Wish I Was Here Wednesday ~ July 31, 2019

On this last day of July, I wish I were walking the streets of Old Town Prague after a lovely shower. I can never get enough of those red tiled roofs and quaint cafes. Where would you like to be today?

Prague

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Monday Musings ~ July 29, 2019

Whoa…what happened to the weekend? It was here and then POOF! gone. *Sigh*

Monday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ July 26, 2019

Welcome to the last Friday of July. Today we join our good fur-iends and Nature Friday hosts, Rosy and her brothers from LLB in Our Backyard with a ‘flashback Friday’ about the nature we encountered this week.

You may recall me mentioning my plans to visit the Lavender Festival at Denver Botanical Garden’s Chatfield Farms location but what I didn’t mention was a different reason for visiting-to see the recently opened Stickworks exhibit and what a great two-fer it turned out to be.

Nature provides us not only with gorgeous flowers like lavender, but also many of the building materials we use to build homes. Enter internationally recognized artist Patrick Dougherty who builds open-air, site-specific stick sculptures who recently completed his 300th installation of his career. This was not his first in Colorado. Dougherty has completed a handful of sculptures in the state, including the one still standing in Vail. This spring, he returned to Colorado to construct a distinctly different exhibit at Denver Botanical Gardens Chatfield Farms location.

Stickworks
“In One Fell Swoop”

Each exhibit is specific to the site upon which it is installed and all of  Dougherty’s creations are created using locally-sourced materials to minimize the environmental impact. Because Colorado is relatively arid, this exhibit is expected to last longer than average installations. I know I’ll be visiting the Chatfield site often over the next  couple of years.

Stickworks
Artist standing in front of  exhibit, “In One Fell Swoop” [courtesy of 303 Magazine]

As he frequently does, Dougherty utilized a dedicated team of volunteers when he created his stick installation at the Chatfield location. Denver Botanical Garden volunteers helped shape the structure, weaving small branches to ensure the sculpture’s integrity as well as in the finishing touches. The Botanical Garden staff used sticks from within the grounds, as well as materials from neighboring homeowners spring cleaning efforts and material from BLM land. Two truckloads of long yellow sticks from the Fort Collins area helped create the sweeping sense of motion of the snakelike shaped structure.

Stickworks

The scale of this maze-like installation is impressive at 60 feet by about 30 feet and towers at 13 feet high.Stickworks

Drone footage shows the exhibit during construction.

Stickworks
Photo by Scott Dressel-Martin, courtesy of Denver Botanic Gardens.

Shall we go inside and take a closer look?Stickworks

Stickworks

Stickworks

The intense sun of Colorado has already weathered the structure in just three months.

Incredible, isn’t it? Because nature provides more than just sticks and stones, here are a couple of other beautiful images from Chatfield’s Lavender Festival. Included with more than 2000 lavender plants was the joint venture with the Butterfly Pavillion in a seasonal habitat containing Swallow Tails, Monarchs, Mourning Cloaks and Painted Ladies butterflies.

Lavender Butterfly Butterfly Butterflies

Have a great weekend and don’t forget to get out there and enjoy all that nature provides. And now for a couple of images from our garden that began blooming in the last couple of days. Isn’t nature grand?

Flowers Flowers

Nature FridayLive, love, bark! 🐾

A New Season Is Here

Are you ready for a new season? No, not the one that’s due to arrive in 59 days, but who’s counting? I’m talking about another season. Besides more sunlight, ahem…’warm’ days, bugs and barbecues, there’s a season within summer I liken to pure evil hell, otherwise known as the grass-weed season.

You may recall a previous rant post about Foxtails (found here). Mostly found in the western part of the US, these innocent enough looking weeds can be very risky for dogs.

GrassesThe barbs are uniquely designed to move in one direction–only forward. They burrow deeper and deeper into the fur. Noses, ears, between the toes, under the collar or armpits are the most frequently found spots. Removal from fur as soon as possible is important since they can be quite difficult to remove once they penetrate the skin. Once burrowed into the skin and if not treated, they can travel throughout the body. A dog sniffing the ground can easily inhale them into their noses, under an armpit, or get them caught in their ears and if not treated immediately, can result in serious problems resulting in an expensive visit to a vet.

