Labor Day Monday

The first Monday of every September is known as Labor Day in the US, a “howliday”  created as a way to acknowledge the social and economic achievements of American workers. Labor Day was a long time in the making, beginning with local ordinances in the late 1800’s which eventually morphed into the state legislation. Although New York was the first state to introduce legislation, the first state to actually pass it was Oregon on February 21, 1887. Four more states-Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York joined the movement in 1887 and passed state laws creating the Labor Day holiday. By the end of the decade Connecticut, Nebraska, and Pennsylvania followed and by 1894, 23 more states adopted the holiday. Congress passed a national law on June 28, 1884, making the first Monday in September of each year a legal holiday in the District of Columbia and the territories.

There has been some dispute as to whose idea it was to propose a day  acknowledging the contributions of workers. Some records points to Peter J. McGuire, (general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and a co-founder of the American Federation of Labor) was first suggesting a day to honor those “who from rude nature have delved and carved all the grandeur we behold.”

However, the history suggesting Peter McGuire’s was the ‘father of the Labor Day movement has not gone unchallenged. Many suggested it was Matthew Maguire (a machinist and later union leader), and not Peter McGuire, who founded the holiday. Recent research seems to support that notion. What is certain is that the Central Labor Union adopted a Labor Day proposal and appointed a committee to plan a demonstration and picnic.

The first Labor Day holiday was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City, in accordance with the Central Labor Union plans. A second Labor Day holiday was held the following year on September 5, 1883 and in 1884 the first Monday in September was selected as the holiday, as originally proposed, with the Central Labor Union urging labor organizations in other cities to follow the example of New York and celebrate a “workingmen’s holiday” on that date. The idea spread with the growth of labor organizations throughout many industrial centers in the country.

Public parades showing “the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations,” followed by a festival for the recreation and amusement of the workers and their families were the original ideas behind the celebration and continues to this day. In recent times, Labor Day is often associated with the informal end of summer. Our friend, autumn officially arrives in just 19 days. Hallelujah!

While more people are associated with high-tech work than with manufacturing these days, it’s the entire work force that contributes to the standard of living we enjoy and only seems fitting to acknowledge the economic contribution workers made toward the nation’s strength, freedom, and leadership. Here at the Ranch, we’re going to kick back, hang out and enjoy a pleasant day and be grateful for all  workers who contributed in making this day a national holiday. For those of you enjoying the long weekend, we hope you enjoy this extra day off but don’t forget to remember it was all made possible by hard-working folks. Here’s to a pawtastic day and wagnificent week.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Surviving July 4th with an Anxious Pet

Photo Courtesy of John Leyba, The Denver Post (Getty Images) from the July 4th 2017 game

Every year I dread July 4th, the US holiday celebrating its independence from England. Please know it’s not that I’m unpatriotic (as a naturalized citizen, I believe patriotism need not to be measured by the size of your fireworks display but by your civic action) and in spite of bans and fire restrictions being in effect for many cities and suburbs, there will be loads of knuckleheads fools shooting off what sounds like military artillery fireworks throughout the Mile High City. My own neighborhood has been a big offender ever since I moved here 16 years ago. The ‘Ranch’ is a mere three miles from downtown so we’ll hear three consecutive days of professional firework displays from Civic Center Park to Coors Field. This being the 25th anniversary of the woeful Colorado Rockies (FYI occupying the second to last place in the NL West), that show will probably be even bigger and louder. World Cup enthusiasts will be able to celebrate with the Colorado Rapids club who are offering their own boom-fest in Commerce City, a nearby suburb. Personally I’d wish all these displays would go away, opting in favor of concerts with laser or drone shows, especially since Colorado is in midst of one of the more active fire seasons in recent years with severe drought conditions throughout the state.

It’s well documented that more pets go missing this week than any other time of the year. Trying to survive this easily can pose some special challenges but you can make it somewhat easier for your pet. How you ask?

