Monday Musings ~ May 22, 2023

Well, it looks like another Monday rolled out of bed this morning but we hope it’s good for you nonetheless. Not sure we’re quite ready for it but it’s definitely here. The skies continue to be smokey from the Alberta wildfires.

Our hearts go out to our Canadian friends; please know we’re thinking of you. Some 2500 firefighters are doing their best to keep themselves and their communities safe while battling 80 active fires. We hope you keep them in your thoughts and prayers.

In the meantime, Norman and I have been having a back and forth conversation about whether he should or should not get a bath with full summer groom. Maybe all the rain has made his hair grow quicker but all of a sudden, and practically overnight I might add, he’s starting to look pretty muppet-ey. I’ve been trying to at least keep his face trimmed. Just like Elsa, the area on his backside seems to grow faster than any other part of his body. It’s almost like weeds after a rain shower that grow overnight. Who know rain could act like a ‘fur-tilizer?’

Here’s Norman’s take on the situation. I can’t disagree with him despite the daily dust rhinos becoming quite vicious in corners.

Norman

Here’s hoping your Monday is dust free and full of joy and love. Happy Monday.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ May 19, 2023

Ranch HandsWelcome to Friday, mates. Norman here, with my Ninja sister, Elsa and we’re ready to share some slices of Nature from around our neighborhood that we saw this week. As always, we’re joining Rosy and Sunny from the LLB life. Be sure to click on the link to see what others have shared.

Elsa: {excitedly} Yo, dude…what was your favorite piece of nature this week?

Norman: Easy there, little one, let’s not get ahead of ourselves, okay?

Elsa: But…but

Norman: {interrupting} No need to get excited yet-there’s loads to share, despite a continued cycle of cloudy days and intermittent showers. The weather is mild and our walks have seen how gardens around the Ranch are enjoying the moisture.

Elsa: The coolish days are great to walk in. My black fur coat gets too warm for me to go any length of time. I keep trying to pull Mom into the shade.

Norman: Tell me about it. Mum has been threatening to shave my fur coat down to less than a inch long. She could probably make a sweater out of me with all my hair.

Elsa: I hear that brother. She took the clippers to me this week but being a black dog in the Mile High sun still is too much.

Norman: Right-o. So let’s start sharing some of the smashing late spring foliage, shall we? First up, we came across this unusual Bearded Iris yesterday. Normally Mum is drawn to the deep purple/blue specimens but this one caught her eye. Rather different, isn’t it?

Bearded Iris

Elsa: It’s like someone splattered red wine all over the edges. But you’re right, it is pretty unusual. While I was trying to find some shade, I managed to spot this bright Delosperma (commonly known as Ice Plant). They’re beginning to start taking off around the ‘Hood. This one warms me up just looking at those bright hot colors

Ice Plant

Norman: Too bad the sparkle doesn’t come through the camera. Those beauties have such a sheen to them in the right light. But no matter, they still are lovely, and can provide anyone a run for their money in the beauty department. How do you think they stack up against this Veronica longifolia, often called garden speedwell from our own front garden?

Veronica

Elsa: Oooh, pretty bluish flowers. Our garden is always late in blooming because of the large shade trees so seeing these now is great. With all the rain showers, things seem to be very happy.

Norman: Indeed. Last autumn, Mum pulled out most of the Lupine from the garden. She said it had gotten a little out of hand but I know she was secretly excited to see some of them when they appeared this week. Here’s one she left in and she’s excited to see which color it is…purple, red or pink. Gardening is a lot of waiting to see what will happen but she says that’s the fun part. She thinks (or perhaps, hopes) this is one of the dark purple Lupine but it is likely the paler lavender color.

Lupine

Elsa: I noticed she enjoys taking pictures of the leaves after a shower. She ooh’s and aww’s when water droplets form in the centers. She says Mother Nature is the best artist.

Lupine

Norman: I’ve noticed she sure loves purple flowers. Did she startle you when she squealed out loud at this blooming Giant Allium?

Allium

Elsa: Nothing surprises me about Mom’s enthusiasm. She continues to embarrass me in public. I mean what do you imagine the neighbors think when they see her scramble over to a plant and take dozens of photos from every possible angle? And those squeals…sheesh why can’t she be a quiet gardener and admirer of blooming flowers? {head shaking}

Norman: Now, now, little one. She’s just enthusiastic and that’s a good thing although I could do without her dragging me hurriedly over to something to sniff and photograph. Like this bi-colored lilac, Syringa Vulgaris ‘Sensation.’ My goodness, can she move fast for an old upright, or what?

Lilac

Elsa: You got that right. But I will give her the benefit of the doubt on this one. It truly is beautiful and boy does it have the most heavenly scent. Much more fragrant than the ones we pass a few blocks away.

Norman:  When she sees plants like this, it’s often quite funny how she turns into an excited little kid. It’s one of the things I love most about her. Mum is just a big kid when it comes to some garden plants.

Elsa: {thinking out loud} Hmm, it always makes me wonder if I should protect her or start to play with her.

Norman: Best to just let her enjoy from afar. I can attest that your version of play is rather rough and I’m sure she wants to keep her ankles intact.

Elsa: Oh man, you never let me have any fun, do you? Ok, I’ll just gnaw play with one of your stuffies instead. When she gets excited, it gets me excited and you know what that means?

Norman: Sadly I do. So what else did we find on our walk yesterday? I vaguely recall a bright Gerbera Daisy was on your side as we walked homeward.

Gerbera Daisy

Elsa: Yeah for a quick minute I thought it might be an artificial flower because it was so bright, but realized when we got up close, it was real. It was very cheerful but I noticed it was a little damaged, likely from one of overly bombastic thunderstorms this week.

Norman: Yes, those thunderstorms even startled me. I thought perhaps I was back in Kansas. Did you know you can’t have thunder without lightning?

Elsa: Yeah, I think I read something about thunder and lightning going hand in hand. Yesterday’s were just a bit out of my comfort zone. I swear that one where even you practically jumped out of your skin must have been across the street!

