A 2020 Retrospective

Don’t let the title of this post freak you out…this is NOT a post about the unspeakably sad losses experienced during the past 365 days. Instead consider this my feeble attempt to get a 12+ hour head start on tomorrow’s Nature Friday with an affectionate look back at some of the wonders Mother Nature so graciously shared despite our planet’s collective poor stewardship of her. We hope you will take a moment to follow Blogville around by clicking on our friends’ and hosts link [Rosy, sister Sunny and her two brothers at LLB in Our Backyard] and hope they don’t mind our pulling the trigger early).

While it’s true we received a spot of the white stuff this week, as fast as it frosted the landscape, it quickly melted under beautiful, bright blue, sunny skies.

Mother Nature may have some prickly moments, but boy does she possess an amazing canvas when she shows it off.

Snow

While some of you may shiver at images of snow, I can’t help but wonder about all those unique and sparkly facets of crystalized ice that highlight a winter landscape.

Snow

Sure Norman, Elsa and I are fortunate to enjoy 300+ days of annual sunshine in the Mile High but we’re also gifted with some spectacular sunsets (and sunrises) on occasion. This one showed up shortly before this month’s full moon.

And now for a look back at a few of the most popular images from nature this year. This past summer provided some much needed visual comfort then as well as now.

Flowers

A 2020 retrospective on nature would be incomplete without some sunshine-y sunflowers from our garden as well as a a view of the plethora of lupine which provided a nice backdrop for the Ranch hands.

Flowers

Ranch hands As we reflect over the past year, all the while keeping a keen eye looking forward to the new one, we’ll toast to a New Year with a recent batch of aged, handmade Sazerac cleverly crafted by my son. Just look at that gorgeous amber color. If you like rye, Sazerac can be quite the tasty cognac/whiskey kind of beverage. Add a slice of lemon or orange peel and voila…a moment perfect for contemplative reflection.

Sazerac

With loads of cheers for love, laughter, with a few tasty treats for 2021, we can’t help but be optimistic after seeing these babies who I spied on yesterday morning’s walk. I’ don’t recall seeing bulbs appear quite this early but I’ll take it. Knowing, or at least hoping there is more white stuff down the road, we’ll keep ‘pawsitive’ that 2021 will be a big improvement over 2020, though it may take some patience to see it blossom.

Bulbs

The Ranch will be taking some extended time off to attend to computer maintenance issues and I’m uncertain as to how long it might take to dust off any cobwebs on the laptop. As I do not wish to yank out all my recently cut hair trying to compose posts on a tiny cell-phone screen, those of you who do have my undying admiration, we’ll be back as soon as our battery pack is refreshed, our files cleaned and scrubbed. No doubt the Ranch hands will think of loads of ways to exasperate me entertain us with new adventures…but until then…stay safe, sane and keep smiling, my friends. Have a Happy New Year!

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

In Purrsuit of Flavour

NormanWe’re back today for the second edition of Blogville’s recipe share, “In Purrsuit of Flavour” with today’s selection being “dough.” Once again we join our hosts, the Weim boys over at Easy Rider and those great chef cats over at Canadian Cats.  Since I may have moaned and whined mentioned that many baking ingredients have been in short supply around our neighborhood, we stretched the rules for our recipe this month and went with…Scones since they contain no yeast or whole wheat flour which are as extinct as dinosaurs around here. I’ve gone to 7 different stores recently in search of these mythical ingredients and they all laughed me and my mask out of their stores. I did manage to find a small amount of  whole wheat late yesterday so there’s no need to cry for me now but didn’t have enough time to make a no knead cranberry/walnut bread which was the original plan.

SconesI’ve made this recipe for ages because it’s easy to make and always turns out yummy. Since I can barely operate a mixer and spatula with my paws, I did not include photos while preparing but did include the website’s video for a professional touch where disasters don’t show up on video like they would if I took photos while baking. Click here on this link to see the video as to how these are made.

Prep & baking time: 35 mins. total; servings: 8 (depending on size); yield: 8 scones (again, depending on size)

Ingredient Checklist:

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400ºF (200ºC). Sift the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt into a large bowl (for the record, I never sift dry ingredients, instead whisking them together). Cut in butter using a pastry blender or rubbing between your fingers until it is in pea sized lumps. Stir in the currants. Mix together 1/2 cup milk and sour cream in a measuring cup. Pour all at once into the dry ingredients, and stir gently until well blended. Overworking the dough results in terrible scones!

With floured hands, pat scone dough into balls 2 to 3 inches across, depending on what size you want (I formed the dough into a large ball, flatten it, then cut into triangle shapes rather than balls). Place onto a greased baking sheet (I use parchment paper instead), and flatten lightly. Let scones barely touch each other. Whisk together the egg and 1 tablespoon of milk, brush tops of scones with egg wash and let them rest for about 10 minutes.

Bake for 10 to 15 minutes in preheated oven, until tops are golden brown. Serve with butter or clotted cream and a selection of jams and enjoy. Even plain, they’re still quite tasty.

In Purrsuit of Flavours

Live, love, bark! 🐾

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.

