Wordless Wednesday ~ October 20, 2021

Hummingbird

Live, love, bark!  🐾

Nature Friday ~ October 1, 2021

Well, well, well…October already? It’s not even Halloween yet many retailers have begun displaying Christmas decor, much to my chagrin. Honestly…the trees in my ‘Hood haven’t changed colors yet but I’m supposed to get jazzed up about a holiday that’s 85 days away? Umm, that’d be a hard no.

Ok, I’m off my soapbox and now will join our PNW pals, Rosy, Sunny, Arty and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard on their weekly blog hop. If you click on their the link you’ll see  what others in Blogville have shared.

As I’ve noted before, there isn’t a whole lot of leaves changing color yet. Because summer has been so hot and dry in Denver, I suspect most leaves may simply turn brown and fall. From what I’ve seen on social media though, the nearby mountains are showing off beautiful swaths of gold aspens. Hopefully we can get up soon to see for ourselves.

Here is one of a few trees around that has begun its annual change but not a whole lot of change is apparent yet.

Trees

And this tree had only one spot that was changing colors deep in its interior and it was actually more brownish than orange. Most trees continue to show signs of drought stress throughout the city.Trees

While walking along our usual route, we came upon this bright orange pumpkin planted between the sidewalk and the street. Seeing it made me mentally kick myself for not planting seeds in the garden this spring especially since canned pumpkin continues to be in short supply in stores. Probably crowded out by Christmas decor {grumble, grumble – I know, stop kvetching}. Between COVID disrupted supply chains on the simplest of products and persistent late season rainfall in states that provide the bulk of pumpkins, who knew there’d be a shortage of canned pumpkin? By the way, did you know that  the state of Illinois produces nearly 80% of the nation’s pumpkins?

Pumpkin

Thanks for nothing, Hurricane Ida.

Halloween

Whatever you plan to do this weekend, we hope it includes some time outside enjoying October’s splendor. Have a good one.

Live, love, bark!🐾

Nature Friday ~ September 24, 2021

Nature FridayWelcome and happy Friday to you. We’re joining our Pacific Northwest friends, Rosy, Sunny, Arty and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard on their weekly blog hop. Be sure to click on the link to see what others have shared.

According to the calendar, it’s ‘official’ ~ Autumn arrived a couple of days ago and the Ranch Hands and I welcome the new season-our favorite. Although it’s fairly dark when we typically take our morning constitution (and on the crisp side-it was 39ºF/3ºC earlier in the week), we’re relishing the more civilized temperatures. It will mean however that we’ll need to carry a hand torch with lack of early morning light with each passing day.

Dark Side
Image Courtesy of Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce CEO tweet

The Ranch foreman was out of town for a couple of days visiting her Dad so today’s pickins’ are a bit on the slim side. Still it’s good to see that summer is finally beginning to move into the rear view mirror. Good riddance, I say.

So let’s get to it, shall we?

In my urban neighborhood, folks tend to get pretty wound up about decorating for certain holidays. And even though it’s more than 5 weeks away, a number of homes have already been bitten by the Halloween bug. Insert eyeroll here.

Halloween

You may remember this porch from a recent post. Perhaps the newly installed ‘coven’ is there to protect the premises from future visits from any masked criminals.

From the back patio at my Dad’s, I marveled at the bluebird clear skies. It was a simply gorgeous day where we spent time relaxing and just soaking it all internally.

Blue Sky

Notice the absence of any changing colors? I’m beginning to think it’s been so hot this summer, the majority of leaves will just go straight from green to brown without any seasonal color change in between, especially if there’s an early frost. In Denver, the average date of the first freeze is October 7.

The light during autumn tends to be golden anyway, but the pièce de résistance of time spent with Dad was yesterday’s sunrise. Just. glorious. color. welcoming the day.

Sunrise

So how were your outings this week? See anything particularly exceptional? We hope you have a great weekend enjoying this special time of year. Norman and I will be attending the Old English Sheepdog Rescue Picnic and fundraiser on Sunday (we’re hoping for loads of photo opportunities). Just picture for a moment, more than 40 “Norman’s” running around. I know, the mere thought makes me giggle just thinking about all those wiggly OES bums. Whatever you do, we hope you enjoy the beauty Mother Nature offers.

