Monday Musings ~ September 19, 2022

When I asked Norman if he realized he was leaving dog hair on the sofa, he blithely replied, “well isn’t that why it’s called fur-niture?”

Wishing you a pawsome Monday.

Because of all the hubbub getting ready for the pet therapy award ceremony last Friday and Norman’s subsequent ‘pawticipation’ at a hospital-sponsored event called Bark in the Park, we completely forgot that Friday was the Ninja’s 6th Gotcha Day (you can read her story here). I know, bad dog mommy. Soooo sorry Elsa, I hope all the one-on-one time spent over the weekend and the extra fish skin treats helped make up for my bad. Love you to the moon and back, Ninja❣️

Gotcha Day
I am not amused.

Hope you don’t forget anything important this week. Everyone at the Ranch sends you their best wishes for a totally ‘wagnificent’ Monday.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ September 9, 2022

Nature FridayWelcome to this week’s edition of Nature Friday where we join our pals over at Adventures of the LLB Gang for their weekly blog post. Make sure you check out the link for other posts.

We were absent for last week’s blog hop as we went to celebrate my Dad’s 92nd birthday for a few days so this week’s offerings are a bit ‘catch-as-catch-can’ with no real theme. But sometimes that works out ok as Nature often can be a benevolent mistress when sharing beautiful sights. We weren’t able to do a lot of looking around this week, between the broiling temperatures and catching up after several days away, but managed to capture a few pics from our trip that just might do nicely.

Birthday
92 never looked so good

Different from most trips down to Dad’s house in southern Colorado was the addition of a certain Ninja coming along. She loves my Dad so I thought I’d see how’d she do in the ‘wild’ if you will. New situations for Elsa are always tricky and I’ll admit she was definitely a bit out of her routine element but she handled things far better than I had hoped. Dad’s property isn’t fenced and there are loads of critters weaving across the two acres (ground squirrels, rabbits, quail and heaven only knows) but she stayed close to me, cautiously sniffing the trees, bushes and ground. Norman of course, was his usual self but having two clever dogs to keep an eye on kept me on my toes. I’ve learned to never leave anything to chance when dogs are involved.

Let’s start with meeting the neighbors. Norman loves saying good morning to the donkeys across the road and they seem very keen on him so I wondered how Elsa might do.

Elsa & the donkeys
‘What the bloody heck?’

She has that “what the &#@% are those things” look to her in this pic, which cracked me up. The guys, however are pros around the dogs and didn’t blink an eye no doubt wondering what the fuss-up was all about as Elsa lost her mind and barked her fool head off. Oh that dog.

Rather than wake up the entire area, after brief introductions, we moseyed along our on walk.

Norman
Norman meets a horse

The next morning following a most delightful evening rainstorm, the morning skies seemed to shout “Are ya happy now?”

Sunrise

It was exquisitely beautiful. But it got better. As we started out on our morning walk, the sky kept getting redder and redder with that great cloud cover. After we climbed the first hill, I turned around and this is what I saw.

Norman & Elsa

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more intense and spectacular sunrise anywhere. It was just breathtaking.

We all had a great visit, celebrating, eating, laughing, and Zooming with out-of-state relatives. It was one terrific visit for one terrific human. Once we got back to Denver, we noticed a new neighbor moved in around the corner from the Ranch so naturally we had to check them out. The dogs weren’t sure what to make of the new feathery dudes, and the ducks sure aren’t keen on them getting too close, but they quack at us every day when we walk by.  They usually are swimming in one of the two small pools as their owners sip a cuppa and watch over them. They wave, I wave and Elsa barks her fool head off. She may never be a member on the Welcome Wagon, but fortunately the duck owners seem friendly. I’ll stop when the dogs aren’t with me to welcome them personally.

Neighborhood Ducks

It’s bounty time now in the veggie garden. I came home to the potted tomato plants kicking into high gear. The cherry tomatoes have been a regular, heavy producer but it’s outperformed itself this year in the hot temps.  They are like little red candies-so sweet, so tasty. The ‘Early Girl’ is just now beginning to ripen. All the fruit seems fairly misshapen as well as smaller than I anticipated so I think this year’s experimental planting likely won’t be repeated next year, no doubt to the chagrin of the neighborhood hoodlums…aka squirrels. Anytime I can irritate that local population, I’m a happy gardener.

