Nature Friday ~ August 23, 2019

Welcome to another Friday where we join our fur-iends and Nature Friday hosts, Rosy and her brothers from LLB in Our Backyard. I hate to sound like a broken record, but it’s [still] hot in the Mile High. A small shower with more thunder and lightning than rain blew through Wednesday evening which did help cool things down. The dogs have decided they are not fans of thunderstorms which is strange since nothing used to bother Sam but in his golden years, has become visibly distressed the moment he hears any thunder. This storm was a loud one so he was most verklempt.

Sun and heat loving perennials continue to take center stage around the hood. Come along one of my early morning walks where I came across an enormous trumpet vine that had fully covered an entire utility pole. Passing by, it was literally abuzz with bees and wasps enjoying the sweet nectar so I had to stay a comfortable distance away from them but I still just had to stop and take it all in.

Flowers

Flowers

For some reason, the sunflowers have been very prolific this summer, popping up across gardens throughout the neighborhood. My own garden is being taken over by them. It’ll be an interesting fight between the Lupines and the Sunflowers to see who takes over. I’m hoping they can learn to share the space since both are so pretty.

Flowers

Continuing along on the walk, I came across a beautiful, deep red Rose of Sharon shrub who was showing off. Such a pretty plant, but quite toxic to pets. The spent blooms are especially enticing to dogs so care should be exercised when incorporating this beauty in the garden landscape.

Flowers

Maybe Mother Nature’s way to warn us of its toxicity are the spikes surrounding the closed bud?

Flowers

One of the neighbors whose garden I enjoy walking past recently installed a new glass ornament with its whimsical look made me smile.

Falmingo

That’s about it for me. Tomorrow Sam and I will be attending the annual awards luncheon for pet therapy members and their dogs. It’ll be nice seeing the gang again since we’ve been absent this summer after Sam’s illness and recovery during June and July. I’m looking forward to meeting the newest members who have joined our ranks and for celebrating some of the program’s superstars. Are you doing anything fun this weekend? Whatever you have planned, I hope it’s a ‘pawsome’ weekend.

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Monday Musings ~ August 12, 2019

Happy Monday, peeps! Hope you had a terrific weekend. We were busy at the Ranch putting the final touches on the new BarkBook making it ready for downloading in the shop. To wet your good pup’s taste buds, here’s a sample of some of the delicious (and easy to make) treats from it.

🦴 Cheesy Applesauce Bites

INGREDIENTS:

1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1/3 cup applesauce

1/3 cup water

1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1/cup oatmeal

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 375º F.  Combine cheddar, applesauce and water in a small bowl. Combine flour and oatmeal in a large bowl. Blend cheese-applesauce mixture into the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Knead into a dough and turn onto a floured surface. Roll dough to 1/4-1/2” thickness and sprinkle with Parmesan. Cut with cookie cutters (or use a pizza cutter and cut into small squares). Place on parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 20 mins. (longer if biscuits are thicker).

Store in an air-tight container in refrigerator and consume in 1 week or freeze for up to 3 weeks.

And because every Monday should start out with a smile, how about a little poodle food to remind you to smile and eat your veggies? Happy Monday.

Poodle food

BarkBook

Live, love, bark!

Nature Friday ~ August 9, 2019

Let’s hear it for the arrival of Friday! If it’s Friday, that means it’s not only our most welcomed friend, but it’s also a time when we stroll around Blogville checking out the beauty of Mother Nature. As usual, we are joining our friends, Rosy and her brothers from LLB in our Backyard.

This should come as no surprise to anyone who follows along with our whinging antics, but it’s been hot. I mean, H-O-T. With temperatures in the upper 90’s a fair part of this week and little moisture in our ‘hood, you’d think there wouldn’t be much to look at. Wrong! It’s Rudbeckia season. Often referred to as Black-eyed Susan’s, this beautifully colorful perennial is a herbaceous flower belonging to the aster family. Growing throughout the US, the Black-eyed Susans is actually the state flower of Maryland and a symbol of horse-racing’s Preakness race.

Black-eyed Susans grow to between 12 to 40-inches in height, and 18 to 12-inches in width across the petals. Its stem is hardy and covered with tiny stiff hairs. This plant is fairly resistant to the wind and the elements, making it easy to grow in all conditions. It’s probably why you see it often along highways and in meadows.

The leaves arrange themselves in rosette form around the “bee,” with the plants shooting leaves from the stem in the second season. The leaves have a toothed edge with a rough texture. The plant produces a flower heads consisting of 8 to 20 orange-yellow florets that cluster into a cone-shape and turn dark toward the center. They are part of the coneflower family.

