Nature Friday ~ May 27, 2022

Happy last Friday in the month of May. As always, we’re joining our fur-pals, Rosy, Sunny and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard for this week’s Nature Friday blog hop. Be sure to check out what others are sharing by clicking on the link.

Ranch HandsHiya, it’s us Ranch Hands bringing spots of nature photos from this past week. Elsa: Remember not to pee on stuff, brother, ok? Norman: Tsk. I’m nothing if not a proper gentleman, Ninja.

You may recall that last week we received some snow showers on Friday and Saturday and boy did it cause some damage to several of the neighborhood trees. Elsa: Luckily it wasn’t as bad as some storms but it’s taken all week long for the cleanup. Here are a few pics from our walks.

Snow

Norman: I rather enjoyed watching it fall from the sofa while I had my ball. Elsa: Your ball? Ha, don’t you wish!

Norman

Norman: Mum dressed us up in our jackets so we could ‘enjoy’ the weather first hand. Elsa: It wasn’t that bad, you big baby. Norman: Can I help it if I don’t like wet? Elsa: {eyes rolling} Oh good grief, you’re such a wuss. When I lived at the puppy mill, I was outside all the time. This was nothing. Norman: Well, I came from a warmer climate and became used to kinder conditions. Elsa: Oh cry me a river, will ya. Let’s get on with it and show our readers some more pics, ok?

Trees

Trees

Elsa: As you can see, the amount of snow wasn’t all that much, only about 4 inches max. It melted nearly as fast as it fell but it was unusual to get snow this late in May. And we managed to not get the below the forecasted freezing temps too. Norman: Mum was happy about that; she was worried about her peonies which were just forming buds. Elsa: Yeah, she had to tarp a good deal of the garden. For a while there, it looks like a bit like Sanford & Sons but that seemed to save them and the ready-to-pop irises.

Flowers

Norman: The lupines didn’t seem to suffer all that much either. A few were a bit floppy from the weight of the snow but they are all blooming nicely.

Flowers

Elsa: We walked past some wildflowers after the storm who seemed to be thriving from the nice drink of water they  received.

Flowers

Norman: Nice one, Elsa. I took a nice long sniff at those yellow charmers. Elsa: Yeah, I remember mum trying to drag you away so you wouldn’t pee on them. Norman: {huff} Must you always bring that up? I’m required to check the canine bulletin board to see if there are any messages to pass along to you. Consider me a sort of chaperone for your delicacies. Elsa: Bwahahaha, delicacies?  Who you trying to kid, I’m about as delicate as a panther, dude. Norman: {miffed} I’m just trying to be gentlemanly about protecting my unappreciative sister. Elsa: Ok, I’ll give you that. Thanks, I think.

Norman: You’re most welcome, dear sister. So do you have any other photos people might like? Elsa: As a matter of fact I do. Mom found a new cactus plant that didn’t seem to mind the cold or snow. Norman: Yeah, mom won’t let me remotely near those plants. I prefer plants with soft leaves but it is rather pretty if I say so myself.

Flowers

 

Norman: Why not show one last photo of another iris we pass on our walks? Elsa: Happy to oblige. You know this sharing the Nature Friday thing isn’t so bad with you. You’re a good boy, Norman. Thanks for letting me have the last pic.

Flowers

Norman: Heh, heh…I’m actually going to get the last word/pics by sharing that mum received an award this week when we visited hospital staff and patients. She was quite shocked to see she’s logged over 500 hours since she embarked on being a pet therapy chauffeur. Even though the majority was with her beloved Sam, I think it still touched her. But we all know who does the real work, don’t we? Elsa: You’re going to pay for this, dude.

