Nature Friday ~ April 2, 2021

My goodness, here it is April already. Where did the first quarter of 2021 go?! As we typically do on Friday’s, we’re joining our adorable weekly hosts, Rosy, Sunny, Arty and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard to see what’s going on with Mother Nature. Don’t forget to click on the link to check out the blog hop and see what else others in Blogville have shared.

Spring has been working overtime trying to catch up after recent visits from Ole Man Winter. There’s still some white stuff remaining on northern exposures but all and all, the week has been all about spring with clear bluebird skies, warm temperatures with perennials, shrubs and trees that are beginning to bud.

A Pasque flower I walk past daily has just recently begun to open and its arrival is always reason to smile with hope that spring is here. Pasque flowers (known as Pulsatilla hirsutissima, Pulsatilla ludoviciana, Pulsatilla patens, Anemone patens, etc.) have an undisputed appearance but a somewhat disputed name. It has been known as Pulsatilla hirsutissima, Pulsatilla ludoviciana, Pulsatilla patens, Anemone patens, etc.  “Pulsatilla” from the Latin for “pulsing”, “moving about”, plus the diminutive, “illa”: thus “a bit of quivering” (from the wind). Pasque Flower or Easter Flower is from the Hebrew “Pasach” i.e. “Passover” [the last supper was the celebration of Pasach] and thus this plant has became associated with Easter since they generally flower around the Easter/Passover season when winter snows begin to melt. The name most likely arrived through variations of French, “passefleur” and “passflower” both similar to the French word for Easter, “Pasques” which has its roots in the Hebrew word “Pasach” so it’s somewhat easy to see how the common name has morphed into “Pasque Flower.”

Flowers

A walk about through my garden yesterday when temps were in the mid-70’s showed the blueish grape hyacinths fully in bloom. I was shocked to find a lone outlier white one in the middle of the blues and hope nature has some sort of grand plan. The bee didn’t seem to mind that lone white one either as it kept going back and forth to it, probably reacting much like us humans do with ice cream…”chocolate or vanilla? Oh what the heck, I like them both.”

Flowers

Over the next several days temps are expected to be in the upper 70’s to low 80’s so being outdoors to enjoy this glorious time will be the MO of the residents around the Mile High.

We wish everyone a blessed Easter weekend and hope whatever your religious persuasion that you find some time to get outside and sing the glory of nature’s beautiful work.

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Monday Musings ~ March 22, 2021

Spring arrived over the weekend and boy was it ever glorious (sunny and 65ºF-perfect in my books). While walking around the garden picking up wrappers that has blown in  during last week’s blizzard, I noticed my favorite baby blue grape hyacinths had begun blooming an Ode to Joy. I had to chuckle because of what I knew would probably be coming.

Flowers

These little guys are my favorite of the grape hyacinths in my garden (the purple ones have a later blooming timetable and bloom longer) but they never fail to charm. The fact that the original dozen has naturalized nicely makes them even more appreciated.

This morning, the Ranch hands woke up to this scene and is expected to continue accumulating off and on today, tomorrow and possibly Wednesday.

Snow

At least there was at least one day of spring which may be the shortest spring on record. Funny thing about these records, we seem to be doing a lot of that lately. Mind you, I’m not complaining about the snow; we need the moisture. But it does mess up my plans for a day trip to visit with out of state family members who will be in the southern part of the state just until this Thursday.

Whatever is going on in your neck of the woods, we hope your week starts out with a smile and sets the stage for a ‘pawsome’ week. Happy Monday!

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ March 19, 2021

Happy TGIF! Today we are going to share some thoughts about Mother Nature and her incredible ability for resilience in spite of her bad self. As usual, we’re joining our weekly hosts, those adorably sweet pupsters, Rosy, Sunny, Arty and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard. Don’t forget to click on their link to check out what they and others in Blogville have shared.

As you may recall, Mother Nature walloped the Mile High. For a recap of a major blizzard that blanketed the Ranch, click here. Over two feet of snow along with swirling drifts pounded the area but nature is nothing if not resilient. Take a look at what a couple of days of melting will expose.

Holiday

Nature didn’t put a damper on St. Patrick’s Day fun for some. While others were too busy for any celebration. Note the drift in the foreground below which was a lengthy challenge to remove. Wet snow is heavy for ‘shovelers’ of all types, be they man or machines.

