Memorial Day Monday ~ May 27, 2019

Memorial DayToday is Memorial Day in the U.S. where we remember all those who gave the ultimate sacrifice serving their country. A national ‘howliday’ now,  it was originally known as Decoration Day back in the years following the Civil War. On May 30, 1868 General John A. Logan, head of a Union veteran association spearheaded the decoration of the graves of fellow comrades who died in defense of their country. Many Northern states held commemorative events and reprised the tradition in subsequent years so that by 1890 each one had made “Decoration Day” an official state holiday. Still bitter about the loss in the Civil War, many southern states refused to officially recognize the day until after WWI and many southern states (Texas, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina, Louisiana, and Tennessee) held separate days honoring their Civil War hero’s. Memorial Day did not become the preferred name after World War II. In 1968 Congress mandated Memorial Day as the last Monday in May creating a three-day weekend for federal employees with the change going into effect in 1971.

Memorial Day is also the ‘unofficial’ beginning of summer and as is often the case, been turned into a shopping fest. We however, will mark the day with quiet reflection.

FlagPlease join us as we honor those who served and gave the ultimate price for the freedom we have been blessed and remember the two and four legged who served and gave their all.

Live, love, bark! 🇺🇸

Nature Friday ~ April 19, 2019

Today is Good Friday and another week is in the books. I hope you’re ready for the Easter weekend. We’re once again joining our friends, Rosy and her brothers from LLB in Our Backyard for this week’s Nature Friday Blog Hop, Good Friday edition. Today we’re gonna take a look at Mother Nature’s flowering trees that are starting to enter into the spring landscape. Ornamental pears have begun to blossom and when we see these around the 303, we know spring has definitely sprung (yes, I do realize that there is still good chance for a snow shower or two over the next few weeks but I’m too busy enjoying spring to worry about it now).

Ornamental pear trees (known as Bradford Pears) have been planted all over the urban Denver landscape. Known for its conical shape and showy blossoms, they are taking front and center stage now. My two assistants graciously agreed to pose near a band of them lined up along the parking strip between street and sidewalk (for Elsa, it was a sit/stay training moment and she passed…we like to multitask on our walks).

Trees

A closeup shows clusters of pinkish centers amid white blossoms. When I was researching these trees, I was shocked to learn many people are not fans, in fact, many have called for their removal as a menace to modern landscaping. They cite invasiveness and lack of biodiversity as well as structural issues since their branches tend to split when the trees are anywhere from 15-20 years old. In the early 1900’s, Frank Meyer, a plant explorer from the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture went to China to find the most disease-resistant strain which could be grafted to existing pear trees. Good Ole Frank found what he thought would be a good variety and brought back 100 pounds of seed and, for a while, it worked like a charm. The trees will grow in nearly any soil, mature quickly and bloom early in spring with bright orange foliage in autumn. They are one of the first blooming trees in spring and the last to drop their pretty leaves in autumn. Landscape architects thought they’d found the perfect tree. It soon became the most widely planted tree in the U.S. By the 1990’s however, landscapers discovered the ugly side to these pretty additions to suburbs and office parks. While these trees’ symmetrical structure is attractive, it leads to what’s known as “weak crotches” (all limbs branch out from the trunk). This weakness often causes them to split apart. Additionally, storms contribute to extensive splitting damage. Over the past several years in my own neighborhood, storms have decimated many of the trees (including the two across the street leaving them badly deformed and misshapen). The owner can’t bear to cut them down and continues to try to save them. Bradford pears don’t self pollinate, but cross-pollination can occur with the other strains of ornamental pears resulting in problematic hybrids.

The introduction of these trees underscores the fact that too often there are unintended consequences requiring contemplation before moving ahead. Remember, it’s not nice to fool Mother Nature.

And because they have been as spectacular as I’ve ever seen, here are more tulips from around the neighborhood with apologies to my Instagram followers who are probably sick of seeing tulip after tulip on my feed. My own tulips are taking their own sweet time (in their defense, that happens when they aren’t bathed in sunlight the livelong day). They give a real Keukenhof Gardens feel even if I’m thousands of miles from Lisse, Netherlands.

Tulips

Tulips

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Hope you are able to enjoy the lovely renditions of Mother Nature and have a wonderful and joyous Easter weekend.

Easter

Live, love, bark! 🐾

春节 (Chūn Jié) The Lunar New Year

Year of the PigEven though mom we neglected to post yesterday, I wanted to pass along our best wishes to everyone for a Happy Chinese New Year. Sam here. We had been celebrating the Year of the Dog and for the record, that of course will continue, right mom? I mean, you love and celebrate us Knuckleheads every day anyway so the Ranch should still operate under the Year of the Dog. But for now it’s time for everyone else to turn the lunar calendar over and begin celebrating the Year of the Pig which is often referred to as the Spring Festival in modern China on the traditional Chinese calendar. Normally beginning on the new moon that appears between January 21 and  February 20, the first day of the Chinese New Year began February 5. This annual 15-day festival is celebrated around the world by Chinese communities. Both Elsa and I are opposed to any fireworks ushering in the celebrations that will continue over the next couple of weeks and we’re still waiting for our red envelopes filled with treats.

