Nature Friday ~ February 12, 2021

Nature Friday

🎵 Oh, give me a home where the buffalo roam.
Where the deer and the antelope play.
Where seldom is heard a discouraging word.
And the skies are not cloudy all day. 🎵

It was 3ºF glorious degrees for our morning ‘pee-tio’ potty break in the dog run by the Ranch hands before breakfast. Wooly Mammoth (aka Norman) only made it to the front garden, quickly peed and raced back to the door. The big guy does. not. like. the. cold. If we reach the teens, I’ll be shocked though the weekend may not see the light of anything north of single digits, some even below zero.

Welcome to Friday where we share bits and bobs of nature from around the ‘Hood. Even though it’s cold, let’s join our weekly hosts, Rosy, Sunny, Arty and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard and see what’s out there. Don’t forget to click on their link to check out what Blogville shared for everyone’s enjoyment.

Mother Nature apparently took the week off from showing off any pretties, no doubt because it’s been cold, cold, cold. Even BBQ grills are upset about it.Snow

Ok, I know nobody likes a complainer but is there anyone out there who’s enjoyed this week of bitter cold, especially if you had a recent tease that spring might be close at hand? A-ha, thought so, since I’m not seeing a bunch of hands being raised. Could it be that no one likes their arms frozen to their sides? Oh, don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind cold per se…with snow, but without snow, you’re totally getting ripped off of any fun while you still shiver. At least in the snow you can make snow angels, build snowmen or run zoomies. You don’t usually do that on frozen, brown tundra.

WinterOn the plus side, there’s something to be said about no one thinking you’re chubby in multiple layers of clothes.

All that aside, we did see some buffalo geese roaming at a nearby senior home on our afternoon walk. Milling about without a care in the world (in bare feet no less) I noticed these guys and began humming Home, Home on the Range. I was too cold to rework the lyrics to suit the situation but to those of you far cleverer than me, feel free to leave your rewrite in the comments. [Hint, hint]

Geese

Geese

In the silver lining camp, the skies were blue and it was sunny even if it was bloody cold.

We hope everyone stays warm. I’m off to find ways to occupy clever high energy Ranch hands’ minds in lieu of tundra walking. Oh and keeping the walks clear of tiny white flakes that just started to fall. Hallelujah! Have a safe weekend. Stay warm!

P.S. Happy birthday to Abraham Lincoln. I hope you’re not rolling too much in your grave.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

 

Nature Friday ~ January 29, 2021

Can it truly be the last Friday of January (otherwise known as the 13th month of 2020)? Where did this month go?! As we usual, we’re joining our hosts, Rosy, Sunny, Arty and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard for this week’s edition of the Nature Friday blog hop. Don’t forget to “hop” over to their backyard by clicking on the link and checking out what great nature images folks from around Blogville shared.

A welcome snow shower visited us this week to cover anything that might be showing signs of life beyond the brown but we’re not complaining. Before the change in landscape, we noticed on our daily walks that shadows are long this time of year. How long you ask? Well that tree on the right side is approximately halfway into the park (a city block square) and stretches toward the two evergreens which line the outside boundary along the street.

Nature

The low winter sun makes for great shadows this time of year and captivates my eye on our walks. Norman & Elsa seemed interested in them too, though I suspect a certain fuzzy ‘hoodlum’ who scampered into that evergreen tree is what mostly  piqued their interest. I rather love that tree shadows dominate the landscape on sunny days and stretch across yards. Even Norman’s long legs look longer.

Nature

Have you ever noticed winter shadows when you’re out and about?

We hope you have a lovely Friday and a super weekend. We’re planning on being outside as much as possible before next week’s forecasted storm and cold temps. I don’t know about you, but almost 60ºF sounds like a pretty good forecast for today.

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

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! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ January 15, 2021

Since every day of the week in the age of COVID are referred to as “Blursday,” I had to check the calendar to make sure that today is in fact Friday. Welcome back old friend! As we typically do today we join our friends, Rosy, Sunny, Arty and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard for another Nature Friday blog hop. Don’t forget to swing by their backyard and check out all the great nature scenes.