Flowers

Ever wonder how this garden favorite got its name? The scientific classification actually comes from Sweden. Born in Västerås, Olaus Rudbeck was a famous botanist and professor of medicine at Uppsala University. Black-eyed Susans garner its scientific name, “Rudbeckia,” from the Swedish scientist although Rudbeck didn’t name the flower himself. Botanist Carl Linnaeus, who studied under Rudbeck’s son, named the plant in loving memory of Rudbeck and his son. The Black-eyed Susan belongs to the Asteraceae family, which includes other coneflower species.

Flowers

We hope you are able to get outside and enjoy a lovely summer weekend and check out all the beauty Mother Nature offers. Like this pretty sunrise from this morning.

Sunrise

* * * Exciting News * * *

Recently I mentioned there’s be some exciting news coming and now I can share it with you. For some time now I’ve been working on writing a collection of treat recipes in a cookbook BarkBook. After exploring numerous publishing options, I decided to ‘publish’ it in our e-shop in the form of a download with a portion of sales benefitting local pet rescue groups. With lots of starts and stops (including a catastrophic disappearance somewhere in the Cloud) requiring me to lose my mind a total rewrite, this baby is now done. I’ll be beta-testing the download process over the next few days but wanted to give you advance notice that it’s coming soon. Finally. I feels like I’ve birthed an elephant. Stay tuned for the official arrival ( hopefully next week). In the meantime, don’t forget to check out the e-shop for bandanas, hand-painted greeting cards and (now) another new item, “Scrubbies” (which work great as an exfoliator for uprights or work hard cleaning your veggies-we use ours all around the house for cleaning too). Check them out!

BarkBook logo

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ August 2, 2019

Hello troopers. I see you’ve made it to another Friday. Elsa here. HuMom told me she’s up to her eyeballs in alligators working on a couple of big projects and said I could be responsible for today’s post. Well actually she wanted my brother to do it but he passed. Not sure how that works, but I’m going to give it a go nonetheless. Like always we’re joining our ‘fur-iends’ Rosy and her brothers from LLB in Our Backyard. Be sure you visit them and all the other excellent contributors.

While I was pawing through her 87 jillion images (whew, that lady has got some serious organizing to do when she’s done with her projects), I came across a photo from before my time. Boy do I wish I could have been there with her and my brother that morning. Sloans Lake is an urban, man-made lake in the park with the same name that’s just a hop, skip and jump from the Ranch. There are lots of water sports activities on the lake, some ‘furbulous’ walking paths around it and a spectacular view of downtown Denver. And the geese…oh my! What strange and unfriendly creatures they can be. Can you imagine they want nothing to do with a gorgeous girl like me? I know…hard to believe. I just want to say hello for crying out loud but they don’t want to be sniffed by Ninja’s I guess and will let you know in no uncertain terms.

Sloans Lake

Sadly we don’t get over there as much as we’d like, it can be jammed with visitors which makes me go into full-on Ninja mode anxious but when we do make special trips, boy are we rewarded. A walk around the lake when it’s not crowded is well worth it.

Sloans Lake

This time of year, Rose of Sharon bushes are blooming and the ones here have gigantic flowers. Mom won’t let me go near them. Those blooms while very attractive to dogs in ‘pawticular,’ are extremely toxic and bad for us fur-babies. Be sure to click on the link to learn about the dangers of this shrub with pets.

Rose of Sharon

Well that’s it for me. I need to go harass play with my brother and then take my morning nap. Have a great weekend. We hope there are some beautiful sunrises in store for you this weekend. Mom hopes to have a big announcement soon so stay tuned.

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

 

Monday Musings ~ July 29, 2019

Whoa…what happened to the weekend? It was here and then POOF! gone. *Sigh*

Monday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

A New Season Is Here

Are you ready for a new season? No, not the one that’s due to arrive in 59 days, but who’s counting? I’m talking about another season. Besides more sunlight, ahem…’warm’ days, bugs and barbecues, there’s a season within summer I liken to pure evil hell, otherwise known as the grass-weed season.

You may recall a previous rant post about Foxtails (found here). Mostly found in the western part of the US, these innocent enough looking weeds can be very risky for dogs.

GrassesThe barbs are uniquely designed to move in one direction–only forward. They burrow deeper and deeper into the fur. Noses, ears, between the toes, under the collar or armpits are the most frequently found spots. Removal from fur as soon as possible is important since they can be quite difficult to remove once they penetrate the skin. Once burrowed into the skin and if not treated, they can travel throughout the body. A dog sniffing the ground can easily inhale them into their noses, under an armpit, or get them caught in their ears and if not treated immediately, can result in serious problems resulting in an expensive visit to a vet.

The danger of foxtails goes beyond simple irritation. Because these tough seed barbs don’t break down inside the body, an embedded foxtail can lead to a serious infection. It can even lead to death if left untreated and these seeds can be hard to find in dog fur.

