Howl-oween 2023

Elsa - Halloween

Elsa: You are so going to pay for this humiliation, Mother!

The Mom: Egad…you know you’re in trouble when you’re called Mother.

Elsa: Happy Howl-oween, peeps. We both hope it’s safe, fun but sans dumb costumes. Please stay away from Mothers who encourage you with high value treats in their pockets-it’s a complete ruse to humiliate you and is far worse than seeing any ghosts. And while you’re being careful, please stay away from chocolate-it’s not good for us four-leggers.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ October 27, 2023


Well, well, well…lo and behold…it’s  Friday. Elsa here, your intrepid blogging queen with another episode of Nature Friday where we join our New Mexico pals, Rosy and Sunny from LLB in Our Backyard. Don’t forget to click on the link to see what else has been shared.

Elsa: It’s been one of those beautiful autumn weeks with mild temps, blue-bird and cloudless skies and then Nature sent out a memo now that autumn isn’t going to last forever and to get your affairs in order. All our walks have been punctuated with the sound of psst as sprinkling systems were getting shut down.

The Mom:  Right. Last night’s freeze was a rather rude awakening, wasn’t it?

Elsa: Sheesh…rude doesn’t begin to cover it. Even with my luxurious furs, I can tell you straight up that I won’t mind wearing a coat on the morning walk. And the forecast of 1-3″ of white stuff for the weekend with highs in the 30’s…yikes! Oh sure the changing leaves have been terrific, at least the trees received and actually read the memo that ‘things be a-changing,’ but what’s up with all the roses in bloom right now? Oh sure, I expect mums to be blooming this time of year, but what the dog are the roses doing by giving nature the middle thorn and blooming all over the place?

The Mom: {interrupting} Excuse me…middle thorn??

Elsa: Yes, I was being metaphorical.

The Mom: Well, let’s not be quite as crudely metaphorical in the future okay, kiddo?

Elsa: There you go again, harshing on my mellow. As I was saying before you crushed my flow, there have been ooodles of leaves that have turned and started their annual drop although these looked like apple slices to me.


The Mom: Yeah, wasn’t it fun to walk through them? Crunch, crunch, crunch {squealing with delight}.

Elsa: Umm, yeah, no. You may enjoy that crunching but I’m barefooted, or did you forget?

The Mom: Oops, I hadn’t really thought about it from that perspective. Sorry..

Elsa: Well I will concede the ash trees have been pretty amazing-they always are but I still don’t like to walk on their fallen leaves.

Ash tree

The Mom: Considering how bizarre the autumn weather has been, the ash trees really have been pretty colorful. Too many of the maples and elms have just turned brown around the edges and will, no doubt be on the ground once the snow arrives. I noticed this spruce tree where fallen leaves ‘decorated’ the boughs like it was some sort of Christmas tree all dressed up. I’d never seen a leaf garland like that before.

Spruce tree and leaves

Elsa: Nice, but did you get a good look at that ornamental plum we passed by? I almost needed sunglasses it was so bright and colorful. The light was just amazing.

Plum tree

The Mom: Yes, I stopped dead in my tracks because of that beautiful color.

Elsa:  Trust me, I did notice that. There I was happily sniffing through the leaves and {imitating screeching brakes} you just froze. You know our walks are for my olfactory pleasure not for your visual delight.

The Mom: Oh, excuse me. I just got caught up in the moment. Sorry.

Elsa: Ok, just this time. So can you explain why all the roses are going bonkers blooming? For a summer flower, I guess these guys decided to go down in a blaze of beauty. I sure hope Miss Rosy likes these babies.

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The Mom: They sure caught my eye too. But nothing like what I saw in the dog run. I saw these weird, swirly tracks in the dirt and couldn’t for the life of me, figure out what or who left them, and then I found the source. A big worm made them. I moved him back toward where he started out because he was quite a bit away from the initial swirls for that picture, before relocating him permanently.

Elsa: I think he was stoned or worse, high-neither one of us could make any sense out of his path or those swirls. Then again, maybe he just was trying to stay dry after a light shower we received but I’m no worm expert. I’m glad you ended up gently placing him in the front garden to hide in the mulch-maybe he’ll do some aerating before the cold/snow gets him. I think I’m going to name him Jake. Yup, Jake, the Snake…er, worm.

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The Mom: I have my paws crossed for him too. You’ve named him, I see. Oh brother.

