Nature Friday ~ February 12, 2021

Nature Friday

🎵 Oh, give me a home where the buffalo roam.
Where the deer and the antelope play.
Where seldom is heard a discouraging word.
And the skies are not cloudy all day. 🎵

It was 3ºF glorious degrees for our morning ‘pee-tio’ potty break in the dog run by the Ranch hands before breakfast. Wooly Mammoth (aka Norman) only made it to the front garden, quickly peed and raced back to the door. The big guy does. not. like. the. cold. If we reach the teens, I’ll be shocked though the weekend may not see the light of anything north of single digits, some even below zero.

Welcome to Friday where we share bits and bobs of nature from around the ‘Hood. Even though it’s cold, let’s join our weekly hosts, Rosy, Sunny, Arty and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard and see what’s out there. Don’t forget to click on their link to check out what Blogville shared for everyone’s enjoyment.

Mother Nature apparently took the week off from showing off any pretties, no doubt because it’s been cold, cold, cold. Even BBQ grills are upset about it.Snow

Ok, I know nobody likes a complainer but is there anyone out there who’s enjoyed this week of bitter cold, especially if you had a recent tease that spring might be close at hand? A-ha, thought so, since I’m not seeing a bunch of hands being raised. Could it be that no one likes their arms frozen to their sides? Oh, don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind cold per se…with snow, but without snow, you’re totally getting ripped off of any fun while you still shiver. At least in the snow you can make snow angels, build snowmen or run zoomies. You don’t usually do that on frozen, brown tundra.

WinterOn the plus side, there’s something to be said about no one thinking you’re chubby in multiple layers of clothes.

All that aside, we did see some buffalo geese roaming at a nearby senior home on our afternoon walk. Milling about without a care in the world (in bare feet no less) I noticed these guys and began humming Home, Home on the Range. I was too cold to rework the lyrics to suit the situation but to those of you far cleverer than me, feel free to leave your rewrite in the comments. [Hint, hint]

Geese

Geese

In the silver lining camp, the skies were blue and it was sunny even if it was bloody cold.

We hope everyone stays warm. I’m off to find ways to occupy clever high energy Ranch hands’ minds in lieu of tundra walking. Oh and keeping the walks clear of tiny white flakes that just started to fall. Hallelujah! Have a safe weekend. Stay warm!

P.S. Happy birthday to Abraham Lincoln. I hope you’re not rolling too much in your grave.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

 

Whoopee Wednesday ~ February 10, 2021

While we may have missed posting a smile on Monday due to International Epilepsy Day, we realized we couldn’t let the week go by without finding something to share. This one tickled me and makes for a ‘subtle’ reminder for you to follow us on ‘Sniffer’ (otherwise known as Instagram). Please check out our visual observations about life around the Ranch and in our urban ‘Hood @tailsaroundtheranch.

Smile

Our ‘cruising toward Friday’ pace is picking up speed, how about yours? It won’t be long now. Stay warm, friends. The Polar Vortex is definitely alive and well these days and doing a number on us (it’s single digits with the windchill at publication time).

Live, love, bark! 🐾

International Epilepsy Day ~ 2021

EpilepsyWelcome to Monday where I usually share a smile but since today is International Epilepsy Day (a joint initiative created by the International Bureau for Epilepsy and the International League Against Epilepsy), I wanted to shed awareness on the condition since epilepsy has personally touched the Ranch  and to encourage everyone to advocate for legislation guaranteeing the rights of all those who suffer from epilepsy. International Epilepsy Day is a global event which is celebrated annually on the 2nd Monday of February. It’s also the day when those who live with epilepsy share their experience with a global audience and encourage and remind anyone who lives with this condition to live life to their fullest potential.

ElsaYou may recall that shortly after adopting Elsa (read her adoption story here or another post about some of the trials and tribulations here) from the puppy mill she had been in, she started initially having severe life threatening Grand Mal seizures. The diagnosis of idiopathic epilepsy was personally devastating, however I was determined to make her life better after all she’d already endured. Epilepsy can be managed. Elsa’s on anti-seizure medication as well as receiving multiple doses of CBD, spread throughout the day. It has taken many months to get the dosage for both appropriate in order to reduce the frequency and intensity of the seizures. With epilepsy there can be lots of trial and error. Once the anti-seizure medication dose seemed appropriate, her vet recommended adding CBD. Initially, she continued to experience seizures at the rate of about every 6-9 weeks although the intensity was reduced. After switching to a locally sourced organic CBD, her seizures came far less frequent and were minor in their intensity.

