Norman Wins An Award ~ 2022

Happy first day of Autumn, everyone!

For the second Thursday in a row, we’re sharing a post to welcome our favorite season as well as sharing highlights from a couple of events the Ranch in-house pet therapist participated in recently.

First, the Annual Pet Therapy Awards program was held last Friday (following a 2 year COVID hiatus) and then Norman joined a few other pet therapists at a nearby event, “Bark In The Park” in Arvada on Saturday. Participation in events like this to help showcase our program and demonstrate how volunteers and their pets make a positive impact in our community.

This year’s awards get together was a delightful surprise since I didn’t think we’d qualify for any recognition. Norman has only been a member of the hospital’s pet therapy program since last June yet our hero managed to qualify by having more than 20 visits during the year. Even though our program has diminished in size, it is still full of spirited and loving pet therapists and their owners. Here are a few pics from the event.

Norman
I’d like to thank my Mum, my agent, my Ninja sister, Lutheran, all my fur-pals in the program… [cue the “get off the stage now” exit music]
Before the presentation, the early birds were rapt with attention and enthusiasm with fellow teammate Janet’s seemingly endless supply of treats which she cheerfully doled out to the piglets good dogs. I think I need to bring a replacement bag of treats to her for all the ones the biggest piglet ate.

Here’s the majority of the dogs in attendance. There were a couple who are part of the program but who did not attend. It can be somewhat overwhelming and some excellent therapy dogs prefer quieter event rather than a conference room filled with lots of high energy, amped up pooches.

Pet Therapy

It’s always hilarious trying to get everyone to stay in place long enough to get a group photo. One notable missing pup, Norman’s Corgi pal Zoe, had her photo taken separately with her mom, Amy who was this year’s organizer for the event. Isn’t she just too adorable? Just look at that cute face!Corgi

Corgi
Zoe’s award ceremony bogarted by a certain sheepdog who was making sure the name was spelled correctly

For some reason, Norman seem to make it his mission to photobomb several of the presentations. Truthfully, there are enough outtake pics, that would merit their own separate post  {#oh that dog}.

Norman made sure the award was suitable for sweet Riley, an enthusiastic and sweet Golden Retriever. For the life of me, I could not keep this big oaf from getting his big fat head in nearly all the frames. I’ve never been so embarrassed by this ox-maybe Elsa has it right when she rants about his bigger than life presence around the Ranch.

Riley

At Saturday’s “Bark In The Park” event, our pet therapy program set up a booth to educate the public about our pet therapy program and to potentially recruit new members to join our team. It was a good event which also benefited the Arvada public dog park. Proceeds from the event will be used to spruce up the park and perform much needed maintenance work over the last two weeks of September so dogs and their suburban owners can continue to enjoy the large wide open space.

As you can see, personable Norman who doesn’t know a stranger, made friends with the folks in the booth next to Lutheran’s. PetWell Clinic is opening a new location for affordable and convenient walk-in vet care in the Sloan’s Lake area in November. Vet tech, Christina graciously appeared with Norman and we chatted about their expansion. We are excited about visiting them once the space opens.

Bark in the Park

All in all it was a super filled weekend but one that was super fulfilling for me and Norman. This boy is such a sport when it comes to events like these. He definitely deserved a few rejuvenating naps following both events.

Norman

Have a great autumn!

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ September 16, 2022

Well, well, well…looky here…we managed to reach Friday without hurting anyone or anything so now it’s time to join our pals over at Adventures of the LLB Gang for their weekly blog hop where folks share some slices of nature. Make sure you check out the link of all those who participate.

Hopefully (and without jinxing myself), dare I say it feels like we’re in what’s known as Indian Summer around these parts. With just a mere 6 days until the official arrival of autumn, the temps have moderated and to those of you who think I complain focus too much on the extreme high and low ends of the thermometer, am happy to provide a Goldilocks approach this week and say things have been just right. Warm days and cool nights. And not having to run the AC all day long makes for good sinus health. A real win-win.

A recent walk to Sloan’s Lake rewarded me with a few interesting pics. The morning threatened to shower, but only managed to provide some great clouds and reflections over the lake. This is a slightly different view that I normally share-near the park bathrooms and maintenance building and where the Dragon Boat races bivouac. The ducks take advantage of this spot frequently.

Sloan's Lake

One thing I noticed as I meandered around the lake is one area in particular is closed off so the grass can be restored. Notice the winged “Gen Z’ers” that once again demonstrate the rules don’t seem to apply to them just liked their human counterparts.

