Nature Friday ~ July 7, 2023

Hiya everyone, it’s me, Elsa welcoming you to another Nature Friday, hosted by our pals Rosy and Sunny from Adventures of the LLB Gang. Before I share this week’s pics, Mom and I want to thank everyone for all their kind messages, cards and mementos that have come from all over the world. To say we’re touched is an understatement. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. We so grateful for your kind support.

Elsa: Well, let me start. Oh Mom, Moom, MOOOMMMM!!!

The Mom: What Ninja, I’m right here.

Elsa: Whew, I was afraid I was all alone. I’m not used to flying solo yet so I get nervous when I can’t see you right next to me. Will this feeling ever go away?

The Mom: Oh sweetie, yes, it will get better, trust me. It just takes time. I know you miss your brother, I do too, but together we’ll find our compass and the days will be easily on our souls.

Elsa: I hope so, I have no one to pick on although I gave Norman’s moose a good chew three times this week. Guess that’s progress, isn’t it? And I even pulled out a different toy. I barked at him real good. Funny thing though, he just laid there with a dumb look on his face. Are all chickens that dumb?

The Mom: Now, now, chickens aren’t dumb, they just have different expressions…especially if they’re being barked at. Maybe next time, just a game of toss and chew might be better.

Elsa: Harumph…not sure what the point is then. Anywho…let’s start. I heard a lot of people enjoyed the photos from Hawaii but know you weren’t planning to post anymore, but come on, Mom…I mean, aren’t you supposed to give the people what they want? Isn’t that what Marketing 101 is all about?

The Mom: Well since you’re driving this train, I guess a few more pics won’t be the worst thing we’ve ever shared.

Elsa: You got that right! I was going through some of your early stuff the other day…wow, there were some real stinkers from the past. Angel Sam was a complete Knucklehead, wasn’t he?

The Mom: Sweetie, remember how we talked about this. You  need to learn to filter your thoughts better. And remember our motto is “always be kind.”

Elsa: Oh yeah, I forgot. I’ll try to do better, Mom, really I will.

The Mom: I know you will, sweetie. You’ve been through a lot in your life and without the proper upbringing, you didn’t have a great puppyhood. So while you’re internalizing our motto, what shall we share this week?

Hawaiian Surf
Sea Wall-Kahalu’u Beach

Elsa:  Ooh, ooh, you’re right. Let’s get to the picture show! And I promise Mom, I’ll do better about living our motto. I’m already different and don’t lose my mind as much when we’re walking when we come across a dog and before, I’d go all ninja on them and give them the ole ‘what for! Ok then, here’s the first pic. The sunsets must have been pretty spectacular in Hawaii since you took a jillion of them.

Hawaiian sunset

The Mom: Yes, the sunsets are pretty spectacular. I really liked this one because of the starburst beams of the light through the clouds.

Elsa: You sure those aren’t laser beams? I think they’re laser beams, Mom.

The Mom:  Trust me, I’m sure, Ninja. It’s just the way the light came through the clouds. Pretty cool, huh?

Elsa: I dunno, Mom. I still think those may be laser beams. Anyway, I know you saw more than just sunsets. You walked on one of the earliest highways built in Hawaii on one of your morning walks, even before it became a state. It’s right in the middle of a lava field. That ledge along the sides was pretty ingenious keeping wagons, horses and sleepy workers from falling off onto the razor sharp lava field. I still can’t get over how grass and other plants just sprout in of the middle of lava fields {head shaking}.

Hawaiian highway Hawaiian highway

The Mom: That was very clever. I guess when you live on an island that is constantly expanding the landscape through volcanic eruptions, you get pretty creative with what you have to make it work for you. I was constantly in awe of all the lava walls and walkways. Everything fits together like a bizarre puzzle. Now that’s some craftsmanship.

Lava wall

Elsa: Whoa…not sure I’d like a wall/fence like that. I mean, how could I chase the dog next door along the fence if I couldn’t even see that rascal.

