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?”

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.”

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}.

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.

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?”

‘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 ~ 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.


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.


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.


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.


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! 🐾

Praying for Peace in Ukraine ~ March 26, 2022

Peace“There never was a good war or a bad peace.”
-Benjamin Franklin


This weekend, like so many others around Blogville, we join the “Blog for Peace” blog hop hosted by Mimi Lenox from BlogBlast4Peace. Every day we wince and shed tears for the people and pets of Ukraine as they defend themselves from the Russian invasion. The images coming out of Ukraine have been absolutely heartbreaking, especially when you see families walking to train stations, dragging a piece of luggage while carrying their pets, as they flee the bombing of their hometowns.

Blog for Peace
Send your peace globe and a link to your post to Mimi Lenox at or tag Mimi Lenox on Facebook

We hope you will do your part and promote peace by helping the Ukrainians any way you are able.


Live, love, bark! 🐾

Exciting News

Last week we promised to share some exciting news about the goings on around the Ranch and today is that day. Normally we don’t post on Thursdays so today seemed like the perfect opportunity to share the news.

As you probably know, Norman was rescued from the Old English Sheepdog Rescue of Colorado two years ago. Since bringing this sweet boy home, I’ve become more and more involved as a volunteer with the rescue. They are a great group of folks whose sole mission is totally dedicated to the rescue and rehoming of unwanted, abandoned and neglected Old English Sheepdogs. Like most rescue groups, we’re constantly trying to stretch limited financial resources to best fulfill our mission.

We recently became aware of an amazing opportunity which will further our efforts. I am pleased to announce, Old English Sheepdogs of Colorado has been chosen by Canine Colorado Magazine for its latest fundraiser. The magazine features a two page spread of each dog from the recipient rescue and we’re very excited at the fundraising potential. Ranch Hand Norman is one of the dogs who makes an appearance in the magazine. Here’s a brief video look behind the scenes at last week’s modeling session (Elsa also had professional photos taken of her by DelaFoto Portraits, photographer for Canine Colorado Magazine but will not appear in the magazine- sorry Ninja…only Sheepies for this spread). The session latest about 45 minutes and the big guy was a total professional.

I may be slightly biased, but think he’s every bit as handsome as David Beckham’s days on the runway. Guess there’s more pressure than ever for him to sign an agent now with his new job as a SuperModel.

Once the final magazine is published, I’ll share more of this new newest modeling phenome. So far fame hasn’t gone to his head (yet) and he continues to be the same easy going ‘grounded’ pup as always.


In other news, we are no longer able to post images to Instagram. The “MetaVerse” has been less than responsive in resolving an issue despite multiple requests. Sadly we cannot even log in to see others’ feeds. On the plus side, it’s one less black hole to be dragged into go down {insert snarky snicker}. I’ve wasted enough energy and brain power trying to resolve this issue. I’m done. {mic drop}

See you guys tomorrow for our regular Nature Friday post. I hope to not post any more snow images though Nature isn’t quite cooperating and may need to dig into the old archives to avoid playing into Mother Nature’s cold, cruel hands. Happy ‘Fursday!’

Live, love, bark!  🐾

Monday Musings ~ February 28, 2022

Welcome to the last day of the shortest month of the year. Being on the cusp of multiple seasons that happen this time of year (winter/spring, mud/spring/winter), comfort food in particular tends to take center stage around the Ranch. But beware of leaving your plate unattended for too long, otherwise you may become an unwilling victim like today’s smile.


A bowl of popcorn made over the weekend stayed surprisingly untouched although I did notice a few more drool spots on the ottoman. Such earnest innocence in those faces.

Elsa & Norman

Snickering dog

Have a super Monday.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ February 4, 2022

Welcome to February’s first Nature Friday edition, where we join our pals Rosy, Sunny and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard. Rosy and gang recently relocated to the Land of enchantment so make you you click on the link to check out their adventures.