Sloan's Lake

One thing we’ve noticed walking around gardens of the ‘Hood are the ripening squash and pumpkins. Just in time for that favorite season of many consumers, ‘pumpkin spice’ fill-in-the-blank.

Pumpkin

Pollinators are quite busy doing their thing in anticipation of the end of the summer season. This is a community garden I often walk past and it’s chock-full of fresh produce.

Bees in the garden

Sunflowers are blooming and spreading happiness before the first frost. I’m particularly mesmerized by these bronze varieties along the ubiquitous tiny strip between street and sidewalk. The perfect autumnal colors, wouldn’t you say?

Flowers

Outdoor decor is reflecting the upcoming season as well. Porches are beginning to display buckets of pumpkins and gourds as well as another autumn favorite, that member of the aster family known as Chrysanthemums.

Pumpkins

Flowers

It’s going to be another lovely weekend and Norman and I will be doing some pet therapy events and hopefully all three of us will get a chance to see some more of the fabulous offerings of Indian Summer. Anything special scheduled for your weekend? Whatever you do, we hope you are able to get out and enjoy this special time of year where the light is magic and golden.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ September 9, 2022

Nature FridayWelcome to this week’s edition of Nature Friday where we join our pals over at Adventures of the LLB Gang for their weekly blog post. Make sure you check out the link for other posts.

We were absent for last week’s blog hop as we went to celebrate my Dad’s 92nd birthday for a few days so this week’s offerings are a bit ‘catch-as-catch-can’ with no real theme. But sometimes that works out ok as Nature often can be a benevolent mistress when sharing beautiful sights. We weren’t able to do a lot of looking around this week, between the broiling temperatures and catching up after several days away, but managed to capture a few pics from our trip that just might do nicely.

Birthday
92 never looked so good

Different from most trips down to Dad’s house in southern Colorado was the addition of a certain Ninja coming along. She loves my Dad so I thought I’d see how’d she do in the ‘wild’ if you will. New situations for Elsa are always tricky and I’ll admit she was definitely a bit out of her routine element but she handled things far better than I had hoped. Dad’s property isn’t fenced and there are loads of critters weaving across the two acres (ground squirrels, rabbits, quail and heaven only knows) but she stayed close to me, cautiously sniffing the trees, bushes and ground. Norman of course, was his usual self but having two clever dogs to keep an eye on kept me on my toes. I’ve learned to never leave anything to chance when dogs are involved.

Let’s start with meeting the neighbors. Norman loves saying good morning to the donkeys across the road and they seem very keen on him so I wondered how Elsa might do.

Elsa & the donkeys
‘What the bloody heck?’

She has that “what the &#@% are those things” look to her in this pic, which cracked me up. The guys, however are pros around the dogs and didn’t blink an eye no doubt wondering what the fuss-up was all about as Elsa lost her mind and barked her fool head off. Oh that dog.

Rather than wake up the entire area, after brief introductions, we moseyed along our on walk.

Norman
Norman meets a horse

The next morning following a most delightful evening rainstorm, the morning skies seemed to shout “Are ya happy now?”

Sunrise

It was exquisitely beautiful. But it got better. As we started out on our morning walk, the sky kept getting redder and redder with that great cloud cover. After we climbed the first hill, I turned around and this is what I saw.

Norman & Elsa

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more intense and spectacular sunrise anywhere. It was just breathtaking.

We all had a great visit, celebrating, eating, laughing, and Zooming with out-of-state relatives. It was one terrific visit for one terrific human. Once we got back to Denver, we noticed a new neighbor moved in around the corner from the Ranch so naturally we had to check them out. The dogs weren’t sure what to make of the new feathery dudes, and the ducks sure aren’t keen on them getting too close, but they quack at us every day when we walk by.  They usually are swimming in one of the two small pools as their owners sip a cuppa and watch over them. They wave, I wave and Elsa barks her fool head off. She may never be a member on the Welcome Wagon, but fortunately the duck owners seem friendly. I’ll stop when the dogs aren’t with me to welcome them personally.

Neighborhood Ducks

It’s bounty time now in the veggie garden. I came home to the potted tomato plants kicking into high gear. The cherry tomatoes have been a regular, heavy producer but it’s outperformed itself this year in the hot temps.  They are like little red candies-so sweet, so tasty. The ‘Early Girl’ is just now beginning to ripen. All the fruit seems fairly misshapen as well as smaller than I anticipated so I think this year’s experimental planting likely won’t be repeated next year, no doubt to the chagrin of the neighborhood hoodlums…aka squirrels. Anytime I can irritate that local population, I’m a happy gardener.