Norman

Pet Therapy

 

Norman: So worth it, little sister. Sooo worth it.Norman

Ranch Hands {in unison}: We hope you enjoyed our pics of Nature in all her gore and glory. She can sometime exact a heavy toll for sharing her beauty with us. We hope you make sure to get outside and enjoy some of it this Memorial Day weekend. Have a safe and happy ‘howliday’ as the unofficial start of summer begins.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ May 20, 2022

Welcome to Friday where we join our pals,  Rosy, Sunny and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard to see what’s going on in our ‘Hood in the 303. The intrepid duo decided to sleep in today (for reasons I’ll explain later), so I’ll be bringing today’s edition.

Spring is in full swing with a riot of colors, from pinks to red, blues and lavenders, pops of bright yellows and greens but today we’re gonna look at orange. No Max, not Bronco orange…but the kind of orange from Nature’s very own slice on the color wheel. Besides it’s hockey season and we. just. can’t. do. football yet. So let’s get to it.

Walking around the neighborhood it’s easy to find lots of orange. First, fresh annual marigolds are brightening spots all over Mile High gardens. Bright and happy, they also are guardians in the veggie garden. Harmful bugs do not like their scent, so I always plant some of this hardworking annual around the tomato plants so I don’t have to spray any toxic herbicides.

Flowers
Cheerful and hard working marigolds

When it comes to orange nothing says springtime quite like Oriental Poppies. Native to the Caucasus, northeastern Turkey, and northern Iran, they grow from a mound of leaves and are drought resistant. Coming in a variety of colors, bright orange seems to be the standard default. They beg passerby’s to stop and stare at the paperlike blooms and fuzzy teardrop-shaped buds.

Flowers
Oriental poppy

Another type of poppy around here are Papaver nudicaule, commonly known as the Icelandic Poppy. Native to subpolar regions of Asia and North America, and the mountains of Central Asia as well as temperate China (ironically not Iceland), these charming poppies can pop up in unusual spots, like in this retaining wall which were clearly not planted. Again, flowers are crepe papery textured, bowl-shaped, supported by hairy, curved stems in the feathery blue-green foliage. First described by botanists in 1759, they are hardy in USDA Zones 3a-10b and xeric with low water needs.

Flowers
Icelandic Poppies along a garden wall

No low-water garden in the Mile High is complete without Blanket Flower or Gaillardia, a member of the Asteraceae family, native to North and South America. It was named after Maître Gaillard de Charentonneau, a French 18th-century French magistrate who was an enthusiastic botanist.

Flowers
Gaillardia (Blanket Flower), a perennial

Next entry on the Orange Tour are perennial Daylilies (Hemerocallis), whose name refers to its flowers, which typically last about a day. Hemerocallis are native to Asia (primarily eastern Asia, including China, Korea, and Japan), and popular everywhere because of the showy flowers and their hardy nature. There are thousands of registered cultivars. Despite their name, daylilies are not true lilies growing from bulbs. Be sure to keep your pets from ingesting as like most spring bulbs, they are harmful to pets.

Flowers

Last on our walking tour, is this tiny cactus. I probably wouldn’t have noticed it save for it’s bright shock of color. Regrettably, I have no idea what kind of cactus it is but it was pretty enough to include in this edition.

Flowers
Blooming Cactus

So what’d you think of the Orange Tour? Some interesting and certainly lovely blooms, right? Glad I was able to present them for your enjoyment since we’re under a winter storm watch. Yes, w-i-n-t-e-r.  A late season storm moving through the northern and central Rockies is calling for 3 to 6 inches of heavy, wet snow for the metro area with freezing temps (note to self: cover the freshly planted veggies and emerging flower seeds and disconnect the hose). It will be the first decent snow since mid-March. We hope.

I haven’t got the heart to tell Norman about the snow…preferring to let sleeping dogs lie. Ignorance is often bliss.

Norman
Rest up, big guy

So what plans do you have for the weekend. We’ll be drinking hot chocolate and nursing our wounds from the first lost in the Stanley Cup Round 2 playoffs and hope the Round 1 team shows up again instead of the guys who played last night. Whatever you do, we hope you have a fun-filled weekend enjoying the wild, diverse beauty of Mother Nature, especially from the orange pallet.

