Nature Friday ~ April 3, 2020

Welcome to the first Friday of April. We hope this finds you healthy and following whatever rules are in place in your local area to keep yourself and your loved ones safe from the pandemic.

Nature FridayAs usual, we are joining our furry Pacific Northwest friends, Rosy and her brothers from LLB in Our Backyard for this week’s edition of the Nature Friday blog hop.  Don’t forget to check out other blogs at the following link to see what nature is dishing out around Blogville.

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So, let’s get started on what nature is showing off in the Mile High. On Wednesday, we enjoyed our finest spring day yet with beautiful Colorado bluebird skies and temperatures reaching a lovely 70ºF (21ºC) and being blessed with the first Ladybug sighting this spring. Woohoo! It’s always a joy to see these industrious little gardeners taking care of pesky invaders.

Ladybug

A few blocks later, tiny squill bulbs were in bloom-always a seasonal favorite of mine. At just 3-4 inches tall, these stripped beauties are often overlooked when passing by neighborhood gardens.

Flowers

Yesterday Mother Nature decided to once again banish all signs of spring in favor of another dose of winter. What the dog?!  Yesterday’s temps had nearly a 50º swing coupled with a bitter 14 mph wind, putting the windchill factor at 14ºF (-10ºC). {Shiver!}

All is not lost though even on these past chilly days (it was 19ºF this morning), there still is a lot to seek out while Mother Nature touches things in only her special way. Originally the thought was to share images of beautiful flowering trees since a number were beginning to signal they were ready to burst forth. When yesterday’s storm blew through, it was clear that wasn’t gonna happen so on yesterday’s afternoon walk, I decided to highlight what the sleet/rain/snow combo did on various bulbs that have emerged despite this yo-yo climate.

The Lupine is beginning to wake up and even with icy beads, casts a pretty image. Eventually they’ll form those beautiful buds and turn the garden into a riot of color.

Flowers

Along my regular path, this Lamb’s Wool shivered in the sleety storm. It should come as no surprise I avoided rubbing their fuzzy leaves.

Flowers

Beautiful shades of pink tulips were just beginning to emerge with some gorgeous pops of color. I’ll be curious to see how they fare when the temps once again warm up (weekend forecast is for upper 50’s & 60’s). Ok, Mother Nature, enough of the yo-yo temps, okay?

Flowers
Flowers

Today’s early morning landscape shows a frosty garden, though we should warm up enough to melt most of yesterday’s frozen scenery.

Snow

Anything exciting going on in your neck of the woods? We hope you’re following stay in place orders and aren’t too stir-crazy. People around my ‘hood seemed to have hit the wall with every bored millennial walking their dogs on the warm days that I didn’t even realize lived around here. It should be interesting to see if boredom wins out today or if they wait until the weekend when the temps go back into the 50’s & 60’s. Whatever is on your agenda, we hope you stay safe and keep smiling. Together we can get through these challenging times. Remember we’re just a few keystrokes away if you need some cheer or just a friendly face to chat with. All joking aside, despite the silly costumes.

Norman

Live, love, bark! 🐾

In Purrsuit of Flavours ~Inaugural Post

Have you heard…a new blog hop called “In Purrsuit of Flavours” debuts today. Norman wanted to do the honors so he donned the chef’s toque and apron. I’ll let him share our recipe with the international hosts, Chef Shoko from The Canadian Cats, and French Chef Phenny from Easy Weimaraner. Don’t forget to check out all the links for some pawsome recipes. Take it away Norman.