Tomatoes
Cherry tomatoes
Tomatoes
‘Early Girl’ tomatoes

Well, that’s it for us. With a break in the heat bubble this weekend, we’re hoping to be able to get out and find more of the amazing sights Nature routinely bequeaths us. A news report this morning indicated the Western US should experience a La Niña winter (colder/wetter while warmer/drier in the Southeast), with Colorado being pretty much the dividing line between the two so we’ll see what this means in the weeks ahead. I’ll be grateful to turn the AC off. Hope you are able to enjoy some of Nature’s finest. Have a ‘wagnificent’ weekend.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ August 26, 2022

ElsaWelcome to the last Friday in August. As always, we’re joining our pals over at Adventures of the LLB Gang for their weekly blog post. Make sure you check out the link for other posts.

Let me just say, it was one of those weeks. Elsa here, your award-winning, internationally renowned correspondent, coming to you from the scene of a major crime. Mom was ‘extra busy this week’ (Norman went to visit peeps at the hospital so there was that)…anywho…there I was minding my own business and sort of laughing that he got groomed and was patiently waiting for them to leave. All of a sudden, I was held at leash point gunpoint and robbed! Can you believe it?!?! Right under my nose, in my own home. I tried calling 911 to report this felony but Mom grabbed the phone away. The nerve! The thief (aka Mom) apparently thought it would be a good idea to get another dog, like what am I, chopped liver? I know, she has a sick sense of humor but don’t laugh to humor her, okay? Hmpf…another dog indeed. Can you imagine what that ‘dog‘ might look like if I was really in need of a haircut? Egad, I’d probably end up with another monster of a brother since Mom says I have a ‘robust’ coat…or what I like to call, being simply fabulous.

Any way, our outings to find cool slices of nature were somewhat limited. Mom simply had her head in the clouds this week. Literally. She says it’s because we’re beginning the transition to more autumnal flowers and not as much has been blooming. Coupled with warm temps, I guess most flowers feel like us and just want the summer to end. With 27 days left until the official arrival of our favorite season, I totally understand if they need a break.

Here was the sky as we strolled out for this morning’s daily constitution. Sorry about the Tokyo-type power lines criss-crossing the alley. When you live in an old neighborhood, unfortunately you’re always gonna have those ugly power lines that will show up ruining otherwise nice pics. It doesn’t bother me though…I like waiting underneath them just in case any squirrels lose their footing and fall into my waiting mouth down. It happened once before but Mom kept me from catching the failed member of Flying Wallenda family little fella. He shook his head and staggered off. Mom was laughing hard; but I simply wanted to ‘go check on him’ to make sure he was tender okay.

Sunrise

We’ve been fairly lucky temperature wise this week, with temps mostly in the 80’s. Warm days with clouds rolling in late in the afternoons. Yesterday it was 90ºF and Mom thought any rain would probably evaporate before it hit the ground; we had maybe 12 drops of rain but the weatherman reported some decent showers in the mountains which is fine by me. Those clouds probably ran out of moisture by the time they reached the metro area. That’s my theory anyway.

Clouds

When Mom went visiting her dad recently, he too had lots of cloudy afternoons and surprisingly far more rain than we received in the city. Notice those rainy streaks off in the distance near Pikes Peak?  Mom said it has something to do with moisture coming up from the Gulf. We’ve been thinking of all those folks in eastern Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. Have you seen the flooding going down there? Yikes! What going on with the crazy weather these days remains a big question.

Clouds

Well that’s pretty much all I’ve got this week. I’m keeping my fingers crossed we’ll get to go somewhere to see something other than stupid clouds or charred flowers. Got any suggestions? Whatever you do, we hope you are able to enjoy some of Nature’s prettier sights. Have a great weekend and guard those furs…you never know when an otherwise innocent looking Mom sneaks up on you with scissors and clippers behind her back.

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ August 19, 2022

Hard to believe we’re more than half way through August already which means we’re just a little over a month (34 days if precision is your jam) until autumn arrives. Count us in the happy column.

Elsa
Elsa here, your award winning correspondent, and I’m joining the LLB Gang for this week’s look at what nature dished out this week. Don’t forget to check out their Nature blog hop.