Live, love, bark!  🐾

Waiting Wednesday ~ September 22, 2021

Wordless Wednesday

Live, love, bark!  🐾

Nature Friday ~ September 17, 2021

Nature FridayHey everyone…it’s “Fri-Yay!” so that means we’re joining our ‘fur-iends’, Rosy, Sunny, Arty and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard on their weekly blog hop. Be sure to click on the link to see what others have shared.

This week Norman and I went south to Pueblo West for a short visit with my Dad for a couple of days and to catch up with my sister from Maryland who was also visiting. While I love the Colorado mountains, I’m always struck by the beauty of seeing prairies around Pikes Peak to the north from the comfort of  Dad’s home.

Pikes Peak
Pikes Peak in the distance

The view to the southwest is equally beautiful with the Greenhorn Mountains rising above ‘fruited plains.’ Whenever I walk the dogs, I just have to stop and stare at the beauty of golden prairies with the mountains as a stunning backdrop.

Mountains

As we took our morning constitution we also passed by a horse property which often has several horses, donkeys and a few ponies in one of the pastures. On this morning they were in the front pasture and trotted over to check the ‘horse on the leash’ with the human (with apologies for the sun flare that refused to be edited out).

As I’ve come to expect with this boy, Norman draws a crowd. The black and white pony had been lying in the early morning sunshine but took one look at Norman and immediately got to his feet and trotted over to the fenceline to get a better look-see.

Pony
Howdy!  Pony…meet pony

Everyone got their sniffs in and all species seemed to be bemused with one another.

While the daytime temps still continue to be toasty, over the past couple of days the weather seems to be engaged in a slow roll toward the autumnal transition. This morning’s temperature at 5:45 am was a crisp 48ºF (8C) with early morning walks requiring a hand torch since it’s still quite dark.

Yesterday was the Ninja’s 5th Gotcha Day. It was a quiet celebration, per the little lady herself. Elsa’s not really into being in the photographic spotlight as you can tell below. On the one hand it seems impossible that it’s been 5 years since this world wind fur pile came home with me. Her puppy mill personality quirks are still evident but her sweet loyalty toward me brings many smiles. And even with a couple of recent seizures, she’s doing well while continuing to vex her big brother. Oh Elsa…you’re such a pill but I love you just the same. On the other, it’s been quite the journey. Guestimated to have been between 3-4 at the time of her adoption, she’s reached her prime, despite ups and downs. Happy Gotcha Day, sweet girl! Party on…your way.

Gotcha Day

The arrival of autumn is typically marked with leaves changing color but while there isn’t much of that going on just yet in the city, there are signs beyond cooler morning temps. This maple tree is still 95% green with only one small area morphing into autumn splendor.

Autumn

As squirrels and other critters begin preparing for winter, acorns have now begun to form with some dropping already. It won’t be long now even if daytime temps will stay warm. As a lover of 4 distinct seasons, I will welcome this annual change.

Acorns

Enjoy your weekend and make sure you get out there to check out this amazing time of year.

Live, love, bark!  🐾

Nature Friday ~ September 10, 2021

Nature FridayWelcome to the best day of the week-Friday where we join our ‘fur-iends’, Rosy, Sunny, Arty and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard on their weekly blog hop. Be sure to click on the link to see what others have shared.

While the calendar says autumn is less than two weeks away, Mother Nature apparently hasn’t seen the memo and continues to bake the Mile High City with summer temps (it’s supposed to be near 100 today), dry conditions and smoky skies. Ozone levels have been abysmally high and exploring various elements of nature have been limited. Still there was a surprise guest in the neighborhood. While there are miniscule signs that maybe, just maybe the autumn colors might begin their annual change, autumn been slow to get started with a couple of exceptions.

Leaves

Maple leaves are always a favorite this time of year. When walking the dogs yesterday morning, I found this lovely specimen though never did see the tree from which it came.

Here we have a smidgeon of color. Notice the leaf stress from the hot, dry conditions? Far too many trees are struggling and I can’t help but wonder if there will be more trees lost if we don’t get relief soon.

Trees

This week has been filled with lots of goings on my schedule every day and with the high ozone alerts, my time outside has been limited to very early morning walks with the dogs.

