Monday Musings ~ March 29, 2021

Monday

Today’s smile will be good advice for Norman who received notice last week the hospital will be re-opening up for pet therapy visits. Exciting news for him as well as for Elsa who seems thrilled that he’ll be occupied for a few days a month. Meanwhile, Norman and I will be working hard polishing up on our skills to bring smiles to patients and staff soon and hope to sail through the certification process easily.

We hope you have a ‘pawsome’ week!

Elsa

Live, love, bark! 🐾

 

Purple Friday ~ 2021

PurpleRather than post more images of snowy urban scenes with emerging spring bulbs (you’re probably as tired of seeing my spring storm photos as I am posting them), today we will be joining and supporting our ‘fur-iends’ from Knotty Toys for Good Dogs and the Five Sibes in a blog hop (click on the links for additional info), by participating in the annual international grassroots effort known as “Purple Day” which was created to increase awareness about epilepsy worldwide. If you make a donation of $5* or more at The Wally Foundation (who provides financial assistance to the owners of canine epileptics and dog rescue groups to obtain medications and veterinary services), you will receive a Purple Ribbon decal  in the mail (*minimum donation of $6 outside of the USA).

Elsa

As the parent of an epi-warrior, I have found a supportive and diverse network of people, dogs and informational resources since Elsa’s diagnosis just 2 weeks after she was adopted. Although I have owned dogs who suffered from epilepsy over the years, I’ve become far more educated about treatment for these special pets and no longer feel totally isolated. Educating myself to help Elsa has been a passion and both Knotty Toys for Dogs and the Five Sibes blogs have provided tremendous information that has definitely improved her life with  ‘pawsome’ tips I never knew about previously.

Epilepsy
The Ninja ‘reading’ “What’s Wrong with Gibson”

Life with an Epi-Warrior can have its ups and downs but it  doesn’t mean they can’t enjoy life like any other pet. Elsa may has her quirks due to her years of life in a puppy mill, but she still enjoys life being a sweet snuggler who loves playing with certain toys (apart from the well documented eviscerating of others).

Elsa

Every year on March 26th, people from around the world are invited to wear purple and participate in events that support of epilepsy awareness. It is estimated that as many as 50 million peeps and 4% of all dogs have epilepsy. By bringing awareness to this disease, those who participate with Purple Day events hope to bring much-needed info to those who need it. There are many groups who can provide informational resources, such as The Wally Foundation and The Anita Kaufmann Foundation, among many others. Please check them out and support their efforts providing information to sufferers of this dreaded disease. We hope you’ll join us as we rock purple today.

Epilepsy

Live, love, bark! 💜

(Nearly) Wordless Wednesday

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

Norman

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

Elsa

Live, love, bark! 🐾

 

Nature Friday ~ March 12, 2021

Happy Friday where we’re joining our friends, Rosy, Sunny, Arty and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard for another Nature Friday blog hop. Don’t forget to “hop” over to their backyard by clicking on the link and checking out all the other images that folks found this week in nature. Nature Friday

While the Mile High anxiously awaits a major storm scheduled to arrive sometime tonight, Elsa continues to look high and low for signs of Spring. The National Weather Service said Denver could expect between 15-24 inches and has issued a winter storm warning for the slow moving storm beginning early tomorrow. Snow should fall through the weekend and end around noon on Monday. Highs will only be in the mid-30’sF which may be a bit of an adjustment after approaching 70ºF earlier this week. The temperature yo-yo continues.

March snow storms are not unusual in Denver; I am reminded of another spring storm that pounded fell on Denver back on St. Patrick’s Day in 2003 when 30+ inches fell. That storm occurred when this was a two sheepdog household and my back was better equipped to shovel massive amounts of snow. Shoveling around these two crazy sheepdogs was always an adventure.

Snow
St. Patrick’s Day, 2003
Elsa
Are you up there, Spring?

Alas, if only Elsa would looked a bit closer to ground level where spring bulbs continue their annual march toward sunny exposures.

Flowers

The same garden that had those lovely reticulated irises and crocuses that I recently posted also has a small patch of miniature daffodils. These guys are the absolute cutest things and are only about 3-4 inches tall. Their bright color always elicits a smile from me in the sea of brown.

Flowers

I mean how cheery is that little cutie pie?

Norman, on the other hand is somewhat less enthusiastic about “Springtime in the Rockies” and has taken a somewhat more laissez-faire attitude when looking for signs of spring usually from the comfort of his sofa. I’m sure he’ll most likely keep me company while I ‘bake up a storm’ in the kitchen as nature unleashes her own storm outside. Fingers crossed the power doesn’t go out. So what are your plans for the weekend?

