Nature Friday ~ September 10, 2021

Nature FridayWelcome to the best day of the week-Friday where we join our ‘fur-iends’, Rosy, Sunny, Arty and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard on their weekly blog hop. Be sure to click on the link to see what others have shared.

While the calendar says autumn is less than two weeks away, Mother Nature apparently hasn’t seen the memo and continues to bake the Mile High City with summer temps (it’s supposed to be near 100 today), dry conditions and smoky skies. Ozone levels have been abysmally high and exploring various elements of nature have been limited. Still there was a surprise guest in the neighborhood. While there are miniscule signs that maybe, just maybe the autumn colors might begin their annual change, autumn been slow to get started with a couple of exceptions.

Leaves

Maple leaves are always a favorite this time of year. When walking the dogs yesterday morning, I found this lovely specimen though never did see the tree from which it came.

Here we have a smidgeon of color. Notice the leaf stress from the hot, dry conditions? Far too many trees are struggling and I can’t help but wonder if there will be more trees lost if we don’t get relief soon.

Trees

This week has been filled with lots of goings on my schedule every day and with the high ozone alerts, my time outside has been limited to very early morning walks with the dogs.

As we prepare for our second pet therapy evaluation later this morning, I realize we’re probably about as ready as we’re ever gonna be. The bathroom however is still recovering after Norman’s required bath (bathing this hunka furry real estate  is quite the exercise in dog wrangling and achy backs but boy does he smell great!). I’m certain he’ll do just fine. As always, my biggest worry for this pet therapy team continues to be me as the weak link and can only hope I remember all the details critical for a successful pet therapy team. Fingers and paws crossed we can report back success next week with a few smiles for nurses and patients today and tomorrow.

We did manage to see one particularly unusual sighting this week. As I’ve mentioned before, encountering bunnies are not at that unusual but the frequency they’ve been spotted every day this week is. We typically pass through the backside of Sprouts grocery on our route noting the hotbed of activity in the early morning hours as vendors’ trucks line up with the day’s fresh produce. Seeing bunnies daily this week had me wondering if there isn’t a special time set aside for senior bunnies to ‘shop’ for discarded veggies. I saw 3 yesterday morning alone in different spots.

Bunny
‘Washing up’ after breakfast

It seems odd that this week we encountered more wildlife than I saw in last week’s adventures in the mountains around Glenwood Springs. With all the development and traffic in Northwest Denver these days, foxes who used to be seen, have moved away to less inhabited areas. A fellow dog walker gave me a heads up that a fox was spotted ahead. Appreciative of the head’s up I gripped the leashes with white knuckle determination to keep the nearly 150 lbs. of prey driven paws by my side. I figured the chance of seeing it were likely Slim to next to nothing with Slim having left town before we’d get there but lo and behold, a red flash galloped across the street. A shy but leggy fellow dashed across the street. I stopped to admire the beauty of this fox and realized how much I’ve missed them when they frequently frolicked under my bedroom window ages ago. Forgive the poor quality of the image I had to really stretch the capabilities on the zoom of the cell phone but I think you can see how handsome this guy was.

Fox

The dogs were more than ‘intrigued’ so I tried to slowly walk away and then realized he was sizing us up. We stopped to admire this good looking boy while he no doubt hoped we’d keep moving along. That face!

Fox

How fortunate was that? Well I can only say I haven’t seen foxes in my ‘Hood for close to 15 years.

So much for this week’s nature in the ‘Hood. Have a great Friday and an even better weekend. For my fellow Westerners, stay cool. For those on the East Coast, try to stay dry.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ August 27, 2021

Nature FridayWelcome to the last Friday of August. As always, we’re joining those adorable hosts, Rosy, Sunny, Arty and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard on their blog hop. Make sure you click on the link to see what others have shared. This edition is literally a wild one, with commentary from both Ranch Hands.

Norman: Mum, it was a wild week, wasn’t it? I mean…I’ve never seen as much wildlife since being rescued and immigrating here.

Mum: You’re right, Norman; it was a ‘wild’ week, critter-wise. Given our location a ere 3 miles from downtown, it’s always exciting for us when Nature in its wildest form crosses our paths.

