Nature Friday ~ September 15, 2023

ElsaGood Friday morning and welcome to another edition of Nature Friday where we join our pals Rosy and Sunny from LLB in Our Backyard. Remember to click on the link to see pics from others.  We got a late start today after a lovely shower last evening. We both slept so well that we were a bit lazy this morning.

Elsa: {Yawn…stretch} Yo, Mom, thanks for letting me sleep in this morning. This walking at oh-dark-thirty is for the birds. Wait…what am I saying…even the birds aren’t out when we take our morning walk.

The Mom: That’s pretty accurate. As we’re moving faster and faster toward the official arrival of autumn (for those keeping track, it arrives in just a week), the days are not nearly as sunny at that time of the day and no doubt contributed to our sleeping in this morning.

Elsa: Probably but then again, I know you didn’t really have a plan for today’s post anyway. Is that what’s called procrastination?

The Mom: Umm, erm…well, uh…maybe. Things have been rather hectic…

Elsa: Hectic? Just admit it, Mom…you just put it off. You should have worked on our post yesterday but noooo, you had to run errands all day. Come on, just admit it.

The Mom: {stuttering} I, er, wait…I’m not going to deny I had some commitments yesterday that took up most of the day, but even when I got home, I just wasn’t up for composing anything. Can’t a blogging mom take a break?

Elsa: Sheesh, a girl just can’t get good help. If I had thumbs, you’d likely be fired but alright…I’ll give you a pass this one time, but let’s not  make a habit of it, okay?

The Mom: {clearing her throat while rolling her eyes} I’ll do my best.

Elsa: Well, so waddu got today? I don’t recall you taking a lot of photos this week?

The Mom: You’re right, I really didn’t so today’s offerings are a bit on the slim side.

Elsa: Slim?? They’re practically non-existent. For being so busy this week, you didn’t get a lot done on the photo-taking part, now did you?

The Mom: Well, it’s that time of year where things aren’t blooming all that much unless you consider the fully in-bloom  Plumbago.


Elsa: Looks like the Hummingbird moth is still hanging around.Pollinators

The Mom: You’re so right; those beautiful blue blossoms must be pretty tasty; I’ve seen some of the Painted Ladies noshing on them as well but those hummers are really particularly fascinating to watch.


Elsa: You may think they’re fascinating to watch but I can tell you for a fact, they aren’t very tasty. In fact, I can absolutely testify they are quite bitter.

The Mom: Silly girl, you’re not supposed to eat them.

Elsa: I thought it was a windup toy, not some foul tasting thing that flits around.

The Mom: {giggling} Oh Elsa…maybe next time you’ll listen and pay attention to me.

Elsa: It’s not funny. Those things are just gross. You know what they say…paybacks are a…

The Mom: {interrupting} Now, now…let’s not get all worked up. Pollinators are our friends.

Elsa: Maybe your friend, but definitely not mine. I prefer more protein in my friends. And they usually have 4 feet.

The Mom: Yeah, we need to have a chat about that. You can’t be chasing protein on the run all the time.

Elsa: Ehh, a girl has to get her nutrition where she can find it. You know what I mean?

The Mom: You don’t say. So what was the motivation for this latest infraction?

Elsa strikes again

Elsa: Umm…fiber, yeah, that’s the ticket-fiber…I needed some fiber.

The Mom: Fiber? Oh for heaven’s sake. You eat more vegetables than I do! What are you talking about?

Elsa: {Erm, stammer…} Uh, I was bored?

The Mom: Harumph! Can’t believe you ate my Av’s coaster!

Elsa: You’d have preferred it if I ate one of the other local team coasters?

The Mom: No-absolutely not!! You’re not supposed to eat any coasters. Period.

Elsa: Sheesh, calm down. So how about you share something else instead of being fixated on coasters…which I might add, have nothing to do with Mother Nature.

The Mom: {steaming now} Ahem…fine. How about this oddly shaped Pfitzer Juniper bush? Kind of looks like a hot-cross bun, doesn’t it?


Elsa: {head shaking} That was deliberate? Seems like just another example of how weird you uprights are.

The Mom: Weird…you think we’re weird? Who circles 87 times before pooping? Huh?

Elsa: {flustered} Umm, moving along. Remember that unusual cloud formation we saw yesterday morning? You drug me around an entire block to try to get a pic without power lines in it. When we first saw it, it was a perfect “X” but then by the time we came back from around the block, it had changed. Still it was kind of cool.

Clouds at sunrise

The Mom: Yeah, it struck me as pretty unusual. Just goes to show it pays to look around when you’re outside-you’ll never know what you’ll find.

Elsa: All I know, is I had to walk an entire block to satisfy your fascinating with those clouds. Next time, let’s walk an extra block to follow trash pandas or foxes or something actually cool like that.

The Mom: Extra steps never hurt anyone.

Elsa: Said the person who drags me out in the dark of night to chase clouds. Ok, I see how it goes.

The Mom: So what did you think about this leaf we came across this morning? A reminder that leaves are about to change and is just around the corner.


Elsa: True enough. I noticed the leaves were most green last week when you went up to Golden. Clear Creek Trail and Park neat sight.

Golden, Clear Creek

The Mom: Non changing leaves for sure, but the light had that golden glow about it. Haha…golden light in Golden, Colorado. You see what I did there?

Elsa: {ugh} Don’t quit your day job, Mom. You might think that was clever, but I can assure you, it’s lame.

The Mom: Jeez, so harsh! Anyway, hopefully this next week there will be more to offer. I’ll be heading up to the mountains to attend the wedding of my nephew and it’ll be a few days of celebration with the entire family.

Elsa: Celebration? What about tomorrow’s celebration. It’s my 7th Gotcha Day! That means I’m at least 9 years old, maybe older. Can I have a rager of a party? How about a keg? It isn’t everyday a puppy mill survivor and epileptic dogster gets an opportunity to have a blow out party.

The Mom: Keg? Umm, let’s just stick with a quiet day of celebrating, shall we?

Elsa: So long as there are treats. Plenty of treats. Got it?!

The Mom: Fine, treats galore and some extra special attention. We hope our readers have a great day and an even better weekend. Don’t forget to check out nature in your ‘Hood.

Elsa: Right you are, Mom. I’m all in. And I hope there are some roaming critters to help me celebrate my Gotcha Day while we’re at it. Paws crossed.

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ September 8, 2023

ElsaElsa: 🎵 🎶 {humming and breaking into the song The Farmer In the Dell}…”oh, a hunting we will go, a hunting we will go…hi-ho, the derry-o, a hunting we will go…”

The Mom: {check on the Ninja} Good morning, Elsa, what in the world are you doing?

Elsa: Just singing a little ditty I heard the other day…

The Mom: You realize that you changed the actual lyrics of the song?

Elsa: Ahem…my blog, my lyrics/songs.

The Mom: {rolling her eyes} Oh dear, we haven’t even begun to write this week’s post and already you’ve starting in being a pill.

Elsa: Like I said, my blog. How many times do I have to remind you? Sheesh, I wish you’d get it, Mom.