Well it may be the middle of January already, but around the Mile High that just means we’re steadfastly stuck in a season of brown drab despite a small storm that dumped some white stuff at the beginning of the week. That just means we are bit shy on anything particularly scenic to share…unless you’re really into dried leaves and grasses.

It’s been a busy week but I kept my eyes open whenever I was out to see if anything worth sharing would catch my eye. While running a couple of errands around the neighborhood, I drove by this little shopfront. This little skin care shop is very close to the intersection and because Murphy’s Law insists that I must stop for the streetlight every time I pass by here. It would seem as if the owners are kind of trying to create some of their own kind brand of spring to offset the dusty drab that has a chokehold on the local landscape. The color caught my eye from nearly a block away but I couldn’t figure out exactly what it was until I got closer to the intersection. That welcome pop of color on the ‘wisteria chains’ give the scene a bit of tongue in check whimsiness.

Nature Friday

It may not be the real deal but considering the alternative, I’ll take it. It just goes to show if you keep your eyes open, you’ll find something that’s either lovely, makes you smile or both.

Wishing there’s plenty of nature for you to take in this weekend. Got any special plans?

Live, love,  bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ August 28, 2020

With the concept of time being totally upended during this panDAMNic, how in the world did we get to the last Friday of August…otherwise known as Hades for those of us in the midst of wildfires with scorching temps and little moisture. With 24 days until the official arrival of our favorite season, we’re hoping the weatherman is correct with his forecast for cooler temperatures beginning today. I’m not sure I’ll know how to act in temperatures that aren’t in the 90’s but you can bet your sweet bippy I’ll be sure to give it a go. Well enough about the weather. Let’s join our ‘fur-iends’ Rosy, Sunny, Arty and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard. We hope you’ll click on the link to see what the Gang and others around Blogville have showcased this week.

This week saw me being confined to the house. After a dog on human accident last Sunday where Elsa zigged and I zagged, I haven’t been able to give them their usual walkabouts where we explore our urban nature. Luckily I did manage a quick early morning visit to the Denver Botanical Gardens over the weekend, the first since it reopened with timed reservations and reduced visitors. And despite cutting my visit short, it was definitely worth going.

Waterlilies

The waterlilies at the botanic gardens are in fully glory and are a frequent favorite of visitors. August and September are prime viewing times for waterlilies with the most awe-inspiring “Water Platters” (Victoria ‘Longwood Hybrid’ and Victoriacruziana) taking center stage. They are measured in feet sometimes as much as 6-feet across), unlike the smaller waterlilies that are merely inches in size across. Both are beautiful and make the pools a garden favorite. An interesting footnote regarding the “Monet Pool” as shown below is the addition of a non-toxic, food-grade black dye to the ponds weekly when needed in order to maintain the dark coloration seen throughout the displays. This dye performs multiple tasks. The first being it blocks out sunlight deterring growth of algae, all the while hiding the planting containers and creating a beautiful reflective surface that makes the aquatic plants stand out even more.

Flowers

Wildlife lives in harmony at the gardens as numerous ducks frequently skim the pond surfaces for food. This female Mallard was hard at work but then decided to turn stalker after her shift follow me to a nearby bench where I was able to take in the whole pond in all its fabulous glory. She was within touching distance but I kept a watchful eye to exit quickly should ‘things’ get real. She maintained a jovial demeanor, smiling for the camera though I missed capturing any winks. I called her Estelle and she didn’t seem to object.

Duck

Flowers

These strawflower flowers bring vivid colors to any garden or craft project alike, making lovely dried-flower bouquets. Strawflowers resemble daisies in form, but unlike daisies, their petals are stiff and papery. In fact, they aren’t true petals at all, but a modified leaf known as a bract. Native to Australia, they are easy to grow and thrive in bright, sunny spots.

Flowers

‘Tiger Flower’ (Tigridia pavonia) is one of the best-known species from the genus Tigridia, of the Iridaceae family. Sometimes referred to as jockey’s cap lily, Mexican shellflower, peacock flower, Tiger Flower is widespread across Central America. Their blooms open early in the morning and close up near dusk. A fresh bloom opens daily.