Norman: Right-o, mum. I haven’t seen this many rabbits as I did this week. What’s up with that?

Elsa: (imitating her best Elmer Fudd voice) Wabbits??? Where?!?!?! You know how I “LOVE” hunting looking for wabbits.

Norman: You almost walked past this one, little sister and missed another one at Sprouts parking lot.

Rabbits

Elsa: Harrumph…wabbits are wily but I eventually picked up its scent. But I spotted the third one before you guys did. Just wish mom hadn’t spotted this one first, otherwise I’d have turned her into a kite. For the record, I don’t think that spot is reserved for bunny parking, so there.

Norman: Mum scans the landscape for wildlife for that exact reason. But seeing rabbits three times this week was a bit unusual and nothing compared to what else we encountered.

Elsa: I’m still blown away from that whole experience. The fact that we were running later than usual and had we be out at our usual time, well…we’d have missed them by several minutes. Sure we’ve seen one or two on a couple of occasions but nothing like that before.

Norman: [Head shaking] It was quite something. I mean to be a witness to a whole ‘family of criminals’…well, let’s just say that took us all by surprise. Seeing wildlife like this makes it even more remarkable.

Raccoons
Check out this morning neighborhood criminal family!

Elsa: No kidding! Seeing those masked bandits so close to me and posing no less…well I momentarily froze in my tracks. Luckily, it was just enough time for mum to realize what could have been a potential nightmare for all concerned so she instinctively shortened my leash. Doggone it anyway.

Norman: At first I thought it was a bunch of odd looking kitties but could tell from mum’s reaction it was something else. I’ve never seen six ‘cats’ like that at once.

Raccoons

Elsa: At least I managed to react a short distance away from the porch which took her shoulder by surprise. Heh, heh. It’s good keeping her on her toes.

Norman: Oh come on, sister, it’s not really her toes you want her to stay on…it’s more like you prefer her backside.

Elsa: Sshhh, don’t let her know that. Jeez, are you trying to get me in trouble?

Norman: You’re well enough equipped to do that on your own without any help from me.

Raccoons

Elsa: Not one, not two, not even three…but four on the front porch of that house at the same time. I distinctly remember mum rubbing her eyes in disbelief.

Norman: She sure did, though I think she might have been still half asleep. As we passed the front porch, we saw the others on the fence to the side though there were {only} six raccoons in total committing a burglary.

Elsa: I was so bummed they decided not to follow us in the opposite direction.

Norman: They probably had more houses to burglarize visit before breakfast was over. I did notice that one fella coming out from under the chair had munched on the tassels on the chair cushion.

Elsa: Not much of a breakfast by my mind’s thinking.

Norman: This coming from someone who considers wool socks a food group?

Elsa: That’s different, bro. Besides, it wasn’t me who ate a felted mini-OES figure that mom spent 8+ hours needle felting last week. Do I need to remind you of the day you spent at ER?

Norman: Ahem…not my finest moment I’ll agree, but all’s good now right mum?

Mum: {Eyes rolling} Yes, ‘dear‘ Norman. Just make sure you don’t countersurf anymore and we’ll be all good, ‘kay?

Norman: Right-o, mum. I love that you accept me for who I am. Just a big hunka-chunk who is apparently irresistible to nurses judging our visit to hospital yesterday. If feels good getting the first of two evaluations out of the way. One step closer to being a full therapy dog.

Mum: Yes, dear boy…you definitely know how to draw a crowd. Much like us gawking at those raccoons, people just couldn’t believe their eyes seeing you and began running down the hallway to say hello

Norman: Yes, it was somewhat overwhelming. Yawn. I’m still recovering from all that therapy work while trying to get over that whole riding the elevator experience.

Norman

Mum: You’ll be fine, sweet boy. You have the whole weekend to recover.

Elsa: We’re so proud of you, Big Brother! Let’s plot plan some extra special recovery plans for the weekend…you know just to give mum a run for her money on her toes.