Elsa: Doesn’t everyone deserve a name? I mean you named the mouse that lives in the compost bin.

The Mom: {stuttering} Er, umm, well okay, maybe we’ll keep our eyes open for ‘Jake’ in the future.

Elsa: Thought you’d see it my way. So I noticed you were going through the box that houses the dog costumes and hats. I know Halloween is next week. You weren’t thinking of dressing me up now, were you?

The Mom: Umm, me? Uh, probably not.

Elsa: Yeah…I heard you giggling as you found some of the stuff you used to dress up Norman and Sam. Please, I beg of you…don’t do it. No self-respecting poodle wants to be dressed up like that. I’ll be the laughing stock of Blogville and I’ll look ridiculous and be totally humiliated.

The Mom: {innocently whistling while looking the other way} Umm, I’ll think about it.

Elsa: Mom, please, I’m begging you {making sad puppy dog eyes…desperately pleading}. People will think I’m a sell-out.

The Mom: You worry too much. {changing the subject} So…got any plans for the weekend, Ninja?

Elsa: With the snow and temps in the 30’s? Umm, yeah, lots of cozy naps while this storm blows over. I’m no ordinary fool. Throw in couple of toys for a good old fashioned chew-fest and I’ll be good.


The Mom: Well whatever you do, we both hope you manage to enjoy whatever Nature has in store for your region. Make it a great weekend.

Elsa: Yeah, what Mom said.

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ October 20, 2023

Elsa: {softly speaking} Psst…Mom, oh Mom…time to wake up.

The Mom: 💤 Huh, wha…where am I?

Elsa: Hiya…boy you were out of it! Were you dreaming?

The Mom: Yeah, I guess I was. Weird dream, too. What time is it?

Elsa: Well it’s time to get up. We’ve got stuff to do, lady. Chop, chop.

The Mom: {yawning and stretching} Uh…just a little bit longer, ok?

Elsa: {SCREAMING} Nope, time to get up. Now! As we always do on Friday’s, we are joining our pals, Rosy and Sunny from LLB in Our Backyard. Don’t forget to click on the link to see what else has been shared.

The Mom: You’re being a little overly harsh today. I’m still tired.

Elsa: Well , you shouldn’t stay up late watching a hockey, game Mom. People are counting on me. Come on…let’s get rolling!!

The Mom: Ugh…I’m so exhausted. Yesterday was such a busy day, you know I walked over 10 miles, right? I need to recuperate.

Elsa: No can do, Chica. Time to get rolling. Sorry. I know you walked forever yesterday and losing your phone certainly didn’t help when you had to retrace your steps during the warmest part of the day. While we didn’t set a temperature record, we weren’t all that far off. What’s up with these 80+ºF  degree days? I thought this was supposed to be the time for mild autumn days.

The Mom: {sleepily} Yeah…just a couple more days, {yawning again} then just before Halloween we’ll likely get some moisture, it might even be the white kind.

Elsa: Hmm, good point, it IS that time of year where Nature likes to screw mess with Trick-or-Treaters. But let’s not focus on that…let’s see what we’ve got to share with my readers. I mean, after all, there was an eclipse last weekend for crying out loud. People wanna see the pics. I mean, while you didn’t have the special glasses with you, we did see some wild and crazy shadows. What’s the skinny on those?
EclipseThe Mom: Those were fascinating, weren’t they? Did you know those crescent-shaped shadows are the result of various rays of light passing through to the ground. Only some rays at a certain angle can make it through and those that do are little crescent shapes of the eclipse itself as the Moon passes in front of the Sun. These donut-shaped shadows are the result of the “ring of fire” peak during the eclipse. How cool is that?!

Elsa: They kinda made me dizzy. I was lucky I didn’t have a seizure since eclipses can trigger seizure activity in a lot of us epileptics.

The Mom: Yes, I’m particular grateful. I had completely forgotten about the time when we left for our morning walk. People all along our way were watching it but I made sure not to look up it since I didn’t have any safety glasses.

Elsa: Right and then a couple of hours later you needed to skedaddle over to the hospital for their annual Fall Festival. Sure glad you didn’t take me-I hate dressing up in costume.