Update to the wildfires ~ Glenwood Springs:

The fire (known at the Grizzly Creek fire) has consumed over 32,000 acres, is now 68% contained, I-70 reopened earlier this week and firefighters are hopeful in making progress with lower temps and the potential of rain with higher humidity to make their job just a bit easier. The largest wildfire in Colorado’s history, the Pine Gulch fire near Grand Junction, is now 77% contained and has consumed over 139,000 acres. We continue to pray for firefighters and those folks living near these fires (as well as all other wires in the state).

We hope you have a great weekend. My family will be convening to celebrate my dad’s 90th birthday and we’re looking forward to the clan celebrating our Patriarch with a mirthful gathering in the mountains filled with loads of good food, spirits, and raucous fun. It ain’t everyday you toast 90 years along with his good health.

Enjoy whatever you plan to do, and make sure you are able to enjoy some of the beauty Mother Nature dishes up. Posts will likely be sparse but don’t worry. We’ll be around enjoying each other and the cooler temps, but probably not particularly active online.

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ July 31, 2020

Welcome to the last Friday of July where we are joining our friends and hosts, Rosy, sister Sunny and her two brothers at LLB in Our Backyard. Norman here, ready to share some bits and bobs from our our neighborhood. Mum tried very hard to get me to pose alone around several pretties but I wanted nothing to do with that. I thought she was off her trolley, I tell you. What self-respecting sheepdog fannies about among the flowers?

Anyway, I did pose with the Ninja at a spot that makes an otherwise bleak corner light pole look pretty “tickety boo.” You can’t even see the well worn pole at the lower sections and those flowers seem to keep the squirrels from climbing up and barking at us. What do you think? I mean come on…those Cosmos and morning glories.

Flowers

Mum has always been fascinated with bugs. While I’m always good for a crunchy treat with legs, I’m just not sure what it is about those webby things some of them make. Mum doesn’t mind the bugs, but when she encounters their webs she starts flailing her arms around like a windmill screeching like a banshee. Whenever she turns on the water, she always uses a stick to wipe their houses away from the handle. Seems a bit harsh to me. Mums…what can I say? I mean look at those droplets clinging to the web…is that cool? Almost looks like an umbrella over some of the woodruff.

Nature

Everyday we walk past a house with a lovely garden and handsome Akita dog. This week a beautiful Asiatic Lily that has been in bloom but alas we haven’t seen Fred much lately and hope he’s just hanging out inside where it’s much cooler. We oohed and awed when we saw this lovely and couldn’t help but linger inhaling its divine scent. What a beauty [note to self, don’t rub one’s face against those orangy stamens, they stain and require lots of face washing by an overly zealous mum who demands clean faces]

Flowers

The plumbago in mum’s garden is beginning to bloom and that blue sure spiffs it up. Soon though the leaves will begin morphing into gorgeous mahogany-toned leaves just in time for autumn which mum asked me to be sure and remind everyone will arrive in the Northern Hemisphere in 52 days. Guess all you sunlovers better make hay while the sun shines, eh?

Flowers

The last thing to share is a plant mum grew from some long expired seeds a few years ago. She can’t remember what they’re called and she’s a bit surprised they returned again since Nature has been a bit cranky on the landscape with a dry, cold winter, late spring freezes and a blistering hot summer. When she saw this reappeared, she’s begun babying it so we’ll see if it continues to thrive or go roots up. Anyone know what it is? Mum thought maybe some sort of mallow but wasn’t sure but said some of you are quite clever with flower names so I thought I’d take a chance and ask.

Flowers

That’s about it from me. Mum said it won’t be quite as hot in the first week of August (egad, seriously…August?) We hope you have a great weekend and are able to enjoy some great summertime weather and fun while checking out the many wonders of nature. Pip, pip…have a good weekend.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ July 10, 2020

On a day that’s expected to cross into the triple digit territory, getting out in nature might be a challenge. Neither the Ranch Hands nor me do well in the heat which has been relentless for days on end recently so seeing nature at her finest has been fleeting. A few sights have been inspiring but the harsh bright light took some of the luster off otherwise lovely summer perennials. Still, on a neighborhood errand-running jaunt where I took a different route from normal, something other than crispy-crunchy plants were discovered yesterday.