Current temp 39F°

  Light Rain – feels like 36°
High today: 42F°/38°

Friday Rain to Snow Showers

Saturday – Snow

40F°/28°
 80%

Sunday- Scattered Showers

52F°/27°
 50%
Nature Friday
Live, love, bark!  🐾

Nature Friday ~ May 13, 2022

Ranch HandsHappy Friday! Norman and Elsa here to help Mum out by sharing some nature from around the ‘Hood. Friday is generally the day most of us look forward to as it’s usually the gateway to a relaxing weekend spent with our families, many of whom work weekdays. Today would be the same, unless of course you happen to have friggatriskaidekaphobia-that irrational fear of Friday the 13th. The good news is today is the only Friday the 13th in 2022 and since it is a Friday afterall, it’s better than any Monday whatever, right? Did you know that Friday the 13th occurs whenever a month begins on a Sunday? All well and good but today is also Nature Friday around Blogville so we’re here to share the beauty of nature, and we’re not going to worry about crossing paths of black cats, walking under ladders or broken mirrors. Elsa: “Cats…where?!” Norman: “Nevermind the cats, Ninja”…let’s just join our pals, Rosy, Sunny and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard to see what’s happened lately naturewise in the Mile High City.

It was another windy week but that reality won’t stop us from sharing unusual gardenscapes this week from around our ‘Hood.

Gardens in the metro area are as diverse and fascinating as the people who tend them. Elsa: You mean weird, don’t you? Norman: “Well that’s somewhat rude to say. I like to think of them more as creative souls, expressing themselves. They can range from meticulously maintained flower beds at the Denver Botanical Gardens to pint sized plots on teeny lots with monstrous mansions on them and everything in between. Let’s take a closer look, shall we? Here’s an example of a perfectly tended bed from DBG. Notice the symmetry and formality?”

Flowers
Tulip bed near the front entrance to the Denver Botanical Gardens

Elsa: “Yeah, yeah, but where’s the flower bed with bunnies?” Norman: “Oh, for heaven’s sake.”

One of the things we keep our eyes peeled for when we’re out wandering about are unusual plants and whimsical garden decor. Elsa: “Not me, I’m looking for bunnies and squirrels you big oaf.” Norman: “Ugh…focus, please!” We came across a small group of trees that just blew mum away with its ‘camouflage’ bark. American Sycamores are stately trees with unusual looking bark. Norman: “They smell nice.” Elsa: Everything has a nice smell to it where you’re concerned. Sometimes I think you’re a Bloodhound, not an Old English Sheepdog.”

Tree
American Sycamore Tree

Mum always manages to find unusual sights on our walks. She likes to check out those gardeners who are clever and original. For some reason, she’s begun to notice of a lot of gardeners decorating their trees like this neighbor who lives around the corner from the Ranch. Norman: “Hey, if it’s a canine bulletin board, count me in.” Elsa: “Look at that weirdo face. I think a cat must have been here earlier this week.” Norman: {eye roll}.

Trees
Ponderosa Pine with Face

Some gardeners think whimsy should be part of their design. Norman: I thought I should investigate what this dog was sniffing until Mum said it wasn’t a real dog.” Elsa: “Yeah, there wasn’t even a treat in that hole or flowers in the pots. What kind of scam is that?”

Garden Decor
Hey, where’s the bunny?

Some ‘gardeners’ have more success with paint brushes than with trowels. A nearby neighbor paints ‘house tattoos.’ She guarantees her creations require no water and will always bloom.

Art
House tattoo by a neighborhood artist

Fairy houses are popping up everywhere, probably a sign of the housing crunch that’s rampant everywhere. The square footage may be minimal, but the cuteness factor runs large.

A newly constructed Fairy house

A neighbor who’s new to the block has a toddler and as they tell it, they’re often too busy trying to keep up with the little tyke, so they installed a small potted garden for flowers on their corner lot that is otherwise turf. Norman: I keep waiting to introduce myself to the dog named ‘Cat’ but haven’t seen him or her yet. Elsa: Cat??? Where? Why are you torturing me by bringing up mythical cats again?”