The Mom: I know sweetie and figured it was one less stressor you needed. Yes, I popped over there for a quick appearance. The event wasn’t nearly as big as it’s been in years when I took Sam and Norman and it made me very sad recalling those past years when they ‘pawticipated’ in the annual pet therapy parade to start off the festivities. It just wasn’t the same for me. I did however see a cool pup and talked with his Dad about considering joining pet therapy, a St. Bernard ‘puppy’ whose name was Crush and who was a BIG boy at that-145 pounds! Unfortunately he was only 16 months old and therefore not quite eligible according to our age rules (dogs must be 2 years old) but he’ll make a welcome addition when he is old enough. He was adorably sweet. Just look at that smile!
St. Bernard puppy

Elsa: Hubba, bubba…he really was a handsome boy.

The Mom: Indeed he was. It was a bittersweet time for me and because the replacement fridge was being delivered later, I didn’t stay long. Now there’s a story I don’t want to ever have to live through again. All I can say is buying major appliances is not an exercise in fun. At all!

Elsa: Yeah, you seemed pretty stressed. Luckily your son, my uncle Kevin, was able to save the day and gave me lots of nice ear scritches while he helped you out with getting the water line issues resolved. He’s a real lifesaver and a favorite peep of mine.

The Mom: Yeah, I’m so very lucky he lives in town and is able to help me with maintenance things around the house. So what else would you like to share this week?

Elsa: Well, how about pics from your crazy trip to Sloan’s Lake yesterday when you left your phone at the Target store across the street? Autumn sure is starting to be quite evident in some places and yet others, it’s barely registering.

The Mom: True enough. A stroll past these three trees lined up next to one another pretty much shows the various stages of leaves changing colors in the 303. I couldn’t have ordered up anything prettier. Green, gold, orange-the colors of Autumn.

Trees changing colors

Elsa: There are a bunch of trees that are still green and their leaves will likely just fall off before they change colors. It’s been a weird year for leaves changing in the city.

The Mom: You got that right! But it’s been interesting watching them and other plants as they prepare for the next season. Just look at this seeding milkweed pod. It sparkled in the autumn sunlight.


Elsa: Whoa…it looks like some kind of cotton ball! Only it’s not that soft.

The Mom: Yeah, I was surprised it’s not nearly as soft as it looks. Still, it’s pretty cool and if those seeds germinate, there’ll be plenty of nectar for Swallowtail butterflies next Spring.

Elsa: I noticed the reflections on Sloan’s Lake were pretty cool even if you may have been exhausted from all the miles you logged retracing your steps to find your cell phone.

Sloan's Lake

The Mom: Even the skyline casted reflections on the lake.

Sloan's Lake

Elsa: It sure was a beautiful day for a walk, even if it was much longer than you had originally planned on taking. I noticed  neighborhood Skellie-central changed out their scene again. Gotta give them loads of props for their cleverness. This week’s theme is a take off of the Barbie Movie phenomena. I don’t see you making all those changes.


The Mom:  Yeah, Barbie and Ken go to the beach. You’re right, I wouldn’t have the patience to dress and arrange all those skeletons (nor the bank account to buy them or store them) but I will admit, they do make me smile whenever I walk by.

Elsa: Me too, Mom. You humans sure are weird, but funny. So what’s on tap for this weekend? Got any fun plans? Whatever you do, we hope you’ll get out there and enjoy some of the beauty Nature is sharing before she turns nasty.

The Mom: Yes, I’m going to the first of the season holiday craft fairs but we hope you make check out the changing colors and see what Nature offers. Have a great weekend.

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Meet the Breed Monday ~ October 16, 2023

Today will be a two-fer. I was recently “reminded” that I’ve neglected for way too long, our “Meet The Breed” series on dog breeds but worse, there was a particular and personal oversight. To today we’ll fix that and provide our regular Monday smile.

Elsa: Yoo-hoo, oh Mom…since you turned the blog over to me, and while I don’t mean to criticize now…but you do realize you hadn’t featured poodles for the ‘Meet the Breed’ series?

The Mom: You’re absolutely right. My bad. Sorry for the omission.

Elsa: It’s about doggone time you apologized! What the dog, Mom?

The Mom: I’m truly sorry; it certainly wasn’t intentional. Let’s fix that right now, okay?

Elsa: Doggone straight you’re gonna fix that. You do realize Standards are just one of three officially recognized sizes of poodles? Sometimes called Spoos, Standards are the largest of the three, being 22-27 inches at the shoulder while Miniature Poodles are 13-15 at the shoulder and Toy Poodles are 10 inches or less at the shoulder. But in my humble opinion, Standards are one of the most handsome of all of them.

