Ahoy Mateys!

Greetings swashbucklers…today is International Talk Like a Pirate Day. Created in 1995 by long-time friends John Baur (Ol’ Chumbucket) and Mark Summers (Cap’n Slappy) of Oregon, who while playing a friendly game of racquetball and for reasons still somewhat unknown, began shouting pirate slang at each other. The silliness began to take on a life of its own when they decided to create a holiday celebrating ‘piratude.’ Summers has been credited with choosing the date (his ex-wife’s birthday).

For a few years, their holiday remained in relative obscurity until they happened to connect with the syndicated columnist and author, Dave Barry. With media coverage following Barry’s column about it, the event is now celebrated internationally,PirateNaturally the Knucklehead and Ninja are joining their Blogville fur-iends, Captain Da Nelly, First Mate Kismet and Swashbuckler Shoko in the merriment. So grab a bottle of beer rum and enjoy some good ole fashion pirate booty. Just make sure to watch your step if you plan on walking the plank…we hear that first step can be a dousie.

Pirate

Live, love, bark!

Monday Musings ~ August 26, 2019

Dogs

Happy Monday and Happy National Dog Day. NDD celebrates all dogs, whether mixed breed or purebred. That includes celebrating Knuckleheads of all stripes and which I’m especially celebrating a certain Knucklehead who was presented an award this past weekend for having ‘pawticipated’ in more than 200 hospital visits. I couldn’t be more proud of this silly goofball who demonstrates pure loving attention to all he greets. Even when he faces the wrong way during the awards photo, he steals the show.

Sam

There will be more photos and a special post later this week but for now, please join me in saying, “attaboy, Sam.” Way to go, dude.Sam

No resting on our laurels now though. Tomorrow we return to hospital to bring more smiles to patients and staff.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Monday Musings ~ July 29, 2019

Whoa…what happened to the weekend? It was here and then POOF! gone. *Sigh*

Monday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

A New Season Is Here

Are you ready for a new season? No, not the one that’s due to arrive in 59 days, but who’s counting? I’m talking about another season. Besides more sunlight, ahem…’warm’ days, bugs and barbecues, there’s a season within summer I liken to pure evil hell, otherwise known as the grass-weed season.

You may recall a previous rant post about Foxtails (found here). Mostly found in the western part of the US, these innocent enough looking weeds can be very risky for dogs.

GrassesThe barbs are uniquely designed to move in one direction–only forward. They burrow deeper and deeper into the fur. Noses, ears, between the toes, under the collar or armpits are the most frequently found spots. Removal from fur as soon as possible is important since they can be quite difficult to remove once they penetrate the skin. Once burrowed into the skin and if not treated, they can travel throughout the body. A dog sniffing the ground can easily inhale them into their noses, under an armpit, or get them caught in their ears and if not treated immediately, can result in serious problems resulting in an expensive visit to a vet.

The danger of foxtails goes beyond simple irritation. Because these tough seed barbs don’t break down inside the body, an embedded foxtail can lead to a serious infection. It can even lead to death if left untreated and these seeds can be hard to find in dog fur.

Foxtails move relentlessly forward and can migrate from inside your dog’s nose deep into their brain or be inhaled into and perforate a lung. Embedded foxtails can cause discharge, abscesses, swelling, pain, even death. If your dog is displaying any of the following symptoms, check for foxtails or talk to your vet. Make sure you check your good dog’s feet, ears, face, nose, genitals. Limping, excessive licking, head shaking, incessant scratching, redness, discharge, swelling, squinting or pawing are all symptoms your sweet dog may have picked up a foxtail. Foxtail season runs from May to December. Once foxtails dry out, they are like little sharp knives waiting to stick to someone or something.To remove, use a pair of tweezers if you can easily get to it. But if it’s deeply embedded, or if the area around it is red or swollen, call your vet right away. Remember, foxtails won’t come out on their own, and they can burrow deep within your dog.Prevention is your best weapon against this grass. Avoid overgrown grassy areas and remove these plants from your yard. Regular grooming/brushing can help.