NormanHello mates, today I’m super chuffed to share this tasty and easy to prepare dish that would be pawfect for Easter brunch. Mum calls it the Kitchen Sink Quiche for reasons you’ll understand from the ingredient list.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 sheet of puff pastry (half of one a 17.3-ounce package),
  • Cube bits of ham for meat eaters or chop vegetarian sausage for the vegetarians (or whatever kind of meat or substitute you have on hand)
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 3/4 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese. We always add grated Parmesan to the jack, because, well it’s Parm and nothing tastes better
  • Small chopped zucchini, red and green peppers, broccoli, mushrooms or whatever veggies may have on hand
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary which will make this quiche  gobsmackingly tasty
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt or sour cream

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Unfold pastry sheet on a pie dish or lay it flat on a baking sheet and create a rectangular quiche.
  3. Place meat (or substitute) first on the pastry sheet.
  4. Pour your egg, cheese and yogurt mixture over toppings over the puff pastry. Bake until pastry is golden brown and toppings are set, about 18-22 minutes.
  5. Start licking your chops while you wait for this tasty concoction to be served

Tips:

  • Meat and veggie ingredients are dependent on what you have on hand or what you prefer in your quiche ~ remember the name-use whatever you have-be creative.
  • If the edges start to brown but the quiche is still jiggly, cover the edges with foil until fully cooked and firm. Nobody likes jiggly-wiggly eggs.
  • Mum’s all about this dish looking ‘rustic’ (a fancy way to say it looks like you meant for it to look less than pretty) and rarely bothers with fancy crust edges.

Now how simple, quick and versatile is that? Feel free to substitute or add whatever meat/vegetable ingredients you have in your pantry. No dog hair was served on the side with this ‘kitchen sink’ meal.

Recipes

Happy noshing, mates!

In Purrsuit of Flavours

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Live, love, bark! 🐾

Pet Safe Soap & Natural Sanitizers for Your Pet

As a subscriber to Vet Dr. Andrew Jones’ YouTube channel, I was delighted to see his latest video where he shared his recipe for keeping pets safe and protected during the pandemic. Would you like to make a pet-safe soap or hand sanitizer that won’t harm your pets and can also be effectively used by peeps as well? Check out these easy-to-make products for yourself. I plan on making some sanitizer once I can get my hands on some aloe vera gel. I was lucky having a bottle of the rubbing alcohol on hand prior to panic-buyers wiping out most store supplies.

Have you made any sanitizer yet? What was your experience? Sit, stay, remain healthy, observe social distancing rules, wash those hands and most of all, keep smiling. The Ranch-hands insist on it.

Elsa & Norman

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Monday Musings ~ March 30, 2020

Seeing something like this first thing in the morning will wake you up real quick! Happy Monday. Here’s hoping you can keep the tigers at bay.

Monday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ March 27, 2020

NormanNorman wants to know, “Is that you, Friday?” Welcome to the last Friday of the month, Norman. What a month this one has been. Apart from our city and now state being fully shut down, the Ranch experienced a typical spring snowstorm last week. The dogs took a vote and have their paws crossed today’s forecast is not a repeat performance. The weatherman has assured them it won’t be (maybe an inch or two with rain), but Norman said he’s not walking in that wet dripping stuff no matter how many treats are in the magic pocket. Whatever happens today weatherwise, it won’t stop us from joining our fur-iends and hosts, Rosy and her brothers from LLB in our Backyard as we share a few looks around to see what nature offers.

For the most part, my garden is assorted shades of brown with tiny pops of color here and there. Last week’s 6-8 inches of white stuff was just the catalyst to give the garden a nice drink of water. Which means, the easiest ‘perennial’ to grow immediately, flowered. *Sigh*

Flowers

Around the Mile High, social distancing is the rule (though far too many are ignoring it-what is wrong with people?) but I noticed a few flower beds are  complying with the latest mandate like these daffodils and crocuses. For the most part still, yellow was the color of the day as shown in these images taken yesterday afternoon, with far more daffodils than anything else.

Flowers

Our afternoon walk did offer one pretty blast of pink at one of my favorite front gardens with this blooming Pasque Flower which started blooming a couple of days after the snow melted. It’s still a beauty even though it’s about finished.

Flowers

And because it’s my favorite color, how bout a tiny shot of blue from our front garden and one of the few things blooming in my garden?

Flowers

Ok, Norman, are you ready to go on your morning constitution now?

Woof, woof!!

