Nature Friday ~ July 7, 2023

Hiya everyone, it’s me, Elsa welcoming you to another Nature Friday, hosted by our pals Rosy and Sunny from Adventures of the LLB Gang. Before I share this week’s pics, Mom and I want to thank everyone for all their kind messages, cards and mementos that have come from all over the world. To say we’re touched is an understatement. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. We so grateful for your kind support.

Elsa: Well, let me start. Oh Mom, Moom, MOOOMMMM!!!

The Mom: What Ninja, I’m right here.

Elsa: Whew, I was afraid I was all alone. I’m not used to flying solo yet so I get nervous when I can’t see you right next to me. Will this feeling ever go away?

The Mom: Oh sweetie, yes, it will get better, trust me. It just takes time. I know you miss your brother, I do too, but together we’ll find our compass and the days will be easily on our souls.

Elsa: I hope so, I have no one to pick on although I gave Norman’s moose a good chew three times this week. Guess that’s progress, isn’t it? And I even pulled out a different toy. I barked at him real good. Funny thing though, he just laid there with a dumb look on his face. Are all chickens that dumb?

The Mom: Now, now, chickens aren’t dumb, they just have different expressions…especially if they’re being barked at. Maybe next time, just a game of toss and chew might be better.

Elsa: Harumph…not sure what the point is then. Anywho…let’s start. I heard a lot of people enjoyed the photos from Hawaii but know you weren’t planning to post anymore, but come on, Mom…I mean, aren’t you supposed to give the people what they want? Isn’t that what Marketing 101 is all about?

The Mom: Well since you’re driving this train, I guess a few more pics won’t be the worst thing we’ve ever shared.

Elsa: You got that right! I was going through some of your early stuff the other day…wow, there were some real stinkers from the past. Angel Sam was a complete Knucklehead, wasn’t he?

The Mom: Sweetie, remember how we talked about this. You  need to learn to filter your thoughts better. And remember our motto is “always be kind.”

Elsa: Oh yeah, I forgot. I’ll try to do better, Mom, really I will.

The Mom: I know you will, sweetie. You’ve been through a lot in your life and without the proper upbringing, you didn’t have a great puppyhood. So while you’re internalizing our motto, what shall we share this week?

Hawaiian Surf
Sea Wall-Kahalu’u Beach

Elsa:  Ooh, ooh, you’re right. Let’s get to the picture show! And I promise Mom, I’ll do better about living our motto. I’m already different and don’t lose my mind as much when we’re walking when we come across a dog and before, I’d go all ninja on them and give them the ole ‘what for! Ok then, here’s the first pic. The sunsets must have been pretty spectacular in Hawaii since you took a jillion of them.

Hawaiian sunset

The Mom: Yes, the sunsets are pretty spectacular. I really liked this one because of the starburst beams of the light through the clouds.

Elsa: You sure those aren’t laser beams? I think they’re laser beams, Mom.

The Mom:  Trust me, I’m sure, Ninja. It’s just the way the light came through the clouds. Pretty cool, huh?

Elsa: I dunno, Mom. I still think those may be laser beams. Anyway, I know you saw more than just sunsets. You walked on one of the earliest highways built in Hawaii on one of your morning walks, even before it became a state. It’s right in the middle of a lava field. That ledge along the sides was pretty ingenious keeping wagons, horses and sleepy workers from falling off onto the razor sharp lava field. I still can’t get over how grass and other plants just sprout in of the middle of lava fields {head shaking}.

Hawaiian highway Hawaiian highway

The Mom: That was very clever. I guess when you live on an island that is constantly expanding the landscape through volcanic eruptions, you get pretty creative with what you have to make it work for you. I was constantly in awe of all the lava walls and walkways. Everything fits together like a bizarre puzzle. Now that’s some craftsmanship.

Lava wall

Elsa: Whoa…not sure I’d like a wall/fence like that. I mean, how could I chase the dog next door along the fence if I couldn’t even see that rascal.