 The Mom: Ok, ok, {throwing her arms up in defeat}…I surrender. But you need to introduce us, first.

Elsa: Oh yeah, oops, I forgot. {Clearing her throat} Welcome to another edition of Nature Friday where we join our pals Rosy and Sunny from LLB in Our Backyard. Don’t forget to click on the link to see pics from around Blogville. There, you happy now?

The Mom: Better now that you’ve told people what’s going on. If you’re going to be a writer, you need a introductory beginning, you just can’t come waltzing into a room humming and singing without setting the stage. By the way, what’s this hunting thing that you’re singing about anyway.

Elsa: {getting excited} Well I just heard a story about the tarantula migration in Southeast Colorado and I thought, let’s go hunting for those buggers!

The Mom: Umm, hate to break it to you, but you do know we don’t hunt tarantulas?

Elsa: Wait, wha…why the dog not?

The Mom: Sweetie, first of all, this migration is near La Junta, Colorado which is not that close to us. It’s even further than Grandpa’s house. Second, why in the world would you want to disrupt the males in their annual nature crawl across southeast Colorado for their mating season?

Elsa: Hmm, good point, I’m not sure I want to ride all the way down to La Junta. I mean they do have the very best cantaloupe around, but watching a bunch of horny tarantulas skitter across the highway ain’t my idea of a good time. Besides, I can get my cantaloupe fix from the grocery store. I hear there’s a pretty good crop this year and did I mention cantaloupe is my favorite special treat? Hint, hint.

The Mom: Yes, I know, I’ll pick you up another one this weekend but you can still share a photo of the hairy legged spiders, who just happen to be more terrified of us than we are of them.

Elsa: Umm, speak for yourself but okay, I will share a couple of pics. I can just hear the howling from my readers. It may be the start of the Halloween season judging by all the gear I’m seeing in stores, but as a general rule, most people are not fans of spiders in general, and even less on tarantulas.

Tarantula migration
Photo courtesy of Channel 7 website

The Mom: I know, but they are quite fascinating creatures. My daughter kept a few of them as pets when she was in junior high. Did you know that very year, a mass migration of tarantulas shows up in southeast Colorado, with most of them being male tarantulas, looking to mate with females who burrow in the prairies.

News reports are saying this weekend will be peak viewing time. I know most people are afraid of the giant arachnids, but the Colorado tourism board put together a list of viewing tips, for adventure seekers saying the Comanche National Grasslands, southeast of La Junta, Colorado is the best place for viewing. Tarantulas may be creepy looking, but they’re mostly harmless to humans. They can bite but more than often they’ll fling their hairs as a defense mechanism that can irritate your skin. Tarantulas can be fast movers, usually moving about 4-body lengths a second on average when the temperature is 62 F, but nearly 10-body lengths a second when the temperatures are 100 F, which is incredibly fast. 

Elsa: Whoa…that is pretty fast. Probably scares the bejesus out of most people.

The Mom: Uh huh, true enough. Most of them in Colorado are the Oklahoma Brown Tarantula, with their mating season happening from September through October. Tarantulas are found throughout the southwestern United States, including southern Colorado. Those found in Colorado are usually dark brown to black and can travel as far as twenty miles in search of a mature female. Tarantula mating is one of the strangers animal reproduction rituals. It is unlike anything else seen in the animal kingdom yet the males don’t live long after mating while females can live 20 years because they seldom leave the area around their burrows while the males tend to roam around.

Tarantula trek
Closeup courtesy of Visit La Junta website

While tarantulas can bite, their venom is not fatal to humans and is comparable to a bee sting. More likely, they will defend themselves by ‘shooting’ body hairs, resulting in itching.

Elsa: Ok, so that is sort of fascinating so I guess I’m glad we’re not hunting them. But I doubt any of my readers want to hear you wax on about them anymore. It’s been a less than stellar week in terms of photos due to the heat but I’m going to do my best. Let’s move on from the creepy-crawly, shall we?

The Mom: Fine by me. You’re the one who wanted to go-a-hunting.

Elsa: Let’s not get technical, ok? First I’m going to share some photos from my visit with my Grandpa last weekend. It’s always fun to spend time with him and even more fun because it was his birthday. I guess his favorite gift was that his beloved Colorado Buffaloes upset TCU on Saturday. We’ve been coming down from that high all week. Talk about college football hype though. Seems like the whole doggone town has lost their minds hopping on the Buffs bandwagon.

The Mom: Yes, it’s been a ‘little crazy’ watching otherwise normal people go ga-ga. Tomorrow’s game against long time arch-rival, Nebraska will be c-r-a-z-y and a big test for the new coach We have our paws crossed. So what was your second favorite part of our Pueblo visit?

Elsa: Well it was a veritable sniff-fest the whole weekend! I mean I found LOADS of bunnies, quail, a rattlesnake carcass and my absolute favorite, an antler. Too bad it was attached to the skull. I noticed you got pretty choked up over that.

Antelope Antler

The Mom: I was mostly concerned when you tried to bring one of the rib and leg bones  home (not shown here).

Elsa: Yeah, that was not fair, I mean, I need bones to keep my teeth clean. What better way than chewing on a real live antler?

The Mom: Roadkill is not the way to go. But at least we saw a cool sunrise and a slug of sunflowers along our morning walks.

Sunrise-Pueblo West

Elsa: It was so early when we went out, I didn’t even get a chance to say wake up good morning to the mules and donkeys that live across the road from Grandpa. I’d rather have checked them out than some dumb sunflowers.


The Mom: Stop being a brat, Elsa. Once we came home we did see a few signs than autumn is nearing. Take a look at this acorn.


Elsa: I only noticed them because the squirrels have been going up and down this oak tree in our yard like maniacs. One of these days, they are not going to get away from me!

The Mom: As long I have you on a leash, they’re pretty safe.

Elsa: You’re such a killjoy, Mom, you know that?

The Mom: It’s for your own good. You wouldn’t want to get rabies now, would you? So what else do you have from around our neighborhood?

Elsa: Well there were a couple of flowers that I spied that were kind of cool. Can we give the wood rose to Rosy, huh, can we?FlowersWood rose

The Mom: I’m sure Rosy would like that pretty pink flower. Looks like the stores are gearing up for Halloween already judging by all these tiny gourds from the market.

Tiny pumpkins

Elsa: Yeah, I noticed our neighbor has started decorating early. He even put up a ‘suggestion box.’


The Mom: Yeah, I always enjoy his yard decor. People come from miles around to see how he arranges them.

Elsa: It’s a clear sign we’re moving toward autumn when he drags out the skellies. Clearly he’s planning on upping their presence. I saw a new critter next to the suggestion box (out of view). A turtle…he was pretty cute.

The Mom: Yeah, he’s pretty clever. Should be a fun autumn. And because it’s the home opener for the local pro football team who shall remain nameless, we are sharing a cloud formation someone sent in to Channel 7. Looks a little like the horse head on their helmets.


