Nature Friday ~ November 19, 2021

Nature FridayWelcome to the Nature Friday blog hop where we join our pals, Rosy, Sunny and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard. Don’t forget to click on the link to  see what others have shared.

Well it finally happened, the leaves have been wrested away from trees that have been hanging on  (yeah, I’m talking about you, Mr. Passive Aggressive Catalpa). Bags, bags and more bags have been raked up and carted off to the city’s composting station at Sloans Lake…so now what? It’s November and although temps are still pretty mild, with no leaves on trees to check out, let’s just say the month of November can be pretty dull and boring. Could that be why there’ve been some pretty colorful sunsets?

After Wednesday’s post showing off the Oregon coastline at sunset, you probably think I’m a bit obsessed with sunsets. And you’d probably be right (though truth be told I enjoy a beautiful sunrise every bit as much). The sunsets have been pretty amazing lately (despite the fact that my urban sunsets unfortunately include power lines with no rugged coastline). This one started early on and it only got better.

Sunset

This week I’ve been charmed with Nick Offerman’s latest book, “Where the Deer and the Antelope Play (wherein he waxes on philosophically about Mother Nature) and on one evening, I looked up to see why the living room was so brightly lit up by orange light. Getting up from my comfy reading spot and disturbing a couple of furry snugglers, I went outside to see a brilliant sunset highlighting stately evergreen trees across the street.

Sunset

It was as if a wildfire was burning close by (which sadly there is-the Kruger Rock wildfire near Estes Park, where a fire fighting tanker plane crashed, killing the pilot). It’s so hard to comprehend that we’re still in the midst of wildfire season. In November!

The evening skies have been exceptionally vivid lately. I guess if you’re November, you’ll do just about anything to make yourself look good now that autumn leaves are history.

With this being the last weekend before the Thanksgiving Day holiday, do you have any special plans? Whatever you decide to do, we hope your sunsets are spectacular and that you’re able to enjoy some time outdoors appreciating Mother Nature’s evening light show.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Monday Musings ~ November 8, 2021

Halloween

The neighborhood has barely put away all of its Halloween decor when we walked past the yard above over the weekend to discover another frightening scene in its place. Ugh, I think I need a Bromo-seltzer to settle that queasy feeling in my stomach. With weekend temps hitting the upper 70’s, some peeps are already dragging out the Christmas gear before raking up all their leaves. *sigh

Christmas

I suppose if Costco can start displaying Christmas decorations in early September, then anything is possible. Here’s to having a ‘festive’ week-whichever holiday you’re preparing for. Have you managed to source your Thanksgiving turkey yet? I’ve heard there are…wait for it…supply chain issues related to the Thanksgiving meal with all the trimmings.

Live, love, bark!🐾

Monday Musings ~ March 22, 2021

Spring arrived over the weekend and boy was it ever glorious (sunny and 65ºF-perfect in my books). While walking around the garden picking up wrappers that has blown in  during last week’s blizzard, I noticed my favorite baby blue grape hyacinths had begun blooming an Ode to Joy. I had to chuckle because of what I knew would probably be coming.

Flowers

These little guys are my favorite of the grape hyacinths in my garden (the purple ones have a later blooming timetable and bloom longer) but they never fail to charm. The fact that the original dozen has naturalized nicely makes them even more appreciated.

This morning, the Ranch hands woke up to this scene and is expected to continue accumulating off and on today, tomorrow and possibly Wednesday.

Snow

At least there was at least one day of spring which may be the shortest spring on record. Funny thing about these records, we seem to be doing a lot of that lately. Mind you, I’m not complaining about the snow; we need the moisture. But it does mess up my plans for a day trip to visit with out of state family members who will be in the southern part of the state just until this Thursday.

Whatever is going on in your neck of the woods, we hope your week starts out with a smile and sets the stage for a ‘pawsome’ week. Happy Monday!

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ December 4, 2020

Welcome to the first Friday of the last month of one helluva year. 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.

It’s been another busy week with loads going on around the Ranch. It also was a bit on the chilly side. Yesterday was so ‘crisp’ with the wind chill that when I walked the dogs in the morning, one side of my glasses not only fogged up, it frosted for the majority of our 2 mile walk-about. It’s hard to see spots of nature through permafrost, although the ice crystals were pretty cool. Literally.

I’ve been busy working on Christmas gifts, a bit of organizing (out of necessity-where DOES all that junk come from??) and finding some holiday spirit…as in looking for holiday lights. Junk I can find, but Christmas lights and decor seem to be MIA. All of which has conspired to keep me from finding much in the way of nature in the ‘Hood.

Although I did happen to notice some ‘wildlife’ a couple of days ago on our walk and did a double take when I saw a deer from a block away, so naturally we had to investigate it up close.

WildlifeI’m in awe of how some people go all out for holidays. These neighbors had quite the front yard scene at Halloween (pirate skeletons having a garden party) and now they are working on Christmas. This is the largest outdoor blow up decoration I’ve ever seen and I’ve never found any there weren’t all vinyl or plastic. This guy had fuzzy fur!  Of course, deviating from our usual route tends to cause all sorts of canine consternation for Elsa who wasn’t all the keen on getting too close to Rudolph, though she eventually did give it a perfunctory mini sniff and then promptly looked away as soon as I pulled out my phone. Elsa, Elsa, Elsa {head shaking}. Why do you always have to look away as soon as the shutter is released?