The Mom: Now, now. Let’s not get too opinionated right off the bat. Everyone thinks their dog is the best dog in the world and they’d be right. But I realize I need to make it up to you and yes, it’s true, Standards are well known for their stylish looks, superb athleticism, plus that fact that they’re eager, and intelligent.  The AKC places all poodles in the Non-Sporting Group.

Don’t hate me cuz I’m beautiful

Elsa: Carried away? You’re joking, right? I can see we’re just going to have to agree to disagree on this post.

The Mom: {Sheesh} Well on that note, we can agree. Although frequently associated as the national dog of France, Poodles actually originated in Germany.

Elsa:  Mais oui, er, make that, natürlich. The name comes from the German word “pudel” or “pudelin,” which means “to splash in the water.” In France, the breed is called “Caniche,” which is French for “duck dog.” There are however, some notable exceptions to the water aspect of our heritage.

The Mom: {eyes rolling} Yes, we’ve all noticed that you avoid water like the plague which is odd since poodles have a dense curly coat of hair (instead of fur) keeping their core warm with webbed feet, allowing them to more easily swim in water when retrieving waterfowl. That coat lead to the traditional cut in non-show dogs, which is more about function than fashion. And speaking of that hypoallergenic coat, it does require regular grooming to avoid matting since their hair doesn’t shed like dogs with fur. Regular brushing is necessary, including removal of ear hair to avoid potential ear problems.

Elsa: {Pfft} I’m fashionable enough and don’t need any foo-foo puffs of hair around the joints and upper torso to protect my joints and vital organs. My fix is more pragmatic I don’t do water.

The Mom:  Uh-huh, I think we understand that you’re a water wuss. But typically, Spoos are water loving dogs.

Elsa: Um, yeah, no. And you’re not going to convince me otherwise.

The Mom: It’s said that poodles of all sizes are very active and require a lot of exercise although I’ve noticed you seem to enjoy napping with the best of them. Poodles make excellent retrievers and often enjoy a good game of fetch, as well as jogging or long walks.

Elsa: Walks are one thing but you’re wrong again…I don’t fetch and {gasp} would never retrieve. You tossed it, you go get it. I have certain agendas that may or may not coincide with yours. Heh, heh.

The Mom: {Moving along…since this is clearly a losing battle} It is said that poodles are one of the smartest breeds and their intelligence and eagerness to please make them great service dogs which have been utilized as truffle hunters due to their keen noses and by having a ‘soft mouth,’ it makes them favorites with hunters in general. They like attention and with their good looks, can you blame them? Did you know that a team of Poodles competed in Alaska’s Iditarod race back in 1988.

Elsa: I heard that story about John Suter back in 1988 tried to compete in the race. It didn’t impress officials and the rule now specifies only northern breed dogs can compete. Some of his dogs were so cold and were dropped off at various checkpoints but we proved to the mushing world that we’re gamers by finishing the race in 38th place. Plain and simple…we’re versatile and have been used for hunting, hiking, search and rescue, service dogs or, as in my case, just being the best family companion.

The Mom: Standard Poodles generally have a kind and friendly personality, but having a job to do keeps them out of mischief. They tend to be ‘problem solvers and need mental stimulation and are eager to please, making them highly trainable. Poodles do well with kids but Standards may be a bit too energetic for tiny tykes who may get easily knocked down with their active ways. In fact, they have a long history as performers in the circus and on stage because of their trainability. Additionally poodles do well learning basic obedience training rather quickly and advanced training will keep them mentally stimulated and happy. Poodles grow hair in their ear canals, predisposing them to ear problems but plucking or clipping that hair can help to prevent ear infections.

Elsa: You know lots of famous people have owned poodles.  Elvis was particularly fond of Standards and was known to gift them to girlfriends. Richard Nixon owned a Poodles and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy owned a Standard Poodle named Gaullie. There are oodles of poodles in Hollywood with celebs like Walt Disney, Patrick Swayze, Mike Tyson, Betty White, Katharine Hepburn, and Cary Grant  among just a few who have owned poodles.

The Mom: I did not know about some those celebs and their poodles. Good research, Ninja.

Elsa: That goes without saying. My research skills are absolutely legendary, Mom.

