Monday Musings ~ July 12, 2021

The Ranch’s ‘great invention’ is headed off to hospital for the next couple of days so we’ll no doubt be late reading your posts. We hope you smile as much as the nurses and patients will that we’re going to visit this week. Happy Monday, peeps!

Smiles
Image by Lynn Johnston via Pinterest

Live, love, bark! 🐾

 

Happy 4th of July

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

Norman

Here’s to a star-spangled ‘howliday!’

Elsa

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ June 18, 2021

Nature Friday

Once again TDIF (thank dog it’s Friday). Welcome to this week’s edition of Nature Friday. We’re joining that pawsome quartet of ‘anipals,’ Rosy, Sunny, Arty and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard to check out what’s shaking around Blogville. Be sure to click on the link to check out what others are sharing.

With this week’s triple digits being the new norm, we’ve kind of avoided getting out and seeing Nature much. Our walks happen  mostly at oh-dark-thirty to minimize the pizza-oven temperatures. Mother Nature doesn’t seem to mind our absence, pitching a hissy fit with her hot flashes. Too bad there’s not a hormone that could be administered to give the ole gal (as well as us) a break.

The garden peonies began to bloom late last week. Who doesn’t love that heavenly scent in a bouquet (just be careful who hitches a ride indoors-I’ve had a couple of insects catching a ride only to be unceremoniously removed upon detection)?

Flowers

The Dead Nettle has made its presence known in the shade garden. Did you know there are about 50 Lamium species in the mint family and they can create a beautiful tapestry beneath small trees or among plants who are willing to share the space. A note of warning, some Lamium can be somewhat invasive in fertile, moist soils. But their attractive foliage provides lovely textural interest even when flowers are not blooming. Lamium generally has finely-textured foliage and combines well with plants with large leaves like hostas. They also pair well with hydrangeas, hellebores, ferns and are perfect in dry shade gardens. Another plus for Lamium is they are deer resistant.

Flowers

The Catalpa trees are in full bloom despite the heat too. These large leafed, tall trees provide dense shade which has been most welcome this week. When the flowers drop, the sidewalk looks as though someone spilled a box of popcorn which always brings a smile. Even during inhospitable weather conditions, Nature shows she apparently has a whimsical side with a dash of humor on top. The deep-throated blossoms provide a quenching beverage for bees and other pollinators.

Trees

Needless to say the solar fountain has been very active this week. One of the neighborhood black birds visits this fountain narly every day for either a quick bath or a quenching drink. A couple of days ago he was caught admiring the climbing rose blooming. Sadly I couldn’t get my cell phone camera out quick enough to document before he took off for the roof, screeching his displeasure over his shoulder. Norman snuck out with me and looked at him like, “What’s your problem, mate?”

Flowers

Speaking of Norman, today will be his first day visiting patients at the hospital. He wasn’t very pleased about the bath he got in preparation but hope making new friends will more than enough make up for it. Keep your fingers crossed he does well and makes nurses smile today and tomorrow.

We hope you get an opportunity to check out some of Nature’s bounty this weekend. Whether you’re relaxing poolside or enjoying a cool beverage on the patio, we hope you make it a great time outdoors.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Monday Musings ~ June 7, 2021

Mum: Wake up, Norman.

Norman: Wait…it’s Monday again? Argh. My ear may be standing at attention, I’m just not feeling this whole Monday thing in my bones. Where did my weekend go?

Monday

Norman, Elsa and I wish you a happy Monday and an even happier week.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ June 4, 2021

Thank Dawg It’s Friday (TDIF)! Welcome to the first Nature Friday of June. We’re joining our favorite quartet, blog hosts Rosy, Sunny, Arty and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard to see what’s going on with Mother Nature through the eyes of Blogville’s finest. Be sure to click on the link to check out what others are sharing.

When I left the Mile High City to visit my dad, it was definitely early spring with cooler temps, late spring snow storms and our urban garden was barely awake with mostly spring bulbs taking center stage. A good week of wet, cool weather brought the garden to life. When I returned home, I barely recognized my yard. The Lupine had gone ballistic and the garden had taken on a rather jungle like atmosphere. I just stood there in awe taking in all the various colors and verdant greenery.

