Category Archives: Fab Friday

Nature Friday ~ March 22, 2019

Happy Friday! Spring officially arrived this week and despite the potential for more spring rain and snowstorms, just seeing it’s officially spring on the calendar now seems to have made a difference with our moods. We join our hosts, Rosy and her brothers from LLB in Our Backyard, for this week’s edition of the Nature Friday Blog Hop.

We’ve been seeing lots of spring bulbs teasing us that spring was on its way (only to be three weeks. With the official arrival of spring, something magical even occurred in our own garden. Yesterday I noticed a small flash of pale blue in some ground cover and thought maybe a wrapper had blown in and gotten stuck. To my surprise, some blue grape hyacinths planted a couple of seasons ago have started to naturalize amongst the Vinca. These little cuties known as Muscari come in shades of white, blue, and purple. They  are very easy to grow and aren’t the slightest bit fussy about soil conditions and will thrive in sun or light shady conditions. My original group was planted several feet south of where they were now and I was charmed to see how far they’ve migrated. I don’t mind another ‘caravan on the march’ and think the garden will be richer for these new additions. The buffet table was set for lunch and noticed the season’s first bees noshing away (bee is located on the back side of the tallest Muscari). Once the photos were downloaded, I also noticed the season’s first ladybug to the right near the shortest flower.

Muscari should be planted in early fall so moisture can nourish them before winter sets in. Plant in groups of ten or more, setting the bulbs twice as deep as they’re tall, and at least a couple of inches apart. Leaves will appear shortly after planting in the autumn but can be ignored. The flower spikes will arrive in spring when you most need to see colors other than tan and brown.

Hyacinths

The crocuses are just starting in my garden but we’ve encountered numerous ones around the ‘hood. They are one of my favorite spring bulbs. the bees sure seem to enjoy them as much as I do, for different reasons. This little guy had sacks of pollen on his legs.

Crocuses should be planted in late summer to early fall and require a minimum of 15 weeks of chilling to break dormancy known as vernalization. Planting times differ from other species and for best results should be planted 6 to 8 weeks before the first expected frost allowing a sturdy root system to develop before going dormant. If soil consists of clay, amend with organic matter, plant 5 inches deep with the flat side down and around 1 to 2 inches apart.

Did you know that saffron comes from the saffron crocus bulbs (Crocus sativus), an autumn blooming crocus? The spice is the red stigmas of its flower. Each flower only produces three stigmas and each saffron crocus bulb will only produce one flower. Now you know why saffron threads are so pricy. You’re welcome.

As for seeing ladybugs, did you know seeing them is considered a sign of good luck? We hope that luck works with digital sightings as well. May the luck of ladybugs grace you and hope your weekend is filled with all good things.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ March 15, 2019

Nature FridayWhile today is the Ides of March, we’re joining the fun with our friends, Rosy and her brothers from LLB in Our Backyard for this week’s edition of the Nature Friday Blog Hop. According to the ancient Roman calendar, the Ides signaled the first full moon of the month, which generally occurred between the 13thand 15th of each month. Though most of us associate the Ides of March as the day Julius Caesar was assassinated. Et tu Brute.

After this week’s “bomb cyclone,” with hurricane-force winds, extensive power outages (some still in effect today) and 8-12″ of snow and drifts, we thought we’d prefer to focus on the softer side of Mother Nature instead of her damaging impact on the environment.

This weekend is St. Patrick’s Day and a much better way to share a spot of nature by celebrating with some lucky ‘clover?’ While Oxalis is not a true clover (it’s part of the Wood Sorrell family), it does look like a plant most associated with St. Patrick’s Day (beyond hops in beer), the four-leaf clover. I’ve had this plant well over a decade and while it looks a bit bedraggled due to some inconsistent watering of late…my bad, this little guy makes my Irish heritage on my Dad’s side, smile. It recently finished blooming small white flowers. When grown outdoors, shamrocks tend to be somewhat invasive nature as their fast-spreading tuberous roots spread like wildfire. Indoors, they can brighten a sunny windowsill nicely as a charming houseplant.

St. Patrick's Day

As a nod to St. Patrick’s Day, Sam graciously agreed to pose for a photo shoot this morning while his sister, Elsa said “not no how, not no way and I don’t care what kind of treats you’re using as a bribe are involved.” Guess Ninja’s don’t celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Still, everyone at the Ranch sends our best wishes for a fun and Happy St. Patrick’s Day weekend.