Flowers
‘Cat,’ the nice dog’s potted garden

Norman: It’s clear, Elsa sees gardens differently than me or mum. But we still hope you enjoyed some of the more whimsical gardens around our neighborhood. Elsa: “Yeah if anyone knows where I can actually find a cat or a bunny, please let me know. That stupid oaf of a brother can’t seem to dish on their whereabouts.”

Mum: Ok, you two, that’s enough. We hope you enjoyed our little tour with some of the different gardens around and liked the tour the Ranch Hands conducted. Just like gardeners here, their ideas are as different as night and day. Hopefully you will be able to spend some time outside this weekend looking for beauty from around your own neighborhood. Have a ‘pawsome’ weekend!

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ May 6, 2022

If yesterday’s stock market dive has left you feeling a bit stressed, then hopefully this week’s Nature Friday edition will provide some comfort. As usual we’re joining our fur-pals, Rosy, Sunny and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard. Hopefully these new pics from the Denver Botanical Gardens will be the antidote that can help restore your zen.

Norman & Elsa curated these images from my favorite area within Denver Botanical Garden’s grounds. Despite the fact the Ranch Hands are not being able to enjoy the beauty first hand (dogs are not permitted unless they are bona fide service dogs), it’s a place full of peaceful calm and serenity. Let’s go straight to the zen, shall we?

First, a little bit of historical info about the garden called Shofu-En, or “Garden of the Pine Winds.” Located in the northwestern corner of DBG, the Japanese Garden was designed by Koichi Kawana over 40 years ago (he also designed Japanese gardens in San Diego, Chicago, and St. Louis). Kawana transplanted over 100 locally sourced ponderosa pines that had been stunted by harsh, windy conditions in the Roosevelt National Forest near Boulder, Colorado. Some of the smaller trees are more than 200 years old and are meticulously maintained to preserve their size and shape through trimming and tying of their branches.

Kawana also designed the teahouse, that was originally built in Japan, disassembled and rebuilt on the site. In the 40 years I’ve lived in the metro area, I’ve only seen the tea house in use between the fence slats just once for a private group. Without sufficient access to the fenced area, I’ve never really been able to get a decent picture but learned tea ceremonies are held during summer months, pre-registration is required and it’s already sold out for the 2022 season.

There are several features that distinguish a Japanese garden. This little fella, camped out near the “Bee Hotel” featured in last week’s post, sweetly shouted them out as I moved toward the garden. Overall, the keys are: keep it natural, simple and uncluttered.

Critters
Welcome visitors..

Japanese gardening offer simple, peaceful spaces that promote contemplation and serenity. The space can be small or large but always focuses on natural elements to provide a relaxing retreat, underscoring nature’s impact on the space.

Japanese garden
Order and serenity are a hallmark of Japanese garden design.
Flowers
Welcome to the Japanese Garden

Beautifully raked areas are often a prominent feature in a Japanese garden. No wonder dogs cannot accompany their owners. With Norman’s big paws, this area’s serenity and order would be undone in no time.

With Denver’s climate of being considered a mountain desert, a dry garden is in perfect harmony with Japanese garden design. It’s easy to slowly meander across the bridge while walking around a small water feature that feeds into the lake. Spaces are meant for viewing nature, provide balance and inspiring peaceful meditation.

Japanese garden
Boulders and a small  bridge adds to the zen feeling.

The pièce de résistance centerpiece of the garden is the pond and this redbud tree highlights it beautifully with spring color.

Japanese Garden
Calm at the pond area.
Pond
Evergreen trees surround the pond.
Bells
Japanese bells.
Bells
Temple Bells.

These temple bells were provided by a generous DBG patron. They are exquisite and one can only imagine the sound they could make when struck.

Koi pond
Koi enjoying a spot of sun.