Enter CBD oil. Did you know that all mammals have an endocannabidiol system and their organs, glands, connective tissues, immune cells and even brains have cannabinoid receptors. Cannabadiol (CBD) is a substance found in commercial hemp plants and can help treat stress, pain, anxiety, fear, seizures, arthritis and other conditions. I know first hand the efficacy of this miracle product, as CBD oil has allowed a reduction in Elsa’s anti-seizure medication and has also helped calm the hyper-activated nerves when Sam rides on lengthy car trips. While CBD infused treats may contain several milligrams per treat, the oil contains much higher doses and will be far more effective for fireworks. Because no THC (the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana) is contained in CBD products, your pet won’t have a ‘stoned’ experience, but instead experience a calming effect. A few drops on a biscuit may just be what the doctor ordered to calm your stressed pet during the celebrations this week.*

Wishing you and yours a safe and happy 4th of July.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

*Please check with your family vet before administering CBD products and always use high-quality extracts. Not all products are equal and some brands may use inferior ingredients or extraction methods.

Memorial Monday

Today is Memorial Day in the U.S., a national holiday where we remember all those who died while serving in the country’s armed forces. Originally known as Decoration Day after the Civil War when Union and Confederate soldiers honored their dead by decorating their graves with flowers, it has morphed into its current form honoring all Americans who have served.

Today is also the ‘unofficial’ beginning of summer but it will be a quiet day of reflection at the Ranch, especially given the challenging times here and around the world. Today we will honor those in our family currently serving their country as well as all those who have served in the past and are also grateful to all the 4-legged who have served with distinction.

Have a safe and happy holiday.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

And now this…just for adults

Normally I share dog treat recipes with you but with Easter over the weekend, I thought I’d share one for the uprights. In my family we love holidays where we can come together to catch up and have fun, food and libations and this Easter was no ‘egg-ception.’ Most of our family’s little grandkids live out of town so most of the time we’re a group of young and older adults but ones who still love a good food fest. And while I wouldn’t classify our tribe as ‘foodies,’ we all love eating a good meal and holidays are a convenient excuse to fulfill that end and we’re luckily to have some incredible cooks in our clan.

Whenever we get together, we divvy up dishes among the women folk and rely on the Y chromosome portion of the family to furnish any beer/alcohol. Everyone contributes so this works out pretty well actually. And this past weekend was no exception.

Since 1900, April 1st has only fallen on Easter Sunday 4 times (1923, 1934, 1945 and 1956  when we welcomed my sweet baby sister back in 1956). And although she couldn’t be with us in person, we did FaceTime with her to wish her sing an out of tune version of happy birthday in addition to sharing our best family Easter greetings (Happy birthday again, li’l sis-hope it was grand!). This holiday was another great opportunity to celebrate and celebrate we did since April 1st falling on Easter Sunday won’t occur again until 2029. This was also the perfect opportunity to christen the completely gorgeous and totally renovated new kitchen at my brother’s house which is perfect for entertaining large groups (ours numbered 13 guests).

The meal consisted of the classic Easter ham, potato/veggie casserole, couple of different salads, deviled eggs, crackers, cheese, salmon hors d’oeuvres, mimosas. Never one to miss an opportunity for sweets, rounding out the menu were loads of jelly beans, sweet breads and a couple of Easter cakes, pies and bunny tails. For my part I brought Quiche, one for the ‘flesh’ eaters (aka meat eaters) and one vegetarian version. Quiche always works for brunch, travels well in the car and I had a new recipe to try out. And like most recipes, I decided to go off the reservation completely revamp it. Using ingredients I had on hand, I created this adaptation. Originally it was called Easy Puff Pastry Quiche recipe but I renamed it “Kitchen Sink” Quiche since it had loads of extras. And it was yummy g.o.o.d. My hat’s off to Ms. Fuentes. Here’s the basic recipe with my adaptation/changes in blue.