Whatever you do this weekend, we hope you religiously practicing social distancing and washing your hands frequently. Here’s to a beautiful weekend.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Purple Day ~ March 26, 2020

EpilepsyToday is Purple Day,® a global grassroots event created to increase worldwide awareness of epilepsy and to dispel common myths and fears of this neurological disorder. Purple Day® attempts to reduce the social stigmas associated by the many individuals afflicted and provides assurance and advocacy to those living with epilepsy by letting them know that they are not alone. This day occurs annually every March 26 in honor of all epi-warriors, whether they are 2 or 4-legged. Once again, we proudly support this event by wearing purple. As you may know, Elsa, as a puppy mill survivor with unknown lineage, was diagnosed with idiopathic epilepsy shortly after she was rescued nearly 4 years ago (you can read her story here). Supporting epilepsy awareness and education is a no-brainer and I’m committed to learning as much as possible about this condition and how to effectively manage it while providing a safe and loving home for this pill of a dog. I can {knock on wood} report Elsa has been mostly seizure-free for almost two years through a combination of anti-seizure medication and organic, locally sourced CBD oil.

Elsa
You woke me up for this?

So on this year’s “Purple Day®“, we invite you to wear purple today. If you or anyone in your family are impacted by epilepsy, check out the Epilepsy Foundation’s website or check the “About” tab at PurpleDay.org website for valuable information.

Word Cloud

Live, love, bark! ❤︎

Whoopee Wednesday

Apart from longer daily walks to pass the time these days (all the while adhering to appropriate social distancing which isn’t easy when you have a uber friendly dog begging to be pet by passersby), I’ve been working on several training sessions throughout the day while trying to figure out Stormin’ Norman’s personality. Turns out he’s more than a good sport on both counts. Maybe it’s my non-stop snickering that allows him to focus on me whenever I dress him up in hats and headgear. Then again, it’s more than likely he’s in it for the magic pocket of treats to showcase his easy-going and compliant nature.

NormanIn the face of doom and gloom, we think it’s more important than ever to elicit smiles on people’s faces. I do note that minimizing time on social media and keeping news programs to a minimum has likewise been effective and I wholeheartedly recommend it as a coping mechanism if you’re down. So for the time being, be prepared for occasional goofiness from me and the Ranch hands (though I suspect Elsa will be far less accommodating than Mr. Big). For now though, who among you is able to resist a fat-headed, furry Rainbow Unicorn?

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Monday Musings ~ March 23, 2020

Saw this on one of our weekend walks following the arrival of a spring storm. In the face of self-quarantines, it made me smile. Hope you had a good weekend. Have you been able to keep your good humor during the epidemic?

Snowman

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ March 20, 2020

Today is Friday where we normally share some of the beauty nature provides. As always, we’re joining our buddies, Rosy and her brothers from LLB in our Backyard for this week’s edition.

Welcome Springtime…now go back from where you came. What…you say?!?! Are you nuts? Ok, granted it was just shy of 70ºF on Wednesday, the day before Spring arrived but then on the launch date, she decided to play some leprechaun trickery by saying, “umm yeah…not so fast, my cousin Winter isn’t quite ready to exit.” Is this Mother Nature’s idea of social distancing where she spaced it out Spring’s arrival by a few days following the actual St. Patrick’s Day? Sure the parades were cancelled but sheesh…come on!

Spring

On Tuesday I looked out in the garden and saw a nice swath of baby blue grape hyacinths. These guys always make me happy. Their arrival signals Spring’s pending arrival. For about a week now, a number of springtime bulbs began to wake up the otherwise brown landscape. Early-bird crocuses, daffodils and even a few tulips, have taken center stage in the urban landscape. This time of year with its extended hours of sunlight, we begin to shake off winter doldrums in favor of hope and renewal, the season otherwise known as Spring. Earlier this week was no exception. Who wouldn’t smile when seeing colorful bulbs?

Spring SpringThen nature apparently had a case of hiccups upon realizing it was the first day of Spring. What started out as a cold, slushy rain quickly turned into white stuff with strong, windy conditions.