Elsa: We send our congrats to the Detroit Lion fans who came from behind late in the last night’s opener and beat Kansas City. You weren’t expecting that, were you?

The Mom: Truthfully, I wasn’t but was happy for them. Should be in interesting football season all around. We’re going to have to get through the CU game first before I’m in pro mood.

Elsa: Ha! You’re still counting the days for hockey to start, you can’t fool me, Mom.

The Mom: True enough. But it’s going to be a busy sports weekend around the Ranch. Anything exciting plans for your weekend?

Elsa: I’m just waiting for the cool front to arrive late Sunday, early Monday. We hope you have a good weekend. But more importantly than a football win, we hope you are able to get out there and enjoy a slice of Nature.

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ September 1, 2023

Welcome to another edition of Nature Friday where we join our pals Rosy and Sunny from LLB in Our Backyard. Don’t forget to click on the link to see other photos from nature.

Elsa: 🎵 🎶 Do, dee, do, dee, dee, dum. 🎵 🎶 {then switching to humming}

The Mom: Whatcha, doing, Elsa?

Elsa: Just looking something up. Umm, let’s see now…

The Mom: Er, wha…{stuttering}…what evermore for?

Elsa:  Just wanted to see what the definition of au pair was…

The Mom: {interrupting} Au pair? Why in the world would you need to know the definition of au pair?

Elsa: Well, since it’s my blog now, I thought I should give out titles and didn’t think “Staff” was enough. From what I can tell, au pair seems like a better term. After all, I mean you’re from a foreign country, you’re living here in the States, and you have the responsibility for childcare, housework, you know…all the things an au pair does…so I thought you’d like something a little dressed up instead of just “Mom.”

The Mom: Umm, that’d be a hard “NO!” You’re getting a bit out of control since I said it was your blog.

Elsa: Moom…I’m trying to do you a solid and you get all bent outa shape. Sheesh. I mean if I’m supposed to be in charge, I need to organize and prioritize. We needed titles, that’s all.

The Mom: Um yeah, no. As in no titles, got that?

Elsa: Phooey. I don’t think I like your tone here so let’s just move on with this week’s post, shall we? {muttering under her breath…man SOME people!). Oh, before we (as in I) get started, I just want to give a huge Ninja birthday shout-out to my favorite Grandpa who turns 93 years old today! Woo-hoo, Grandpa. Well done. You look amazing. I mean I thought I looked good after my dreaded pawdicure and groom this week but man, oh man…you look fabulous! I thought I looked good for being in my 60’s in dog years but with your good looks and my intellect, we definitely make a pawsome team. Hmm, maybe I should give you a special title. I’m really looking forward to spending a few days celebrating with you. We could even do a ceremony whereupon I bestow a special title and…

The Mom: Elsa!! Enough with the titles.

Elsa: Oh alright. Sheesh. Moving right along…so unless you were hibernating, you may have heard about a ‘little’ celestial happening this week. A super blue moon event occurred on Wednesday night. None of Mom’s cameras did as good a job as one of the local TV channel’s website. She especially liked the downtown skyline view. I kept telling her to go to Sloan’s Lake but she wasn’t keen on walking that far in the dark so I needed to make concessions for the au pair. Maybe there’s a language barrier, you being foreign-born and all…?

The Mom: ELSA.

Elsa: Sorry Mom, I was just hoping you might have a change of heart. Clearly I misread that. Once we’re finished with this post, Imma gonna have to check to make sure your heart is working.

The Mom: {interrupting} ELSA!!! Knock it off.

Elsa: Um…sorry, I was just kidding. Mostly. {snickers}

Super Blue Moon
Photo provided by CBS4 ~ Credit: Eva Klein

The Mom: Oh for heaven’s sake. This nonsense has to stop. As in NOW.

Elsa:  My, my…a bit touchy, aren’t we? It’s ok, I still love you Mom, even if you’re grumpy. And to make it up to you, I’m going to let you post one of the pics you took. Well done. You even managed to capture a helicopter that probably was also trying to snag a pic. Wouldn’t it be funny if you took of pic of a reporter taking a pic?

Super Blue Moon

The Mom: {chuckling at that thought} Yeah, it was buzzing overhead and kind of annoying with all the frap, frap, frap noise hovering over the park. I took another photo on Thursday morning while we were out walking and it’s still a cool view a day later. So big and bright. And it was a whole lot quieter. I love our quiet, early morning walks.

Elsa: Yeah, me too. And I’m sure the wildlife appreciates it as much as we do since the zoo was apparently closed this week-as we only saw flashes of foxes escaping, and cottontail backends of little bunnies. Definitely not shareable. But in the critter category, you can count this dude enjoying a nice day sightseeing via his moonroof.


The Mom: Yeah, there hasn’t been much to capture critter-wise this week. But we did manage to see a few other things. How about you share them?

Elsa: Hang on to your knickers, Mom…I was getting to that. I wanted to showcase a different lake in our ‘Hood…Lake Berkeley. Located near Lakeside Amusement Park, Berkeley Lake is located a couple of miles from the Ranch and includes a nicely paved path surrounding the 34-acre lake. To our surprise, water lilies were blooming in three different spots. It’s not easy getting close enough to the water’s edge but it was kind of cool trying. Just glad you didn’t fall in around those marshes.

Lake Berkeley Lake Berkeley

The Mom: It sure was…in all the years I’ve been walking around that lake, I’ve never once seen water lilies before-only cattails. It was really exciting and I had to check them all out as closely as I could.

Elsa: Good thing you didn’t get wet. Leave it to you to find something like that. Well done, Mom.

The Mom: Thanks, Ninja. It sure was a great find as was this white rose. After July’s hail storms, it’s taken things a few weeks to recover. This one was a tad past its ‘best by’ date, but pretty nonetheless and appeared to have been chewed on by some bug, most likely Japanese Beetles who have been relentless for the third year in a row. They may only have a 40-day life cycle but they are voracious pests and can turn even the loveliest of plants into a hideous skeleton.

White rose

Elsa: Eew, just thinking about those nasty bugs gives me the heebie-jeebies. Looks like that’s it for us this week. We hope you have a terrific weekend; be sure to enjoy getting out to enjoy some Nature. September is starting out right where August left off, hot during the day but cool enough at night. Autumn’s coming. Have a great weekend and don’t do anything I wouldn’t do. That should leave you with ample opportunity for some Ninja fun.

Live, love, bark!  🐾

Nature Friday ~ August 25, 2023

Nature Friday

Welcome to this week’s edition of Nature Friday…where we join those cuties Rosy and Sunny from LLB in Our Backyard. Be sure to click on the link to see what else has been shared.

Today is the last Friday of August (good riddance I say though I know many of you will mourn summer coming to an end), and as Elsa and I prepared to head out for our early morning walk, we relish the quiet and peacefulness before the city wakes up and everyone hits their own running hamster wheel. I’m struck by the morning smell of dew, with an occasional whiff of freshly brewed coffee wafting through open windows as we wander in the dim dawn light. A few other early morning risers are out walking their dogs and, for the most part, everyone is on their best behavior with a minimum of warning barks. Now that I’ve set the stage, let’s see what we encountered.

