Nature Friday ~ December 14, 2018

Welcome to Friday where we join our fur-iends Rosy and her brothers from LLB in Our Backyard for more Nature Friday.

So far Denver has not had any significant snowfall. While snow has fallen in places that are far less used to it, we remain dry as a bone with breezy conditions most days. It did snow the day I left for Mexico last month; I was afraid I-70 might be adversely impacted for the ride out to the airport. But I arrived with plenty of time and in 3 hours I was sipping a tasty margarita on the beach in Mexico basking in upper 80’s temperature while folks back home were shoveling 4-6 inches of the white stuff. Don’t get me wrong, I loved being on the beach but missed one of the very few storms we’ve had this year. The only other notable one was back in October when leaves were just beginning to fall. The bird bath proved to be a fine canvas for displaying a touch of autumn in the snow.

Autumn snow

The foreseeable forecast doesn’t offer any chance of snow but I’m hoping Denver enjoys some white stuff from a weather system soon from the outer edge of the Gulf Stream which normally would provide it in El Niño years like 2018-19. Till then we’ll try to get our butts in gear for Christmas preparations by making fudge today and hopefully sending out cards and starting some shopping. I know, it’s an ambitious plan, right? Then again, probably all that will be accomplished will be to store the bathroom scale until February 1st. I know my limitations.

Wishing you and yours a lovely weekend as you make your final push toward Santa Paws’ visit to all good dogs, cats, birds, bunnies and other pets. Happy weekend!

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ December 7, 2018

Welcome to Friday where we once again join our fur-iends Rosy and her brothers from LLB in Our Backyard for Nature Friday.

When I was in Mexico recently there were such amazing sights I came across, combining the beauty of nature and the artistic nature of man. One day in particular stuck out in my mind-a trip to Old Town. Located across from the iconic crowned Renaissance-style towered church, Our Lady of Guadalupe is a beautiful and colorful plaza where visitors can relax, people watch and listen for the church bells that are rung by the sextants every 30 and 15 minutes prior to each service. Filled with colorful banners mixing traditional Christian and Aztec motifs, there were loads of flowers and plants to provide a charming respite in a busy spot in the cobble stoned enter. Many of the plants I was familiar with, but only as house plants. Seeing them in a garden setting left me in awe.

Mexican Plaza

Our Lady of Guadalupe Church
Church as viewed from the plaza

Everywhere it seemed that Bougainvillea were in brilliant bloom throughout the landscape. In Mexico they are known as bugambilia but in my mind they are simply  spectacular. The thorny ornamental vines/bushes/trees with flower-like spring leaves near its flowers can grown up to 40 feet tall. The thorns are tipped with a black, waxy substance. In tropical areas, the popular ornamental plant remains evergreen where rainfall is plentiful all year-long, or deciduous if there is a dry season. In Colorado we only know them as potted plants that beautify our patios during the summer and brought indoors in winter as they are quite frost sensitive. They are frequently seen in natural settings in the southern states. Sometimes referred to as “paper flower,” the bracts are thin and papery. The actual flower is small and usually white; each cluster of three flowers is surrounded by three or six bracts of the bright colours typically associated with the plant. They can be pink, magenta, purple, red, orange, white, or yellow. Bougainvillea glabrais sometimes referred to as “paper flower” because the bracts are thin and papery. The fruit is a narrow five-lobed achene. The first European to describe these striking plants was Philibert Commerçon, a botanist who accompanied the French Navy admiral and explorer Louis Antoine de Bougainville during his circumnavigation voyage of earth and first published for him by Antoine Laurent de Jussieu in 1789. Introduced in Europe in the early 19th century, French and British nurseries did a thriving trade providing specimens to Australia and other faraway lands. There are over 300 varieties of Bougainvillea around the world and many hybrids.

Hope you have a terrific weekend and are able to enjoy your own special spot of nature.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ November 30, 2018

On this last day of November, let’s remember Nature Friday hosted by Rosy and her brothers with some photos from the recent Mexico trip. Today is a cool day in the Mile High so hopefully these images of nature will warm you up like they do me.