Norman: It sure was quite the boomer. It’s bad enough getting wet in the rain but to be out in a shower when there’s lightning and thunder…well just count me out. Because the speed of light travels faster than the speed of sound, you’ll see lightning first, followed by a delay before you hear the thunder, depending on how close it is. That one boom even made the house vibrate. Guess that old adage of “when thunder roars, go indoors” is good advice. Mum said you can estimate how close lightning is by counting how many seconds it takes to hear the boom? According to meteorologists, it’s approximately five seconds for the sound to travel one mile. If you hear thunder immediately after you see lightning, then the lightning is way too close and you need to get inside. Luckily we missed being out when that storm began but that clap of thunder even startled me.

Elsa: I’m just glad there wasn’t any hail. Man, I hate that stuff-it makes me very anxious and stressed out and that’s never good for an epileptic dog.

Norman: Good thing Mum knows how to keep us calm during these Spring storms.

Elsa: And with that ‘weather report’ let’s share one last pic of pretty purple blue flowers. Mom has a bunch of these hardy geraniums, known as Cranesbill. They do well in semi-shady conditions and make her happy due to their color. They are quite hardy.

Crane's Bill

Norman: Despite living on the Front Range plains, adding these to the garden will give it a woodland vibe. They’re easy to grow, tolerate drought conditions although that hasn’t been a problem yet and they make a lovely groundcover too. They provide tasty nectar for pollinators.

Elsa: Well brother, that wraps it up for this week. I heard you don’t have any fundraising plans for a change. You still tuckered out from last week’s event at the Kendra Scott event? I noticed you schmooze up the ladies big time. One of these days I’d like to be the center of attention at one of those events.

Norman: Oh dear sister, I don’t think you’d be mistaken for an Old English Sheepdog. But maybe Mum will let you be the center of attention closer to home.

Kendra Scott

Elsa: You promise?

Norman: Of course, I’ll even give up some of my Mum time so she can spend it giving you special attention. It’ll be nice to quietly nap hang out this weekend but we hope everyone will still try to get outdoors and enjoy being in the midst of  beautiful Nature scenes. From both Elsa and I, we hope you have a jolly good weekend!

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ May 12, 2023

Welcome to a soggy edition of Nature Friday. Norman here  with my Ninja sister, Elsa ready to share a spot of Nature from this week. As always, we’re joining Rosy and Sunny from the LLB life. Be sure to click on the link to see what others have shared.

Norman: As the opening line suggests, it’s been as soggy as a London spring. Uncharacteristically soggy. Mum looked up and found the rain totals for the past couple of days range from 2.72″ to just under 4″ of the wet stuff. I have to hurry outside to do my business.  As you can imagine, I preferred the day before the rains began where the sun felt good enough for me to trample lay in the middle of the garden ground cover and rejuvenate after our successful fundraiser on Sunday. I’ve never done that before and Mum was kind enough not to disturb me. The day was lovely and I refused to come in. Luckily she had some work she could do outside and let me enjoy that Mile High sunshine.

Norman napping

Elsa: You were lucky. Mom knows I tend to guard wander the grounds looking for squirrels, bunnies or worse…some dog walking by so she wouldn’t let me snoopervise your nap. What’s a girl to do all cooped up in the house on a sunny day when you’re outside?

Norman: Umm…let me think…bark your head off?

Elsa: Doggone straight. That always gets Mom’s attention.

Norman: {clearing his throat} Indeed little one. It kept Mum from working without having to worry about one of us Ranch Hands who shall remain nameless.

Elsa: Well, {stamping her paws} I just wanted to be with my family too, you know. It’s not fair you get to stay outside without me.

Norman: Well I don’t go after dogs or critters or wander off, Mum knows I can be trusted to be on my best behavior and greet everyone politely.

Elsa: Politely….schmitely. Who’s going to protect us if it isn’t me? While wiggling your butt may be considered adorably cute, you just never know if someone plans to steal something or otherwise cause harm. I’m just a very good watchdog. I mean…somebody’s got to be on alert for the serial killer postal delivery person. {sniffling} I just don’t know how I could live with myself if I left that guy alone unsupervised around my family around.

Norman: {eyes rolling} Oh for dog’s sake…he’s a nice chap and rubs my ears quite nicely when I see him.

Elsa:  Nice chap? Ha…I doubt that…he seems pretty sketchy to me.

Norman:  Oh please.

Elsa: Well let’s get going and show folks something other than your lazy carcass squashing the ground cover, ‘kay? Remember when Mom decided to walk around that other lake near our house?  She found some cool looking birds while she walked around on the Berkeley Lake pathway.

Birds

Norman: Oh yes, that’s a Red-winged Blackbird. They’re one of the most abundant birds in all of North America. The males are marked with red and yellow “shoulders” that stand out amongst their black bodies. The females aren’t quite as colorful, being mostly brown with light streaks.

Elsa: One of these days, Mom is going drag out her good camera to catch the beauty of these guys. I mean, look at those mountains. She could have captured them so much better with that camera than with her cell phone. Does she even know where that camera is these days?

Birds

Norman: Of course she does but it’s hard to carry a big DSLR, our leashes, poop bags, house keys, etc., especially when you get scrappy with passing by dogs. She has her hands full enough just keeping you in line.

Elsa: Oh yeah. But still…cell phone pics never look great by comparison.

Norman: Sometimes compromises are more important to make. Necessity is the mother of invention

Elsa: Stop going all Confucius on me, Dog Breath. Besides, I’m just not very good with compromise, especially when I know I need to defend my family.

Norman:  Mum knows how to ‘protect’ us just fine and still manages to find some interesting things for us to share.

Elsa:  You know you’re right about that. I wouldn’t cross her. She can be tough as nails when it comes to taking care of us. In fact, I’d say too tough most days. Especially when she’s making me tow the line.

Norman: She’s just looking out at our best interests, that’s all. So have you noticed the Bearded Irises are in bloom now? These deep purple ones sure are lovely and no doubt have been enjoying all the rain this week.