Snow
The Mt. Everest of driveways

But there’s no doubt the accumulation of all that snow could be hard on gardens. I wondered how the early spring bulbs might fare.

Flowers

Remember those miniature daffodils I shared last week? Even being buried under 2+ ft. of heavy snow didn’t seem to damper their desire to find daylight. They were slightly bent but their fighting spirit was not be denied.

Flowers

Even these tulips which normally don’t fare so well when they’ve been squashed with heavy snow, managed to rise to the occasion.

 

Yesterday afternoon’s walk left me utterly astounded at how buoyant Nature can be in the face of  the aftermath of a major storm.

Flowers
Emerging poppy perennial

The evergreen shrub below had been completely buried just two days earlier and yet it seemed none the worse for the trouble and with our strong sunshine will straighten its branches out soon.

Garden

Although a few broken branches were spotted on a couple of evergreen trees (nothing too major though), I was struck by the sheer survival instinct Mother Nature employs. She dishes out all kinds of mayhem with one hand yet pushes plants forward with the other. It’s truly remarkable.

These past few days of temps in the upper 40’s and 50’sF will melt even more and it should be interesting to see what else emerges before the next round of spring storms hits Sunday night.

Nature Friday

So what was your experience with Nature this week? See anything that made you think realize how resilient it is?

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Monday Musings ~ March 15, 2021

Welcome to the 74th day on the calendar, otherwise known as the Ides of March. For a brief historical look, you can check out a previous post about the Ides of March. Clearly the Soothsayer’s abilities did not have much in the way of meteorological skills.

Smiles

It felt like living in a snow globe this weekend. You may have heard the Front Range of Colorado was hit with a monster of a storm. I haven’t seen snow like this since 2003 though this one had the dubious distinction of being a full on blizzard. The airport, public buildings and schools are all closed while we dig ourselves out. The airport is set to open shortly after noon today. The governor called out the National Guard to help rescue stranded motorists and both north/south I-25 and east/west I-70 were shut down yesterday in both directions.

Snow

A good 2 feet of the wet stuff was dumped on the Ranch (official Weather Service tally was listed at 27.1 inches) and we were lucky enough to not have lost power so lots of baking ensued over the weekend. The satellite dish needed multiple clearing off sessions so the dogs and I could veg out in between potty breaks and a few sessions to try to keep the sidewalks from getting too bad. But after making one swipe, by the time I got back to the start, it was covered again.

The accumulation wasn’t all that bad (there have been other storms far worse) but the blizzard-like conditions made any traveling dangerous and treacherous. Even the foolhardy who were bored found cross-country skiing in the street too difficult judging by the fact they took off their skis and carried them home on their shoulders.

Snow
Drifts

Even potty breaks were brief and quick. At one point Elsa showed her displeasure with the small area I shoveled so her breaks would be easier by jumping over into…a deep drift. When she managed to dig herself out, she was covered in snow and looked as though she’d been flocked. I had to laugh out loud as she ran passed me to the back door lickety-split. She apparently wasn’t as amused and immediately began to take out her embarrassment on the first toy she found. RIP little birdy.

Snow

The snow made for a fun weekend and like Elsa, I learned a valuable lesson about snow. Don’t stand directly under the satellite dish when clearing it off. Norman is decidedly not a fan of the white stuff. And my hero neighbor with the snowblower is plowing the sidewalks as I write. Bless that man!

Snow

So how was your weekend?

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ February 26, 2021

Nature FridayWelcome to Friday where we share scenes from nature  around our ‘Hood. Today is the last Friday of the month and its gone full circle crazy. Once again we join our weekly hosts, Rosy, Sunny, Arty and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard to see exactly how crazy it has been. Don’t forget to click on the link to check out to see what all Blogville has shared.

The week started out with the promise that spring was getting ready to make a glorious entrance. We’ve been keeping an eye out for subtle signs and indeed, things seemed to be moving along nicely.

The sky had been brilliant blue and sunny and highlighted the moon early in the week.

Moon

We pass by a certain magnolia tree every day on our daily walks, it being just a few houses away. Magnolias are not common around here so they always captivate my fascination whenever I see one. For weeks it’s looked like all the other trees in the “Hood and then practically overnight, it began to signal a bit of a change. Check out those buds.

Trees

A couple of days later another garden we walk past also suggested a change might be coming…reticulated irises and a few more crocuses. Despite a sea of brown, those little irises with their vivid pop of color always provide me hope that change is coming.