The Mom: Now, now…no need to be cocky. We hope these factoids provide people with enough info on poodles for this episode of “Meet the Breed.” I’ve owned standards since the late 70’s and they’ve been great companions.

Elsa: Of course we’re great companions. Plus we keep you safe, don’t forget that. If I hadn’t been around, you’ve have likely been abducted by a serial killer.

The Mom: Rather than argue with you on that last comment, let’s just say I’m a big fan of Standards. One thing is certain, poodles will worm themselves into your heart and perhaps on your sofa.

Elsa on sofa

Elsa: I know that you’re not just saying that idly. I’m quite fond of you as well.

The Mom: Thanks, Ninja. And because it’s Monday, we can’t start the week without sharing a smile that I found yesterday. Seems pretty timely given that a spot of moisture a few days ago combined with some low temps have started the annual leaf drop. With my Silver Maple, I’ll likely be raking until December. Three leaves at a time. Sigh.

Monday Smile

Have a great week!

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ October 13, 2023

Tra, la, la, la, la…doh, dum, de, do….Greetings, peeps, Elsa here to share this week’s Hodge-Podge Friday scenes from around the Ranch.

The Mom: Umm, sweetie…it’s “Nature Friday” not Hodge-Podge Friday. Would you like to correct that so we can get started  as we join our pals, Rosy and Sunny from LLB in Our Backyard.

Elsa: Nope, not happening. I’m calling it Hodge-Podge Friday because none of the photos you took have any real theme. I looked up hodge-podge in the online Oxford Dictionary and it specifically defines it as, and I quote, a confused mixture. So nope, it stays Hodge-Podge Friday.

The Mom: Ahem…well ex-cuussse me. Jeez, you’re pretty scrappy today. What’s got your backside all up in arms?

Elsa: Nothing special. My blog, my post. Now can we get on with it? I got things to do.

The Mom: Bwahahaha, what do you have to do today?

Elsa: I’m a dog, there’s always something to do. We are always busy, even if you don’t think so.

Sleeping Elsa

The Mom: I see…so is that what you consider as ‘so busy?’

Elsa: Erm…I’m thinking…this blogging thing is harder than it looks. Now can I get on with it?

The Mom: Fine by me. What ‘cha got?

Elsa: Well I know you went to another Dragon Boat Race last weekend, this one in Broomfield. You must really like those races. Not sure I’m on board with all that water activity but whatever floats your boat. I will give you the fact that it was a pretty autumn day. Are we through the hot temps…finally?

Broomfield park

The Mom: Well you know Colorado. I’m sure there’ll be a day or two in the 80’sºF over the next couple of weeks, but it’s probably safe to say, most likely.

Elsa: You sure know how to slice the hair in half. Is this from all the years you worked in the legal field, quibbling over terms like ‘may’ as opposed to just stating a fact?

The Mom: Ahem…I don’t quibble. But I am just trying to express the possibilities that may or may not happen.

Elsa: See, you did it again!! What the dog, Mom!

The Mom: Oops, I guess I do tend to equivocate sometimes. Sorry.

Elsa: Whatever. Just wanted you to be aware that I’m keenly aware of how you do that. So I noticed one dog at least tried to compete with the boat racers. What was up with that knucklehead?

Dog in Water

The Mom: Whaddu mean? He was just enjoying a simply swim and there weren’t any Canadian geese to race against the boats.

Elsa: Swim and enjoyment are mutually exclusive in my books.

The Mom: {eyes rolling} To each her own, right? Remember we talked about this thing called tolerance, Elsa.

Elsa: Ugh…I just want people to know how dumb it seems for dogs to actually jump in water and swim. You wouldn’t catch me doing that…not for all the bones in Denver.

The Mom: But some dogs DO enjoy it so let them have their fun.

Elsa: Sheesh…so where’s an actual picture of a race? I know this was not nearly as large an event but let me see for myself.

Dragon Boat Race

The Mom: You’re correct, it was a smaller venue but I mean…Dragon Boats! It was fun watching folks compete and it looked like they all had a good time. I especially enjoyed the entertainment from a couple of dance groups from the Asian Pacific community. Such colorful costumes on kids as young as 10 years old dancing for the small crowd.

Elsa: You think it was small because they’ve only been doing it for the past 3 years at that park? Seems a shame considering how many thousands experienced the one at Sloan’s Lake back in July.