Just before Norman and I returned back to Denver, we were greeted with the strangest phenomena we’ve encountered in southeast Colorado. Fog. I don’t ever remember seeing fog over the years at my parents house but it provided an interesting shroud over prairie landscapes.

Flowers

It remained rainy and cool the entire time I was away (both in Denver as well as the Pueblo prairie) and when we returned home we encountered a very unfamiliar jungle.

Flowers

It was as though the lupine said ‘enough of this snoozing’ and promptly exploded into shades of blue, purple, violet, red and pink. For a second I thought I’d gone to the wrong house. These late spring bloomers showed their appreciation for all the rain that fell while we were away by exploding into colorful blooms. They completely covered the garden flagstone path that meanders through the yard. Even the ‘resident pony,’ otherwise known as Norman, was dwarfed in the lupine display.

Norman

FlowersWhile lupine is a general favorite amongst the neighbors, the real beauties making their presence known around the ‘hood are today’s featured plant…the tall bearded irises that are beginning to compete with the lupines. When I first moved into this house, I planted a small corner space of these beauties that have steadily expanded over the years.

Flowers

Bearded irises come in a variety of colors ranging from pale to deep. My favorites are the darkest of the dark or anything with a bluish tint.

Flowers

The tall bearded iris was once called “the extrovert of the iris world.” -M.Hamblen & K.Keppel, The World of Iris (1978). And no wonder. Just look at these lovelies!

Flowers

Flowers

Bearded irises are very easy to grow. Simply plant rhizomes in a sunny spot (but not too deeply) in well drained soil. Give them a bit of space, don’t mulch, and divide every 3-5 years. Remove spent blooms but leave foliage until autumn. Some varieties have variegated foliage which provides additional interest once the flowers have faded. With low water needs, bearded irises are perfect for xeric gardens. Reblooming hybrids are becoming more popular, blooming both in late spring and early autumn.

Flowers

With all their gorgeous looks, what are you waiting for? Get out there and enjoy tall bearded iris in your neighborhood.

We hope you have a great weekend and enjoy the bounty nature provides this time of year.

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Monday Musings ~ Memorial Day 2021

Memorial DayToday is Memorial Day in the U.S., a nationally recognized ‘howliday’ where we remember all those who died while serving in the country’s armed forces. Originally it was known as Decoration Day following the Civil War when Union and Confederate soldiers honored their dead by decorating their graves with flowers. The moniker “Decoration Day” was first used in 1882 while “Memorial Day” wasn’t common until some time after World War II. The name was officially recognized in 1967.

Normally thought of as the unofficial start of summer, this year is acting more like November than May. For this morning’s walk, Norman was greeted with 48ºF and a light rain. The forecast indicates it will stay cool today but will start to warm-up tomorrow.

NormanWhatever you do today, we hope you take a moment to reflect on the occasion to honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice so that you can be free to shop or BBQ. Have a safe holiday.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ May 28, 2021

Nature FridayIt’s Nature Friday where we snoop around and revel in all the beauty Nature offers. As usual, we’re joining our weekly hosts, that adorable quartet of pups, Rosy, Sunny, Arty and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard. Don’t forget to click on the link to check out what they and others in Blogville have shared.

Today may be the last Friday of May but it is also the beginning of an extended weekend in the U.S. ~ Memorial Day, where we remember and honor all those who gave the ultimate sacrifice serving their country. We hold all who have served in high esteem but especially those men and women who gave their lives so that the rest of us may continue to stay free.

Norman is going to do the honors of sharing the nature we came across this week. He travelled with me to spend some time with my dad in southeast Colorado. Take it away, Norman!

Thanks, mum. It’s been a good week naturewise. I’m not used to the landscapes of Southern Colorado where Grandpa lives but have enjoyed exploring the terrain and seeing some interesting and fascinating things around this part of the state and I’m super chuffed to be able to share them with everyone.

The surrounding area where Grandpa lives is an area that’s known for its prairie and desert-like conditions. Even though water is scarce, there is still a lot of diverse plant life. Much like the song, you’ll see “spacious skies, amber waves of grain, and purple mountain majesties above the fruited plain.” Mum only had her cell phone with her so this distance photo isn’t all that great but if you look real close, you’ll see some tiny black dots to the far left of those piñon trees who were ‘singing’ to us one morning. Mum said they were cattle from the nearby Walker Ranch. They sure don’t sound like any dog I’ve ever heard.

