Nature Friday ~ January 18, 2019

Welcome to today’s edition of Nature Friday where we join our fur-iends Rosy and heNature Fridayr brothers from LLB in Our Backyard. Click on the link to see more Nature Friday posts.

The weather been in the mid-50’s the past few days but winter is expected to do a quick drive-by sometime today. Yes, that is unusually warm for January, but particularly during the National Stock Show when the temps typically hover in the frigid zone. Our forecast calls for rain mixed with snow but since temperatures will be somewhere in the upper 30’s or low 40’s today, but I only expect a sprinkle or two, but not much in the way of snow accumulation. Monday, winter is expected return with a higher chance of snow so we have our fingers crossed. The dogs would love to run Iditarod style, in the white stuff. Me, I just hope to hang on while staying upright laughing at them when they go snow crazy.

Ok, enough with the weather reports. How ’bout some Nature? A trip to my parents house in Southern Colorado allowed me to see these precious little things. Living in an urban environment, birds like this are as rare as hens teeth so can you imagine how thrilling that was. Generally seen on the Western Slope of the Rockies, these  little guys flit to and fro in the pine and pinion trees looking for insects.

The Centennial State I learned is home to three species of bluebirds; Western, Eastern and Mountain bluebirds. A bit bigger than a sparrow, these guys can be found in fields, open woodlands, and in some suburban locations near open areas such as golf courses. Mountain bluebirds (which I have encountered when my daughter lived in the foothills west of town), are found at higher elevations in open meadows.

I could have watched these little guys all afternoon if they’d have let me. They seemed cautious, even a bit shy while I photographed them from inside the house but then again I know I’m not thrilled when someone watches me eat either. They reminded this city girl, there’s a whole ‘nuther world out there that I’m missing.

We hope you get the opportunity to see some unique elements of Mother Nature this weekend and make it a great one.

Bluebirds Bluebirds

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ January 11, 2019

Nature Friday

Kudos for surviving the week and if you’re like us, you’re excitedly waiting for the weekend to begin. Welcome to today’s edition of Nature Friday where we join our fur-iends Rosy and her brothers from LLB in Our Backyard.

While the temperature outside is the warmest it will be all day at a balmy 34F with a beautiful wet snow falling here, we thought we’d share a photo of a real snow storm from a few years ago. These kinds of storms are only in my dreams these days and can only hope we ever receive that much again.

Snow storm

However you spend your weekend, we hope you enjoy it.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ January 4, 2019

Nature Friday
Welcome to the first Friday of 2019 where we enthusiastically join our fur-iends Rosy and her brothers from LLB in Our Backyard for this week’s edition of the Nature Friday blog hop.  Don’t forget to check out other blogs when you click on the link. Not yet ingrained in my brain, I’m still having trouble typing 2019 but figure it will become second nature soon. Fingers crossed. Speaking of nature…Mother Nature went on a bit of a tear earlier this week. Last year ended with a small snow storm blowing through the 303 and New Year temperatures started out literally in the freezer with emphasis on the blowing part. Low double digits dropped like a rock into single figures with the windchill. One early morning it was below zero. Hard to even recall today as the temps have been warming since Wednesday and should be around 60 F this afternoon with mid-50’s forecast for the next several days. Crazy Mother Nature…at her best/worst again, depending on how you view it.

Here are a couple of images from Mother Nature’s first storm of 2019. The bird bath was photographed early in the morning and chills me just looking at it.

And while the sun is shining in the second image, you can see exactly what windswept looks like on a patch of ornamental grass.

So how do you plan to stay warm this weekend? Whatever you do, we hope the first weekend of a fresh new year is ‘pawsome!’

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ December 28, 2018

Nature Friday
Welcome to the last Friday of 2018. I have mixed feelings about this year but am always happy to join our fur-iends Rosy and her brothers from LLB in Our Backyard for this last Nature Friday blog hop of the year.

On a day where our temps will struggle to reach the 20’s, I thought we should go back to Mexico and warm up a bit.

Turtles are ubiquitous in Mexico and these little guys know how to enjoy the heat, sunning themselves on rocks but always close enough for a quick dip to cool off (or to escape from pesky tourists).

Turtles

While walking through the Old Town area on the way to a favorite gallery our family discovered, this noisy little guy was either greeting us or more likely, telling us in no uncertain terms to go away. The racket this little squirt made me nervous its owner might check to see if we were some sort of nefarious troublemakers. It never ceases to amaze me that the tiniest of dogs are the ones who raise the most cain, in the most aggressive way. I’m sure they have to wipe down the glass panels on the deck frequently as he gets frothed up with all passersby.

Tiny pups
Go. the. hell. away!

After scurrying past the 4-legged security alarm, I stumbled across this building that stood out against a cloud-dotted sky, a restaurant known as Café des Artistes.
Old Town

Check out this exquisite video I found on their website which is narrated by the founder and chef, Thierry Blouet.

Don’t know about you, but after seeing these images, I’m slightly warmer (and more determined to go back to this lovely place in nature!) and can now face the first of what will no doubt be frequent, but brief forays outside with the Knuckleheads. Stay warm this last Friday of the year and have a great weekend.

Live, love, bark!🐾

Nature Friday ~ December 21, 2018

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

Today is the first day of winter in the Northern Hemisphere and the shortest day of year. While the coldest part of this season is ahead of us, I try to focus on the pawsitive side; a few moments a day of more sunlight. Yay!

For today’s post it would have made sense to showcase a beautiful Christmas tree, but alas that little detail is unfortunately missing from the Ranch. In its place there is a pitiful Charlie Brown spindly thing, but it’s just too tacky looking to be shared. Instead however, here are a few photos from the Blossom of Lights taken at Denver’s Botanical Gardens. Trust me, they are far more awe-inspiring than the silly twig on the table.

DBG Blossom of Lights
Garden Amphitheater area where concerts are held on the grassy slopes during the summer months
DBG Blossom of Lights
Monet Pool, home to the garden’s waterlilies
DBG Blossom of Lights
A pool near the Romantic Gardens

Happy First Day of Winter and enjoy the last weekend before the big howliday arrives.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

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! 🐾