The Mom: Could be, but I’m sure more folks will start attending. It wasn’t even close to hot which was a huge plus. The drawback was I couldn’t walk to the venue and it seemed like so far though it was only about 20 miles away. I just rarely drive that far.

Dragon Boat Race

Dragon Boat Race

Dragon Boat Race

Elsa: Ooh, I’d love to chase those twirling skirts and I’m sure that littlest girl would love to have me lay my head in her lap. Maybe next time, I’ll go.

The Mom: Umm, hate to break it to you, even though dogs are welcome to the event, they aren’t allowed on stage. So, no…that ain’t gonna happen.

Elsa: {ruckus…rats…%$&#} You just never let me have any fun!

The Mom: I’m sure if you learned to dance, they’d allow you on stage, but I don’t make the rules.

Elsa: I notice our neighbors are getting into the Halloween spirit full bore. I heard you tell the lady you’re making them Instagram stars.



The Mom: {snicker} Well I wouldn’t say Instagram stars but a lot of people sure seem to enjoy my posts and have contacted me to get the address so they can see them in person. The theme this week was ‘camping.’ I had to chuckle, though with the 2 dozen Skellies they must have, it must take an entire weekend to dress and set the props for the scene. It makes me smile whenever I go past that house.

Elsa: I saw that one dog who started barking at the big skellies, growling with raised hackles. What a rube!

The Mom: Now, now, Elsa…Halloween can be scary for some dogs. You used to bark your head off whenever Trick-er-treaters rang our doorbell in costume.

Elsa: Those were serial killers, I was only protecting the Ranch.

The Mom: {eyes rolling} Oh Elsa…you slay me sometimes.

Elsa: Glad I can be of comedic entertainment for you. Just don’t come crying to me when something bad happens. I take my security duties quite seriously. So is there anything else autumnal, this week?

The Mom: Well as a matter of fact, yes. Leaves are s-l-o-w-l-y beginning to change. A few here and there. This one was all aglow when we walked over to the library.

Changing leaves

Elsa: Pretty, yes, but the crunching leaves kind of bother my feet. The jury is still out on this whole autumn thing. But I do appreciate the cooler temps. And what the dog was this guy doing sashaying along the sidewalk this week?

The Mom: I know, right? There were 4 dogs in the nearby vicinity and he just waltzed past us. Blew me away. Usually they dash so fast I can’t get any kind of pic that close.


Elsa: Did you see my jaw drop open? I don’t know what he was thinking walking past us and the other dogs. I’m still flabbergasted.

The Mom: It was one of the more unusual encounters we’ve had. Seeing foxes always makes me smile.

Elsa: Me too. I think I could be a good friend if only they’d let me.

The Mom: Probably not, but it’s a nice thought. Well that’s it for this week. It wasn’t too bad, was it?

Elsa: Hodge-podge, Mom, definitely hodge-podge. So what’s on board for your weekend? Got anything going on? Whatever you do, we hope you get to see some of the pretty things Nature is serving up right now.

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Talk Like A Pirate Day ~ 2023

Well, ahoy me maties and shiver me timbers…today is International Talk Like a Pirate Day and because I apparently enjoy living dangerously, I thought why not try for another photo session with the ninja to celebrate it. I mean if she would no doubt pay me back anyway for the birthday Gotcha Day picture session, why not go all in and really make it worth her while? It wouldn’t be the first time I’ve walked the plank so I decided to go all in. It wasn’t as easy as you might think. Let’s review the process of how we got here after a few tidbits about how this day became what it is today.

Back in 1995, pals John Bauer and Mark Summer were playing racket ball together and randomly chiding each other by talking in an exaggerated form of pirate talk for the day just for fun. They decided to mark the day annually on Summer’s ex birthday so they’d be sure to remember it. For a few years it was celebrated mostly amongst themselves and friends until humorist Dave Barry brought public attention to it in 2002.

Now let’s see what it took for us to get here.

Step 1. Locate the hat thingy that Sam wore a few years back at a hospital visit one Halloween. Pull out the box that houses  all the hats and bandanas. Drat, it wasn’t there.

Step 2. Ok then, no biggy. Find the bag with a couple of Halloween costume items. Normally I loathe the whole Halloween thing because the doorbell ringing always drove the dogs nuts but when I worked, our department was always a leader in clever costumes so I have a couple of old standbys from those days I can tap.

Step 3. Closet where the costumes live 99.9% of the time was going to need organizing in order for me to reach said bag that houses the costumes.