Elsa: Well it’s another day, Mom. I know it’s been a tough week for you but let’s not focus on that, instead, how about we zero in on all the wonderful sights we encountered. Deal?

The Mom: Sounds like a plan to me. It was a rough week that’s left me emotionally drained but this morning’s walk reminded me why I enjoy these quiet early morning walks where I can contemplate life, and notice subtle signs nature often shares.

Elsa: Right-that’s the spirit, Mom! How about that bright cloud that followed us until the sun rose enough to remove the color? Glad you noticed it and didn’t take yet another sunrise photo. We may be morning folks but I’m sure some are over your fascination with sweeping sunrises from Sloan’s Lake.

Morning cloud

The Mom: I wouldn’t be so sure of that, Ninja. Early morning light can be simply magical that others can appreciate it.

Elsa: Ok, Ansel Adams…we may get it, but enough. So what about some of the other interesting shots around the neighborhood?

Cowboy boot planter

The Mom: As we walk around the ‘Hood, I’m always struck by what new interesting sights we’ll come across. The quiet allows my mind to see things we probably would overlook during the harshness of daily activity. When it’s quiet, things seem to beckon your eyes to see the city in a different view.

Elsa: That cowboy boot planter was an odd find, wasn’t it? But definitely interesting in the early morning light. I’d even hazard those owners should get together with the people who own that cow statute we featured recently. They’re probably more similar than different in the way they think about their gardens.

The Mom: You have a point. It’s fun to see the diversity throughout the area, from nationalities/races, the various kinds of architecture and how people landscape their gardens. We’re very lucky to be able to see how people interpret their gardens. It’s like a living museum of styles.

Elsa: I dunno about that…some of the sights we saw this week were just flat odd. That cowboy boot is the least of the weirdness. Hey, isn’t the city motto of Austin, Texas “keep Austin weird” starting to creep into our neighborhood? I mean, sure there are tons of people from Texas moving here all the time but…

The Mom: {interrupting} Hahaha, you sometimes crack me up with the way you look at things. I’ll just stay with different strokes for different folks. Besides it makes the neighborhood more vibrant.

Elsa: Vibrant? I’m beginning to wonder about you Mom. Seems like this was the week for seeing weird garden art/decor. And just like our dense neighborhood, it’s even impacting the housing crunch for birds. Did you see that avian condo this morning? Eight families can live there!


The Mom:  Affordable housing for birds means more density. I’m sure there are eight bird families who won’t mind being in such close quarters. At least it’s not some Modern McMansion like too many lately and fits into the neighborhood aesthetic pretty nicely.

Elsa: Good perspective, Mom. So I know things have been a bit of a zoo around the Ranch lately. But I’ve been very surprised to see it spill over in gardens throughout the ‘Hood. Here’s another weird garden critter we passed on our walk.


The Mom: I had to chuckle at the “Pigs Rule” sign, as if the numerous pig statuaries weren’t indicative enough.

Elsa: You uprights are just weirdos! We saw our fair share of critters this week. From too quick to photograph trash pandas (otherwise knowns as raccoons) to rabbits. I don’t think I’ve seen as many rabbits as I have this year. And then…{gasping} I even saw a freaking giraffe in the trees! What the dog?!


The Mom: That sight really blew me away. It’s not a great photo because it’s on a hill and hard to see it through all the trees and brush; we had to go back and see if we couldn’t get a better view. I suspect it’s made of metal but won’t know for sure until the leaves start dropping next month and we can it better. It’s a pretty wooded and weed filled lot but it stopped me dead in my tracks.

Elsa: As you were trying to get the best angle for that giraffe, I was focused on the bunny that ran under the car that was parked in front of that statute. I just love their fluffy white tails but they don’t seem to share the same loving feeling about me. They always hop away as quickly as their bunny feet will carry them.


The Mom: They are very abundant this year. There was even one in our yard when we got home but he didn’t hang out there for long. Hmmm…maybe he’s the one that ate the single ripe tomato.


Elsa: Let’s just hope he doesn’t filch the latest crop of  strawberries. Now let’s share the mystery plant of the week.

Flowers, Ground Cherry

The Mom: This mystery plant, as you refer to it, is Physalis Viscosa, commonly referred to as Ground Cherry. It’s a member of the nightshade family and is native to South America. Whoever moved into this property has pretty much let things go so lots of weeds have moved in and this plant is sometimes thought of as a weed. It has replaced the border of flowers where I took such pretty photos of blooming flowers in the background of you a couple of years ago. It looks a bit like tomatillos but then again, they both belong to the nightshade family. That fruit is rich in cryptoxanthin and can be consumed much like tomatoes.

Elsa: Umm, well you can, but there’s no way I’m not eating one those things. Blech…vegetables…er fruit. Nooo thank you!

The Mom: You’re so silly. Let’s end this week’s post with a bit of hope from a recent rainbow that we thought was a sign from Norman watching over us. We’re expecting a most welcomed bit of a cool down this weekend and if we’re real lucky, some rain. We hope the heat breaks soon for those  living in the central part of the country as well as folks all along the gulf coast and hope you are able to get outside to see what visual gifts Mother Nature provides in your neck of the woods.


Elsa: What she said ⬆️. Don’t forget to have a great weekend.

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾


Nature Friday ~ August 18, 2023

ElsaWelcome to this week’s edition of Nature Friday…which means we’re joining our pals Rosy and Sunny from LLB in Our Backyard. Don’t forget to click on the link to see what other slices of nature have been shared.

The Mom: {softly speaking} El….sa, oh Elsa.

Elsa: {yawning} Wha…er, who said that?!

The Mom: Good morning sweetie, didn’t want to startle you but it’s time to share nature from around the neighborhood. You ready, sweet girl?

Elsa:  {Big yawn and stretch} I guess so. You do realize that  you interrupted my wonderful snooze.

The Mom: So sorry, little one. I tried to be as gentle as possible waking you.

Elsa: It’s okay, Mom. I appreciate it-you know how I can wig out if I’m unexpectedly startled so I appreciate it.

The Mom: You’re very welcome. So what do you plan to share with us today?

Elsa: Well, I like to call it ‘hodgepodge’ slices of nature since there really wasn’t a congruent theme we could pursue. Ok with you?

The Mom: Of course, it’s your blog; you can do what you like.

Elsa: {wheels in her head are spinning around} Seriously? I get to decide?

The Mom: Sure-you can do whatever you like…

Elsa: {interrupting} Hot dang! Woo hoo…finally, some power…

The Mom:  Umm…let’s not get too carried away. You still have to operate within the perimeters of WordPress and decency…

Elsa: Wait…what? There are limitations on what I can share?

The Mom:  Well, first there is the User Agreement that WordPress will enforce and then there are technological limitations. So we don’t want to get too carried away by letting power go to our heads…

Elsa: Oh man…you’re always raining on my parade.