No Japanese garden is complete without a Koi pond. These guys slowly meander about adding to the whole peacefulness of the space.

I hope this short tour lowered your blood pressure and just in time for a Mother’s Day celebration this weekend. Everyone at the Ranch wish mum’s everywhere, a lovely day with meaningful time with their children, whether they have two or four feet.

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark!  🐾

Nature Friday ~ April 29, 2022

Welcome to the last Nature Friday post for April. As always, we’re joining our fur-pals, Rosy, Sunny and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard.

Ranch HandsThis week (and likely for a few future weeks) we’re going to share images from the Denver Botanical Gardens. Let’s get started.

Today we’ll be highlighting some of the amazing things to see from the Boettcher Memorial Tropical Conservatory at the gardens, starting with the building.

Denver Botanical Gardens
Image courtesy of Tom Churchill

This concrete and Plexiglas paneled structure, designed in 1964 by Denver architects Victor Hornbein and Ed White Jr., opened in 1966. Named to honor local benefactor Claude Boettcher of Ideal Cement Company, it became a Denver Landmark in 1973 and contains more than 11,000 sq. ft. of plants from tropical and subtropical regions, as well as a concrete fabricated two-story banyan tree offering a multi-layered view of the tropical forest.

When you first enter the conservatory there is a small aquarium with D. tinctorius “Azureus”  (Blue Dart Poison Frog), who has bright blue skin with dark spots. With glands producing poisonous alkaloids which can paralyze and sometimes kill a potential predator, these little guys (reaching approximately 3.0-4.5 cm in length) live in the rainforest of Brazil and feed on ants, beetles, flies, mites, spiders, termites, maggots, and caterpillars. Spots are unique to each frog. These frogs are territorial and aggressive toward their own as well as others and their toxins have been used on the tips of arrows darts of natives.

Denver Botanical Gardens

Sorry about the glare, the aquarium has a ceiling light above it but they are kind of cute little guys.

Denver Botanical Gardens

{Shudder} We’re not sure we’d like toxic frogs less threatening so let’s see something else, shall we?

Bromeliads are tropical plants that adapt to various climates. Their foliage takes different shapes, from needle-thin to broad and flat, symmetrical to irregular, spiky to soft and usually grows in a rosette, are widely patterned and colored, ranging from maroon, through shades of green, to gold. Varieties may have leaves with red, yellow, white or cream variations. Did you know that pineapples are a type of bromeliad?

Mum couldn’t find an identifying tag in the humid conservatory but loved this bright pink one nonetheless.

Denver Botanical Gardens

Lots of you are bakers and probably use vanilla when baking but did you know that the vanilla flavoring come from an orchid? Mum buys the pods, and makes her own extract.

Denver Botanical Gardens Denver Botanical Gardens

Mum was totally captivated by this beautiful Travelers Palm (Ravenala Madagascariensis) which fanned across a large area of the conservatory. Isn’t that symmetry something else?

Denver Botanical Gardens

Well, that’s it for this week. Join us next time for another post highlighting scenes from the Denver Botanical Gardens. With the weather being far more pleasant we hope to get outside to enjoy some of Nature’s wondrous treasures. Do you have any special plans?

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ April 22, 2022

Welcome to this week’s episode of Nature Friday where we join Rosy, Sunny and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard.

Spring finally sprung in the 303 and apparently decided to do double-time to make up for her slow arrival, while the upper Midwest and Northeast decided to take a step back and revisit Winter. Meanwhile Spring lasted about a hot minute with emphasis on the hot and now has decided to confer with her cousin, Summer. The Ranch has once again traveled to the family homestead in Southern Colorado where temperatures will reach the low 90’s today. And yes, that’s 9-0, as in too freakin’ hot for April. Why, oh why does Nature punish the Front Range with hot temps and low moisture is far beyond my paygrade so I guess I’ll just move straight to some of the things we saw around the ‘Hood this week.