Originally I had planned on doing a post about the big storm that hit the Mile High City this week, bringing windchill temps down to sub-zero levels. And then I heard a most remarkable story on the radio this morning about a nature story of sorts from the Western Slope and decided to rewrite it.

It all started the day after Christmas. Returning to their Grand Junction home from Denver, Charles Reigies, girlfriend Hannah Poscente and their dog, Mia hit a spot of black ice near Gypsum, CO late at night and crashed. When Charles came to, Hannah was injured, Mia had disappeared and their Jeep was on its side. Hannah was rushed to the hospital by ambulance with a broken neck. Charles searched for Mia until the tow truck arrived. He wasn’t able to find Mia in the snow but that’s not where this story ends.

When Hannah was released from hospital the next day, she reactivated her Facebook page and joined various lost pet sites hoping for a miracle.

Lost Dog
Photo Courtesy of Hannah Poscente’s Facebook page

At the time, this was one of the first snowstorms to hit the region and cold temps moved in. Hannah’s post were liked and shared and thus the ‘village’ began the implausible quest of Charles and Hannah finding their beloved pet.

Enter Janet Cross, who lived near the crash site, and heard about it. She set up a trail camera near the accident. When reviewing footage, she realized Mia (like many pets do when separated from their family) returned to the area twice a day. Mia was skinny, temps were freezing, but she was alive. There were other sightings among various people but living 2 hours away from the crash made it difficult for Charles and Hannah to follow up quickly on them. But Janet didn’t giving up. She obtained a trap from animal control and checked it every hour. She refused to give up on finding Mia and continued to help reunite the family.

The deer fence the vehicle crashed into was rebuilt making Mia’s reunion even more challenging. Mia was not seen for 8 days. Then a miracle happened. Janet received a call from someone who lived 10 miles from the crash site indicating that Mia had been spotted so Janet repositioned the trap near that area. Mia was initialled scared off but after receiving a message about  being sighted, Hannah and a friend returned to the area to continue the search. Still in a neck brace, Hannah decided to go out and look again while the friend took a meeting on her phone. Snow and sagebrush camouflaged the surrounding landscape but Hannah continued walking along the train tracks. Mia was there! And she didn’t scare off, instead she came walking toward her person. Hannah recorded the reunion with her cell phone.

Photo courtesy of Hannah Poscente

Mia was so excited to see her mom, she began jumping all over her and the video cut off. The same scene was repeated when Hannah returned to her Grand Junction home with Mia with Charles being knocked down by his happy pup. This improbable rescue ended one month and one day after Mia was lost. “She’s still got a lot of weight to put back on,” said Charles, patting Mia, her ribs showing, “but the vet says she’s doing good, all things considered.” No one will know what Mia endured while lost and her story continues to be shared on Facebook, often with the title “Never Give Up Hope.” And what about Angel Janet, the caring soul who made it her mission to help out? “She fought traffic and predators and snow and wind,” Janet said, “and I mean, she made it.”

Courtesy of Stina Sieg, CPR News

{sniffle} I hope you can now see why this week’s nature post needed to be rewritten and how it really does take a village sometimes.


While today’s post was about a shy dog whose adventures in nature we’ll never know the details about, here are a few photos of the Ranch Hands who finally were able to take a brief walkabout yesterday afternoon when temps finally reached 25Fº. The snow was still deep enough to require boots (much to their chagrin) with warm jackets but the Vitamin D outing was much needed by all 3 of us. For those still in the grips of Mother Nature’s cruel hands, we hope you stay safe, warm and cozy.

Ranch Hands
How are we supposed to walk in these stupid boots?
Ahhhhhhh! This is how you spell relief.
Hurry up, bozo. I have snow drifts to enjoy.