The Mom: Sorry, but that the way things work in life. That’s just the way it is. Now given that, are you ready to start?

Elsa: {grumbling} Fine…sheesh…you never let a girl have any fun.

The Mom: That’s not exactly true, but it’s a simple fact of life that it has its boundaries. Plus you want to be a good girl, don’t you?

Elsa: {more grumbling} Harumph…I guess so. Ok, let’s get started. Maybe if I find some interesting pics this week, I’ll feel a better.

The Mom: Probably a good idea. So what ‘cha got for us?

Elsa: Well, like I said, we’re doing a hodgepodge collection of flowers from around the ‘Hood. But first, check this out! I had no idea Groot lived in our neighborhood. I always thought the Guardian of the Galaxy star (aka Flora Colossus) lived in Marvel-land. You never mentioned he lives so close to us.

I am Groot

The Mom:  Umm, hate to break it to you, but that’s not Groot. It’s a Virginia creeper that spread all over a power pole. But it rather does look like Groot. Can’t wait to see it when autumn arrives and the leaves change color (note to self, try to remember where you saw that thing to photograph it!).

Elsa: Umm, that’s Groot, Mom-you can’t fool me. Besides, remember this is MY blog and I can write what I want. You just got through telling me that. Remember??

The Mom: {sighs} Fine, believe what you like.

Elsa: Woof! I’m kinda liking this new found power thing.

The Mom:  Oh dear, I’ve created a monster.

Elsa: Hey, no comments from the peanut gallery. Just because humans have a thumb, they let things go to their heads. Sheesh.

The Mom: Well ex-cuuuse me. What else did you see this week on our walks?

Elsa: Well, I noticed those gigantic pink Hibiscus blooms at that house around the corner-you know, the one that bugs just love to sniff?


The Mom: Indeed I do. That plant has the biggest blooms I’ve seen this year and the color is truly Barbie-inspired.

Elsa: Umm, right. Just don’t get any ideas of dressing me up, Barbie style, okay?

The Mom: Wouldn’t think of it, Toots. Everyone else may be gah-gah over the whole Barbie phenomena, but I know you’re more of a tom-girl than a Barbie girl.

Elsa: Doggone right! I am not some silly girly-girl who needs protecting, although you notice how much I’ve calmed down on our walks?

The Mom: I sure have. I’m grateful you no longer seem compelled to attack passing dogs on our walks. You’ve been a very good girl and pretty much stopped fence biting with the dog next door.

Elsa: Thanks, Mom. I guess now that I’m the solo dog who coincidentally is enjoying all this newfound power, I don’t feel as threatened. But never fear, I’ll happily defend you should the need arise, Mom.

The Mom: Thanks, sweetie. That’s very kind but there’s no reason to scare dogs we may encounter. I’m glad you recognize that. So, you have any other flowers to share?

Elsa: Ooh, ooh, I do. On the farthest end of our walks, do you remember those beautiful Hollyhocks we walked past? There was one in particular that really cranked my handle. Such a bright shade of red and sooo pretty.


The Mom: Oh yes, that one was particularly striking. Hollyhocks (Alcea rosea) are part of the mallow family and are considered a popular ornamental annual, biannual or perennial. Hollyhocks were imported into Europe from southern China. Did you know that the red varieties seem to prefer sandy soils, while the lighter colors seem to like more clay like soils. No doubt the hummingbirds love that garden.

Elsa:  Well, it seems to be Dahlia season now and we’re seeing a bunch of them blooming around the ‘Hood. Sure wish you’d plant some of those, they are very pretty even if they don’t have much fragrance. I really liked this pink one with the yellow center.


The Mom: They really are gorgeous, but I’m just not willing to dig them up at the end of the season to over winter them and then replant next Spring. I prefer less work-intensive perennials.

Elsa: Pfft…don’t know why. It’s not like your slaving away on the blog anymore. You should reconsider that plant for next year.

The Mom: Umm, not gonna happen little one, but nice try  with the guilt. There are so many others that are equally as pretty that require a lot less fussing over.

Elsa: Whatever. How about something like this one? It sure is pretty. Although most of the plant seems stripped of its leaves (likely due to the hail storms we had), the flowers sure are  pretty. Didn’t you say your plant identifier thought this was some kind of Hydrangea?


The Mom:  That’s right, sometimes called hortensia, Hydrangeas are native to Asia with the greatest diversity in China, Korea, and Japan.They can be deciduous or evergreen, although the majority of temperate species are usually deciduous. One fascinating thing about Hydrangeas is how they act as a natural indicator of the soil’s pH levels, with the flowers turning blue when the soil is acidic and pink when the soil is alkaline. I discovered the white ones (the oakleaf or smooth varieties), don’t change their flower colors. They can naturally bloom in white (sometimes fading to green), cream, or dusty pink. There are some red ones, too. Isn’t that cool? They aren’t typically planted much in Colorado since they tend to require supplemental water with rich soil, and the leaves and flower buds are poisonous to dogs and cats if eaten. Guess we won’t be planting any, just to be on the safe side.

Elsa: Well poop, I like them. They look like big snowballs and you know how I like the snow. Just when I get excited about a plant, you share facts that shoot down any planting around the Ranch. Rats!

The Mom: Sorry, Elsa. Just want to keep you safe, that’s all. Got anything else for us to enjoy?

Elsa: Well there are a couple more pics to share. The first is a small garden in front of a storefront along on our walk. This border contains Peregrina, the colorful plant mixed in with some ornamental grass and Black-eyed Susans behind a wrought iron fence. This was a tiny little garden, but it sure makes for a pretty summer border.


The Mom: You’re so right, I must have walked past that place a jillion times and just noticed these plants this week.

Elsa: Don’t you just love it when little gardens catch your eye like that? It reminds me of the Painted Lady moth I noticed this week in the dog run. I’m sure they’re out there all the time, but this one stayed in place long enough to get his picture taken. I was only bummed you didn’t try to dress him up like you do me but…oh well.


The Mom: I got lucky being able to capture this guy before he flew off.

Elsa: Well that’s about it for this week though I’m going to miss face rubs on the grass. My eye got all nasty looking and you unceremoniously rushed me off to the vet. Dr. Ken is very nice and I was a good girl. While he looked me over he thought maybe I’d developed an allergy so no more face rubs in the grass, just to be safe. Well, if it means I no longer need eye drops, I’m cool with that.


The Mom: Yeah, me too. You had some very yucky eye-snot with redness so no more rubbing your face in the grass…sorry, Ninja.

Elsa: It’s ok, thanks for always looking out for me, Mom. I’m sure I can find one something else for you to worry about {heh, heh}. But I’ll give you a break…for a little while. So what’s on the calendar for this weekend? Anything exciting?

The Mom: Nothing for us; we’re just patiently awaiting for the heat to mellow out. These past few days of high 90’sF (35+C)  really don’t lend themself to getting out and about, unless we do it at the crack of dawn.

Elsa: I’m good with lazing about in a nice air-conditioned home with abundant treats, hint, hint, Mom. What about you readers? Anything exciting going on? Let us know so we can live vicariously through you while the autumn countdown continues. Just 35 days until autumn’s official arrival in the Northern Hemisphere.

