stand out even more.

Flowers

Wildlife lives in harmony at the gardens as numerous ducks frequently skim the pond surfaces for food. This female Mallard was hard at work but then decided to turn stalker after her shift follow me to a nearby bench where I was able to take in the whole pond in all its fabulous glory. She was within touching distance but I kept a watchful eye to exit quickly should ‘things’ get real. She maintained a jovial demeanor, smiling for the camera though I missed capturing any winks. I called her Estelle and she didn’t seem to object.

Duck

Flowers

These strawflower flowers bring vivid colors to any garden or craft project alike, making lovely dried-flower bouquets. Strawflowers resemble daisies in form, but unlike daisies, their petals are stiff and papery. In fact, they aren’t true petals at all, but a modified leaf known as a bract. Native to Australia, they are easy to grow and thrive in bright, sunny spots.

Flowers

‘Tiger Flower’ (Tigridia pavonia) is one of the best-known species from the genus Tigridia, of the Iridaceae family. Sometimes referred to as jockey’s cap lily, Mexican shellflower, peacock flower, Tiger Flower is widespread across Central America. Their blooms open early in the morning and close up near dusk. A fresh bloom opens daily.

Update to the wildfires ~ Glenwood Springs:

The fire (known at the Grizzly Creek fire) has consumed over 32,000 acres, is now 68% contained, I-70 reopened earlier this week and firefighters are hopeful in making progress with lower temps and the potential of rain with higher humidity to make their job just a bit easier. The largest wildfire in Colorado’s history, the Pine Gulch fire near Grand Junction, is now 77% contained and has consumed over 139,000 acres. We continue to pray for firefighters and those folks living near these fires (as well as all other wires in the state).

We hope you have a great weekend. My family will be convening to celebrate my dad’s 90th birthday and we’re looking forward to the clan celebrating our Patriarch with a mirthful gathering in the mountains filled with loads of good food, spirits, and raucous fun. It ain’t everyday you toast 90 years along with his good health.

Enjoy whatever you plan to do, and make sure you are able to enjoy some of the beauty Mother Nature dishes up. Posts will likely be sparse but don’t worry. We’ll be around enjoying each other and the cooler temps, but probably not particularly active online.

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Monday Musings ~ August 24, 2020

Norman

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ August 21, 2020

Welcome to Friday where we join our friends, Rosy, sister Sunny as well as her brothers from LLB in our Backyard to take a gander from around Blogville to see what Mother Nature served up this week. We’re still in the grips of the Dog Days of summer yet and continue to look forward to autumn’s arrival in 31 days.

The garden is looking more than a bit parched, supplemental watering hasn’t seemed to make much of a difference with the crunch, crunch look of dry straw and not much is actually blooming right now beyond the Plumbago. The sunflowers are the only plants that seem to be thriving in the dry heat though a quick walk around early this morning showed some of their leaves are showing signs of heat stress. Hearty Plumbago  (Ceratostigma plumbaginoides) is my all time favorite ground cover, and is now sporting its signature blue flowers and its leaves will soon begin to morph into a lovely shade of mahogany red. This plant naturalizes well, is deer resistant, and will survive well with minimal supplemental watering, and is one of the most versatile groundcovers for cold climates growing in both sun or shade and most soil types, making it a perfect perennial to add to any garden.

Plumbago

With the heat and lack of rain, it’s been more important than ever to keep the fountain filled for the occasional thirsty visitor. For every wasp that takes a drink, one invariably will fall in.Wasp

As I watched this bee for several moments, it seemed as if he was using his front legs to beckon the solar fountain to provide a bit of a shower. I can’t help but wonder how he manages to hang on without falling off the side of the fountain. One fell in recently but I managed to fish him out; he flew off to dry out and then continued with his pollinating work in the garden.Bees

While I’d even be willing to put out a water bowl for guys like this, I think the Ranch hands would scare it away whenever it was seen. I came across him on a walk about the neighborhood a couple of days ago before the heat kicked in. He looks like he’s holding up okay and is probably finding water that has pooled on sidewalks or gutters.

Bunny

The fires here in Colorado and throughout the West continue to burn with little abatement. I read yesterday that California received nearly 11,000 lightning strikes in a 72 hour period this week and no doubt, more fires will result from that kind of meteorological activity. We hope everyone who is affected by them remains safe and especially pray for the safety of firefighters who are working hard in brutally challenging conditions. Stay safe, sane and keep smiling.

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nearly Wordless Wednesday ~ August 19, 2020

Up, up and away!

Balloon

Live, love, bark! 🐾