At any rate, it’s Friday, we somehow managed to survive the miserable heatwave burning through much of the country and we’re joining our ‘furiends’ Rosy, Arty and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard. When you click on the link, you’ll be able to see what the Gang and others around Blogville have shared this week. So let’s get started, ‘kay?

So what’s currently blooming around our neighborhood? Well, glad you asked. Gladiolas are out for one. Although I’ve never planted any (I have enough trouble keeping tulips from flopping over in early spring), they sure are pretty. Check out this flashy one!

Flowers

Sorry for the harsh lighting; I came across these beauties mid-morning and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky and it was BRIGHT.

Another staple out this time of year are commonly known as daylilies (Hemerocallis). Did you know Hemerocallis comes from two Greek words (hēmera) “day” and (kalos) “beautiful.” That pretty much nails it in my mind.

Flowers

Native primarily in eastern Asia (including China, Korea, and Japan) they are now popular worldwide because of their showy flowers and their hardiness with over 80,000 registered cultivars. Some are fragrant and others will rebloom later in the season. Daylilies are actually not true lilies, despite having a similar shape in the flowers. According to Wikipedia,

prior to“2009, the scientific classification of daylilies put them into the family Liliaceae. Unlike daylilies (which have a fibrous root system), Liliaceae species grow from bulbs and are harmful to humans and animals if ingested. It is a common misconception that daylilies share the same toxic properties of true lilies.” Hemerocallis are toxic to cats and may be fatal if ingested.

Hemerocallis come in a variety of colors from the classic yellow, orange, and pale pink varieties, to vibrant reds, purples, lavenders, greenish tones, near-black, and near-white. So far there has not been any successful hybridization with primarily blue-colored flowers.

Next door to the daylilies garden, a newly planted garden was emerging as a fairy habitat. It should be interesting to see how the interspersed plants develop around the multiple village structures as we move toward autumn, which for those needing some hope with the weather is 73 days away (you’re welcome). I loved seeing all the various little stone and shell constructed buildings.

Fairies

Some people are just too clever (and/or have too much time on their hands).Fairies

And just because they’re naturalizating all over my garden, how about a bright cheerful sunflower to welcome the weekend? We hope your weekend is extra special. Stay safe, sane and please wear a mask when you go out but most of all keep smiling.

Sunflower

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ April 24, 2020

It’s another day in the cluster known as the coronavirus epidemic, but (and only after I looked it up on the calendar–heh, heh…and many people thought paper calendars were obsolete), it appears we’ve reached the day once known as Friday. Today is also the last Friday of what seems like the longest April ever. Today is where we happily join our fur friends, Rosy and her brothers from LLB in our Backyard to check out what Mother Nature  managed to dish up for us.

Snow
Last week

While last week’s storm brought a fair amount of snow, it melted quickly with mild temperatures and sunny days. With that much snow, you never know what will or won’t bloom so this week was a nice surprise. A few daffodils were brought indoors to bring a cheerful spot of nature inside.

Flowers

How nice to not have any shovel snow with a nice break in white stuff, giving the landscape a chance to wake up. Trees are for the most part have barely begun to leaf out, but I have noticed shrubs and perennials are definitely yawning and stretching toward the sun. Let’s look at what a visual difference a week makes after a nice drink of water.

Flowers

We took a different walking route a couple of days ago and came upon a front lawn in bloom with thyme. Pretty little purplish blooms that are easy to maintain.

In my own garden which always tends to be late waking up, the lupine, poppies and peonies are beginning to wake up. Blooms can’t be too far off.Flowers

After snow every week this month, it’s a welcome sight seeing flashes of phlox in borders along our daily walks.