<!– start LinkyTools script –><script src=”https://www.linkytools.com/thumbnail_linky_include.aspx?id=297161&#8243; type=”text/javascript” ></script><!– end LinkyTools script –>

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! 🐾

Thankful Thursday ~ January 16, 2020

As you might expect, yesterday was a very emotional and overwhelming day. So emotional in fact, I was unable respond to all of the touching comments and well wishes you left about Sam’s last day as a pet therapy dog. To say I was a basketcase as I read each of your sweet notes is more than an understatement. Please know I am ever so grateful for your support and kindness as we begin to write a new chapter in life as we learn how to cope with a new reality in the days ahead.

To say that Sam left it all on the field yesterday is an understatement. Not only did he see more patients at West Pines than we have ever visited with before, he was sweetly patient and attentive as loads of people showered him with loving praise. As usual, he had to sniff out all the go-cups of coffee (don’t know what it is about coffee-he wouldn’t drink it but loves sniffing at their cups), and performed his ‘licking his chops on command’ trick for everyone. It’s the only trick he has ever performed (it’s his belief that performance art is beneath him) and managed to visit with each and every person we encountered. Naturally he spent a  extra moments with several people, all who clearly needed the love of a sweet dog sent to put a smile on their face and in their heart. And yes, there were some tears shed by more than one patient at this wonderful dog’s ability to read what people need.

As I tear up just writing this post, I can honestly say I’ve never been more proud of this silly Knucklehead. The staff was touched by him and more than a few tears fell at the thought it was Sam’s last visit. Because we’ve met so many wonderful, caring folks in the nearly seven years of visiting the hospital, I decided we’d also swing by the main hospital to bid our favorites a fond farewell. Once people realized it was our last visit, we were surrounded by folks (many who were new to us) to praise Sam’s efforts. This silly, sweet ‘Dogtor’ has chalked up 219 visits over the years, reaching out to hundreds if not thousands of people extolling the virtues of pet therapists everywhere. I didn’t check to see how many hours he’s logged, but I can guarantee it’s been loads.

As a final act of doing what this boy does best, we went to say goodbye to our friends in the hospital lab. When we arrived, there was quite the commotion going on in the waiting room. A baby was wailing his head off much to his mother’s chagrin. She was unsuccessful at  comforting the little tyke but once he saw Sam he blinked through tears, babbled something I couldn’t decipher as Sam stopped dead in his tracks. There was one more person to comfort before saying goodbye. He walked up to the little guy who patted his back with chubby little hands. Then the little boy kissed Sam on his fluffy back and head. Repeatedly. Sam stood here relishing the attention and stuck his nose in the little boy’s face, as if to say, “there, there, little man…it’ll all be good. With tears dried up, the little boy began to smile and continued to simultaneously pat and kiss him as he tottered around Sam on wobbly legs. I nearly lost it at this point especially when people commented on how sweet the whole scene was.

Certainly that small chance encounter was emblematic of what we’ve experienced over the years but this one was an extra sweet experience and one that will remain in my heart for a long, long time.

We finished our goodbyes to those who had been ever so gracious and kind over the years with vows of staying in touch. As I sat in the car ready to head home, I had to spend several minutes composing myself. Once again, the hospital gave us more than we left. I am truly blessed to have experienced such camaraderie over the years to both me and to Dogtor Sam. What a community of people, those we visit and those who visit us, here as well in person. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all of you following us, leaving such special comments over the years and supporting our efforts to make this world a bit better than we found it. Mere words of thanks don’t seem sufficient for all you’ve given us but please know I feel profoundly blessed and grateful for each and every one of you.

Sam

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ December 13, 2019

Happy Friday the 13th. We’re not that much into the superstition surrounding the second occurence of this so-called unlucky day of the year. Why? Because today is Nature Friday around Blogville which means we’re joining our friends, Rosy and her brothers from LLB in our Backyard while we check out various nuggets of beauty that Mother Nature showcases…provided we actually look for it.

It’s been a crazy busy week as we’re preparing for Santa Paws’ arrival in just eleven days. E-l-e-v-e-n!! Awk…I’m hustling as fast as I can but it seems as if I’m just on a treadmill and not marking too many things off the “to-do” list which is no good excuse for not consciously looking around to see what nature dishes out. As the week progressed, I bemoaned the fact the greyness of December hadn’t really offered much in terms of something notable until I took the pups out first thing this morning.

December ushers in winter and its Full Moon is called the Cold Moon. It can also be referred to as Long Nights Moon, or the Moon before Yule. Technically, the full moon reached peak fullness at 12:12 A.M. EST on December 12th however, in western time zones, the noon rose on Wednesday, December 11. No worries though, it still illuminated our early morning sky and as I waited for the Knuckleheads to do their morning constitution (or in the Ninja’s case, racing zoomies after emptying her bladder), I looked up toward the Western sky.

My neighborhood of older homes has tall, mature trees lining its streets. Across the street I noticed the moon was framed among leafless branches. All I had on me to capture it was my cell phone so it’s not a great image, but it still cast an interesting image with the branches surrounding the moon like a wreath.

