Nature Friday ~ July 23, 2021

Nature Friday

Happy Fri-Yay! Please join us for this week’s edition of Nature Friday where we join those lovable ‘anipals,’ Rosy, Sunny, Arty and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard but don’t forget to check out what others shared by clicking on the link.

It’s been another week of heat with the Ranch Hands wilting. We’ve been going out on our morning constitution at 5:45 am. to avoid the warmer portions of the day. I guess when you wear a fur coat the season known as Hades summer isn’t that enjoyable. And then there are the smoke filled skies that drift in as the day unfolds. Not exactly conducive to walks except early in the day. We continue to hope all the current wildfires get controlled soon. In Colorado as in most of the western U.S., wildfires continue to rage while last year’s burn areas are causing flooding conditions on nearby highways. I-70 has repeatedly been closed this week to cleanup mudslides near last year’s Glenwood Canyon fire.

The urban landscape though is full of sun-loving perennials. Let’s take a gander at a few we’ve encountered, shall we?

First up, a gorgeous trumpet vine. They guys are amazing. Strong and vigorous, they can shimmy up a wall or structure like nobody’s business. Although frequently considered invasive, pruning and deadheading can corral their vigorous growth which can reach between 30-40 ft. (9-12 m). They should not be planted near a house or at the base of a tree as they can damage foundations and strangle trees. Still they are beautiful on a telephone pole. Rated at Zones 4-9, they are readily adaptable in most conditions. Hummingbirds enjoy the tasty nectar while other birds often make nests or otherwise hide in the dense foliage.

Flowers

While running an errand this week, I noticed cattail was in full glory near a small drainage area. A herbaceous perennial sometimes referred to as reeds, these guys have always captivated my interest. There’s a large batch of them near West Pines that Sam used to investigate before we visited patients. Leaves are hairless, linear, alternate on a jointless stem that bears flowering spikes. The ‘flower’ forms a dense sausage-like spike on the stem. Once fully ripened, the heads disintegrate into a cottony fluff from which disperses seeds by the wind. What would otherwise be a rather unsightly drainage ditch becomes beautified with the addition of these plants.

Flowers

Back at home, the lupines continue to form seed pods oh joy but are being crowded by numerous sunflowers that mysteriously appeared a couple of seasons ago. In their 3rd year, they are beginning to seriously crowd the lupines. It’s certain heavy duty garden tools may have to be brought out to bring them both to heel as they’re both becoming too invasive. Still, how can anyone not smile whenever they see a cheerful sunflower, even if said flower ‘looks’ the other way (actually I couldn’t get a decent shot straight on because of the position of the sun)?

Flower

Wherever you’re at, we wish you good weather, clear skies and enough spare time to enjoy spending time in nature. My cherry tomatoes are finally beginning to ripen. The smell of fresh, garden ripened tomatoes are filling my senses and teasing my tastebuds.

Tomatoes

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Wordless Wednesday ~ July 21, 2021

Landscape

Live, love, bark!  🐾

Nature Friday ~ July 16, 2021

Nature Friday

Happy Fri-Yay. Welcome to this week’s edition of Nature Friday where we join our pals, Rosy, Sunny, Arty and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard. Make sure to check out what others have shared by clicking on the highlighted link.

We’ve had a full week with lots of happenings starting out with Norman visiting hospital staff and patients while bringing loads of smiles to folks wherever his bear-like shuffle took him. He had a couple of junior volunteers (high school student interns) shadow him as well. While he may may have problems feeling comfortable when riding elevators, he definitely knows how to bring smiles to people once he’s on solid ground.

Norman

But enough of how busy Norman and his chauffeur were…this post is about what Nature was up to and she has been very busy. The Mile High City is in the height of summer and she happily shared some real beauty from one end of the 80202 to the other. As we inch toward the weekend, temps are rising again but blooms around the ‘Hood don’t seem to mind too much.

This week’s “best of show” is the perennial Campanula, commonly known as Bellflower. I just love the delicate veining on the blooms. But don’t be deceived, this flower is quite hardy.

Flowers

We found this gorgeous beauty along this morning’s walk and it practically begged to be photographed. Campanula is a group of over 300 annual, biennial and perennial plants that appear from small to large size, in multiple colors. Typically found in shades of lavender, purple or blue, the open cup-shaped flowers also are found in shades of pink and white. These plants can spread over seasons with the shorter varieties making excellent ground cover although most bellflowers begin blooming in July and will keep flowering until the first frost. Bellflowers are cold-hardy and can be useful specimens in areas with hard winters. They usually prefer full sun for best flower production, and enjoy well-drained soil that receives moderate moisture. Once established, bellflowers can tolerate periods of drought. Bellflowers have been around since the Middle Miocene period as evidenced by fossil seeds being found in the West Carpathian Mountains of Poland in extracted, borehole samples of fresh water deposits.