For some odd reason pirates are a big thing in PV. Seeing them in the Caribbean makes sense, but here on the Pacific, I just never did find a plausible explanation other than to entertain tourists willing to part with their pesos. The pirate ship in the marina at dusk tried compete with the evening’s sunset with a string of lights and no doubt, lots of libations. Umm, pass. I think I’d rather be mesmerized by Mother Nature’s  sunset, thank you very much.

Pirate Ship

During the daylight hours, it looked like this, making its way across the bay. Shiver me timbers!

Day Pirate Ship

This gorgeous fella decided to crash breakfast just as we were leaving. I literally nearly stepped on him and once I froze, he kept a keen eye out for any quick movement toward him, then hopped into a planter for whatever iguanas normally take-out for breakfast. He was a stunning specimen, nearly 2 feet long from the tip of his nose to the end of his tail. Iguana

Spending a couple of days in Old Town, I walked along cobbled streets marveling at the incredible arts scene. On those warm days, palm-lined streets provided much welcomed shade until you could catch the sea breeze to cool off.Old Town

Often during the day, I’d sit on the beach under the palapas people watching. Loads of assorted birds were always present.

Table 10 with Bird

When walking along the beach, I rarely went without some company. These white egrets generally hung out where the river flowed into the bay and were constantly scouring that vicinity for crustaceans.

PV Heron

A full-moon nightscape from the cell phone highlighted the ‘next door neighbors’ crib. They clearly live a tough existence in their ivory towers but man, what views. Moon Over Parador

So no matter where you go, nature beautifully shows itself off in subtle and no-so subtle ways if you just look. Here’s hoping you get out this weekend as you dash about making ready for the holidays and actually witness some of it. It’ll make the dashing part easier to handle. Happy weekend.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ November 23, 2018

We’re back to pawticipate in Rosy and the Boy’s Nature Friday and while my vacay was fabulous…it’s always good to come home. Even if there was a 60 degree difference in temperatures. While I love this time of year, I will confess to rather enjoying the balmy warm days on the beach. For those who didn’t  know where I spent the week, I was in sunny Puerto Vallarta ‘staying calm on the fun side of the Wall’ as some of the locals like to refer to it. Not only were the temperatures warm, the locals were too and graciously kind helping our family navigate a different culture and language of which we are not at all fluent. I was touched by their generosity of spirit and kindness.

But back to Nature Friday. Imagine waking up to a view like this every morning on your way to breakfast. What’s not to appreciate, especially given that I left in a snowstorm with temps hovering in the low 20’s? The clear blue skies and water and remarkably clean beaches with people enjoying fun activities in the sun…it was a soul cleansing week. And sunsets that made you ooh and aww with their incredible color.

We hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving; for our part, we were reflective in our gratitude…for health, happiness, love and fellowship with our family and fur-iends, both the 2 and 4-legged versions and naturally for you, dear reader. It’s days like yesterday where I am reminded just how blessed and fortunate I am. Have a great weekend, savor those left-overs and stay safe if you’re brave enough to actually go out shopping.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Flower Friday ~ November 2, 2018

Holy cow…is it really November? Where did October go? Hopefully you survived ‘Howloween.” The weather has done a couple of up’s and down’s temperature wise this week but yesterday was nice enough to visit the botanical gardens with a friend. It was nice to catch up and see some autumn beauty.

Naturally after a few hard frosts, seeing actual blooming flowers is becoming harder and harder. The good folks at Denver Botanical Gardens know how to protect plants so visitors can enjoy them. In addition to protecting, several workers were planting bulbs for spring magic and the Dead of the Dead exhibit was in full swing with a couple new offerings I had not seen before. I just love these faces!

Day of the Dead

Dead of the Dead Harvest

One of the best parts of autumn in Denver are its textures. This mum seemed aglow with beauty and texture. The light variegated ornamental cabbage is extra pretty in the golden light of autumn.

Autumn mum

Ornamental Cabbage

The morning sky morphed into moody clouds before the sun returned later. This statute looked particularly lovely with tawny colored ornamental grasses with a cloudy backdrop.

Statuary in the gardens

Don’t you just love these berries and colorful leaves? These berries will provide interest throughout winter and offer snacks for local birds.

Berries and Leaves

All in all, it was a great outing with a lovely friend. We enjoyed catching up and soaked up the beauty of the late autumn garden on a beautiful day.