Have a great weekend.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Veterans/Remembrance Day ~ 2021

Veterans DayToday the U.S., Canada and Europe mark the anniversary of the end of World War I where major hostilities formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918, and the Armistice with Germany went into effect. Historically speaking, this holiday was signed into law in the U.S. by President Dwight Eisenhower on May 26, 1954 honoring all veterans who served in the Armed Forces. Europe celebrates today as Remembrance Day or Armistice Day.  When major U.S. veteran organizations urged renaming the day to “Veterans Day,” Congress amended the bill on June 1, 1954, replacing “Armistice” with “Veterans,” and has been known as Veterans Day ever since. (BTW the attributive case as opposed to the possessive is the officially correct spelling “because it is not a day that ‘belongs’ to veterans, but rather a day to honor all veterans). For Grammarians, using the apostrophe is however grammatically appropriate.

Today we honor and celebrate the service of all U.S. military veterans, while May’s Memorial Day honors those who died while in military service.


And because she’s a little pill and absolutely refused to participate in a joint photo session with Norman, the Ninja posed separately. #ohthatdog!


Nevertheless, both Ranch hands and I tip our hats to all veterans who have served their country.

Live, love, bark!🐾


Nature Friday ~ September 17, 2021

Nature FridayHey everyone…it’s “Fri-Yay!” so that means we’re joining our ‘fur-iends’, Rosy, Sunny, Arty and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard on their weekly blog hop. Be sure to click on the link to see what others have shared.

This week Norman and I went south to Pueblo West for a short visit with my Dad for a couple of days and to catch up with my sister from Maryland who was also visiting. While I love the Colorado mountains, I’m always struck by the beauty of seeing prairies around Pikes Peak to the north from the comfort of  Dad’s home.

Pikes Peak
Pikes Peak in the distance

The view to the southwest is equally beautiful with the Greenhorn Mountains rising above ‘fruited plains.’ Whenever I walk the dogs, I just have to stop and stare at the beauty of golden prairies with the mountains as a stunning backdrop.


As we took our morning constitution we also passed by a horse property which often has several horses, donkeys and a few ponies in one of the pastures. On this morning they were in the front pasture and trotted over to check the ‘horse on the leash’ with the human (with apologies for the sun flare that refused to be edited out).

As I’ve come to expect with this boy, Norman draws a crowd. The black and white pony had been lying in the early morning sunshine but took one look at Norman and immediately got to his feet and trotted over to the fenceline to get a better look-see.

Howdy!  Pony…meet pony

Everyone got their sniffs in and all species seemed to be bemused with one another.

While the daytime temps still continue to be toasty, over the past couple of days the weather seems to be engaged in a slow roll toward the autumnal transition. This morning’s temperature at 5:45 am was a crisp 48ºF (8C) with early morning walks requiring a hand torch since it’s still quite dark.

Yesterday was the Ninja’s 5th Gotcha Day. It was a quiet celebration, per the little lady herself. Elsa’s not really into being in the photographic spotlight as you can tell below. On the one hand it seems impossible that it’s been 5 years since this world wind fur pile came home with me. Her puppy mill personality quirks are still evident but her sweet loyalty toward me brings many smiles. And even with a couple of recent seizures, she’s doing well while continuing to vex her big brother. Oh Elsa…you’re such a pill but I love you just the same. On the other, it’s been quite the journey. Guestimated to have been between 3-4 at the time of her adoption, she’s reached her prime, despite ups and downs. Happy Gotcha Day, sweet girl! Party on…your way.

Gotcha Day

The arrival of autumn is typically marked with leaves changing color but while there isn’t much of that going on just yet in the city, there are signs beyond cooler morning temps. This maple tree is still 95% green with only one small area morphing into autumn splendor.


As squirrels and other critters begin preparing for winter, acorns have now begun to form with some dropping already. It won’t be long now even if daytime temps will stay warm. As a lover of 4 distinct seasons, I will welcome this annual change.


Enjoy your weekend and make sure you get out there to check out this amazing time of year.

Live, love, bark!  🐾

Monday Musings ~ August 2, 2021

The Ranch hands reminded me that we might want to pay some attention to our feline friends every now and then so this one jumped out and made me chortle (though it could easily apply to pooches just as easily). We hope today is full of smiles…or at a minimum, some good liquid ‘stuff.’


Have a great Monday!

Live, love, bark! 🐾