Flowers for Marg ~ April 9, 2021

Welcome to this week’s blog hop for Nature Friday. Today we join our weekly hosts, Rosy, Sunny, Arty and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard  to celebrate a special edition of Nature Friday ~ Flowers for Marg.

Marg Elemendorf of Marg’s Animals, is a well known blogger who is loved and followed by so many over the  years.  Today we all come together to make Marg’s birthday extra special since she lives alone caring for her many and beloved kitties. Happy Birthday, Marg!

Birthday

Please feel free to leave your own birthday wishes here at this link.

Today is a birthday two-fer for me. Norman, Elsa and I of course send best wishes to Marg but we also send them to one of my dearest friends, Cheryl who celebrates an extra special birthday today. Happy birthday, sweet lady. I’m looking forward to celebrating with you in person this weekend.

Alright, let’s see if we can put together a bouquet of flowers for these two special women who do so much for others. Although spring is taking its sweet time arriving in the Mile High City and it may be a bit premature to cut a lush bouquet for indoor display still, there are some early spring bulbs that suggest bouquets gracing a table won’t be too far away.

Flowers

Earlier this week we saw the first blooming tulips in a border along one of our walks. So cheerful and happy looking.

Flowers

While the past couple of days have been cooler than our warm  Easter weekend, seeing tulips blooming always brings smiles to winter-weary hearts in the Rockies.

Flowers

While our garden is just waking up, there was one early bloomer that caught me off guard. I don’t ever recall seeing pink Phlox quite this early. What a nice splash of color, wouldn’t you agree?

Flowers

On a quick trip to a store I rarely shop at, I stopped by their flower department a couple of days ago and saw an incredible display of indoor orchids. These two deeply colored (and not edited to boost their vibrancy, mind you) stopped me dead in my tracks. I stared for several minutes taking in all that beauty.

Flowers

Flowers

Definitely out of the ordinary yet stunning in true orchid style.

We hope you all have a beautiful Friday. Please enjoy some nature and find time to make your weekend grand.

Live love, bark! 🐾

 

Nature Friday ~ April 2, 2021

My goodness, here it is April already. Where did the first quarter of 2021 go?! As we typically do on Friday’s, we’re joining our adorable weekly hosts, Rosy, Sunny, Arty and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard to see what’s going on with Mother Nature. Don’t forget to click on the link to check out the blog hop and see what else others in Blogville have shared.

Spring has been working overtime trying to catch up after recent visits from Ole Man Winter. There’s still some white stuff remaining on northern exposures but all and all, the week has been all about spring with clear bluebird skies, warm temperatures with perennials, shrubs and trees that are beginning to bud.

A Pasque flower I walk past daily has just recently begun to open and its arrival is always reason to smile with hope that spring is here. Pasque flowers (known as Pulsatilla hirsutissima, Pulsatilla ludoviciana, Pulsatilla patens, Anemone patens, etc.) have an undisputed appearance but a somewhat disputed name. It has been known as Pulsatilla hirsutissima, Pulsatilla ludoviciana, Pulsatilla patens, Anemone patens, etc.  “Pulsatilla” from the Latin for “pulsing”, “moving about”, plus the diminutive, “illa”: thus “a bit of quivering” (from the wind). Pasque Flower or Easter Flower is from the Hebrew “Pasach” i.e. “Passover” [the last supper was the celebration of Pasach] and thus this plant has became associated with Easter since they generally flower around the Easter/Passover season when winter snows begin to melt. The name most likely arrived through variations of French, “passefleur” and “passflower” both similar to the French word for Easter, “Pasques” which has its roots in the Hebrew word “Pasach” so it’s somewhat easy to see how the common name has morphed into “Pasque Flower.”

Flowers

A walk about through my garden yesterday when temps were in the mid-70’s showed the blueish grape hyacinths fully in bloom. I was shocked to find a lone outlier white one in the middle of the blues and hope nature has some sort of grand plan. The bee didn’t seem to mind that lone white one either as it kept going back and forth to it, probably reacting much like us humans do with ice cream…”chocolate or vanilla? Oh what the heck, I like them both.”

