Nature Friday ~ July 24, 2020

Nature FridayWelcome to Friday! Elsa here, ready to dish up some interesting bits of urban nature from around the Ranch. Despite yet another week of 90’s, we managed to survive the miserable heat and, as always, join our weekly hosts, Rosy, Sunny, Arty and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard. Don’t forget to click on their link, to see what the Gang and others around Blogville have shared this week. So let’s get started, ‘kay?

Elsa
Hibiscus

On our walks, we notice lots of crawly things, even encountering some real whoppers. Mom almost stepped on this one and thought it was some kind of cicada. It was nearly 3 inches long and as she bent down to look closer, its legs started wiggling which made me think it wanted to play. A swift tug on my harness by the upright made me think I may have misjudged the situation. Us dogs tend to like windup toys like that but mom was pretty emphatic about moving along once it started moving. Whatever. I thought it was pretty fascinating to watch. Just look at those silver eyeballs!

Bug

Annuals like these vining petunias are enjoying the hot weather to which I say, they can have it. These sunny days are way too intense for a Ninja like me.

Flowers

Some of our neighbors have interesting yard art that both my dolt of a brother and I have to check out. I get the sense that this little mushroom village attracts a lot of visitors. Look how colorful these glass babies are!

Flowers

On the other side of their front walkway, they had an important message for passersby. With all the anxiety peeps are experiencing during the pandemic, we hope they heed messages like this and stop complaining about having to wear a mask.

Signs

On our return route, we encountered some colorful poppy mallow. Mom really likes their bright color and vows to plant some saying they’ll make a nice ground cover to fill in some of open spaces in our side garden and the cup shaped blooms are really pretty.

Flowers

Around the corner from the Ranch one of the neighbors always plants a few pumpkins in the strip of ground between the street and the sidewalk. We stop to check out the pollinators and see how well the pumpkins are doing. We may not have trick-or-treaters this year but I think there’ll be plenty of pumpkin treats. That buzzy thing inside the flower took a bit of offense to my closer look so we had to move along quickly.

Pumpkin

With more hot weather still in the forecast, we can’t help but be a bit excited by the countdown clock. Did you know there are just 59 days until autumn officially arrives? I know some of you groaned when you read that and others of you gave a collective sigh of relief.

Well, that’s about it for sharing photos of nature from around here. We hope you have a great weekend and take the time to see what nature readily provides us. Who knows, you may have more luck finding a windup toy laying on the sidewalk, just waiting for a playmate. Without the proverbial helicopter huMom hoovering close by to drag you away.

Lie, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ June 26, 2020

Welcome to Nature Friday where we join our friends and hosts, Rosy, her new sister and her two brothers at LLB in Our Backyard. Be sure to visit them and see their brand new sister, Sunny who is as cute as a button. The dogs enjoyed bringing last week’s sniff around  so much last week, they asked if they could do an encore today. So…take it away Norman and Elsa.

Norman: Right, mum, thanks. I’m really chuffed to be able to share another edition of nature which, if you follow us regularly has been interesting. I mean yesterday’s early morning raccoon sighting was absolutely gobsmackingly brilliant! This morning my sister and I looked for them but only found our bunny friend, Roger who didn’t seem all that keen on chatting with me.

Elsa: Wait…what…a bunny?! How’d I miss Roger? I always see him way before you do. This is a travesty. I’ve been robbed!! Where’s justice when you need it?

Bunny

Norman: Blimey, sister…you especially need to pay attention to today’s garden plant, lavender. Mum told me this is time of year when lavender is in full bloom. Because of the pandemic, there was no lavender festival to visit but that doesn’t mean we can’t fetch some lavender info and images for everyone from around our garden from previous posts. Of course you can her posts from a past festival for additional images. We all know how wonderful lavender smells but did you know it helps reduce anxiety and emotional stress, heals burns and wounds, improves your sleep, can restore skin complexion and reduce acne, helps slow aging with powerful antioxidants, improves eczema and psoriasis and helps alleviate headaches?

Elsa: This is just all wrong. Can’t believe you didn’t tip me off that Roger was out. I thought you were my loving brother! What gives, dude?

Norman: Calm down and stop spinning, sister; there’s no need to ‘throw a wobbly.’  You need to chill out to keep your stress levels low. Remember your seizures.