The Mom: {smiling at the mere thought of autumn} We hope you’ll stop and pay attention to all the beautiful servings that Nature dishes up for our enjoyment.

Elsa: Woof…good advice, Mom. Have a great weekend, everyone.

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ August 4, 2023

Elsa & the ButterflyWelcome to the first Nature Friday post for August. Gosh, where has the time gone? July with its nasty heat came and finally went (thank dog!) and it’s dawned on me that autumn’s official arrival is just a mere 49 days. Forty-nine days, people!! Woo hoo…Elsa here joining Blogville pals Rosy and Sunny from Adventures of the LLB Gang. Remember to click on the link to see what others shared. Let’s get this party started, ok?

Elsa: Hey, Mom…why is there a butterfly on my nose-get it off. I know you’ve been fairly apologetic about not sharing any good smelling flowers recently but if you think a little photo editing is gonna going to make everything ok, guess again.

The Mom: Umm, well, erm, lighten up, Elsa. I was just trying to add a bit of creativeness. Why not tell folks the real truth now…that you’ve been badgering me ever since that post went live, bugging me to find you some nice smelling flowers.

Elsa: Meh…you say potato, I say ‘potahto.’ Let’s just tell readers that you no doubt, have felt lots of remorse and have been looking for fragrant flowers 24/7, to make it up to me?

The Mom. Umm, not 24/7 but I will say I have been looking for flowers with lovely scents but it’s been a challenge this time of year. First the two hail storms from last month pretty much wiped out all the roses, along with just about everything else…

Elsa: {interrupting} And this is my fault exactly how?

The Mom: Ahem, as I was about to say, I have been looking for some fragrant flowers on our walks. We’ve even been taking different routes to see if some garden out there have some fragrant flowers. I did find some marigolds but you made it perfectly clear you weren’t all that keen on them with lots of sneezing after checking them out closely.


Elsa: Doggone straight! “Eau de blech” is not my idea of a sweet smelling fragrance.

The Mom: Yes, but you have to admit they are cheerful and pretty and manage to keep bugs at bay around the tomato and strawberry plants.

Elsa: And there’s a good reason for that. They. Just. Smell. Disgusting! Don’t do that ever again.

The Mom: Umm, o-k-a-y. I can take a hint.

Elsa:  {interrupting with raucous laughter} Bwahahaha, you slay me sometimes, Mom. Hint indeed-HA! I’ve been barking my head off about sweet smelling flowers for weeks and all you can come up with are marigolds? Good grief!

The Mom: Now hold on…hear me out. Marigolds are cheerful, super easy to grow, and come in a variety of sizes and shapes. They thrive in hot dry conditions and lord knows, we’ve had plenty of those lately. They will grow in just about any soil, even ours. With two separate kinds (French and African), they’re usually self-sowing and they make excellent companion plants that can repel certain harmful bugs around tomatoes, strawberries, onions and garlic.

Elsa: Oh great, onions and garlic-more disgusting smelly plants. Do you not understand the concept of nice/sweet smelling? Do I have to explain it to you by speaking more slowly and using small words so you’ll get it?

The Mom: Sheesh, I got it. Honestly, you have become such a pill lately.

Elsa: {eyes rolling} Listen, Mom, I don’t mean to harsh your mellow…I just ‘nose’ what I want and am a very focused dog about getting it. That’s all.

The Mom: Yes, I think ‘relentless’ does comes to mind about the things you demand want. Fine, I’ll get you some nicely scented flowers, okay. Are you happy now? Continue reading “Nature Friday ~ August 4, 2023”

Nature Friday ~ July 21, 2023

ElsaHowdy sports fan, Elsa here with another edition of Nature Friday, hosted by our pals Rosy and Sunny from Adventures of the LLB Gang. Don’t forget to click the link to see what others shared. Since today is the opening of the new Barbie movie, I thought I’d go back to the pink accessories. Mom is scratching her head about all the hype to the release of this movie. I guess she never chewed played with a Barbie doll as a kid. I, on the other hand would have loved to have gotten my jaws, erm, I mean my paws, on one of those toys. I’ll bet they would be quite tasty to my poodle taste buds. But enough of the cultural balderdash, we’re here for nature.

Elsa: Moooom, oh mooom…bark, bark, bark!!

The Mom: Yes, Ninja?

Elsa: Oh there you are, let’s get this post started. This week I thought we’d go on ‘Sniff-ari’ and check out some of the flowers we encountered on some of our crack of dawn walks. Waddu say?

The Mom: Sure…what would you like to share first?

Elsa: Well about those Sunflowers against yesterday’s cloudy sky? With all the rain received over this Spring, it looks like there’s a bumper crop of those cheerful blooms.


Elsa: {continuing} Hmm, seems like you managed to capture some sort of flying insect here with these flowers. Did you plan that?

The Mom: I had tried to capture him with his wings opened but he always seemed to be on the down beat when the shutter went off so I couldn’t capture him in winged flight. Rather sad but, it is what it is.

Elsa: Harumph…you just need to anticipate better. But let’s move on to something you did manage to capture better.

The Mom: {blushing with embarrassment} Ahem…well how about this colorful batch of Ice Plant?


Elsa: Mmmm,…I took a sniff at those things. Nada, nothing. Where’s the fragrance? I thought we were on a “Sniff-ari.” How can I go on “Sniff-ari” if there’s no scent?

The Mom: Umm, it’s not “Sniff-ari.”  It’s safari, which means “a travel or journey.” Scent can be an element of that journey but it isn’t an absolute given.

Elsa: Boy, you can say that again. I wanted to sniff things-you know that’s how us dogs process our world. We’re not just about ‘seeing’ things. We want to smell them. It tells us who was here before, if they left us a message and all sorts of data about their gender, their general overall health…

The Mom: {interrupting} I understand, I was just explaining what a safari is…

Elsa: {pouting} Whatever…let’s move along, ok?

The Mom: Fine. How about you share the first Gladiolas we’ve seen this Summer? I think this one is is known as ‘Atomic’ – sometimes called a Sword Lily. This species is apparently fairly hardy and originally from Africa.


Elsa:  I suppose since it’s originally from Africa, it’s part of the ‘safari’ and not my ‘Sniff-ari.’ I noticed this one didn’t have any fragrance either. I’m getting the feeling we’re not going to be experiencing a whole lotta scents on this walk, Mom.

The Mom: Erm, sorry Elsa. I apologize for not being more sensitive to your nose.

Elsa: {clearly miffed} Well, you should be. Nothing we saw was very fragrant. I feel gypped. Big time. I mean you went to the Lavender Festival last week and there was plenty of fragrance there. How come not here?

The Mom: I’ll try to do better next time. At least we can share some of the pretty blooms, even if they aren’t fragrant.

Elsa: {grumbling} I guess when you don’t have thumbs, you just have to go along with the thumb carrying person holding the leash on this here Nature walk. Got anything else? Fragrant or otherwise?