Mum: Sigh. Whatever you do this weekend, we hope it’s relaxing and fun but you give yourself plenty of time to see all the amazing sights Mother Nature offers.

Live, love, bark!  🐾

 

Nature Friday

Nature FridayTDIF! Welcome to the this week’s edition of Nature Friday on the last Friday in June. We’re joining those adorable Pacific Northwest anipals,’ Rosy, Sunny, Arty and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard. Where in the bloody blue blazes did June go? It seems like just yesterday we were walking in snow boots all bundled up in sweaters and mittens and now we’re spending most of the day sitting in front of a fan sipping a cool beverage. Perhaps because 2020 was the year from hell seeming to never end that 2021 is on a speedy trajectory to put as much space between it and last year’s train wreck. Either way, it’s hard to comprehend the year is half over.

Before we take a look at nature, did you know today is “National Take Your Dog to Work Day?” Celebrated annually on the Friday following Father’s Day, today is another way to honor one of our most beloved pets. Created by Pet Sitters International (PSI) in 1999, National Take Your Dog to Work Day celebrates our love for dogs.  If your employer is one of the approximately 300 businesses who host a National Take Your Dog to Work Day event, good for you! When I was working, I’d have given my left arm to bring a pet to work and think it’s why I’m so enthusiastic about bringing smiles to nurses and staff during pet therapy visits. Does your company allow you to bring your pet to work with you?

So now let’s check out what Nature brought us this past week, shall we? On Sunday I spent the day celebrating Father’s Day with my dad, son, grandson and one of my brothers. It was great fun spending the day with 4 of my favorite guys in the world, made even more fun over a terrific lunch at a local Mexican food restaurant with yummy food and yummier margaritas. Could we have a table for 5, er…no make that a table for six?

Lizard

Umm, sorry, ma’am…pets aren’t allowed in the restaurant. Since I wasn’t able to take that little guy inside with us to lunch, I just watched him out in the garden.

The Stella d’Oro reblooming daylilies are alive and well right now and make for a blooming cacophony around the neighborhood. These beauties prefer sunny conditions but will tolerate some partial shade and will tolerate humidity and heat. Their watering needs are mostly average, but they will require more water during dry spells. Generally, Stella d’Oro is an easy to grow daylily that will generally tolerate a variety of conditions and make a lovely addition to any garden.
Flowers

Not willing to accept competition from daylilies, Clematis vine is another strong contender for beauty of the week. One of my favorite vines, this particular guy greets me on my daily walks with the dogs. Don’t you just love these pale purple blooms? One of the better flowering vines that has adapted well to Colorado’s arid conditions, they come in a variety of shades of purple, blue, pink and white. Shades of red and yellow are also available. Clematis do best with at least 6 hours of sunlight in well drained soil and do not like their roots being water-logged, so mulching around their base is critical.

Flowers

While most of the Western U.S. continues to scorch with record setting triple-digits, the Mile High City gets a slight reprieve beginning today through the weekend. We’re hoping some showers will accompany the mild temps. While there were a few thunderstorms last night, mostly it was just noise with few drops. With 4 active fires burning in the state, rain would be most helpful so we’re keeping our paws crossed.

So what plans do you have for the weekend? Don’t forget to give your precious pet an extra ear or belly rub from us while you’re enjoying some of nature’s finest.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Two Word Wednesday ~ June 16, 2021

Squirrel

Tree rat.

Live, love, bark!  🐾

Wistful Wednesday ~ January 13, 2021

After 10 months of lockdown, my mind and gypsy heart have been dreaming a lot of traveling again. Since the US is persona non grata throughout most of the world, the only way to go on a trip is through past photos and memories.

This beautiful kitty who seemed to be somewhat annoyed at my interruption of its vigil when I visited the Kommern LVR-Freilicht Museum located near Eiffel National Park not far from the Belgium border. In the LVR-large open air museum , you can experience all your senses learning how people used to live and work in the Rhineland and watch reenactments of life as it was yesteryear by museum employees.

Germany
Freilich Museum

On the almost 100 hectares grounds, there are 69 historical buildings from the former Prussian RheinProvinz, farmsteads, complete with farm animals, wind-and-water mills, workshops, communal buildings, and many reenactments of life of a rural population heralding from as long ago as the 15th century.