The Mom: That’s the point. I know I’d welcome it. Nobody likes to hear dogs fence biting and snarling. You can barely see that dog between the slates and yet you two sound like Godzilla and Mothra fighting.

Elsa: Well, she starts it! I just kind of forget our motto and get pulled into the fray.

The Mom: {eyes rolling} You’ve got to do better, Elsa. You don’t have to follow. Be a leader like Norman was. He may have run along the fence but he never barked.

Elsa: Good point, Mom. I’ll definitely take that into consideration. He was a good role model and I’d be doing you a solid imitating him.

The Mom: I’m sure everyone would be happier if there wasn’t that racket along the wood fence. Come to think of it, it’s too bad I can’t install a lava wall.

Elsa: {gasp} No need to go overboard with the crazy, Mom. Speaking of crazy, what are these weird trees?

Tahitian Screwpine

The Mom: Oh those are called Tahitian Screwpine. Aren’t they interesting?

Elsa: Oh man, Norman would have had a field day peeing on those things!

The Mom: {ahem, moving along}. Wouldn’t you rather focus on info on some of the various volcanoes? While I didn’t have enough time to actually climb up them in person on this trip, this exhibit did a great job of describing them with excellent background info and excellent display models. Much better than any photos I could have taken.

Hawaii volcanoes
Mauna Kea


Hawaii volcano
Hawaii Volcano

Hawaii Volcano

Hawaii Volcano
 Mauna Loa

Elsa: Wow, who knew these volcanoes were so old?! I know you saw a lot even in the short time you were there. And some fascinating critters that we don’t normally see in Colorado. Say, didn’t you post a pic of a manta ray to Instagram that you saw one night?

The Mom: You’re right, Elsa. Lots of very fascinating and wonderfully interesting critters on the Big Island. And some we are familiar with, like Queen, a loveable bulldog who was as sweet as sugar. She belongs to Christian’s Mom (the groom) and goes to work with her at the venue where the wedding was held. That was some house with gorgeous grounds.


Elsa: Why does she always look angry if she’s such a sweetheart?

The Mom: That’s a classic bulldog face, little one. Trust me, she was one of the nicest dogs I’ve ever met and she loved all the wedding visitors.

Elsa: So what’s the deal with these Nēnē birds? They look a lot like the Canadian geese we have here in Denver.

The Mom: The Nēnē is Hawaii’s state bird and are nearly extinct. They are similar to the Canadian geese yet not nearly as plentiful. A lot of the feral animals of Hawaii have decimated the population and loss of habitat has also contributed to loss of flocks. There’s an ongoing project by the Parks Department to reintroduce them on several of the islands. They are pretty shy and avoided any kind of close contact whenever I encountered them. They can boogie like crazy away from us humans.


Image courtesy of National Park Service

Elsa: Hmm, seems like they stay ‘within the parking lines’ for the most part. Maybe that’s their problem. At least they aren’t aggressive like our Canadian geese. So weird, Canadians are the nicely people around but their geese…definitely NOT.

The Mom: El-sa!

Elsa: I know…sorry. {changing the subject} Now where’s that manta pic?

The Mom: Oh yeah, I forgot. We met up with some former colleagues of my son, Kevin at one of their fancy hotel properties that has a cove where the mantas come out after sunset. They are so amazing to watch as they effortlessly float around, splash and flip over in the water. I was mesmerized with their agile flexibility in the water as well as their size. This guy was about 4 ft. across.


Elsa: {head cocking} Holy cow, I’d probably run along the rocks trying to catch their attention. But next time you might wanna use a better camera than the cell phone. Just saying.

The Mom: I know, but on such a short trip, I just didn’t feel like schlepping a camera bag, besides seeing these manta rays was totally unscripted. I did capture some Zebra doves when we went out for lunch on the last full day in Hawaii. They seemed to not be very afraid, or maybe they knew I’d be a sucker and feed them bread crumbs. Birds tend to be more brave when food is involved.

Hawaiian Doves

Elsa: You’ve got a soft heart, Mom. No wonder I love you so much. Well, looks like we’re about finished with the shareable Hawaiian pics. Got anything else that tickles your fancy?