For those few moments Spring was actually in town, welcome sights greeted anyone who took the time to check them out. Last week I had intended to share a pic from the cold hardy magnolia a tree from down the street but was unable due to computer issues so because they’re so pretty, I’m including one today. This tree had been zapped a couple of times with chilly temps (and thus some browning around the edges) but managed to show why it’s worth sharing this week. When it first started blooming a few years ago, the blossoms were a light creamy color but now they are more yellow in recent years. Still, it’s a lovely sight to behold. The only shortcoming is it doesn’t have the typically divine scent that magnolia trees have in the South. But when you look like Sophia Loren, people don’t criticize you. No one.

Flowers

Flowering trees showed why gardeners enjoy planting them. This crabapple tree was covered in blooms apparently so yummy as to beg for pollinators to nosh on their sweet nectar.

Trees

A visit to a local garden center showed some stunning Ranunculus asiaticus, as early blooming perennials are beginning to arrive. These double flowered beauties heralding from the eastern Mediterranean region are simply stunning in the ornamental garden.

Flowers

The Ranch Hands appreciated some ‘breezy walks’ this week (which translates to windy as all get out) among some showy Creeping Phlox and even posed nicely together. Apparently miracles do happen and not just in hockey. Imagine wrangling two squirmy dogs not all that keen on touching one another while holding their leashes tightly so they don’t chase a nearby squirrel, focusing a cell phone in between hands also holding a full bag of poop ready to be ditched in a bin and this is one extraordinary image despite its less than stellar composition. Yeah, I’m bowing now and patting myself on the back, you betcha.

Ranch Hands

The Ranch Hands and I have been keeping our eyes peeled for wildlife. Yesterday while Norman was playing co-Grand Marshall with another pet therapy dog leading a parade at a hospital event, we spied a goose who was roosting over 6 eggs in a planter near the front entrance. Mama Goose was not pleased with the people or their dogs and hissed warnings at us. A quick unimpressive snap and we off we went after she made it clear we were not welcome. Next week we’ll share pictures celebrating the National Pet Therapy Day.

Goose

Well that’s it from the Ranch this week. We hope those of you who received a blast from Winter are now enjoying better Spring days and we are praying for all those in the western US dealing with wildfires. Hope you are able to get outside this weekend and enjoy all the beauty Nature shares. Go forth and enjoy.

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ April 15, 2022

Welcome to the Good Friday edition of Nature Friday. As always, we’re joining our hosts, Rosy, Sunny and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard.

Nature has been conspiring against us most of this week with ongoing high winds every day, making Wi-Fi sporadic at best. The laptop did a death gasp and am now trying to post something from my phone. People who are able to function that way have my greatest admiration.

As I’m clearly inept in my feeble attempts of trying to post from a phone (trying to insert images is beyond challenging), I’ll just end this painful exercise by hoping everyone has a Happy Easter, Passover or Ramadanwhichever holiday you celebrate.

Hopefully we’ll be back and fully functioning online next week. Till then, do good things, smile and be kind. But for heavens sake, make sure to get outside and enjoy some of the Nature shares. Had I been able to figure out how to add additional photos, you no doubt would have agreed with me. ☮️

Live, love, bark🐾

Nature Friday ~ April 8, 2022

It’s Friday where we join our pals Rosy, Sunny and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard for another edition of Nature Friday.

Nature continues to tease Spring’s arrival. This week she tried a different strategy. Seasonal winds are a hallmark of March but seemed to wait until April to arrive and have been buffeting the Front Range all week. Wait a minute…I thought April supposed to be the gentle, sweet month with showers for flowers. Ahem…I’m waiting Mother Nature. Oh sure, if my count was accurate, about 16 drops of moisture fell earlier this week but cold, strong winds evaporated them immediately. Sigh.

Here are this week’s images from around the neighborhood that suggest spring’s arrival. I’ll spare you the typical tulips, daffodils, or forsythia blooms. With the lack of measurable moisture they aren’t quite as picturesque as usual. I did find a few exceptions though.