Elsa: Lavender?! You made me miss a bunny and you think I’ll be content with sniffing a dumb plant. Argh…you are a clueless moron if you think lavender will substitute for a chance to chase a rabbit. Sheesh, “calm down,” he says. Calm down when there’s a rabbit around and I missed him!!! Grrr.

Lavender

Norman: Blimey, someone needs to stop whinging on about the oddest things. My sister could especially use a long sniff of this brilliant plant. Did you know lavender helps release tension and calms the mind? Lavandula (whose common name is lavender) is a genus of 47 known species of flowering plants from the mint family. Native to Europe, northern and eastern Africa, the Mediterranean region, southwest Asia and southeast India, it does well in temperate climates and is a favorite in mum’s garden. Hers are the most widely cultivated species, Lavandula angustifolia which has deep fragrance and color. The bracts (or buds) are perfect for sniffing, saving and savoring right now.Lavender

Elsa:  Whatev. I’m not as keen on it as Sam was and you seem more interested in catching the bees when you’re out in the lavender bed. I’m more focused on the squirrel in the tree above the lavender patch. He mocks me and as a Ninja, I simply just cannot let that stand.

Norman: You, more than anyone would do with a good sniff of this plant. It’s well known for calming the the anxious. Those buds (known as bracts) have the strongest scent before they open into their little flowers. Mum even makes some wonderful goat’s soap with her harvested lavender buds.

Elsa: Ok, I’ll start paying more attention. I suppose a bit of calm is good for anyone. I’ve heard that lavender essential oil works wonders on burns. Mom was taking something out of the oven the other day and I heard a lot of HBO words. She got out a little bottle of lavender essential oil and put it on her thumb and she actually “ahhh’ed’ out loud. No blister, no pain, just fast relief.

Norman: Yes, it is the bee’s knees for treating burns and she even used it on me last week when it looked like I might have an infected ear. It felt so much better and the redness was gone overnight. I feel so much better knowing lavender is a universal oil that is used to balance the body whenever there is a need. It even helps repeal nasty insects that often plague pups and peeps.

Elsa: Ok brother, you’ve turned me into a true believer in the power of lavender. It’s especially fragrant in the early morning hours before it gets too hot.

Lavender

Norman: It really does; I made a point of checking it out after our early morning constitution. Now let’s go hunt butterflies.

Butterflies

Elsa: Umm, yeah…no. I hunt rabbits bozo, not butterflies. Besides, that isn’t a butterfly you British fool. It’s a Painted Lady moth who are taking a vacation in our garden before heading up to the mountains. Sheesh, when will this guy ever learn?

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ June 19, 2020

It’s Friday, June 19th (known as Juneteenth in the US or Emancipation Day) and the Ranch hands are here to share scenes from our garden with our hosts and friends, Rosy & her brothers for this week’s edition of Nature Friday. Be sure to click on the link to see what’s been going on elsewhere in Blogville.

Norman: Hello mates, since we’re the sniffers around the Ranch, we only thought it fair to share some of what we sniffed out.

Elsa: Ahem…not so fast dog breath…I searched out some of these things too. You probably pee on more things than you actually sniff.

Norman: I say dear sister, that’s rather rude unkind of you. I beg your pardon, I must protest by saying I do my fair share of sniffing. Remember it was me that found those sunflowers that are popping up all over.

Elsa: After which you promptly ‘watered’ them.

Norman: There, there now…let’s not go there. First off, in the purple category, mum’s clematis is in bloom. And what a beauty it is!

Flowers

Elsa: Yes, it is rather nice but hope those are real water droplets!

Norman: Oh course, it is. I. know. the. rule: “no ‘watering’ of flowers in the garden.”

Elsa: Yeah, but you do tend to break that rule. I thought I heard mom say just yesterday to not pee on the peonies.

Norman: Huh, erm…what? I don’t recall her saying any such thing! And frankly I’m a bit cheesed off that you think I’d deliberately break the rules.

Elsa: Whatever dude. I sniffed out some Hemerocallis, known as Stella D’Oro lilies. These babies re-bloom…did you know that?

