Flowers for Marg ~ April 9, 2021

Welcome to this week’s blog hop for Nature Friday. Today we join our weekly hosts, Rosy, Sunny, Arty and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard  to celebrate a special edition of Nature Friday ~ Flowers for Marg.

Marg Elemendorf of Marg’s Animals, is a well known blogger who is loved and followed by so many over the  years.  Today we all come together to make Marg’s birthday extra special since she lives alone caring for her many and beloved kitties. Happy Birthday, Marg!

Birthday

Please feel free to leave your own birthday wishes here at this link.

Today is a birthday two-fer for me. Norman, Elsa and I of course send best wishes to Marg but we also send them to one of my dearest friends, Cheryl who celebrates an extra special birthday today. Happy birthday, sweet lady. I’m looking forward to celebrating with you in person this weekend.

Alright, let’s see if we can put together a bouquet of flowers for these two special women who do so much for others. Although spring is taking its sweet time arriving in the Mile High City and it may be a bit premature to cut a lush bouquet for indoor display still, there are some early spring bulbs that suggest bouquets gracing a table won’t be too far away.

Flowers

Earlier this week we saw the first blooming tulips in a border along one of our walks. So cheerful and happy looking.

Flowers

While the past couple of days have been cooler than our warm  Easter weekend, seeing tulips blooming always brings smiles to winter-weary hearts in the Rockies.

Flowers

While our garden is just waking up, there was one early bloomer that caught me off guard. I don’t ever recall seeing pink Phlox quite this early. What a nice splash of color, wouldn’t you agree?

Flowers

On a quick trip to a store I rarely shop at, I stopped by their flower department a couple of days ago and saw an incredible display of indoor orchids. These two deeply colored (and not edited to boost their vibrancy, mind you) stopped me dead in my tracks. I stared for several minutes taking in all that beauty.

Flowers

Flowers

Definitely out of the ordinary yet stunning in true orchid style.

We hope you all have a beautiful Friday. Please enjoy some nature and find time to make your weekend grand.

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! 🐾

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! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ March 5, 2021

Nature Friday

Happy Friday folks! 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.

Will you lookee here…despite last weeks snow dump, signs of spring are popping up all over. Yay…color me happy!

One of the nicer aspects of our long walks is that the dogs get to sniff around and explore. Elsa is my huntress Ninja and I can always tell when she’s tracking a bunny or squirrel who’s run through a yard. Her nose undulates as her head slowly moves back and forth taking in all those delicious smells. It’s good for her mind as well as her body that she can track critter scents. When she’s looking for a place to pee, she adopts the “Goldilocks…this one is just right” approach, turning in circles over and over and over again. On a cold blustery day it can be maddening and I’m often mumbling, “just pee for crying out loud already.” But it’s her process and somewhat ‘entertaining.’ Norman’s only prerequisite for peeing is ‘yup, looks just fine to me’ method. Corners and trees always receive extra attention, especially now that 95% of last week’s snow has melted and the ground is damp and apparently full of interesting smells.

We normally pass by a few gardens in the neighborhood every day where spring is definitely sprouting. Take for instance these tulips. What an inspiring sight to see tulips after the bitter cold and snow from recent days.

Flowers

Last weeks wild weather didn’t impact the reticulated irises that had begun to bloom or the crocuses either for that matter. They seemed to flourish after the moisture almost in defiance. Look at this bouquet of sunshine!

Flowers

I even noticed a tiny emerging bit of sedum mixed in with the irises.

Flowers

My own garden seems to be waking up too. Yesterday was a chilly day (after a gorgeous sunny and warm Wednesday) with a bit of drizzle but these emerging hyacinths still caught my eye with their bright green color against the brown mulch and leaves. Note to self, time to start cleaning up the flower beds of blown in leaves. Again.

Flowers

Considering the lack of sun exposure in my yard (it’s pretty shady from large trees), this was a most welcomed sight. I can expect there will be lots of victims candidates for Norman’s sniffing sessions in the near future. A word to the wise…lupines…you’ll need to grow strong and expect lots of ‘water’ in the future.

Any big plans to enjoy nature this weekend? Whatever you do, hope your time outdoors is well spent and you are able to catch some visible signs of spring bursting forth in your neck of the woods.

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 19, 2021

Nature FridayWelcome to Friday where bits of nature are shared from around the ‘Hood. It’s been a wild week weather-wise so let’s join our weekly hosts, Rosy, Sunny, Arty and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard to see exactly what’s happened this week. Don’t forget to click on their link to check out what Blogville shared.

