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! 🐾

Monday Musings ~ February 10, 2020

Clearly Mother Nature isn’t the only thing that’s been a little crazy lately. After having enjoyed mid 80ºF temp’s for the past 11 days on vacation, seeing images from home while away after the rodent’s so-called spring prediction has been…ahem…interesting to say the least. According to one news story,  it was warmer  this past week in Antarctica than it was in New Mexico.

Ground Hog

From Groundhog Day this sunset from the neighborhood. Lovely, right?

Sunset

To earlier from last week.

Snow

The mobile forecast on Sunday continued the cycle and it’s supposed to snow again beginning later this afternoon. The forecast is short and not so sweet, snow, snow, with more snow.

Snow

As you may recall, I’ve been vacationing with my mom, sisters and nieces in the Caribbean, there was little to next to no WiFi that allowed staying connected much, but tried to visit everyone as much as the Internet gods would permit. Rest assured, a lack of comment did not mean I didn’t swing by to read your posts. Hope all has been well in your ‘backyard.’

Elsa seems to understand the whole Groundhog Day thing. As in…never, ever trust a rodent. Happy Monday.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ November 29, 2019

We hope you didn’t eat yourself into oblivion yesterday and your celebration was civil, tasty and shared with friends and family. Because of the snow storm that dumped a foot of snow on the Ranch, ours was a quiet one, even if chilly. As we always do, we’re joining our furiends, Rosy and her brothers from LLB in our Backyard for this episode of the Nature Friday blog hop.

When there’s a foot of snow on the ground, traveling around to enjoy Mother Nature isn’t always easy yet the Knuckleheads still demand outside time no matter what the weather is like. Pity the fool who thinks they can assuage cabin-fevered poodles into not being complete jerks. It’s during those times when the clock seems to stand still in a poodle’s mind which can lead to episodes of mirthful mischief…and even active indoor playtime just won’t cut it. We. must. go. out. Mom. NOW! Enter technology so the huMom can safely take your Highnesses out for short walks to satiate any bored poodle minds.

Snow
Early on accumulation in the latest storm

Warm boots, Sasquatch thick gloves, down coat, wool socks with multiple layers for warmth are a mom’s weaponry in managing the elements. And coincidently, for the most part, many of those same items work to keep tender poodle toes and noses safe and warm. Not that they appreciate it mind you, they will take every opportunity to make preparations for an outing as challenging as possible. The newest weapon in taking on Mother Nature are SnowTrax™ and they proved quite suitable for staying upright on our outings. They are much better than the YakTrax™ previously used. I especially liked the Velcro straps that keep them tethered to the shoe. Nothing worse than realizing you’ve ‘lost’ one, especially when it’s way behind you, and all you want is to hurry and home to warm up.

Snow
Check out those Tungsten carbide spikes.

The first outside moments mimic some Maypole mayhem. One strike against thick gloves is you can’t easily juggle multiple leashes from behind you or poodles’ desire to not be easily corralled.

Snow
Which way, mom?

Once ‘we’ figured out that everyone had to go in one unified direction, we were off on the neighborhood Iditarod trail…otherwise known as the Tundra of unshoveled walks.

Snow
Millennials shovel your walks for crying out loud!

Packed down icy and/or deep snow can be a challenge to staying upright. The SnowTrak™ really made a difference though it may take a while to get used to how they feel (think walking barefoot on bumpy, round stones). Compared to the alternative, they beat slipping and/or falling.

I had to really try to keep the Knuckleheads from turning me into a human kite. Elsa LOVES the snow and dashes like a jack rabbit whenever she can through the deeper parts. Let’s just say she isn’t as thrilled with the way her boots worked or the dead weight on the end of her leash.

Snow boots

I can’t be sure all the dressing/undressing is worth the trouble for a quick stroll around the block when we’re used to a walking a couple of miles per outing but then it beats constant barking, extreme nose nudging and other annoying peskiness. Another storm is expected to arrive later today so we’ll try to get in some more outdoor time before it hits. Tired poodles are much nicer to be around. I’m hoping the multiple in-out preparations might burn some of the calories ingested during yesterday’s feed bag session Thanksgiving meal. I’m still full but those freshly baked cinnamon rolls sure seem to be calling my name.

Cinnamon rolls

In Elsa’s case, she prefers going au naturel in the snow even just for potty breaks. Licking off those ice balls takes time…time that she’s not pestering me to take her out again, so score one for me in the battle of wits. I’ll take a win over the Ninja any way I can.

Snow

We hope you are able to enjoy some form of nature this weekend. Hunting for for Black Friday bargains isn’t quite the same as hunting for beauty Mother Nature displays. Have a safe and happy weekend!

Snow

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday

Wordy Wednesday

SnowHappy pre-Thanksgiving Day. As many of you know, Denver was hit with a gigantic storm yesterday that buried the city with a foot of snow. It prevented Sam and I from doing our hospital visits and has us pretty much confined. It did however allow me to enjoy my favorite blizzard beverage, hot chocolate. With Schnapps and whipped cream. We are warm and fine if not a bit stir crazy. It’s too cold and deep to take the dogs for their usual walks and apparently not possible for Sam to use the dog run to relieve himself beyond the occasional pee over Elsa’s spots in the freshly created pee-atio in the dog run. Elsa however could practically pee or poop on command but Sam is nothing, if not discerning about where he goes. I have to chuckle about his refusal to not poop in the run, but know if I scooped out a square over at my neighbor’s house, he’d drop a log in a heartbeat.