Flowers

Norman: My goodness, I rather think those are quite smashing! They’re not far from a tree which grows in our garden that I’d never seen before. Mum says it’s a Catalpa tree and they grow quite large. With their large heart shaped leaves, they’ve begun to bloom now. These trees grow quite tall reaching 40-60 ft. (12-18 metres) and grow relatively quickly. The flowers appear in broad panicles in early summer while ‘fruit’ appears in late summer or autumn. Known as siliques these pod-like beans grow to approximately 20–50 centimetres (8–20 in) long and are full of small flat seeds. These trees provide good shelter from rain and wind, making them an attractive habitat for many species of birds. They do not present many threats of falling limbs (despite having soft wood), but the dark-brown ‘fruit’ husks that drop in late summer tend to be a bit of a nuisance.

Flowers
Catalpa flowers
Trees
Leaves and pods

Elsa: I notice you check it out every day when we head out for our walks.

Norman: I’m just reading the canine bulletin board. Please note I myself, have never watered it.

Elsa: Yet. Why don’t you show everyone the sunflowers that are popping up all over the garden.

Norman: Right…this one just popped up a couple of days ago. I guess they like the sunny, hot weather we’ve been having. Rather cheery flowers, wouldn’t you say?

Flowers

Elsa: I suppose so. You’re the flower sniffer, I just sniff for grass spots to do face rubs/rolls in.

Norman: Ah yes, sister, you do tend to find strange spots in which to roll. Not sure what that’s all about. Care to share?

Elsa: Nah, if I have to explain you wouldn’t understand it.

Norman: If you say so. Anyway, we’ve enjoyed sharing all the blooming lovelies from the garden this week and I am personally chuffed to bits to say I no longer have to wear a cone of any kind! Life is pretty good though mum says for me not to get too excited…I still am on activity restrictions for another week or so. Still, it feels good to get out and walk about sniffing for flowers without that bloody cone. I ‘pawsitively’ feel groovy these days, especially in my new tie-dyed scarf mum made for me.

Norman

Elsa: You do look pretty spiffy if I say so myself, big guy. And thanks for helping out with the nature flower parade. We hope everyone has a safe and happy Juneteenth weekend celebration. Cheers!

Norman: Cheerio, mates!

Elsa: Ugh, this guy is so thick. It’s live, love, bark! 🐾 you British dolt!

Meet the Breed Monday ~ May 2020

ElsaIt’s time for our monthly column “Meet the Breed.”  It’s me, Elsa, stepping up again this month ready to feature our latest installment of “Meet the Breed.”  So without further delay, let’s meet…the Shetland Sheepdog, more commonly known as “Shelties.”

When mom first started blogging, she became a follower and then friend with Dakota and his mom, Caren Gittleman who was especially helpful in showing her the ropes. Caren suggested loads of tips and tricks that would develop a readership for which she will always be grateful. And Caren was very inspiring to mom when she launched the e-shop. And she has one of the cutest guys in Blogville. I mean, just look at this handsome boy…hubba bubba, dude!

Sheltie

Dakota’s mom, is a free-lance professional blogger who writes blogs Dakota’s Den (about her cute boy) and Cat Chat With Caren and Cody (a blog about cats)  residing in Michigan with her husband, Sheltie Dakota and Cody the cat. While Caren isn’t blogging as much these days, she’s a powerhouse and accomplished blogger in mom’s eyes with Dakota, her beautiful and sweet Sheltie and his fur-brother, Cody the cat. Many thanks to Caren for providing  breed background info on these adorably cute dogs.

Dakota the Sheltie

Now pay attention, Norman and let’s get started by meeting this adorable breed. Often confused with the larger ‘Collie,’ The Shetland Sheepdog, or “Sheltie,” is actually NOT a “mini-Collie” as some people think, they are in fact a completely separate breed. 