Gardens

On that same walk, the dogs and I noticed a new visitor and one I don’t see very often. He caught all of our attention because he was fairly low to the ground but moved up the trunk quickly once I pulled my phone out. Apparently he’s a bit camera shy. If I’m not mistaken, he’s some kind of Flicker woodpecker. His little red ‘hat’ provides a nice contrast, don’t you think?

Birds

So the week moved along heading toward the weekend. A weather forecast said we’d probably have a brief storm with 1-4″ of white stuff blowing through. No biggie, this is February, the driest month of the year in the Mile High. Check out what 1-4 looks like to weather forecasters.

SnowWell shut my mouth! I can’t recall a February where this much snow fell at one time. How deep was it? Well here’s some perspective from the front walk.

Snow

Were it not for a good Samaritan neighbor on the next block over, I’d still be shoveling the heavy white stuff. Bless him; he brought his snowblower and made two passes over the whole corner lot along with the rest of the block…on both sides! It gave me time to bake up some cookies for all his efforts as a small token of appreciation.

So from 70ºF early in the week to low teens this morning, reticulated irises to a white landscape, we’ve kind of seen it all this week. The weekend looks promising again though with temps moving toward the 50’s by the end of next week. Excuse me now while I put a neck brace on from the whiplash.

We hope you have a groovy Friday and weekend and enjoy a bit of nature, whatever she doles out.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ February 12, 2021

Nature Friday

🎵 Oh, give me a home where the buffalo roam.
Where the deer and the antelope play.
Where seldom is heard a discouraging word.
And the skies are not cloudy all day. 🎵

It was 3ºF glorious degrees for our morning ‘pee-tio’ potty break in the dog run by the Ranch hands before breakfast. Wooly Mammoth (aka Norman) only made it to the front garden, quickly peed and raced back to the door. The big guy does. not. like. the. cold. If we reach the teens, I’ll be shocked though the weekend may not see the light of anything north of single digits, some even below zero.

Welcome to Friday where we share bits and bobs of nature from around the ‘Hood. Even though it’s cold, let’s join our weekly hosts, Rosy, Sunny, Arty and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard and see what’s out there. Don’t forget to click on their link to check out what Blogville shared for everyone’s enjoyment.

Mother Nature apparently took the week off from showing off any pretties, no doubt because it’s been cold, cold, cold. Even BBQ grills are upset about it.Snow

Ok, I know nobody likes a complainer but is there anyone out there who’s enjoyed this week of bitter cold, especially if you had a recent tease that spring might be close at hand? A-ha, thought so, since I’m not seeing a bunch of hands being raised. Could it be that no one likes their arms frozen to their sides? Oh, don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind cold per se…with snow, but without snow, you’re totally getting ripped off of any fun while you still shiver. At least in the snow you can make snow angels, build snowmen or run zoomies. You don’t usually do that on frozen, brown tundra.

WinterOn the plus side, there’s something to be said about no one thinking you’re chubby in multiple layers of clothes.

All that aside, we did see some buffalo geese roaming at a nearby senior home on our afternoon walk. Milling about without a care in the world (in bare feet no less) I noticed these guys and began humming Home, Home on the Range. I was too cold to rework the lyrics to suit the situation but to those of you far cleverer than me, feel free to leave your rewrite in the comments. [Hint, hint]

Geese

Geese

In the silver lining camp, the skies were blue and it was sunny even if it was bloody cold.

We hope everyone stays warm. I’m off to find ways to occupy clever high energy Ranch hands’ minds in lieu of tundra walking. Oh and keeping the walks clear of tiny white flakes that just started to fall. Hallelujah! Have a safe weekend. Stay warm!

P.S. Happy birthday to Abraham Lincoln. I hope you’re not rolling too much in your grave.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

 

Wordless Wednesday ~ December 30, 2020

Snow

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ August 28, 2020

With the concept of time being totally upended during this panDAMNic, how in the world did we get to the last Friday of August…otherwise known as Hades for those of us in the midst of wildfires with scorching temps and little moisture. With 24 days until the official arrival of our favorite season, we’re hoping the weatherman is correct with his forecast for cooler temperatures beginning today. I’m not sure I’ll know how to act in temperatures that aren’t in the 90’s but you can bet your sweet bippy I’ll be sure to give it a go. Well enough about the weather. Let’s join our ‘fur-iends’ Rosy, Sunny, Arty and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard. We hope you’ll click on the link to see what the Gang and others around Blogville have showcased this week.