Tomatoes
Cherry tomatoes
Tomatoes
‘Early Girl’ tomatoes

Well, that’s it for us. With a break in the heat bubble this weekend, we’re hoping to be able to get out and find more of the amazing sights Nature routinely bequeaths us. A news report this morning indicated the Western US should experience a La Niña winter (colder/wetter while warmer/drier in the Southeast), with Colorado being pretty much the dividing line between the two so we’ll see what this means in the weeks ahead. I’ll be grateful to turn the AC off. Hope you are able to enjoy some of Nature’s finest. Have a ‘wagnificent’ weekend.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ August 26, 2022

ElsaWelcome to the last Friday in August. As always, we’re joining our pals over at Adventures of the LLB Gang for their weekly blog post. Make sure you check out the link for other posts.

Let me just say, it was one of those weeks. Elsa here, your award-winning, internationally renowned correspondent, coming to you from the scene of a major crime. Mom was ‘extra busy this week’ (Norman went to visit peeps at the hospital so there was that)…anywho…there I was minding my own business and sort of laughing that he got groomed and was patiently waiting for them to leave. All of a sudden, I was held at leash point gunpoint and robbed! Can you believe it?!?! Right under my nose, in my own home. I tried calling 911 to report this felony but Mom grabbed the phone away. The nerve! The thief (aka Mom) apparently thought it would be a good idea to get another dog, like what am I, chopped liver? I know, she has a sick sense of humor but don’t laugh to humor her, okay? Hmpf…another dog indeed. Can you imagine what that ‘dog‘ might look like if I was really in need of a haircut? Egad, I’d probably end up with another monster of a brother since Mom says I have a ‘robust’ coat…or what I like to call, being simply fabulous.

Any way, our outings to find cool slices of nature were somewhat limited. Mom simply had her head in the clouds this week. Literally. She says it’s because we’re beginning the transition to more autumnal flowers and not as much has been blooming. Coupled with warm temps, I guess most flowers feel like us and just want the summer to end. With 27 days left until the official arrival of our favorite season, I totally understand if they need a break.

Here was the sky as we strolled out for this morning’s daily constitution. Sorry about the Tokyo-type power lines criss-crossing the alley. When you live in an old neighborhood, unfortunately you’re always gonna have those ugly power lines that will show up ruining otherwise nice pics. It doesn’t bother me though…I like waiting underneath them just in case any squirrels lose their footing and fall into my waiting mouth down. It happened once before but Mom kept me from catching the failed member of Flying Wallenda family little fella. He shook his head and staggered off. Mom was laughing hard; but I simply wanted to ‘go check on him’ to make sure he was tender okay.

Sunrise

We’ve been fairly lucky temperature wise this week, with temps mostly in the 80’s. Warm days with clouds rolling in late in the afternoons. Yesterday it was 90ºF and Mom thought any rain would probably evaporate before it hit the ground; we had maybe 12 drops of rain but the weatherman reported some decent showers in the mountains which is fine by me. Those clouds probably ran out of moisture by the time they reached the metro area. That’s my theory anyway.

Clouds

When Mom went visiting her dad recently, he too had lots of cloudy afternoons and surprisingly far more rain than we received in the city. Notice those rainy streaks off in the distance near Pikes Peak?  Mom said it has something to do with moisture coming up from the Gulf. We’ve been thinking of all those folks in eastern Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. Have you seen the flooding going down there? Yikes! What going on with the crazy weather these days remains a big question.

Clouds

Well that’s pretty much all I’ve got this week. I’m keeping my fingers crossed we’ll get to go somewhere to see something other than stupid clouds or charred flowers. Got any suggestions? Whatever you do, we hope you are able to enjoy some of Nature’s prettier sights. Have a great weekend and guard those furs…you never know when an otherwise innocent looking Mom sneaks up on you with scissors and clippers behind her back.

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ August 19, 2022

Hard to believe we’re more than half way through August already which means we’re just a little over a month (34 days if precision is your jam) until autumn arrives. Count us in the happy column.