Shelties were originally bred on the rocky Shetland Islands, on the northernmost point of the UK. They were employed by farmers to herd sheep, ponies, and poultry (the “Toonie dog” was an old slang name for Shelties, “toon” being a Shetland word for farm). Shelties’ long coat is harsh and straight, with a dense undercoat, and comes in black, blue merle, and sable colors, with white markings. That coat, along with a long, wedge-shaped head; small, three-quarter erect ears; and deep-chested, level-backed torso, give Shelties the look of a rough-coated Collie in miniature but there are significant differences. Shelties weigh about between 14-27 lbs.while Collies weigh 60-75 lbs. Shelties can be prone to  chubbiness, so their weight should be closely watched. There are height differences between the breeds as well:  Shelties run 13-16 inches tall; Collies are between 24-26 inches tall

Shelties do quite well in a large yard but also thrive nicely in an apartment or condo setting because of their much smaller size. Shelties are “alert, active and playful” and like to bark but tend to be reserved toward strangers. They make excellent watchdogs. Shelties will alert the household when strangers show up.  Shelties are high-energy and rank 25th of 195 breeds in popularity according to the AKC and are members of the herding group.

 “Dakota” recently celebrated his 13th barkday and is a brilliant, funny little clown on four legs. His mom tells us that he is a bit of a “thief” (watch your shoes, slippers, anything you don’t want him to have), is sensitive and intensely loyal to “his pack,” which includes mom, dad and tabby cat brother.

That trademark “Sheltie Smile” is quite compelling so if you are interested in an intelligent, active, playful, great family dog who will love you “to the moon and back” then  the Shetland Sheepdog could be just the breed for you.

Have you ever owned one or have stories to share? Next month we’ll showcase another breed. Who could it be? While I’m not giving any clues away, Norman tells me it’s definitely another favorite breed. We hope all you dog-moms had a Happy Mother’s Day and wish everyone a great Monday and ‘wagnificent’ week.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Working Wednesday ~ December 18, 2019

Hi there, it’s me, the Ninja. While most of Blogville is participating in Wordless Wednesday, today is a working day around the Ranch, at least for one of us. Today is the last working day this year for my knuckleheaded brother to spread smiles at West Pines. But first, I have to get him out of bed. Looks like yesterday’s hospital visits took a little out of him. As soon as he came home, he took a long nap.

Sam

Meanwhile for me, there are stuffies to attack play with and squirrels to bark at while he’s working and far too busy to miss him while he visits his friends at West Pines. I just hope he doesn’t try to use that stethoscope on me.

Dogtor Sam
Dogtor Sam

Happy mid-week. Maybe I can help huMom out later after she comes home with some of her Christmas preparations. I have offered to help her out in the kitchen, by licking keeping the floors clean while she’s making treats but she keeps shooing me out. Not worries for me though, I can block sit in the doorway and obstruct her path almost as easily as I can under her feet. Then again I can always use a paw to help tie bows on presents she’s wrapping. I’m a equal opportunity, multi-dimensional helper.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Monday Musings ~ October 7, 2019

SamFourteen years ago today, a small apricot-colored curly, bundle of knuckleheaded-ness entered the world. Who knew at the time this silly boy would bring so much joy to everyone whose path crossed his way? Elsa here. Although he wouldn’t arrive at the Ranch until he was two, that photo was one of the earliest images showing his sweetness.

Sam

While he may not be quite the same pogo-stick he was when he joined mom, the boy’s still got game and continues to walk anywhere from 2-4 miles a day. Please join me in wishing him many happy returns. Come back tomorrow to see the blackmail photos highlights from his party. Happy birthday, bro! Mom and I love ya, even if you’re a goofball.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ August 2, 2019

Hello troopers. I see you’ve made it to another Friday. Elsa here. HuMom told me she’s up to her eyeballs in alligators working on a couple of big projects and said I could be responsible for today’s post. Well actually she wanted my brother to do it but he passed. Not sure how that works, but I’m going to give it a go nonetheless. Like always we’re joining our ‘fur-iends’ Rosy and her brothers from LLB in Our Backyard. Be sure you visit them and all the other excellent contributors.

While I was pawing through her 87 jillion images (whew, that lady has got some serious organizing to do when she’s done with her projects), I came across a photo from before my time. Boy do I wish I could have been there with her and my brother that morning. Sloans Lake is an urban, man-made lake in the park with the same name that’s just a hop, skip and jump from the Ranch. There are lots of water sports activities on the lake, some ‘furbulous’ walking paths around it and a spectacular view of downtown Denver. And the geese…oh my! What strange and unfriendly creatures they can be. Can you imagine they want nothing to do with a gorgeous girl like me? I know…hard to believe. I just want to say hello for crying out loud but they don’t want to be sniffed by Ninja’s I guess and will let you know in no uncertain terms.