Naturally the weather took front and center stage here and around the nation. Texas, known for doing things bigger, proved once again they know how to do B-I-G. Having family members living in both the Austin and Houston areas, I’ve been keeping my eyes peeled and the cell phone close by to stay in touch with family members. Despite one outdoor broken pipe, everyone is safe, dry and coping as best as they can. It’s time like these where one must take stock and be very, very grateful for the simple things in life that we all too often take for granted. Who knew heat, water and power would have such a major impact on ordinary life? As if COVID wasn’t enough.

Here in Colorado the deep freeze overspent its welcome too. It snowed about 4-5 inches Wednesday which actually ‘warmed’ things up into low double digits, practically a heat wave. Yesterday I walked a mile in steps alone shoveling snow from sidewalks as well as a suitable area in the dog run so the Ninja could pee without freezing her private parts. I was hoping the freshly shoveled space would incentivise both dogs to stay out of the wetter areas. Here’s what those efforts yielded.

Norman

Oh, Norman, you always make me smile. Normally when it has snowed, it’s quite the adventure to go out for a walk. Layers are key but even layers couldn’t combat the well-below zero temperatures so we weren’t able to walk outside beyond quick potty breaks for several days. It takes a while hitching up the entire crew to stay warm. Do you know how long it takes to put four pairs of snow boots on dogs and then dress myself for any kind of extended, warm walk?

Winter

Nature plans to be kinder but snow is expected to show up again later this weekend. Luckily the Polar Vortex isn’t expected to tag along and I hope everyone prays for the relief of those less fortunate who are still trying to get power, water, and heat restored.

We hope you have a weekend where you’ll be warm. We’ll be spending a lot of time contemplating a heartbreaking anniversary next week when Angel Sam unexpectedly departed the Ranch. Not a day goes by where I don’t think of him and cry at his loss. The Ranch hands have vowed to take good care of me and we urge everyone to take some time to reflect on the past week to find love and gratitude in their hearts. If you are able to help the disadvantaged, now would be a good time. Stay safe, warm and keep smiling my friends.

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! 🐾

 

Nature Friday ~ February 5, 2021

Well howdy there…welcome to the first Friday of February (say that fast ten times). Once again we’re joining our Nature Friday weekly hosts, Rosy, Sunny, Arty and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard. Don’t forget to click on their link to see what they and others around Blogville have discovered in nature this week.

Despite the Groundhog supposedly seeing his shadow earlier this week predicting six more weeks of winter, it’s been pretty mild in the Mile High, so much so that any lingering snow from the latest storm has now melted away. That means it’s back to the season of drab brown for the most part.

But there’s hope. I’ve begun to notice little sprouts poking through the soil here and there. While walking the Ranch hands a couple of days ago, I was rewarded by a small cluster of blooms. One of my favorite of the spring bulbs, crocuses are a member of the iris family and are native to woodlands, scrubs, and meadows from sea level to alpine tundra in North Africa and the Middle East, central and southern Europe (and in particular Krokos, Greece), as well as across Central Asia in western China. Typically thought of as a spring bloomer, crocuses (or croci if you prefer) bloom in spring, summer and autumn. Did you know the spice saffron comes from the stigmas of Crocus sativus, which is an autumn-blooming species?

Crocus come in a variety of colors but typically are found in shades of lilac, mauve, yellow, and white and may show a white central stripe along the leaf axis. Seeing them bloom in snow is not uncommon, especially here in Denver. I almost missed this cluster, my brain initially processing it as merely a small piece of paper blown near the base of a nearby shrub.

Flowers

They seem so delicate and yet, these little guys are quite hardy so I’m really glad I stopped to more closely examine this little spot of color instead of just breezing by without a closer look. Seeing this little beauty reminded me that spring can’t be too far away. In fact, I’m just guessing just about six weeks. Do you think that furry, overweight prognosticator is an accurate predictor of spring’s arrival or is it merely coincidental with the calendar’s announcement that spring officially arrives March 20th? Put me solidly in the calendar camp as being more accurate. I just don’t trust rodents to predict the arrival of seasons.

Any signs of spring in your ‘Hood yet? The Ranch hands and I hope you have a lovely Friday and an even better weekend. Don’t forget to stop and savor even the smallest spots in nature. You’ll no doubt be well rewarded.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ January 29, 2021

Can it truly be the last Friday of January (otherwise known as the 13th month of 2020)? Where did this month go?! As we usual, we’re joining our hosts, Rosy, Sunny, Arty and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard for this week’s edition of the Nature Friday blog hop. Don’t forget to “hop” over to their backyard by clicking on the link and checking out what great nature images folks from around Blogville shared.