The Mom: Well, I must admit I was truly blown away by  orchids that attach themselves to trees. This one in particular was mind blowing. That ‘rope’ of flowers must have been over 4 feet long. I couldn’t capture the whole thing in a single frame, it was so long.


Elsa: Wow, that is something. Bet you tried to jump rope, didn’t you?

The Mom: Certainly not. (a) I’m too old for jump roping and (b) I’d have probably killed myself getting tangled up in it if I’d tried, ruining that amazing orchid.

Elsa: Yeah, but I’ll still bet you thought about it. It’s okay, Mom, it’s good to live on the edge. So what’s the game plan for the weekend? Any exciting plans?

The Mom: Well as you know, I’m not all that exciting, but I will spend tomorrow assisting a good friend by helping her pack up her art studio.

Elsa: Well that’s nice of you. I’d like to come and meet her sheepdogs but know this is not the right time but hope we can do a meet and greet soon. I need a sheepdog fix.

The Mom: Me too, little one, me too. We hope everyone has a good weekend and gets outside to enjoy some of Nature’s beauty wherever they’re at and hopeful there will be no more firecrackers and no more heavy thunderstorms, gully-washer rain and hail.

Elsa: That makes two of us, Mom. Thanks again for sticking with us on this long post but especially for all your messages of comfort. It has been very consoling to our souls. Now that Norman’s come home, we’ve been reading him all your notes and messages. No doubt he’s wiggling his bum silly in heaven knowing how much you all care about him.

Angel Norman

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday

Monday Musings ~ July 3, 2023

Monday smile

Many thanks from the bottom of my heart for all the kindness and tender thoughts of comfort you’ve sent to us over the past two and half weeks. I’m touched beyond words and Elsa and I both greatly appreciated your care and concern. We’re doing our best to be less sad but some days are harder than others  and we need to keep our favorite comfort stuffy close by to great through those rough moments. Yesterday was the first day Elsa had picked up Norman’s moose and played with it briefly. I like to believe Angel Norman was watching over her  saying it’s okay, little Ninja.

Angel Norman

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Monday Musings ~ March 27, 2023

Nine years ago yesterday this blog was born. In dog years that makes this space over 60 years old! Considering I knew nothing about blogging, let alone anything about WordPress,  the mere acknowledgment of the date seems beyond wild to me. It would be another week before the first post was published but I still remember the hyperventilating before I hit the publish button for the first time and the dozens of draft versions for subsequent posts that continues to date. Who knew absurd silliness needed so much massaging? I never expected anyone beyond maybe a couple of family members who would ever bother to check it out found myself blown away by the number of folks who began to follow us. Some 1415 posts later and I continue to be humbled by everyone who drops by, reads our silliness and leaves thoughtful, kind and inspiring comments. Let me just say, this is one extraordinary and amazing community of incredible people for which I thank my lucky stars for each and everyday for all of you. We don’t know where the blog will go in the future, but I recently renewed the blog for at least another two years and hope you’ll continue to follow along to see where our adventures take us. We love having you come along our walks and pray we continue to earn your support as we move ahead. From the bottom of my heart, thank you so very much for sticking with us.

And because it’s a Monday, it’s time for a smile to start out the week. This morning we woke up to another snow storm and it won’t be very warm today when Norman and I head out to Lutheran to brighten the day for staff and patients at Lutheran, but I do know there will be some treats for him though not any ‘leftovers’ like today’s smile.

Monday Musings

Thank you again for your ongoing support and I sincerely hope today brings you plenty of treats and smiles.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Big News Monday

NormanNorman here with some {imitating Ed Sullivan} reeelly, reeelly big news. Mum has been dizzily working on a project that I’m happy to share with you now. Last August a group of committed volunteers who had worked in various capacities with the Old English Sheepdog rescue from where I came [you can read about my story here] got together once it became apparent that old rescue was going close. They realized there was still a need to help dogs like me and decided then and there to form their own sheepdog rescue. Enter…{trumpets blowing} the all new organization, Rocky Mountain Old English Sheepdog Rescue.


