Nature Friday ~ January 22, 2021

Welcome to Friday, our favorite day of the week. It’s been another unseasonable week of pleasant weather in the Mile High which means the season of brown and drab is very much alive and well. As we typically do on Friday’s, we’re joining our friends, Rosy, Sunny, Arty and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard for another Nature Friday blog hop. Don’t forget to “hop” over to their backyard by clicking on the link and check out all the great images of nature that folks found this week.

Let’s get started, eh? As I mentioned, it’s pretty brown around here. Brown trees, brown leaves and grass, shrubs, and perennials. But that doesn’t mean nature doesn’t have beauty and interest. Take for instance, tree bark.

We walk passed a very small park in our neighborhood every day. Evergreen and deciduous trees line the outside border of this park and were featured in a post last June here after a severe wind storm. When we walk past this little park, we’re more alert for dogs off leash than any botany but a recent morning there were no dogs or peeps so we ventured in the interior a bit where some trees caught my eye. They caught the eyes of the Ranch hands too.

There are a small handful of shorter trees which I think are some sort of crab apple. They aren’t overly tall and the leaves aren’t overly flashy in the summer, but the bark…now that’s another story. Just check out the texture and shape of these babies!

Trees

This tree looks as though it’s seen a thing or two and it caught our eye.  It almost reminded me of ancient Greek olive trees. It just reminds Elsa to stay vigilant for tree rats who seem to instinctively know that she has a fierce prey drive but who are willing to tempt her anyway. How is it they seem to understand exactly how long her leash is and take advantage when taunting her?

Trees

That gnarled shape and textured bark remind me it’s good to keep your eyes open as you routinely walk through your neighborhood.

Trees

The bark reminds me of tiny shingles overlaying one another in rich and various shades of brown, grey, and tan.

Trees

All is not lost in the ‘Hood; yesterday we passed  by one front garden that is beginning to show subtle signs that spring bulbs are engaged in their annual emerging journey. Like other scenes seen from this week, there’s hope and a fresh newness in the air and in our souls (if you didn’t watch the inauguration, I would direct your attention to America’s first national youth poet laureate, Amanda Gorman. What an amazing and inspiring young woman. You can watch a video about her appearance here).

Bulbs

Notice that tiny emerging columbine on the upper right side next to the rock? I don’t know about you, but that made me grin with optimism for the days ahead.

We are still hoping for snow to fill the watershed this weekend but know that January is the driest month yet remain hopeful nonetheless. It’s been a dry winter which won’t bode well for summer time but are keeping our paws crossed.

In a rare Saturday post, I hope you’ll join us tomorrow for a look at a certain Ranch hand’s Gotcha Day celebration. Till then enjoy a beautiful Friday and a terrific weekend.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Wednesday Wishes ~ December 23, 2020

It’s mid-way during Christmas week and we wanted to send our best doggone wishes for a Happy Christmas. Christmas this year will look and feel different but our wish remain the same. May peace, joy and love of the season fill your heart this Christmas season and remain throughout the coming year. All the Ranch hands wanted to send their very own best ‘howliday’ wishes.

Norman hopes the glow of Christmas lights brighten your day and your heart.

Christmas

Elsa finds this an odd time of year, because it’s the only time of year in which she can sit in front of a dead tree and eat treats out of a sock (but hopefully not the sock). She also has her paws crossed for a respite from any other photo sessions. Sorry old girl, no promises.

Christmas

Angel Sam also sends his best wishes to you from across the Bridge. Miss and love you, Knucklehead.

Sam

The Ranch will be taking a few days off to relax and reflect on the season.

Christmas

From our family to yours, may the spirit of Christmas shine in your heart and light your path. We thank you for being in our world.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ December 18, 2020

Welcome to Friday where we join our friends, Rosy, her little sister Sunny, as well as her brothers Arty and Jakey from over at LLB in our Backyard to take a gander from around Blogville to see what Mother Nature served up this week. And what a busy week it’s been. We’re busy trying to get ready for the big day next week, baking up a storm and trying to get a couple of photo shoots in between. Not much success and Elsa and I are singing in two-part harmony on both fronts. Hrmph!