Despite a beautiful day here in the 303, my gypsy heart longs to be there enjoying this wonderful place today. I can practically smell the freshly baked bread from the hearth.

Germany
Freilich Museum

Germany

Germany
Freilich Museum

Simpler times and ones that would be especially welcome today. Happy mid-week.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ December 4, 2020

Welcome to the first Friday of the last month of one helluva year. 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.

It’s been another busy week with loads going on around the Ranch. It also was a bit on the chilly side. Yesterday was so ‘crisp’ with the wind chill that when I walked the dogs in the morning, one side of my glasses not only fogged up, it frosted for the majority of our 2 mile walk-about. It’s hard to see spots of nature through permafrost, although the ice crystals were pretty cool. Literally.

I’ve been busy working on Christmas gifts, a bit of organizing (out of necessity-where DOES all that junk come from??) and finding some holiday spirit…as in looking for holiday lights. Junk I can find, but Christmas lights and decor seem to be MIA. All of which has conspired to keep me from finding much in the way of nature in the ‘Hood.

Although I did happen to notice some ‘wildlife’ a couple of days ago on our walk and did a double take when I saw a deer from a block away, so naturally we had to investigate it up close.

WildlifeI’m in awe of how some people go all out for holidays. These neighbors had quite the front yard scene at Halloween (pirate skeletons having a garden party) and now they are working on Christmas. This is the largest outdoor blow up decoration I’ve ever seen and I’ve never found any there weren’t all vinyl or plastic. This guy had fuzzy fur!  Of course, deviating from our usual route tends to cause all sorts of canine consternation for Elsa who wasn’t all the keen on getting too close to Rudolph, though she eventually did give it a perfunctory mini sniff and then promptly looked away as soon as I pulled out my phone. Elsa, Elsa, Elsa {head shaking}. Why do you always have to look away as soon as the shutter is released?

Norman on the other hand seems perfectly content to stop, sniff, and cast his best pose. This guy needs to find a modeling agent.

We hope you are able to get out and enjoy some of the nature’s beauty or at least, check out some amazing holiday decorations this weekend.

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ November 20, 2020

Welcome to Friday where we join our furry friends, Rosy, Sunny, Arty and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard for another Blogville edition of Nature Friday. So how was your week? It’s been breezy in the 303 which means the leaves have fallen and now lay strewn over lawns and flower beds basically mocking residents to rake them up. Mostly I’ve resisted any urge to rake most of them up, instead hoping the wind will carry them down toward the next street over. Yeah, I’m ‘that‘ kind of person.

I did however take some collected garden waste to the city’s recycling program at Sloan’s Lake (which is where all these images were taken).

The local Canadian geese population have pretty much stopped migrating south for the winter preferring instead the hospitality of Denver’s 250+ city parks. There’s something about these large birds that always makes me stop and watch them for long stretches of time whether they are on the water or chasing uprights and their pets waddling around the park. They aren’t one bit afraid of humans or dogs and will chase you if you invade their comfort zone. One might even accuse them of being aggressive.

Nature

Hanging out in Sloan’s Lake shallow waters, these guys were bathing and sunning themselves. Notice the Mallard herding them into a circle. Kidding…my guess is the Mallards avoid the geese as much as the rest of us, but what a striking fella motoring around the fringes of the gaggle.

Nature

One might speculate the increasing COVID conditions have encouraged these guys to congregate much like upright visitors (and unfortunately far too many maskless ones at that-come on people-stop being a mask-hole!) walking and bicycling around the park yesterday in the gorgeous November weather. While we repeatedly hear of storms in the forecast, nothing has materialized yet. Still it’s hard to knock 70 degree days, despite the area being desperate for moisture-just check out the parched looking grasses around the park.

Nature

Nature

Then there’s always that one guy who has to show off to the chicks by spreading his wings. Show-off. Who knew there were obnoxious jocks in the geese world?Nature

We hope you’ve enjoyed checking out the Canadian geese of Sloan’s Lake and hope you will get out this weekend to enjoy some beautiful weather as well as some of beautiful sights Mother Nature offers in autumn.