One particular hyacinth caught my eye from a shady spot. It was chock-full of glorious white flowerets. No color needed here with this beauty.

Flowers

The tree canopy is just beginning to unfurl its leaves but remains at the beginning stages. Crisp temperatures no doubt are contributing to the delay but when you look closer, you see the promise of future shade. The neighborhood staple-maple trees, showed tiny incremental development despite cold mornings as they begin to leaf out (as I began this post this morning it was 30ºF with a thin layer of frost on the rooftops).

Trees

This flowering crab found along yesterday’s walk showed it was ‘thinking’ about blooming. With next week’s forecast, I hope they survive possible snow showers and continued cool temps. Having lived on a street as a kid that was lined with flowering crab trees, the sight of seeing them bloom makes them one of the prettiest of the flowering trees and brought back happy childhood memories. If you look closely you can just see hints of pink ready to burst forward.

Trees

Another early springtime beauty around here are pasque flowers. Native to meadows and prairies from North America to as far away as the UK and Norway, Pulsatilla typically blooms around Easter time. When I looked it up to learn more, I discovered it is a toxic plant and was used as a homeopathic medicine by Native Americans for centuries. Blackfoot Indians used it to induce childbirth and it has been used to treat reproductive problems (i.e. PMS and epididymitis). Those soft hairs always intrigue me. I’m a sucker for texture.

Flowers

Yesterday’s walk also provided a ground cover/shrub I’ve not noticed before. I think it might be some sort of Photinia but not positive. If you know what it is, please leave a comment. Aren’t the pink edges pretty?

Flowers

Imagine my surprise encountering this sheltered strawberry plant robustly emerging near the base of a tree!

Flowers

I’ve been keeping my eyes peeled for wildlife sightings. Those efforts were rewarded yesterday as a ginger cat followed our crossing in front of its domain. The dogs totally missed him but I didn’t (truth be told, my eye had originally focused on the childlike greeting drawn on the front door wishing a Happy Easter). We may not have been as good as ‘bird TV’ but this fella was likely irritated by mesmerized by our presence or it’s a darn good guard cat.

Cat

We’ve only encountered one robin as yet but did manage to see these beauties in a front yard. I think they may be ‘permanent’ residents though.

Birds

One last pretty this week may be a hardy cyclamen of some sort. It wasn’t very tall but that color grabbed me like a stage hook, screaming “LOOK AT ME, look. at. me!”

Flowers

My eyes are always drawn to shocks of color and when you add in variegated leaves, well count me in. What draws your eye when your trying to view evidence of spring?

That’s it for another week. Spring continues to take its sweet time but it makes for opportunities to consciously hunt for it. Got any special plans for the weekend? Nothing is on our radar except to wish a dear friend a very happy birthday. You know who you are. Happy birthday, girl-we love you and hope your day is as special as you are.

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ April 1, 2022

Happy Fri-Yay and thanks for joining us and our friends Rosy, Sunny and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard for this week’s Nature Friday blog hop. It may be April Fool’s Day on the calendar, but nature isn’t fooling around as she continues to deliver some lovely surprises associated with early Spring.

It was another week of a bit of everything where the weather is concerned. But nature seems to be at least trying to nudge  flowers from their winter beds. After a few days of cloudy days, chilly temps and a little bit of rain, the Ranch Hands and I woke up to glorious clear blue-bird skies. When it’s sunny and clear, all seems right.

Blue skies

While you can see buds on the tree (upper left hand corner) in front of this architectural wonder near downtown, other trees and shrubs are moving full steam ahead. I came across a small holly bush that was beginning to bloom.

Flowers

And then there are some trees that are hanging on to last year’s bounty left for the birds. Some people don’t find those scenes as interesting as I do but I love that texture.

Trees

I think this ‘dude’ is firmly grounded in the perplexed category as he resides next to that tree at a nearby elementary school community garden. It was abuzz with activity this week as garden plots were being cleaned up getting ready for early vegetable plantings.