Elsa

In true 2020 form, the baking hasn’t gone quite as planned. I threw out a tray of gingerbread cookies this morning that more than slightly resembled holly leaf bricks-ugh. I’m new to baking gingerbread despite having gobs of Christmas cookie cutters and misjudged the timing they needed to bake. Plus (as seems typical of gingerbread and probably why I haven’t made them in the past, too crunchy for my tastes.

We had another small snow storm blow through earlier this week but nothing like the Nor’Easter that dumped on the east coast a couple of days ago. We hope everyone is safe and staying warm. Ole Man Winter may swing by later today but I suspect the forecast has been oversold as the next storm scheduled to arrive later today. Still, we managed to see a little bit of the local landscape around the neighborhood to see how nature is faring.

We pass by this house every day on our walks. It’s a haven for birds but alas, they are the little tiny ones who flit in and out long before a cell phone can even begin to focus on them. But it’s a charming spot which the owners nurture nature with plenty of bird seed, suet and water for a variety of birds who must compete with rascally squirrels looking for their next free lunch. Norman and Elsa find the squirrel action more than a bit enticing and I’ve had to pull them down from the retaining wall (not in view here) around this large Ponderosa pine which has been turned into quite a festive site. I nearly ran into the low hanging ornaments the first day.

Christmas

On the morning of our most recent storm, the ornaments were frosted with accumulating snow.

Snow

We hope you have a fantastic Friday and hope any holiday baking you do goes better than mine has. And if you’re not baking or decorating, I hope you can get out and see what nature has to offer when you ‘run into it.’ Happy weekend!

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! 🐾

We’re Back…sort of

Hi there, remember us? You know, that merry band of misfits consisting of two dogs and an upright who thinks she runs things but let’s face it, we all know Norman and Elsa are the real brains around the Ranch. Sorry we’ve been AWOL. A series of life events tripped us up pretty hard and took the wind out of my sails with little to no bandwidth remaining in the tank to do any kind of job at blogging. I began to sink in mental mud rather than focus on much of anything else.

Flowers

Although we were served a large crap sandwich, I realized when I ran into a nearby neighbor couple this morning that life can easily serve a bountiful meal as well. They were loading their newborn baby boy into the car (egad, I hadn’t even been aware they were expecting)!  What a beautiful and reaffirming sight to see their new son peeking out over dad’s shoulder gazing at the world while the two fur beasts and I observed this blessing from a more than social distance. The realization that a new life joined the rest of us in 2020 had an impact on my psyche and that made me realize I absolutely needed to begin to post.

In the ‘more good news’ category, the hospital recently contacted the pet therapy teams to see if we were interested in participating in some form of hybrid form of pet therapy visits. While visiting patients and staff in the hospital would not be possible (and probably won’t for the foreseeable future given the recent uptick in cases in the Mile High City), they worked on creating a new way to bring smiles at least to the staff of the Emergency Department. Norman is scheduled to visit their parking lot venue for greeting doctors and nurses (today is our first day and we’re wiggling with excitement and will report back on just how it goes so wish us luck). Norman is all spiffed up having survived the water torture and is now ready to make his first appearance spreading a little joy later this morning.

Pet Therapy

Please know we’ve missed you all and hope to pick up where we left off with new adventures to share. I’ve continued to visit your blogs and left a few microscopic comments but you’ve all been in my heart. It appears the summer has been good to the fair majority of you and we hope autumn continues in that vein. Until the next time where we update you on how Norman’s inaugural entry into the world of pet therapy goes, remember…

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Purple Day ~ March 26, 2020

EpilepsyToday is Purple Day,® a global grassroots event created to increase worldwide awareness of epilepsy and to dispel common myths and fears of this neurological disorder. Purple Day® attempts to reduce the social stigmas associated by the many individuals afflicted and provides assurance and advocacy to those living with epilepsy by letting them know that they are not alone. This day occurs annually every March 26 in honor of all epi-warriors, whether they are 2 or 4-legged. Once again, we proudly support this event by wearing purple. As you may know, Elsa, as a puppy mill survivor with unknown lineage, was diagnosed with idiopathic epilepsy shortly after she was rescued nearly 4 years ago (you can read her story here). Supporting epilepsy awareness and education is a no-brainer and I’m committed to learning as much as possible about this condition and how to effectively manage it while providing a safe and loving home for this pill of a dog. I can {knock on wood} report Elsa has been mostly seizure-free for almost two years through a combination of anti-seizure medication and organic, locally sourced CBD oil.