The Mom: That’s the point. I know I’d welcome it. Nobody likes to hear dogs fence biting and snarling. You can barely see that dog between the slates and yet you two sound like Godzilla and Mothra fighting.

Elsa: Well, she starts it! I just kind of forget our motto and get pulled into the fray.

The Mom: {eyes rolling} You’ve got to do better, Elsa. You don’t have to follow. Be a leader like Norman was. He may have run along the fence but he never barked.

Elsa: Good point, Mom. I’ll definitely take that into consideration. He was a good role model and I’d be doing you a solid imitating him.

The Mom: I’m sure everyone would be happier if there wasn’t that racket along the wood fence. Come to think of it, it’s too bad I can’t install a lava wall.

Elsa: {gasp} No need to go overboard with the crazy, Mom. Speaking of crazy, what are these weird trees?

Tahitian Screwpine

The Mom: Oh those are called Tahitian Screwpine. Aren’t they interesting?

Elsa: Oh man, Norman would have had a field day peeing on those things!

The Mom: {ahem, moving along}. Wouldn’t you rather focus on info on some of the various volcanoes? While I didn’t have enough time to actually climb up them in person on this trip, this exhibit did a great job of describing them with excellent background info and excellent display models. Much better than any photos I could have taken.

Hawaii volcanoes
Mauna Kea


Hawaii volcano
Hawaii Volcano

Hawaii Volcano

Hawaii Volcano
 Mauna Loa

Elsa: Wow, who knew these volcanoes were so old?! I know you saw a lot even in the short time you were there. And some fascinating critters that we don’t normally see in Colorado. Say, didn’t you post a pic of a manta ray to Instagram that you saw one night?

The Mom: You’re right, Elsa. Lots of very fascinating and wonderfully interesting critters on the Big Island. And some we are familiar with, like Queen, a loveable bulldog who was as sweet as sugar. She belongs to Christian’s Mom (the groom) and goes to work with her at the venue where the wedding was held. That was some house with gorgeous grounds.


Elsa: Why does she always look angry if she’s such a sweetheart?

The Mom: That’s a classic bulldog face, little one. Trust me, she was one of the nicest dogs I’ve ever met and she loved all the wedding visitors.

Elsa: So what’s the deal with these Nēnē birds? They look a lot like the Canadian geese we have here in Denver.

The Mom: The Nēnē is Hawaii’s state bird and are nearly extinct. They are similar to the Canadian geese yet not nearly as plentiful. A lot of the feral animals of Hawaii have decimated the population and loss of habitat has also contributed to loss of flocks. There’s an ongoing project by the Parks Department to reintroduce them on several of the islands. They are pretty shy and avoided any kind of close contact whenever I encountered them. They can boogie like crazy away from us humans.


Image courtesy of National Park Service

Elsa: Hmm, seems like they stay ‘within the parking lines’ for the most part. Maybe that’s their problem. At least they aren’t aggressive like our Canadian geese. So weird, Canadians are the nicely people around but their geese…definitely NOT.

The Mom: El-sa!

Elsa: I know…sorry. {changing the subject} Now where’s that manta pic?

The Mom: Oh yeah, I forgot. We met up with some former colleagues of my son, Kevin at one of their fancy hotel properties that has a cove where the mantas come out after sunset. They are so amazing to watch as they effortlessly float around, splash and flip over in the water. I was mesmerized with their agile flexibility in the water as well as their size. This guy was about 4 ft. across.


Elsa: {head cocking} Holy cow, I’d probably run along the rocks trying to catch their attention. But next time you might wanna use a better camera than the cell phone. Just saying.

The Mom: I know, but on such a short trip, I just didn’t feel like schlepping a camera bag, besides seeing these manta rays was totally unscripted. I did capture some Zebra doves when we went out for lunch on the last full day in Hawaii. They seemed to not be very afraid, or maybe they knew I’d be a sucker and feed them bread crumbs. Birds tend to be more brave when food is involved.

