Nature Friday ~ March 10, 2023

Ranch HandsWelcome to Friday where we join our friends from Adventures of the LLB Gang with glimpses of Nature from around our urban ‘Hood as well as Southern Colorado. With the official arrival of Spring on the calendar a mere two weeks away, there are more subtle signs that the landscape is beginning to wake up. Hi, there, just us two Ranch Hand editors sharing a few scenes from around the area.

Norman: So Mum’s sister from Texas came to visiting their Dad in Southern Colorado so we came down for a few days to visit and wanted to share some sights from life in the 719 as well as a few scenes from earlier in week from the Big City. Plus I know my Grandpa absolutely adores me and was especially concerned after I was sick last week. He needed to make sure I was in tip-top shape.

Elsa:  You’re still milking that pancreatitis thing, aren’t you? Life around the Ranch has been windy and dry so Mom is keeping her eagle eyes peeled for signs of color. She squealed when she saw these tiny crocuses between the sidewalk and lawn. That’s definitely a sign that Spring is on its way, right?

Early crocuses

Norman: Cute little buggers, aren’t they? With such a nice pop of purple, it made them fairly easy to spot but Mum thinks most people just walk past them because they so tiny.

Elsa: Right about that, brother. But you know what Mom says about Spring Bulbs?

Norman & Elsa {barked in two part harmony and in unison}: DON’T LET YOUR PET EAT ANY SPRING BULBS-THEY’RE TOXIC TO US 4-LEGGED FUR BABIES.

Norman: Mum took us for a walk a couple of days ago before heading south Mum spied this grass seed head. It was rather stunning against the wooden fence. All those lovely shades of tawny brown.

Seed head

Elsa: {interrupting} You just wanted to sniff it, you could care less about how it looks!

Norman: Ahem…that’s not completely true. I’ll have you know I can appreciate an interesting picture as much as the next bloke.

Elsa: {giggling} Right. You keep telling yourself stuff like that, maybe one day you’ll actually believe it.

Norman: I rather do believe it now, thank you very much. Not everything is about the neighborhood pee bulletin board, I’ll have you know, little sister.

Elsa: Uh-huh…sure. Whatever.

Norman: {moving along} Did you know this week we had a Full Moon? Seems as though it was the third and final full Moon for the northern hemisphere’s winter season which took place and  fell on Tuesday, March 7, 2023. Did you know it’s referred to as the “Worm Moon” in some parts of the world because of the ground temperatures are warming allowing earthworms to come to the surface. Mum didn’t have her big camera so only was able to take this shot with her cell phone.

Worm Moon

Elsa: It won’t win any Pulitzer prize, but it was interesting how  the clouds seemed to pull back with the Moon in the middle, almost like a curtain, so I guess that’s kinda cool.

Norman:  Very cool. So let’s share some of the sights we saw once we arrived at Grandpa’s house. The sunsets and sunrises are always quite stunning and Mum never tires of seeing them on the prairie. Check out this sunset shortly after we arrived. Is this a great country or what?


Elsa: Yeah, the sunsets are only surpassed by the sunrises. Mom really likes that time of day…it’s quiet and you can’t beat the colors. Especially against all the brown that tends to dominate the scenery this time of year. Check out this progression of light. This series started when it was fairly dark. But chilly.


Norman: You can say that again. 22ºF but when a mate has to go…well it makes you do your business and then trolly back into the house quickly.

Elsa: Us girls may have stronger bladders than you boys, although I can practically pee on demand whenever I go outside.

Norman:  No need to remind me. Sunrise didn’t take long. Check out the next pic.


Elsa: Those are some pretty colors over the Greenhorn Mountains. And you can still see a few spots of snow on some of those peaks.

Norman: It was quite the trio of sunrise pics. Here’s the last one of the series. The sun came up fairly quickly after that. And I noticed Mum managed to capture a shot with the moon hanging over the mountains.


Elsa: Well, as they say in Hollywood, that’s a wrap. We hope you have a terrific weekend. Make sure you can get outside and see what Nature is dishing up.

Norman: Cheerio, mates!