Snow
Where the heck will Friday’s snow go?

We wish all of our US readers a day filled with good cheer, good food and a football win tomorrow. To all of our readers, we will spend the day staying warm, cozy and being grateful for your digital friendship and good company every week. We are truly blessed you are in our lives and we thank you for our good fortune for the connection. Cheers!

Hot chocolate

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ November 1, 2019

Greetings to our favorite day of the week. It’s also a fresh new month, November. Egad…WHERE has this year gone? One day you’re welcoming tulips and the next day it seems like you’re planting new ones. W-H-A-T? Nonetheless, put me down in the “happy it’s Friday again” category while we tag along with our friends, Rosy and her brothers from LLB in our Backyard and we stroll throughout Blogville checking out the beauty of Mother Nature.

For those of you keeping track, there are 53 days to Christmas. I know, I know…but judging by the fact that we just rolled the calendar over to a new page, the heavy set guy in red will be coming down chimney in no time. With the weather being unseasonably cold this week, it got me to start working on various handmade gifts for family and friends since walk-abouts weren’t going to be possible.

Sam
Wait…why aren’t we going walking?

It was so cold and snowy this week, we really didn’t get out to check out much of what Nature offered. Everything was white anyway and I was busy shoveling an enormous corner lot (what in the world was I thinking buying a house on a corner with twice as much sidewalk as normal houses?!) and just trying to keep myself warm and the dogs occupied.

Sam & ElsaEver notice how dogs can get cabin fever much quicker than humans? Like many dogs, the Knuckleheads nap much of the day, but the naps seemed shorter with more frequent with loads of plaintive glances and relentless nose nudging to pay attention to the clearly depraved canines. One way they can pass the time away when they’re bored, is through annoying behavior.

Shoveling out a “pee-atio” area for the dogs was nearly as important as keeping their minds engaged. Poodles can be picky about their bathroom thrones and not just any spot will work for their fragile little psyches as I’ve discovered. They experience Goldilocks syndrome and everything must be just right.

Because of some uneven flagstones, it’s not an quick job shoveling out part of the dog run to keep poodle tushes from being kissed by snow during their constitutionals.  I thought I was doing the Knuckleheads a solid. Indeed…they promptly went to the opposite end where the snow depth was 10″ deep to do their business. Thanks guys. I can’t tell you how much I enjoy frostbitten fingers trying to help you out.

Dog run

One thing about Nature is how a snowstorm can change the landscape. Earlier this week I shared the photo of a gigantic icicle that formed (my friend Sorryless referred to it as a ‘support column’ and he wasn’t far off–it took a number of attempts to knock that sucker down-if you missed it, click here). Yesterday, as the snow began to melt, it seemed as if Nature was piling globs of frosting around the garden and fence line. It was beautiful and allowed me to forget the backbreaking job of shoveling it from the endless sidewalk.

Snow

Snow

But all is not lost as we wait for the full melt. On cue, the ‘Christmas cactus’ (that has coincidently never bloomed any time near its namesake) decided to wake up. That riot shock of hot pink always makes me grateful for this indoor show of beauty that Nature provides at the most unexpected times. And here I thought there wouldn’t be any foliage this week.

Cactus

Here’s wishing you a fantastic weekend with the hope you manage to stumble across something beautiful out there even if the weather doesn’t cooperate.

Nature Friday

P.S. Don’t forget to ‘fall’ back this weekend. Enjoy that extra hour of sleep.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nearly Wordless Wednesday

One word. C-o-l-d.

Icicly

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Monday Musings ~ October 28, 2019

Halloween
Which one is the dangerous one?

There are some scary things lurking around the neighborhood this Halloween week. But probably the scariest part of Halloween might be this.

Snow

The forecast calls for [more] snow today, tomorrow and perhaps even through Wednesday. And bitter cold temps. The Knuckleheads enjoyed an early morning romp but were very willing to come back inside. What do you think the odds are that demon dogs or witches will be out trick-or-treating Thursday?

Have a safe week.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Throwback Thursday ~ October 10, 2019

As I look out the window and see the first snowfall of the season, I am reminded about another place with snow. The Alps. Makes you want to yodel, doesn’t it? Germany Nebelhorn, Obersdorf

A few years ago I traveled to the Nebelhorn, a major winter sports area near Obersdorf in the Allgäu Alps in southern Germany. The village of Oberstdorf has hosted Nordic skiing World Championships in both 1987 and 2005 and is expected to host World Championships in 2021. At 2204 metres (7,297 ft.) the Nebelhorn is small compared to peaks in the Rocky Mountains, but still an impressive mountain with an even more impressive view of the surrounding Bavarian Alps.

Thanks for going back in time with me as I sip a nice hot cup of chai and nostalgically watch the snow falling on a cold autumn morning. Maybe I should start consider working on my Christmas list today. Tschüss!

Snow

Live, love, bark! 🐾

 

Monday Memes ~ July 22, 2019

Weather

Ugh, the heat. It’s been brutal, I’m hoping today ushers in something cooler. Besides, another topic would be nice.

Weather

Have a cooler week.

Live, love, bark! 🐾