Bearded Iris

Elsa: They sure are striking, brother. And one of Mom’s favorite late Spring flowers. Just look at that beautiful purple color!

Bearded Iris

Norman: Our Mum has good taste in flowers. That’s a real beauty. Another one that’s a favorite of hers is the Lilac. They’re just starting their annual show and boy do they smell great. Too bad, WordPress don’t have a plug-in for scratch and sniff. These things smell so heavenly and reminds me of my Nan. {inhaling deeply} Aaaah.

Lilacs

Elsa: They sure are and definitely a sign that we’re entering in prime garden season. Before you know it, we’ll be barking about the heat.

Norman: {shudder} I hope not too soon. In the meantime until all the showers move out, I’ll just chill here on the sofa-the perfect place to wait out the rain. Just a few more days according to the weatherman. I just came in from outside and it’s already tapering down with just barely a sprinkle. Bravo!

Norman

Elsa: Yeah, it’ll be nice to walk around outside without having to be toweled off every time we go outside. So Big Guy…what’s on your dance card this weekend?

Norman: I’ll be the sheepdog ambassador at another fundraiser at the Cherry Creek Kendra Scott Give Back Event this weekend. Those ladies are so nice and I’ll be there to greet Mother’s Day shoppers. I haven’t seen them since Valentine’s Day and they give the best ear rubs. Mum says you don’t even have to show up in person at the store for the Give Back to benefit Old English Sheepdogs. You can shop online here. Is this a great country or what?

Elsa: Right you are, fur ball. We hope everyone has a great weekend pampering and loving on their moms. We’ll do our best…in between enjoying some elements of Nature. That’ll make Mom very happy and she’ll in return make us happy with treats and ear rubs. Win-win-how cool is that?

Norman: Have a pawsome Mum’s Day!

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ Cinco De Mayo Edition

Elsa, Cinco de MayoHola and bienvenido a la naturaleza viernes (welcome to Nature Friday). Me llamo Senorita Elsa with my oafish hombre brother, Norman to share slices of Nature around our hood. Today on Cinco de Mayo we’re joining the kids from Rosy and Sunny from the LLB life. Be sure to click on the link to see what others have shared.

There are some misconceptions about Cinco De Mayo that I’m gonna clear up today before we get started. First of all and contrary to popular belief, it is not Mexican Independence Day. Instead, it actually commemorates a battle during the Franco-Mexican War that took place in a town called Puebla on May 5, 1862. The Mexicans were severely outnumbered and under-supplied but they still managed to defeat the 3 times larger French army. While Cinco de Mayo is celebrated with tons of food, drinks, and partying in the United States, Mexicans celebrate somewhat differently. In Mexico, the holiday is mostly celebrated in the state of Puebla and while there’s food and drinks, local residents cheer the military with a parade with people dressed as French and Mexican soldiers, cheering from brightly colored floats, and there’s a reenactment of the battle on its original site.

Hombre Norman: Gosh, I didn’t realize that tidbit. You find the most interesting things to share.

Senorita Elsa: Hey, I’m not just a pretty face or can’t you tell from the expression in the photo above? Can’t believe Mom expected me to dress up for today’s post so I felt like I needed to find out what the dog all the fuss was all about.

Hombre Norman: Well, I do recall you were adamant about not being photographed with me. You acted like I had fleas or something.

Senorita Elsa: Nothing personal, dog breath, I just don’t like being photographed. Period. With you or anyone else.

Hombre Norman: {sniffle} I’m rather offended by your comment. I mean, look how Mum dressed me up. You don’t see me trying to hide my face.

Cinco de Mayo

Senorita Elsa: Bwahahaha…you probably should have. You look pretty…umm…how can I put this diplomatically-ridiculous?

Hombre Norman: {interrupting} Ahem, I. am. a. good. sport…something you might do a bit more often, {sarcastically} dear Senorita. No me gusta when you hurt my feelings {sniffling}.

Senorita Elsa:  Ha! Fat chance, eres un tonto (you’re a fool), Bucko.

Cinco de Mayo

Hombre Norman: Oh dear. Well, guess I understand better. Mum didn’t share that pic with me after she took it. She was laughing so hard no sound was coming out. I thought I’d have to give her CPR.

Senorita Elsa: {steamed} No me gusta indeed! Ok, let’s get on with it. Vamos amigo!

Hombre Norman: Aye, yai yai. Ok, let’s see what we’ve got from this week’s walks.

Senorita Elsa: Well it looks like the snow continues in our neck of the woods.

Crabapple tree

Hombre Norman: That’s not snow, Chiquita. That’s a crabapple tree in bloom on a windy day.

Senorita Elsa: Harrumph.Well it looks like snow to me.

Hombre Norman:  It’s just some of the beautiful crabapple trees in full bloom. Check out this pink one. Is that gorgeous or what?

Crabapple tree

Senorita Elsa:  Oooh, you’re right, that is a beaut. But when it comes to beauty, what about this Common Purple Rock Cress?

Rock cress

Hombre Norman: It sure is colorful! It was just a few feet away from this Golden Alyssum. It compliments that purple nicely.

Golden Alyssum

Senorita Elsa: Whoa…looks like it’s spilling out of that garden onto the sidewalk.

Hombre Norman: Indeed it does. Such a cheerful garden plant. And I didn’t even try to pee on it.

Senorita Elsa: Well that’s gotta be a first! Mom walked to a nearby garden center and found some blooming Clematis. When she came home she was very excited about those blooms but wished the white specimen had been flowering. She’s gonna keep checking on it to see what it looks like.

Clematis

Hombre Norman: Boy, both of them are really gorgeous.I hope she gets some to add to the pergola. It’d be a perfect spot, don’t you think?

Senorita Elsa: It sure would. Let’s keep reminding her there are a couple of supports that need something that spectacular once she paints the wrought iron supports.

Hombre Norman: Deal, senorita.

Senorita Elsa: Well that’s it for this week So what are your plans for the weekend? What’s going on with you?