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday

Nature Friday ~ March 3, 2023

Ranch HandsGreetings and salutations, sports fans. Elsa and Norman here to welcome you to the first post of March. After surviving the longest month in winter history {ahem…oh sister, may I remind you that February is actually the shortest month of the year}…Yo brother, please stop throwing shade on my post! 

Norman: Sorry to have interrupted you, I just wanted to make sure you (a) understood that you made a misstatement and (b) I didn’t want our readers to think you were unsophisticated as to not know that February is the short month. By the way, you neglected to mention we’re joining those cuties over at Adventures of the LLB Gang for their weekly blog hop.

Elsa: Big deal…it was just a euphemism, fur ball. Sheesh, you can’t lighten up even a little, can you? And yes, we’re joining Rosy and Sunny. Are you happy now?

Norman: Of course I’m happy. You know how much I love those little pups. That said, I just want our posts to be factually correct so we can keep our integrity intact.

Elsa: {shaking her head and mischievously wagging her tail} W-h-a-t-e-v-e-r. As I was saying before you so rudely interrupted me, we managed to slam close the door on February and now are more than ready to welcome March. You know in two weeks, we’ll be celebrating a ‘green’ holiday, right, Mr. Precision?

Norman: Of course I do. Being a dog whose breed originated from the British Isles, I’m keenly aware of the “National Holiday of Ireland which is celebrated throughout the UK, Canada, US, Argentina, Australia, South Africa, and New Zealand, particularly among the Irish diaspora, as well as the territory of Montserrat.”

Elsa: Oh lord, you’ve been on Wikipedia again, haven’t you? Anywho, we began to notice subtle signs of greening yesterday that I thought we might share. You ready, dude?

Norman: Right-o, lass. Mum has been looking for signs that Spring is headed our way and said she’s hopeful that things are beginning to shift now. Just look at this garden art she found on her walk. It’s not the greatest composition (please don’t tell her I said that) but she stopped and went back to snap this pic because she saw…gasp…actual green grass, not the usual straw colored stuff we typically see in Winter around here.

Green grass

Elsa: Hey you said it, not me. Yeah…but you’re so right, it IS a really crummy pic but you gotta love the green grass which I plan to start munching on the next time we walk by. I love grass-those tender, fresh new shoots {smacking her lips}, it’s the best fiber around.

Norman: Umm,. hard pass on the grass, sister. After this week’s health scare, I’ve been strictly forbidden to eat ANYTHING other than what’s in my bowl.

Elsa: Yeah, I was going to ask you how you’re feeling now? You sure scared Mom-she was panic-stricken.

Norman: I know she was but am so grateful she acted quickly getting me to the vet. Getting poked and prodded is not my idea of a jolly time. The vet said my tests showed signs that I had a small case of pancreatitis but I’m feeling better now. Boy, let me just say, avoid pancreatitis if at all possible. I was one sick puppy for a few days and even had to cancel my hospital visits. Which really was unfortunate since I got all spiffed up and groomed to visit my friends at Lutheran. Oh, and before I forget, thank you for staying close and repeatedly nose-nudging me while I was recuperating. It was more than a bit disconcerting but think you were just trying to make sure I was ok so I appreciate your gentle care.

Elsa: {blushing} Well, I know I don’t show it very often but I do care about you and am glad you’re doing better. I’m not ready to be an only child.

Norman: Thank you, lovey. Very sporting of you…

Elsa: {interrupting} Yeah, yeah, don’t go all sentimental on me. Let’s get back to seeing other signs of green nature, ok?

Norman: Ok, let’s not dwell on the past. Mum found some little tulips along her walk. She told me these are very pretty when they’re in bloom and I, for one, am looking forward to seeing them in bloom. But of course, I won’t do anything more than sniff them-bulbs are toxic to us canines.

TulipsElsa:  Count me out on eating bulbs. I have high standards as to what I eat {snorfing heard in the background from Norman}. I noticed some green around the Ranch as well. Achillea x ‘Moonshine’ (Yarrow) is beginning to show signs of waking up. It looked pretty grim with brownish dried-out sticks and leaves until Mom cleaned it up a tad yesterday. It still has a  l-o-n-g  way to go, but that spot of green is a good sign.