While there are no dogs in the new rescue yet (we’re still setting up infrastructure, getting insurance, obtaining bookkeeping assistance, writing policies, etc. that are still being formulated), but the website has gone live, though there will be limited activity until we’re further along while things are getting set up. Mum said they’re taking it one day at a time and are doing everything by the book. It took some effort just getting the non-profit status approved with the IRS but it’s official now and allows the rescue to set up and participate in fundraising events. But I’m very chuffed there will still be a place where sheepies like me will get a second chance at a fur-ever home.

We hope you’ll send us ‘pawsitive’ thoughts as we continue to move forward for all the red tape required. Who knew there was so much involved with creating a dog rescue?

In other news, after much deliberation, Mum shuttered her e-commerce shop over the weekend. The amount of work (and expense) to maintain it wasn’t even close to making it profitable to justify maintaining it. She has decided to just make cards for friends and family and no longer will offer them or (dog related items) for sale in the e-shop. It wasn’t an easy decision to come to but after careful consideration, Mum realized it makes sense. She wanted me to express our gratitude to everyone who has supported the shop over the years and also to those who provided encouragement. We feel truly blessed for your kindness and generous support.

And with those announcements, we hope you have a truly pawsome week.


Live, love, bark! 🐾

Monday Musings ~ November 22, 2021

Happy Thanksgiving week! We want to take this opportunity to wish you a wonderful holiday and to let you all know how grateful we are that you continue to stop by our little acre on the ‘Net. Your caring support over the years underscores just how truly amazing this community is.

We hope your Thursday forecast is filled with abundant  blessings. May your day be spent in the company of those most dear to you. In the words of the Roman statesman, Cicero, “A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue, but the parent of all the other virtues.”


Thanksgiving is more than just about festivities; it gives us time to reflect on lessons we’ve learned and how we can share more joy. At this time of year, as we look back at all the memories, people and their good pets who have come into our lives, we want you to know how much we appreciate you all. Happy Thanksgiving Day to you and your loved ones. And because it’s Monday, we offer the following little holiday poem.

We hope your stuffing is tasty, your turkey plump,
May your potatoes and gravy have nary a lump.
May your yams be delicious, while the desserts take the prize.
And may your Thanksgiving dinner stay off your thighs. 🦃

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Happy Birthday to an Angel

Wash Park Sam
Handsome boy at Wash Park

On this date in 2005,  a reddish-blonde knucklehead entered the world. Officially christened “Brians Yosemite Sam” with the American Kennel Club, he was simply known as “Sam” to his owners. For you newer readers, Sam was the inspiration behind this blog.

For years, Sam was a proverbial pogo stick. Bouncing straight up and down to express excitement with life, he bounced straight into my heart. Sam was the most unfocused dog I’d ever met, long after his puppy years. Most dogs grow out of that puppy exuberance, but Sam didn’t seem to recognize it was the natural progression of acting more dignified as he aged and was actually normal. When I brought him home, he quickly burrowed deep into my soul and made his second best friend my Old English Sheepdog, Puck. For his entire life, he adored her and even after she passed, he  would always do double takes whenever we encountered one, thinking it was his long lost pal.

In 2015, Sam graciously and lovingly welcomed a very feral Ninja. He seemed to realize Elsa needed extra gentle loving and slowly earned her trust. Though never great pals like he was with Puck, he patiently and selflessly taught her how to be a dog instead of a shut down puppy-mill survivor.

Despite his buoyant personality or maybe because of it, it was hard not to just love on this goofball.  I just needed to find out what his job in life should be, beyond being an absolute treasure of a companion.