Norman

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ January 22, 2021

Welcome to Friday, our favorite day of the week. It’s been another unseasonable week of pleasant weather in the Mile High which means the season of brown and drab is very much alive and well. As we typically do on Friday’s, we’re joining our friends, Rosy, Sunny, Arty and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard for another Nature Friday blog hop. Don’t forget to “hop” over to their backyard by clicking on the link and check out all the great images of nature that folks found this week.

Let’s get started, eh? As I mentioned, it’s pretty brown around here. Brown trees, brown leaves and grass, shrubs, and perennials. But that doesn’t mean nature doesn’t have beauty and interest. Take for instance, tree bark.

We walk passed a very small park in our neighborhood every day. Evergreen and deciduous trees line the outside border of this park and were featured in a post last June here after a severe wind storm. When we walk past this little park, we’re more alert for dogs off leash than any botany but a recent morning there were no dogs or peeps so we ventured in the interior a bit where some trees caught my eye. They caught the eyes of the Ranch hands too.

There are a small handful of shorter trees which I think are some sort of crab apple. They aren’t overly tall and the leaves aren’t overly flashy in the summer, but the bark…now that’s another story. Just check out the texture and shape of these babies!

Trees

This tree looks as though it’s seen a thing or two and it caught our eye.  It almost reminded me of ancient Greek olive trees. It just reminds Elsa to stay vigilant for tree rats who seem to instinctively know that she has a fierce prey drive but who are willing to tempt her anyway. How is it they seem to understand exactly how long her leash is and take advantage when taunting her?

Trees

That gnarled shape and textured bark remind me it’s good to keep your eyes open as you routinely walk through your neighborhood.

Trees

The bark reminds me of tiny shingles overlaying one another in rich and various shades of brown, grey, and tan.

Trees

All is not lost in the ‘Hood; yesterday we passed  by one front garden that is beginning to show subtle signs that spring bulbs are engaged in their annual emerging journey. Like other scenes seen from this week, there’s hope and a fresh newness in the air and in our souls (if you didn’t watch the inauguration, I would direct your attention to America’s first national youth poet laureate, Amanda Gorman. What an amazing and inspiring young woman. You can watch a video about her appearance here).

Bulbs

Notice that tiny emerging columbine on the upper right side next to the rock? I don’t know about you, but that made me grin with optimism for the days ahead.

We are still hoping for snow to fill the watershed this weekend but know that January is the driest month yet remain hopeful nonetheless. It’s been a dry winter which won’t bode well for summer time but are keeping our paws crossed.

In a rare Saturday post, I hope you’ll join us tomorrow for a look at a certain Ranch hand’s Gotcha Day celebration. Till then enjoy a beautiful Friday and a terrific weekend.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

A 2020 Retrospective

Don’t let the title of this post freak you out…this is NOT a post about the unspeakably sad losses experienced during the past 365 days. Instead consider this my feeble attempt to get a 12+ hour head start on tomorrow’s Nature Friday with an affectionate look back at some of the wonders Mother Nature so graciously shared despite our planet’s collective poor stewardship of her. We hope you will take a moment to follow Blogville around by clicking on our friends’ and hosts link [Rosy, sister Sunny and her two brothers at LLB in Our Backyard] and hope they don’t mind our pulling the trigger early).

While it’s true we received a spot of the white stuff this week, as fast as it frosted the landscape, it quickly melted under beautiful, bright blue, sunny skies.

Mother Nature may have some prickly moments, but boy does she possess an amazing canvas when she shows it off.

Snow

While some of you may shiver at images of snow, I can’t help but wonder about all those unique and sparkly facets of crystalized ice that highlight a winter landscape.

Snow

Sure Norman, Elsa and I are fortunate to enjoy 300+ days of annual sunshine in the Mile High but we’re also gifted with some spectacular sunsets (and sunrises) on occasion. This one showed up shortly before this month’s full moon.

And now for a look back at a few of the most popular images from nature this year. This past summer provided some much needed visual comfort then as well as now.

Flowers

A 2020 retrospective on nature would be incomplete without some sunshine-y sunflowers from our garden as well as a a view of the plethora of lupine which provided a nice backdrop for the Ranch hands.

Flowers

Ranch hands As we reflect over the past year, all the while keeping a keen eye looking forward to the new one, we’ll toast to a New Year with a recent batch of aged, handmade Sazerac cleverly crafted by my son. Just look at that gorgeous amber color. If you like rye, Sazerac can be quite the tasty cognac/whiskey kind of beverage. Add a slice of lemon or orange peel and voila…a moment perfect for contemplative reflection.