Norman: She also noticed her hyacinth bulbs survived despite being repeatedly buried with snow. And the bearded iris and even some naturalized snapdragons are showing signs of waking up.

Signs of Spring

Elsa: All good signs, I’d say. But the pièce de résistance this week had to be these magnolia blossoms from a nearby neighbor’s garden. Mom says they’ll likely be hit with frost before they fully emerge but with that trademark blue sky, it was a lovely sight to behold. I’m not sure which was more welcome, those blooms or the clear blue sky. Mom isn’t a fan of gloomy grey skies.


Norman: Mum and I have that in common. Enjoying a nice sunny clear day is good for the soul, isn’t it?

Elsa: Right you are, dog-breath. So do you think we’ll get to enjoy some new adventures this weekend when the temps should be in the upper 50’sF? It’d be great if Mom took a different route on the walk so we can sniff new and different smells. The ground is nice and damp from the snow melting this week so it should be pretty doggone awesome for our olfactory systems.

Norman: Oooh, I can’t wait. I need to check out the neighborhood bulletin board. So what plans do you have for the first weekend of March? Anything exciting planned? Whatever you do, we hope signs of Spring are showing up around your neighborhood. This is the time of year where nature renews itself so be sure to get out there and find it. Have a bonny good weekend.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday

Nature Friday ~ January 27, 2023

Greetings and welcome to Day 97 of Winter, Norman here. Before I share some of the sights around our Ranch, I wanted…{Elsa yelling from the other room} “Don’t forget, it was my idea!!”

Norman: Ahem…As I was about to say, before sharing what Nature has looked liked around the Ranch, I wanted to express my deepest gratitude to all the wonderful Gotcha Day wishes from all the readers. You made my day extra special and I appreciate it tremendously.

Norman: {continuing} Now, let’s get to the sharing part of this week’s episode of Nature Friday, shall we? As always, we’re joining the LLB Gang.

Elsa: Yeah, get on with it, Bucko. I got things to do to get ready for the weekend.

Norman: Oh dear, I’m afraid this might be harder than I had hoped with all these interruptions.

Elsa: You want interruptions…don’t get me started, pal. Why I oughta…

Norman: No need to get hostile, Ninja. As I mentioned earlier it seems like Winter has been around forever. After those hyacinths raised their heads up a tad recently (in case you missed it, click here), I was ever so hopeful we would be moving toward more temperate climes. Alas, that is not the case. All those “atmospheric rivers” plaguing the West Coast continue to move west and leave piles of the dreaded white stuff.

Elsa: What do you mean, dreaded? This stuff tastes great.


Norman: {Rolling his eyes} Oh for bloody sake…do I get to do this post or don’t I?

Elsa:  Sheesh, lighten up, ya pile of fur!

Norman:  So sorry, I don’t mean to sound so harsh. My bad. I just want to be able to deliver my post uninterrupted. {Clearing his throat…continues}. Well as you can see by Elsa’s pose, it snowed…again. I think that was maybe Day 92 of Winter. At any rate, our landscape remains monochromed. Not totally brown anymore but more like 99.99% white.

Snow scene

Elsa: Ooh, ooh {breathlessly interrupting}…did I tell you I saw some brown yesterday? I took a whiff of the afternoon breeze and caught the scent of bunny. Or maybe it was squirrel, I don’t know. Either way…something had definitely marched through my front garden and I had to check it out since I am the protector of the Ranch.

Snow & shadows

Norman: Ok, moving right along. You know that one downspout that tends to ice up the sidewalk and causes problems when we turn the corner heading back to the dog run? I noticed even you wiped out and your fleet feet are pretty stable.

Elsa: Yeah…once I recovered and got up on all my paws and looked around like “what the dog was that all about!”

Norman: Don’t feel badly. I biffed it there as well. Mum was quite concerned. Seniors like me don’t do well when we fall. She helped me up and slowly guided me so I wouldn’t fall again on the icy sidewalk. I mean, I had patients and staff to visit and being hurt wasn’t on the agenda that morning.