Hombre Norman: Well, our first big fundraiser for the rescue happens on Sunday. Our first annual Old English Sheepdog Picnic will be held. We managed to receive a bunch of fabulous donations of dog accoutrements, OES themed jewelry, sports items and some swank alcoholic beverages to auction off. Plus there will be a toss game of skill. Mum helped assemble the gift baskets a couple of days ago and came home super chuffed. It’s gonna be a great event in nearby Elizabeth, CO. I love going out there and schmoozing with my fellow sheepdogs among the pine trees. It’s going to be quite epic. Over 40 people have registered and there will be a big herd of sheepies like me. I’ll finally be around my people and we all get along. Mum will be taking pics and try to share them soon. She may even post some on Instagram. You do follow our Instagram account, don’t you?

Senorita Elsa: I confess I don’t but will be sure to check it out. I may not show it often but I do love ya, you big hunk of fur so I promise to start following. You know me, I’m not that much into social media but will be a dutiful supporter of my big brother.

Hombre Norman: Thanks, sister. I appreciate it. Whatever you do, we hope you have a wonderful weekend and are able to get out there to check out wonderful Nature, first hand.

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Monday-May Day 2023

Well…will you looky here. Time to turn the page on the ole paper calendar or for those who aren’t as old-fashioned as me, you can just swipe your digital device from April to May. Today is May Day, and is also known as International Workers Day around the world, which is a celebration of labourers and the working classes around the world and promoted by the international labour movement and occurs every May 1st, or in France, a big day to gather and protest the recently revamped pension system. I’d hate to be in Macron’s shoes these days.

In the U.S. May Day is a celebration of all things Spring and has its roots in astronomy with a touch of agriculture on the side. Being the halfway point between the spring equinox and the summer solstice, it’s an unofficial holiday, marked with springtime festivities filled with song and dance celebrating the sown fields that are starting to sprout. Cattle were driven to pasture, special bonfires were lit, with doors of houses as well as livestock adorned with yellow May flowers. In the Middle Ages, the Gaelic people celebrated the festival of Beltane, the “Day of Fire.” People created large bonfires and danced at night to celebrate. May Day was a big celebration in England and ultimately migrated to the U.S. with the new colonists. Children would dance around the maypole, holding colorful ribbons. People would ”bring in the May” by gathering wildflowers and green branches, weaving floral hoops and hair garlands, and crowning a May king and queen. As a wee lass, I remember decorating May baskets in school, by making little paper cones, colored with crayons and filled with dandelion flowers or lilacs if they were blooming to give to  Mom when I got home from school. Being resourceful kids, we also decorated the tether pole ropes with colored paper flowers, and giving our best  imitation of dancing around the ‘maypole.’ Ah, now those were the days.

Fast forward and my ‘celebration’ of this annual date began by pulling weeds that I swear sprouted overnight from last week’s rain showers, otherwise known as fertilizer for weeds that germinate between the flagstone paths. Being a kid on May Day was a lot more fun.

But it’s still Monday, which means we need to start the week out with a smile, right? No point starting out the week with a grumble. So let’s see what the Ranch Hands came up with today to celebrate springtime.

Monday Musings

Don’t know about you, I think there might be a subtle message here indicating ‘somebody’ apparently isn’t keen on costumes for photo shoots, Luckily I’m not completely oblivious which means I should be visiting the Dollar Store to check out what junk inexpensive decor I can use for the next photo session.

Norman & Cinco de Mayo

Wishing you and yours a very Happy May Day.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ April 28, 2023

Ranch HandsWelcome to Friday, mates. Norman here, joined with my Ninja sister, Elsa ready to share a spot of Nature from this week. As always, we’re joining Rosy and Sunny from the LLB life. Be sure to click on the link to see what others have shared.

Elsa: We gonna get this show on the road or what?

Elsa & Norman

Norman: Patience little one. I need to set this up first. You know that we had to go see my Grandpa, right?

Elsa: Yes, I know that.

Norman: Well our readers, didn’t so I’m ‘setting the stage’ as to what went down. Ok? Can I proceed now?

Elsa: Fine then. Knock your socks off, dude.

Norman: Well apart from hitting the road, it was quite the week. I think we ‘enjoyed‘ all 4 seasons. The place where my Grandpa lives broke a 133 year old record for most rainfall in a 24 hour period. And at our house, there has been lots of wind. Again. Which means crunchy leaves showed up and needed to be raked. One day even had rain mixed with snow. But it’s official though, spring has sprung. Just check out these tulips.

Tulips

Elsa: That’s pretty spring-like. I know you and Mom like the pink ones but we haven’t seen too many of those. Red seems to be the number 1 color of tulips we see on our walks, like this one.

Tulip

Norman: Mum was afraid the snow that fell last weekend might damage some of the flowering trees but this crabapple seems nonetheless harmed. They sure are pretty when they’re exploding with buds. And the bees sure seem to love them at this stage.

Flowering trees

Elsa: I thought that one evening before the rain began was almost eerie, much like at Halloween but much better than all those leaves that Mom had to rake up. I mean, who ever heard of raking leaves in April? Mom regretted not having her big camera with her when she saw the clouds around the moon but at least was able to capture the mood.

Moon

Norman: We managed to see all kinds of clouds on our trip and some of the more eerie ones were when we drove past the federal SuperMax prison located just outside Florence, Colorado. Did you know this is the most secure prison in the U.S. prison system and houses some high profile inmates? It was a foreboding scene with those clouds hanging over the prison where such notorious prisoners reside such as “Shoe Bomber” Richard Reid, Terry Nichols of Oklahoma Bombing fame, Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber, and Thomas Silverstein, the former Aryan Brotherhood leader and convicted murderer who has been in solitary confinement longer than any other U.S. prisoner (since 1983). Silverstein was one of the reasons the ADX SuperMax was designed following his uncontrollable activities committed at other prisons.

Clouds

Elsa: Yikes, those are some bad hombres for sure {shudder}. I’m glad we didn’t stop there for lunch!