Sazerac

With loads of cheers for love, laughter, with a few tasty treats for 2021, we can’t help but be optimistic after seeing these babies who I spied on yesterday morning’s walk. I’ don’t recall seeing bulbs appear quite this early but I’ll take it. Knowing, or at least hoping there is more white stuff down the road, we’ll keep ‘pawsitive’ that 2021 will be a big improvement over 2020, though it may take some patience to see it blossom.

Bulbs

The Ranch will be taking some extended time off to attend to computer maintenance issues and I’m uncertain as to how long it might take to dust off any cobwebs on the laptop. As I do not wish to yank out all my recently cut hair trying to compose posts on a tiny cell-phone screen, those of you who do have my undying admiration, we’ll be back as soon as our battery pack is refreshed, our files cleaned and scrubbed. No doubt the Ranch hands will think of loads of ways to exasperate me entertain us with new adventures…but until then…stay safe, sane and keep smiling, my friends. Have a Happy New Year!

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Wednesday Wishes

Thanksgiving

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ October 30, 2020

Snow
Pueblo West

Despite a nice dump of white stuff and very cold temps early this week along the Front Ranch, we’ve rebounded with more autumn like temps (60’s for the most part). This can only mean one thing-it’s Nature Friday where we join our friends and weekly co-hosts Rosy, Sunny and her two brothers from LLB in Our Backyard. Because Halloween is this weekend, Norman and Elsa want to share info about pumpkins since nature wasn’t all that generous with scenic images from around our hood (that pretty snow image above is from my mom’s patio in Pueblo West since I neglected to take a photo; as you can see, she received much more snow than we did).

Norman: Thanks, mum. Blimey, it sure was a wild week weather-wise and started out way too cold for this Sheep-Boy after that snow storm. This is the place I go to when it’s that nasty and cold.

Norman

Elsa: You do tend to like that spot, don’t you? But I thought we were supposed to bark about pumpkins?

Norman: Erm…egad, you’re spot on dear sister. I was just recalling how comfy that spot was and…

Elsa: {interrupting} Can it sheep-boy. You’re losing the plot here so let’s get to it, ‘kay?

Norman: . Right-o. So…let’s have a chin-wag about the ubiquitous pumpkin. This orange fleshy gourd (not to be confused with any political candidate) is an iconic symbol this time of year. The word pumpkin was originally from the Greek word pepon, meaning “large melon,” or something round and large. The French adapted the word to “pompon,” and while us Brits referred to it as “pumpion.” Guess you can see how American colonists came to just call it “pumpkin.”

Elsa: Oh jeez….will you stop your yammering and get on with it? Why not let peeps know that the term pumpkin itself has no agreed upon botanical or scientific meaning, but instead it’s frequently interchangeably known as “squash” or “winter squash.” In North America and the UK, the pumpkin commonly refers to only certain round orange varieties of winter squash, predominantly derived from Cucurbita pepo. As a warm-weather crop, the seeds are generally planted in July and are generally quite hardy. The plants produce both male and female flowers and are fertilized usually by bees.

Norman: Ahem…no need to be cheeky now, Elsa. Pumpkins are one of the oldest domesticated plants, having been cultivated as early as 7,500 to 5,000 BC. Pumpkin pie is a Thanksgiving staple for both Canadian and US feasts though pumpkins used in pie fillings are different from varieties used to carve Jack-o-Lanterns for Halloween. The top pumpkin-producing state in the US is Illinois (where 95% of the US. crop intended for processing is grown) with Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and California rounding out the top-five producers.

Pumpkin

Elsa: Alas, canned pumpkin is in short supply these days. And no, it’s not the new toilet paper of the panDAMNic. Seems that the planting season was rain delayed so harvesting will occur later than normal—which means it’s taking longer for this year’s canned pumpkin to make it onto store shelves. You can roast your own but mom says it’s a pain to roast and deseed.

Norman: Nutritionally speaking, pumpkins are very versatile with most parts being edible. Canned pumpkin (not the pie filling which should never be fed to pets due to the included spices) is often recommended by vets as a dietary supplement for dogs and cats with digestive ailments (i.e. constipation, diarrhea, or hairballs) because its high fiber content aids digestion. Did you know raw pumpkin is fed to poultry, as a supplement to their regular feed during the winter to help maintain egg production, which tends to drop off during cold months? Pumpkin seeds are a good source of protein, magnesium, copper and zinc for peeps and are a delicious and low calorie snack.

Elsa: We’ve been noticing lots of pumpkin decorations around the neighborhood. I’m guessing this one isn’t quite the digestive aid that you’re talking about but maybe it’ll keep the neighborhood hoodlum squirrels from trying to eat this one.