The Mom: Clearly I’ve misjudged this week’s focus. There are still a lot of things to enjoy. While this next flower doesn’t have and discernable scent, I recall you didn’t object to sniffing around its base on the ground. I’m guessing there were some messages that other dogs had left.


Elsa: Yeah, this batch of Hollyhocks and Sunflowers did have a LOT of messages…I’d have lingered longer but got bored. Some dogs just blab on and on. Jeez.

The Mom:  {ignoring Elsa’s commentary} Just look at this Rudbeckia, commonly referred to as Black-eyed Susans. Did you know they are also part of the Sunflower family?


Elsa: Nope, didn’t know, don’t care either. All I know is they also didn’t have any fragrance.

The Mom: Ugh…still complaining about the no fragrance? Can’t you just enjoy the visual aspect of pretty flowers?

Elsa: Well I thought we were going on a “Sniff-ari” not some shallow beauty pageant strut. Sheesh, Mom…come on.

The Mom: I give up. Will you just allow your mind to be open and appreciate how lovely these flowers are? I mean…look at the first Dahlia we came across yesterday morning. Come on, tell me this isn’t pretty. I dare you.


Elsa: Well if Dahlias are the end all be all of flowers, how come you haven’t planted any? Huh, huh?

The Mom: {stammering} Uh, well, I…er…the garden just doesn’t have sufficient light for them to thrive, yeah, that’s the ticket.

Elsa: Uh-huh. Yeah, I know you like planting flowers that smell nice. You’re not fooling me one bit.

The Mom: {realizing the folly of arguing with the Ninja} Ok, you got me. I do like fragrant flowers but in my defense, I also don’t want to have to dig Dahlias up and store them over the winter either. You happy now?

Elsa: I’d be happier if there was something that smelled nice.

The Mom: Oh for the love of all that’s holy. Let’s just share one more pretty flower, ok?

Elsa: Hey you’re the one driving this post with these non scented flowers, not me. What else doesn’t smell that you’re just dying to share? Well come on. Share it!

The Mom: Fine, I’ll just share one more non-fragrant flower from our walk yesterday. I thought these daylilies were quite lovely. It’s true, many Hemerocallis, aka lilies, do not have a fragrant scent but their looks rather make up for it, don’t you think? They come in so many different colors, you gotta admit they’re worth sharing.


Elsa: Meh…I don’t have to admit anything when I thought I was going on a “Sniff-ari.” Which reminds me, I think I’ll just go on a face rub wander so I can actually smell stuff since everything you shared is decidedly NOT fragrant. This grass smelled great and I managed to capture all the stinks smells all over my face.


The Mom: Sorry you feel that way-perhaps a bath will improve your mood. Maybe you’d feel better if you realized that fragrant plants can affect people’s allergies-in a bad way. Think of this as providing a public service for everyone who is negatively impacted by scented flowers.

Elsa: Not. a. chance. I’ll leave it to the reader to decide if we should have actually gone on a “Sniff-ari” like I wanted to or some lame safari like you ended up taking us on. By the way, the grass smelled sweet and was just fine by me.

Elsa: {continuing} Anyway, what’s up on your weekend? Doing anything exciting or will you just try to get through this dog-awful heat dome that’s impacted over 100 million people for the past 39+ days? Whatever you do, we hope you can stay cool, dry and safe. Stay hydrated and enjoy…especially something with  great scents. Remember…there’s ‘just’ 63 days until autumn officially arrives. I’m hoping things will smell better then.

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ July 14, 2023

ElsaWelcome to Nature Friday, hosted by our pals Rosy and Sunny from Adventures of the LLB Gang. Elsa here bringing this week’s edition to your inboxes. Imma here to also tell you it’s {in the words of my brother} bloody hot. Good grief…who turned up the thermostat? I almost feel badly for Mom since she’s been walking me just after sunrise which means neither of us are getting our beauty sleep. Trust me, she needs it more than I do but still…I wouldn’t be adverse to sleeping in until 6:30 or so. C’est la vie…such is the life of a black dog.

So this week I thought we’d check out pollinators from around the 303. Mostly Monarch Butterflies that is, though Mom got to see other kinds of butterflies at the Chatfield location of the Denver Botanical Gardens for their annual Lavender Festival. This iconic butterfly has an amazing journey, migrating between 1,200 and 2,800 miles from the northeast US and southeast Canadian mountain forests. Monarch butterflies, Danaus plexippus, which means “sleepy transformation” in Greek because of the species’ ability to hibernate and metamorphize. Adult monarchs have two pairs of brilliant orange-red wings, with black veining and white spots along the edges. Male butterflies are slightly bigger than the females. Did you realize these amazing pollinators only live about four to five weeks! Guess they have a lot to do in their short lives.  Here are some of the butterflies Mom saw at the butterfly house at Chatfield.

Butterfly educational board

As you probably already know, milkweed is the only plant on which monarchs will lay their eggs and their favorite source of food for emerging caterpillars. Sadly far too much of the Monarch’s natural food source is being eradicated from urban and agricultural landscapes.

Every wonder what the life cycle of a butterfly looks like? This sign depicts it far better than I can explain it.

Butterfly sign

Mom saw some new emerging Chrysalis, but they were so miniscule, she couldn’t get a photo without them looking too blurry on her phone. How many times do I need to tell you to bring a decent camera with you, Mom?? Ugh, when will she ever learn or pay attention to me? Anyway, she did manage to capture a caterpillar munching on a stalk of milkweed. Kinda cool for a bug. They have voracious appetites and that 18 inch tall stalk will likely be gone in less than a couple of days.

Caterpillar In the butterfly house, they flit among colorful plants, feeders and visitors. I think this guy was giving my Mom the stink eye.

Hey, what are you looking at, lady?

Here’s one resting on a bright green leaf. He seemed a bit tired, but I think he was probably just suffering from heat exhaustion like the rest of us.


Mom watched the guys below at a feeder. The big one seemed to hog the nectar away from the others and the two other couldn’t seem to convince the hog to move over. Who knew butterflies don’t share much?

Yo Frank, Joe is hogging the nectar again-why don’t you dive bomb him so we can enjoy Happy Hour as well.

There were a bunch of those Red Admirals that followed Mom around in the butterfly house. This one seemed particularly interested in her despite the fact she wasn’t wearing a colorful shirt. If she had, it might have landed on her. Though the Door Attendant would have frisked her when she left so no butterflies escaped. Seems the butterflies are always trying to hitchhike their way outside the butterfly house. Sheesh, conjugal visits apparently aren’t enough for those guys-they’re looking for freedom as well.


They may be small but they sure are pretty. As Mom was leaving the exhibit, look what other cutie she found! Oooh, hello, little bunny. Why can’t I ever find a cute bunny to play with on our walks? Oh wait, they’re afraid of a menacing hunter like me. Oops.