Sloans Lake

Sadly we don’t get over there as much as we’d like, it can be jammed with visitors which makes me go into full-on Ninja mode anxious but when we do make special trips, boy are we rewarded. A walk around the lake when it’s not crowded is well worth it.

Sloans Lake

This time of year, Rose of Sharon bushes are blooming and the ones here have gigantic flowers. Mom won’t let me go near them. Those blooms while very attractive to dogs in ‘pawticular,’ are extremely toxic and bad for us fur-babies. Be sure to click on the link to learn about the dangers of this shrub with pets.

Rose of Sharon

Well that’s it for me. I need to go harass play with my brother and then take my morning nap. Have a great weekend. We hope there are some beautiful sunrises in store for you this weekend. Mom hopes to have a big announcement soon so stay tuned.

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

 

Monday Musings ~ March 18, 2019

Elsa

{Yawn-stretch} Happy Monday. Oh hi, it’s me, Elsa. We’re running a little slowly today (i.e. mom’s got writer’s block). We’re hoping the caffeine kibble kicks in soon. Not sure why Sam and I have to pick up the slack when mom’s not creative and I’m not saying there was too much paw-tying yesterday, but we could use a few more 💤

How was your St. Patrick’s Day weekend?

Live, love, bark! 🐾

🌻 Floral Friday 🌻 August 17, 2018

Mom woke us up at oh-dark-thirty today and said we had to prepare today’s blog hop entry hosted by Rosy. Gulp…we’re dogs, ma…not botanists. Sam’s only claim to ‘gardening’ is watering plants and I know that isn’t quite what they need so it looks like I’m in charge. Elsa here. While I know how to snoopervise, I know essentially nothing about flowers. Mom seems to be in the midst of one of her fitful sleep periods and is feeling more than slightly overwhelmed and over-stimulated with stuff. She can’t seem to find the necessary focus to do background work on posts and spends hours writing only to shriek “It’s all rubbish!” and tosses ideas in the trash bin. Apparently retirement is hard work that she hasn’t quite managed to successfully master.  Mom’s…whaddu do with them?

What I found about “Solidago,” otherwise knowns as Goldenrod, was fascinating (no wonder mom likes to garden). Contrary to popular belief, Goldenrod does not cause allergies, it’s pollen is sticky, not windblown, and is moved from plant to plant by bees. Apparently wasps seem to enjoy drinking from it too because there was one noshing away when this image was taken a couple days ago. A late summer bloomer, Goldenrod is deer resistant, attracts butterflies and is bee friendly while being rabbit resistant. It’s easy to grow, makes a nice addition in bouquets and is low maintenance. It grows in all types of soil and naturalizes easily. Mom told me she didn’t plant this flower and thought it probably came from the neighbor’s garden, via a squirrel. Dang, I’m pretty bummed I missed seeing that gardening squirrel.

On a totally different note, uprights all over the world are mourning the loss of the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin. If this remarkable iconic artist and first woman inducted in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame touched you as much as she did everyone who heard her, please enjoy this video from Stephen Colbert’s tribute to her last night. This performance was taken from her 2015 Kennedy Center performance honoring Carole King and hosted by  President and Mrs. Obama. When mom saw it, she got goose bumps and tears, and not just because Mr. Obama isn’t the president these days.

Boy, that woman had a set of pipes on her and a style not to be denied. Mom wonders if we ‘respected’ her enough during her amazing 76 year long life. Rest in Peace, dear Queen.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Knuckleheads Do a Review

 

Photo courtesy of NomNomNow

Mom hasn’t been part of the pet blogger influencing network before so imagine how thrilling it was when Kevin at NomNomNow contacted us Knuckleheads to see if we’d be willing to try out their fresh food. Sam and Elsa…drooling here. Shortly after we barked a resounding YES, a large and extremely well-insulated box showed up at the Ranch (with the best cooling packs making sure it arrived safely during the heat wave). Our mom knew a little about NomNom and like us, thought this would be a great opportunity for the us to paddle in the pet blogger review pool. Even though I, Sam, HATE water. I do however, love good food.*

Sam: One of the most exciting aspects of NomNom was the fact that the food was all fresh. I could smell the freshness as soon as mom opened the box.