According to the Chinese zodiac, 2019 is the year of the Pig. In Chinese astrology, each year belongs to a Chinese zodiac animal according to the 12-year cycle. Years of the Pig are: 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007, 2019, and 2031. The Pig occupies the twelfth position in the Chinese zodiac with 2019 being the year of the pig and its element is wood. It only seemed fitting to share a photo mom took of wooden carved pigs taken on another trip to Mexico a few years ago.

Year of the Pig

According to a Chinese astrology website that mom found: the “Pig is a mild and a lucky animal representing carefree fun, good fortune and wealth. Personality traits of the people born under the sign of the Pig are happy, easygoing, honest, trusting, educated, sincere and brave.”

For those born under the sign of the Pig,  your lucky flower is hydrangea, pitcher plant, or marguerite, your lucky gemstone is the ruby. Your lucky numbers are 2, 5, and 8. When it comes to lucky colors, chose yellow, grey, brown, golden. Your lucky direction is southeast, northeast and your best match would be someone born in the year of Sheep, Rabbit, or Tiger.

Conversely there are some unlucky things you should know. Unlucky numbers are 1, 3, 9, unlucky colors are red, blue, green, and your worst match would be those born in the year of the Snake, Monkey or surprisingly, Pig.

“Warm-hearted, honest and tolerant to others, people born under the Pig sign are always full of friends and are faithful to them and set a high value on friendship. Whenever a friend is in need, they will help without hesitation. Also, they dislike quarreling and are magnanimous to let bygones be bygones. Those under the Pig sign usually get along very well with others. Though thought to be somewhat materialistic, those born under the sign of the Pig are not stingy and would like to share what they have with others.”

What sign were you born under?

Chinese horoscopeWishing you a year full of good fortune and happiness. Chūn Jié!

Live, love, bark!  🐾

 

Yappy New Year ~ January 1, 2019

Eek, can you believe it’s 2019? Let’s hope it’s a good one. From all of us, to all of you, we just want to say…

Gif

Live, love, bark! 🐾

(Nearly) Wordless Wednesday ~ December 26, 2018

Cuppa yummyAs you look around after Christmas with your morning cuppa to reflect on what just happened, we hope you experienced a ‘wagnificent howliday.’ Between all your family get-togethers, football, basketball and the never-ending bowl games beginning soon, are you starting to look forward now to thoughts on the New Year celebration? I’m still in a food coma status and think the cleanse will begin sooner rather than later. Gah…from where DID all these sweet treats come?! Any one need some fudge?

Happy Howlidays

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Monday Musings ~ December 24, 2018

No matter how you celebrate or whether you’ve been naughty or nice, everyone at the Ranch wishes you merry days, a heart that’s light, family and friends, a season that is bright and filled with joy, peace and love.

Merry Christmas

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nearly Wordless Wednesday

Think this could this count as a Christmas tree in a pinch? I’m so not ready.

Poodle Art

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Monday Musings ~ November 26, 2018

We hope your howliday was full of good cheer, the best of tasty noshings and comfortable elastic pants. Did you gobble till you wobbled? Ours was nice and quiet which allowed us to reflect upon all our blessings and being especially grateful for all of you. Hopefully you survived Black Friday. Today is known as Cyber Monday following the Thanksgiving weekend and we invite you to swing by the e-shop.

Enjoy those Thanksgiving dinner leftovers this week!

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Veterans Day Monday

Veterans DayYesterday marked the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I where major hostilities formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, and the Armistice with Germany went into effect. In the US, the public holiday is celebrated today allowing for a 3-day weekend. Most governmental offices, schools and banks are closed, and mail delivery will be halted. The holiday was signed into law by President Dwight Eisenhower on May 26, 1954 honoring all veterans who served in the Armed Forces. Typically celebrated as Remembrance Day or Armistice Day in European countries,  Major US veteran organizations urged the day be renamed Veterans Day in 1954 and thus Congress amended the bill on June 1, 1954, replacing “Armistice” with “Veterans,” and it has been known as Veterans Day ever since. The attributive case (rather than the possessive) is the officially correct spelling “because it is not a day that ‘belongs’ to veterans, but rather a day to honor all veterans. Using the apostrophe is however grammatically correct.

Today we celebrate the service of all U.S. military veterans, while May’s Memorial Day honors those who died while in military service.

The Ranch hands and I tip our hats to all veterans who have served their country and hope this opportunity brings people together. As you probably heard, we had an election last week, one that has continued to further rip into the democracy that binds us. I pray we can use this day to stitch back that torn fabric through service intended to help others. Until we can accept everyone for their differences, we will never recognize the areas where we are the same. A country where we all long for safety for our families and our country. Where we all breathe the same air and enjoy the freedom provided by those who served their entire country, and not just those who agree with their political stripes. Today we pray that the process of coming together as a nation begins.

Veterans Day

Live, love, bark! 🐾