Is it really Monday…again? Mom said I could do today’s post. Elsa here. I’ve been using this Field Guide for my early morning walks which ‘pawfectly’ shows the Wild Kingdom of critters in my world. Norman only seems vaguely interested in the grumpy or bouncy squirrels. I on the other hand, am all in on every squirrel category. It’s what us Ninjas do.
We hope you have a terrific week and manage to avoid any of the ‘danger squirrels’ on your hunts. I’d also avoid the spicy ones too. Blech. Besides, it’s likely better for your digestion any way.
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.
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?
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…
Let’s continue, shall we? The courtyard boasts signage about The Fort’s history.
After reading the sign, you are blown away by the adobe construction and full sized teepee inside in the courtyard.
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 is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
An outdoor patio has a few water features that add to the ambience of the area.
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.
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.
Greetings, nature lovers! Elsa here with this week’s gander at some of what nature dished out this week. We’re joining those Land of Enchantment cuties, Rosy, Sunny and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard with their weekly Nature Friday blog hop. Don’t forget to click on the link to see spots of nature from around Blogville.
Like many places across the country, the weather has been hot, hot, hot. As a pup gardener with a black coat, it’s been brutal. Mum has to walk us at the crack of dawn so me and my dolt of a brother don’t melt. He’s not a fan of the heat either and both of us suffered until mum could find someone to start up her rooftop evaporative cooler. We’re finally online now enjoying pleasant conditions indoors. Whew…those triple digits we’ve had were brutal. But apparently the garden seems to enjoy them which proves there’s no accounting for taste.
The most notable plant we encountered this week is the Mock Orange shrub. Mum goes nuts when this shrub starts blooming with its white flowers and their sweet, citrusy fragrance. Once it blooms it’s pretty unremarkable as shrubs go. Still, Norman is compelled to try and treat it like it’s a bulletin board by attempting to leave ‘messages’ to every 4-legged passerby in the ‘Hood. Mock orange has a soft texture not usually found in xeric shrubs with it’s oval-shaped leaves and billowy vase-shaped growth. It looks great in a perennial border in a naturalistic landscape and tolerates Colorado’s poor, heavy soil. It will even thrive in dry shade locations.
Next up on this week’s photo roll are the Smoke Bush shrubs that we see along our walking route in several spots. A deciduous shrub/small tree, it has beautiful purple-pink ‘smokey’ plumes with purplish leaves which turn a gorgeous shade of mahogany in the autumn.
A closeup below shows the trademark, flowering hairy clusters which bloom white flowers resembling smoke drifting in a breeze.
Smoke bush has an upright, multi-stemmed form that reaches about 12 ft. tall with either waxy green or purplish leaves. It is a moderately xeric shrub and prefers well draining soil.
Ice Plants throughout the neighborhood are exploding with color. I may be a scrappy Ninja but I still prefer the girlish, hot pink color. Check out this one that I see every day.
Closer to home, the cherry tomato mum planted just a couple of weeks ago is already beginning to produce even though it didn’t have a lot of flowers formed when she planted it. She hadn’t expected seeing tomatoes for another couple of weeks but they seem to love hot days and cool nights. She actually squealed out loud when she saw this little puppy. Mums can be so doggone embarrassing.
I certainly won’t eat any (blech on veggies other than green beans or broccoli) but it seems to make mum happy and as long as those hoodlum tree rats don’t try to filch any, I’m happy for her.
So what’s going on in your garden? Doing anything exciting this weekend? I’m taking a vacation from the brother where I can lounge around with all the toys while he and mum go visit her dad in southern Colorado for Father’s Day. Which reminds me, I hope all the dog daddies out there have a ‘pawsome’ Sunday with their families this weekend and hope a spot of nature is part of the celebration.
That’s it for me. This girl’s gotta go take a nap to digest breakfast. Make it a ‘wagnificent’ weekend. Signing out…your favorite neighborhood Ninja.
Welcome 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?
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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 festivalfor 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.
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.
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.
Norman: It really does; I made a point of checking it out after our early morning constitution. Now let’s go hunt 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?
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!
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?
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.
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?
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.
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!
It’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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Fourteen 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 toxicand bad for us fur-babies. Be sure to click on the link to learn about the dangers of this shrub with pets.
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.