Elsa: Ooh, ooh, yeah, and remember how I came a-running when I smelled that Chicken Chow Wow in those cute packages? It has the high protein percentage dogs like me need for optimum health. And it tastes great!

Sam and Elsa: Yeah…watch what NomNom’s veterinary nutrition expert says. We’re very glad NomNom took the time to formulate nutritionally sound, home-cooked meals for dogs as well as for our kitty fur-iends.

Courtesy of NomNomNow.com

Sam: These meals are made with real meat, vegetables, healthy oils, vitamins and nutrients with NO additives and NO artificial ingredients.

Elsa: And they taste way better than the wool socks I often enjoy eating.

Sam: Elsa, you tend to eat anything, but in this case, I’m glad you’re actually eating something that’s good for you and in keeping with your special needs as an Epi-Warrior. Dogs like you need a high protein diet and the Chicken Chow Wow more than adequately checks that box.

Elsa: Apart from the GRE-AT taste and nutrition in these yummy packages, they arrived ‘pawfectly’ portioned for our unique caloric needs. One of the side effects of my anti-seizure medication is it makes me extra hungry all the time so mom constantly monitors my waistline.

Sam: Yeah she watches mine too. How come when a mom is on a diet, the whole family is on a diet. What’s up with that??

Elsa: Moms are just like that, I guess. Did you know this stuff is human grade and the vitamins are all-natural? Umm, I hope mom doesn’t think I still won’t beg when she’s eating her meals. And I hope she doesn’t think about eating ours either.

Sam: She won’t, remember she’s a veterinarian. I’m sure she knows nothing will stop you from putting on that sad, “I’m starving” look when she sits down to eat her own meals. You really have that look ‘pawfected,’ don’t you?

Elsa:  You bozo, she’s a vegetarian, not a veterinarian. Why are brothers so dumb? And for the record, I’m not milking it just for milk’s sake; I had a rough life so it’s important to strike while the iron’s hot now that I have a pushover good mom.

Sam: {rolls eyes} You…little Ninja, are quite the shameless tool. Do you know the other reasons why this food is great?

Elsa: Do tell, Knucklehead brother!

Sam: I’m ignoring your snark. These meals are all delivered fresh. If you received more than a week’s worth of food, you can freeze and thaw them out when needed. One bag, one meal. Rip, serve, enjoy. How easy is that? There’s nothing like fresh clean food which results in clean energy. More food is absorbed and used for energy which means more playtime with mom! NomNom vitamins, minerals and nutrients promote health coat and skin and the all natural vitamins will keep our immune systems strong and healthy. Because it has no fillers, we get all the essential nutrients we need and are able to use more of the food. Which means less waste, meaning fewer poop bags. Mom likes that feature. Delivery is free and if you do autoship, it can be paused, updated, edited or cancelled at anytime. More convenience! They also have a great customer service department standing by to answer any questions you may have.

Elsa: Wow, you really did your homework on NomNom. I’m impressed, brother. You know what else I liked? They sent a fabulous package of restaurant quality chicken jerky. Man, that stuff tastes incredible and its only ingredient is CHICKEN. Have I told you I LOVE chicken?

Sam:  I know, I start licking my chops whenever mom gets out the package. Cooked in small batches those single ingredient treats have zero preservatives.

Elsa: I noticed you ‘kinda’ liked them. And I also noticed you’ve been eating all your food when mom serves it. No more sniffing and walking away like you’re playing hard to get. That means less for me to bogart so I’m not so happy about that.

Sam: Mom gives you a bowl, so there’s no need to try eating mine too. Remember your girlish figure.

Elsa: You know you could have left me a couple nibbles, but nooooooo. You had to eat EVERYTHING. You never eat everything.

Mom: I think you both enjoyed this deliciousness. So what’s the verdict, kids?

Sam and Elsa (in unison): NomNomNow receives eight paws of approval, mom. And if anyone wants to try it out, click here for a special discount.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

*Full Disclosure
We received no monetary compensation for our review. We did receive a generous supply of NomNomNow to try but our review was not influenced by it.