Category Archives: Travels

Up, Up and Away Wednesday ~ March 20, 2019

Pagosa Springs

Pagosa Springs, Colorado

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Wish I Was There Wednesday ~ February 27, 2019

Italy

Venice

Life, love, bark! 🐾

Wordless Wednesday ~ February 20, 2019

Germany

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ February 8, 2019

Nature Friday

Welcome to another edition of Nature Friday at the Ranch hosted by our California friends, Rosy and her brothers over at LLB in Our Backyard. We hope you’ll swing by their backyard and check out theirs and others tip of the cap to Mother Nature.

You can say things have been unseasonable around the Ranch lately. Normally our coldest weather comes in January when the Stock Show is in town. This year however the weather for the most part was quite balmy. A number of days even had peeps wearing shorts with their puffy jackets (yeah, I don’t get that either-wearing shorts with a ski jacket is very common around here). January and February typically have little in the way of snow and yet we’ve had two snow storms in consecutive weeks with 10 and 6 inches respectively. I don’t mind the snow, but the below zero temps following this latest storm seems beyond what is normal for this time of year. Yesterday it was -5 F and just barely over 0 this morning, so let’s go for a little orchid action to warm things up.

It’s been some time ago but I found this beauty hanging out forlornly at the grocery market so naturally I felt compelled to ‘rescue’ it. It was the only blue one and I knew it would be a lovely addition around the Ranch. Isn’t that blue color simply exquisite? I don’t know how they get the color, but it’s beautiful and made me feel like I was back in Hawaii.

Orchid

Speaking of Hawaii, I would be remiss to not include a photo of the real deal in its natural environment. Located just north of Hilo on the Big Island is the Onomea Bay and the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden. With 2,000 species, representing more than 125 families and 750 genera, this is just one many beautiful plants located in this one-of-a-kind garden.Their orchid collection is particularly spectacular. Just check out this specimen. Talk about colorful and delicate looking!

I don’t know about you, but after seeing photos of tropical orchids, I can once again appreciate all that nature has to offer even as I look out the window at a wintry white-scape. I hope we won’t have to bundle up like Eskimos again, like yesterday. Lacing up 10 snow boots, donning three coats and mittens was more exercise than the actual walk!

Snow

Have a super weekend and get out there to enjoy all the beauty Mother Nature has to offer but stay safe and warm.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ February 1, 2019

Nature Friday
Is anyone else having a hard time comprehending the fact it’s February already? Wow, where did January go? Today we once again join our fur-iends Rosy and her brothers from LLB in Our Backyard for this week’s edition of Nature Friday Blog Hop. I also want to take a moment to wish my baby brother a very happy birthday. Hope your day is extra terrific, Bro.

So on this first Friday in February, since so much of the country is gripped in a Polar Vortex of epic proportions, I figured let’s go back to the beach!

I could walk up and down the beach in Mexico a million times and still be enchanted with the scenery. Just looking at the golden sand, blue sky and foamy surf warms me up. Sure beats shoveling snow filled sidewalks, doesn’t it?

There is some very entertaining about catching a glimpse of pelicans whenever I’m at a beach location. I love that they always seem to be flashing a smile at you, especially just before they swoop in and filch a part of your lunch. This guys trailed the boat in hopes of a tossed fish and was amply rewarded for his aeronautics.

And what beach is complete without a catamaran or parasail? The colors themselves are enough to warm a winter soul, don’t you think?

Finally, as this little sculpture with his colorful painted surface suggests, the beach is just plain fun. We stumbled across an art gallery in Old Town Puerto Vallarta curated by a fellow from Corsica. He had relocated to Mexico over 30 years ago and loved the spirit of his adopted country. He was showing several of these dog-themed sculptures that were so charming. Who would love stuffing one in their bag for the trip home?

Hopefully these images warmed you up a bit. To our friends caught in the jaws of bitter cold, we’re thinking of you and hope you stay warm and safe. May your weekend warm up enough where you can get out and enjoy some nature with all the brightness of a sunny day. For me, I think it’s time to anticipate a tasty birthday toast for my brother. Cheers!

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Wordless Wednesday ~ January 16, 2019

Pagosa Springs

Pagosa Springs, Colorado

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ December 28, 2018

Nature Friday
Welcome to the last Friday of 2018. I have mixed feelings about this year but am always happy to join our fur-iends Rosy and her brothers from LLB in Our Backyard for this last Nature Friday blog hop of the year.

On a day where our temps will struggle to reach the 20’s, I thought we should go back to Mexico and warm up a bit.

Turtles are ubiquitous in Mexico and these little guys know how to enjoy the heat, sunning themselves on rocks but always close enough for a quick dip to cool off (or to escape from pesky tourists).

Turtles

While walking through the Old Town area on the way to a favorite gallery our family discovered, this noisy little guy was either greeting us or more likely, telling us in no uncertain terms to go away. The racket this little squirt made me nervous its owner might check to see if we were some sort of nefarious troublemakers. It never ceases to amaze me that the tiniest of dogs are the ones who raise the most cain, in the most aggressive way. I’m sure they have to wipe down the glass panels on the deck frequently as he gets frothed up with all passersby.

Tiny pups

Go. the. hell. away!

After scurrying past the 4-legged security alarm, I stumbled across this building that stood out against a cloud-dotted sky, a restaurant known as Café des Artistes.
Old Town

Check out this exquisite video I found on their website which is narrated by the founder and chef, Thierry Blouet.

