Nature Friday ~ October 4, 2019

It’s time to celebrate the beauty Mother Nature provides us and because it’s Friday, that means we’re joining our fur-iends, Rosy and her brothers from LLB in our Backyard. Autumn has definitely arrived and judging by your kind comments this week, a favorite of many peeps.

This week nature has had a lot to offer. Sadly, not all of it was good either. Several wildfires continue to burn in our fair state and there have been a number of officially ordered evacuations. Winds, warm weather and tinder-dry conditions have fueled these fires and we pray for the  safety of residents and firefighters.

Fires
Photo courtesy of Jerry McBride/Durango Herald via AP)/The Durango Herald via AP

Human activity can impact the look of nature in any number of ways. Last week while visiting the Vail area, I saw what extraction mining can do to a remarkable landscape. The ghost town of Gilman, Colorado, located near Battle Mountain was once a thriving mining operation with a number of mines being opened beginning in the 1870’s during Colorado’s silver boom. Gold and silver were mined until the 1920’s.

As is often the case, mining operations went deeper and deeper and the extracted ore contained heavy sulfide content which local smelters refused to process. Separators were installed in 1905, and a problem was turned into an asset. Zinc, often a by-product in silver mining, became the economic mainstay until the early 1930’s. When the zinc market dropped, the mines switched to copper and silver ores which then became the main focus until the zinc price returned. Zinc became the principal ore until the mine was forcibly closed due to extreme pollution by the EPA who designated the town a Superfund site; it being listed on the National Priorities List in 1986. Gilman’s residents were forced to abandon the 235-acre site, many leaving much behind. By 1984, rock-bottom zinc prices coerced the company to leave Gilman for other profitable enterprises. A couple of attempts have been contemplated for redevelopment of the site but much like the town, they have also been abandoned.

The thriving town of Gilman (population of around 350) once included an infirmary, a grocery store, and even a bowling alley in its heyday. By 1970, total production was 10 million tons of ore ( 393,000 troy ounces (12,200 kg) of gold; 66,000,000 troy ounces (2,100,000 kg) of silver; 105,000 tons of copper; 148,000 tons of lead; and 858,000 tons of zinc) while an astonishing 8-million tons of mine waste was excavated and deposited into the ecosystem.

The townsite has long been notoriously vandalized over the years with worker’s homes being heavily tagged in graffiti by trespassers and nearly every window broken. The main shaft elevators still sit ready for ore cars, permanently locked at the top level. Various vehicles still sit in their garages, left behind by their owners. The town has been the subject of interest for many historians, explorers, and photographers.

Gilman, COThe once colorful homes of Gilman sit close to the mining facilities with the waste tailings flowing down the hill. Though posted as a no-trespassing area, the town continues to draw vandals who have posted hundreds of images on social media sites. Looking through many eerie and creepy images on Instagram, it seemed the residents left in a hurry. One particular image, a box of Cheer soap, spilled on the floor along with children’s toys, magazines, among scads of debris haunted my thoughts. I did not trespass the fence area, instead taking in some of the natural beauty of the mountain. I couldn’t help but wonder about those who lived and worked there and how many of them fell ill after they left.

Notice the mine tailings flowing down the hill on the right.Gilman, CO

Still, all is not all bad and I certainly don’t want to end on a sour note. All the changing leaves reminded me that Nature can still be a very beautiful place.

Vail, CO
Betty Ford Alpine Garden, Vail, CO

We hope you have a beautiful weekend.Vail, CO

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ June 21, 2019

” Into Each Life a Little Rain Must Fall” [Henry Wadsworth Longfellow]

Rain dropsNot sure Longfellow had this quote in mind for the first day of Summer but this is what greeted the Mile High City today.

While Summer officially arrived earlier today (9:54 A.M. MDT), my Internet was missing (hence this late post). But we wouldn’t miss an opportunity to share some of the good and bad Mother Nature offered this week with our hosts Rosy and her brothers from LLB in Our BackyardIt’s been one of those days and since we couldn’t post the intended potpourri of lovely, I thought I’d share some of the not so lovely aspects Mother Nature dished out on this cold and rainy day.