St. Patrick's Day

Erin go Bragh!

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Gambling on Nature

Hello sports fans, it’s moi, Elsa. Mom said if behaved myself and didn’t get too rowdy, I could join the fun with our friends, Rosy and her brothers from LLB in Our Backyard for this week’s edition of the Nature Friday Blog Hop.

Paw prints

Art paw prints by Elsa and Mother Nature

Well all I can say about Nature this week is…what the dog?! We experienced it all this week-warm/cold/wet/dry/grey/sunny…and that’s unlikely to change any time soon. Wednesday there was a slushy snow/freezing rain that fell on top of the 4″ of snow that fell earlier. By Thursday probably 80% of it had melted except for northern exposures. Then there are humans who try to influence nature by changing time, which happens this weekend. Yup, the dreaded Daylight Savings Time switch arrives early on Sunday in the US. On the surface, it seems like a good idea…dinner arrives an hour early…color us dogs happy!  But then there’ll be an hour less of sleep which will make for crabbish sleepy huMoms and one hour less of any potential Spring. Messing with time seems like hoping a Vegas casino croupier will be your friend when he smiles and says, “Go ahead, roll the dice, hit me, or place your bets,” but we know how that often ends up where spring is concerned. When you play Blackjack-Spring edition, shouldn’t you actually win once in a while? 

More than likely, nature will deal these guys instead of the Spring we’d like.

Deal the cards

When we went out for our walk, we saw more signs that Spring might be in the air but I’m not holding my dog breath. When we got home, mom looked at the calendar that saw that the dreaded time gyp arrives and then groaned. We all know mom groans are never a good sound.

Tulip bulbs

The reticulated irises and crocuses mom shared managed to survive the snow fairly well. Talk about hardy little devils. They must be Ninjas in the bulb world.Irises

More than likely I’ll end up being up to my elbows in white stuff soon since March is our snowiest month of the year. But it’s not all bad, snow is fun mom, trust me.

Elsa in snow

Here’s my happy face that doesn’t want to walk on a cleared sidewalk and stay dry

So what’s your bet? Aces or jokers? Either way, don’t forget to ‘spring’ forward. Whichever way the cards are dealt, we hope there’s a full house or three of a kind for weekend fun, even if it will be an hour short.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

 

Nature Friday ~ March 1, 2019

Nature FridayIt’s Friday which means we are joining our fur-iends Rosy and her brothers from LLB in Our Backyard for this week’s edition of the Nature Friday Blog Hop. Be sure to click on the link to check out nature around Blogville.

Mother Nature seems to be very confused judging by the bizarro weather she’s dishing out. Severe rain on the West Coast, tons of snow on the East Coast with warm temps followed by bitter cold and snow in the Rocky Mountains. I can’t remember when I experienced such yoyo conditions.

When we were out on our afternoon walk yesterday, we discovered positive signs that Spring really is around the corner. Check out Exhibit A.

Irises

These blue beauties are called reticulated irises. Growing only to about 4-5 inches tall, as early blooming Spring bulbs they provide the promise that Spring really is being worked on for a soon-to-be roll out. Reticulated irises are hardy down to USDA planting zone 4a (with temps as low as -34.4 °C/-30 °F). Beware though, they are toxic if ingested and should not  be planted where pets could inadvertently snack on them.

Reticulated irises are a huge favorite of mine, yet my eagle eye always scans the landscape for my other early blooming Spring crush, crocuses. These striking tiny gems caught my eye and for good reason…they are fabulous.

Purple crocus

Seeing these lovely blooms gives me hope that Spring will arrive soon, despite a winter storm watch for our region. I hope they don’t mind being dumped on by the white stuff. Ignorance is truly bliss, isn’t it?

Have a great weekend, especially celebrating National Read Across America Day, which is Dr. Seuss’ birthday tomorrow, March 2.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ February 22, 2019

Nature FridayHi guys, Sam here. Today we join our fur-iends Rosy and her brothers from LLB in Our Backyard for this week’s edition of the Nature Friday Blog Hop. Be sure to click on the link to check out nature around Blogville.

