Nature Friday ~ October 15, 2021

Nature FridayWelcome to this week’s edition of Nature Friday where we take a look around our urban neighborhood to see what Nature has served up. As always, we’re joining Rosy, Sunny, Arty and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard.

Leaves changing colors continues to be hit or miss. One tree will show color while the tree right next to it steadfastly holds on to the green. It’s one of the oddest autumns I’ve ever seen. Earlier in the week, mild warm days graced the Mile High which allowed for extended walks around the ‘Hood.

Trees

So let’s check out this week’s most interesting plant discovered on one of our afternoon walks. I’ve seen these eye-catching plants around before but never knew what they were called until I did some further investigating. Castor bean plants (Ricinus ommunis) are often planted for their striking foliage. Originally native to Ethiopia, the plants are now cultivated throughout the world. Caster bean seeds have been found as far back at 4,000 years ago in ancient Egyptian tombs. The oil obtained from the plant was used to light lamp wicks and is still cultivated as a natural laxative or massage oil. With it’s extremely high fatty acid content, it can be useful for treating dry skin. Caution should be exercised however when planting these striking plants around small children and pets, as the seed pods are extremely poisonous. After looking it up, I was grateful I didn’t touch those seed pods. {shudder}

Castor Beans

Castor bean

Yesterday Mother Nature decided to do a runner and skip town with temperatures plummeting and snow falling in some metro areas (though not in my neighborhood). The nearby mountain ski area, Arapahoe Basin received 14″ of white stuff and will officially open one lift this weekend, bringing a collective hear-hear from Front Range hardcore skiers.

Here in the city, a light freeze from a few showers left a hint of frozen water in the solar bird bath last night but warmer temps will return by Sunday (forecast calls for 75ºF/23ºC). Colorado’s yo-yo weather remains intact.

First Freeze

While I don’t mind temperature changes since Nature has been more than generous with warm temps thus far, it will take some time getting used to juggling two leashes with poop bags while wearing gloves. The dogs seem to not only enjoy the crispness in the air but also the inability of my easily adapting to manage yet one more thing in hand on morning constitutions. Elsa in particular finds these are her best squirrel hunting moments and seems to relish turning me into a kite at the drop of a hat. Stay turned, no doubt there’ll be a good story about me landing on my back side while the dogs enjoy seeing me trying to ‘master’ the art of prestidigitation.

Any plans to get out into Nature this weekend? Whatever you do, we hope you have a ‘pawsome’ outing.

Live, love, bark!🐾

Nature Friday ~ May 21, 2021

Happy TGIF and welcome to another episode of Nature Friday, hosted by our Pacific Northwest fur-iends, Rosy, Sunny, Arty and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard. Don’t forget to click on the link to check out what they and others in Blogville shared.

Nature Friday

Having enjoyed more than a few days of life sustaining moisture earlier this week, spring has ramped up its presence. Tulips continue to bloom but other spring bulbs and tubers are now front and center. Alliums, a member of the garlic family, are now blooming and are quite gorgeous. We’ve been encountering many of them along our daily walks. Allium are a genus of monocotyledonous flowering plants that includes hundreds of species, including cultivated onion, garlic, scallion, shallot, leek, and chives. Did you know allium is the Latin word for garlic? Allium vary in size in the different species, ranging from small (approximately 2–3 mm in diameter) to large (8–10 cm). 

Flowers

Bearded irises have begun blooming too, assuring lovely bouquets for alfresco dining.

Flowers

Even the heavenly-scented lilacs, are beginning to emerge from a long winter sleep.

Flowers

With all the rain we’ve received lately, woodland plants are verdant and beginning to bloom. Lupines and woodruff are some of my favorites.

Flowers

Not all the moisture that’s fallen recently has been rain. It recently has been ‘snowing’ a bit, too.

Flowers

Just kidding, that fallen ‘snow’ is just spent blossoms. Had you going there for a second, didn’t I?

It seems warmer and drier weather is in the foreseeable future and will be welcomed. Yesterday was a day of R&R enjoying the landscape while visiting my dad in southeast Colorado.

We hope you enjoy your weekend but don’t forget to use some sunscreen. Or you could spend outdoor time under an umbrella like I did yesterday. Either way, we hope any time is spent outside enjoying nature is ‘wagnificent.’

Sunny days

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ May 7, 2021

Welcome to Nature Friday where we join our ‘fur-iends’ from Adventures of the LLB Gang. Mother Nature has been all over the map this week. It’s been a bit of a typically weird Springtime in the Rockies kind of week weather-wise.

As I drove back from my parents house in southern Colorado, a large wet weather front hit pretty much most of the state but especially along the I-25 corridor. Monument Pass (just north of Colorado Springs) received several inches of white stuff. Luckily the roads weren’t too slippery but with nearly 15 miles of road construction, it was a slow, sad slog home.

Nature

While I was in Pueblo, Norman and I took occasional walks around the chaparral near my parent’s house. There are lots of ancient pinyon and cedar trees, some a few hundred years old. Norman wasn’t particularly interested in their history, only the crossing trails of bunny scents.

Norman

While snow this time of year is not unusual in the state, a couple of days of rain are (we’re more likely to receive snow than rain). The rain has refreshed the landscape, washed off the dust and grime of the city and brightened everything as Spring moves forward. The tulips have been extra gorgeous this year.

Flowers

After a few days of rain and cold, Colorado’s bluebird skies and sunny conditions returned. They made for a great background for the now flowering crabapple trees yesterday.

Trees

The yo-yo temperatures will continue today, likely reaching 81ºF. That said, the forecast for early next week once again includes snow, keeping the past few years of history intact around Mother’s Day, with snow in the Mile High. If you don’t like the current weather, just wait 10 minutes because it will no doubt change to something you may enjoy.

Whatever is your jam, we hope you have a lovely weekend and you’re able to share some of nature’s beauty with Happy Mother’s Day wishes to all moms, whether your kid has two or four legs (or wings).

Live, love, bark! 🐾

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! 🐾