Moon

What makes this month’s full moon special? Because of its high trajectory across the sky, it will sit above the horizon for a longer period of time.

Also notable this month are shooting stars from the Geminid Meteor Shower, which is the most active meteor shower of the year. I haven’t seen it yet but hope to check it out tonight when it should be at its most prolific. Snow is in our forecast so there may not be a chance but the shower may be visible for a few more nights.

We hope you have a terrific Friday and an even better weekend. The Ninja plans to spend as much time as possible squirrel hunting while I’m running around like a crazy person getting ready for the big holiday. Whatever you do, make sure to take a look at nature.

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

All American Pet Photo Day ~ July 11, 2019

Pet Photo Day

All around Blogville today, people in the US will be celebrating the All-American Pet Photo Day (“AAPPD”). The Knuckleheads from the ‘Ranch’ are inviting all our fur-iends from around the world to join us today. What little I could find out about this latest calendar ‘howliday’ seemed to indicate the AAPPD was created…you guessed it, due to an algorithm (collected data pointed to an especially large number of pet photos being posted on social media platforms on July 11th). It’s a somewhat new-ish holiday, being created within the past few of years but it has always been observed on July 11th.

It is estimated over half of American households have pets, making it an easy to ‘pawticipate.’ Obviously, dogs and cats are the most popular pets, but those who have birds, fish, hamsters, guinea pigs, turtles, lizards, and other pets are encouraged to  participate.

Although I celebrate these two characters every day, today will be an extra special opportunity to humble brag on about them on social media. So further ado, here are the ‘Ranch hands’ just for today. Do you plan to post an image of your pet-kid today? We’ll be looking for you on Instagram. Sam

Elsa

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ November 9, 2018

Even though a number of you guessed various locations of where I  might be headed to, no one accurately guessed so for the inaugural of Rosy and the Boys’ Nature Friday blog hop, I thought I’d share another clue. Be sure to visit the other blogs for some terrific shots of nature.

Have a great Friday and an even better weekend.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

 

Pirate Party Wednesday

We are joining the Speedy’s Annual Pirate Party event today. Sam isn’t  keen on getting dressed up as you can tell here, but he adores Speedy and is always willing to walk the plank for fur-iends.

So ahoy, mateys. Don’t be a scalawag today.

Avast Ye Mates…

Many of you have contacted me about the issue of your comments disappearing on our blog and some of you have indicated that some of my comments have been pillaged off to your spam folders. We’re working on it with the nice blokes at WordPress and hope you’ll be patient while they try to figure out why Akismet thinks I’m a bot. Shiver me timbers…I’m not even Russian. Aaaarrrrgggghhhh! 

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Fabulous Friday ~ September 22, 2017

Ahoy, mateys! You probably knew “International Talk Like a Pirate Day” was earlier this week but did you know my knuckleheaded mum neglected to post about it. Arrrgh! Sam here. She says it’s because she had already scheduled the Gotcha Day recipes and the ‘minor fact’ that we’ve been working this week at  hospital, hospice and West Pines and  she was totally up to her eyeballs in alligators getting our uniforms ready, making me walk the bath plank getting all spiffed up. Yeah, yeah, no excuses ye wench, just results, okay?

Aye, lucky for me lads and lassies…I did find my inner pirate for Speedy’s Annual Pirate Party and the cool gang from Blogville are celebrating all sorts of fun shenanigans today with an end of summer picnic , a ‘Trashure’ Hunt, and a barnyard dance and make sure you enjoy a margarita or two from Ruby’s. Sorry if I furgot any other activities-it’s been one of those weeks.

I’m kinda tuckered out from my work this week and since I’ve got more than four left feet, I’m watching from the comfort of my sofa bed whilst rejuvenating from some busy hospital visits but encourage effuryone to check out the festivities. The guys from Blogville are all so clever and always have such a great time. No doubt there are sure to be loads of scallywags and landlubbers enjoying themselves and a great time will be had by all. Shiver me timbers…those guys know how to host a pawty! Hope the week was kind to you. Now go enjoy the first weekend of Autumn, ok? Happy autumnal equinox.

Lie, love bark! ❤︎

Flowers for Dory ~ A Tribute

Blogville recently lost a dear fur-iend, Dory from Dory’s Backyard and today we will honor her with a tribute and blog hop. While we didn’t know her all that well, we were always inspired by her Flower Friday posts and her smiling face. Sweet little Dory will be missed by everyone in Blogville. We are sending digital hugs and tail wags to her ‘brothers’ Arty (the Mayor of Blogville), Jakey, Bilbo and to her ‘pawrents.’ Dory may be gone, but she will never be forgotten and is no doubt spreading smiles among way too many of the others who have crossed the Rainbow Bridge from Blogville and will definitely be missed.

In honor of sweet Dory, here are a few of Sam’s favorite flowers from around our garden.

Powered by Linky Tools

Thanks to Kinley the Westie and the Idaho Pug Ranch for hosting this special Flowers for Dory blog hop. Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list.

Live, love, bark! ❤︎