We started the week out with…ahem…steady yourselves…a nice little shower! I know, who’d have thunk it, right? Mom was expecting our usual 16 drops when she took me for a second walk all by myself. I was so excited spending one on one time with her, that is until about halfway to the post office when those 16 drops multiplied by a jillion. It wasn’t a heavy rain but it did drench us fairly well. We figured it’s be only a couple of minutes but ended up lasting for over an hour. Hurrah. They haven’t been too horribly bad and I’m hoping the 90º+F days are pretty much over. We’re beginning to see very, very subtle signs that autumn is coming. Then again it could be that some trees are so stressed, they’re just giving up for the season-they just can’t take it anymore.

At any rate, this week I decided to share some pretty gladiolus from around our ‘Hood. Mom has never planted them (she says her partial shade garden wouldn’t be a good place for planting them and she’s kind of OCD when it comes to any plant that flops over). Oh well, at least she has neighbors who have sunny yards and apparently don’t mind having to support them. Let’s check out this year’s crop of Glads, shall we?

Flowers

This ruffled, purple one is my favorite although I have to say they all were quite pretty.

Flowers

Mom was hoping she’d find a bee noshing down the throats of these flowers but she didn’t see any. Doggone it, I love following them buzz around and luckily don’t think they’re ‘sky raisins’ which makes Mom very happy.

Flowers

Mom also liked this pink one. She just kept saying out loud, “Oh my gosh, that’s just so gorgeous.” As you can imagine, I just shook my head. We had things to do and places to see. What’s wrong with our huMoms is a question I ask myself all the time.

Flowers

Ok, I’ll give her a pass. This time. It is kinda pretty.

Moving along on our tour…we walk past this house all the time but hadn’t noticed the front garden with the bike and wagon before until Mom was out photographing gladiolus. It may be a new feature this year. The border garden is quite lovely and we both were a bit surprised no one has stolen the bike which unfortunately seems to be a favorite of urban hoodlums these days. It seems that if you don’t have something nailed down, you can probably figure someone will filch it. Recently someone reported their baby stroller was stolen from their front porch and someone else reported someone swiped a potted plant. It’s getting ridiculous. How come people aren’t walking around the neighborhood to check out the beautiful flowers instead of causing larcenous mischief?

Flowers

Well that’s it for the ‘Glad’ show. I do have a critter pic to share though. A raccoon mom and her two babies have been combing the block early in the mornings while we’re out doing our thing. The babies are quite afraid of me and Norman but the mama seems poised to go all Oprah on us. She stands her ground till we get a little closer and then they either climb a tree or most often zip down into the storm sewer. That reminds me, anybody know what is so doggone interesting about those storm sewers anyway? I’ve seen foxes go down them too. The mysteries of life are just so confounding to us doggos.

Critters

So…you got anything exciting going on this weekend? I’m trying to get Mom to do something different, but we’ll see. She’s been so busy lately and then there’s the fact she’ll be doing hospital visits next week so we’ll both likely be getting bathed and groomed. Ugh…Mom…you know that wasn’t what I had in mind, right?

Have a cool weekend, both in what you do as well as temperature wise.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ August 12, 2022

Happy Fri-Yay, peeps. Welcome to this week’s addition of Nature Friday where we join the pups from Adventures of the LLB Gang for their weekly blog hop.

We try to share nature’s beauty here every Friday but there’s nothing that says we can’t share nature’s cute aspects, right? Well, this week get ready for some serious cute. Long story short, a former neighbor and friend who made a stop at a nearby farm for fresh eggs (Amanda is a professor of geography and environmental sciences) and ended by buying the farm which sat in a conservation easement within the city limits of Wheat Ridge (a nearby Denver suburb) in 2010 which continues the legacy of former owner Louise Turner, whose family was not interested in continuing to farm. Amanda Weaver took over the egg and dairy business and uses the 13 acre farm to provide community resources and educational opportunities for the community as well as her students (you can read more about Amanda and her journey to being a farmer here). Recently she mentioned in her newsletter that the farm had new baby goats and after a series of postponements, I went to the farm yesterday to see the now almost teenaged goats.

Amanda raises LaMancha dairy goats, the only breed developed in the U.S. LaMancha are noted for high milk production, relatively high butterfat content and their people loving personalities. They also are known for their distinctive  ‘gopher ears’ which are minuscule compared to other goat breeds. Gopher ears are practically nonexistent with very little or no cartilage.