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ Friday the 13th Edition

Nature FridayAs is our usual practice on Friday’s, we are joining our furry Pacific Northwest friends, Rosy, Sunny, Arty and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard for another edition of Nature Friday. Colorful foliage near the Ranch has gone bueno bye after a couple of minor snows storms and windy conditions so I had to dig into our photo archives for some nature scenes for this week’s post.

Because we live near the heart downtown Denver, I generally don’t think of wildlife being a staple around the ‘hood. But every once in a while, nature surprises me and ‘drops by to say “hello.”

Anyone who knows the Denver metro area is familiar with Cherry Creek. A tributary of the South Platte River, it has been an integral part of the area since the city’s founding during the Gold Rush back in the late 1850’s.

Rising in a high plateau east of the Front Range, Cherry Creek flows north through Castlewood Canyon State Park while running through portions of the metro suburbs (Centennial and Aurora), into southeast Denver. It becomes an urban stream joining the South Platte River at Confluence Park just west of downtown and runs for approximately 5 miles (8 km) east of the foothills.

The 140-foot-high (43 m) Cherry Creek Dam, completed in 1950, forms a water source for the metro area providing flood control and irrigation and lies immediately southeast and southwest of the Denver and Aurora city limits, about 8 miles (13 km) from the confluence with the South Platte River.

A long scenic bike path follows the creek from Confluence Park west of downtown all the way through Cherry Creek State Park and south towards Parker and Castlewood Canyon. Wildlife along Cherry Creek includes a number of snakes (garter, western hognose, bullsnakes and occasionally rattlesnake, along with a few Amphibians native to Colorado can be found at as well including, the plains leopard frog, woodhouse’s frog, and the striped chorus frog. American bullfrogs are a non-native species and have contributed to the decimation of native amphibian species populations at the creek.

Other wildlife include raccoons, beaver, foxes, coyotes, and even deer are not uncommon sights along the creek. Petrified wood is quite common in the creek and fossil mammal bones have also been found.

The image below was taken near the Cherry Creek mall with apologies for the poor quality taken from the cell phone at a distance. The water in some areas rushes past during spring runoff and nearly missed seeing this guy.

Heron

So have you seen any wildlife around your neighborhood beyond mooching hoodlum squirrels?

Happy Friday the 13th. We hope today and your weekend are safe with no incidents and that you’re able to enjoy a spot of nature.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ September 4, 2020

Holy cow…September already?! Where did this year go? Oh yeah, to Blursville is where it went. Well at least I KNOW where I went this week. A few days in the mountains gave me a whole fresh outlook and rejuvenation. You may have remembered I said I was going to Glenwood Springs to celebrate my Dad’s 90th birthday with family which meant that I’d be driving near the fire ravaged area to get to my brother’s house. Fortunately their new home is located southwest of the burn area and while I-70 finally opened up to traffic, it seemed a better option to take the alternate route over Independence Pass (through Aspen) being far more scenic. Boy was I right. Although it took a little longer, it was well worth it.

So let’s join our weekly hosts, sisters Rosy, Sunny, & brothers Arty and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard. Don’t forget to click on their link and check out what Blogville dished out for our enjoyment on the blog hop.

I can’t remember the last time I drove over Independence Pass-it’s not a direct route to Glenwood. A smattering of rain was encountered but then I noticed some peaks with a dusting of snow. With the summer that we’ve experienced, it was such a welcomed sight. The whole state needs the moisture.

Mountains

Mother Nature was kind of enough to wait until everyone arrived to begin to cloud up. A small shower rewarded anyone who had recently washed their vehicles but then this happened. I can’t remember such an intensely bright double rainbow.

Rainbow

Pretty cool clouds, huh? Mt. Sopris is hiding behind those clouds just out of frame to the right. The rainbow and clouds cleared enough to allow the almost full moon to begin to rise. The view from the patio was gorgeous and relaxing. Bring on the margaritas!