~ KITCHEN SINK QUICHE RECIPE ~

Photo/recipe courtesy of http://www.laurafuentes.com/easy-puff-pastry-quiche-recipe/ 

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry (half of one 17.3-ounce package), thawed [I used 2 sheets]
  • [Cubed bites of ham for the flesh eaters and vegetarian sausage for the vegetarians]
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 3/4 cup grated Monterrey Jack cheese [I used a package of four-cheese blend with some grated Parmesan because, I mean, it’s Parm and who doesn’t love that?]
  • 1 small zucchini, shaved with vegetable peeler [I used red and green peppers instead and nearly added some mushrooms but realized more ingredients weren’t necessary since I used meat/pseudo meat and other veggies]
  • 2 large eggs [I stopped counting after 8-remember I was bringing enough for a B-I-G crowd]
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary [I have a rosemary plant on hand that I’m constantly snipping branches off and personally love adding rosemary in egg dishes]
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt or sour cream [I used sour cream] 

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Unfold pastry sheet on to a pie dish. Or you could lay it flat on a baking sheet and create a rectangular Quiche. [I used restaurant containers for the crowd. If you want it to have nice neat edges go for it, I’m more into a rustic finish].
  3. I added the meat and meat substitute first then topped with the remaining ingredients.
  4. Pour egg, cheese and yogurt mixture over toppings, over puff pastry. Bake until pastry is golden brown and toppings are set, about 18-22 minutes. [I baked mine for about 38  minutes or so since they were in large containers]

This recipe is super simple, quick and versatile. Swap or add ingredients…be creative. If the edges start to brown and your Quiche is still jiggly, cover the edges with foil until fully cooked and firm. No one likes jiggly-wiggly eggs.

Sadly I wasn’t smart enough to take a photo of the finished Quiche (these were just prior to adding the cheese/egg mixture but included a slice of the vegetarian one.

This is what you’ll get when you’re done. I can almost guarantee the empty dish will be the vegetarian version. Happens. every. time. [True confessions, there was a small narrow strip left over but far less than the ham version]

You think they liked it?

Hope you had a wonderful Easter holiday spent with friends and family, where the food was excellent, but the company was better. Got any stories to ‘dish’ about your Easter?

P.S. My brother and his wife have two wonderful Chessy Retrievers in residence, so I’ve had to do a ton of ‘splaining to Elsa who shunned me after she caught a whiff of “eu’d dog parfum” from petting Rudder and Axel. Luckily she and Sam both were easily ‘comforted’ by a fresh hoof so maybe I’ll get back in their good graces. Once they stop gnawing on them, that is.

Two hours later and they’re still gnawing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Live, love, bark 🐾

Good Friday ~ March 30, 2018

Hi everyone, Sam here. Mom was resting and I thought I’d take care of today’s post when I came across this meme. I am shocked that one of my own kind just cancelled Easter.

Wait, what…does this mean my eggs are empty?

All of us at the Ranch extend our best wishes for a joyful and Happy Easter (or Passover) ‘howliday’ spent with family and friends and hope you experience peace, love, health and happiness.

Live, love, bark 🐾

Happy New Year 狗

Happy New Year! Today marks the start of the Chinese Year of the Dog. Here at the Ranch, we celebrate dogs all year long but starting today it’ll have extra meaning. 

Even the Post Office got into celebrating which is quite remarkable considering how many dogs tend to be…ahem…less than hospitable with mail deliveries [yeah, I’m talking ’bout you, Sam!]. Look at the beautiful new stamp they created in honor of {wo}man’s best fur-iend.

We know that dogs are loyal, friendly, and kind but did you know that those born under the sign of the dog are said to have some of those same traits? Honest, easygoing, and helpful to others, uprights born under the sign of the dog are less likely to seek money and power and more likely to try to make the world a better place.

A dog’s lucky numbers are 3, 4, and 9, and unlucky numbers are 1, 6, and 7, so keep those in mind when you buy Lotto tickets. Lucky colors are red, green, and purple while blue, white, and gold are unlucky. Those born on the 1st, 6th, 7th, 17th, 21st, 24th, 26th, 28th or the 30th day of the month in the Chinese lunar calendar are said to be the luckiest. Though I’m not very well versed in Chinese horoscopes, the three links here provide a lot of info for those interested and provide the basis of material for this post.

