Nearly Wordless Wednesday ~ October 28, 2020

Coffee

Life is full of illusions these days.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Monday Musings ~ October 26, 2020

It’s Monday and this is where we start out the week with a smile. Even as we’re being buried in about 9″ (so far) of snow with single digits. Yup, it’s true, winter arrived at the Ranch. Both dogs took one look outside, sniffed then turned around saying, “Nah, we can hold it for a while.”

Humor

The snowstorm has somewhat stemmed the growth of the fire (despite it consuming now more than 192,000 acres) as well as much of the containment work across Northern Colorado’s massive wildfires. Some evacuation orders have been lifted in Larimer and Grand Counties as of Sunday night. This is good news. That said, because much of the region is in rough, steep country, heavy equipment used to fight fires will not be able to make additional progress in the icy conditions. Perhaps the 700+ firefighters can get some much needed rest. We continue to keep them and the residents of the fire areas in our thoughts and prayers.

Here’s to a ‘wagnificent’ week of smiles, mask wearing, social distancing and paw washing.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ October 23, 2020

Pat yourself on the back-you’ve made it to another Friday. We are joining our furry friends, Rosy, Sunny, Arty and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard. It’s the time of year where the Ranch hands call it “Hallowinter” as autumn and winter collide around Halloween to spoil little goblins’ annual candy begging trick-or-treating. Even when there’s snow, I see kids run like their lives depending on hitting every possible house in the neighborhood. It’s incomprehensible to me but probably because I’m no longer a kid who now has far more pressing matters to pursue. Since nature usually makes the young ones hardy and primed for adventure, it should be interesting to see how many actually go door to door in a state where the COVID rate has significantly increased. Let’s just hope people use extreme common sense and mask up (or better yet, forego the whole thing). I personally can’t fathom any kind of candy being worth the risk and I’m a chocoholic, but hey…what do I know?

Nature is still very upset with its human tenants with more fires springing to life around here with warm temps and high winds contributing to more fires popping up. Eleven fires continue to burn in Colorado, including the Cameron Peak fire near Glenwood Springs which I posted about 7 weeks ago. This week a new fire blew up in Grand County near the town of Granby. Known as the East Troublesome fire, it grew over 150,000 acres in a 24 hour period and now has consumed over 170,000 acres, making it the second largest fire in Colorado history. High winds and dry conditions allowed this fire to literally explode across the area. Even with a foot of snow predicted to fall over the weekend, firefighters say while it will help, it will not put the fire out. As of today, it is only 5% contained. The Cameron Peak fire outside of Fort Collins required officials to close Rocky Mountain National Park to visitors; with Trail Ridge Road (highest paved road in Colorado that crosses the continental divide) being the only road allowing evacuees to leave the park though it is not passable on west side because of downed trees. The air quality is hazardous.

This screenshot of some of the nearby active fires is a grim reminder that Nature is not a happy camper these days.

Wildfires

Here is a photo from Saturday of the East Troublesome fire just west of my neighborhood showing apocalyptic clouds billowing across the northwestern suburbs. High winds and dry conditions allowed it to explode out of control during the week.

Wildfires

A  bit closer to home, the trees are changing colors (and dropping their leaves after last night’s hard freeze) and our daily walks involve loads of crunching sounds along city sidewalks. Plumbago has changed into its annual bright mahogany shade and looks glorious in golden autumnal light even with a freezing mist falling this morning. It’s definitely time to pick all the tomatoes and bring them indoors to ripen up. As nearby fires continue to burn out of control, these colors remind me why autumn is my favorite time of year.

Plumbago

Whatever your weekend plans are, we hope you stay safe and cozy. Keep an eye out on Mother Nature, she’s likely to provide some beautiful (and/or scary images) this “Hallowinter.”

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

A Midweek Introduction

Hello friends, I’m a bit late to this party, I could not let an opportunity to share the news of someone who’s been a good friend of the Ranch and introduce you to his new blog despite being tardy. Let me just say this seasoned blogger knows how to serve up a tasty post.

Allow me to dish up the inaugural post from our friend, Frank, he of the former “AFrankAngle fame.” Frank thought he was done blogging but then realized he had another voice where he could showcase his “Beach Walk Reflections” posts on a new blog. His insight and thoughtful prose is definitely worth a check out, so please drop by. Frank also has some of the cleverest followers and everyone will leave you with a good feeling with thoughtful observations at a time when we need it the most. Very best wishes, Frank…may you experience continued success my friend. I know I am looking forward to this new batch of thoughtful posts, lovely images and videos and smart followers. So check it out at and see why the Ranch hands gives this new puppy their 4 out of 4 paws endorsement:  Keep up the good work, Frank! https://beachwalkreflections.wordpress.com

Pawprints

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Monday Musings ~ October 19, 2020

Before we get to Monday, I wanted to express my heartfelt thanks to all who were so kind with their welcome back comments on our last post and extra thanks to those of you who reached out privately over the past six weeks. It has been so incredibly touching and most appreciated. The pet blogging community is quite special and I will always be grateful to each and everyone of you for your kindness and caring. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Now, let’s get to Monday.  For those of you living in the US who are not quite ready to welcome another week of the campaign, I hope you find comfort in the thought there are only two more weeks until the election. Thank heavens for small miracles. I’m sure everyone will be grateful for the end of the weirdest election ever. But if that doesn’t make you smile, how about seeing therapy dogs in action from Norman’s recent inaugural visit to Lutheran. The panDAMNic has taken a real toll on healthcare workers everywhere and it certainly  disseminated our therapy ranks, but ten dogs were scheduled for this event, five for each shift, which was a nice way to start up again.