As we prepare for our second pet therapy evaluation later this morning, I realize we’re probably about as ready as we’re ever gonna be. The bathroom however is still recovering after Norman’s required bath (bathing this hunka furry real estate  is quite the exercise in dog wrangling and achy backs but boy does he smell great!). I’m certain he’ll do just fine. As always, my biggest worry for this pet therapy team continues to be me as the weak link and can only hope I remember all the details critical for a successful pet therapy team. Fingers and paws crossed we can report back success next week with a few smiles for nurses and patients today and tomorrow.

We did manage to see one particularly unusual sighting this week. As I’ve mentioned before, encountering bunnies are not at that unusual but the frequency they’ve been spotted every day this week is. We typically pass through the backside of Sprouts grocery on our route noting the hotbed of activity in the early morning hours as vendors’ trucks line up with the day’s fresh produce. Seeing bunnies daily this week had me wondering if there isn’t a special time set aside for senior bunnies to ‘shop’ for discarded veggies. I saw 3 yesterday morning alone in different spots.

Bunny
‘Washing up’ after breakfast

It seems odd that this week we encountered more wildlife than I saw in last week’s adventures in the mountains around Glenwood Springs. With all the development and traffic in Northwest Denver these days, foxes who used to be seen, have moved away to less inhabited areas. A fellow dog walker gave me a heads up that a fox was spotted ahead. Appreciative of the head’s up I gripped the leashes with white knuckle determination to keep the nearly 150 lbs. of prey driven paws by my side. I figured the chance of seeing it were likely Slim to next to nothing with Slim having left town before we’d get there but lo and behold, a red flash galloped across the street. A shy but leggy fellow dashed across the street. I stopped to admire the beauty of this fox and realized how much I’ve missed them when they frequently frolicked under my bedroom window ages ago. Forgive the poor quality of the image I had to really stretch the capabilities on the zoom of the cell phone but I think you can see how handsome this guy was.

Fox

The dogs were more than ‘intrigued’ so I tried to slowly walk away and then realized he was sizing us up. We stopped to admire this good looking boy while he no doubt hoped we’d keep moving along. That face!

Fox

How fortunate was that? Well I can only say I haven’t seen foxes in my ‘Hood for close to 15 years.

So much for this week’s nature in the ‘Hood. Have a great Friday and an even better weekend. For my fellow Westerners, stay cool. For those on the East Coast, try to stay dry.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ August 27, 2021

Nature FridayWelcome to the last Friday of August. As always, we’re joining those adorable hosts, Rosy, Sunny, Arty and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard on their blog hop. Make sure you click on the link to see what others have shared. This edition is literally a wild one, with commentary from both Ranch Hands.

Norman: Mum, it was a wild week, wasn’t it? I mean…I’ve never seen as much wildlife since being rescued and immigrating here.

Mum: You’re right, Norman; it was a ‘wild’ week, critter-wise. Given our location a ere 3 miles from downtown, it’s always exciting for us when Nature in its wildest form crosses our paths.

Norman: Right-o, mum. I haven’t seen this many rabbits as I did this week. What’s up with that?

Elsa: (imitating her best Elmer Fudd voice) Wabbits??? Where?!?!?! You know how I “LOVE” hunting looking for wabbits.

Norman: You almost walked past this one, little sister and missed another one at Sprouts parking lot.

Rabbits

Elsa: Harrumph…wabbits are wily but I eventually picked up its scent. But I spotted the third one before you guys did. Just wish mom hadn’t spotted this one first, otherwise I’d have turned her into a kite. For the record, I don’t think that spot is reserved for bunny parking, so there.

Norman: Mum scans the landscape for wildlife for that exact reason. But seeing rabbits three times this week was a bit unusual and nothing compared to what else we encountered.

Elsa: I’m still blown away from that whole experience. The fact that we were running later than usual and had we be out at our usual time, well…we’d have missed them by several minutes. Sure we’ve seen one or two on a couple of occasions but nothing like that before.

Norman: [Head shaking] It was quite something. I mean to be a witness to a whole ‘family of criminals’…well, let’s just say that took us all by surprise. Seeing wildlife like this makes it even more remarkable.

