Nature Friday ~ July 15, 2022

Sunrise
Clouds from yesterday’s sunrise

Good Friday morning peeps. As usual, we’re joining Rosy, Sunny and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard for this week’s Nature Friday blog hop. Don’t forget to check out other posts by clicking on the link to see what others have shared.

This week has been dominated by one word. HOT, just miserably hot. And it’s hot everywhere, not just here. Europe is suffering as much as much of the central US with heat advisories being issued for Great Britain and Wales. Today’s forecast for Madrid, Spain is sunny with a high of 105ºF-ugh (around 41ºC).

So for this week, let’s stroll on over to Sloan’s Lake where perhaps we can use the water to at least refresh our parched souls. Sloan’s Lake has been in the news this past year.  Officials had to close all access to the water for a large blue-green algae bloom discovered last year. The potentially deadly condition made it unsafe for any paddle boarding, boating, or any other water sport that the lake allows including fishing and dog owners were cautioned to keep their pets away from the water as well. Added to the blue-green algae closure/news, last month wildlife officials caught a Caiman who had been surreptitiously released in the city’s largest lake. A freaking Caiman! Now dubbed “Miss Bo Mangles,” the small reptile has joined other rescued reptiles at Oscar and Friends, who graciously assisted wildlife officials in the capture. Kudos to Oscar and Friends for saving this creature as she likely would not have survived for long in the lake especially once temperatures drop. [Please tell me they will eventually drop]

Even otherwise fierce Canadian Geese have been trying their best to stay cool in Denver’s sweltering temperatures. I caught a number of them lounging in the shade near the water’s edge.

Geese

When not resting in the shade, some of them decided to train with locals in preparation for the Dragon Boat Festival which will be held next weekend after cancellations over the past couple of years, first for COVID and then again last year after the lake was closed with the blue-green algae contamination.

After a quick sprint with the Dragon Boat team, they exited the lake, single file…one by one.
Geese

The temperatures were so miserable, I could empathize with this mallard who seemed to keep diving in the water to stay cool though I expect he was probably noshing on whatever mallards eat. Ducks and geese

While I’d love to watch the Dragon Boat races next weekend, it will be totally dependant on the weather. Twenty minutes at Sloan’s in the middle of the day was far too much for me and after bidding the one team crazy brave enough to train in the sunny, hot conditions, I bid them a fond farewell. I left the park for the air conditioned comfort of my living room for the rest of the day.

Dragon Boat Race

Still it was great visiting the lake, even for a short period of time. If you like sunny conditions, heat and low humidity the day was tailor made just for you.

Have you got any special plans for this weekend? Whatever you do, we hope you stay safe, well-hydrated and are able to enjoy the wondrous sights Mother Nature provides us when we take a moment to check her out.

The latest countdown update is there are ‘just’ 69 days until autumn officially arrives.

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ June 24, 2022

Welcome to this week’s edition of Nature Friday. Award-winning international correspondent, Elsa here joining our fur-pals, Rosy, Sunny and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard with their weekly Nature Friday blog hop. Don’t forget to click on their link to see other posts about nature from around Blogville.

Norman: Ahem…when did you become an award-winning international correspondent? May I remind you that you were born in Northern Colorado?

Elsa: Geography is subjective, brother…besides I needed to beef up my ‘brand’ by creating a compelling presence for these Friday posts.

Norman: Does Mum know what you’re doing?

Elsa: You better not rat me out, hairball or I’ll make your life miserable.

Norman: Trust me, I won’t be the one to tell Mum her blog has been taken over by a fraud someone who’s ‘creating a brand.’

Elsa:  Whatever. Didn’t anyone ever tell you it’s better to ask for forgiveness than permission? Besides, you’re ruining my byline with all this chatter. Let’s get on to showing off this week’s images my pawsome reporting skills.

Norman: Go right ahead but don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Elsa: Thank goodness, maybe now that dolt will let me get on with doing my job. Sheesh…so this week…let’s take a look at some images mom took recently when she went up to the foothills in Morrison, Colorado to meet with family and friends. They met up at a place called The Fort.