There are elements of nature that aren’t quite as picturesque as the beautiful flowers that are just beginning to peak. Weeds fall in that category but even some of them can be quite stunning. As in this wild dandelion. That bloom is over 3″ across and I couldn’t help but wonder if that meant when you blew those seeds, you’d have more wishes fulfilled.

Dandelion

Along with weeds, some nasty critters are part of dear Mother Nature. Two days ago, the neighborhood nemesis (aka Hoodlum Bastard Squirrel “HBS”) decided to grow a BIG pair and attack the other kitchen window that faces the street (this makes the 4th time squirrels have chewed through the screens). From the living room I heard something crash in the kitchen and went to investigate and found HBS scrambling over the drapes and behind the herbs looking an exit like his life depended on it (it did-I was super cheesed off at this latest ballsy move by the little creep). Lots of HBO words were screeched which frightened said HBS which made him totally freaked (there were skid marks in the sill) out but he managed to exit the same way he broke in. For my part, I wailed my head off and then began looking for the roll of screen material and spleen tool to repair the latest damage. Man, you’d think the mouse traps on the outside sill would be a hint he’s not welcome here. Frankly, he’s not welcome outside either, but that’s another story. Who knew squirrels were so clueless?

Squirrel

Despite these bad elements Mother Nature provided for the arrival of summer, I’m not completely oblivious to the beauty she does offer. Rain drops on this nearby Clematis this afternoon looked especially lovely.

Clematis

So how’s the weather on your first day of Summer? Anything like the cold, wet stuff we have going on in the Mile High City (which is forecast here for most the weekend)? We hope your first weekend of summer is sunny and bright.

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

 

Monday Musings ~ June 10, 2019

Happy Monday, peeps! Hope you had a brilliant weekend; I spent mine volunteering at an agility event to benefit a rescue group I’ve long supported. It was a lot like a dog show. On steroids. Whoa, what a fun but exhausting day. I’ll never understand how those pups manage to keep up that pace racing over obstacles and weaving through poles barking while they’re doing it. Talk about sheer joy for their sport that these super-star athletes have! To my great surprise, one of our hospital pet therapists competed and did quite well. More on that hopefully tomorrow.

But before then, let’s start the week out with a bit of a smile. Creating hybrid dogs have become quite the phenomenon these days but it just may have gone over the top with this one. With Bern-a-doodles, Sheep-a-doodles, Labradoodles, Goldendoodles to name a few, there appears to be no shortage of new breeds being created all the time, but this may just be getting out of hand. Seems like some people will breed a poodle to just about anything to obtain a striking new variety of ‘doodle.’ While some combinations make sense, some absolutely do not. Don’t get me started on the clothes they ‘put’ on this doodle!  Even the guy in the upper right hand corner thinks someone went a doodle too far.

Poodle

Have a great Monday and week, but don’t forget to smile while you’re doing it.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Moving Slowly

We’re moving a bit more slowly for a couple of days. There has been a pleasant change in the weather which has actually been accompanied by a little bit of moisture which means there’s some actual humidity. Something we’re not familiar with here at all. Though it’s not enough moisture to say the drought has been alleviated, it is certainly a slight reprieve.

With that moisture has come some very severe hail storms. I saw a very battered car this morning and remembered last year’s costly storm. I wonder how this guy handles those golf/baseball sized hail storms? For the record, this is the biggest snail I’ve ever seen here. HIs ‘house’ was just about an inch or inch and a half in size and stretched out he must have been almost three inches long. Eeew-they are fascinating but creepy looking little chaps, aren’t they?

Live, love, bark! 🐾

What’s Going On Thursday?

Oh May…you’re turning out to be a real stinker. What started out with loads of promise has turned into a real cluster. With migraines, seizures, and hail storms this week (my garden and I say thank you very little Mother Nature), I had to wonder out loud when I recently heard the classic Marvin Gaye song from the 1970’s. Little things have started to add up to give current times a flavor much like what was going on back when Marvin was ‘sultrifying’ the airwaves. Though different issues, there still is this pervasive question at the back of my mind: What’s Going On here? 

This little guy seems to be asking the same question as I have this week…what is going on? Elsa and I are on the mend (with special thanks all for the kind well wishes and POTP). With temperatures rising into the 90’s for the next few days, we plant to hunker down and ride the waves through life’s up’s and down’s. It’s all a person or pup can do, right? How are things on your end?