Once a year Elsa has her blood levels tested to determine the impact of the medication on her liver. While reducing the number of seizures, CBD is metabolized the same way in the liver as anti-seizure meds so her blood is monitored closely. For the most part, they’re fairly good and she had been been seizure free for 15 months but then suffered a minor seizure last month so the clock restarts but the vet is reasonably pleased with her progress. We’re working on her diet to help her shed a few pounds and to reduce slightly elevated cholesterol levels. Overall she’s doing well, giving her brother a run for his money and bringing joy to me with her sweet ways and always entertaining behavior with toys where she frequently stands over them, barks and then pounces, as if trying to cow them into submission.

Elsa is the second dog I’ve owned as an adult who suffered from seizures and while I’ve  learned a lot since adopting her, I certainly don’t have all the answers. Luckily there are many online resources and forums available to help epi-warriors’ families with ongoing questions and tips.

Did you know one in every 100 dogs is affected by epilepsy? Idiopathic epilepsy (the most common cause of seizures in dogs), is an inherited disorder, yet its exact cause is unknown. Other causes may include liver disease, kidney failure, brain tumors, brain trauma, or toxins. Onset in dogs usually begins sometime between 2-6 years. Elsa’s first episodes were quite severe, life threatening in fact that required emergency vet intervention but are now mostly well managed. Her life is relatively normal, all things considered and when the epi-monster hits, I know how to proceed to treat her. Do you know  anyone who is epileptic?

In honor of International Epilepsy Day, I hope you’ll wear something purple today to honor and support anyone who suffers from this condition, be they two or four legged.

Elsa

A partial list of resources:

Canine Epilepsy Network (http://www.canine-epilepsy.net/basics/basics_index.html)
The Wally Foundation (https://www.facebook.com/thewallyfoundation/)
The Epilepsy Foundation (https://www.epilepsy.com)
AKC Canine Health Foundation (https://www.akcchf.org/canine-health/top-health-concerns/epilepsy/

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ February 5, 2021

Well howdy there…welcome to the first Friday of February (say that fast ten times). Once again we’re joining our Nature Friday weekly hosts, Rosy, Sunny, Arty and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard. Don’t forget to click on their link to see what they and others around Blogville have discovered in nature this week.

Despite the Groundhog supposedly seeing his shadow earlier this week predicting six more weeks of winter, it’s been pretty mild in the Mile High, so much so that any lingering snow from the latest storm has now melted away. That means it’s back to the season of drab brown for the most part.

But there’s hope. I’ve begun to notice little sprouts poking through the soil here and there. While walking the Ranch hands a couple of days ago, I was rewarded by a small cluster of blooms. One of my favorite of the spring bulbs, crocuses are a member of the iris family and are native to woodlands, scrubs, and meadows from sea level to alpine tundra in North Africa and the Middle East, central and southern Europe (and in particular Krokos, Greece), as well as across Central Asia in western China. Typically thought of as a spring bloomer, crocuses (or croci if you prefer) bloom in spring, summer and autumn. Did you know the spice saffron comes from the stigmas of Crocus sativus, which is an autumn-blooming species?

Crocus come in a variety of colors but typically are found in shades of lilac, mauve, yellow, and white and may show a white central stripe along the leaf axis. Seeing them bloom in snow is not uncommon, especially here in Denver. I almost missed this cluster, my brain initially processing it as merely a small piece of paper blown near the base of a nearby shrub.

Flowers

They seem so delicate and yet, these little guys are quite hardy so I’m really glad I stopped to more closely examine this little spot of color instead of just breezing by without a closer look. Seeing this little beauty reminded me that spring can’t be too far away. In fact, I’m just guessing just about six weeks. Do you think that furry, overweight prognosticator is an accurate predictor of spring’s arrival or is it merely coincidental with the calendar’s announcement that spring officially arrives March 20th? Put me solidly in the calendar camp as being more accurate. I just don’t trust rodents to predict the arrival of seasons.

Any signs of spring in your ‘Hood yet? The Ranch hands and I hope you have a lovely Friday and an even better weekend. Don’t forget to stop and savor even the smallest spots in nature. You’ll no doubt be well rewarded.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

In Purrsuit of Flavours ~ February 2021

Welcome to the month of love, also known as February. For this month’s edition of “In Purrsuit of Flavours,” we’re once again joining our ‘fur-bulous’ chefs and hosts, the Weim boys over at Easy Rider and kitties from Canadian Cats in sharing a sweet for a sweet. recipe. Click on their links to check out other sweet treat recipes.