So what’s in store for 2018?

2018 is said to be an unlucky year for people born under the sign of the dog. Thank goodness I’m glad to have been here a while. I have enough bad luck without tempting  Chinese astrology. It appears that years that share your birth sign are thought to bring bad luck and recommendations are for dogs to stay calm and try to relax. How do you get a pogo stick to relax for a whole year? Just wondering out loud.

New industrial projects or energy developments for 2018 are predicted to be successful, while endeavors based on greed and individual drive will likely be rejected. Familial relationships will be of significance this year. This could be seen as a year of hope that’s filled with the kind of dialogue that helps cultures achieve solidarity and reject indifference. We can only hope that rings true in 2018.

Got any thoughts on the Year of the Dog? Do you follow horoscopes in general? Not to sound creepy, but what’s your year/sign? For the record, I’m an Ox, something my family has suggested over the years.

On a separate note, our friend Friday is here which means the weekend is just waiting for us. Any plans for ringing in the Chinese New Year?

Live, love, bark❣

Happy Valentine’s Day

Hi there, Sam here. Well you all probably heard about Elsa over the weekend and how she had a seizure (she’s fully recovered and is making my life miserable fine now). I’m sorry when she has them but even more so this year because it kind of put the kibosh on my plans to see if sweet Lucy would be my Valentine fur-iend.  So today dear Lucy…this one is for you.  I hope you have a fur-bulous Valentine’s Day celebration. We all “woof” you.

Today is also Ash Wednesday and mom says we have to give something up for Lent. You think giving up my baby sister is what she had in mind? Just kidding, Elsa. I ‘woof’ you, too. Mostly all the time.

Live, love, bark❣

Ground Hog Friday

Today is Ground Hog Day where a certain pudgy rodent named Punxsutawney Phil from Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania will predict whether Spring will be arriving early. Here’s a little background on this event celebrated in the U.S. and Canada, according to Wikipedia:

“A select group, called the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club Inner Circle, takes care of Phil year-round and also plans the annual ceremony. Members of the Inner Circle are recognizable by their top hats and tuxedos. The Vice President of the Inner Circle prepares two scrolls in advance of the actual ceremony, one proclaiming six more weeks of winter and one proclaiming an early spring. At day break, on February 2, Punxsutawney Phil awakens from his burrow on Gobbler’s Knob, is helped to the top of the stump by his handlers, and explains to the President of the Inner Circle, in a language known as “Groundhogese”, whether or not he has seen his shadow. The President of the Inner Circle, the only person able to understand Groundhogese through his possession of an ancient acacia wood cane, then interprets Phil’s message, and directs the Vice President to read the proper scroll to the anxiously anticipating crowd gathered on Gobbler’s Knob and the masses of “phaithful phollowers” tuned in to live broadcasts around the world.”

Even though Phil is a rodent and not a meteorologist, when you’re dreaming of Springtime, it’s probably a fun diversion to take one’s mind off Winter thinking this way.

We’re predicting a pawsome weekend and hope yours is beyond grand.

Live, love, bark❣

MLK Monday

Today is a legal holiday in the U.S. Eighty nine years ago, Martin Luther King was born on this date and today we celebrate his life. To honor this legendary civil rights leader, here is a video of his “I Have a Dream” speech. Given last week’s repugnant comments that dominated the news, it seemed appropriate to revisit the dream, especially today.

Hope you had a great weekend. What’s on tap for the week?

Live, Love, Bark! ❤︎

Fab Friday ~ December 29, 2017

It’s Last Call…for Friday that is. On this last Friday of the year, let’s welcome our old friend. As we prepare to welcome in a fresh clean slate, also known as 2018, let’s stop and savor today and rejoice at its 51 cousins who made life interesting all year-long.

From our house to yours, we wish you peace, love and a whole lotta tail wags. Have a safe and Happy New Year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Live, love, bark! ❤︎