What is The Fort, you ask? It’s a full scale adobe replica of the 19th century fur trading fort, Bent’s Fort. Created by Sam’l P. Arnold and his wife, “Bay” (Elizabeth), local amateur historians who wanted to create an authentic adobe home for their children to grow up in the country outside Denver. Purchasing the Morrison property in 1961, they began building the adobe structure consisting of 80,000 adobe blocks for the main building. When construction costs exceeded the budget, Sam’l and Bay had their builders redesign the lower level into a business location while the upper level served as the family’s living quarters. The furniture, gates, doors and chairs were hand carved by Taos artists in the same style as they were in 1833; their restaurant opened for business in February 1963. Today’s menu is inspired by the same recipes that pioneers ate along the Santa Fe Trail of the 1800’s. While the food is terrific,  the scenery is what we’re going to showcase today.

Foothills

As you prepare to enter The Fort, one of the first things you’ll notice are the surrounding rolling hills and scenic vistas. Then you’re greeted  by quite a sight. Yikes, is that a SNAKE? Mom, what are you doing hanging out with snakes?

The Fort

Mom: Well, Miss award-winning, international correspondent, isn’t that part of your job of due diligence/research for this story?

Elsa: Heh, heh…ummm, I’m going with that’s some fancy kind of kinky artwork on the surrounding red rocks. We’ll leave it at that. Moving right along…

Door handles
Doorway to The Fort’s restaurant

Let’s continue, shall we? The courtyard boasts signage about The Fort’s history.

Sign

After reading the sign, you are blown away by the adobe construction and full sized teepee inside in the courtyard.

Courtyard

Teepee

The bear carving is a replica of the adopted Canadian black bear cub the Arnold’s daughter played with as a child. ‘Sissy the Bear’ lived with the family for 19 years.

The Fort

The Fort is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Fort

An outdoor patio has a few water features that add to the ambience of the area.Water feature

As you prepare to order a meal, you can look out toward Denver and imagine what Native Americans and pioneers alike encountered with the landscape while enjoying a lovely evening.

The Fort

Well, that’s it for this week. Join us again next time when we look at all the remarkable sights Nature is kind enough to provide us. We hope you are able to enjoy Nature the weekend. Stay cool if at all possible, and drink lots of water, okay. This is Elsa, award-winning international correspondent signing out  but before I go, don’t forget it’s “Take Your Dog to Work” today. I hope this means I’ll get lots of treats in the studio. You did bring home a buffalo bone or two, right mom? Have a great weekend, everyone.

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Praying for Peace in Ukraine ~ March 26, 2022

Peace“There never was a good war or a bad peace.”
-Benjamin Franklin

Peace

This weekend, like so many others around Blogville, we join the “Blog for Peace” blog hop hosted by Mimi Lenox from BlogBlast4Peace. Every day we wince and shed tears for the people and pets of Ukraine as they defend themselves from the Russian invasion. The images coming out of Ukraine have been absolutely heartbreaking, especially when you see families walking to train stations, dragging a piece of luggage while carrying their pets, as they flee the bombing of their hometowns.

Blog for Peace
Send your peace globe and a link to your post to Mimi Lenox at blog4peace@yahoo.com or tag Mimi Lenox on Facebook

We hope you will do your part and promote peace by helping the Ukrainians any way you are able.

Peace

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ March 4, 2022

Welcome to the first edition in March to the Nature Friday blog hop, where we join our New Mexico hosts, Rosy, Sunny and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard. Make sure you stop by the clicking on their link to see what others are sharing.

SpringLast week, the Mile High spent most of it suffering in brutally cold conditions with multiple days in a row of snow. Total accumulations were between 8-10 inches.  Apparently this week, Mother Nature reconsidered and then decided an about face might be appropriate, apparently trying to make up for being so bloody harsh and mean last week.Spring

Yesterday morning’s walk showed how she was trying to make up by being pretty and nice. Look at that lovely clump of early blooming crocuses.

Spring

No doubt Mother Nature thought all could be forgiven if she merely provided a burst of beautiful color with some reticulated irises. Well…okay…maybe. Sights like this make you begin to think perhaps all those previous HBO thoughts you had weren’t warranted after seeing gorgeous deep purple crocuses with those vibrant, brightly colored stamens. Sigh, how can you stay mad with Mother Nature when she delivers days like this?