Best wishes for a beautiful Friday and weekend.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Fall Festival Pet Parade

Over the weekend, Sam ‘pawticipated’ in the Lutheran Fall Festival hosted by the hospital for staff, volunteers and their families. Normally we have our own get-together but this year we decided to be a part of the hospital’s event being featured in a Pet Parade complete with ‘Howloween’ costumes.

It’s well-known that knuckleheads Standard Poodles were originally bred as waterfowl retrievers. It’s a known fact that Sam hates water. He will walk around puddles on sidewalks. Imagine my surprise when I could hardly keep him away from the ‘duck pond.’

Perhaps his DNA leans more toward ‘fishing’ than retrieving.

Sam had a good time seeing his favorite therapy friends and making new ones. One of his besties is a toy poodle, named Teddy. Teddy was a puppy mill survivor who lost an eye but has never lost his heart to make people happy whenever they see him…all six pounds of him.

Teddy

Not one to shirk his therapy duties whenever there’s a crowd, Sam got busy visiting with all the children attending. And of course, investigating all the sweet treat smells, which to Sam are just as nice as little girls.

Sam adores firemen. Always has. As soon as he spotted this guy, he couldn’t get over to him fast enough. ‘Course, seeing our newest therapy teammate Zoey there probably helped too. She’s such a cutie and is going to make a wagnificent addition to our ranks.

We love attending these kinds of events because of all the terrific people attending. Sam thought he’d try his paw at face painting because he loves little girls and is so creative. Not. But a kid’s lap is just too tempting to not try to investigate. They invariably will deliver a nice ear scratch. Maybe he’s not as dumb as I think he is??

No pet therapy event is complete without little Bindy. This tiny scene stealer with her hanging out tongue is always a therapy hit.

It was really good seeing our buddy, Oreo especially since he’s been under the weather lately with bladder stones. As you can see from his smiling face, he was glad to be back in the saddle. Oreo is also a therapy dog at Denver’s International Airport and brightens the day for DIA’s many travelers.

Two of the longest-serving pet therapists were also in attendance. Beau and Mandy compete in national dance competitions in addition to bringing smiles to patients. They dress up nicely, don’t they?

Coco, the Mountain Dog looked dashing in her pirate costume.

Coco, the Mountain Dog

It was a lovely day for a festival with a good turnout of some of the program’s favorite pooches and peeps. Even Sam tried his level best at ‘Bee-ing” good for his autumn ‘pawtrait’ taking.

Sam, "Being Good"

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Flower Friday

Woo-hoo, we made it to the end of the week! It’s Flower Friday again, hosted by our fur-iends over at LLB in our Backyard. Not much is left blooming these days but we did manage to see a spectacular specimen when we visited West Pines earlier this week. Pyracantha is a large, broadleaf evergreen shrub sometimes known as Firethorn because of its many thorns found on the branches and at the end of the leaf clusters. With narrow, deep green leaves in summer, they become tinged with burgundy in the winter.

Clusters of single, white flowers appear in late spring on the previous year’s wood but it is the pea-sized berries that make this plant exceptionally striking during this time of year. The berries last well into winter for beautiful garden interest. It thrives best in full sun but can tolerate some shade. Pyracantha is a waterwise plant that does well in Colorado’s dry climate. You won’t want to plant this baby any where near where baseball could be played as they tend to swallow up balls with absolutely no mercy, due to its extremely dense, thorny nature (note those thorns in the bottom right corner-um, no thank you to any playing near that hedge!).

Pyracantha makes for a nice backdrop though for a certain knucklehead posing while waiting to visit West Pines patients and staff. Never mind that frou frou collar. We were trying to be festive for patients but everyone thought he was sweet like candy-corn. #costumefail Hopefully we’ll find a better costume for Saturday’s Pet Parade for the therapy dogs. Sam’s not much for dressing up as you may have surmised from his pose, which seems to be channeling,  “Seriously mom, don’t take a photo with THIS stupid collar on-the other dogs will make fun of me” look.

Candy corn pooch

Wishing you a wagnificent weekend.