Purrsuit

Ok Norman, you ready to start baking? Righto mum…my toque, apron are all clean, pressed and ready to go. Let’s do it!Norman

Today we’re making a soft sugar cookie that I have made every February for over 45 years (egad, am I really THAT old?). This recipe originated from the kids’ first daycare/babysitter which I wrote down in the margin of the 1967 Better Homes and Gardens cookbook that I received at my wedding shower. It’s so old I’ve had to re-ink the recipe due to fading. What is really surprising to me is not how long I’ve been making these cookies but that this tasty treat is not chocolate, though the cookies could be topped with a chocolate frosting.

Before my kids even started school, I would make these heart shaped cookies for each of the kids at the daycare, each one frosted with their name on it. Try frosting “Tiffany” on a small heart shaped cookie. 😳 Even after they were past the daycare years, I still made these cookies, sans names.

Ok, let’s get started. Preheat your oven to 375ºF. Thoroughly cream 1/2 cup of shortening with 1 cup of sugar. Add 1 tsp. of vanilla, 1 egg and beat until well mixed (*Note: I frequently use almond extract instead of vanilla for more flavour and well…because I love the taste of almond extract in cookies though the original recipe calls for vanilla). Blend in 3 cups of flour, 1/4 tsp. salt, 3 tsp. baking powder and then add 1/2 cup of milk. Roll out on a floured surface and cut shapes with a cookie cutter. Place on a GREASED cookie sheet, about an inch or so apart. I can’t stress the greased part enough. Trust me, I learned the hard way so benefit from my idiocy experience. Bake for 6 minutes or until cookies are set, depending on the thickness of your cookies. If you bake until the tops start to turn golden, they will be crispy (like the large hearts since those needed to have a bit of structure to avoid breaking when frosted). Once baked, allow to cool and then frost with your favorite frosting spread. I just use a simple confectioners frosting or you could spread some hazelnut spread on top. Normally I just spread across the entire cookie but decided to jazz them up a bit with some piping for today.

Purrsuit

Wow mum, those look yummy! They are sweet dear boy but sadly you cannot have one. I’ll give you some chicken jerky instead, maybe you’d accept that for all your obstruction in the kitchen help in the kitchen? Why this dog MUST lay in front of the stove or sink and underfoot whenever I’m in the kitchen remains a mystery.

Purrsuit

So there you have it. Easy-peasy and always a favorite. If you like a soft sugar cookie, these are just the ticket.

Umm, where’s my piece of jerky, mum?

Norman

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Monday Musings ~ February 1, 2021

Happy Monday and happy new month! Welcome to February, the month of love, where we hope 2021 finally gets off to a good start (January seemed to be either an extension of December or the 13th month of 2020). A new clean slate is making us hopeful that muzzles will be the de rigueur fashion item for uprights. And for heaven’s sake, wear it properly (not as a chin cozy, ‘kay?)

Monday

Don’t forget your muzzle when you leave your house as you make it a pawsome day!

As today is my baby brother’s birthday, this is a special shout out to wish him a terrific day. Here’s hoping you catch your limit on the river, Bro! Love ya.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ January 29, 2021

Can it truly be the last Friday of January (otherwise known as the 13th month of 2020)? Where did this month go?! As we usual, we’re joining our hosts, Rosy, Sunny, Arty and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard for this week’s edition of the Nature Friday blog hop. Don’t forget to “hop” over to their backyard by clicking on the link and checking out what great nature images folks from around Blogville shared.

A welcome snow shower visited us this week to cover anything that might be showing signs of life beyond the brown but we’re not complaining. Before the change in landscape, we noticed on our daily walks that shadows are long this time of year. How long you ask? Well that tree on the right side is approximately halfway into the park (a city block square) and stretches toward the two evergreens which line the outside boundary along the street.

Nature

The low winter sun makes for great shadows this time of year and captivates my eye on our walks. Norman & Elsa seemed interested in them too, though I suspect a certain fuzzy ‘hoodlum’ who scampered into that evergreen tree is what mostly  piqued their interest. I rather love that tree shadows dominate the landscape on sunny days and stretch across yards. Even Norman’s long legs look longer.

Nature

Have you ever noticed winter shadows when you’re out and about?

We hope you have a lovely Friday and a super weekend. We’re planning on being outside as much as possible before next week’s forecasted storm and cold temps. I don’t know about you, but almost 60ºF sounds like a pretty good forecast for today.