Halloween

Both Ranch Hands in unison: Whatever you do, we hope you stay safe, have fun and enjoy being in Nature. We are hoping for a nice quiet evening with no door bell ringing from little goblins. With the recent spike in COVID cases here, we think it’s probably not very safe for trick-or-treating even with proper masks even if they’re covered in pumpkins.

Masks

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ July 24, 2020

Nature FridayWelcome to Friday! Elsa here, ready to dish up some interesting bits of urban nature from around the Ranch. Despite yet another week of 90’s, we managed to survive the miserable heat and, as always, join our weekly hosts, Rosy, Sunny, Arty and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard. Don’t forget to click on their link, to see what the Gang and others around Blogville have shared this week. So let’s get started, ‘kay?

Elsa
Hibiscus

On our walks, we notice lots of crawly things, even encountering some real whoppers. Mom almost stepped on this one and thought it was some kind of cicada. It was nearly 3 inches long and as she bent down to look closer, its legs started wiggling which made me think it wanted to play. A swift tug on my harness by the upright made me think I may have misjudged the situation. Us dogs tend to like windup toys like that but mom was pretty emphatic about moving along once it started moving. Whatever. I thought it was pretty fascinating to watch. Just look at those silver eyeballs!

Bug

Annuals like these vining petunias are enjoying the hot weather to which I say, they can have it. These sunny days are way too intense for a Ninja like me.

Flowers

Some of our neighbors have interesting yard art that both my dolt of a brother and I have to check out. I get the sense that this little mushroom village attracts a lot of visitors. Look how colorful these glass babies are!

Flowers

On the other side of their front walkway, they had an important message for passersby. With all the anxiety peeps are experiencing during the pandemic, we hope they heed messages like this and stop complaining about having to wear a mask.

Signs

On our return route, we encountered some colorful poppy mallow. Mom really likes their bright color and vows to plant some saying they’ll make a nice ground cover to fill in some of open spaces in our side garden and the cup shaped blooms are really pretty.

Flowers

Around the corner from the Ranch one of the neighbors always plants a few pumpkins in the strip of ground between the street and the sidewalk. We stop to check out the pollinators and see how well the pumpkins are doing. We may not have trick-or-treaters this year but I think there’ll be plenty of pumpkin treats. That buzzy thing inside the flower took a bit of offense to my closer look so we had to move along quickly.

Pumpkin

With more hot weather still in the forecast, we can’t help but be a bit excited by the countdown clock. Did you know there are just 59 days until autumn officially arrives? I know some of you groaned when you read that and others of you gave a collective sigh of relief.

Well, that’s about it for sharing photos of nature from around here. We hope you have a great weekend and take the time to see what nature readily provides us. Who knows, you may have more luck finding a windup toy laying on the sidewalk, just waiting for a playmate. Without the proverbial helicopter huMom hoovering close by to drag you away.

Lie, love, bark! 🐾

Conversation with an Angel

Ahem…you-hoo?

Elsa: Huh? Wha…

Psst…Elsa…you awake?

Elsa: {yawn, stretches, shakes head looking around} Sam??? Is that you?

Norman: Hello there, mate.

Sam: Hi guys, good to see you.

Elsa: Wait…what are you doing here? I thought you crossed the Bridge?

Sam: I did, but I watch over you guys, especially mom. She still seems so sad that I asked the powers to be if I could drop in and have a chat to see if we could make her feel better.

Elsa: Yeah, she is pretty sad; there’s waterworks nearly every day thinking about you. She really misses you.

Norman: We do try our level best to make her feel better, but I think you must have had an extra special place in her heart.

Sam: Yeah, I was her heart and soul dog and miss her too. Ours was a special bond and I feel so badly she’s hurting now. But let’s see if, by working together, we can make her feel better. You guys in?

Elsa and Norman: {in two-part harmony} Woof, woof! Let’s do it.

Sam: Cool. Ok, first we have to take care of a few matters from my estate which was settled in probate court.

Elsa: Estate? Probate? Dude, what in the world are you talking about-you don’t own anything.

Sam: Um…that’s not entirely accurate, Ninja. I’m here to read my Last Will and Testament dividing all my worldly goods between you and uh…the new guy, what’s his name?

Norman: Uh…sir, for the record, it’s Norman.

Sam: Oh yeah, right. Where were we?

Elsa: Never mind, already taken care of it…its all mine.

Norman: She’s right, you know. She pretty much owns everything around here and is especially not very keen about sharing any of it.

Sam: Well, my Last Will and Testament will take care of that. Legally anyway. Let’s begin the reading, ‘kay?