Moon

My brother’s home is a stone’s throw from the Roaring Fork River which means ‘wildlife’ is never too far away, both domestic as well as non-domestic. Meet Angus, the resident (but still kitten) cat who follows the uprights around and thinks he’s the dog brother of the two resident Chessies, Rudder and Axel (they were featured in our Meet the Breed post recently). Angus is enormous being a Maine Coon, but I’ll always think of him as a Puma rather than a house cat. He’s a big boy and still growing. Rudder tends to avoid the hustle and bustle of our family get-togethers (we ‘may’ be considered a tad rowdy) but Axel is always close by, ever ready to swipe your sock to play a good game of keep-away with you.

Cat
Angus, the ‘kitten’ Maine Coon (aka the resident Puma)

Angus is learning how to hunt and I expect to hear he’s nabbed his first humming bird soon. He nearly caught this guy a couple of times while I was there.

Hummingbird
‘Future’ meal for Angus
Axel
Handsome Axel
Moon
Almost Full Moon

Anyone who is an angler knows the Roaring Fork River (a 70 mile long tributary of the Colorado River) is a great place to fly fish with an abundance of rainbow, brook trout, and browns to catch. While we were there, several family members snagged some gorgeous fish, including a 20″ Rainbow trout that was caught by my nephew.

Roaring Fork River
Roaring Fork River

After a few days of family, fishing, food, fun and rejuvenation in the mountain air, it was time to head back home. This time the route was  over I-70 to check out the fire damage along Glenwood Canyon. The canyon is rugged, and even along those sheer rock walls you could see the burnt silhouette of trees along the top ridge line as well as along the lower elevations. It was super sad to see wide swaths of dead trees.

Wildfire
Grizzly Creek fire ~ Glenwood Canyon
Wildfire
Grizzly Creek Wildfire

We hope you are able to check out Mother Nature’s good, bad and ugly this Labor Day holiday weekend but above all, stay safe.

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ August 21, 2020

Welcome to Friday where we join our friends, Rosy, sister Sunny as well as her brothers from LLB in our Backyard to take a gander from around Blogville to see what Mother Nature served up this week. We’re still in the grips of the Dog Days of summer yet and continue to look forward to autumn’s arrival in 31 days.

The garden is looking more than a bit parched, supplemental watering hasn’t seemed to make much of a difference with the crunch, crunch look of dry straw and not much is actually blooming right now beyond the Plumbago. The sunflowers are the only plants that seem to be thriving in the dry heat though a quick walk around early this morning showed some of their leaves are showing signs of heat stress. Hearty Plumbago  (Ceratostigma plumbaginoides) is my all time favorite ground cover, and is now sporting its signature blue flowers and its leaves will soon begin to morph into a lovely shade of mahogany red. This plant naturalizes well, is deer resistant, and will survive well with minimal supplemental watering, and is one of the most versatile groundcovers for cold climates growing in both sun or shade and most soil types, making it a perfect perennial to add to any garden.

Plumbago

With the heat and lack of rain, it’s been more important than ever to keep the fountain filled for the occasional thirsty visitor. For every wasp that takes a drink, one invariably will fall in.Wasp

As I watched this bee for several moments, it seemed as if he was using his front legs to beckon the solar fountain to provide a bit of a shower. I can’t help but wonder how he manages to hang on without falling off the side of the fountain. One fell in recently but I managed to fish him out; he flew off to dry out and then continued with his pollinating work in the garden.Bees

While I’d even be willing to put out a water bowl for guys like this, I think the Ranch hands would scare it away whenever it was seen. I came across him on a walk about the neighborhood a couple of days ago before the heat kicked in. He looks like he’s holding up okay and is probably finding water that has pooled on sidewalks or gutters.

Bunny

The fires here in Colorado and throughout the West continue to burn with little abatement. I read yesterday that California received nearly 11,000 lightning strikes in a 72 hour period this week and no doubt, more fires will result from that kind of meteorological activity. We hope everyone who is affected by them remains safe and especially pray for the safety of firefighters who are working hard in brutally challenging conditions. Stay safe, sane and keep smiling.

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