Raccoons
Check out this morning neighborhood criminal family!

Elsa: No kidding! Seeing those masked bandits so close to me and posing no less…well I momentarily froze in my tracks. Luckily, it was just enough time for mum to realize what could have been a potential nightmare for all concerned so she instinctively shortened my leash. Doggone it anyway.

Norman: At first I thought it was a bunch of odd looking kitties but could tell from mum’s reaction it was something else. I’ve never seen six ‘cats’ like that at once.

Raccoons

Elsa: At least I managed to react a short distance away from the porch which took her shoulder by surprise. Heh, heh. It’s good keeping her on her toes.

Norman: Oh come on, sister, it’s not really her toes you want her to stay on…it’s more like you prefer her backside.

Elsa: Sshhh, don’t let her know that. Jeez, are you trying to get me in trouble?

Norman: You’re well enough equipped to do that on your own without any help from me.

Raccoons

Elsa: Not one, not two, not even three…but four on the front porch of that house at the same time. I distinctly remember mum rubbing her eyes in disbelief.

Norman: She sure did, though I think she might have been still half asleep. As we passed the front porch, we saw the others on the fence to the side though there were {only} six raccoons in total committing a burglary.

Elsa: I was so bummed they decided not to follow us in the opposite direction.

Norman: They probably had more houses to burglarize visit before breakfast was over. I did notice that one fella coming out from under the chair had munched on the tassels on the chair cushion.

Elsa: Not much of a breakfast by my mind’s thinking.

Norman: This coming from someone who considers wool socks a food group?

Elsa: That’s different, bro. Besides, it wasn’t me who ate a felted mini-OES figure that mom spent 8+ hours needle felting last week. Do I need to remind you of the day you spent at ER?

Norman: Ahem…not my finest moment I’ll agree, but all’s good now right mum?

Mum: {Eyes rolling} Yes, ‘dear‘ Norman. Just make sure you don’t countersurf anymore and we’ll be all good, ‘kay?

Norman: Right-o, mum. I love that you accept me for who I am. Just a big hunka-chunk who is apparently irresistible to nurses judging our visit to hospital yesterday. If feels good getting the first of two evaluations out of the way. One step closer to being a full therapy dog.

Mum: Yes, dear boy…you definitely know how to draw a crowd. Much like us gawking at those raccoons, people just couldn’t believe their eyes seeing you and began running down the hallway to say hello

Norman: Yes, it was somewhat overwhelming. Yawn. I’m still recovering from all that therapy work while trying to get over that whole riding the elevator experience.

Norman

Mum: You’ll be fine, sweet boy. You have the whole weekend to recover.

Elsa: We’re so proud of you, Big Brother! Let’s plot plan some extra special recovery plans for the weekend…you know just to give mum a run for her money on her toes.

Mum: Sigh. Whatever you do this weekend, we hope it’s relaxing and fun but you give yourself plenty of time to see all the amazing sights Mother Nature offers.

Live, love, bark!  🐾

 

Nature Friday ~ August 20, 2021

Nature FridayWelcome to this week’s edition of Nature Friday where we join our pals, Rosy, Sunny, Arty and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard. Remember to click on the link to see what others have shared.

Summer continues to march ahead toward autumn and some days we find ourselves at the corner of ‘yay’ and ‘nay.’ Yay because there’s so much beauty out there and nay because it’s exhausting keeping up with closed highways, air quality warnings from smoke, while keeping up with the war against weeds, hot temperatures and bugs. Doggone grasshoppers are constantly startling all of us.

For the past hundred years or more, most people lived in densely-populated cities with roads usually laid out in logical, organized grids often named after trees, landscapes or a combination thereof (in Denver they are often alphabetized making it easier to navigate). As folks began to move to outlying suburbs, it became common for those bedroom communities to name streets after trees, plants, or landmarks. As often happens with urban development, developers are typically responsible for naming streets in the neighborhoods they build. Street names are based on certain desirable traits developers want associated with the neighborhood. Their suggestion is submitted to the city for review with different municipal departments (police, fire, etc.) reviewing the name. Street names are supposed to be easily identifiable and unique in the case of an emergency. Did you know there is even a word for the name given to a street: odonym. Odonyms aren’t only functional; they are interesting markers that identify the culture or geography of an area reflecting local landmarks, communities, and regional traditions.