Flowers

Over the next several days temps are expected to be in the upper 70’s to low 80’s so being outdoors to enjoy this glorious time will be the MO of the residents around the Mile High.

We wish everyone a blessed Easter weekend and hope whatever your religious persuasion that you find some time to get outside and sing the glory of nature’s beautiful work.

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ March 19, 2021

Happy TGIF! Today we are going to share some thoughts about Mother Nature and her incredible ability for resilience in spite of her bad self. As usual, we’re joining our weekly hosts, those adorably sweet pupsters, Rosy, Sunny, Arty and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard. Don’t forget to click on their link to check out what they and others in Blogville have shared.

As you may recall, Mother Nature walloped the Mile High. For a recap of a major blizzard that blanketed the Ranch, click here. Over two feet of snow along with swirling drifts pounded the area but nature is nothing if not resilient. Take a look at what a couple of days of melting will expose.

Holiday

Nature didn’t put a damper on St. Patrick’s Day fun for some. While others were too busy for any celebration. Note the drift in the foreground below which was a lengthy challenge to remove. Wet snow is heavy for ‘shovelers’ of all types, be they man or machines.

Snow
The Mt. Everest of driveways

But there’s no doubt the accumulation of all that snow could be hard on gardens. I wondered how the early spring bulbs might fare.

Flowers

Remember those miniature daffodils I shared last week? Even being buried under 2+ ft. of heavy snow didn’t seem to damper their desire to find daylight. They were slightly bent but their fighting spirit was not be denied.

Flowers

Even these tulips which normally don’t fare so well when they’ve been squashed with heavy snow, managed to rise to the occasion.

 

Yesterday afternoon’s walk left me utterly astounded at how buoyant Nature can be in the face of  the aftermath of a major storm.

Flowers
Emerging poppy perennial

The evergreen shrub below had been completely buried just two days earlier and yet it seemed none the worse for the trouble and with our strong sunshine will straighten its branches out soon.

Garden

Although a few broken branches were spotted on a couple of evergreen trees (nothing too major though), I was struck by the sheer survival instinct Mother Nature employs. She dishes out all kinds of mayhem with one hand yet pushes plants forward with the other. It’s truly remarkable.

These past few days of temps in the upper 40’s and 50’sF will melt even more and it should be interesting to see what else emerges before the next round of spring storms hits Sunday night.

Nature Friday

So what was your experience with Nature this week? See anything that made you think realize how resilient it is?

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ March 12, 2021

Happy Friday where 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 checking out all the other images that folks found this week in nature. Nature Friday

While the Mile High anxiously awaits a major storm scheduled to arrive sometime tonight, Elsa continues to look high and low for signs of Spring. The National Weather Service said Denver could expect between 15-24 inches and has issued a winter storm warning for the slow moving storm beginning early tomorrow. Snow should fall through the weekend and end around noon on Monday. Highs will only be in the mid-30’sF which may be a bit of an adjustment after approaching 70ºF earlier this week. The temperature yo-yo continues.

March snow storms are not unusual in Denver; I am reminded of another spring storm that pounded fell on Denver back on St. Patrick’s Day in 2003 when 30+ inches fell. That storm occurred when this was a two sheepdog household and my back was better equipped to shovel massive amounts of snow. Shoveling around these two crazy sheepdogs was always an adventure.

Snow
St. Patrick’s Day, 2003
Elsa
Are you up there, Spring?

Alas, if only Elsa would looked a bit closer to ground level where spring bulbs continue their annual march toward sunny exposures.

Flowers

The same garden that had those lovely reticulated irises and crocuses that I recently posted also has a small patch of miniature daffodils. These guys are the absolute cutest things and are only about 3-4 inches tall. Their bright color always elicits a smile from me in the sea of brown.

Flowers

I mean how cheery is that little cutie pie?