LaMancha goat mama
Don’t make fun of my gopher ears that are barely see

The above pic is the surrogate mama for one of the babies (whose own mama passed away suddenly shortly following the birth of a pair of twins). Alas, one of the babies did not survive so this little cutie pie took a double loss in life but she’s making up for it with her cuteness factor running clear off the charts.

Baby goat

She’s a mix from her LaMancha mama and a Nigerian Dwarf buck. She seemed to inherit her daddy’s ears and her mama’s love of people.

While my friend was feeding the two mama’s, this little miss jumped up in my lap! I learned however that whenever you exit your seat, it is likely to be immediately occupied by another goat who will quickly jump up in your place.

Baby goat
I swear she practically purred in my lap

Gah…that face! I was completely smitten. Here’s is the other mama goat keeping an eye on me while the little one contentedly sat in my lap being petted.

Mama Goat

Her baby liked to prance around me but wasn’t interested in getting into my lap. She did however seem to enjoy delivering very soft nibbles on my hand and watchband and gave me a raspberry when I invited her over for an ear scratch.

Baby goat
Pffft-catch me if you can

These goats are so expressive and you definitely understand why they are so popular among animal lovers everywhere. LaManchas are a lot like dogs, wagging their tails to show their excitement. They reminded me of Sam’s Swiffer tail action.

Baby goat
Feed me, Seymour!

It was way too much fun watching the kids run and prance around. Just watching their energy level wore me out and they seem to resemble wind up toys going full throttle when wound up and then a brief respite while they recharged their batteries.

Baby goats

Whenever needed, that little buzz saw would slow down by rubbing the fence-almost taunting me. I had to laugh at that behavior-Elsa does the same thing every morning against my bed. I’m convinced she does it to get me up and adam.

Baby goat

While both kids are eating grain, they were both vigorous nursers. The surrogate mama will now only allow the nursing of the tiny kid when she’s in the feeding stall. The little one’s nursing made me wince.

Baby goat eating

It was the kind of morning that made me smile inside and out despite the upper 90º temps. Both kids have new homes awaiting them once they are fully weaned over the next couple of weeks and have no doubt my friend will miss these precious sweeties but she knows they’ll provide much happiness (and milk) for their new owner.

Amanda and baby goat
Not sure who’s cuter
Baby goat
This is my happy face with a goat in my lap

I hope you enjoyed seeing the cuter side of Mother Nature, especially since temperature wise, she hasn’t been cute or adorable much this summer. She did provide quite the gully washer of a storm last weekend (several motorists had to be rescued-see story and video here). Pretty wild but since then, nature turned up the broiler and will do so for the next few more days, then maybe (if we’re real lucky) a slight cool-down to the mid-to-upper 80’s next week. We’re down to 41 days until autumn’s official arrival. At this point Indian Summer will likely be a welcomed relief. While the days will remain warm, the nighttime temps will cool down. We hope.

Here’s wishing you and yours a great weekend and hope any plans you have may include some time scoping out the beautiful as well as the cute side of Mother Nature.

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

One Word Wednesday ~ August 10, 2022

Sunrise
Sunrise

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ August 5, 2022

Dragon Boat FestivalWelcome to the first Friday of August. Hi-ya, Elsa here. My inbox has been flooded with requests to be this week’s  correspondent for the post.

Norman: You have an inbox?

Elsa:  Quiet, you big oaf, I was referring to my mystical inbox where I ‘feel‘ all the energy from my avid readers jonesing on my top notch, award winning reporting skills and there you go trying to harsh my mellow!

Norman: I don’t mean to harsh anything, dear sister. I’m just wondering about the veracity of your opening salvo, that’s all. But I see it’s business as usual so I’ll let you get on with it.

Elsa: FINALLY…sheesh, I let you do a couple of posts and right away you go and develop journalistic ethics. What’s this world coming to? Don’t answer that! Anywho…I’m going to do this week’s walk about nature as we join Rosy, and the gang from LLB in Our Backyard for their blog hop. Today we’re gonna check out the Colorado Dragon Races that Mom recently attended.

Norman: I heard Mum talk about it. When she said it was at Sloan’s Lake I wanted to go and see what it was all about, but with that whole water thing and the fact that it was hotter than bloody blue blazes, well I passed.

Elsa: Pfft…you passed because you’re a big baby. I mean, come on, people, food, Canadian Geese…that’s a dream outing in my books.

Norman: Perhaps, but there’s still that water thing that puts me off. Besides, you remember how we’d already taken our morning constitution at the crack of dawn and frankly, it seemed like it was going to be too far to go and it would have meant walking uphill in the heat on the way home. No thanks.