Mother Nature decided to take a detour away from Spring, beginning last weekend. It’s been c-o-l-d with a couple of dustings of the white stuff.

FlowersLast Friday we saw these crocuses blooming. Their cheerful blooms brightened our spirits and *POOF* just like that, Mother Nature decided to snow on their sweet little heads. We haven’t walked past them again to see how they fared since it’s been too cold to walk that far. We hope they are hanging in there. Mom looked out this morning under some dead leaves in our garden to see if there was any action there and lo and behold…these little heads were checking to see if it’s safe to come out through patches of snow. Woohoo, guess maybe Spring really is planning on arriving. At some point.

Flowers

There’s a chance of snow again today so I guess I’d better go outside and cover those babies up so they stay safe and warm. Next week should be warmer so we expect the garden to make us look forward to warmer springtime days. We hope you have a fun weekend.

Live, love bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ February 15, 2019 (updated 2/16)

Nature Friday
Editor’s Note: Apparently our scheduled post didn’t publish yesterday. We apologize for that.

Once again we are joining our fur-iends Rosy and her brothers from LLB in Our Backyard for this week’s edition of Nature Friday Blog Hop.

It’s been a super busy week with commitments scheduled every day and today is no exception (we’ll have more to share about the adventures next week). While Sam and I had some very lovely visits at West Pines, hospital and hospice we still managed to get our walks in around the neighborhood. We couldn’t help but do a double take when we saw these little babies. Daffodils! Maybe the Groundhog’s prediction a couple of weeks ago is right for a change.

Bulbs

Further along on that same walk, we found more evidence that some tulips are planning on making an appearance soon.Tulips

February provided us with more snow over the past two weeks than we’ve received all year but we are looking forward to the arrival of Spring and sharing of more floral scenes in the coming weeks.

One more day of volunteering and then I’m kicking back and enjoying a nice quiet weekend with the Knuckleheads. How ’bout you, any fun plans on the horizon?

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ February 1, 2019

Nature Friday
Is anyone else having a hard time comprehending the fact it’s February already? Wow, where did January go? Today we once again join our fur-iends Rosy and her brothers from LLB in Our Backyard for this week’s edition of Nature Friday Blog Hop. I also want to take a moment to wish my baby brother a very happy birthday. Hope your day is extra terrific, Bro.

So on this first Friday in February, since so much of the country is gripped in a Polar Vortex of epic proportions, I figured let’s go back to the beach!

I could walk up and down the beach in Mexico a million times and still be enchanted with the scenery. Just looking at the golden sand, blue sky and foamy surf warms me up. Sure beats shoveling snow filled sidewalks, doesn’t it?

There is some very entertaining about catching a glimpse of pelicans whenever I’m at a beach location. I love that they always seem to be flashing a smile at you, especially just before they swoop in and filch a part of your lunch. This guys trailed the boat in hopes of a tossed fish and was amply rewarded for his aeronautics.

And what beach is complete without a catamaran or parasail? The colors themselves are enough to warm a winter soul, don’t you think?

Finally, as this little sculpture with his colorful painted surface suggests, the beach is just plain fun. We stumbled across an art gallery in Old Town Puerto Vallarta curated by a fellow from Corsica. He had relocated to Mexico over 30 years ago and loved the spirit of his adopted country. He was showing several of these dog-themed sculptures that were so charming. Who would love stuffing one in their bag for the trip home?

Hopefully these images warmed you up a bit. To our friends caught in the jaws of bitter cold, we’re thinking of you and hope you stay warm and safe. May your weekend warm up enough where you can get out and enjoy some nature with all the brightness of a sunny day. For me, I think it’s time to anticipate a tasty birthday toast for my brother. Cheers!

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ Eskimo Style

Today we join our fur-iends Rosy and her brothers from LLB in Our Backyard on the last Friday of January 2019 for this week’s edition of Nature Friday.Nature Friday

We had a little storm blow through Ranch-land yesterday and by blow, I really mean windy conditions. While the total snow only measured 3-4 inches, the wind drifted it in some places to closer to 6 inches. The Knuckleheads however saw it as an opportunity to go mushing.

