Nature Friday ~ September 17, 2021

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

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

Pikes Peak
Pikes Peak in the distance

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

Mountains

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

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

Pony
Howdy!  Pony…meet pony

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

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

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

Gotcha Day

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

Autumn

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

Acorns

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

Live, love, bark!  🐾

Monday Musings ~ September 6, 2021

Today is Labor Day in the U.S. and Canada where working people are honored and recognized for their contributions to the labor movement. The idea of celebrating a “workingmen’s holiday” on the first Monday in September caught on in the U.S. following a strike by employees of the Pullman Palace Car Company in Chicago on May 11, 1894 as well as the  Haymarket Riot of 1886. Across the country, state legislatures (with Oregon being the first) began recognizing Labor Day in 1887. Federal recognition in 1894 became a watershed moment in American labor history by bringing workers’ rights and contributions into public view. The first Labor Day parade was held on September 5, 1882, when 10,000 workers took unpaid time off to march from City Hall to Union Square in New York City. Labor Day weekend is  considered to be the symbolic end of summer.

The Ranch hands know exactly how to celebrate but theirs will be a somewhat low-key celebration. We hope your holiday is safe and enjoyable. Don’t do anything we wouldn’t do.

Norman & Elsa

Live, love, bark!🐾

Nature Friday ~ August 27, 2021

Nature FridayWelcome to the last Friday of August. As always, we’re joining those adorable hosts, Rosy, Sunny, Arty and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard on their blog hop. Make sure you click on the link to see what others have shared. This edition is literally a wild one, with commentary from both Ranch Hands.

Norman: Mum, it was a wild week, wasn’t it? I mean…I’ve never seen as much wildlife since being rescued and immigrating here.

Mum: You’re right, Norman; it was a ‘wild’ week, critter-wise. Given our location a ere 3 miles from downtown, it’s always exciting for us when Nature in its wildest form crosses our paths.

Norman: Right-o, mum. I haven’t seen this many rabbits as I did this week. What’s up with that?

Elsa: (imitating her best Elmer Fudd voice) Wabbits??? Where?!?!?! You know how I “LOVE” hunting looking for wabbits.

Norman: You almost walked past this one, little sister and missed another one at Sprouts parking lot.

Rabbits

Elsa: Harrumph…wabbits are wily but I eventually picked up its scent. But I spotted the third one before you guys did. Just wish mom hadn’t spotted this one first, otherwise I’d have turned her into a kite. For the record, I don’t think that spot is reserved for bunny parking, so there.

Norman: Mum scans the landscape for wildlife for that exact reason. But seeing rabbits three times this week was a bit unusual and nothing compared to what else we encountered.

Elsa: I’m still blown away from that whole experience. The fact that we were running later than usual and had we be out at our usual time, well…we’d have missed them by several minutes. Sure we’ve seen one or two on a couple of occasions but nothing like that before.

Norman: [Head shaking] It was quite something. I mean to be a witness to a whole ‘family of criminals’…well, let’s just say that took us all by surprise. Seeing wildlife like this makes it even more remarkable.

Raccoons
Check out this morning neighborhood criminal family!

Elsa: No kidding! Seeing those masked bandits so close to me and posing no less…well I momentarily froze in my tracks. Luckily, it was just enough time for mum to realize what could have been a potential nightmare for all concerned so she instinctively shortened my leash. Doggone it anyway.

Norman: At first I thought it was a bunch of odd looking kitties but could tell from mum’s reaction it was something else. I’ve never seen six ‘cats’ like that at once.

Raccoons

Elsa: At least I managed to react a short distance away from the porch which took her shoulder by surprise. Heh, heh. It’s good keeping her on her toes.

Norman: Oh come on, sister, it’s not really her toes you want her to stay on…it’s more like you prefer her backside.

Elsa: Sshhh, don’t let her know that. Jeez, are you trying to get me in trouble?

Norman: You’re well enough equipped to do that on your own without any help from me.

Raccoons

Elsa: Not one, not two, not even three…but four on the front porch of that house at the same time. I distinctly remember mum rubbing her eyes in disbelief.

Norman: She sure did, though I think she might have been still half asleep. As we passed the front porch, we saw the others on the fence to the side though there were {only} six raccoons in total committing a burglary.

Elsa: I was so bummed they decided not to follow us in the opposite direction.

Norman: They probably had more houses to burglarize visit before breakfast was over. I did notice that one fella coming out from under the chair had munched on the tassels on the chair cushion.

Elsa: Not much of a breakfast by my mind’s thinking.

Norman: This coming from someone who considers wool socks a food group?

Elsa: That’s different, bro. Besides, it wasn’t me who ate a felted mini-OES figure that mom spent 8+ hours needle felting last week. Do I need to remind you of the day you spent at ER?

Norman: Ahem…not my finest moment I’ll agree, but all’s good now right mum?

Mum: {Eyes rolling} Yes, ‘dear‘ Norman. Just make sure you don’t countersurf anymore and we’ll be all good, ‘kay?

Norman: Right-o, mum. I love that you accept me for who I am. Just a big hunka-chunk who is apparently irresistible to nurses judging our visit to hospital yesterday. If feels good getting the first of two evaluations out of the way. One step closer to being a full therapy dog.

Mum: Yes, dear boy…you definitely know how to draw a crowd. Much like us gawking at those raccoons, people just couldn’t believe their eyes seeing you and began running down the hallway to say hello

Norman: Yes, it was somewhat overwhelming. Yawn. I’m still recovering from all that therapy work while trying to get over that whole riding the elevator experience.

Norman

Mum: You’ll be fine, sweet boy. You have the whole weekend to recover.

Elsa: We’re so proud of you, Big Brother! Let’s plot plan some extra special recovery plans for the weekend…you know just to give mum a run for her money on her toes.

Mum: Sigh. Whatever you do this weekend, we hope it’s relaxing and fun but you give yourself plenty of time to see all the amazing sights Mother Nature offers.

Live, love, bark!  🐾

 

Monday Musings ~ May 3, 2021

You may have noticed we’ve been absent lately. A death in the family has taken an emotional toll on my heart and posting has been the last thing on my mind. When I returned home from being with the family, I was greeting by a deck of cards on the floor along with a certain card shark. Through my tears from the unbearable loss our family has suffered, the clouds over my heart lifted for a just a moment. Today’s moral…never play cards with the Ninja. This girl plays to win and will eat you alive.

Elsa

Live, love, bark! 🐾

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! 🐾