Norman, on the other hand is somewhat less enthusiastic about “Springtime in the Rockies” and has taken a somewhat more laissez-faire attitude when looking for signs of spring usually from the comfort of his sofa. I’m sure he’ll most likely keep me company while I ‘bake up a storm’ in the kitchen as nature unleashes her own storm outside. Fingers crossed the power doesn’t go out. So what are your plans for the weekend?

Norman

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ March 5, 2021

Nature Friday

Happy Friday folks! Once again we join our weekly hosts, Rosy, Sunny, Arty and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard to see exactly how crazy it has been. Don’t forget to click on the link to check out to see what all Blogville has shared.

Will you lookee here…despite last weeks snow dump, signs of spring are popping up all over. Yay…color me happy!

One of the nicer aspects of our long walks is that the dogs get to sniff around and explore. Elsa is my huntress Ninja and I can always tell when she’s tracking a bunny or squirrel who’s run through a yard. Her nose undulates as her head slowly moves back and forth taking in all those delicious smells. It’s good for her mind as well as her body that she can track critter scents. When she’s looking for a place to pee, she adopts the “Goldilocks…this one is just right” approach, turning in circles over and over and over again. On a cold blustery day it can be maddening and I’m often mumbling, “just pee for crying out loud already.” But it’s her process and somewhat ‘entertaining.’ Norman’s only prerequisite for peeing is ‘yup, looks just fine to me’ method. Corners and trees always receive extra attention, especially now that 95% of last week’s snow has melted and the ground is damp and apparently full of interesting smells.

We normally pass by a few gardens in the neighborhood every day where spring is definitely sprouting. Take for instance these tulips. What an inspiring sight to see tulips after the bitter cold and snow from recent days.

Flowers

Last weeks wild weather didn’t impact the reticulated irises that had begun to bloom or the crocuses either for that matter. They seemed to flourish after the moisture almost in defiance. Look at this bouquet of sunshine!

Flowers

I even noticed a tiny emerging bit of sedum mixed in with the irises.

Flowers

My own garden seems to be waking up too. Yesterday was a chilly day (after a gorgeous sunny and warm Wednesday) with a bit of drizzle but these emerging hyacinths still caught my eye with their bright green color against the brown mulch and leaves. Note to self, time to start cleaning up the flower beds of blown in leaves. Again.

Flowers

Considering the lack of sun exposure in my yard (it’s pretty shady from large trees), this was a most welcomed sight. I can expect there will be lots of victims candidates for Norman’s sniffing sessions in the near future. A word to the wise…lupines…you’ll need to grow strong and expect lots of ‘water’ in the future.

Any big plans to enjoy nature this weekend? Whatever you do, hope your time outdoors is well spent and you are able to catch some visible signs of spring bursting forth in your neck of the woods.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ February 5, 2021

Well howdy there…welcome to the first Friday of February (say that fast ten times). Once again we’re joining our Nature Friday weekly hosts, Rosy, Sunny, Arty and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard. Don’t forget to click on their link to see what they and others around Blogville have discovered in nature this week.

Despite the Groundhog supposedly seeing his shadow earlier this week predicting six more weeks of winter, it’s been pretty mild in the Mile High, so much so that any lingering snow from the latest storm has now melted away. That means it’s back to the season of drab brown for the most part.

But there’s hope. I’ve begun to notice little sprouts poking through the soil here and there. While walking the Ranch hands a couple of days ago, I was rewarded by a small cluster of blooms. One of my favorite of the spring bulbs, crocuses are a member of the iris family and are native to woodlands, scrubs, and meadows from sea level to alpine tundra in North Africa and the Middle East, central and southern Europe (and in particular Krokos, Greece), as well as across Central Asia in western China. Typically thought of as a spring bloomer, crocuses (or croci if you prefer) bloom in spring, summer and autumn. Did you know the spice saffron comes from the stigmas of Crocus sativus, which is an autumn-blooming species?