Poodles-Iditarod Style

Normally, the Knuckleheads walk on either side of me. We may still look like a 3-ring circus, but they walk nicely on either side. Sam never walks right next to his sister. I think I’ve heard him moan, “ewww, dog germs” on occasion. Yesterday, the windy and snowy conditions made them both frisky as all get out and I had to bundle up like an elder Eskimo on the ice flow including fat mittens which leaves very little dexterity to steer them around. While we weren’t out anywhere near the time or distance we normally are on a morning walk, those two bounced, galloped and frolicked like a couple of school kids. Try holding a cell phone in a mitten while staying upright in blowing snow. I laughed just contemplating the image we must have cast.

Poodles-Alaska-John-Suter

It reminded me of another musher team captained by John Suter in 1988. Suter and his team of Standard Poodles entered the 1988 Iditarod. As a rookie, the team actually finished in 38th place with a time of 18 days, 1 hour, 50 minutes, 50 seconds. Thankfully, the Knuckleheads were happy to head back to home Nome after a few blocks rather than days. Yes, it’s true; I’d we’d never make it in Alaska. But no doubt the Knuckleheads still dreamt of winning their own Spirit Mask and race trophy.  It should be noted that a few years after that first run, officials passed rules allowing only northern breeds like Siberian huskies and Alaskan malamutes to compete.

Here’s hoping you win any race you’re in this weekend. Stay warm and safe.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ January 18, 2019

Welcome to today’s edition of Nature Friday where we join our fur-iends Rosy and heNature Fridayr brothers from LLB in Our Backyard. Click on the link to see more Nature Friday posts.

The weather been in the mid-50’s the past few days but winter is expected to do a quick drive-by sometime today. Yes, that is unusually warm for January, but particularly during the National Stock Show when the temps typically hover in the frigid zone. Our forecast calls for rain mixed with snow but since temperatures will be somewhere in the upper 30’s or low 40’s today, but I only expect a sprinkle or two, but not much in the way of snow accumulation. Monday, winter is expected return with a higher chance of snow so we have our fingers crossed. The dogs would love to run Iditarod style, in the white stuff. Me, I just hope to hang on while staying upright laughing at them when they go snow crazy.

Ok, enough with the weather reports. How ’bout some Nature? A trip to my parents house in Southern Colorado allowed me to see these precious little things. Living in an urban environment, birds like this are as rare as hens teeth so can you imagine how thrilling that was. Generally seen on the Western Slope of the Rockies, these  little guys flit to and fro in the pine and pinion trees looking for insects.

The Centennial State I learned is home to three species of bluebirds; Western, Eastern and Mountain bluebirds. A bit bigger than a sparrow, these guys can be found in fields, open woodlands, and in some suburban locations near open areas such as golf courses. Mountain bluebirds (which I have encountered when my daughter lived in the foothills west of town), are found at higher elevations in open meadows.

I could have watched these little guys all afternoon if they’d have let me. They seemed cautious, even a bit shy while I photographed them from inside the house but then again I know I’m not thrilled when someone watches me eat either. They reminded this city girl, there’s a whole ‘nuther world out there that I’m missing.

We hope you get the opportunity to see some unique elements of Mother Nature this weekend and make it a great one.

Bluebirds Bluebirds

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ January 4, 2019

Nature Friday
Welcome to the first Friday of 2019 where we enthusiastically join our fur-iends Rosy and her brothers from LLB in Our Backyard for this week’s edition of the Nature Friday blog hop.  Don’t forget to check out other blogs when you click on the link. Not yet ingrained in my brain, I’m still having trouble typing 2019 but figure it will become second nature soon. Fingers crossed. Speaking of nature…Mother Nature went on a bit of a tear earlier this week. Last year ended with a small snow storm blowing through the 303 and New Year temperatures started out literally in the freezer with emphasis on the blowing part. Low double digits dropped like a rock into single figures with the windchill. One early morning it was below zero. Hard to even recall today as the temps have been warming since Wednesday and should be around 60 F this afternoon with mid-50’s forecast for the next several days. Crazy Mother Nature…at her best/worst again, depending on how you view it.

Here are a couple of images from Mother Nature’s first storm of 2019. The bird bath was photographed early in the morning and chills me just looking at it.

And while the sun is shining in the second image, you can see exactly what windswept looks like on a patch of ornamental grass.

So how do you plan to stay warm this weekend? Whatever you do, we hope the first weekend of a fresh new year is ‘pawsome!’

Live, love, bark! 🐾