Norman: No, we managed to dodge the bullet there but Mum did find a window display she thought was creepy in a funny sort of way in the town of Florence.

Poodles

Elsa: Oh sure, pick on us poodles.

Norman: Well on the bright side, they were displayed eating some tasty looking food.

Elsa: You’re always thinking about food, you big oaf!

Norman: {indignantly sniffing) I’m not even going to respond to that unfair accusation.

Elsa: Unfair? You clean out my bowl after every meal. I’m surprised the stainless steel is still in tact.

Norman: Ahem…getting back to nature, sister, Mum saw her first blooming Bearded Iris yesterday. It’s quite early for them to be blooming. Apparently its southeastern exposure mimics more Summer-like conditions. See, I told you all we had all 4 seasons in one week!

Bearded iris

Elsa: That’s just nuts…blooming Irises in April. What is this world coming to?

Norman: Can’t answer that but hope that’s not an indication of an extra hot Summer ahead. I can barely tolerate it as it is. I may need to get a haircut sooner than I had planned.

Elsa: Tell me about it, I’m a black dog, do you have any idea how hot sunny conditions feel on my back? No siree, pal…not looking forward to a hot Summer OR a bath and groom, come to think of it. Definitely count me out.

Norman: Now, now, don’t get your knickers in a bunch. Mum will be gentle and make it as easy as possible. Just don’t make it harder for her, okay.

Elsa: Ha, me make things hard? Surely you jest.

Norman: {snickering under his breath} Right-that’s me, Mr. Jester. No doubt I have you confused with a different Ninja. Anywho…the weekend is upon us and I hope it means we all get a chance to get outside and enjoy some of the lovelier elements of Mother Nature. Do you have anything special or exciting planned for the last weekend in April?

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ April 14, 2023

Elsa & NormanWelcome to Friday, mates. Norman here along with my sister Elsa ready to share a few slices of  Nature around us. As always, we’re joining Rosy and Sunny from the LLB life. Don’t forget to click on the link to see what others have shared.

Elsa: Come onnnnnn, dude….ROAD TRIP.

Norman: Patience little one. Let me set the scene before you go sharing pics, okay?

Elsa: Jeez, you’re so prickly about procedure. Just get on with it, will you?

Norman: Ahem…as I was about to say before your interjection, we took a trip to visit with Mum’s Dad. Her sister from Maryland also came to visit so we had a nice family visit for Easter. Needless to say, we received lots of ear rubs and “Atta boy’s.”

Elsa: And “Atta girl’s.” Don’t forget I get lots of attention too, dog breath!

Norman: Yes, yes, of course, there were lots of “good dog” accolades all around. Now may I continue without further interruption?

Elsa: Sheesh, you’re kinda grumpy today. But do go on, brother dear.

Norman: {eyes rolling} As I was saying, we drove down to Southern Colorado but not before Mum got together with her friend from the new sheepdog rescue to discuss some fundraising business. They had a long conference call with someone who knows fundraising techniques that could be helpful to the rescue and hope to make more progress on fundraising future efforts. After their call, they decided to take a rejuvenating break and walk around the small lake across the street. It’s like a little oasis in the city. They took a quick walk around it on what was a beautiful day and the view of snow-capped mountains on the horizon was just what Mum needed to clear her head.

Snow capped mountain

Elsa: That is a gorgeous sight. But what Mom encountered around the lake…well I can’t stop giggling. I mean, look at this pups whose owner may be a ‘tad’ paranoid about wildlife encounters. She was even carrying a wedge golf club with her.

Dog with coyote vest

Norman: I’ll leave it to you to decide which would be more scary, seeing this or the golf club on a walk. Even though I’m a big dog and could likely frighten off any potential coyote, I don’t think Mum would walk us in an area where a pup might be snatched to begin with, and would likely just walk us on the sidewalk near houses. But that’s just me.

Elsa: {giggling hysterically} Oh my dog…I can’t catch my breath I’m laughing so hard. I guess there’s truth to the adage “it takes all kinds.”

Norman: Now, now, sister, no aspersions, okay? Not everyone is as…hmm…how shall I put this…brave as you are.

Elsa: Doggone straight, bucko. And don’t you forget it!

Norman: Moving right along. When you look around the lake (which by the way, is very low these days-much as it pains me to say this…we need moisture in the worst way), you can see lots of dried, crunchy vegetation that probably is wildlife’s  habitat. Mum saw a few birds along with other signs of wildlife traipsing through the area, providing water and cover to all the wildlife. Mum herself has seen a coyote on the other side of the park once when she drove by.

Lake

Elsa: By the time we arrived in Southern Colorado and got settled in, we marveled at the quiet plains and beautiful sunset which is so different from our city life.

Sunset

Norman: It sure is a wonderful place to visit and not just for all the attention we receive. Just look at that sunset.

Elsa: You’re so right, brother. The sunsets ARE beautiful. No wonder it’s called “Colorful Colorado.” And the sunrises are very similar…ahem…when you actually get your butt out of bed and check them out when we go say good morning to the neighbors across the road.

Horses and donkeys

Norman: Hey, don’t look at me as the cause of us not getting out there to see the colorful sunrise which you can still see a glimpse off in the distance. Mum said it was a bit crisp for my old bones when it was brightly appearing.

Elsa: Those four-legged creatures sure were interested in you and they seemed pretty friendly.

Norman: I visit them every time I’m there, so yes, we’re old friends. I noticed you play bowed, wagged your tail and started bouncing around like you wanted to play with them. They do better when we’re not making sudden moves.

Elsa: Sorry, I couldn’t help it…I was so jazzed to see dogs even bigger than you!

Norman: Umm, dear sister, those weren’t dogs-they’re horses and donkeys, for the record.

Elsa: Whatever, I just wanted to play with them. Mom was afraid I’d start my play bark and at 6:30 in the morning, we thought people sleeping in might not appreciate my enthusiasm.

Norman: I don’t think people care for barking dogs at livestock any time of day. Just saying.