Flowers

My luck with growing tulips in the past has been a definite gardening disappointment. For years, tulips have been deliberately avoided but then I planted a package of mixed bulbs a few years ago which included a few tulips figuring if they didn’t grow, they would at least provide a some compost to the crummy clay soil. They have performed surprisingly well despite their reputation for being finicky after spring storms. I wasn’t sure if these guys would bloom as they were just forming buds late last week when they were dumped on. In the past, tulips have not been particularly forgiving with  spring snows but these surprised me. Imagine my delight as I walked around the garden early this morning and noticed they are blooming.

Flowers

Even some red columbines were starting to bloom much to my delight. They became very unhappy with me last summer when they were ‘somewhat’ neglected during a hot spell. [Note to self: don’t forget to water the columbines this year]. Another surprise that wasn’t white.

Flowers

The Ranch is still sheltering in place despite some restrictions being lifted  beginning on Monday. It should be ‘interesting’ to see how many bazillions of haircuts are given next week. I’ll probably be wearing a hat for the foreseeable near future.

Coronavirus

Any plans this weekend? Whatever you plan to do, we hope it includes loads of smiles with bits of nature sprinkled in for good measure. Happy weekend!

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ January 24, 2020

It’s Friday and that means we’re once again joining our friends, Rosy and her brothers from LLB in our Backyard for this week’s Nature Friday blog hop.

As you’ve heard me whinge about tell you countless times, scenes of nature around the Ranch in January are rather limited. Can you say brown, blech and blah? It’s been very dry even as it seems unseasonably warm for this time of year. Typically it’s bitter cold during the National Western Stock Show (which ends this weekend) but this year temperatures have been in the 40’s and 50’s F which is highly unusual. I’m not complaining mind you, but without some snow soon, things will be drier than a old dog bone.

You have to really search if you want to find signs of any color in January when the landscape tilts toward bleak.

Ornamental Grass

Lately I’ve been on the prowl for any little sprouts making their way up to the surface for life sustaining Rocky Mountain sunshine. I squealed out loud when I happened upon what looks like a very early bird tulip. This poor little guy has no idea what may be in store for him down the road.

Flowers

Not far away in another garden, there was a beautiful Helleborus niger, more commonly known as Christmas Rose. After seeing gobs of brown, this was such a welcomed sight. It give me hope all is not lost during the blah-er scenes of winter in  the Mile High City’s January landscape.

Flowers
Helleborus niger (Christmas Rose)

Are there any signs of spring are happening around your neighborhood now? Do you have any big plans this weekend to check some of the beauty Mother Nature offers?

If you haven’t visited the K9 shop lately, we invite you to check out some of the newest handcrafted items.

Teaser alert…there will a BIG announcement next week so enjoy the weekend and come back to find out what’s huge around the Ranch. Happy weekend!

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ November 22, 2019

It’s the Friday before the U.S. Thanksgiving Day holiday and nature apparently thought it would take some time off from showing much beauty with the palette largely greys and browns-blech. That said, we happily join our furry friends Rosy and her brothers from LLB in our Backyard as nature around Blogville often shares its bounty in surprising ways.

Our urban landscape is now in full drab mode and more than slightly dreary despite very welcome warm days earlier this week. This time of year may not be so unusual for most of the country, but in sunshine rich Colorado (there are over 300 days a year sporting sunshine), it’s noticeable. The forecast is now shifting toward cloudy days with cold and snow in the near forecast. Just before the weather shifted, nature provided a lovely surprise to an otherwise bland palette. Why is November so generally dull?

As the afternoon sun began to set, a bright glow from the western sky filled the living room as I began to think about fixing dinner. Scenes like these images will go a long way in making November far more pleasant.

In a matter of a few fleeting moments, the sky went from subtle to ‘gonna knock your socks off.’

Sunset

Sunset

A slight glance southward showed a scene that just lit up my soul (with apologies for the hideously visible power lines). In less than ninety seconds, nature’s beautiful show made me forget all about drab November.

Sunset

May you experience some beautiful sunsets over the weekend. Do you have any fun plans in store before the holiday season begins in earnest?

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