Wordless Wednesday ~ May 11, 2022

Peacock door
Door handle to Indian restaurant.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ April 1, 2022

Happy Fri-Yay and thanks for joining us and our friends Rosy, Sunny and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard for this week’s Nature Friday blog hop. It may be April Fool’s Day on the calendar, but nature isn’t fooling around as she continues to deliver some lovely surprises associated with early Spring.

It was another week of a bit of everything where the weather is concerned. But nature seems to be at least trying to nudge  flowers from their winter beds. After a few days of cloudy days, chilly temps and a little bit of rain, the Ranch Hands and I woke up to glorious clear blue-bird skies. When it’s sunny and clear, all seems right.

Blue skies

While you can see buds on the tree (upper left hand corner) in front of this architectural wonder near downtown, other trees and shrubs are moving full steam ahead. I came across a small holly bush that was beginning to bloom.

Flowers

And then there are some trees that are hanging on to last year’s bounty left for the birds. Some people don’t find those scenes as interesting as I do but I love that texture.

Trees

I think this ‘dude’ is firmly grounded in the perplexed category as he resides next to that tree at a nearby elementary school community garden. It was abuzz with activity this week as garden plots were being cleaned up getting ready for early vegetable plantings.

Statute

Daffodils, hyacinths and tulips flash their pretty at a nearby neighbor’s garden that receives plenty of sunshine with great southern exposure. With my large trees, things are still mostly brown in my garden but I can admire others who are lucky to have great sun exposure.

Flowers

Glory of the Snow or scilla (Scilla luciliae) popped up along one of my walks and it was truly beautiful. I don’t see a lot of  these plants but intend to look for some bulbs this autumn when I add to my spring bulbs. Heralding from western Turkey, they are one of the earliest (and in my mind, prettiest) flowering bulbs.

Flowers

After another busy week, I found myself strolling around in the baby blue grape hyacinths to chill and reflect as I watched the bees happily noshing on the blue buffet. This spot always makes me stop and ponder the beauty of the surrounding plants. These bulbs continue to naturalize throughout the garden, much to my amusement. It’s like nature is moving the furniture around and who am I to argue with her design skills? I’ll save that argument for the lupine that’s beginning to emerge (in the foreground). I removed buckets of them last autumn as its naturalization throughout the garden has gotten far more than a ‘bit carried away.’ I’m hoping to encourage it to live politely rather than invasively, but so far it hasn’t seemed to respond to my criticism of “You’re not freaking dandelions, so stop popping up in every little nook and cranny and give the other plants a break!’

Flowers

Some of the reseeding annuals from last autumn are beginning to emerge (or are being planted) around the ‘Hood for some early seasonal color. I found some pansies amidst dried leaves and grass yesterday afternoon. Their cheerful faces provided a nod from me because, who doesn’t love those sweet little faces and color in the dried, brown vestiges from last year?

Flowers

Well, that’s about it from the Ranch for this week. We hope you’re seeing signs that spring has indeed sprung, despite the cycle of one nice day with the next day a visit from mean Uncle Winter. Makes you want to yell “STOP THAT NOW!” But around here we know snow is always a possibility over the next month, so we’ll just try to coexist with it. Have you got any plans for fun this weekend? Me, I’m just going to celebrate my baby sister’s birthday today (albeit from afar until she arrives for a visit later this month). Happy birthday, Kathy. Hope your day is as lovely as a spring day (sans snow). Love you.

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ March 18, 2022

Welcome to this week’s edition of the Nature Friday blog hop, where we join our pals, Rosy, Sunny and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard. Don’t forget to click on their link to see what others are sharing.

While the Spring Equinox is scheduled to arrive on Sunday, it continues to tease the Ranch Hands as it takes one step forward and then retreats briefly. Tuesday and Wednesday were warm and inspired me to cleanup various flower beds before another storm was forecast to arrive. While raking up winter debris, I took note of a few unexpected early arrivals.

Flowers

These hyacinths are beginning to wake up from their winter snooze and should be ready to bloom in a couple of weeks or so now that Mile High sun has nudged them.

Garden poppies are beginning to wipe the sleep from their eyes as they started greening up. Seeing green not related to St. Patrick’s Day was so exciting, I nearly did an Irish jig. The  key word being “nearly.” I don’t think I’ve actually ‘jigged’ for decades but in my mind I was pirouetting with joy as if I were young and limber again. The ground was moist and loamy with that invigorating scent of a world of microorganisms. There’s nothing like the smell of freshly tilled ground: earthy and fragrant, full of life from decayed material.

Flowers

Raking up leaves accumulated over the winter, I interrupted several bees hoping to nosh peacefully amidst the freshly bloomed baby-blue, grape hyacinths (their purple cousins continue to sleep in for a bit). When these little charmers appear, I know spring is, indeed on its way. These cuties continue to naturalize throughout the garden as I discovered  some in unexpected spots between the flagstones. The spring cleanup will continue for some time to remove marauding plants to better sites.