Statute

Daffodils, hyacinths and tulips flash their pretty at a nearby neighbor’s garden that receives plenty of sunshine with great southern exposure. With my large trees, things are still mostly brown in my garden but I can admire others who are lucky to have great sun exposure.

Flowers

Glory of the Snow or scilla (Scilla luciliae) popped up along one of my walks and it was truly beautiful. I don’t see a lot of  these plants but intend to look for some bulbs this autumn when I add to my spring bulbs. Heralding from western Turkey, they are one of the earliest (and in my mind, prettiest) flowering bulbs.

Flowers

After another busy week, I found myself strolling around in the baby blue grape hyacinths to chill and reflect as I watched the bees happily noshing on the blue buffet. This spot always makes me stop and ponder the beauty of the surrounding plants. These bulbs continue to naturalize throughout the garden, much to my amusement. It’s like nature is moving the furniture around and who am I to argue with her design skills? I’ll save that argument for the lupine that’s beginning to emerge (in the foreground). I removed buckets of them last autumn as its naturalization throughout the garden has gotten far more than a ‘bit carried away.’ I’m hoping to encourage it to live politely rather than invasively, but so far it hasn’t seemed to respond to my criticism of “You’re not freaking dandelions, so stop popping up in every little nook and cranny and give the other plants a break!’

Flowers

Some of the reseeding annuals from last autumn are beginning to emerge (or are being planted) around the ‘Hood for some early seasonal color. I found some pansies amidst dried leaves and grass yesterday afternoon. Their cheerful faces provided a nod from me because, who doesn’t love those sweet little faces and color in the dried, brown vestiges from last year?

Flowers

Well, that’s about it from the Ranch for this week. We hope you’re seeing signs that spring has indeed sprung, despite the cycle of one nice day with the next day a visit from mean Uncle Winter. Makes you want to yell “STOP THAT NOW!” But around here we know snow is always a possibility over the next month, so we’ll just try to coexist with it. Have you got any plans for fun this weekend? Me, I’m just going to celebrate my baby sister’s birthday today (albeit from afar until she arrives for a visit later this month). Happy birthday, Kathy. Hope your day is as lovely as a spring day (sans snow). Love you.

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ March 25, 2022

Happy Friday! Thanks for joining us and our friends Rosy, Sunny and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard for this week’s Nature Friday blog hop. It’s been a super hectic week with Nature throwing just about everything at us together with lots of commitments and appointments. When Norman went to hospital earlier this week, there was a little bit of snow with chilly temps. We were nearly blown away by gusty winds over the past couple of days but managed to find some elements of spring now that it has officially arrived. Even though they were small changes, they were still most welcome.

Flowers

Small specks of green caught my eye on yesterday’s walk and to say I was surprised to see this lilac bush beginning to leaf out, would be a big understatement.

Even a nearby Yew tree showed signs of renewal, with fresh new sprigs of green along with its beautifully textured bark.

Flowers

Don’t get me wrong, there’s still plenty of drab to be seen as this clump of crocuses with that shock of color sprouting in some ornamental grass and fallen leaves shows, but it was just the right pop of color to encourage me to be on the lookout for more like it.

Flowers

And then it happened…a full on blast of spring I’ve been looking for to prove spring is coming, was discovered. I spotted the first blooming tulip over at my neighbor’s house. Seeing it proves that spring is indeed moving forward. Of course, that other season (who shall not be named), will no doubt make a few cameo appearances (goodness knows we can use it) but there’s nothing like spring’s hopeful signs of renewal and rebirth to brighten one’s spirits. We plan to enjoy it, especially since temps will likely reach 80ºF this weekend.

Flowers

What are your plans for the weekend? Anything fun on tap? We plan to relax and rejuvenate after a busy week but will keep our eyes open for more signs of spring. Whatever you do, we hope you will enjoy a similar encounter.

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