This week saw me being confined to the house. After a dog on human accident last Sunday where Elsa zigged and I zagged, I haven’t been able to give them their usual walkabouts where we explore our urban nature. Luckily I did manage a quick early morning visit to the Denver Botanical Gardens over the weekend, the first since it reopened with timed reservations and reduced visitors. And despite cutting my visit short, it was definitely worth going.

Waterlilies

The waterlilies at the botanic gardens are in fully glory and are a frequent favorite of visitors. August and September are prime viewing times for waterlilies with the most awe-inspiring “Water Platters” (Victoria ‘Longwood Hybrid’ and Victoriacruziana) taking center stage. They are measured in feet sometimes as much as 6-feet across), unlike the smaller waterlilies that are merely inches in size across. Both are beautiful and make the pools a garden favorite. An interesting footnote regarding the “Monet Pool” as shown below is the addition of a non-toxic, food-grade black dye to the ponds weekly when needed in order to maintain the dark coloration seen throughout the displays. This dye performs multiple tasks. The first being it blocks out sunlight deterring growth of algae, all the while hiding the planting containers and creating a beautiful reflective surface that makes the aquatic plants stand out even more.

Flowers

Wildlife lives in harmony at the gardens as numerous ducks frequently skim the pond surfaces for food. This female Mallard was hard at work but then decided to turn stalker after her shift follow me to a nearby bench where I was able to take in the whole pond in all its fabulous glory. She was within touching distance but I kept a watchful eye to exit quickly should ‘things’ get real. She maintained a jovial demeanor, smiling for the camera though I missed capturing any winks. I called her Estelle and she didn’t seem to object.

Duck

Flowers

These strawflower flowers bring vivid colors to any garden or craft project alike, making lovely dried-flower bouquets. Strawflowers resemble daisies in form, but unlike daisies, their petals are stiff and papery. In fact, they aren’t true petals at all, but a modified leaf known as a bract. Native to Australia, they are easy to grow and thrive in bright, sunny spots.

Flowers

‘Tiger Flower’ (Tigridia pavonia) is one of the best-known species from the genus Tigridia, of the Iridaceae family. Sometimes referred to as jockey’s cap lily, Mexican shellflower, peacock flower, Tiger Flower is widespread across Central America. Their blooms open early in the morning and close up near dusk. A fresh bloom opens daily.

Update to the wildfires ~ Glenwood Springs:

The fire (known at the Grizzly Creek fire) has consumed over 32,000 acres, is now 68% contained, I-70 reopened earlier this week and firefighters are hopeful in making progress with lower temps and the potential of rain with higher humidity to make their job just a bit easier. The largest wildfire in Colorado’s history, the Pine Gulch fire near Grand Junction, is now 77% contained and has consumed over 139,000 acres. We continue to pray for firefighters and those folks living near these fires (as well as all other wires in the state).

We hope you have a great weekend. My family will be convening to celebrate my dad’s 90th birthday and we’re looking forward to the clan celebrating our Patriarch with a mirthful gathering in the mountains filled with loads of good food, spirits, and raucous fun. It ain’t everyday you toast 90 years along with his good health.

Enjoy whatever you plan to do, and make sure you are able to enjoy some of the beauty Mother Nature dishes up. Posts will likely be sparse but don’t worry. We’ll be around enjoying each other and the cooler temps, but probably not particularly active online.

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ July 17, 2020

Nature FridayIt appears we’ve reached that day referred to as Friday. Despite being frequently unsure what day it is, it’s appears today is Nature Friday (we’re positive because we doubled checked to confirm it). Friday means we’re joining our furry friends, Rosy, her new baby sister as well as her brothers from LLB in our Backyard to take a look around to see what Mother Nature served up this week.

Flowers
Norman, you’ll never be able to hide in the sunflowers.

In our mountain desert region, July means it’s hot and dry (although I note nature gifted us with some rain earlier this week). We continue to wait to see if summer monsoons will develop. The garden, while green from lots of supplemental watering, doesn’t have much color beyond yellow. Sure there is the occasional pink or purple Lupine still hanging on but the majority are bright yellow with an occasional pop of orange. The sunflowers continue to bloom like crazy, Coreopsis is naturalizing throughout the garden, Black-eyed Susan’s, and Blanket Flower (Gaillardia) have begun to announce their presence.  It’s a welcomed volunteer, since it certainly wasn’t planted there but we’re always happy to greet botanical visitors like this fella. It just shows how determined nature can be despite inhospitable conditions. Hopefully there’ll be a few seeds to harvest for spreading this beauty deliberately around the garden.