Flowers

A lovely day spent getting my hands in the dirt, I waited for the forecasted spring storm to arrive. True to the ‘Springtime in the Rockies’ adage and all which that means to Front Range gardeners, yesterday’s landscape turned into a beautiful sea of heavy, wet spring snow.

Snow

I had previously scheduled my tax returns to be prepared yesterday and decided to walk over rather than drive. It was surprisingly as quiet as it was beautiful. I say ‘beautiful’ because like 99% of all spring storms in the Mile High, it will be mostly melted by late today, a nice drink of welcome moisture for the landscape.

Snow

As I took in the scene, I couldn’t help but notice some ground cover tumbling over the rock wall surrounding the grounds of the assisted living home across the street from my appointment.

Snow

Walking along two of the sides of this oversized city block,  beauty along the fenceline emerged like lace.

Snow

The weekend promises more spring-like temperatures which will beckon more garden work but commitments for the ongoing Canine Colorado magazine fundraiser has higher priority, taking me south to the Colorado Springs area to help another supermodel with his day before the camera, after which I’ll continue southbound and drop in to see my dad. As Norman will be heading to hospital on Monday for visits, it will be a busy weekend getting him ready for his shifts following the photoshoot. Just don’t mention the bath/groom to him-wouldn’t want to wreck spring’s arrival on his tender psyche with his aversion to getting wet.

What plans are on your dance card for this weekend when Spring arrives? Whatever you do, we hope you are able to get out there and immerse your soul in Nature’s gifts.

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Three Word Wednesday ~ March 16, 2022

Celebrate-spring’s coming!

Statutes

Live, love, bark!  🐾

Nature Friday ~ March 4, 2022

Welcome to the first edition in March to the Nature Friday blog hop, where we join our New Mexico hosts, Rosy, Sunny and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard. Make sure you stop by the clicking on their link to see what others are sharing.

SpringLast week, the Mile High spent most of it suffering in brutally cold conditions with multiple days in a row of snow. Total accumulations were between 8-10 inches.  Apparently this week, Mother Nature reconsidered and then decided an about face might be appropriate, apparently trying to make up for being so bloody harsh and mean last week.Spring

Yesterday morning’s walk showed how she was trying to make up by being pretty and nice. Look at that lovely clump of early blooming crocuses.

Spring

No doubt Mother Nature thought all could be forgiven if she merely provided a burst of beautiful color with some reticulated irises. Well…okay…maybe. Sights like this make you begin to think perhaps all those previous HBO thoughts you had weren’t warranted after seeing gorgeous deep purple crocuses with those vibrant, brightly colored stamens. Sigh, how can you stay mad with Mother Nature when she delivers days like this?

Spring

With sunny, warm days like these, one could easily be seduced into thinking Spring was just around the corner ready to burst forward. And then you hear the weekend forecast foretelling of the age-old battle between Winter and Spring duking it out with two back-to-back storms colliding in the metro area beginning later tonight with accumulations of 2-5 inches, depending on where you live. This, following record-tying temperatures in the mid-70’sF this week.  In March! Today will be fairly nice again (albeit dreary) until this afternoon when the first front moves in with a splatter of moisture.

Weather

And then the bungee cord snaps your head back in the ongoing battle between the seasons here…often referred to as “Springtime in the Rockies.”

Join us next week when we share a big announcement-it’s gonna be ‘pawsome!’

Whatever you do this weekend, we hope you get check out to see what Nature has to offer-whichever season she deigns to share.

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ February 18, 2022

Welcome to Friday where we take a gander at what nature dished up this week. As always we’re joining our New Mexico hosts, Rosy, Sunny and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard. Don’t forget to check out their link to see what others have shared.

Nature FridayThis week was the typical smorgasbord of tasties, courtesy of Mother Nature whose hormonal condition continues to rage. The days seem to jump between opposite  conditions as one day is lovely with a hint of Spring, the next ‘ole man Winter yelling, “not so fast.’  I’m beginning to wonder if chiropractors are in league with nature because whiplash conditions between winter and spring seems more pronounced than ever.

A quick moving storm dumped another 5” trail of white on the Mile High Wednesday after a day of spring-like temps (61ºF / 16ºC) which is not unusual for this time of year around here. “Springtime in the Rockies” is well-known for the up/down weather patterns and temperatures. The snow this week though was absolutely dazzling. It looked like glitter had been sprinkled over soft powder. I can only hope it actually shows up in these images.

Snow

Tufts of snow filled spots on shrubs and spent perennials giving the landscape a cottony look among all that sparkle.

Snow

Could this be what a diamond field looks like?