Elsa
Elsa here, your award winning correspondent, and I’m joining the LLB Gang for this week’s look at what nature dished out this week. Don’t forget to check out their Nature blog hop.

We started the week out with…ahem…steady yourselves…a nice little shower! I know, who’d have thunk it, right? Mom was expecting our usual 16 drops when she took me for a second walk all by myself. I was so excited spending one on one time with her, that is until about halfway to the post office when those 16 drops multiplied by a jillion. It wasn’t a heavy rain but it did drench us fairly well. We figured it’s be only a couple of minutes but ended up lasting for over an hour. Hurrah. They haven’t been too horribly bad and I’m hoping the 90º+F days are pretty much over. We’re beginning to see very, very subtle signs that autumn is coming. Then again it could be that some trees are so stressed, they’re just giving up for the season-they just can’t take it anymore.

At any rate, this week I decided to share some pretty gladiolus from around our ‘Hood. Mom has never planted them (she says her partial shade garden wouldn’t be a good place for planting them and she’s kind of OCD when it comes to any plant that flops over). Oh well, at least she has neighbors who have sunny yards and apparently don’t mind having to support them. Let’s check out this year’s crop of Glads, shall we?

Flowers

This ruffled, purple one is my favorite although I have to say they all were quite pretty.

Flowers

Mom was hoping she’d find a bee noshing down the throats of these flowers but she didn’t see any. Doggone it, I love following them buzz around and luckily don’t think they’re ‘sky raisins’ which makes Mom very happy.

Flowers

Mom also liked this pink one. She just kept saying out loud, “Oh my gosh, that’s just so gorgeous.” As you can imagine, I just shook my head. We had things to do and places to see. What’s wrong with our huMoms is a question I ask myself all the time.

Flowers

Ok, I’ll give her a pass. This time. It is kinda pretty.

Moving along on our tour…we walk past this house all the time but hadn’t noticed the front garden with the bike and wagon before until Mom was out photographing gladiolus. It may be a new feature this year. The border garden is quite lovely and we both were a bit surprised no one has stolen the bike which unfortunately seems to be a favorite of urban hoodlums these days. It seems that if you don’t have something nailed down, you can probably figure someone will filch it. Recently someone reported their baby stroller was stolen from their front porch and someone else reported someone swiped a potted plant. It’s getting ridiculous. How come people aren’t walking around the neighborhood to check out the beautiful flowers instead of causing larcenous mischief?

Flowers

Well that’s it for the ‘Glad’ show. I do have a critter pic to share though. A raccoon mom and her two babies have been combing the block early in the mornings while we’re out doing our thing. The babies are quite afraid of me and Norman but the mama seems poised to go all Oprah on us. She stands her ground till we get a little closer and then they either climb a tree or most often zip down into the storm sewer. That reminds me, anybody know what is so doggone interesting about those storm sewers anyway? I’ve seen foxes go down them too. The mysteries of life are just so confounding to us doggos.

Critters

So…you got anything exciting going on this weekend? I’m trying to get Mom to do something different, but we’ll see. She’s been so busy lately and then there’s the fact she’ll be doing hospital visits next week so we’ll both likely be getting bathed and groomed. Ugh…Mom…you know that wasn’t what I had in mind, right?

Have a cool weekend, both in what you do as well as temperature wise.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ June 3, 2022

Ranch HandsWelcome to this week’s edition Nature Friday  where we join the blog hop hosted by our fur-pals, Rosy, Sunny and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard.

Norman: Since I kind of took the last word from last week’s post, I’m giving free and full reign to the Ninja because I’m a proper gentleman. Elsa: More like I threatened you, you gigantic heap of fur. I don’t consider this much of a gift-it’s more like acquiescence in the face of harm. I still think you owe me but mom said I shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth. So with that, let’s take a look at a springtime lovely, otherwise known as the Bearded Iris.

Beardies, as mom likes to affectionately call them, are hardworking and easy to grow. They like full sun and tend to prefer well-drained soil to keep the rhizomes from rotting. Since our soil is more claylike, we tend to water them less and they’ve done fine.