Well that’s it for me this week. We hope whatever you do this weekend, you are able to enjoy some of the more gentle aspects of what Nature is dishing out. For you folks in New England, we’re praying the predicted rains aren’t as severe as they have been and for our friends in West, we hope Mother Nature turns down the pizza oven temps. Looks like El Niño is back with a vengeance according to NOAA (National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration). Please stay cool, dry and hydrate yourselves.

El Niño

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday

Wordless Wednesday ~ July 12, 2023

Hawaii ~ Sea Hibiscus

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ June 9, 2023

Aloha signAloha, it’s me, Norman (along with his Ninja sister Elsa) to welcome you to the latest edition of Nature Friday, hosted by our pals Rosy and Sunny from Adventures of the LLB Gang. Our Mum finally returned from granddaughter Hailey’s wedding in Hawaii and I for one couldn’t be happier. I’ve been wiggling my bum and shadowing her everywhere so she can’t possibly get away from me again. Mum came home with a treasure trove of pics (to go with her major case of jet lag-she says she hoping she’ll get caught up by the end of the weekend and hopes people will be patient with her). She’s been napping as much as me these past couple of days but Elsa and I agreed we would break up these Nature Friday posts over multiple weeks so as to be able to share some of the beauty from our 50th state. We may even include a pic or two from the wedding. Let’s get started, shall we?

Elsa: For some odd reason, Mom took a lot of pics of the clouds from the plane on the trip. I didn’t get it but she assured me they were a pretty fascinating view from 36,000 ft. They look different from when you’re looking up at them from the ground. In the sky she was looking down on them and it was a whole ‘nother world. This first one is somewhere over the Rockies not too far from Denver. Notice there was some snow still on the peaks.

Snow over the Rockies

Norman: Blimey, just look at those valleys. Makes me dizzy just looking at them.

Elsa: You’re dizzy anyway-not because you’re looking down at snow covered peaks, pal.

Norman: Ahem…well I see the personal digs have started early on. Sigh. Moving along, let’s take a look at when the skies became soupy with clouds.


Elsa: Hey, there’s a crack in the clouds! What’s that blue stuff?

Norman: That, little sister is the Pacific Ocean. Blue skies and blue ocean. That’s rather something, isn’t it?

Elsa: Meh…I dunno. Blue is blue. I still don’t see what the big deal is about looking down from 36,000 feet above the ground.

Norman: {eyes rolling} I doubt I can explain it to you. Just trust me when I say it’s quite the sight and takes on a whole different perspective from when we’re looking up at clouds.

Elsa: Perspective, schmective. I wanna check out something that’s actually interesting.

Norman: When you’re looking out a plane window and see  Mother Nature’s slushy, THAT little one is something interesting, trust me. Between looking like something between a slushy and an iceberg field, it made Mum wonder a lot about perspective.


Elsa: Looks like a partly cloudy day when she landed in Kailua-Kona. The pics she took as the plane moved toward the airport sure have some color to them. Hey, I think I see some tiny wind turbines in this pic below.


Norman: From the airplane, everything looks like a quilt but you’re right, I see those wind turbines in the center of that pic along with the shoreline surf. They look like tiny crosses. Mum told me she didn’t swim in the ocean and I said that’s good, you never know what lurks in that wet stuff.


Elsa: Yeah, you couldn’t pay me to swim in that stuff. The salt would likely bother my skin, I’m afraid. Besides, there’s a whole lot of fascinating stuff to check out from the shore. I heard Mom nearly tripped over a green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) at sunset. Hawaiians call those things “Honu.” Pretty cool beans, eh?

Norman: {eyes wide-open} Blimey mate, it matches the surrounding sand, no wonder she nearly stepped on it! Glad she didn’t. It’s a no-no to touch the Honu. Did you know their heads don’t retract like freshwater turtles? Mum said they can grow to between 3 and 4 ft. and may weigh as much as 300-350 pounds?

Elsa: Whoa…that’s a whole lotta turtle soup! Mom told me they are found in subtropical and tropical ocean waters, nesting in some 80 countries. In the U.S. they nest in Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and Florida. Hmm, that makes me wonder if they are as tasty as the tortoise shelled reading glasses I munched one time.

Sea Turtle

Norman: Only you would wonder something like that.

Elsa:  Hey you’re the hungry hippo around the Ranch, I was just wondering out loud. It’s not like I’d actually try to eat one that was alive. Although I think I could take it on. If nothing else, I’d definitely run circles around it. They’re pretty slow moving.

Norman: You are not a tiger shark, the Honu’s main predator. Although…come to think of it…

Elsa: Hey, knock that off, bozo. You want me to rat you out to Mom?

Norman: Mum knows how sweet I am, she’d never believe I’d ever say anything so provocative…

Elsa: Why, I have a good mind to…

Norman: Now, now, calm down little one. We’re supposed to be sharing some of the Hawaiian nature, not quibbling about who’s the fiercest predator, ok? We all know who that is.

Elsa: You’re just lucky I’m so easy going. So tell me brother, what was the first thing Mom did when they arrived on the Big Island?

Norman: Well anyone who knows Mum knows that’s easy, and because they had to wait until a few hours until the villa was ready for them to check in, they made a stop at a favorite watering hole, the Kona Brewing Company. While it wasn’t too hot (mostly around 75-80ºF the entirety of the trip), a nice cold one was most welcome. She saw some geckos scurrying about the tables but those little green things were just too quick to photograph this trip. She did however capture them in a previous trip to the Big Island that you can see here.

Kona Brewing Co.

Elsa: Yup, I can see Mom enjoying those frosty suds. Nice way to start out the week. After she showed me the place she stayed at in Waikoloa Beach, I almost wish she’d have taken us along. Just think of all the critters I could have chased on the grounds!

Waikoloa Beach

Norman: Umm…I don’t think you’d find the critters of Hawaii to your liking. Mum told me she saw her first mongoose from the patio. Can you believe it?


Elsa: Mom said they were lightening fast. I kept asking her about the two in the upper left background but she blushed and said for me not to worry about what they were doing. Something about mating season. As a former puppy mill survivor, I could tell them a few things about that! Anyway, the view from Mom’s bedroom window was pretty amazing. It shows the lava fields of Kohala, Hawaii’s oldest but extinct volcano (hidden behind those clouds). Mom said she already misses that view.

Norman: The views were definitely something to write home about. Well that’s all the time we have for this week’s Nature Friday post. We hope you enjoyed seeing pics from Mum’s trip. Next week we’ll share more flora and fauna. So tell me sister, what exciting plans do you have this weekend?

Elsa: Nothing too exciting. I’m mostly just making sure Mom doesn’t leave the house without us. Even when it rains. Mom says we should be grateful for it-it’s not like Colorado is a tropical wonderland like Hawaii is.

Norman: I hear you on that, Ninja. I think a good nap for all 3 of us should top our agenda after we celebrate my birthday tomorrow. Mum told me my first Mum told her recently when I was born. You ready to party, sis? Then again, what do you say, you on the left side and me on Mum’s right side after we have a birthday party?

Elsa: Works for me brother. Whatever you guys do, just make sure you get outside and enjoy the wonders Nature provides us.

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