Live, love, bark! 🐾

 

Monday Moanings

[An open letter to the dogs on a Monday from a questioning huMom]

Dear Canoids,

Is it just because you’re ‘canoids‘ or because you’re too smart for your own good poodle selves that makes you do things in a contrary way designed to negatively impact the Ranch upright?

“W-H-A-T-E-V-E-R more are talking about?” said two innocent-looking faces. Umm, how about Exhibits A and B. We received about 6-9 inches of snow. In our mountain desert (aka Denver) snowfall is always calculated in a range of inches. Why? It’s called wind. Not the Wizard of Oz kind, but definitely the kind that can impact the measurement of snow. And in keeping with those ‘flexible’ numbers, you guys seem to take matters in your own paws. As in where you like to poop…you know in the deepest possible snow. Oh…and as far away from the sidewalk as possible. Usually just a few inches past the leash length which requires hiking out to the ‘dumping’ grounds. Snow in that mound is nearly always double in-depth and often the most desirable location for the 4-pawed tribe. Note previous tracks checking it out by the Ranch crew.

EXHIBIT A ~ Apart from the depth, this spot would have actually worked compared to Exhibit B.

But no, that wasn’t good enough for my sweet dogs who manage to take it to a ‘nother level, aka Exhibit B. They seem to assume there are extra points for doing it in places that are next to impossibly difficult for an upright to get in and responsibly clean up after. Seriously, Elsa…do you really have to go into the area where there are the lowest possible hanging limbs or shrub rose branches to stab me in the head and/or legs? Trust me when I say there. are. no. extra. points!! Demerit points, yes.

Exhibit B ~ Otherwise known as the bestest dumping ground.

Do I look like a 3-foot tall Hobbit who wears armadillo like armor?! Don’t answer that.

And what’s with this thing about ALWAYS having to scamper around behind my back after I’ve picked up after you, crossing the streams a la Ghostbusters style twisting the leashes, stretching the bum shoulder and providing way too many close calls at toppling the not-as-flexible as Gumby upright as she extracts herself from the dwarf forest? Do you know how hard it is to keep the leashes untangled in gloves with hands that are freezing, trying to hold on to some semblance of order, all the while juggling a poop bag whose smell could raise the dead that needs to be off loaded in a trash bin ASAP? Seriously, you never seem to have a problem with crossing in FRONT of me inside the house. WTH?!

Signed,
Your loving huMom

Do your guys go ‘contrarian’ on you when it comes to conducting their number 2 business?

Live, love, bark❣

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday ~ February 21, 2018

It’s Wednesday and while Sam and I head off to West Pines today, there’s lot’s happening in the Olympics and some of it is going to the dogs. Canadian’s figure skater Meagan Duhamel  rescued a dog from a Korean meat farm last year. Ms. Duhamel, a vegan since 2008, along with and her figure skating coach husband, rescued a second pup. The South Korean government even ordered restaurants close to the Olympic Stadium in Pyeongchang to stop serving dog meat.

Meagan Duhamel poses with her dog Moo-tae, in South Korea. (EK Park/Free Korean Dogs via AP)

Sam thinks the IOC should add synchronized peeing to the games. He would no doubt be disqualified and have to compete in the “olympic athlete competing for dogs’ (OAD) category and not as part of any country team.

Whether you’re watching and rooting for a particular country, I think we all root for Snoopy. He’ll always earn the gold in my heart. What’s been your favorite Pyeongchang moment?

Live, love, bark❣

Freaky Friday

Put fur coats on these two and it’d be Elsa and Sam all the way.

Much like the movie Freaky Friday it seems we’ve had an epic switcheroo around the Ranch. I mean when you see a post that shows a certain level of destruction, you kind of automatically think, “oh jeez, Elsa, what did you do this time,” right? Well, unlike the movie, no fortune cookies produced this furable switch. I can only surmised it may have had something to do with a touch of jealousy. You may recall Wednesday was supposed to be a bath and groom for the Ninja. It’s been one of those jam-packed weeks with something scheduled every day. I seem to have caught some sinus bug or something and have been suffering from a 4-day long headache which has robbed me of much-needed sleep to help feel better. Any who…I got going early with walks, breakfast, etc. so I could give Elsa her bath and clean up the Muppet look when, half way started, the phone starts squawking that we need to be at the vet’s to recheck Elsa’s blood levels (since we reduced her Phenobarb dosage recently we need to know if it’s going to keep her seizure free). AWK!!! I thought that was set for the next day. Ugh.