Twenty years ago before either me or the Oaf moved in to the Ranch, mom found an iris farm in the heart of the city shortly after moving in. “Iris Bob” has been in the business for years, and grows more than 400 varieties of tall Bearded Irises. Sadly, they’ve been closed to visits since the panDAMNic. We’re hoping next year they’ll reopen. It’s a real treat to wander through the rows of gorgeous flowers. For a bird’s eye view of the farm, check out this short YouTube video.

Isn’t that something?! I’m gonna see if we can get a drone so I can spy on squirrels better-it could give me an edge on those doggone tree rats! Norman: Umm, let’s stay on point, shall we? Elsa: Growl. While mom’s garden is nowhere near the extent or scale as Iris Bob’s, it became the foundation for her garden. Happy now? Norman: Indubitably.

Flowers

The house mom owned before had one nearly black iris and she dug it up and brought it with her. It was the start of her obsession of bearded irises. While her garden has mostly blue or deep purple, she as a large border of the traditional purple but they have variegated foliage. Their flowers aren’t particularly exceptional, but the striped leaves provide interest all year long.

Flowers
View from the ground at the Iris Farm

Did you know the irises take their name from the Greek word for a rainbow (also the name for the Greek goddess of the rainbow, Iris)? Some suggest the name refers to the wide variety of colors found among the many species. The “beard” refers to those short hairs that look like a furry caterpillar, and are found toward the back of the lower petals. Its purpose is to a path for pollinating insects toward the reproductive parts of the plant. Bearded irises now tend to have larger blooms than they did a hundred years ago.

While growing beardies is fairly easy, according to Iris Bob (and taken directly from his website), here are some rules that can ensure good results so you too, can enjoy these springtime beauties.

Rules of Thumb for Tall Bearded Iris:

  • Minimum of 6 hours of sunshine per day.
  • Good drainage
  • Plant 7-12 inches apart.
  • Divide every 3 to 4 years
  • Fertilize late summer with a LOW nitrogen fertilizer, 14-14-14 (or something similar)
  • Fertilize in the spring with a high phosphorous fertilizer, 0-48-0 (triple super phosphate for root development)
  • Don’t overwater.
  • Don’t plant too deep [this is one of the biggest mistakes people can make]
  • Remove dead brown foliage and bloom-stalks when last flower folds.

So let’s see a few of the pretty ones from around our garden. Mom has always loved the super dark irises. They are unusual and she likes that kind of stuff. It’s probably why she adopted Norman. They don’t get anymore ‘unusual’ than him. Norman: I beg your pardon…I would never say unkind things about my sister. Elsa: Umm, Fathead…I thought you were going to butt out of MY post. Norman: Umm, sorry…go on. {Sigh}

As I was saying before being so rudely interrupted, here are a few pics of some of mom’s favorite irises blooms.

Flowers
Black bearded iris being crowded out by the variegated irises (note to mom-make sure you divide those guys this year)

Another showstopper is this speckled iris. It’s like Mother Nature got the hiccups. Tee-hee.

Flowers

Here Mother Nature decided to compete with Picasso with a ruffled variety. What do you think…Yay or Nay?

Flowers

Here’s a peach colored one from a walk this week that looks so bright and happy. I tried to sniff it but mom pulled me away since a bee was enjoying its dinner.

Flowers

And finally, this delicate looking one that always makes mom smile.

Flowers

Notice the spots of moisture? We actually got a couple of days of showers this week-something we rarely receive. Mom was happy, but my crybaby brother can’t stand getting wet so I have to hear him winge on about it. Norman: I do not winge. I simply observe. Elsa: Whatever.

Anyhow, we hope you enjoyed our my post on bearded irises. Do you have them in your garden?

We hope you are able to get out this weekend and see things blooming now. Luckily, I’ll get a free day tomorrow while Norman goes to an Old English Sheepdog Rescue benefit as an ambassador for rescued dogs. For me it means I can destroy play with the toys by myself. Yay! Have a great weekend.