Norman on the other hand seems perfectly content to stop, sniff, and cast his best pose. This guy needs to find a modeling agent.

We hope you are able to get out and enjoy some of the nature’s beauty or at least, check out some amazing holiday decorations this weekend.

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ October 23, 2020

Pat yourself on the back-you’ve made it to another Friday. We are joining our furry friends, Rosy, Sunny, Arty and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard. It’s the time of year where the Ranch hands call it “Hallowinter” as autumn and winter collide around Halloween to spoil little goblins’ annual candy begging trick-or-treating. Even when there’s snow, I see kids run like their lives depending on hitting every possible house in the neighborhood. It’s incomprehensible to me but probably because I’m no longer a kid who now has far more pressing matters to pursue. Since nature usually makes the young ones hardy and primed for adventure, it should be interesting to see how many actually go door to door in a state where the COVID rate has significantly increased. Let’s just hope people use extreme common sense and mask up (or better yet, forego the whole thing). I personally can’t fathom any kind of candy being worth the risk and I’m a chocoholic, but hey…what do I know?

Nature is still very upset with its human tenants with more fires springing to life around here with warm temps and high winds contributing to more fires popping up. Eleven fires continue to burn in Colorado, including the Cameron Peak fire near Glenwood Springs which I posted about 7 weeks ago. This week a new fire blew up in Grand County near the town of Granby. Known as the East Troublesome fire, it grew over 150,000 acres in a 24 hour period and now has consumed over 170,000 acres, making it the second largest fire in Colorado history. High winds and dry conditions allowed this fire to literally explode across the area. Even with a foot of snow predicted to fall over the weekend, firefighters say while it will help, it will not put the fire out. As of today, it is only 5% contained. The Cameron Peak fire outside of Fort Collins required officials to close Rocky Mountain National Park to visitors; with Trail Ridge Road (highest paved road in Colorado that crosses the continental divide) being the only road allowing evacuees to leave the park though it is not passable on west side because of downed trees. The air quality is hazardous.

This screenshot of some of the nearby active fires is a grim reminder that Nature is not a happy camper these days.

Wildfires

Here is a photo from Saturday of the East Troublesome fire just west of my neighborhood showing apocalyptic clouds billowing across the northwestern suburbs. High winds and dry conditions allowed it to explode out of control during the week.

Wildfires

A  bit closer to home, the trees are changing colors (and dropping their leaves after last night’s hard freeze) and our daily walks involve loads of crunching sounds along city sidewalks. Plumbago has changed into its annual bright mahogany shade and looks glorious in golden autumnal light even with a freezing mist falling this morning. It’s definitely time to pick all the tomatoes and bring them indoors to ripen up. As nearby fires continue to burn out of control, these colors remind me why autumn is my favorite time of year.

Plumbago

Whatever your weekend plans are, we hope you stay safe and cozy. Keep an eye out on Mother Nature, she’s likely to provide some beautiful (and/or scary images) this “Hallowinter.”

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ August 14, 2020

Greetings nature lovers. Welcome to Nature Friday where we join our hosts and friends, Rosy, Sunny & their brothers for this week’s edition. Nature appears to be pretty upset judging by the numerous wildfires that have popped up around the state. The most concerning one is near Glenwood Springs where my brother and SIL just moved into their newly built home. Known as the Grizzly Creek Fire, it doubled in size overnight and now has consumed nearly 15,000 acres. I-70 has been closed in both directions and it is unknown when it will reopen. The fire began August 10th, is zero contained and some residents have been advised to be prepared to evacuate. The cause of the fire is undetermined but there are some suspicions it may have been human caused. This view was taken of the smoke and flames just south of the Colorado River on August 11, 2020. It gives you an idea of the roughed terrain in the area. That guard rail in the foreground is I-70.

Fires
Photo Source: InciWeb-Incident Information System
Fires
Map of the Grizzly Creek Fire. The red line was the perimeter at 12:47 a.m. MDT August 13, 2020. The white line was the perimeter about 24 hours before. Source: Wildfire Today /USFS /NASA

Another larger fire, the Pine Gulch Fire is located 18 miles north of Grand Junction, has now consumed over 70,000 acres as of this morning. Started two weeks ago and attributed to a lightning strike, the Pine Gulch fire is burning in remote, rough terrain of pinyon, juniper, oak, and sagebrush.  It is now the 5th largest in the state’s history. Hot, dry and windy conditions have forced three days of red flag air quality warnings with temperatures soaring into the 90s and windy conditions, with gusts up to 27 mph.

Fires
Source: Denver Channel 7, KMGH

The smoke from these fires has reached Denver making for blazing sunrises and sunsets as well as unhealthy air quality alerts. This eery image was taken a couple of evenings ago from the front garden.