Foxtails move relentlessly forward and can migrate from inside your dog’s nose deep into their brain or be inhaled into and perforate a lung. Embedded foxtails can cause discharge, abscesses, swelling, pain, even death. If your dog is displaying any of the following symptoms, check for foxtails or talk to your vet. Make sure you check your good dog’s feet, ears, face, nose, genitals. Limping, excessive licking, head shaking, incessant scratching, redness, discharge, swelling, squinting or pawing are all symptoms your sweet dog may have picked up a foxtail. Foxtail season runs from May to December. Once foxtails dry out, they are like little sharp knives waiting to stick to someone or something.To remove, use a pair of tweezers if you can easily get to it. But if it’s deeply embedded, or if the area around it is red or swollen, call your vet right away. Remember, foxtails won’t come out on their own, and they can burrow deep within your dog.Prevention is your best weapon against this grass. Avoid overgrown grassy areas and remove these plants from your yard. Regular grooming/brushing can help.

Though not nearly as dangerous, are another seasonal weed-what I call Velcro grass. Not sure what the scientific name of this grass weed is, mostly I refer to it as evil bastard.

Grasses

Notice all those nasty little seed heads? They stick like Gorilla® glue-to fur, socks, pant legs, whatever it can attach its little evil self to, and often spring up along sidewalks near the neighborhood ‘pee-mail bulletin board.’ When we came back from this morning’s constitution, I found one attached to Sam’s bandana. Elsa had a very small piece of one stuck to her check a couple of days ago. It was a real bugger getting rid of, you pretty much have to pull them out seed by seed since they tend to disintegrate when you try to remove them. Dogs aren’t  typically keen on having lots of pulling out of their fur. It took several attempts to fully remove it.

Grass

Paws crossed this ‘season within the season’ doesn’t affect you or your good dog.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

All American Pet Photo Day ~ July 11, 2019

Pet Photo Day

All around Blogville today, people in the US will be celebrating the All-American Pet Photo Day (“AAPPD”). The Knuckleheads from the ‘Ranch’ are inviting all our fur-iends from around the world to join us today. What little I could find out about this latest calendar ‘howliday’ seemed to indicate the AAPPD was created…you guessed it, due to an algorithm (collected data pointed to an especially large number of pet photos being posted on social media platforms on July 11th). It’s a somewhat new-ish holiday, being created within the past few of years but it has always been observed on July 11th.

It is estimated over half of American households have pets, making it an easy to ‘pawticipate.’ Obviously, dogs and cats are the most popular pets, but those who have birds, fish, hamsters, guinea pigs, turtles, lizards, and other pets are encouraged to  participate.

Although I celebrate these two characters every day, today will be an extra special opportunity to humble brag on about them on social media. So further ado, here are the ‘Ranch hands’ just for today. Do you plan to post an image of your pet-kid today? We’ll be looking for you on Instagram. Sam

Elsa

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ July 5, 2019

Although we missed the past couple of weeks, we’re back today joining our fur-iends, Rosy and her brothers from the LLB Gang for this week’s edition Nature Friday. Mother Nature opened up a can of whoop-ass on the Mile High yesterday with multiple thunderstorm cells storming through with hail but not before two of nature’s most beautiful urban trees bloomed. These two trees are stalwart sentinels around the city: the Catalpa (Catalpa speciosa) and the Little-Leaf Linden (Tilia cordata).

The Catalpa is a large ornamental shade tree that produces dense clusters of white flowers and long seed pods. While I lament the long pods after they drop throughout the garden like pick-up sticks, the flowers are incredibly beautiful and very fragrant. After yesterday’s intense weather, many of the flowers were shed and rather look like popcorn on the ground. The heart-shaped leaves are huge, ranging from 6-8″wide and 6-10″ long. Growing up to 70 ft. tall, this long-lived tree (50-150 years) provides a wide spread 20-40′ and thrive in Denver’s dry climate, requiring little water once established.

Catalpa tree

The flowers resemble orchids. Here’s a closeup of the flowers and leaves.

Catalpa

The Little-Leaf Linden is a medium-large shade tree with a symmetrical shape that is easy to maintain and requires little or no pruning. In North America, Lindens may be known as ‘basswood.’ In early summer clusters of highly fragrant yellow flowers fill the air with a divine perfume that attracts bees. Following blooming, dangling flat clusters of nutlets replace the flowers. Lindens are another long-lived tree and also produce heart-shaped asymmetrical leaves with pointed tips and serrated edges, though they are significantly smaller than Catalpas.  They provide great shade in the intense Colorado sun.

Trees

Here’s a close-up of the flowers, nutlets and leaves. I wish there was some way to share that incredible fragrance. I often stand below these trees and inhale deeply for several moments. Elsa thinks I’m looking for squirrels and goes on alert but I’m just reveling in that divine scent.