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Monday Musings ~ March 28, 2022

For some bizarre reason, Elsa decided to prepare today’s post. Jealousy is apparently a strong motivator and she grumbled that Norman hogs all the limelight with his therapy work. Considering baths and grooming were a big part of last week’s activities, she did however tell me “Don’t even think about it.”

SmilesHave a smile filled Monday.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

 

Top ‘O the Morning To Ye

The  Leprechaun Ranch Hand sends his best Irish wishes to you. ☘️ Erin go bragh! ☘️

Norman

Meanwhile the Celtic Sluagh…aka The Ninja, seems to be [once again] preparing to hunt down my soul. If there’s anything to that adage, ‘luck of the Irish,’  now would be a good time for it. Then again, she could just as easily be channeling the Celtic goddess of evil magic, “Carman” who, as a destructive witch, roamed around with her three evil sons: Dub (“darkness” in Irish), Dother (“evil”) and Dain (“violence”), destroying anything or anyone in their path.

It was thought that Carman was responsible for cursing Ireland’s crops until the Tuatha De Danann (peoples of the goddess Danu) used their magic to fight and defeat her.

Elsa, St. Patrick's Day
I am NOT amused, nor am I Irish

May your blessings outnumber the shamrocks that grow, and may trouble avoid you wherever you go. Happy St. Patrick’s Day from everyone at the Ranch. Slainte!

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Thankful Thursday ~ December 30, 2021

Normally I don’t post in the Thankful Thursday blog hop but simply couldn’t NOT participate this week. If COVID and current events have taught me anything, it’s to embrace gratitude wholeheartedly and don’t procrastinate letting people know how much you care.

Earlier this week while I was reflecting about the Christmas holiday, the mailman delivered a small package. What’s this I wondered, since I knew I hadn’t ordered anything? Thinking it was simply some end of the year appeal for a donation from a group I’d supported before, I figured it was some mailing labels or greeting cards. To my surprise, it turned out to be far more.

Card

Back when I began blogging, many bloggers I followed were influencers with various companies promoting their products. I had hoped to join those ranks but by the time I had any measurable number of followers, many of those companies changed their policies and stopped working with bloggers. Chewy was one of them. I was disappointed but then again, hadn’t really lost anything and just continued to do what I’d been doing-posting about the resident Knucklehead and his hospital adventures.

People seemed to enjoy the posts, the blog grew and readers fell in love with Sam whose legendary knuckle-headed adventures seemed to touch hearts on our little acre of the Internet. When Norman joined this merry band, his adorable face and sweet nature seemed to appeal to readers as well (for which I’m also grateful). Oh sure, there was a story or two about the Ninja, but Elsa’s presence here has been fairly minuscule. Her puppy mill background doesn’t exactly lend itself to sharing heartfelt stories beyond the numerous episodes of her inexplicably chewing up eyeglasses (I think she’s up to 6 or 7 pairs of reading glasses now) and assorted ‘stuffie’ assassinations. I adore this complicated girl but she’s not exactly the kind of dog people understand or favor. Coupled with her ongoing battle with epilepsy, her “still waters run deep” personality is tough to share in a post. Then this arrived.

Card

The inside massage took my breath away and my emotions got the better of me. Around Thanksgiving I placed an autoship order for food and pet supplies. I received an email indicating an earlier-than-expected delivery date and couldn’t have been more thrilled, given supply chain issues these days. Now understand, I place orders about every 3 weeks for food for the Ranch’s ‘livestock.’ I live in an older, very well known neighborhood and rarely have problems with deliveries. Delivery companies know the area well. Amazon, FedEx and UPS trucks are plentiful, delivering packages all day long and yet for some reason, UPS managed to bungle delivering this one. After two emails indicating they had ‘tried’ to deliver said order (which they had not), the following Wednesday UPS sent a notice that “because delivery had not been made, they were returning the box to sender.” What the bloody heck?!?! We were down to the bottom of the food bag so I called Chewy’s explaining the online exchanges I had with UPS (all efforts to reach a live UPS representative were fruitless) and the kind, patient and very pleasant service rep at Chewy assured me a new order would be sent out with priority status. I was extremely grateful and assured both Ranch Hands no one would go hungry. The order arrived a day and half later and all was good at the Ranch. I softly said a prayer of thanks; the dogs had full bellies and all was well in Ranchland so my focus, like most people’s turned toward getting ready for the upcoming Christmas holiday. In other words, I moved on. Supply chain issues has become the new buzzword these days with delays being routinely expected especially during the holidays.