Elsa: Don’t talk about heat to me…remember I’m the one who  wears a black fur coat. With our altitude, sunny bright days are murder on me. Apart from potentially messing with my biorhythms and inducing seizures in the extreme temps…well…for me anyway, it’s just not worth chasing seeing those geese in conditions like that.

Norman: Right-o, Ninja. So…care to start this week’s post or do you plan to wax on about other unrelated trivia.

Elsa: Don’t push it, dude. I’m getting to it. Good gravy, you have a couple of guest posts under your belt and right away you’re acting like some sort of rigid taskmaster editor. Lighten up, pal.

Elsa: [continuing on] So…as I was saying…Mom went down first thing as soon as the event opened; she’s a wuss when it comes to those hot temps too. Plus she was able to avoid the crowds which she figured would be large after a two year hiatus due to COVID. She did manage to capture a few interesting photos.

Elsa: [Moving on] Let’s kind of take a look around before getting to the race, ok? As you know, Mom is always wary around those Canadian Geese; I have no idea why, Canadians are well known for their friendly disposition. But she found a couple of ‘spectators’ down by the water’s edge that she felt comfortable being around. I dunno…those beaks seem a bit sketchy to me but whatever. I think they were rooting for Mom’s favorite Dragon Boat, #4 which had a number of disabled participants which she thought was very cool. They didn’t win their heat but they had good game and were an enthusiastic bunch.

Ducks

Norman: That is outstanding, I say! I mean the part about the disabled contestants being participants. Not the water.

Dragon Boat Festival

Dragon Boat Festival

 

Elsa: I figured you would probably be afraid of those ducks just like you are of the Canadian Geese, not to mention being so close to the water’s edge.

Norman: [interrupting] I beg your pardon. For the record, I. AM. NOT. AFRAID. OF. GEESE. Canadian or otherwise. Some of my best friends are Canadian.

Elsa: [snickering] Yeah, right. We all know otherwise but by all means, make yourself feel better.

Norman: [sounding miffed] You keep making it sound like I’m some sort of coward but we both know how I always come to your defense especially whenever we meet that insane fence barking dog down the street.

Elsa: Oh yeah, I do recall you ripping Mom’s shoulder out to defend me. Ok, well, I’ve got a post to finish, so let’s move on, okay. Mom has attended the Dragon Boat Festival before but you can see her last post here  for more details.

Elsa: [continuing] There was lots of entertainment celebrating Asian Pacific Islander culture. She stopped by to check out the first dance performers. It was beautiful and they performed flawlessly.

Dragon Boat Festival

Elsa: There was the main pavillon area with all manner of food booths and tchotchkes for sale. There was even a row of food trucks and an ATM machine at an entrance. Looks like the organizers thought of everything to make it easy to spend money enjoy just about anything.

Dragon Boat Festival

Elsa: There always seems to be quite a diverse batch of attendees. Mom is always on the lookout for the most unusual, or most handsome attendees. She even found one dandy of a Dane for me {swoon}. Talk about handsome!

Dragon Boat Festival

Dragon Boat Festival

Norman: That was one big fella and he had the best manners but I’d rush to your defense if he acted up around you.

Elsa: Yeah, right. You know perfectly well, I can hold my own around anyone. I was more than ready to take on the raccoons we encountered just before returning from this morning’s walk. As I recall you were kind of “meh…no big deal.”

Norman: I didn’t see any upside of engaging with them and besides, I really couldn’t understand what the mama raccoon was chittering about after she shooed her two babies down the storm sewer.

Raccoon

Elsa: [giggling hysterically] Your denials are laughable. I was more than ready to take her on. ‘Mama o mama’ style.

Norman:  [eyes rolling] Which is exactly why Mum moved us along to avoid a confrontation. Afterall, neither of us need expose ourselves to a potential case of rabies. [shudder]

Elsa: Good point. Well it made for an interesting conclusion to the end of our morning walk. I hope you got a flavor of the Dragon Boat Festival and enjoyed seeing something a little unusual from our ‘Hood.

Dragon Boat Festival

Elsa: Got any big plans for this first weekend of August? The countdown towards autumn’s arrival seems to be moving along-48 days by my count. And not a day too soon. These relentlessly hot days have overstayed their welcome this summer, don’t you think?