Spring

With sunny, warm days like these, one could easily be seduced into thinking Spring was just around the corner ready to burst forward. And then you hear the weekend forecast foretelling of the age-old battle between Winter and Spring duking it out with two back-to-back storms colliding in the metro area beginning later tonight with accumulations of 2-5 inches, depending on where you live. This, following record-tying temperatures in the mid-70’sF this week.  In March! Today will be fairly nice again (albeit dreary) until this afternoon when the first front moves in with a splatter of moisture.

Weather

And then the bungee cord snaps your head back in the ongoing battle between the seasons here…often referred to as “Springtime in the Rockies.”

Join us next week when we share a big announcement-it’s gonna be ‘pawsome!’

Whatever you do this weekend, we hope you get check out to see what Nature has to offer-whichever season she deigns to share.

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

National Read Across America Day ~ 2022

Today is Ash Wednesday and marks the beginning of Lent; a time of sacrifice, self-discipline and reflection leading up to Easter. Christians across the world often decide to give up something they enjoy like chocolate or alcohol for instance or  they agree to do special works of service/goodness. The Ranch Hands said “No dice!” on giving anything up but they assured me they would step up and be better doggos on their walks after kind of forgetting what a loose leash walk really means following the recent extended cold spell when walks were impossible. Apparently short term memory can be a problem with dogs.

In addition to Lent, today also marks a different kind of celebration. Today is “Read Across America Day,” created in 1998 by the National Education Association (NEA), as a way to encourage children to read. This annual day is typically held today on Theodor S. Geisel’s birthday, a longtime proponent of reading. You may know him as the estimable, Dr. Seuss. The NEA endorses and promotes the importance of reading and decided to combine their efforts every year on his birthdate.

Dr. Seuss

Little known fact: did you know Dr. Seuss created the word nerd? The first documented use of the word was in his 1950 book, “If I Ran the Zoo” about a boy named Gerald McGrew who visits a zoo and wonders how it might look if he ran it.

We hope you’ll join ‘Thing One and Thing Two’ along with the cats and dogs of Blogville today by reading a book as we celebrate National Read Across America day.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Flowers for Marg ~ April 9, 2021

Welcome to this week’s blog hop for Nature Friday. Today we join our weekly hosts, Rosy, Sunny, Arty and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard  to celebrate a special edition of Nature Friday ~ Flowers for Marg.

Marg Elemendorf of Marg’s Animals, is a well known blogger who is loved and followed by so many over the  years.  Today we all come together to make Marg’s birthday extra special since she lives alone caring for her many and beloved kitties. Happy Birthday, Marg!

Birthday

Please feel free to leave your own birthday wishes here at this link.

Today is a birthday two-fer for me. Norman, Elsa and I of course send best wishes to Marg but we also send them to one of my dearest friends, Cheryl who celebrates an extra special birthday today. Happy birthday, sweet lady. I’m looking forward to celebrating with you in person this weekend.

Alright, let’s see if we can put together a bouquet of flowers for these two special women who do so much for others. Although spring is taking its sweet time arriving in the Mile High City and it may be a bit premature to cut a lush bouquet for indoor display still, there are some early spring bulbs that suggest bouquets gracing a table won’t be too far away.

Flowers

Earlier this week we saw the first blooming tulips in a border along one of our walks. So cheerful and happy looking.

Flowers

While the past couple of days have been cooler than our warm  Easter weekend, seeing tulips blooming always brings smiles to winter-weary hearts in the Rockies.

Flowers

While our garden is just waking up, there was one early bloomer that caught me off guard. I don’t ever recall seeing pink Phlox quite this early. What a nice splash of color, wouldn’t you agree?

Flowers

On a quick trip to a store I rarely shop at, I stopped by their flower department a couple of days ago and saw an incredible display of indoor orchids. These two deeply colored (and not edited to boost their vibrancy, mind you) stopped me dead in my tracks. I stared for several minutes taking in all that beauty.

Flowers

Flowers

Definitely out of the ordinary yet stunning in true orchid style.

We hope you all have a beautiful Friday. Please enjoy some nature and find time to make your weekend grand.

Live love, bark! 🐾

 

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.

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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! 🐾