The danger of foxtails goes beyond simple irritation. Because these tough seed barbs don’t break down inside the body, an embedded foxtail can lead to a serious infection. It can even lead to death if left untreated and these seeds can be hard to find in dog fur.

Foxtails move relentlessly forward and can migrate from inside your dog’s nose deep into their brain or be inhaled into and perforate a lung. Embedded foxtails can cause discharge, abscesses, swelling, pain, even death. If your dog is displaying any of the following symptoms, check for foxtails or talk to your vet. Make sure you check your good dog’s feet, ears, face, nose, genitals. Limping, excessive licking, head shaking, incessant scratching, redness, discharge, swelling, squinting or pawing are all symptoms your sweet dog may have picked up a foxtail. Foxtail season runs from May to December. Once foxtails dry out, they are like little sharp knives waiting to stick to someone or something.To remove, use a pair of tweezers if you can easily get to it. But if it’s deeply embedded, or if the area around it is red or swollen, call your vet right away. Remember, foxtails won’t come out on their own, and they can burrow deep within your dog.Prevention is your best weapon against this grass. Avoid overgrown grassy areas and remove these plants from your yard. Regular grooming/brushing can help.

Though not nearly as dangerous, are another seasonal weed-what I call Velcro grass. Not sure what the scientific name of this grass weed is, mostly I refer to it as evil bastard.

Grasses

Notice all those nasty little seed heads? They stick like Gorilla® glue-to fur, socks, pant legs, whatever it can attach its little evil self to, and often spring up along sidewalks near the neighborhood ‘pee-mail bulletin board.’ When we came back from this morning’s constitution, I found one attached to Sam’s bandana. Elsa had a very small piece of one stuck to her check a couple of days ago. It was a real bugger getting rid of, you pretty much have to pull them out seed by seed since they tend to disintegrate when you try to remove them. Dogs aren’t  typically keen on having lots of pulling out of their fur. It took several attempts to fully remove it.

Grass

Paws crossed this ‘season within the season’ doesn’t affect you or your good dog.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

(Nearly) Wordless Wednesday ~ July 24, 2019

Alaska

Are you looking for the weekend? We’ve got our eyes on it.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Monday Memes ~ July 22, 2019

Weather

Ugh, the heat. It’s been brutal, I’m hoping today ushers in something cooler. Besides, another topic would be nice.

Weather

Have a cooler week.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ July 19, 2019

We made it to Friday-woohoo, no thanks to the blistering heat Mother Nature has been doling out. As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the moon landing this weekend, we’re also celebrating the 72nd birthday of astrophysicist and epic guitarist from Queen, Brian May, PhD. Commissioned by NASA, this anthem, his first solo song in 20 years, celebrates the latest mission by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft, which just set the record for the most distant spacecraft flyby ever. So let’s hear it for May and the universe. And because it’s Friday, we’re joining our good friends and Nature Friday hosts, Rosy and her brothers from LLB in Our Backyard.

Mother Nature and I are not on speaking terms this week. Like most of the country, we’ve been baking in triple digit temperatures. Luckily the humidity in these parts barely registers in the low teens so at least we don’t have that with the heat. We are looking forward to 65 days from now…the official arrival of Autumn. I know, I know, I heard your digital groaning at that thought but neither the Knuckleheads or I are hot-temperature fans. Sure we enjoy the longer daylight hours , but the heat, um…no thanks.

So this weekend we’ll be lifting our eyes toward the skies enjoying the universe’s wonder, and then take a look down here on Mother Earth to take in summer’s bountiful lavender harvest at the annual festival tomorrow at the Denver Botanical Gardens, Chatfield Farms location. Here’s an image from last year’s festival. What are your weekend plans? Stay cool and enjoy nature this weekend.

Lavender
Lavender Festival, Chatfield Farms, Denver Botanic Gardens

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Did You Know ~ Essential Oils and Cats

CatLast week I shared a list of safe essential oils that can be safely used on your dog (found HERE) and I didn’t want to forget our feline friends. Use of essential oils is a controversial topic for use on cats but there are some essential oils that are safe, with caveats.