Though not nearly as dangerous, are another seasonal weed-what I call Velcro grass. Not sure what the scientific name of this grass weed is, mostly I refer to it as evil bastard.

Grasses

Notice all those nasty little seed heads? They stick like Gorilla® glue-to fur, socks, pant legs, whatever it can attach its little evil self to, and often spring up along sidewalks near the neighborhood ‘pee-mail bulletin board.’ When we came back from this morning’s constitution, I found one attached to Sam’s bandana. Elsa had a very small piece of one stuck to her check a couple of days ago. It was a real bugger getting rid of, you pretty much have to pull them out seed by seed since they tend to disintegrate when you try to remove them. Dogs aren’t  typically keen on having lots of pulling out of their fur. It took several attempts to fully remove it.

Grass

Paws crossed this ‘season within the season’ doesn’t affect you or your good dog.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Monday Musings ~ July 15, 2019

If you own a dog are owned by a dog, you probably have this same conversation on a regular basis. These guys seem to think they’re some kind of legal dream team.

Sam & Elsa

Wishing you a week of successful negotiating.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

All American Pet Photo Day ~ July 11, 2019

Pet Photo Day

All around Blogville today, people in the US will be celebrating the All-American Pet Photo Day (“AAPPD”). The Knuckleheads from the ‘Ranch’ are inviting all our fur-iends from around the world to join us today. What little I could find out about this latest calendar ‘howliday’ seemed to indicate the AAPPD was created…you guessed it, due to an algorithm (collected data pointed to an especially large number of pet photos being posted on social media platforms on July 11th). It’s a somewhat new-ish holiday, being created within the past few of years but it has always been observed on July 11th.

It is estimated over half of American households have pets, making it an easy to ‘pawticipate.’ Obviously, dogs and cats are the most popular pets, but those who have birds, fish, hamsters, guinea pigs, turtles, lizards, and other pets are encouraged to  participate.

Although I celebrate these two characters every day, today will be an extra special opportunity to humble brag on about them on social media. So further ado, here are the ‘Ranch hands’ just for today. Do you plan to post an image of your pet-kid today? We’ll be looking for you on Instagram. Sam

Elsa

Live, love, bark! 🐾

July 4th, 2019

July 4th

Two hundred and forty three years ago, a scrappy bunch of New World folks declared their independence from the British Empire and we’ve stay scrappy ever since. Happy Birthday, America from the Knucklehead and the Ninja. While there won’t be a tank or  fly-over at the Ranch, we hope your ‘howliday’ is safe, filled with great food and fun shared with friends and family.

July 4

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Monday Meme ~ June 24, 2019

Reading is fun, even the Knuckleheads will stop and check out a neighbor’s Lending Library that has been cleverly designed into a Tardis Box. The big question is what will these guys learn? Happy Monday with best wishes for a brilliant week.

Reading

Live, love, bark! 🐾

We’re Back Wednesday

Sam & ElsaWe’ve been MIA now for a week but are finally getting back to our normally scheduled programing. Sam came down with a nasty bug and also seemed to have injured his back. He’s been treated with lots of rest and antibiotics and more than his fair share of ear rubs and attention while he recovers. While not quite 100%, he has vastly improved and is s.l.o.w.l.y returning to true knuckleheaded form. I just need to get his appetite back from ‘meh, not at all interested’ to somewhere close to normal (for Sam that will probably be somewhere in the vicinity of ‘well, it’s not prime rib but I’ll try to choke it down’ category). He’s always been fairly picky discriminating but when he’s under the weather, even more so. In his old age, Little Lord Fauntleroy has become downright difficult to please palate-wise. He seems to think hand feeding 5-star restaurant quality food is the norm and clinging to me with absolutely not a speck of space between us must rule the day.