Don’t know about you, but after seeing these images, I’m slightly warmer (and more determined to go back to this lovely place in nature!) and can now face the first of what will no doubt be frequent, but brief forays outside with the Knuckleheads. Stay warm this last Friday of the year and have a great weekend.

Live, love, bark!🐾

Wish I was There Wednesday ~ December 12, 2018

At my inner core, I think there’s must be a smidgen of gypsy DNA that gets aroused  after returning from a wonderful trip. As I’ve been organizing the Puerto Vallarta trip photos,I have gone down the rabbit-hole looking through other photos from trips longing for even more travels. So today should come as no surprise for the”Wish I Was There Wednesday” post which pays homage to one such trip. During a trip to Northern Germany, I spent a number of days visiting Germany’s fashion capitol, Düsseldorf. While some old seaport towns fall on hard times, Düsseldorf is a shiny example of vibrancy that captivates visitors with its display of old and new architecture.

The Rheinhafen centre of arts and the media consists of three contrasting building complexes and appears like a gigantic sculpture along the riverfront. Each one of the “Neuer Zollhof” buildings is made with different outer materials with the central building reflecting the buildings on its northern and southern side, creating a visual link between the three. It’s truly a fascinating view as one travels down the busy Rhine River. Created by the renown architect, Frank O. Gehry, these buildings were built in the late 1990’s and are a beautiful landmark in the city.

Have  pawtastic Hump Day. Now I must ‘jet off’ to West Pines to spread some holiday cheer among the residents. Catch up with you soon!

Düsseldorf Germany

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Therapy in Action-Mexican Style

Pirate coffee hutSince returning from Mexico I have been frequently thinking about the impact of pet therapy more than usual. While visiting south of the border, I witnessed first hand the absolute power of pet therapy on a spontaneous walk I took in the vicinity of our resort. My intention was to walk up the main roadway toward where the river flowed out into the bay. I knew from walking along the beach that near the confluence, a number of egret-like birds hung out. I was also told by a local person, crocodiles could also be found upstream. I planned on avoiding the later but hoped I could get some decent shots of the former.

Pirate coffee shopWhen it became clear no good shots of the birds could be had without climbing down a step river bank (umm, no thanks, no photo of a bird was worth a potential encounter with a croc sighting, thank you very much). Instead, serendipity arrived in the form of a little coffee stand in the shape of…a pirate ship. ‘Argh,’ I groaned but quickly realized this little hut and companion playground held potential for a few photo opportunities. The proprietor greeted me (that’s him waving in the first photo) and we exchanged limited greetings, he only spoke Spanish and beyond ‘Hola,’ I could only smile. But I wandered around hoping to catch some locals taking a break when I saw a small boy playing in the playground area, but realized there was something special about this little boy. The boy was chasing and being chased by a small puppy who constantly dashed after this blur of a child, and the two rambunctious dervishes chased and played with each other with pure abandon. After several minutes of watching the scene, a thin slip of a young woman with a beautiful smile waved and came over to chat. She was the boy’s mother and we began a long chat about the two bundles of energy. The puppy was a Pit/Lab mix, about 4-months old which she had obtained for her 4-year old autistic son. She had gotten the dog in hopes of giving her son a companion that he might be aided by the fur companion. She related how owning this little ball of energy had made a significant difference with her son. When I revealed Sam was a therapy dog, she began asking me a jillion questions about training the new addition while repeatedly re-directing the pair away from the busy road.

Mexican therapy dog

A brief  moment of stillness

I barely was able to catch the pair still enough to capture any photos (never did get one of the boy who was either blurry or where he looked away), but in the shot above, the little ‘therapist’ was catching his breath for a few seconds before resuming the chase with his human friend. Watching the two of them and talking with the mom, it really struck me, how often dogs manage to understand their role with their humans. They instinctively seem to know what we need and provide it willingly. The mom, a transplant from Alberta Canada, mentioned that day was to be the last one with the little dog officially. The landlord said no pets and was adamant about the rule. So like mom’s everywhere, she found a solution to comply without moving by paying a nearby neighbor a few dollars a month to care for the dog at night and bring him back to play with her son during the day. I can only hope this solution works well for them, the little boy was clearly attached to his pal and the little pooch was thrilled to have his ‘2-legged puppy’ companion with whom he could romp and play during the day.

I thought about that family when Sam went to West Pines last week. We visited with a number of folks who for a brief few minutes, came out of their shells to twirl their fingers around the soft fur of a loving Knucklehead. One woman in particular sat down and had Sam sit in front of her crossed legs. Her face lit up and her soft voice shared her story about adopting a pair of Potcake dogs (you can read about the breed here) and how much she missed them. I could tell this tender-hearted woman needed a few minutes with Sam and he was more than willing to let her gaze into his eyes and stroke his ears. A fellow resident who was far chattier and extroverted then took his turn with Sam who accommodated him with a totally different energy. I couldn’t help but think of the little Pit/Lab mixed puppy a 1000 miles away chasing the pant legs of a little boy while romping together and then smiling. It was then while I typed this post that I realized Sam had his head pressed against my thigh. Without consciously thinking I reached down and twirled the fur on his ears and he leaned in and then looked up at me. Yes, therapy dogs are the same no matter where they are and I couldn’t be more pleased about that fact.

Live, love, bark! 🐾