Elsa
You woke me up for this?

So on this year’s “Purple Day®“, we invite you to wear purple today. If you or anyone in your family are impacted by epilepsy, check out the Epilepsy Foundation’s website or check the “About” tab at PurpleDay.org website for valuable information.

Word Cloud

Live, love, bark! ❤︎

Monday Musings ~ January 6, 2020

Good happy Monday, everyone. Elsa here. We hope you had a swell weekend. I kind of got into a spot of trouble yesterday by stealing some chicken jerky for us off the counter (it was on top of that jar you can barely see in the upper left corner) while mom had her back to us for a second. It was just sitting there at the back of the counter as she turned to put away the container. Well, that’s practically an engraved invitation to try so I did what any poodle would do…I jumped up and snarfed both pieces. Sam of course, ratted me out. Doggone brother!

Sam & Elsa
Busted!

On my afternoon walk, mom put this contraption on me and said, “there’s no such thing as a free lunch.” I guess that means I now have to pack my own lunch.

Elsa
Working for my lunch

We hope you have a great week. Now that the holidays are over, mom says things will go back to ‘normal.’ What exactly is normal for poodles?

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Throwback Thursday ~ January 2, 2020

It felt strange to type 2020 for this post but I suspect it’ll get easier as we write our ‘best-seller’ this year. The past reflection through images as well as thoughts about last year brought this photo up and one of those that is aw-worthy in integrating Elsa into the family pack. Taken just a couple months after she was adopted and after several trips to the vet before we managed to get control of her seizures, it’s apparent she loved her brother almost as much as she loved stuffed toys. Knowing that her first few years were devoid of love and toys, I’ve always been touched by this scene.

Sam & Elsa

My heart is full of gratitude when I see Sam acquiesce the dog bed in the studio to his recovering sister and comfortable enough to let her lay close to him. Seeing scenes like this sets the stage for focusing on the more ‘pawsitive’ moments that will happen this year.

We hope you safely survived any New Year’s celebrations and the many of the college football bowls (is it me or are there far too many?). How ’bout that Rose Bowl game? Congrats to the Oregon Ducks on the comeback win.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Make a Wish Monday ~ September 16, 2019

Three years ago, a skinny, shut-down black Standard Poodle joined the pack and life hasn’t been the same ever since. Today is Elsa’s 3rd ‘Gotcha’ Day and I couldn’t be happier she found her way into my life. You can read more about her story here.

Elsa

Sure it’s true, I’ve suffered from her munching of multiple pairs of reading glasses, wool socks, and other assorted household items and I’ve learned to cope with the devastating diagnosis of idiopathic epilepsy, but this clever girl has truly blossomed into quite the Princess.

From a shut-down, puppy mill survivor to the spunky, hilarious Ninja of today, Elsa learned to wag her tail when she experienced joy and came to love playing with toys. She’s definitely come a long way from that fateful autumn day three years ago. The birthday girl must have realized today is a special day since she let me sleep in to 4:45 a.m. this morning (from her normal “GOOD MORNING!”  bark requesting the desire to come up on the bed rather than the usual 4:35). With this girl, I’ll happily accept those extra ten minutes and continue to enjoy those daily early morning snores snuggles.

Sam & ElsaHappy Gotcha Day, sweet Elsa. Keep making everyone around you smile and continue to thrive while bringing smiles to those who love you. Even your Knuckleheaded brother sends happy greetings.

Elsa

One of the most inspiring footnotes to Elsa’s story is the fact that she has (knock on wood) remained seizure-free since last November. She continues learning how to be a ‘normal’ dog  and how to enjoy life. There’s still seems to be more room for her to grow and learn so I look forward to more continued progress, both physically and emotionally. High five, Ninja.Elsa

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Not Quite Wordless Wednesday ~ October 31, 2018

From our house to yours, we wish you a “Yappy Howloween.” While Sam is totally done wearing any costumes after the weekend’s festivities, Elsa was not equally as game for a shot in the limelight. This witches hat appeared for a brief second, just long enough for the shutter to release. Then it became a ‘toy’ and we all know what happens to Elsa’s toys. 😈 We hope your celebration is full of smiles.

Happy Howloween

Live, love, bark! 🐾