Elsa: Sometimes people can be such killjoys. But at least it was a good trip and I’m excited we will get to go back again in a couple of weeks.

Norman: Yes, we will be going back and will scope out more signs of Mother Nature when we do. Once we drove back home after a few days, Mum noticed signs of spring in our neighborhood.

Phlox

Elsa: Those flowering Phlox sure were a shock of color but I’m partial to this little fairy house scene with a fabulous smelling Hyacinth. Oh man, was it ever fragrant, even if it didn’t have any horses or donkeys.

Hyacinth

Norman: I don’t think the neighbors would be all that keen on the barnyard scents in the city but you’re right, Hyacinths are quite fragrant and that gorgeous royal purple color is just spot on beautiful. Well sister, that’s about it for this week. We hope our readers will get out and enjoy Nature of all kinds this weekend.

Elsa: You’re right, dude. Time for us to hit the road again. Next time though I get to choose the playlist. While the 70’s and 80’s music was ok, but I was hoping for more hip hop if I have to lay next to you in the back seat.

Norman: Best to cool your jets, Ninja. It’ll be next week when we’re on the road again. Until then, you’ll have to simmer down and enjoy urban Nature in the meantime. Cheerio and let’s hope we get some measurable rain later today and not just a cool front.

Elsa: {voice trailing as she bounces into the other end of the house} Pip, pip you ginormous bag of fur. I’ll race you to the toy box!

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ April 7, 2023

EasterHappy Good Friday peeps, pups and kitties. Welcome to this week’s edition of Nature Friday where we’re joining the cool kiddos over at Adventures of the LLB Gang. Hiya, it’s me, Elsa along with my doltish brother, Norman, sharing a few pics from our Easter ‘Hood. So put your Easter bonnet (or ears)  on and let’s check out what’s new this week. And don’t forget to click on the link to see what others have shared.

Elsa: It was another week for the books. Sunny but chilly with windy conditions and {gasp} a speck of the white stuff for Holy Week though Mom assured me we should be warming up over the next several days.

Norman: You have to agree little sis, Mother Nature is nothing if not cruel diverse with what she dishes out. Oi…my poor aching bones. On the bright side, it looks like Spring is doing its level best to wake up and well…spring forth. Even a couple of bulbs surprised Mum by making a colorful appearance. Take for instance this daffodil. Mum squealed with delight when she saw it peeking up in the blue grape hyacinths and dried leaves.

Daffodils

Elsa: More like shocked. She told me she didn’t plant that guy over there. This is either the work of a ‘helpful’ squirrel, which we all know isn’t likely because, I mean…a “helpful squirrel” come on, that’s just fantasy, am I right? It’s probably more likely to have been an escapee…that’s what Mom calls bulbs who migrate from their original planting spot.

Norman: I even had to go over and check it out, it was so bright in that area where dried leaves prevail.

Elsa: {interrupting} More likely you probably went to water it.

Norman: {Ahem} As I was saying, there was another bright spot in our garden, some deep purple hyacinths although they decided to appear on the first day it snowed. Mum was scratching her head about where it came from too. She didn’t remember planting it there but said it’s always possible. As you said, it’s not likely she got any help from the resident critters and we both know we didn’t get our paws dirty in the soil. Now that the snow has melted, it seems nothing worse for the wear. Hardy little buggers, aren’t they?

Hyacinths

Elsa: Well they are native to eastern Mediterranean near Turkey so I guess that makes sense. I’m no botanist but I think a fair number of our spring bulbs originated in that region. Hmmm, and here I always thought they came from Holland.

Norman: Oh dear sweet Elsa…aren’t you precious, little one?  Another bulb that originated in Persia is the tulip. Mum’s have just broken ground but we found this one on a walk. From a distance it looked like a bright piece of rubbish but as we got closer, Mum was thrilled it wasn’t something she needed to put into a bin.

Tulip

Elsa: They sure seem hardy. I know you wouldn’t want to have snow on your head.

Norman: Right you are on that, Ninja! Brrrr. The day it snowed Mum walked over to the Post Office and saw how the snow had swirled on dried leaves and branches and seed heads. It’s much prettier seeing it on screen than being actually there. {shivers}.

Spring Snow

Elsa: Ah come on…it wasn’t that bad? I mean if the Easter Bunny can handle it, surely you can. I swear I think these folks have one of those inflatable things for every holiday. This one is new this year.

Easter

Norman: It’s kind of noisy whenever we walk past; they’re nothing like real bunnies who tend to be very quiet and freeze in their tracks until we get too close for their comfort.

Elsa: Wait, I missed a live bunny? Where was I?

Norman: I think you were checking out a taunting squirrel.

Elsa:  Oh yeah, I hate it when they think they can get away with mocking me on our walks. Why I’ll show ’em…

Norman: Umm, sister, no need to get yourself all frothed up. We just need to learn to co-exist.

Elsa: Co-exist…ha! Not a chance.

Norman: {sigh} In your case, that’s probably highly unlikely. I just enjoy seeing them and as long as they don’t bother us, I say live and let live. I’m more about keeping ‘herds’ together rather than treed.

Elsa: Dream on, dog breath. Not as long as I’m around…I’m going to make sure those stupid tree rats don’t sully our garden or on our walks either.

Norman: Oh Elsa…keep your knickers on. Besides, during this special week, we must practice peace and love. All the major religions are celebrating this week. Passover began on Wednesday, Ramadan has been going on since March 20 and ends April 20, and Easter will be celebrated this Sunday. It’s a trifecta of holy days in religion, so peace should be front and center. There was even a blooming Pasque Flower on one of Mom’s walks. Just in time for the holidays. Known as Pulsatilla hirsutissima, Pulsatilla ludoviciana, Pulsatilla patens, Anemone patens) they have an undisputed appearance but a somewhat disputed name. It has been known as Pulsatilla hirsutissima, Pulsatilla ludoviciana, Pulsatilla patens, Anemone patens, etc.  “Pulsatilla” from the Latin for “pulsing”, “moving about”, plus the diminutive, “illa”: thus “a bit of quivering” (from the wind). Pasque Flower or Easter Flower is from the Hebrew “Pasach” i.e. “Passover” [the last supper was the celebration of Pasach] and so this plant is associated with Easter since they generally flower around the Easter/Passover season when winter snow begins to melt. The name most likely arrived through variations of French, “passefleur” and “passflower” both similar to the French word for Easter, “Pasques” which has its roots in the Hebrew word “Pasach” so it’s kind of easy to see how the common name morphed into “Pasque Flower.”