Crocus come in a variety of colors but typically are found in shades of lilac, mauve, yellow, and white and may show a white central stripe along the leaf axis. Seeing them bloom in snow is not uncommon, especially here in Denver. I almost missed this cluster, my brain initially processing it as merely a small piece of paper blown near the base of a nearby shrub.

Flowers

They seem so delicate and yet, these little guys are quite hardy so I’m really glad I stopped to more closely examine this little spot of color instead of just breezing by without a closer look. Seeing this little beauty reminded me that spring can’t be too far away. In fact, I’m just guessing just about six weeks. Do you think that furry, overweight prognosticator is an accurate predictor of spring’s arrival or is it merely coincidental with the calendar’s announcement that spring officially arrives March 20th? Put me solidly in the calendar camp as being more accurate. I just don’t trust rodents to predict the arrival of seasons.

Any signs of spring in your ‘Hood yet? The Ranch hands and I hope you have a lovely Friday and an even better weekend. Don’t forget to stop and savor even the smallest spots in nature. You’ll no doubt be well rewarded.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

A 2020 Retrospective

Don’t let the title of this post freak you out…this is NOT a post about the unspeakably sad losses experienced during the past 365 days. Instead consider this my feeble attempt to get a 12+ hour head start on tomorrow’s Nature Friday with an affectionate look back at some of the wonders Mother Nature so graciously shared despite our planet’s collective poor stewardship of her. We hope you will take a moment to follow Blogville around by clicking on our friends’ and hosts link [Rosy, sister Sunny and her two brothers at LLB in Our Backyard] and hope they don’t mind our pulling the trigger early).

While it’s true we received a spot of the white stuff this week, as fast as it frosted the landscape, it quickly melted under beautiful, bright blue, sunny skies.

Mother Nature may have some prickly moments, but boy does she possess an amazing canvas when she shows it off.

Snow

While some of you may shiver at images of snow, I can’t help but wonder about all those unique and sparkly facets of crystalized ice that highlight a winter landscape.

Snow

Sure Norman, Elsa and I are fortunate to enjoy 300+ days of annual sunshine in the Mile High but we’re also gifted with some spectacular sunsets (and sunrises) on occasion. This one showed up shortly before this month’s full moon.

And now for a look back at a few of the most popular images from nature this year. This past summer provided some much needed visual comfort then as well as now.

Flowers

A 2020 retrospective on nature would be incomplete without some sunshine-y sunflowers from our garden as well as a a view of the plethora of lupine which provided a nice backdrop for the Ranch hands.

Flowers

Ranch hands As we reflect over the past year, all the while keeping a keen eye looking forward to the new one, we’ll toast to a New Year with a recent batch of aged, handmade Sazerac cleverly crafted by my son. Just look at that gorgeous amber color. If you like rye, Sazerac can be quite the tasty cognac/whiskey kind of beverage. Add a slice of lemon or orange peel and voila…a moment perfect for contemplative reflection.

Sazerac

With loads of cheers for love, laughter, with a few tasty treats for 2021, we can’t help but be optimistic after seeing these babies who I spied on yesterday morning’s walk. I’ don’t recall seeing bulbs appear quite this early but I’ll take it. Knowing, or at least hoping there is more white stuff down the road, we’ll keep ‘pawsitive’ that 2021 will be a big improvement over 2020, though it may take some patience to see it blossom.

Bulbs

The Ranch will be taking some extended time off to attend to computer maintenance issues and I’m uncertain as to how long it might take to dust off any cobwebs on the laptop. As I do not wish to yank out all my recently cut hair trying to compose posts on a tiny cell-phone screen, those of you who do have my undying admiration, we’ll be back as soon as our battery pack is refreshed, our files cleaned and scrubbed. No doubt the Ranch hands will think of loads of ways to exasperate me entertain us with new adventures…but until then…stay safe, sane and keep smiling, my friends. Have a Happy New Year!

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ December 11, 2020

Welcome to Friday where we share bits and bobs of nature scenes around our neighborhood. So let’s get started and join our weekly hosts, Rosy, Sunny, Arty and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard. Don’t forget to click on their link to check out what Blogville dished out for everyone’s enjoyment at their blog hop.

