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! 🐾

Wordless Wednesday ~ December 22, 2021

Christmas

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!  🐾

Nature Friday ~ November 5, 2021

Nature FridayWelcome to the first Friday of November for this week’s edition of Nature Friday as we join our pals, Rosy, Sunny, Arty and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard. For those keeping track, there are only 57 days left in 2021! Try and wrap your head around that while we take a look at this past week.

Having survived a cold Halloween with a chilly temps and a few days of light frosts, the Mile High has returned back to mild temps and clear skies. It seems like Mother Nature tapped many trees on the shoulder as a reminder to shed their leaves and some seem happy to oblige.

Trees

Others have taken a hybrid approach, with some leaves still on and some off. I’m sure you won’t be surprised to know that I came close, ever so close, to jumping into that small pile of leaves to the left of this tree imitating Linus who always jumped into the middle of Charlie Brown’s freshly raked pile. I did come to my homeowner senses but wondered how many kids walking home from school couldn’t quite manage to do the same without enjoying some joyful mischief.

Trees

And then there’s my Catalpa which naively takes the Scarlett O’Hara approach to dealing with the upcoming winter season: “Tomorrow is another day.”

TreeUmm…sweetheart, I hate to break it to you but while it’s mild now, it’s no longer summer and you need to pick up the pace to catch up with the rest of the trees.

One of the more interesting aspects of autumn is how leaves impact the dogs. Daily “walks” take on a whole different vibe. It’s as if Nature opened a library and invited the Ranch hands to come in and browse through the collection. And browse they do. What normally takes nearly an hour to complete our route is now taking more than an hour and a half as they read each. and. every. page.

Norman cannot seem to get enough sniffing done in leaves. This Ranch Hunk takes any job on with gusto but his work ethic seems particularly focused when checking out leaves. And not all sniffs result in ‘watering.’

Norman

He roots around, over and under leaves as if he were a Bloodhound tracking a lost child. What is it about autumn leaves that turns dogs into Sherlock Holmes looking for clues?

Elsa takes a different approach to leaves. Oh sure her nose goes into overdrive when she’s on those narrow strips of grass between street and sidewalk much like Norman does but will try to find a clear pathway without leaves on sidewalks. Apparently she has no desire to crunch leaves and goes out of her way to not step on them when they cover sidewalks. Sam was the same way and would weave like an Army convoy around leaves on sidewalks. Norman being the Humvee sized dog that he is, merely plows through waiting for the next deep patch that he can plunge his probiscuis into olfactory nirvana. I think there were audible sighs of pleasure.

How does your good dog approach walking (or in our case  sniffing bouts) in fallen leaves?

Halloween

Do you have big plans this weekend, like sending the Halloween back into their storage shed? Whatever you do, we hope you get outside and enjoy Mother Nature first hand and have a great weekend.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ January 15, 2021

Since every day of the week in the age of COVID are referred to as “Blursday,” I had to check the calendar to make sure that today is in fact Friday. Welcome back old friend! As we typically do today we join our friends, Rosy, Sunny, Arty and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard for another Nature Friday blog hop. Don’t forget to swing by their backyard and check out all the great nature scenes.

Well it may be the middle of January already, but around the Mile High that just means we’re steadfastly stuck in a season of brown drab despite a small storm that dumped some white stuff at the beginning of the week. That just means we are bit shy on anything particularly scenic to share…unless you’re really into dried leaves and grasses.

It’s been a busy week but I kept my eyes open whenever I was out to see if anything worth sharing would catch my eye. While running a couple of errands around the neighborhood, I drove by this little shopfront. This little skin care shop is very close to the intersection and because Murphy’s Law insists that I must stop for the streetlight every time I pass by here. It would seem as if the owners are kind of trying to create some of their own kind brand of spring to offset the dusty drab that has a chokehold on the local landscape. The color caught my eye from nearly a block away but I couldn’t figure out exactly what it was until I got closer to the intersection. That welcome pop of color on the ‘wisteria chains’ give the scene a bit of tongue in check whimsiness.

Nature Friday

It may not be the real deal but considering the alternative, I’ll take it. It just goes to show if you keep your eyes open, you’ll find something that’s either lovely, makes you smile or both.

Wishing there’s plenty of nature for you to take in this weekend. Got any special plans?

Live, love,  bark! 🐾