Hawaiian Doves

Elsa: You’ve got a soft heart, Mom. No wonder I love you so much. Well, looks like we’re about finished with the shareable Hawaiian pics. Got anything else that tickles your fancy?

The Mom: Well, I must admit I was truly blown away by  orchids that attach themselves to trees. This one in particular was mind blowing. That ‘rope’ of flowers must have been over 4 feet long. I couldn’t capture the whole thing in a single frame, it was so long.


Elsa: Wow, that is something. Bet you tried to jump rope, didn’t you?

The Mom: Certainly not. (a) I’m too old for jump roping and (b) I’d have probably killed myself getting tangled up in it if I’d tried, ruining that amazing orchid.

Elsa: Yeah, but I’ll still bet you thought about it. It’s okay, Mom, it’s good to live on the edge. So what’s the game plan for the weekend? Any exciting plans?

The Mom: Well as you know, I’m not all that exciting, but I will spend tomorrow assisting a good friend by helping her pack up her art studio.

Elsa: Well that’s nice of you. I’d like to come and meet her sheepdogs but know this is not the right time but hope we can do a meet and greet soon. I need a sheepdog fix.

The Mom: Me too, little one, me too. We hope everyone has a good weekend and gets outside to enjoy some of Nature’s beauty wherever they’re at and hopeful there will be no more firecrackers and no more heavy thunderstorms, gully-washer rain and hail.

Elsa: That makes two of us, Mom. Thanks again for sticking with us on this long post but especially for all your messages of comfort. It has been very consoling to our souls. Now that Norman’s come home, we’ve been reading him all your notes and messages. No doubt he’s wiggling his bum silly in heaven knowing how much you all care about him.

Angel Norman

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday

Monday Musings ~ July 3, 2023

Monday smile

Many thanks from the bottom of my heart for all the kindness and tender thoughts of comfort you’ve sent to us over the past two and half weeks. I’m touched beyond words and Elsa and I both greatly appreciated your care and concern. We’re doing our best to be less sad but some days are harder than others  and we need to keep our favorite comfort stuffy close by to great through those rough moments. Yesterday was the first day Elsa had picked up Norman’s moose and played with it briefly. I like to believe Angel Norman was watching over her  saying it’s okay, little Ninja.

Angel Norman

Live, love, bark! 🐾

And then there was one…

This is the kind of post no pet parent wants to share. It is with the heaviest of hearts that I write to say my beloved Norman joined his brother Sam yesterday evening. He had just turned 12. To say my heart is broken and devastated would be an understatement. I’m far too heartbroken and emotional at the present moment to do any justice expressing how much Norman meant to me beyond the fact that I loved this boy deeply. Perhaps with the passage of time I can do a proper and fitting memoriam. He was pure love, inside and out, and I already miss his gentle spirit so very much. Both my heart and my house are empty missing his presence.

Photo courtesy of DelaFoto Photography

This is probably my most favorite photo that I ever took of Norman. He loved that moose squeaky toy so much and use to bring it to me whenever I returned home, prancing around with it in his mouth, snorting. I would chase him saying, “that’s my toy, Norman, you give it to me.” He would snort and turn his head inviting me to chase him whenever I would reach for it. It was a fun game that I loved playing with him and he seemed to love it as well. Yesterday he brought me that moose after I’d returned from a quick trip to the post office. As was our normal practice, I said to him, “you give me that toy, Norman” and he dropped it at my feet rather than trying to keep it from me. Little did I know at that moment, I think he was trying to tell me his time on this earth was soon to end. Rest in peace my dear boy. Run free with your brother, Sam.


Elsa and I will need some time processing this enormous loss. When I can better deal with it emotionally, I hope to return to blogging. Till then…

Live, love, bark! 🐾