A welcome snow shower visited us this week to cover anything that might be showing signs of life beyond the brown but we’re not complaining. Before the change in landscape, we noticed on our daily walks that shadows are long this time of year. How long you ask? Well that tree on the right side is approximately halfway into the park (a city block square) and stretches toward the two evergreens which line the outside boundary along the street.

Nature

The low winter sun makes for great shadows this time of year and captivates my eye on our walks. Norman & Elsa seemed interested in them too, though I suspect a certain fuzzy ‘hoodlum’ who scampered into that evergreen tree is what mostly  piqued their interest. I rather love that tree shadows dominate the landscape on sunny days and stretch across yards. Even Norman’s long legs look longer.

Nature

Have you ever noticed winter shadows when you’re out and about?

We hope you have a lovely Friday and a super weekend. We’re planning on being outside as much as possible before next week’s forecasted storm and cold temps. I don’t know about you, but almost 60ºF sounds like a pretty good forecast for today.

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

A Year In the Life of Norman ~ January 23, 2021

While I typically do not post on Saturday’s, I couldn’t let this particular Saturday pass without acknowledging an important anniversary. It was one year ago today that I drove to Colorado Springs to pick up a moose, er, I mean, my buddy “Stormin’ Norman” at a restaurant parking lot. I had been introduced to him a few days earlier at his foster dad’s home and admit I wasn’t quite sure just what I was getting. Oh sure, he seemed absolutely lovely and he was great around Elsa but I knew he would need some time to find his inner self after being uprooted from his long-time family and fur-sister and placed into the world of rescue where getting used to new people, new routines, etc. would be what would occupy him for the next several months. As I drove home from the initial meet and greet a few days earlier, I kept wondering what would an addition of this size be like around the Ranch? I couldn’t help but wonder how he would handle the 70 mile drive home, let alone integrate into a new pack with vastly different players and energy from what he was used to experiencing? I didn’t know if he’d balk at getting into my car and knew for certain I couldn’t lift this hunk but he easily climbed into my car and we never looked back. He was the perfect gentleman in the back seat and the perfect road companion, then and now.

Norman
Day One-the ride home

To say much has happened over the past year is a bit of an understatement. Norman and I have become use to one another’s quirks and idiosyncrasies, he’s been a model Big Brother to a less than hospitable at times Ninja sister, he survived a life threatening event (bloat), and became an intern therapy dog. Norman is one of the most affable, laid back dogs and his core personality has unfolded over the past year to reveal one of the sweetest dogs I’ve ever known.

Let’s take a look back at this lovable joker over the year.

Norman

Norman

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of the things that impressed me most is how this sweet boy will allow me to pose him in the silliest of hats, etc.

Jaws

To say he’s larger than life is a real understatement. Weighing in over 85 pounds, this boy is BIG…and v-e-r-y tall. Like all sheepdogs, he has a big, fat large head (the better to munch bones on apparently) and has managed to master being adorably photogenic like a puppy without even trying.

Norman

He has no problem being photographed as a unicorn (super patient with me laughing hysterically trying to capture the photo while not moving the camera) or as a slumbering sofa-surfer.

Norman

It was just ten minutes after he arrived at his new home that he was making himself comfortable on the sofa, despite being assured by his foster dad that “no, he never gets up on the furniture.”Norman

OES

This past year I’ve watched as Norman’s personality blossomed especially during the past few months when my son was staying with me. This mellow giant is just giddy expressing his love for people through significant butt wiggles with a one-sided smile (I’ve never managed to capture that smile in a photo as he’s constantly wiggling and my cell phone just can’t focus without blurring). He’s become a master at sniffing every tree and bush encountered on walks and I’ve learned the hard way that when he puts the brakes on or suddenly stops I’d better be prepared for significant recoil since he’s not easily moved. And I’ve also learned to hang on for dear life when he suddenly takes off after a squirrel and pray I stay upright.

Norman has brought such joy to my grieving heart after Sam’s unexpectedly crossing to the Rainbow Bridge just a month after Norman arrived. Sam must have thought he was leaving me in good paws  when he departed and he was right. Norman seems to know when my heart is particularly heavy and will quietly lay next to me with his head across my lap or legs. It feels like a big furry hug that comforts my aching soul.

Norman

And so on the anniversary of his first Gotcha Day, I wish this handsome pile of fur many happy returns. Turning eight looks pretty darn good on you, Dude. Here’s wishing you a ‘pawsome’ year of great adventures and fun. Love you, buddy!

Norman & Elsa

Live, love, bark! 🐾