Weather vane

A late morning walk yesterday (once the walks were cleared) showcased gorgeous bluebird colored skies behind a very unusual weathervane as I took in some of the melting process after the storm. Dripping icicles are mesmerizing to my way of thinking; I could watch the slow forming drips morph into miniature stalactites as they are shaped into crooked icicles while life all around transformed back into the urban hustle and bustle of the city. It was especially remarkable given there has been a constant buzz of construction work in the neighborhood from early morning until nearly sunset as the city replaces wheelchair access at corner curbs. The noise has been rather mind-numbing with heavy duty dump-trucks and road graters driving back and forth non-stop, yet for a few moments, I can get lost watching the slow drips as they transform into icy ribbons created by nature.

icicles

The weekend promises more spring-like weather before the next storm visits next week. Norman, Elsa and I are looking at a new route to catch a different glimpse of nature in the city. What are your plans?

Whatever you do, we hope some hypnotic moments in nature are included on your agenda. It’s good for one’s soul to spend time in nature and will no doubt improve your mental outlook, so get outside and look for some unique beauty. Who knows, you may just find a diamond or two.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ December 31, 2021

It’s Friday which means we’re are joining the Nature Friday blog hop with our friends, Rosy, Sunny and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard.

WildfiresWeather and climate change continue to dominate nature  along the Front Range. Unless you live in a cave, you’ve no doubt heard about the catastrophic Marshall and Middle Fork fires which hit the northern metro suburbs yesterday afternoon. Hurricane force winds of over 100 mph are believed to have knocked down power lines sparking dry grasslands which moved quickly between Denver and Boulder. The entire towns of Superior and Louisville were evacuated yesterday which remains in effect today. Nearly 600 homes, the Element Hotel and a shopping center were destroyed. Six people were reported to have suffered injuries but it is unknown if there have been any fatalities. Winds were so strong yesterday, there was little firefighters could do but evacuate homes and businesses in the fire’s path as quickly as possible. Major traffic jams occurred when some cars four-wheeled over bike paths and through parking lots to escape the wildfire’s path. A state of emergency is in effect.

Wildfire
Photo courtesy of AP 

Wildfires are becoming a year long phenomena throughout the Western U.S. but this latest fire is highly unusual in that it occurred in an urban area and not in any wilderness area.

The fire has consumed over 1,600 acres as of last night. Officials hope they can get a handle on the fire with less severe winds, cooler temperatures and several inches of snow scheduled to arrive later today. This map from the New York Times shows the affected area. Colorado Highways 93, 128, 170 and parts of US 36 are closed to traffic.

Wildfire

Wildfire
Photo courtesy of AP

The aerial image below gives you an idea of the scope of the fire area.

Wildfires

As if 2021 hadn’t been exhausting enough with record-breaking COVID cases despite vaccines, we now face a year round fire season. Don’t know about you, but I for one am SO. OVER. 2021.

However you celebrate the New Year, we pray you’ll do it safely. Best wishes from everyone at the Ranch who will probably spend most of the weekend huddled together on the sofa under a thick pile of blankets as single-digit highs arrive tomorrow. Yo Mother Nature…could you please lighten up?

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ December 17, 2021

Despite a wild week with hurricane-force winds, we managed to make it to Friday where we join our pals, Rosy, Sunny and Jakey from LLB in our Backyard for this week’s edition of Nature Friday.

Record setting winds blew through Colorado on Wednesday with winds as high as 107 mph in Lamar in southeast Colorado while Colorado Springs saw winds from 88-92 mph. Closer to my neighborhood, wind gusts ranged from 51 to 85 mph. One home in nearby Golden had its roof ripped off. Sadly one La Junta city worker lost his life when a tree fell on him as he was clearing a right of way of fallen debris. At one point, as many as 50,000 customers were without power, while intermittent power outages occurred throughout the day at the Ranch. When we resumed our regular walks the following day, several trees were extensively damaged. Luckily the Ranch was spared the most severe damage, with just a general cleanup of twigs and branches and trash blown from parts unknown.

Moody skies foretold of potential danger.

Clouds

As many as 27 drops of rain fell during the wind storm, just enough to warrant a window cleaning once temperatures  permit. With Christmas in just over a week, that chore will need to wait until after the holiday. Goodness knows there’s more than enough to deal with as it is but the view from the studio in particular, sure looks ugly on a clear sunny day. Still the drought continues to remain front and center with the state average at only 75% of the usual winter snowpack with the eastern half of the state far lower. We can only wait and cross our fingers that measurable moisture will appear soon. The spitting of a few drops or flakes simply won’t cut it next spring and summer.

Moon

On the plus side, one of my neighbors installed strings of lights highlighting a tree in his front yard begging to be watched. It reminds me, that just maybe everything will be ok, in what is shaping up to be a very strange holiday season of weird weather conditions.

Christmas

As we head toward the winter solstice and into Christmas week, I’m making plans to join members of my family for a get-together with Dad and those who weren’t able to make the Thanksgiving trip to Texas because for us, holidays are synonymous with family more than anything else. Do you have plans for getting together with family or friends over the holiday? Whatever you do, I hope you are able to spend some time enjoying the many facets of nature and the season.

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark!  🐾