Elsa: I noticed she tried to remediate the situation by spreading some cat litter and it turned into a lovely, squishy, grey goop during the bit of melting that occurred between storms.

Norman: Don’t remind me. It was a bloody mess. Turns out cat litter is not much of a substitute for sand so she cleaned it up as best as she could and then picked some sand up last night in anticipation of the next round of weather expected to move into the area this weekend. She went on a walkabout yesterday afternoon and raved about a cholla cactus she saw. She said it was completely sparkly from its spines to the small icy chunks of snow on it. I looked at her picture and felt badly for her-seems as if winter has clearly pushed her over the edge. All I saw was something poking through the snow with sharp spines. It was hard to see where the spines ended and the clumps of ice began.


Norman: {Shivering} Some of you have admitted you haven’t taken down your Christmas decorations. Well fear not, you’re not alone. When it snowed the other day, Mum was going on and on about this house on her walk. Mum’s…the littlest things seem to amuse them, I just don’t get it. No tree, no decorations, no presents left at our house and she gets giddy about this fenceline.

Christmas decorations

Elsa: She was just captivated by the snow on the ribbon, that’s all. It’s just a human shortcoming to like stuff like that.

Norman: Well I don’t get it. Course I’m more focused on the flakes that keep making appearances and those slippery walkways.

Snowy scene

Norman: There are much better ways to deal with this weather pattern during all these endless days of Winter. For instance, having a good time with a fun toy. And if I can’t play with a toy inside where I’m warm, I enjoy making friends with a policeman and a couple of EMT’s  from Lakewood, CO. They were at the Emergency Department when I visited and they just couldn’t get enough of me. I did rather enjoy that.



Elsa: {clearing her throat} Well your pet therapy work is nice and all, but can I just remind you that it really isn’t “Nature-centric?”

Norman: Perhaps not, but how could I resist such a swell group of chaps on my Gotcha Day?

Elsa: Oh jeez. You are shameless, you know that, right?

Norman: I beg your pardon. I’m just trying to show everyone there’s more to life than just drab brown or crystal white in life. That’s all.

Elsa: W.h.a.t.e.v.e.r…let’s wrap it up, big guy.

Norman: Roger, dear sister. We both hope you have a pawsome weekend and are able to get outside and enjoy some of Nature.

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ December 16, 2022

With just nine sleeps until Santa Paws arrives, we’ve been busy trying to get ready for the big day but not so busy we couldn’t find at least a couple of pics for this week’s edition of Nature Friday. As always, we thank those furry pals over at LLB Gang for hosting the blog hop.

Winter officially arrives next week but it seems to have already arrived here in the 303. Not in the form of any white stuff, mind you. This week’s forecasted Snowmageddon completely fizzled with only six tiny flakes falling. Temperatures however did fall and the dogs’ daily walks have been limited to quick trips in the dog run in order to preserve achy joints. Luckily those trips coincided with some winter beauty.

Red sky

The old saw says ‘red skies in morning, sailor take warning’ so this early morning scene left me hopeful that we’d receive some white stuff later in the day, but it was not to be.

Red skies

Apparently that other part of that old saw, “red skies at night, sailor’s delight” prevailed. Not sure if sailor’s would want to be  sailing in the low temps, but it certainly seemed to apply on the prediction of a storm. Cloudy, cold and windy are the watch words controlling weather conditions for the foreseeable future.

Cold temps mean both dogs are getting cabin fever. With Christmas preparations in high gear and little opportunity for the releasing of any pent up energy physically, that means boredom. I’ve had to rescue more than a few items from the jaws of death. Hopefully Christmas preparations will be wrapped up this weekend so I can concentrate on stemming any excess energy mischief this next week. Fingers crossed.

Well that’s it for us. Sorry for the lack of images this week. Hopefully we’ll do better next time when things calm down.