Norman: Amen, Ninja. We both hope you have a splendid weekend and find something interesting to see in Mother Nature’s realm. Stay cool.

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ July 29, 2022

Lavender FestivalIt’s Friday and that means it’s time to join our pals Rosy, Sunny and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard for this week’s Nature Friday. Today is the last Friday in July and we’re pretty chuffed about it since it puts us that much closer to the arrival of autumn…which is just 55 days away for anyone keeping track.

Hello fellow nature lovers, Norman here to wrap up Part 2 of the Lavender Festival that Mum attended recently. The Ninja agreed to let me finish up this week’s nature walk. {Whispering softly} Elsa’s in the other room so hopefully we’ll avoid any peanut gallery comments while I wrap this up.

Elsa (voice coming from Mom’s studio): Not so fast, dog breath. My uber sensitive, world renowned hearing is primed for anything stupid you may say, so just know I’m only a micro decibel away from stepping in if need be.

Norman: [Sigh…muttering under his breath…”and to think I was “this close” to pulling it off without being badgered”]. Replying: “Fine…snoopervise all you like but I think you’ll agree I’ve got this well in hand and am well prepared to share Mum’s photos.”

Elsa: Time will tell you, bloviating bag of fur. Just remember…I’m. Watching Listening.

Norman: {Panting with just a tinge of stress} Moving along now, let’s check out a few of the critters Mum encountered while touring the farm at Denver Botanical Gardens, Chatfield location. Click on this link for more info about the Hildebrand historic farm and surrounding trails and plant refuge at Chatfield. Last week, I shared the pic of the ‘Elvis Duck’ (otherwise known as a Crested Duck who was graciously identified by our friend Ingrid from Meezer’s Mews and Terrieristrical Woofs). This week I have a few more ani-pals to share. Mum saw a few goats and chickens along with Elvis. There were a couple who seemed rather plump, like This one who was content to lay in the hay trough while catching some sunshine as loads of young uprights squealed with delight at its antics. You may recall it was pretty hot that day so none of the animals were expending a lot of energy moving around. Looks like had she managed to lose her ear tag.

Critters
Mum thinks these goats are Anglo-Nubian variety 

Critters

Norman: Oh my…I daresay this gal is NOT plump…she’s pregnant. Carrying around another goat inside you on a hot sunny day, has to rank fairly high on the ‘miserable aspects of summer’ list.

Elsa [heckling from the studio]:  She’s almost as fat as you, Bucko!

Norman [continuing]: Ahem…as I was saying before being rudely interrupted…Elsa [now yelling]: You want interrupted, pal?!  I’ll show you interrupted. Hrumpf! Sheesh, you try to give a guy a break to get into media and what does he do…takes your awesome mentorship for granted.

Norman: [ignoring the background grumbling from the studio] As I was about to say, one of the reasons Mum likes to go to the Chatfield location is she always learns something new. There was a demonstration table set up with various plants used to dye fabric. Makes you eye naturally dyed fabric knowing that some remarkable plant created that gorgeous shade of blue, yellow or orange somewhat differently, doesn’t it? All of these jars of dried flowers contained flowers that were used to dye the pieces of silk on which they were displayed. Mum wished she would have seen the entire presentation.

Indigo

Marigold

Cosmos

Madder Root

Dyer's Coreopsis

While wandering about the grounds, Mum came across this pretty specimen that seemed deliberately planted. At first she thought it was some sort of yarrow (which is also used as a natural fabric dye), but later discovered it was in fact, Wild Carrot plant. It’s still pretty and I’d definitely check it out closely for its scent, given a chance.
FlowersElsa [from Mom’s studio]: Of course you would…you NEVER miss a chance to sniff or water ANY plants. You’re probably the main reason why they don’t let us good dogs accompany their parents to the botanical gardens.

Norman: For the record dear sister, service animals ARE allowed at the botanical gardens.

Elsa [from the studio]: Oh sure, insert facts here while I’m trying to make a point.

Norman:  [Getting back on task…] Often referred to as Queen Anne’s Lace or Bird’s Nest plants, Wild Carrot is edible but best avoided since it closely resembles hemlock and you definitely wouldn’t want to risk confusing the two. Besides, it’s considered an invasive weed in many areas.

Norman: Here’s a colorful chicken Mum found in the Elvis’ enclosure. The image doesn’t do it justice-just look at that colorful chest plumage.