It was clear early on that Sam had a special knack for bringing joy and smiles to all he met. He was the neighborhood concierge, greeting every two and four legged inhabitant walking past the yard with an infectiously charming personality. Everyone loved him and he made them all feel special. It seemed only natural to share his gift with others and thus began the process of training for pet therapy work. For weeks I was convinced he would fail since he just couldn’t seem to stay focused on even simple tasks. Sam’s mantra in life was “oooh, a kitten…look a butterfly…ahh…shiny object!!” More than once I nearly abandoned the notion of getting through classes. When the time came for the test, not only did he perform flawlessly, he outshined all his classmates. I was stunned but ever so grateful to be able to share his gift of love with others.

We began visiting patients and in no time, Sam became a beloved rock star at hospital but especially with mental health patients. He would calmly allow them to hug him (which most dogs would not appreciate) and patiently waited while they petted him. His crush on all nurses was legendary and he often had eight or more surrounding him, oohing and ahhing over those soulful brown eyes, soft fur and Swiffer-like tail that was constantly in hyper-motion whenever people were around him.

Sam brought such joy and happiness to everyone at pet therapy but especially to me. While I have Norman to carry on in Sam’s pawprints at hospital and the Ninja to remind me that “still waters run deep,” Sam will always hold an extra special place in my heart.

Sam birthdayOn his Sweet Sixteenth birthday, I send my very best birthday wishes to my heart dog. Happy birthday, Knucklehead. I miss you every. single. day. You’ll always be in my heart and soul. Love and miss ya, buddy!

Angel Sam

Live, love, bark! 🐾

A Year In the Life of Norman ~ January 23, 2021

While I typically do not post on Saturday’s, I couldn’t let this particular Saturday pass without acknowledging an important anniversary. It was one year ago today that I drove to Colorado Springs to pick up a moose, er, I mean, my buddy “Stormin’ Norman” at a restaurant parking lot. I had been introduced to him a few days earlier at his foster dad’s home and admit I wasn’t quite sure just what I was getting. Oh sure, he seemed absolutely lovely and he was great around Elsa but I knew he would need some time to find his inner self after being uprooted from his long-time family and fur-sister and placed into the world of rescue where getting used to new people, new routines, etc. would be what would occupy him for the next several months. As I drove home from the initial meet and greet a few days earlier, I kept wondering what would an addition of this size be like around the Ranch? I couldn’t help but wonder how he would handle the 70 mile drive home, let alone integrate into a new pack with vastly different players and energy from what he was used to experiencing? I didn’t know if he’d balk at getting into my car and knew for certain I couldn’t lift this hunk but he easily climbed into my car and we never looked back. He was the perfect gentleman in the back seat and the perfect road companion, then and now.

Day One-the ride home

To say much has happened over the past year is a bit of an understatement. Norman and I have become use to one another’s quirks and idiosyncrasies, he’s been a model Big Brother to a less than hospitable at times Ninja sister, he survived a life threatening event (bloat), and became an intern therapy dog. Norman is one of the most affable, laid back dogs and his core personality has unfolded over the past year to reveal one of the sweetest dogs I’ve ever known.

Let’s take a look back at this lovable joker over the year.









One of the things that impressed me most is how this sweet boy will allow me to pose him in the silliest of hats, etc.


To say he’s larger than life is a real understatement. Weighing in over 85 pounds, this boy is BIG…and v-e-r-y tall. Like all sheepdogs, he has a big, fat large head (the better to munch bones on apparently) and has managed to master being adorably photogenic like a puppy without even trying.


He has no problem being photographed as a unicorn (super patient with me laughing hysterically trying to capture the photo while not moving the camera) or as a slumbering sofa-surfer.


It was just ten minutes after he arrived at his new home that he was making himself comfortable on the sofa, despite being assured by his foster dad that “no, he never gets up on the furniture.”Norman


This past year I’ve watched as Norman’s personality blossomed especially during the past few months when my son was staying with me. This mellow giant is just giddy expressing his love for people through significant butt wiggles with a one-sided smile (I’ve never managed to capture that smile in a photo as he’s constantly wiggling and my cell phone just can’t focus without blurring). He’s become a master at sniffing every tree and bush encountered on walks and I’ve learned the hard way that when he puts the brakes on or suddenly stops I’d better be prepared for significant recoil since he’s not easily moved. And I’ve also learned to hang on for dear life when he suddenly takes off after a squirrel and pray I stay upright.