So what plans do you have this last full weekend before the big day? Whatever you do, I hope you’ll have the opportunity to see some slices of nature in between. Have a ‘wagnificent’ weekend.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

One Word Wednesday~November 2, 2022



Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ October 21, 2022

Woof, woof…it’s Friday which means that the intrepid pair of reporters (that’d be Norman and I) are at it again sharing slices of our natural world from around our urban neighborhood. Hiya, Elsa to kick this party off!

Norman: Top o’ the morning, little sister. Before we get started, let our readers know we’re joining our friends from over at Adventures of the LLB Gang for their weekly blog hop and hope everyone will check out what others have shared from their own natural world.

Elsa:  Always gotta interrupt my zen with facts, don’t ‘cha? Argh.

Norman: Well, we want to make Mum proud of our work.

Elsa: Mom’s proud enough of me, er us. But to stop going back and forth with you, let’s get started. We saw some fairly bizarre things yesterday on our walks that seemed really out of character for this time of year.

Norman: Quite right, Ninja. Mum was catching up with her sister on the phone when we walked past a shrub in bloom. That in and of itself is not the surprising thing, but the kind of shrub it was. Check this out. Have you ever seen a lilac in bloom…in October no less??


Elsa: Whoa…that is bizarre! Don’t those thing usually bloom in Springtime?

Norman: How should I know, I’m a British dog.

Elsa: A British dog who seems like they know gardening, I mean you’re the one who waters plants all the time, I just figured you know their watering requirements.

Norman: I couldn’t say. Mum tried to sniff at it (the nerve, I mean sniffing is MY realm!) but it had no scent. Maybe it isn’t a lilac but some sort of hybrid or a related plant. But it left us all feeling like we were in a Tardis box and transported back in time. {scratching his head}

Elsa: It was weird, but then again so were these guys. I kept thinking I had been robbed of enjoying winter and it was now Spring again. While I know you’d be okay with that, I personally like the snow and felt like I had been cheated of dashing through the snow.


Norman: Luckily the rest of our walk put us back in the present season. Looks like pumpkins are ruling. Pumpkins and leaves that are changing colors.

Elsa: They’re changing alright, and lots of the leaves have already started to fall. For a hot minute I thought it was snowing yellow and orange yesterday afternoon when a breeze came through.


Norman: Right-o. The leaves did seem like they were snowing down on us but as we crunched through them, I was reassured it wasn’t snow but a beautiful nirvana of autumn scents in those falling leaves. Boy, do they smell terrific and very autumn-ish.

Elsa: You know that stretch where we see all sorts of critters in and around a water ditch that flows through part of the ‘Hood? Well yesterday, I  almost thought we were lost, it looked so different with it being dry and full of fallen leaves.

Autumn leaves

Norman: So true-it was like we’d stepped into the woods from a fairytale.

Elsa: Ha! Fairytale? I thought we’d taken a wrong turn and were lost.

Norman: I know Mum would never get lost, we mostly follow the same path all the time and even we know exactly where to turn.

Elsa: Well with all the skellies in the ‘Hood, things can look a little out of place if you know what I mean. Like yesterday, Mom delivered her mail-in ballot to the dropbox off our usual route and it was like we’d entered into a whole new world.

Norman: Indeed. New plants, new houses and new Halloween decorations. Pumpkins seems to be everywhere.


Elsa: Those are too mild for my tastes. I like the the more interesting yard decor.


Norman: Welp! I’m not sure I want to walk past that place again. I mean, if it’d been a creepy cloudy day…well it could have been scarier.

Elsa: Oh jeez, you big fur-baby! That thing can’t hurt us…it was locked behind the closed gate, you fool.

Norman: Well it startled me when its clothes started swaying in the breeze. I wasn’t sure just what that was all about. I thought maybe it was haunted or possessed.

Elsa: Haunted or possessed? Oh brother, you gotta get out more. Besides, while sometimes I might be a little terrifying  toward you, do you actually think I’d let anyone hurt you?

Norman: I can easily stand up for myself, you know. I just choose not to get into shouting matches with Rottweilers and such. But I’d go to the mat if anyone threatened you from behind a fence. You know that, right?