Pasque Flower

Elsa: Since you put it like that, ok, just this once. Besides, I hope that whatever holiday you celebrate, you celebrate Nature in some fashion as well. Have a safe and happy holiday. Mom told me we’re headed south to see our Grandpa and Mom’s other sister who is coming to town. Aren’t you excited? I get to sit up close next to you in the car! Woohoo-road trip!

Norman: Yes, I’m {almost} breathless with anticipation. Happy Easter, Chag Sameach, and Ramadan Kareem everyone.

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ March 31, 2023

Happy Fri-Yay, uprights and welcome to the last day of March. Elsa and Norman here to share some scenes from daily walks this week. As always, we’re joining the fur-pups at Adventures of the LLB Gang.

Elsa: It was one of ‘those’ weeks where we had lots going on. Me chasing squirrels away from the trash bins, Mom and Norman hanging out with folks at hospital and miles and miles of combing the neighborhood for photo ops.

Norman: You’re so right, little sister, it WAS a busy week. I was completely swarmed at hospital and visited with lots of people. This is my new friend, Katharine, isn’t she beautiful? She wanted so much to take me home with her and Mum was almost afraid she might have to wrestle me away from her but we promised to visit her whenever we go back. And I even met a newborn baby going home with his parents though Mum didn’t capture that moment. She said something about patient privacy. Not sure about that but did enjoy my time with Katharine. Babies smell so different from grownups; Mum says they don’t always smell good but I like that little boy and gave him a very soft kiss on his nose. Don’t tell anyone, I’m not supposed to do that but I just couldn’t resist.

Pet Therapy

Elsa: Umm, brother….not to be a stickler about things but you do realize that pic has nothing to do with nature, right?

Norman: Of course I do, but you originally brought up the fact that I made new friends when I visited Lutheran. I’m just showing folks some of what I do.

Elsa: Whatever. Come on, let’s share some photos of nature, shall we?

Norman: {harumpf} Okay, happy to share. Mum went to her happy place-Sloan’s Lake as couple of days ago. She really enjoys checking out all the birds at the lake and was surprised all the ice has melted since it is still below freezing at night. The day was filled with swirly clouds and shimmering water.

Sloan's Lake

Elsa: The clouds changed from puffy to swirly the whole day and provided nice views. It’s been windy most of the week and Mom says today is another red flag day with high winds forecasted today. You think the wind will bother all of our sinuses again?

Norman: No doubt. There has been some sneezing in all of us. It was interesting walking around the lake where every place Mum stopped to take a photo, had a different look in the sky. At times, it was barely cloudy, then the wind would pick up and then all sorts of different clouds would provide amazing beauty. Nature sure is ever changing, isn’t it?

Elsa: You can say that again. Makes me wonder how all those Canadian Geese and other birds deal with the wind. There sure were a lot of them at the lake but sadly no new goslings. Hopefully soon. They’re pretty cute as babies then they grow up to be aggressive toward us dogs.

Clouds

Norman: No floofy babies, but loads of big geese, that’s for sure. And Mum was rather surprised they let her get as close as she did at times. Maybe they’re becoming more used to all the people who take advantage of the path around the lake.

Canadian Geese

Elsa: Close indeed…but they were not very happy about it judging by all the squawking they did whenever she tried to move in closer. I heard more than a few them yawp “yeah, we’re outta here.”

Norman: They are impressive birds for sure, especially when they take off. Mum also followed a couple of the Double-Crested Cormorants who hang out at Sloan’s Lake as well. She followed one guy from one side of the lake to the other and giggled as he ‘snorkeled’ his way across the lake.

Cormorant bird

Elsa: I thought he was a weirdo. He’d float along and then suddenly dive into the water and come up about 15-20 feet away. What’s with that whole submarining thing anyway? Why not just paddle their feet like the geese do?

Cormorant

Norman: Well I’m no bird expert but suspect they’re fishing for crayfish when they dive like that. Did you know that these Double-Crested Cormorants are the only Cormorant species to nest in the Western interior? There are a large flock of them nesting over in Denver’s City Park on Duck Island but it always makes Mum happy when they hang out at Sloan’s Lake. Maybe the fishing is better here and they’re trying to move into our neighborhood along with everyone else.

Sloan's Lake

Elsa: I’m guessing there are enough of the really tall trees they like to nest in. But did you notice how the water was so rippled as you move toward the south side of the park? You can always tell when the wind starts whipping up by the way the waves move across the lake.

Norman:  Mum took these all images between 4 and 5 PM and was mesmerized by the sun moving in and out of the clouds which made for beautiful sparkling reflections on the water.

Clouds

Elsa: Well brother, looks like another pawsome walk around the lake this week. We always enjoy those ‘heart of the city’  adventures. There’s always something interesting to check out even though there are so many people around. Mom swears she’s going to go to a lake outside the neighborhood where there aren’t as many people so she doesn’t get run over by a bicycler or stroller.

Norman: We’ll see if she finds time to go outside the city limits. It’ll mean a car ride and that should prove interesting with both of us in her car. She says I take up a lot of real estate in the back seat.

Elsa: Hahaha, yeah, I think that’s a nice way of saying you ‘got a big butt’ dude. You know we both like riding in the car. So brother, got any big plans for the weekend or are you still rejuvenating after those busy hospital visits? The weather should be pleasant (the wind should move out by tonight) so maybe we’ll get to check out some new sights. I’ve got my paws crossed. Whatever you do, we hope you take in some of nature’s finer views and have a great time.