Fires

The Cameron Peak Fire fire near Chambers Lake, also popped up yesterday afternoon in Larimer County, 18 miles northwest of Fort Collins, and has grown to over 1500 acres in a matter of just four hours. Evacuations have been ordered. Fire season is always challenging in a state with high mountain valleys, canyons and wide open vistas but with the state suffering from a widespread severe and statewide drought, nature has us back on our heels right now.

While Mother Nature can provide us with all manner of beauty, she can get cranky real quick. It’s wise to act consciously whenever your path crosses with nature. Obey campfire bans and for heaven’s sake, please don’t throw your cigarette butts out the window when you’re driving. While we encourage everyone to enjoy Mother Nature, please be careful. And pray for those who are fighting these wildfires and all those who are personally displaced and affected by them. Stay safe.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nearly Wordless Wednesday ~ June 24, 2020

Wordless Wednesday

Morning walks are always interesting around the Ranch.

Live, love, bark!  🐾

Nature Friday ~ June 12, 2020

It’s been a wild week at the Ranch beginning with hurricane force winds over last weekend and a busy schedule but that doesn’t mean we can’t showcase the good, the bad and the ugly that Mother Nature offered. As is customary, we’re joining our friends Rosy & her brothers for this week’s edition of Nature Friday. Let’s see what Nature dished out but don’t forget to check out what Blogville offered elsewhere by clicking on the link.

The wind storm that blew through was devastating around the town. Nearby parks were particularly hammered with several trees downed. It’s heartbreaking seeing fully mature trees ripped up out of the ground or large branches snapped off effectively destroying a tree. I was surprised the silver maple in my front garden wasn’t impacted. Not so far away, it looked like a war zone. Workers removed the broken branch a couple of days ago to assess the damage to the house and front porch. The force that snapped that branch off must have been unbelievably strong.

Trees

Evergreen trees with their shallow root balls are particularly vulnerable when high winds hit. My heart was heavy seeing so much carnage laying across the grass and Elsa and I stood there for a long time taking it all in.

Trees

These images make you wonder why nature choses one tree but left two others  nearby unscathed.

Trees

But all was not lost this week despite the damage around the ‘hood. While the peonies and irises finished blooming, new flowers appeared. Mock Orange shrub is in bloom now and its heavenly scent with its beautiful blossoms are impressive.

Flowers

Deep purple Salvia is blooming, adding bright color to the landscape.

Flowers

And the ever cheerful Achillea ‘Moonshine’ (yarrow) is beginning to brighten up the garden space replacing spent lupine and poppy blooms. Unlike some invasive yarrows, ‘Moonshine’ doesn’t spread everywhere.

Flowers

And like the Beverly Hills Cop theme song, the heat is on with 90’s in the long range Denver forecast. With some easing of pandemic restrictions, a day trip to higher altitudes with the Ranch hands may be called for but in any event, after this crazy week, whatever we do, chillaxing will be at the top of the weekend agenda as ‘somebody‘ will be counting down the hours until certain headgear comes off while staying cool. Paws crossed your weekend is great.

Norman

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Monday Musings ~ November 18, 2019

Time to start a new week out with a smile within a tiny bit of a rant because you know me subtle is my middle name. The Knuckleheads and I were recently on a morning walk and came upon a fellow walking his little dog. So far so good. I’m always glad to see people walking their dogs, especially in the morning. As we got closer, I noticed he was looking down at a personal device. We stopped to wait for him to realize he was about to walk into a couple of excited Spoos…but no…he kept looking down at his phone. “Ahem.” I cleared my throat loudly hoping he would rejoin planet earth to alert him of our presence (his dog was weaving back and forth from an expando-leash, a second no-no in my books but that’s another story). By the time he was about 4 feet away, he finally glanced up, gave me the stink eye and an exasperated ‘hrumph.’ Oh Dude, you did not just do that! We each went on our way without incident and as I turned around to throw mental darts at his back, I noticed his head went down again reading his screen. I’m not sure if he was catching up on his social feed or proof reading his notes for a cancer cure but jeez…what the dog?! I may also have prayed for an open manhole.

Finding this meme made me chuckle as I totally see this clown behind the wheel of a vehicle with no turn signals too. Sadly the attention too many of us give those little mini-computers in our pockets is not only rude, it’s unsafe.

Monday

However your week goes, and we hope it’s pawsome, just be sure to use your turn signal and make it a safe one. And ditch that expando-leash so your dog doesn’t poop in someone’s flower bed.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Happy ‘Howleween’ ~ 2019

We survived Snowmageddon and its evil companion, Jack Frost this week and are looking forward to thawing out and getting back to our regular long walks. We await any souls brave enough to participate in the ritual of trick or treating but personally think they might want to think twice about it since it’ll still be pretty cold tonight. Then there’s this outdoor decoration we came upon along one of our walk-abouts before the snowstorm. I can’t decide if I want to get to know these neighbors or steer clear of them. The dogs absolutely refused to get anywhere near this outdoor decoration even though it was completely quiet (thankfully). Cool or creepy?

Halloween

Live, love, bark! 🐾