Flower Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Flower Friday ~ October 19, 2018

My goodness, what a difference a week makes in the garden. Early this week we experienced the first snowstorm at the Ranch. Nearly 4 inches of the fluffy white stuff fell which, in and of itself, did not kill everything in the garden. But the two nights of frost at the beginning of the week pretty much made many trees dropped their leaves let alone, had flowers pretty much gave up the ghost and say,  “I’m outa here.”

Lest you think the mountain high desert otherwise known as Denver is without any autumnal beauty, you’d be mistaken. Colorado is well-known for its bright golden Aspens but there are other plants with bright foliage color more associated with Eastern US landscapes. Native to Northeast Asia, Japan and central China, right now one such plant is taking center stage. Dwarf Burning Bush is often thought of as an invasive species, especially east of the Mississippi due to more than adequate rainfall which makes for easy seed dispersal and naturalization. With Colorado’s general lack of water, invasiveness isn’t much of an issue. Eastern US State Extensions bureaus however often suggest eradication. Widely available throughout the US and it is especially popular here in the Centennial State.

Dwarf Burning Bush (which isn’t all that dwarf actually) requires moderate water, full sun, and ample room to grow. Pruning is not necessary and flowers are mostly  inconspicuous to non-existent. They are most noted for their show-stopping flame red color in autumn.

We hope this week’s entry in Rosy and her brothers’ blog hop provides you with an appreciation for all things autumnal. Have a great weekend. We hope you have warm and sunny conditions like we plan to enjoy. After teens and low twenty’s early in the week, no doubt there will be some leisure strolling through crunchy leaves in near 70’s temperatures. Whatever you do, we hope your weekend is pawsome.

Flower Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Flower Friday ~ October 12, 2018

Autumn splendorAutumn has definitely arrived in the Mile High. Cooler temperatures and even a trace of snow seen here earlier this week have made things seem somewhat seasonal but there hasn’t been a whole lot of color change in leaves with a couple of exceptions from a few maples and ash trees. I suspect the summer drought and long stretches of extreme temperatures took their toll on the internal clocks of the trees in the neighborhood. One exception is the tree shown here, taken yesterday in downtown Denver. But this dearth of autumnal  color doesn’t mean things aren’t looking somewhat seasonal. The plumbago still has a few flowers but now the mahogany-hued leaves are beginning to show.

What else is blooming in the autumn garden? Oh course, there are the ubiquitous mums and asters but what I’m enjoying now are the ornamental cabbage making for some beautiful texture in the Sedum bed (which is also turning gloriously mahogany). Normally I prefer the cream variegated version of ornamental cabbage but alas, was too late at the greenhouse and only managed to grab the only two remaining offerings [Note to self, make autumn purchases sooner instead of later].

Today will be sunny with temps back in the 60’s so it’ll be a great day to leisurely stroll around the neighborhood taking in all Mother Nature has to offer in city gardens.

The weekend is upon us so I’ll leave you with something totally smile worthy from yesterday’s downtown excursion. While waiting to join a former colleague for lunch, I spied a street busker in full regalia playing tunes on his bagpipes along the 16th Street Mall in front of the Federal Reserve building. Just across the street blaring on patio speakers was a hip-hop tune at a brew pub. Can you say musical incongruent?

Nothing really surprises me anymore but I did find the alley scene below beyond the usual weirdness. It must have struck a chord with the rest of the lunch crowd along the mall because a queue had formed and you had to ‘wait your turn’ in order to get close enough to photograph. I almost miss working downtown for seeing odd and peculiar stuff like this. Almost.

Have a great Friday and an even better weekend. We’ve been asked to ‘pawticipate’ at a hospital event tomorrow to bring a little joy to ER nurses so I’m guessing smiles and fun will be in abundance.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Flower Friday ~ October 5, 2018

Today’s entry in the Flower Friday blog hop hosted by Rosy and the Boyz is this beauty. I think it’s some kind of wood rose. I walk past this church frequently and they have several of them in a flower bed next to the main building and then earlier this week I noticed my favorite neighbor has a few of them planted next to his side walkway. Talk about being an especially welcomed spot of color in the autumnal palette!5dHldRv5TeevPPdDSz8ujA-e1538692380567.jpg

Hope you have a wonderful weekend and can get out and enjoy all the beauty Mother Nature is serving up these days.

2018_flowerfriday

Live, love, bark! 🐾