Even with reduced numbers, there was still a good variety of participating pups from tiny Bindee to buffalo-sized Norman. Whatever your jam, the Lutheran pet therapy dogs have you well covered.

Therapy Dogs
Photo courtesy of Sue Sprinkle ~ Bindee and Norman

Norman was especially taken with little Bindee, wiggling his butt non-stop whenever he was around her but always remaining a well behaved, gentle giant. I wasn’t 100% completely sure how’d this mass get-together would fly  but Norman showed why he should do quite well when it comes to pet therapy work. There were loads of “hi there, how you doing, nice to meet you” kind of sniffs with tails wags and wiggles by all the dogs. It was particularly nice to also see the handlers after many months being away.

While I personally wish there had been more doctors and nurses from the Emergency Department (they had been lobbying for dog visits for some time and could definitely use the pet therapy visits as the hospital is once again full with patients as the city’s COVID numbers have spiked lately), we did get a few drop in’s from folks I’d previously seen around the hospital with probably half a dozen EMTS and police officers.

Police
Photo courtesy of  Janet Gradwell Lewis  ~ Bismark and Logan
Pet Therapy
Photo courtesy of Jaycee Chinn ~ Rylie
Pet Therapy
Photo courtesy of Janet Gradwell Lewis ~ L to R: Bindee, Kai, Bismark, Logan, & Rylie
Pet therapy
Photo courtesy of Jaycee Chinn ~ Rylie

Everyone seemed very pleased to visit with all the dogs on a perfect autumn day with mild temps and the dogs were glad to be back to work. We’re all hopeful that we can do this again soon.

Pet Therapy
Photo courtesy of Sue Sprenkle  ~ our most experienced pet therapists, Beau & Roxie
Pet Therapy
Photo courtesy of Sue Sprenkle ~ Zoe and Rylie
Pet Therapy
Photo courtesy of Jaycee Chinn ~ Rylie (Kai and Bindee in background)
Pet Therapy
Photo courtesy of Sue Sprenkle ~ Axel

Rylie also made her maiden voyage with Norman. She’s going to be a great addition of the group. At the end of the day, the Good Dogs of Lutheran’s pet therapy program made the event a resounding success and everyone is already jonesing for the next time when these special dogs are able to make people smile and breath just a bit easier in these weird times.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

We’re Back…sort of

Hi there, remember us? You know, that merry band of misfits consisting of two dogs and an upright who thinks she runs things but let’s face it, we all know Norman and Elsa are the real brains around the Ranch. Sorry we’ve been AWOL. A series of life events tripped us up pretty hard and took the wind out of my sails with little to no bandwidth remaining in the tank to do any kind of job at blogging. I began to sink in mental mud rather than focus on much of anything else.

Flowers

Although we were served a large crap sandwich, I realized when I ran into a nearby neighbor couple this morning that life can easily serve a bountiful meal as well. They were loading their newborn baby boy into the car (egad, I hadn’t even been aware they were expecting)!  What a beautiful and reaffirming sight to see their new son peeking out over dad’s shoulder gazing at the world while the two fur beasts and I observed this blessing from a more than social distance. The realization that a new life joined the rest of us in 2020 had an impact on my psyche and that made me realize I absolutely needed to begin to post.

In the ‘more good news’ category, the hospital recently contacted the pet therapy teams to see if we were interested in participating in some form of hybrid form of pet therapy visits. While visiting patients and staff in the hospital would not be possible (and probably won’t for the foreseeable future given the recent uptick in cases in the Mile High City), they worked on creating a new way to bring smiles at least to the staff of the Emergency Department. Norman is scheduled to visit their parking lot venue for greeting doctors and nurses (today is our first day and we’re wiggling with excitement and will report back on just how it goes so wish us luck). Norman is all spiffed up having survived the water torture and is now ready to make his first appearance spreading a little joy later this morning.

Pet Therapy

Please know we’ve missed you all and hope to pick up where we left off with new adventures to share. I’ve continued to visit your blogs and left a few microscopic comments but you’ve all been in my heart. It appears the summer has been good to the fair majority of you and we hope autumn continues in that vein. Until the next time where we update you on how Norman’s inaugural entry into the world of pet therapy goes, remember…

Live, love, bark! 🐾

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! 🐾