Chicken

Norman: One of the best things Mum saw non-lavender related, was she realized that the Stickworks exhibit is still standing. For more photos and background info about it back when the exhibit opened, check here. Her only regret was not being able to check it out more thoroughly because there were too many people and it was too hot to wait until it cleared. It’s held up rather nicely in the three years since it first opened to the public.

Stickworks

Norman: Well that’s it for me and the Lavender Festival. I’m fairly certain next year, Mum will avoid the festival and go see the lavender and other plants days before to avoid the crush of crowds. Have any plans for the weekend? I’m just planning on recuperating after seeing gobs of people this week at Lutheran. My goodness, had no idea I was so popular!. One staff person was so excited to see me, she gave me a small stuffed teddy for all my pet therapy work.

Norman

Elsa: Yeah, I saw the pics of you carrying it around. Do you realize how stupid you looked?

Norman: I’ll have you know I was most dignified. But how wonderful was it that she gave me a new toy (although it’s not like I don’t have enough toys in the overflowing basket but it meant the world to me all the same).

Norman

Elsa: You are so gullible-she probably was trying to bribe you to get you to leave early.

Norman: Not likely, sister…I’ll have you know I have a big fan club and enjoy spending time with them all.

Elsa: Whatever gets you through the day. I was able to nap in complete bliss without the presence of a certain hairy beast.

Norman: I hope you enjoyed this year’s lavender festival and are able to get outside this weekend and enjoy Mother Nature.

Elsa: Speak for yourself, dude. I plan on chill-axin on the sofa…unless the new raccoons who moved in the ‘Hood show up. Then all bets are off. Ditto, if any bunnies are around.

Norman [rolling eyes]: Whatever you do, do it safely, stay hydrated and enjoy Mother Nature. Hope to see you again soon.

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ July 15, 2022

Sunrise
Clouds from yesterday’s sunrise

Good Friday morning peeps. As usual, we’re joining Rosy, Sunny and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard for this week’s Nature Friday blog hop. Don’t forget to check out other posts by clicking on the link to see what others have shared.

This week has been dominated by one word. HOT, just miserably hot. And it’s hot everywhere, not just here. Europe is suffering as much as much of the central US with heat advisories being issued for Great Britain and Wales. Today’s forecast for Madrid, Spain is sunny with a high of 105ºF-ugh (around 41ºC).

So for this week, let’s stroll on over to Sloan’s Lake where perhaps we can use the water to at least refresh our parched souls. Sloan’s Lake has been in the news this past year.  Officials had to close all access to the water for a large blue-green algae bloom discovered last year. The potentially deadly condition made it unsafe for any paddle boarding, boating, or any other water sport that the lake allows including fishing and dog owners were cautioned to keep their pets away from the water as well. Added to the blue-green algae closure/news, last month wildlife officials caught a Caiman who had been surreptitiously released in the city’s largest lake. A freaking Caiman! Now dubbed “Miss Bo Mangles,” the small reptile has joined other rescued reptiles at Oscar and Friends, who graciously assisted wildlife officials in the capture. Kudos to Oscar and Friends for saving this creature as she likely would not have survived for long in the lake especially once temperatures drop. [Please tell me they will eventually drop]

Even otherwise fierce Canadian Geese have been trying their best to stay cool in Denver’s sweltering temperatures. I caught a number of them lounging in the shade near the water’s edge.

Geese

When not resting in the shade, some of them decided to train with locals in preparation for the Dragon Boat Festival which will be held next weekend after cancellations over the past couple of years, first for COVID and then again last year after the lake was closed with the blue-green algae contamination.

After a quick sprint with the Dragon Boat team, they exited the lake, single file…one by one.
Geese

The temperatures were so miserable, I could empathize with this mallard who seemed to keep diving in the water to stay cool though I expect he was probably noshing on whatever mallards eat. Ducks and geese

While I’d love to watch the Dragon Boat races next weekend, it will be totally dependant on the weather. Twenty minutes at Sloan’s in the middle of the day was far too much for me and after bidding the one team crazy brave enough to train in the sunny, hot conditions, I bid them a fond farewell. I left the park for the air conditioned comfort of my living room for the rest of the day.

Dragon Boat Race

Still it was great visiting the lake, even for a short period of time. If you like sunny conditions, heat and low humidity the day was tailor made just for you.

Have you got any special plans for this weekend? Whatever you do, we hope you stay safe, well-hydrated and are able to enjoy the wondrous sights Mother Nature provides us when we take a moment to check her out.

The latest countdown update is there are ‘just’ 69 days until autumn officially arrives.

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