Better make it snappy, mom!

Are you kidding me? I’m not ready or cleaned up for going out of the house so like any insane person, I shift into hyper-drive, race around like a maniac and fly out of the house with Elsa in tow in record time. Bless her heart, she was up for the adventure, popped right into the car and behaved like a real champ at the vets. She didn’t react to any of the large dogs waiting to be seen and even got on the scale to be weighed without any freaking out (OMD!) or special cajoling. Amazingly, we were on time, too.

Whew, so far so good, right? So the vet tech takes her in the back, draws the blood and talks with the vet who says “um, we really need the draw as late in the day as possible to accurately gauge the Phenobarb levels, any chance they could come back again at 6 PM?” The tech brings Elsa back to me with the ‘good’ news. O-kay, yeah sure (calculating in my mind how long it will take to finish grooming, bathing, drying) . So we leave, head home and start back picking up where I left off. Elsa has a thick coat and her hair was pretty long so it took a while and it was hard bending over with the sinus headache. We finished up late in the afternoon, Elsa looked semi-presentable ok and I realized she’s one good-looking dog with that luxurious shiny black coat. I, on the other hand, looked a fright, the house had dog hair EVERYWHERE so I pop in the tub and proceeded to clean-up the bathroom which was totally trashed. She’s exhausted, I’m exhausted and we still need to go back to the vet for Round 2. During the height of rush hour.

About this time, that squawking alert on my phone goes off again. Wait, what…it’s too soon to leave for the vet, what the heck is it? Turns out I was supposed to go to a book signing on the other side of town to meet a local author. Oh man, are you kidding? By this time, I know there’s no way I can make it; so I hunt through my inbox to send a note of apology that I wouldn’t be able to attend (so bummed). The Ninja is looking at me like I’ve lost it when I glance over and see my fleece jacket on the floor with Sam hovering over it. When I go to pick it up, I realized he has chewed holes in the pocket to extricate all the treats I normally carry on walks. Who’d have thought the innocent, well-behaved Sam would have gone postal on a jacket? Could have blown me away at that thought.

He looked up at with that goofy look he so proudly wears (otherwise known as his face), tail wagging and looking like “well, you have been kind of neglectful of moi, today.” Never would I have expected him to pull something like this. Elsa, oh hell yes. But Sam, never. Talk about a Freaky Friday…I just hope they don’t continue their Lindsay Lohan/Jamie Lee Curtis switching of roles. I swear, those two are better than a Netflix comedy.

The weekend is nearly here and if you’re like me, you can’t wait. Any plans? I am hoping to sleep the whole time.

Live, love, bark! ❤︎ 

Monday Mutts

Image courtesy of Pinterest because mom’s not fast enough

Well it finally happened. Hiya. Elsa here.  It should have happened weeks ago but finally and thankfully…Denver is under a Winter Storm Warning for snow, ice, high winds, and low visibility with blizzard conditions for the eastern plains. Can I get an Amen, brother!? Speaking of brothers, Sam wasn’t that keen about going out to potty in this white stuff and I confess, I too had some reservations initially. But Mother Nature (and snow zoomies) called, so who am I to refuse that pressure?

Denver is experiencing one of the driest winters ever as are the various ski areas in the state. Statewide snowpack was 58% of normal. That’s scary if you are a ski resort, people! That graphic pretty much says it all. Even Hawaii experienced a blizzard before Christmas last month with Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa receiving up to two feet of snow.

Courtesy of the Mauna Kea Observatory

Mom said some of you have already experienced some major snow and cold lately but this is rather new this season (unless you count those few days in December when it was bitter cold but with no snow). Mostly we’ve been experiencing breaking days with many perennials still blooming in December. What the dog?!

How was your weekend weather? Anything exciting happening out there while we’re snuggling up on the sofa?

Live, love, bark! ❤︎

Monday Musings ~ December 18, 2017

Don’t know about you, but with Christmas a mere week away {gasp}, this meme kind of sums it up for me. Are you ready? Enjoy the week as you wrap up all your preparations for the jolly guy.

Live, love, bark! ❤︎