Norman has brought such joy to my grieving heart after Sam’s unexpectedly crossing to the Rainbow Bridge just a month after Norman arrived. Sam must have thought he was leaving me in good paws  when he departed and he was right. Norman seems to know when my heart is particularly heavy and will quietly lay next to me with his head across my lap or legs. It feels like a big furry hug that comforts my aching soul.


And so on the anniversary of his first Gotcha Day, I wish this handsome pile of fur many happy returns. Turning eight looks pretty darn good on you, Dude. Here’s wishing you a ‘pawsome’ year of great adventures and fun. Love you, buddy!

Norman & Elsa

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.


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.


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


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


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 ~ November 27, 2020

Welcome to this week’s edition of Nature Friday where we’re once again joining our friends and co-hosts Rosy, Sunny and her two brothers from LLB in Our Backyard. Hope all our U.S. friends had a safe and happy Thanksgiving Day celebration. Today is often called Black Friday which officially kicks off the Christmas shopping season with insane offers for many items most of us don’t need but just can’t seem to ever resist buying. I never have understood Black Friday or for that matter, participated in it, figuring the few extra shekels spent would be worth not having to deal with rabid shoppers willing to go to the mat for an opportunity to score an inexpensive sweater or limited amount of electronic items I could live without. And that was all before this year’s panDAMNic.

Even though my family opted to shelter in place this year, I still wanted to prepare a nice holiday feast for me and the Ranch hands, which still took some time to gather last minute groceries which kept me from getting out to enjoy much nature this week. ‘Course the nearly 8″ snowfall on Monday also contributed in putting the kibosh on anything beyond mandatory dog walks so this week is more than a tad lean on images.

There’s nothing prettier than seeing fresh snow on trees following a storm with a bright blue Colorado sky as a backdrop and so it was on Wednesday after a bit of a thaw that I was out picking up various provisions for yesterday’s holiday meal. I was in a perfect spot at the stoplight to have the sun highlighting the top of the tree and that gorgeous sky. I’d have lingered longer had the jerk dude behind me not honked for me to hurry up. But it was lovely enough for me to be a bit passive aggressive linger for a brief enough moment and take in the surrounding open space area.


We hope however you spent Thanksgiving, you had a good day and practiced safe distancing. Our raucous gang put a Zoom call together in the afternoon and while the audio quality was less than perfect, the smile on the faces of my 90 year parents at seeing their kids and many grandkids on screen was well worth it. It wasn’t our usual Thanksgiving gathering but it will be one where those smiles will linger in our hearts with the joyfulness of a noisy bunch celebrating in style in each of our own homes with a profession of our love for each other and good food which is what this holiday is really all about. Not shopping in crowded stores for stuff we don’t need or all too often, can’t afford.

Stay well, sane, and keep smiling as you savor simple moments as we enter the Christmas shopping season. Enjoy your weekend and I hope you’ll get the opportunity to see what beauty you can find in nature. Extra points if you can peeve the clown behind you.

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

A Midweek Introduction

Hello friends, I’m a bit late to this party, I could not let an opportunity to share the news of someone who’s been a good friend of the Ranch and introduce you to his new blog despite being tardy. Let me just say this seasoned blogger knows how to serve up a tasty post.

Allow me to dish up the inaugural post from our friend, Frank, he of the former “AFrankAngle fame.” Frank thought he was done blogging but then realized he had another voice where he could showcase his “Beach Walk Reflections” posts on a new blog. His insight and thoughtful prose is definitely worth a check out, so please drop by. Frank also has some of the cleverest followers and everyone will leave you with a good feeling with thoughtful observations at a time when we need it the most. Very best wishes, Frank…may you experience continued success my friend. I know I am looking forward to this new batch of thoughtful posts, lovely images and videos and smart followers. So check it out at and see why the Ranch hands gives this new puppy their 4 out of 4 paws endorsement:  Keep up the good work, Frank!


Live, love, bark! 🐾