Highlands Ranch (a southern Denver suburb) is well known for streets having the same base name, with the addition of “Street, Avenue, Place, Circle, Drive,” etc. tacked on at the end confuse people to differentiate it. It’s maddening if you’re not familiar with the area and are trying to say…deliver pizza. Hmm, was it 100 Ashwood Street, Lane or Place? More than one GPS app has driven people to the brink before getting them eventually to their destination.

I’d never seen that same phenomena in Denver…that is until recently when I was out walking along a different street in the former Elitch Gardens neighborhood to see if there were any notable flowers along a different route. While I know the area fairly well, I was completely blown away when I reached the corner of 36th and hell in Northwest Denver.  Notice the sign names. Gah!! Say it ain’t so.

Signs

Do you think spiders ever get confused trying to get back home after a long day working in the web?

Nature

Sigh. Well enough of the soapbox rant on street naming conventions. Let’s check out what we saw along that street.

Flowers

Nothing says summer like a border of Echinacea. They soothe the soul with their happy presence and provide pollinators with a nice smorgasbord of nourishment.

Speaking of nourishment, back at my garden I’m counting down the seconds until these babies are fully ripened. I’ve never planted Roma tomatoes before as I watch them set flowers ever so slowly, then begin the long morph toward juicy ripeness. That delicious scent of fresh, garden tomatoes automatically tantilizes the taste buds into blissful salivation.

Tomatoes

Tomato

We hope your own garden is providing interesting sights and smells while inspiring you to get out to check out the landscape in your area. Just make sure you know street, avenue, or place you’re on. Have a great weekend enjoying Nature.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Wordless Wednesday ~ August 18, 2021

Flowers

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ August 13, 2021

Cross your fingers and throw some salt over your shoulder — it’s Friday the 13th! We won’t be doing any battles with a machete-wielding maniac in a hockey mask today but instead let’s throw caution to the wind on this most superstitious of days and join our pals Rosy, Sunny, Arty and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard on their weekly blog hop by sharing some pawsome photos from Nature’s banquet table.

Despite the Friday the 13th cultural superstition in Western culture of Friday the 13th, no black cats or broken mirrors can dominate this week’s beauty even if believers can’t quite explain why we have this fear. Oddly enough I learned there is actually a term used to describe the irrational dread of today’s date as “paraskevidekatriaphobia” (Say that fast 10 times!) which is a specialized form of “triskaidekaphobia,” the fear of the number 13.

Enough of the superstitious hocus-pocus, let’s see what  Mother Nature dished out with us on our daily jaunts this week. While we haven’t had any rain for the past 10+ days, an early morning supplemental watering showed water droplets on a blooming lily. Water drops on blooms or foliage always draws my eye and captivate my attention. That old saying “Water is Life” is more true than ever in our arid climate.

Flowers

On a recent rare morning where the sky was actually blue rather than smoky grey, we found some Origanum Libanoticum flowers (commonly known as Lebanese oregano or hopflower oregano) near the merry-go-round carousel in the old Elitch Gardens neighborhood.  I can’t remember the last time I saw blue skies like this. The smoke continues to foul the air in the Mile High City most of the time and we continue to pray for all those affected by the wildfires in the West.Merry-go-roundDon’t you just love those cascading bracts?

Flowers

Phlox continue to bloom their sweet little heads off and fill the air with something other than a smoke infused scent. I had to stop and get close to smelling these when normally I could smell them nearly half a block away.

Flowers

We pass by a border flower bed filled with Rudbeckia every morning that just compels me to stop and stare. Such a beautiful shock of color.

Flowers

Last but not least, my feeble attempt at imitating Georgia O’Keeffe with this gorgeous Rose of Sharon bush that just started blooming. The centers are incredibly vivid while the blooms themselves are a creamy shade of pale pink

Flowers

Well that’s all for this week. May your Friday the 13th be a safe one but you are able to get outdoors to revel in the beauty Mother Nature shares with us all when we take the time to look. Stay safe, avoid walking under ladders but make sure to enjoy the weekend.

Live, love, bark! 🐾