Elsa

This 6″ x 6″ canvas was lovingly packed with the sweet card and brought tears to my eyes. I. Was. Simply. Stunned. The image from Elsa’s profile was a favorite of mine. As a black dog, she’s hard to capture photographically without looking like a dark blob. As she’s too reluctant to pose, when she does (or when I get lucky like here), it seemed like the obvious choice to use it as a profile pic but I never expected anything like this treasured gift.

Elsa

Meaningful words of gratitude seem so inadequate. All I can offer is a heartfelt “THANK YOU” from the bottom of my heart. This little piece of art means so much and I’ll cherish this sweet gesture forever. Say what you will about large, unfeeling corporations, but this kind gesture shows not all companies treat their customers so cavalierly. Let me just say I think, Chewy is ‘picture perfect.’

Live, love, bark!  🐾

Nature Friday ~ November 5, 2021

Nature FridayWelcome to the first Friday of November for this week’s edition of Nature Friday as we join our pals, Rosy, Sunny, Arty and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard. For those keeping track, there are only 57 days left in 2021! Try and wrap your head around that while we take a look at this past week.

Having survived a cold Halloween with a chilly temps and a few days of light frosts, the Mile High has returned back to mild temps and clear skies. It seems like Mother Nature tapped many trees on the shoulder as a reminder to shed their leaves and some seem happy to oblige.

Trees

Others have taken a hybrid approach, with some leaves still on and some off. I’m sure you won’t be surprised to know that I came close, ever so close, to jumping into that small pile of leaves to the left of this tree imitating Linus who always jumped into the middle of Charlie Brown’s freshly raked pile. I did come to my homeowner senses but wondered how many kids walking home from school couldn’t quite manage to do the same without enjoying some joyful mischief.

Trees

And then there’s my Catalpa which naively takes the Scarlett O’Hara approach to dealing with the upcoming winter season: “Tomorrow is another day.”

TreeUmm…sweetheart, I hate to break it to you but while it’s mild now, it’s no longer summer and you need to pick up the pace to catch up with the rest of the trees.

One of the more interesting aspects of autumn is how leaves impact the dogs. Daily “walks” take on a whole different vibe. It’s as if Nature opened a library and invited the Ranch hands to come in and browse through the collection. And browse they do. What normally takes nearly an hour to complete our route is now taking more than an hour and a half as they read each. and. every. page.

Norman cannot seem to get enough sniffing done in leaves. This Ranch Hunk takes any job on with gusto but his work ethic seems particularly focused when checking out leaves. And not all sniffs result in ‘watering.’

Norman

He roots around, over and under leaves as if he were a Bloodhound tracking a lost child. What is it about autumn leaves that turns dogs into Sherlock Holmes looking for clues?

Elsa takes a different approach to leaves. Oh sure her nose goes into overdrive when she’s on those narrow strips of grass between street and sidewalk much like Norman does but will try to find a clear pathway without leaves on sidewalks. Apparently she has no desire to crunch leaves and goes out of her way to not step on them when they cover sidewalks. Sam was the same way and would weave like an Army convoy around leaves on sidewalks. Norman being the Humvee sized dog that he is, merely plows through waiting for the next deep patch that he can plunge his probiscuis into olfactory nirvana. I think there were audible sighs of pleasure.

How does your good dog approach walking (or in our case  sniffing bouts) in fallen leaves?

Halloween

Do you have big plans this weekend, like sending the Halloween back into their storage shed? Whatever you do, we hope you get outside and enjoy Mother Nature first hand and have a great weekend.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Happy 4th of July

July 4thAs the U.S. celebrates our country’s independence, both the Ranch hands and I wanted to take this opportunity to wish our U.S. based readers a happy Fourth of July and we hope everyone has a terrific Sunday.

Norman

Here’s to a star-spangled ‘howliday!’

Elsa

Live, love, bark! 🐾