Flowers

Because our garden receives a fair amount of afternoon shade, some perennials are slow to bloom which means we’re waiting for the Goldenrod to begin its beautiful yellow appearance, though we’re seeing it elsewhere around the neighborhood.

Flower

Try as I might, neither Norman or Elsa were willing to pose next to this border sidewalk flower bed along our walk. So sad because these are the loveliest Black-eyed Susan’s around the ‘hood.

This year I began a bit of a garden experiment. By some miraculous way, nature seemed to take it upon itself to volunteer a tomato plant between some flagstones. I can only surmise its location was due to a germinated seed from a nearby pot where I had planted a cherry tomato last summer. I was curious to see whether it would do anything but with the tomato loving perfect conditions of hot days/cool nights this month, it has grown by leaps and bounds and began setting flowers a few weeks ago. Yesterday morning as I watered the nearby plants, look what I discovered.

Flowers

Squeals! While I have no idea if they’ll be tasty at all, I will continue watering the plant to see if there’ll be enough for a small salad. Stay tuned on this botanical experiment.

We hope everyone has a safe but fun-filled weekend. Like Norman advised earlier this week in his video, make sure to wear your masks, social distance and wash your paws whether or not its mandated. Only together can we lower the COVID numbers and go back to giving ear rubs to all dogs we encounter and hug our family and friends again.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ May 29, 2020

With everything that’s happened this past week, coupled with pandemic blur, is it really Friday? If it is, that means we’re joining our ‘fur-iends’ Rosy, Arty and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard. We hope you’ll click on the link to see what the Gang and others around Blogville have showcased this week.

Last week we had planned on sharing some views from around our neighborhood but alas, Norman’s emergency put everything on hold. So this week we’ll share sightings from earlier days when we were out and meandering about. We call that time BNE, or ‘before Norman’s emergency.’ Spring arrived and exited nearly as quickly over the past couple of weeks moving straight into summer. One day it was in the 40’s and the next near 90’s. Mother Nature sure knows how to give a Ranch hand whiplash!

This week, let’s take a look at some of the critters that are showing up in mega numbers. After a four-year absence, the Army Cutworm has arrived. What is an Army Cutworm, you ask? In the Mile High area, we call them, among other things not fit for a GP audience…Miller Moths (Euxoa auxiliaris). Why are they called miller moths? Fine scales which easily rub off, cover the wings of all moths reminding people of the dusty flour that covers the clothing of those people who mill grain. Most people think they’re nasty but they tend to be merely a nuisance for urban gardeners.

Moths
A Miller Moth hanging out along the garage door

Once again, weather patterns are responsible for their abundant migration. According to CSU entomologists, a dry, late winter and spring to-date most likely are responsible for boosting populations as the moths look for nectar to feed off before moving to the high country where they will summer.  With fewer plants due to drier conditions, moths are more likely to concentrate in areas where vegetation is already in place — like backyards and gardens. But it’s not just the unusually dry weather, a harsh mid-April freeze killed off a lot of potential vegetation for moths to feed off. That freeze killed many blossoms from a wide variety of plants that would have been in peak bloom in May. Moth populations have been generally below average over the past four years which seems to make them seem there are far more now. They are notorious for vexing city dwellers, flitting out from behind window coverings, lampshades, closets and doorways.

Another critter that we sometimes come across on our walks are snails. They have always fascinated me until I saw just how destructive they can be. Notice these freeloader shredding a bearded iris leaf and the other one munching on some Delosperma (Ice Plant).

Snail

All is not lost in nature though, as our garden poppies finally made their presence known in today’s early morning light. They seem to glow from within. Whatever you do this weekend, make sure you get out and enjoy the weekend.

Poppies

From the bottom of my heart, thank you for all your sweet comments, thoughts and prayers regarding Norman. He continues to improve and as of pre-dawn today, he’s ‘stormin’ back. The trick now seems to be how to contain this “bull in a china shop” until the cone comes off and stitches are removed, scheduled for next Wednesday. Lord help me contain this boy while he bashes the dickens out of furniture, walls and the back of my legs. But that’s a far better place to be than last Friday where I worried he would not survive GDV. Make it a great weekend with many thanks again.

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