Last Will and Testament

Elsa: If it makes you feel better, but know everything is still mine.

Sam: {eyes rolling} Ahem…”I, Yosemite Sam McDonald, veteran Pet Therapist and all around Good Dog, being of sound mind do hereby leave the following personal effects to my survivors. To my sister, I leave my comfy bed from the living room, who I note for the record, bogarted it frequently while I was still around, despite having her own large comfy sofabed.

Norman: Yeah, she did kind of take over your spot, mate…although mum swears she’s seen you out of the corner of her eye sleeping in it a couple of times when the golden afternoon sunlight shines on it.

Sam: Oh good, I’m kind of new to this whole angel thing of how to send signs letting her know I’m still with her. Yup, that was me. As a Bridge newbie, I haven’t had a lot of training yet as to how to send signs to your loved ones but I have managed to pick up some tricks from watching others.

Elsa: Someone is trying to train you? Hahaha…this should be a hoot. Hope they have better luck than mom did. She always did say you were either stupid or stubborn. Personally, I always had my own suspicions but that’s another story. Either way, it’s probably a fine line in your case.

Sam: {clears throat} Well, I see you haven’t changed much, have you? Anywho…let’s get on with the rest of the worldly possessions.

Norman: Yes, please do…was wondering if there are any bits and bobs you might have for me?

Sam: Yes, bro…I thought of you as well. I hereby bequeath all my toys to you.

Norman: Jolly good, dear brother! But being a proper British bloke, I confess, I did kind of help myself to the toy basket. The little sister was none too happy with me because apparently I didn’t recognize which ones were her favorites and hers alone.

Toys

Sam: Oh yeah, I should have mentioned that before. You definitely want to avoid that hot pink slipper. And anything that squeaks. Those are her favorites and trust me dude, she’ll kick your tailless tush if you try to take any.

Norman: Right-o sir…I discovered that…the hard way. I say, good chap…who knew such a sweet face could be so…vicious?!

Sam: Yeah, you do want to stay on her good side. That’s just one of the reasons why we call her a Ninja Warrior.

Elsa: You both got that right and if you try to take my slipper I’ll chew you a new one. Got that, you gigantic British dolt?

Norman: I say, dear sister. There’s no need for name calling. I’m just trying to fit into the Ranch bunk house by familiarizing myself with stuff and (so far) I haven’t destroyed any toys, even though my jaws are quite able to tear the stuffing out of any of them or you should I so desire.

Elsa: {Gasp!} You better pray you don’t destroy any of my toys, pal! Although that’s rather laughable…you might be big, but remember that I’m a Ninja so don’t even think twice about it, chump!

Sam: Okay, okay, look I don’t have all day here and I didn’t come down here to host Mixed Martial Arts. Now that we’ve taken care of the physical property, let’s get on with my lasting legacy.

Elsa and Norman: Legacy? Are you joking?

Sam: Nope, I was thinking the best way to make mom smile again is for you guys to channel my very best enduring behavior so she’ll know I’m still with her, even if it’s just in spirit. See, I was thinking…

Elsa and Norman: {in unison} You were…thinking? {raucous laughter} How could we possible replicate your most annoying enduring behavior? Mom said you were one of a kind.

Sam: I’ll have you know was a model citizen on our walks, in fact everywhere…I just displayed certain “skills” that mom found particularly enduring when she needed a smile…or something.

Elsa: “Something’ is right! I suppose you mean something like moving as far away from her when pooping…oh…and bonus points if it’s in the absolutely deepest snow you could find.

Sam: P.r.e.c.i.s.e.l.y. I know she muttered some HBO words but I knew perfectly well she thought it was ‘charming’ and know for a fact that she. loved. it, okay?

Norman: Oh mate…that’s a load of tosh! She specifically told me NOT to ever do that (among other things you used to do). Like make sure I don’t poop in front of someone’s sidewalk leading up to their front door. She was especially specific about that one.

Sam: Nonsense Norman, she loved that about me. Why do you think I did that every chance I could? Now Elsa, if you could just stretch the leash as far away from her whenever you’re crossing a street. I’ve noticed she isn’t doing enough upper body workouts and that way she’ll have to bench press you closer to her to work those puny biceps. Sheesh, I’m gone three months and the woman’s let herself go to pot.

Elsa: Hmm, I guess I could do that. I do want to do my part making her feel better so if that means channeling some of you, I’ll do it.

Norman: Right Gov…I’ll raise my leg on all your favorite spots and try to do my part on the poop parade…per your instructions.

Sam: {eyes rolling} Umm, yeah, we don’t say ‘Gov’ around the Ranch, Norman. We just say…

Live, love bark! 🐾

Angel Sam