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nearly Wordless Wednesday ~ January 27, 2021

Looks like we’re halfway to Friday. Are you coming…or going?

Norman

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Monday Musings ~ January 25, 2021

Welcome to the last Monday of January and what a month it’s been. We experienced an insurrection, an impeachment, a inauguration, an anniversary, sixty plus degree sunny days with a couple of minor snow showers mixed in for variety and now know which teams will be competing in the Super Bowl. Goodness…I can’t even begin to imagine what may happen in February!

As you may recall, I don’t make resolutions at the beginning of any new year but I do focus on routine rituals when it comes to good health practices so today’s musing reminded me it’s time to schedule Norman’s wellness check this week.

Monday

Let’s hope your 20/20 hindsight is spot on (without dwelling on the past) and you and your good pet(s) are staying happy and healthy. Let’s keep smiling and have a good Monday!

Live, love, bark! 🐾

A Year In the Life of Norman ~ January 23, 2021

While I typically do not post on Saturday’s, I couldn’t let this particular Saturday pass without acknowledging an important anniversary. It was one year ago today that I drove to Colorado Springs to pick up a moose, er, I mean, my buddy “Stormin’ Norman” at a restaurant parking lot. I had been introduced to him a few days earlier at his foster dad’s home and admit I wasn’t quite sure just what I was getting. Oh sure, he seemed absolutely lovely and he was great around Elsa but I knew he would need some time to find his inner self after being uprooted from his long-time family and fur-sister and placed into the world of rescue where getting used to new people, new routines, etc. would be what would occupy him for the next several months. As I drove home from the initial meet and greet a few days earlier, I kept wondering what would an addition of this size be like around the Ranch? I couldn’t help but wonder how he would handle the 70 mile drive home, let alone integrate into a new pack with vastly different players and energy from what he was used to experiencing? I didn’t know if he’d balk at getting into my car and knew for certain I couldn’t lift this hunk but he easily climbed into my car and we never looked back. He was the perfect gentleman in the back seat and the perfect road companion, then and now.

Norman
Day One-the ride home

To say much has happened over the past year is a bit of an understatement. Norman and I have become use to one another’s quirks and idiosyncrasies, he’s been a model Big Brother to a less than hospitable at times Ninja sister, he survived a life threatening event (bloat), and became an intern therapy dog. Norman is one of the most affable, laid back dogs and his core personality has unfolded over the past year to reveal one of the sweetest dogs I’ve ever known.

Let’s take a look back at this lovable joker over the year.

Norman

Norman

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of the things that impressed me most is how this sweet boy will allow me to pose him in the silliest of hats, etc.

Jaws

To say he’s larger than life is a real understatement. Weighing in over 85 pounds, this boy is BIG…and v-e-r-y tall. Like all sheepdogs, he has a big, fat large head (the better to munch bones on apparently) and has managed to master being adorably photogenic like a puppy without even trying.

Norman

He has no problem being photographed as a unicorn (super patient with me laughing hysterically trying to capture the photo while not moving the camera) or as a slumbering sofa-surfer.

Norman

It was just ten minutes after he arrived at his new home that he was making himself comfortable on the sofa, despite being assured by his foster dad that “no, he never gets up on the furniture.”Norman

OES

This past year I’ve watched as Norman’s personality blossomed especially during the past few months when my son was staying with me. This mellow giant is just giddy expressing his love for people through significant butt wiggles with a one-sided smile (I’ve never managed to capture that smile in a photo as he’s constantly wiggling and my cell phone just can’t focus without blurring). He’s become a master at sniffing every tree and bush encountered on walks and I’ve learned the hard way that when he puts the brakes on or suddenly stops I’d better be prepared for significant recoil since he’s not easily moved. And I’ve also learned to hang on for dear life when he suddenly takes off after a squirrel and pray I stay upright.

Norman has brought such joy to my grieving heart after Sam’s unexpectedly crossing to the Rainbow Bridge just a month after Norman arrived. Sam must have thought he was leaving me in good paws  when he departed and he was right. Norman seems to know when my heart is particularly heavy and will quietly lay next to me with his head across my lap or legs. It feels like a big furry hug that comforts my aching soul.

Norman

And so on the anniversary of his first Gotcha Day, I wish this handsome pile of fur many happy returns. Turning eight looks pretty darn good on you, Dude. Here’s wishing you a ‘pawsome’ year of great adventures and fun. Love you, buddy!

Norman & Elsa

Live, love, bark! 🐾