Norman: Right-o, little one. Oh, before we go, we want to thank everyone who left such nice comments about our blog-aversary this week. It really touched Mum’s heart. You guys are the best.

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ March 24, 2023

Nature FridayWhew…we made it…it’s Friday and that means my oaf of a brother and I join those cute pups from Adventures of the LLB Gang. This week we’re going to take a gander at nature from our ‘Hood and also to bring attention to this weekend when people all over the world will mark Epilepsy Awareness Day which falls on Sunday, March 26. Mom will be tied up helping her son move into his new home over the weekend so she decided we should make today’s post a “twofer” and hope you don’t mind. Even though the topics are not related, both are very near and dear to our hearts, so let’s get to it, shall we?

Elsa: Well brother, What have you got for me? Notice I’m being nice by letting you go first?

Norman: Umm, I did notice that but I can’t help but wonder “what’s the catch?”

Elsa: No catch, Big Guy, I just thought I’d do you a solid and let you go first. That way you can’t say I never do anything nice for you.

Norman: Hmm, o-kay {spoken tentatively}. Well, as you know Spring arrived officially in the Northern Hemisphere and although it remained a titch on the chilly side, Mum found some colorful slices of spring that gives us hope. Considering that things are mostly drab and dry here, these little pops of spring color were most welcome. Just check out this sprite bouquet of yellow crocus. I could spot these lovelies from half a block away.

Crocus

Elsa: N-i-c-e. And I’m proud of you for not trying to pee on them.

Norman: {embarrassed and blushing} Umm {changing the subject deftly} we saw our first dwarf daffodils in bloom. Mum says these beauties are easy to grow; are deer resistant and naturalize easily. They’re perfect to include in rock gardens, look terrific under shrubs, and mix nicely with other small bulbs such as Crocus, Scilla and Grape Hyacinths. At only about 4 to 6 inches tall (10-15 cm.), they are perfect for planting in pots or even for forcing them for a spot of Nature indoors during Winter months.

Spring bulbs

Elsa: They sure are cheerful looking but I think I smelled that a cat had checked them out before us. No, I’m certain a cat had walked around those guys.

Norman: You always think a cat or a squirrel has walked through gardens like this.

Elsa: And I’m never wrong about that, am I?

Norman: No comment. You know I spotted a few blooms from a forsythia bush amongst some dead leaves and branches on one of our walks.ForsythiaElsa: You’ve gotten pretty good finding yellow plants lately. Did Mom trim your bangs or what?

Norman: {ignoring the snark} It’s hard not to see those yellow blooms. But I know for a fact that Mum really enjoys seeing blooms that are blue or purple. She’s been watching the blue grape hyacinths in the ground cover for days now. She even thought about cutting some for a teeny tiny bouquet.

Grape Hyacinths

Elsa: What’s that plant begin those Grape Hyacinths? It sure looks robust.

Norman: Mum thinks it’s a volunteer Allium. Once it starts to bloom she’ll know for sure. It smells oniony to me {head shaking in disapproval} so I avoid it.

Elsa: Oh you big baby. Just because Allium is part of a botanical family that includes species of cultivated onion, garlic, scallion, shallot, leek, and chives isn’t a reason to be afraid. Like all spring bulbs, it’s toxic for us canines but Mom keeps us from getting anywhere near it. Maybe Mom should plant some of those next to her peonies to keep you from ‘watering’ them.

Norman: Hey, I’m just trying to help. Besides, Allium smells bad, in my opinion. Even the squirrels avoid them and they’ll eat anything.  But I do have to admit they are rather beautiful when they bloom looking like giant dandelions.

Elsa: I’ve started noticing that different Spring bulbs looks really nice planted together. Crocus really stands out when planted near Scilla, or what some people call, ‘Squill.’ Mom really loves them and gets very excited whenever she sees them in our neighborhood.

Spring bulbs

Norman: They’re barely tall enough to peep over dead leaves but always provide a lovely pop of bright color. Scilla are easy to miss because they’re so small.

Elsa: Like you’d ever notice them with your gigantic paws stomping through the garden!

Norman: Be nice, sister. It’s not nice to make fun of someone’s size. I could report you to the neighborhood security system company-I’m sure they’d teach you some manners.

Ducks

Elsa: Bring it on Bucko. I’m not afraid of those ‘security’ guards.

Norman: You should be…they are quite fierce-even more so than the Canadian Geese from Sloan’s Lake and what a ruckus they make. Besides, it’s better to be respectful of all wildlife, wherever they live.

Elsa: Pfft. They’re just lucky Mom doesn’t let me off leash.

Norman: {eye rolling} You talk a good game but I suspect when push comes to shove…

Elsa: {interrupting} Dream on, dude. Just because you’re a coward, don’t extrapolate your shortcoming on me.

Norman: ‘Extrapolate?’ Where did you come up with that word?

Elsa: I’ll have you know I’m quite the avid reader. And I’m very inquisitive about the world. Which segues perfectly to the second part of our post, Epilepsy Awareness Day. Why just recently I was reading up on epilepsy which happens to fall on this Sunday. Have you read up on it, dog breath?

Epilepsy

Norman: As a matter of fact, I absolutely have. We’re big fans of Olivia from Knotty Toys for Good Dogs as well as the Five SibesWhat’s Wrong With Gibson” book. I know it’s helped Mum when you have a seizure and she’s always glad to let people know there’s lots of info out there to help them by providing guidance and resources for people/pets who suffer from seizures.

Epilepsy

Elsa: Thanks, I appreciate you reading up on the condition that vexes me sometimes. You’re a good dog, Stormin’ Norman and I am grateful for you even when I don’t show it; I love ya, bruh.

Norman: Thanks, sister. I hope others check it out-it might help them better understand this condition.

Elsa:  Well that’s it for us this week. Hope you enjoyed seeing glimpses of Spring and are able to check out nature in your hood. We also hope you will check out the links regarding epilepsy. And don’t forget to wear Purple this Sunday.

Epilepsy

Live, love, bark! 🐾