Spring

The dogs were not happy on the morning walk. Stormin’ Norman absolutely refused to relieve himself, instead opting to give me the stink eye showing he was clearly not a fan of getting wet. The walk was cut short in the face of stubbornness wet conditions.

Norman

Remember that nice bright blue patch of grape hyacinths? Here’s an expanded view of how they looked as ‘spring arrived.’

Spring

So…how was your first day of Spring? Any plans to get out this weekend? How are you coping with cabin fever while trying to follow social distancing guidelines? Whatever you do, we hope you stay well and dry and enjoy a wonderful first weekend of Spring.

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Monday Musings ~ March 16, 2020

On this St. Patrick’s Day Eve, the mood around most of the world is not very festive. Even Ireland has cancelled its St. Patrick’s Day parade. People everywhere are struggling with new norms, i.e. social distancing, self-quarantine, lack of paper products and fear is the emotion that is deeply rooted in our psyches. It’s estimated that as many as 30 million children will be staying at home due to school closures. Restaurants are closed, many local government offices are shuttered as well; churches have resorted to technology to provide comfort through technology and everyone seems to be standing in line waiting to pay for food or waiting to get a coronavirus test at pop-up locations.

Coronavirus

We get that. We here at the Ranch are trying to keep a healthy perspective on this disaster. While closures and shortages are inconvenient and unfamiliar to a society that is used to getting what it wants, when it wants it, we are trying to keep the mood light and spending quality time with the Ranch hands. Humans often use humor during serious times but acknowledge if you have been personally affected by this world-wide pandemic, it may not be that funny. We are not insensitive to that.

Hopefully the amazing online blogger community can make a difference to one another as we live through an unfathomable reality that is rife with uncertainty. Find out what services your community is offering in the form of assistance. Keep yourself grounded and don’t subscribe to or traffic in misinformation. Keep yourself informed. Don’t try to make hand sanitizer out of vodka. Keep as upbeat as you can.

Coronavirus

1. HANDS Wash them often
2. ELBOW Cough into it
3. FACE Don’t touch it
4. FEET Stay more than 3-ft. apart
5. FEEL sick? Stay home

Part of dealing with this health crisis is to stay as positive and well-informed as possible. We all check Dr. Google the moment something is amiss with ourselves or our pets and I encourage you to continue to keep yourself as well-informed as possible. But for the love of all that’s holy, please use a reliable source such as The World Health Organization, local news stations, the CDC (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/prevention.html) or your own country’s health ministry rather than every hoax or myth that’s posted on social media. And if you need to share your concerns, reach out to the blogger community for support to get a fresh perspective on your situation. Having children home and under foot for the next who-knows-how-long may be stressful, but reach out to people to see how they are doing it. When you’re up to your eyeballs in alligators, sometimes it’s hard to see the forest for the trees sometimes, especially when you are faced with the kind of uncertainty and insecurity facing the world today.

So, how do you feel about this crisis? Has the coronavirus affected you and in what way? Leave a comment, let’s start a conversation. Remember we’re all in this together. And for Pete’s sake, please don’t become a hoarder-you’re just contributing to the problem. Besides, 500 rolls of toilet paper will not, I repeat, not keep you any safer than a 12-pack.

On a separate note, we were thrilled with all of your responses to last week’s “Meet the Breed” post and encourage each and every one of you to tell us about your good dog. Feel free to email photos and breed info to: tailsaroundtheranch@gmail.com. There’s no reason to feel like you need to own a purebred pet either. We’re big fans of Heinz 57 pups and want to hear about your amazing pet. Send your submissions by April 5 to be featured in the April edition. We’ll draw a submission from the received entries. If your entry isn’t chosen for April, we’ll feature you in a subsequent edition. The point is, we want everyone to feel a part of this amazing and inclusive community.

Stay safe, keep smiling and know we’re here for you. Oh and wash your hands. Frequently.

Live, love, bark! 🐾