Naturally Elsa has had her nose out of joint since she wasn’t the sole focus on the ‘Ranch’ universe.  I’ve had work through the canine healthcare system getting her meds this week which will no doubt likely result in a rant new post. I’m beginning to think the universe is conspiring to make things more challenging.

But we are back in the saddle and trying our dog-most to slog through the obstacle course otherwise known as life. Coming across a few late blooming pretty tulips seemed like a good sign that better days are ahead. I’m beginning to think we are on the high hurdle course lately but are grateful we still seem to be able to clear those jumps. Adding to the mix, the weather went from snow last Thursday to mid-80’s F this week. I just love Springtime in the Rockies, especially with these two Knuckleheads.

So…have we missed any exciting happenings? What’s new with you?

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ April 19, 2019

Today is Good Friday and another week is in the books. I hope you’re ready for the Easter weekend. We’re once again joining our friends, Rosy and her brothers from LLB in Our Backyard for this week’s Nature Friday Blog Hop, Good Friday edition. Today we’re gonna take a look at Mother Nature’s flowering trees that are starting to enter into the spring landscape. Ornamental pears have begun to blossom and when we see these around the 303, we know spring has definitely sprung (yes, I do realize that there is still good chance for a snow shower or two over the next few weeks but I’m too busy enjoying spring to worry about it now).

Ornamental pear trees (known as Bradford Pears) have been planted all over the urban Denver landscape. Known for its conical shape and showy blossoms, they are taking front and center stage now. My two assistants graciously agreed to pose near a band of them lined up along the parking strip between street and sidewalk (for Elsa, it was a sit/stay training moment and she passed…we like to multitask on our walks).

Trees

A closeup shows clusters of pinkish centers amid white blossoms. When I was researching these trees, I was shocked to learn many people are not fans, in fact, many have called for their removal as a menace to modern landscaping. They cite invasiveness and lack of biodiversity as well as structural issues since their branches tend to split when the trees are anywhere from 15-20 years old. In the early 1900’s, Frank Meyer, a plant explorer from the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture went to China to find the most disease-resistant strain which could be grafted to existing pear trees. Good Ole Frank found what he thought would be a good variety and brought back 100 pounds of seed and, for a while, it worked like a charm. The trees will grow in nearly any soil, mature quickly and bloom early in spring with bright orange foliage in autumn. They are one of the first blooming trees in spring and the last to drop their pretty leaves in autumn. Landscape architects thought they’d found the perfect tree. It soon became the most widely planted tree in the U.S. By the 1990’s however, landscapers discovered the ugly side to these pretty additions to suburbs and office parks. While these trees’ symmetrical structure is attractive, it leads to what’s known as “weak crotches” (all limbs branch out from the trunk). This weakness often causes them to split apart. Additionally, storms contribute to extensive splitting damage. Over the past several years in my own neighborhood, storms have decimated many of the trees (including the two across the street leaving them badly deformed and misshapen). The owner can’t bear to cut them down and continues to try to save them. Bradford pears don’t self pollinate, but cross-pollination can occur with the other strains of ornamental pears resulting in problematic hybrids.

The introduction of these trees underscores the fact that too often there are unintended consequences requiring contemplation before moving ahead. Remember, it’s not nice to fool Mother Nature.

And because they have been as spectacular as I’ve ever seen, here are more tulips from around the neighborhood with apologies to my Instagram followers who are probably sick of seeing tulip after tulip on my feed. My own tulips are taking their own sweet time (in their defense, that happens when they aren’t bathed in sunlight the livelong day). They give a real Keukenhof Gardens feel even if I’m thousands of miles from Lisse, Netherlands.

Tulips

Tulips

 

 

 

 

 

 

TulipsTulips

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hope you are able to enjoy the lovely renditions of Mother Nature and have a wonderful and joyous Easter weekend.

Easter

Live, love, bark! 🐾

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