Elsa: Yeah, we’re both pretty bad-a$$ on this side of the fence, if I do say so myself. {looking pretty proud of her bad little self}

Norman: Enough with the bravado, how do you feel about this ‘pup?’ I thought he looked rather sweet in his appearance and demeanor.


Elsa: Oh that dude? Bwahahahahahaha. What a pussy cat. I could whip him with one paw tied behind my back.

Norman: No paw tying is necessary. I distinctly heard him passing gas.

Elsa: Oh dear gawd, you really do need to get out more. That dog is one of those inflatable things that Mom is always joking about. You know she’s not a fan of them, right?

Norman: I gathered but heard her distinctly mention she and her neighbors would begin to look like this one soon enough when they realized the leaf raking had commenced.


Elsa: Yeah, she said everyone was going to face plant after they realized they would be raking and raking and raking yet again.

Norman: It’s quite true, this is the beginning of lots of yard work. You think these guys might ride around picking up the falling leaves and carting them away?


Elsa: Those guys? Nah, I doubt it. They just look cute in the yard. Remember when they were all decorated for Spring and we wondered if the bike and wagon would still be around. Well, looks like they survived. Wonder if they’re cemented in place? Seems like that’s the only way things like that stay in place these days.

Norman: Well, if that’s what it takes to keep burglars at bay, I guess I’m okay with it. They are pretty cheerful looking.

Elsa: Almost as cheerful as this planter of gourds and pumpkins outside the flower shop. It just screams autumn, doesn’t it?


Norman: And without the noise or being scary. I liked this one very much. It was quite pretty yet spoke autumn. Well, I think the only thing left to share is our good wishes for a ‘wagnificent’ weekend. Thank you for joining me and my little sister. We’d like to leave you with a spot of zen as you head toward the weekend. Cheers.


Elsa: Don’t forget to get outside and explore the wonderful world Nature shares with us. Have a doggone great weekend!

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ October 7, 2022

HalloweenWheee…it’s been a wild and busy week but we managed to ‘hang’ there and make it to Friday which means it’s time to join Rosy from  “Adventures of the LLB Gang” for their weekly Nature Friday blog hop. Don’t forget to check out what others shared by clicking on the link.

This week I traveled south to see my Dad and to visit with a sister from flew in from Maryland to also visit with Dad. Let see what autumn looks like in southern Colorado, shall we?

NatureAutumn is in full swing along the Greenhorn mountains west of Pueblo and a beautiful alpenglow at sunrise silhouetted a lone pinon tree in the wide open space on the nearby Walker Ranch. Nature deftly adds some tawny buffalo grass among the prairie dog burrows and provides a serene and resplendent landscape.

Sunrises tend to be pretty spectacular down at Dad’s anyway and they certainly haven’t disappointed this week. Everything seems to glow in the autumn air.

Rise and shine!

Prairie grasses are illuminated in the early morning light while my favorite tree continues to remain stately just a couple of hours later. You may recall I’ve featured this tree before and it continues to blow me away, given that it is estimated to be over 700 years old, yet it still soldiers on. And as is so typical in these parts, a beautiful blue bird colored sky makes for a great backdrop for added emphasis.

Pinion treeRabbit brush

Down the road a large patch of rabbitbrush is in full bloom and provides a safe habitat for neighboring bunnies and other small creatures. One dashed out in front of me as I headed up the hill but was so fast I couldn’t even grab my cell phone quick enough to capture it. But like all the rabbits around Dad’s house, it was furry and adorably cute with a signature white powder puff of a tail. Wouldn’t it be nice to be as energetic so early in the day? But all was not lost on spotting critters. I did find these guys on the afternoon walk. I’m a total sucker for whimsical lawn art.


Plus keeping up with them is never a problem and they happily pose for pics.


They may not be actual living creatures, but they still provide  a nice smile nonetheless.

We hope autumn is beautiful in your neck of the woods (or plains, as the case may be). Do you have any special plans for the weekend? Whatever you do, I hope you’re able to take some time to enjoy this beautiful time of year.

Live, love, bark! 🐾