This week has been a dream for December weather. On Wednesday our temps were just shy of 70F and like a welcome mat to go for a mid-afternoon walk before the sun dips and cooler temps arrive. As I was walking the dogs along our usual route, we happened past a spot of bright yellow that caught my eye. At first glance I thought it might be a discarded wrapper but when I stopped to look closer, this is what I found.

Flowers

I think this is a primrose that may have reseeded itself with the warm temps. The name comes from the Latin word “primus” meaning “first” or “early” and primrose do tend to be one of the first blooming plants in spring. Its leaves and flowers are edible and can be served in salad form. Young flowers of primrose have also been used in the manufacture of wine.

I’ve never grown primrose myself but decided to do a bit of research on this charming December surprise. Primrose are a herbaceous plant that belong to the family Primulaceae (primrose family). Originating from Europe, primrose prefer moist but well-drained soil in partial shade. Primrose typically blooms from March to May. In mild winters, it could begin blooming in December though I suspect this one was protected enough to rebloom. You typically wouldn’t see this little gem blooming in December in Denver’s Zone 5.

Primrose was historically used in treatment of paralysis, gout and rheumatism. These days, a tincture of primrose can be used in the treatment of insomnia, restlessness, headache and cough. More historical info about the tiny primrose is that it was used in the preparation of magic potions during the Middle Ages. As a perennial plant, Primrose Day is celebrated on 19th April in the United Kingdom. I’m either early or late depending on your perspective.

We hope you enjoyed seeing a spot of color from our otherwise drab landscape and hope you can enjoy some outside time this weekend. We plan on staying busy in the kitchen making Christmas goodies because this just began a little bit ago.

Snow

Yup, snow. Welcome to the wild and wacky world of weather in Colorado. Have a great weekend and stay safe.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ November 20, 2020

Welcome to Friday where we join our furry friends, Rosy, Sunny, Arty and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard for another Blogville edition of Nature Friday. So how was your week? It’s been breezy in the 303 which means the leaves have fallen and now lay strewn over lawns and flower beds basically mocking residents to rake them up. Mostly I’ve resisted any urge to rake most of them up, instead hoping the wind will carry them down toward the next street over. Yeah, I’m ‘that‘ kind of person.

I did however take some collected garden waste to the city’s recycling program at Sloan’s Lake (which is where all these images were taken).

The local Canadian geese population have pretty much stopped migrating south for the winter preferring instead the hospitality of Denver’s 250+ city parks. There’s something about these large birds that always makes me stop and watch them for long stretches of time whether they are on the water or chasing uprights and their pets waddling around the park. They aren’t one bit afraid of humans or dogs and will chase you if you invade their comfort zone. One might even accuse them of being aggressive.

Nature

Hanging out in Sloan’s Lake shallow waters, these guys were bathing and sunning themselves. Notice the Mallard herding them into a circle. Kidding…my guess is the Mallards avoid the geese as much as the rest of us, but what a striking fella motoring around the fringes of the gaggle.

Nature

One might speculate the increasing COVID conditions have encouraged these guys to congregate much like upright visitors (and unfortunately far too many maskless ones at that-come on people-stop being a mask-hole!) walking and bicycling around the park yesterday in the gorgeous November weather. While we repeatedly hear of storms in the forecast, nothing has materialized yet. Still it’s hard to knock 70 degree days, despite the area being desperate for moisture-just check out the parched looking grasses around the park.

Nature

Nature

Then there’s always that one guy who has to show off to the chicks by spreading his wings. Show-off. Who knew there were obnoxious jocks in the geese world?Nature

We hope you’ve enjoyed checking out the Canadian geese of Sloan’s Lake and hope you will get out this weekend to enjoy some beautiful weather as well as some of beautiful sights Mother Nature offers in autumn.

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Wordless Wednesday ~ November 18, 2020

Autumn Splendor

Live, love, bark! 🐾