Step 4. Well I figured since I’m organizing any way, guess I’d better vacuum while I’m pulling things out, right? It’ll only take a second but discover vacuuming takes a while since I’ve been purging books, clothes and household items no longer being utilized into a large pile that I need to maneuver around. Grr…where the heck is THAT doggone bag in this mess?

Step 5. A-ha…find the bag. Rifle through it, poop…the Davey Jones hat thingy not there. However there is one other bag it might be in so I go find a step ladder to easily pull that one down to check.

Step 6. Eureka…finally found the Davey Jones hat thingy but realize it’s in the wrong bag so reorganize both bags to reflect what’s what. Get out labelmaker to identify the boxes both bags will now live in. Have successfully cleaned the shelves, reorganized the Halloween stuff and managed to find a bunch of old craft projects never started and arrange to include them in the pile headed for the thrift shop. This only took a couple of hours. Ugh, I’m tired and think maybe just forget the whole bloody thing.

Step 7. Fortuitously (or not, depending which side of the fence you’re on) Elsa sashays into the studio. Ooh, ooh, energy surges through my evil veins…”come here said the spider to the fly!”

Step 8. Surprisingly and unwittingly, Elsa waltzes over. I spend several minutes showering her with praise and ear rubs. She’s unsuspecting but now she’s giving me the signal she’d like to take a potty break. Sigh. To accommodate the princess, I take time to take her outside where she sniffs, sniffs, and sniffs some more. Finally, success. This only took 20 minutes.

Step 9. Aware I better strike while the iron is hot, I go into the pantry and pull out the chicken jerky and begin to cut up several pieces. Elsa’s nose catches that nirvana sweet smell of chicken and follows me into the living room, Davey Jones hat and chicken jerky in hand.

Step 10. I ask Elsa to sit politely. She’s starting to realize she’s walked into a trap while giving her a treat, and she plops down as I wave another one in front of her nose. Now I have her full attention. Like Blackbeard, I slyly go to set the scene.

Step 11. I slowly pull the hat from my pocket. “Uh-oh…what did I get myself into” expression flashes crossed Elsa’s face. Enter another well-timed treat. She relaxes-whew.

Step 12. Anchor hat on Elsa’s head which drops because she now realizes exactly what’s coming.

Step 13. Hold up head with the booty under her nose to get her attention. She perks up-snap!

Step 14. This old salt may be just a landlubber but I’m in the groove. I pull out another piece of jerky and wave it under the lassie’s nose. She sniffs at it like a true buccaneer and takes it ever so gently. Yum, she thinks…is this a great country or what?

Step 15. Snapping simultaneously as my hand quickly pulls out of the frame, I capture this pic. She may be a black dog and harder than heck to get any decent pic but after nearly 3 hours of preparation, I have my prize and shout for joy! Bonus, I have a clean and organized closet-woohoo!

Elsa Talk Like a Pirate

Step 16. Elsa’s thinking ‘dead men tell no tales’ but another well timed piece of chicken jerky seems to make her forget her indignity for a few seconds. I retrieve the hat, put it in my pocket and dispense yet another treat.

Step 17. “Aye, aye, maybe this wasn’t so bad,” Elsa thinks. She even wags her tail a bit which she seems to know will also be rewarded since she’s not much of a tail wagger.

“X” marked the spot and we all found our respective treasure. Luckily for us, we have some time before there’s another photo session. I don’t think I can do this again any time soon.

Have fun today with International Talk Like a Pirate Day. All I can say is “thank heavens for Dave Berry and chicken jerky.”

Live, love, bark! 🐾


Monday Musings ~ September 18, 2023

Gotcha Day

While I played ‘Queen for the weekend,’ and paw-tied like it’s 1999, today is Monday which means we get to start the week out with a smile.

And by smile, I don’t mean at the one above. And if you snickered at it, I WILL find you. Mom is already on notice; you can see me plotting my revenge    .


She is not getting away unscathed for having me pose in multiple photo sessions. I will get even, despite her trying to bribe me make it up to me by making the best scrambled egg breakfast on my special day while showering me with loads of attention and tasty high-value treats all weekend. And because I’m not a complete tool, here’s your Monday smile. You’re welcome.


Here’s hoping all your ‘go’s’ are pawsome the entire week.

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?


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.


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.


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


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.


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?


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.


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!


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.


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! 🐾