Bellflowers weren’t the only beauties encountered in the urban landscape this week. Rudbeckia, (commonly known as Black-eyed Susan) continues to provide cheerful blooms during our daily walks.

Another fun flower we encountered this morning is a wildflower often naturalizes unlikely places…Ratibida columnifera, sometimes known as upright prairie coneflower, or “Mexican Hat.” There weren’t any at my previous home until a lone one showed up one day in gravel border next to the driveway and it multiplied to a large number of plants over the years. These cuties are members of the Aster family.

With long leafless stalks that bear flower heads of three to seven ‘sombrero-shaped’ flower heads that grow from 1-1/2 ft. to 3 ft. tall under the right conditions. The flowers range from dark red and yellow, to all red or all yellow. The brown disk protrudes 1/2 to 2 in. above drooping petals with leaves on the lower portion of the stem being feathery and deeply cleft. Seeds form from the brown disk and can naturalize in unexpected spots. A fun-looking wildflower to encounter when out and about, wouldn’t you say?

Flowers

Whatever you do this weekend, I hope you are able to get out and find some of the beauty Nature is gifting us this time of year. For those of you who have been broiling in the summer heat, console yourself with the fact that there are ‘only’ 68 days left before the official arrival of autumn. But who’s counting, right? Stay safe, cool and enjoy your weekend.
Live, love, bark!  🐾

Happy 4th of July

July 4thAs the U.S. celebrates our country’s independence, both the Ranch hands and I wanted to take this opportunity to wish our U.S. based readers a happy Fourth of July and we hope everyone has a terrific Sunday.

Norman

Here’s to a star-spangled ‘howliday!’

Elsa

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday

Nature FridayTDIF! Welcome to the this week’s edition of Nature Friday on the last Friday in June. We’re joining those adorable Pacific Northwest anipals,’ Rosy, Sunny, Arty and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard. Where in the bloody blue blazes did June go? It seems like just yesterday we were walking in snow boots all bundled up in sweaters and mittens and now we’re spending most of the day sitting in front of a fan sipping a cool beverage. Perhaps because 2020 was the year from hell seeming to never end that 2021 is on a speedy trajectory to put as much space between it and last year’s train wreck. Either way, it’s hard to comprehend the year is half over.

Before we take a look at nature, did you know today is “National Take Your Dog to Work Day?” Celebrated annually on the Friday following Father’s Day, today is another way to honor one of our most beloved pets. Created by Pet Sitters International (PSI) in 1999, National Take Your Dog to Work Day celebrates our love for dogs.  If your employer is one of the approximately 300 businesses who host a National Take Your Dog to Work Day event, good for you! When I was working, I’d have given my left arm to bring a pet to work and think it’s why I’m so enthusiastic about bringing smiles to nurses and staff during pet therapy visits. Does your company allow you to bring your pet to work with you?

So now let’s check out what Nature brought us this past week, shall we? On Sunday I spent the day celebrating Father’s Day with my dad, son, grandson and one of my brothers. It was great fun spending the day with 4 of my favorite guys in the world, made even more fun over a terrific lunch at a local Mexican food restaurant with yummy food and yummier margaritas. Could we have a table for 5, er…no make that a table for six?

Lizard

Umm, sorry, ma’am…pets aren’t allowed in the restaurant. Since I wasn’t able to take that little guy inside with us to lunch, I just watched him out in the garden.

The Stella d’Oro reblooming daylilies are alive and well right now and make for a blooming cacophony around the neighborhood. These beauties prefer sunny conditions but will tolerate some partial shade and will tolerate humidity and heat. Their watering needs are mostly average, but they will require more water during dry spells. Generally, Stella d’Oro is an easy to grow daylily that will generally tolerate a variety of conditions and make a lovely addition to any garden.
Flowers

Not willing to accept competition from daylilies, Clematis vine is another strong contender for beauty of the week. One of my favorite vines, this particular guy greets me on my daily walks with the dogs. Don’t you just love these pale purple blooms? One of the better flowering vines that has adapted well to Colorado’s arid conditions, they come in a variety of shades of purple, blue, pink and white. Shades of red and yellow are also available. Clematis do best with at least 6 hours of sunlight in well drained soil and do not like their roots being water-logged, so mulching around their base is critical.

Flowers

While most of the Western U.S. continues to scorch with record setting triple-digits, the Mile High City gets a slight reprieve beginning today through the weekend. We’re hoping some showers will accompany the mild temps. While there were a few thunderstorms last night, mostly it was just noise with few drops. With 4 active fires burning in the state, rain would be most helpful so we’re keeping our paws crossed.

So what plans do you have for the weekend? Don’t forget to give your precious pet an extra ear or belly rub from us while you’re enjoying some of nature’s finest.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Wordless Wednesday ~ June 23, 2021

Nature

Live, love, bark! 🐾