Mountains

Closer to the house, we found all sorts of prairie and desert flowers. I had to be careful where I stepped to avoid some pretty serious stickers called goat heads but I was a good boy avoiding them as we walked along the roadside.

Flowers

From Blanketflower to prairie daisies to yucca, mum and I saw it all. The walking stick cactus haven’t bloomed yet but may come out in the next few days. Last weekend’s moisture really brought the desert landscape to life. Just look at the ‘flowers’ on this yucca!

Yucca
Yucca

Here are some primroses we found this morning. Aren’t they a cheerful looking bunch?

Flowers
Primroses

Most of the flowers we came across are either orange or yellow but there are a few purplish/pink clusters to be found as well.

Flowers

Recent rain showers, while nothing like English weather, have greened up the prairie grass. It’s usually tan.

Flowers
Blanket flowers

There are a number of trees on Grandpa’s property including some ancient piñon trees and some Ponderosa pines he planted. This piñon is a few hundred years old and is a nice spot of shade for an English chap like myself who still isn’t 100% used to the high altitude intense sun yet. Good thing I got my summer haircut recently or I’d have been a panting fool in the sunlight.

Norman

We’ve been getting up at the crack of dawn early most mornings to start the day with a walk in the cool morning temperatures. This morning was extra exciting as I got to meet some of the ‘neighbors.’ Usually it’s just me, mum and the bus driver picking up kids for school around at that hour. Does anyone know what kind of dogs these are? The two smaller ones had the strangest bark I’ve ever heard.

Donkeys

Mum and I hope yours is a safe and happy Memorial Day weekend and you are able to enjoy some of the incredible sights of nature.

Live, love, bark!  🐾

Nature Friday ~ May 7, 2021

Welcome to Nature Friday where we join our ‘fur-iends’ from Adventures of the LLB Gang. Mother Nature has been all over the map this week. It’s been a bit of a typically weird Springtime in the Rockies kind of week weather-wise.

As I drove back from my parents house in southern Colorado, a large wet weather front hit pretty much most of the state but especially along the I-25 corridor. Monument Pass (just north of Colorado Springs) received several inches of white stuff. Luckily the roads weren’t too slippery but with nearly 15 miles of road construction, it was a slow, sad slog home.

Nature

While I was in Pueblo, Norman and I took occasional walks around the chaparral near my parent’s house. There are lots of ancient pinyon and cedar trees, some a few hundred years old. Norman wasn’t particularly interested in their history, only the crossing trails of bunny scents.

Norman

While snow this time of year is not unusual in the state, a couple of days of rain are (we’re more likely to receive snow than rain). The rain has refreshed the landscape, washed off the dust and grime of the city and brightened everything as Spring moves forward. The tulips have been extra gorgeous this year.

Flowers

After a few days of rain and cold, Colorado’s bluebird skies and sunny conditions returned. They made for a great background for the now flowering crabapple trees yesterday.

Trees

The yo-yo temperatures will continue today, likely reaching 81ºF. That said, the forecast for early next week once again includes snow, keeping the past few years of history intact around Mother’s Day, with snow in the Mile High. If you don’t like the current weather, just wait 10 minutes because it will no doubt change to something you may enjoy.

Whatever is your jam, we hope you have a lovely weekend and you’re able to share some of nature’s beauty with Happy Mother’s Day wishes to all moms, whether your kid has two or four legs (or wings).

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Monday Musings ~ April 12, 2021

A conversation over the weekend.

Mum: Norman, it looks like you’re blowing your undercoat. I’m finding your hair EVERYWHERE.

Norman: Relax mum, that’s not dog hair, it’s canine confetti.

Norman

Mum: 🤦🏼‍♀️ {Facepalm}

Here’s to a ‘pawsome’ week. No doubt ours will be  accompanied with probably more than a little ‘confetti.’

Live, love, bark! 🐾

(Nearly) Wordless Wednesday

The resident UK Ranch hand ‘leprechaun’ hopes you have a safe and happy St. Patrick’s Day. ☘️ Erin go bragh.☘️

Norman

So does the reluctant leprechaun. Oh Elsa…see…modeling isn’t so bad.

Elsa

Live, love, bark! 🐾