Trees

We hope you and yours survived the Fourth (it sounded like a complete war zone for hours in my neighborhood-the worse ever in the 17+ years I’ve lived here) and I hope there are no more terror filled nights again. I ‘may have confronted a few neighbors and called the police‘ and with lack of sleep for the second night in a row, am in no mood for any more encounters. Before last night I was known as the nice lady with the two standard poodles who always carries dog treats in her pockets but now probably have a less flattering moniker after last night’s insanity. People seem to think they are entitled to disregard municipal ordinances because they are ‘being patriotic.’ If you want to be patriotic, how ’bout you vote and not think the rules don’t apply to you (maybe this is that ‘scrappy’ thing I referred to yesterday). Respecting veterans fragility, along with victims of active/mass shooting scenarios not to mention terrified pets seems like a better way, but what do I know. I’m just that {&#@%-ing} lady who tried to comfort her terrified, shaking, panting dog who never hurt a flea and wondered why his world turned into an absolute living hell for several hours.

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Good News Tuesday ~ July 2, 2019

An interesting story in the paper caught my eye over the weekend. Last week, the small town of Berthoud, Colorado (pop. approximately 5500) made history in Colorado by becoming the first (and only) municipality in the state to ban the sale of puppy mill dogs in pet shops. While probably just symbolic (Berthod has no pet shops), the town is making a statement on the topic of puppy mill pets.

Puppy millsIn his statement, Mayor pro tem Jeff Hindman said, “We can be up front and take a stand and hope this will spread to other towns and other pet shops across the state,” following the 6-0 vote approving the ordinance banning the sale of puppies from inhumane breeding facilities. You may recall that Elsa herself the product of a puppy mill, came from Greeley, a mere 29 miles (45 Km) away from Berthod. Local residents, many holding their rescued dogs in their laps, filled the Town Hall and applauded the vote. Loveland, CO resident, Lauren Kujawa said, “I’m hoping it spreads to Loveland, Fort Collins, Omaha, Oklahoma, everywhere.” We share Lauren’s sentiment.

Rudi Taylor, who founded Harley’s Dream, a Berthod-based organization had proposed the ordinance. Harley’s Dream was established in 2016 to create awareness and educate the public about cruelty in the commercial dog breeding industry, aka puppy mills. By using a grassroots approach, Harley’s Dream believes large groups of concerned citizens is the most effective way to bring about change regarding these cruel, for-profit farms. Their sole focus encourages advocacy by providing the tools necessary to educate the public on the puppy mill crisis.Puppy Mills

Let’s keep our paws crossed that more cities around the country accept the challenge to ban the sale of puppy mills dogs in pet stores. Hitting these profit based farms is likely the best way to combat this insidious practice of abject animal cruelty.

Well done, Berthod! Elsa and I tip our hats to you for your efforts in getting Berthod to ban puppy mills dogs. It’s the first step which I hope snowballs across the state and country.

Elsa

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Monday Musings ~ July 1, 2019

It’s a brand new week, month, and a fresh Monday-whoa…how’d that happen? You may have noticed our conspicuous absence last week. We were supposed to visit the hospital and West Pines but by Monday evening, it became clear that Sam was too sick to do any visits and needed to see the vet. Happy to report he has begun to rejoin the canine-race after a very rough week; this despite steadfastly holding on to the notion that he must be catered to every waking moment of the day. The boy has come to expect an on-call short-order cook now and someone to hand feed him.

Sleeping dogFor a few days, he refused to eat or drink anything, requiring subcutaneous fluids from the vet. By Thursday, he would only eat a couple of small (and I do mean s-m-a-l-l pieces of freshly cooked chicken breasts. If…mind you, they were hand fed to him. By late Friday, Little Lord Fauntleroy decided that chicken breasts were far too Plebeian for his tastes and with sad puppy eyes moved on to other heretofore unknown preferences, finally accepting venison and buffalo as a suitable meal fit for his Lordship. Elsa naturally stepped up offering to eat any chicken (or any other food her brother refused to eat) as her contribution toward helping out. She did seem to know something was up with her older brother and tried sitting on sleeping next to him all week long, which made him more than slightly adverse to the close quarters but too weak to move out of the way. Can you say gun-shy of the Ninja? What can I say about these two other than I’m very grateful things are mostly back to normal now for all of us. I no longer have to sleep with multiple rolls of paper towels and cleaning supplies at the ready and my bank account can finally take a deep breath after all the vet visits.

I still wonder however why, when you’ve only had 2 hours of sleep because of a sick dog, why the damn smoke alarm feels compelled to start chirping at 2:00 AM. Any explanations on that one? No…well then let’s just chalk it up to the universe’s many unexplained weirdness and instead start out the new week and month with a silly pun, probably spoken with a heavy Southern accent. Since we kind of went from chilly temps to broil, we can only hope you’re not sweltering too much and hope it’s a great week.

Cheese

Live, love, bark! 🐾

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