Never having owned a cat, I had to consult Dr. Google. One thing I learned  about cats is they are deficient in glucuronyl transferase, a liver enzyme that changes bilirubin into a form that can be removed through the bile. This compound also changes some hormones, medicines, and toxins into non-harmful by-products. Since uprights have a much higher tolerance for phenols, extra care when using essential oils on cats is critical. Harkening back to high school chemistry for a moment, you may recall that phenols are chemically active compounds which are found throughout nature, especially in plants (i.e. peppers contain capsaicin which is a phenol). Phenols exhibit a wide range of properties; some for their health benefits, while others are deadly poisonous. Only high quality, therapeutic grade oils (without phenols) should be considered for cats.

Cats possess an enhanced sense of smell, so diffusing essential oils has the potential to become overwhelming. That said, essential oils are likely more safe for cats than artificial fragrances and air fresheners. Even still, what your nose perceives as pleasant may not be perceived quite the same by your cat. When diffusing essential oils, a scent-free room for retreat is a good idea.

It should also be noted that a cat’s system is incredibly sensitive and some oils can be quite toxic. Essential oils with phenols should never be used and any safe oil used should be diluted in a quality carrier oil (a high-grade, pure vegetable oil is the catalyst that can make certain essential oils tolerable for cats. Some vets suggest the differential be dramatic: 50 drops of vegetable (the carrier oil) to 1 drop of essential oil though you should verify this ratio with your own vet as some recommend increasing that ratio up to 80- to 90-percent. Once properly mixed, you can place a drop of this mixture into your hands and pet your cat. Dilution and testing are two critical components when introducing your cat to essential oils, but before you start applying, it’s important to introduce these agents to your cat slowly.

The following oils are safe for use on cats and may be used in moderation (make sure your essential oil is phenol-free).

Cedarwood Repels pests and promotes healthy skin and coat.
Chamomile Promotes relaxation and sleep and also supports healthy digestion.
Lavender Relieves anxiety from separation or during long trips.
Myrrh Can help fight allergies and promote healthy skin and coat.
Clary Sage Calms nervousness and excitability.
Geranium Great for repelling pests and as a treatment for ear infections.
Ginger Relieves pain from arthritis and hip dysplasia and supports healthy digestion.
Marjoram Repels pests and helps treat skin infections and irritations.

Never apply essential oils at full strength on cats (and only use in a diffuser for short periods  of time). not meant to be used near the eyes and ears of humans or cats. It only takes 6/100th of a drop of lavender oil to calm pets down. And just because paws have leathery pads, that doesn’t mean it’s safe to apply essential oils to them.

Avoid these oils:

Clove oil Cinnamon oil
Thyme oil Oregano oil
Wintergreen oil Sweet birch oil
Lavender oil Citrus oil
Peppermint oil Pennyroyal oil
Eucalyptus oil Tea tree oil

Remember always consult your vet before introducing new food, treatment, or any substances into your pet’s routine care. If using essential oils on your cat, be on the lookout for strange behavior (drooling, muscle tremors, difficulty walking, or lethargy). Contact your vet or the Pet Poison Helpline (800-213-6680) immediately, and especially if you notice redness on your cat’s skin, or if they begin pawing at their face following exposure to essential oils.

Have you ever used essential oils on your kitty?

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Wish I Was There Wednesday ~ July 17, 2019

With multiple days of triple digits draining all of my energy, I thought a nice breezy day image watching the waves before they reach the shore might help my crispy- fried psyche. Just staring at this gets my mellow on. Well that and the fact that the air conditioning was on at oh-dark thirty this morning. Oh, to be able to walk on that beach. Sigh.

Beach surf

Can you picture the wind in your hair, the damp sand between your toes? How are you handling the dog days of summer?

Live, love, bark! 🐾

 

Monday Musings ~ July 15, 2019

If you own a dog are owned by a dog, you probably have this same conversation on a regular basis. These guys seem to think they’re some kind of legal dream team.

Sam & Elsa

Wishing you a week of successful negotiating.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

%d bloggers like this: