Nature Friday ~ July 15, 2022

Sunrise
Clouds from yesterday’s sunrise

Good Friday morning peeps. As usual, we’re joining Rosy, Sunny and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard for this week’s Nature Friday blog hop. Don’t forget to check out other posts by clicking on the link to see what others have shared.

This week has been dominated by one word. HOT, just miserably hot. And it’s hot everywhere, not just here. Europe is suffering as much as much of the central US with heat advisories being issued for Great Britain and Wales. Today’s forecast for Madrid, Spain is sunny with a high of 105ºF-ugh (around 41ºC).

So for this week, let’s stroll on over to Sloan’s Lake where perhaps we can use the water to at least refresh our parched souls. Sloan’s Lake has been in the news this past year.  Officials had to close all access to the water for a large blue-green algae bloom discovered last year. The potentially deadly condition made it unsafe for any paddle boarding, boating, or any other water sport that the lake allows including fishing and dog owners were cautioned to keep their pets away from the water as well. Added to the blue-green algae closure/news, last month wildlife officials caught a Caiman who had been surreptitiously released in the city’s largest lake. A freaking Caiman! Now dubbed “Miss Bo Mangles,” the small reptile has joined other rescued reptiles at Oscar and Friends, who graciously assisted wildlife officials in the capture. Kudos to Oscar and Friends for saving this creature as she likely would not have survived for long in the lake especially once temperatures drop. [Please tell me they will eventually drop]

Even otherwise fierce Canadian Geese have been trying their best to stay cool in Denver’s sweltering temperatures. I caught a number of them lounging in the shade near the water’s edge.

Geese

When not resting in the shade, some of them decided to train with locals in preparation for the Dragon Boat Festival which will be held next weekend after cancellations over the past couple of years, first for COVID and then again last year after the lake was closed with the blue-green algae contamination.

After a quick sprint with the Dragon Boat team, they exited the lake, single file…one by one.
Geese

The temperatures were so miserable, I could empathize with this mallard who seemed to keep diving in the water to stay cool though I expect he was probably noshing on whatever mallards eat. Ducks and geese

While I’d love to watch the Dragon Boat races next weekend, it will be totally dependant on the weather. Twenty minutes at Sloan’s in the middle of the day was far too much for me and after bidding the one team crazy brave enough to train in the sunny, hot conditions, I bid them a fond farewell. I left the park for the air conditioned comfort of my living room for the rest of the day.

Dragon Boat Race

Still it was great visiting the lake, even for a short period of time. If you like sunny conditions, heat and low humidity the day was tailor made just for you.

Have you got any special plans for this weekend? Whatever you do, we hope you stay safe, well-hydrated and are able to enjoy the wondrous sights Mother Nature provides us when we take a moment to check her out.

The latest countdown update is there are ‘just’ 69 days until autumn officially arrives.

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Wordy Wednesday ~ Dog Days of Summer

Stars

It may be “Wordless Wednesday” around Blogville, but here at the Ranch where we tend to do things against the grain, we’re pitching a “Did You Know” post that’s anything but wordless. What are we yammering about today?  We’re talking about the Dog Days of Summer.

What are the Dog Days of Summer? In the Northern Hemisphere, the Dog Days of Summer coincide with the rising of the Dog Star, Sirius, at the same time as hot and sultry weather does this time of year. So let’s take a look at some of the historical background surrounding this annual phenomena.

Traditionally the term “Dog Days” refers to the period of particularly hot and humid weather occurring during the summer months of July and August in the Northern  Hemisphere from July 3 through August 11.

In ancient Greece and Roman times, the Dog Days were thought be a time of drought, bad luck, and unrest, when dogs and men alike would be driven mad by the extreme heat. Today however, we recognize it as the time of the year when temperatures and humidity peak.

So why are they called the “Dog Days” of Summer? This period of sweltering weather coincides with the rising of Sirius, the Dog Star. You may recall that the constellation Canis Majoris—known as the “Greater Dog” (aka Alpha Canis Majoris) and that apart from our Sun, Sirius is the brightest star in the sky.

Ancient Greeks, Egyptians, and Romans believed the early morning rising of Sirius in mid-to-late summer actually contributed to the extreme weather of the season. In other words, the “combined heat” of super-bright Sirius with the sun was thought to be the cause of sweltering summertime temperatures. Did you know the name “Sirius” comes from the Ancient Greek-seírios, and means “scorching?”

Ancient Egyptians believed the star was a “watchdog” for the coinciding fact of the Nile’s flooding season.

We now know Sirius’ appearance does not actually affect  weather during this time period, but its appearance during the hottest part of summer ensures that the lore surrounding this star continues to live on.

According to the Farmer’s Almanac, “old-timers believed that rainfall on the Dog Days was a bad omen, as foretold in this verse:”

Dog Days bright and clear
Indicate a happy year;
But when accompanied by rain,
For better times, our hopes are vain.

The organization made this further comment in the early 1800’s:

“Dog Days are approaching; you must, therefore, make both hay and haste while the Sun shines, for when old Sirius takes command of the weather, he is such an unsteady, crazy dog, there is no dependence upon him.”

Both Elsa and Norman take great exception to the “unsteady, crazy” reference.

Whether you believe in ancient folklore or follow science, no one can deny this is definitely the hottest part of the year in the Northern Hemisphere.

An interesting 2009 Finnish study tested the hypothesis that rates of infections are higher during the Dog Days. The authors concluded, “This study was conducted in order to challenge the myth that the rate of infections is higher during the dog days. To our surprise, the myth was found to be true.” Go figure, Norman and I thought pet therapy helped peeps feel better.

Canis Major

Speaking of Norman, he knows exactly how to cope with the Dog Days of Summer and advises everyone to stay well hydrated. As you look up in the early morning skies at Sirius, just remember there are ‘only’ 71 days until the official arrival of autumn.

Norman
I think I’m melting

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ July 8, 2022

Ranch HandsWelcome to another Nature Friday post where I, Elsa, the world class and award winning Ninja correspondent will share the latest from our urban nature-scape. As always, we’re joining our pals, Rosy, Sunny and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard for their weekly Nature Friday blog hop. Make sure to click on their link to see other posts from Blogville.

Mom insisted ‘suggested’ I share reporting duties with the big guy this week. Personally, I think he whined to Mom about not getting enough attention after the publication of the latest edition of Colorado Canine magazine where he was sorta a star. The Dude thinks he’s some sort of super model and wants even more attention, so I guess I’ll throw him a bone just to get him to shut up. Anyway, I can always use a slave intern to expand my media empire.

Norman: Bone? Intern? Did I miss something? You know perfectly well that Mum doesn’t like us collecting bones on our constitutionals. And furthermore, I. Am. Not. An. Intern. I am the refined, archetypical Old English Sheepdog. Read…dignified and, after my two-page spread in the heretofore mentioned  magazine, am rather famous these days. And I’m patiently awaiting the official unveiling in an upcoming post. Hint, hint, Mum.

Elsa: Forget the magazine spread, fur-ball. We’ve got this Nature Friday gig-besides, no one cares about your magazine spread. Hmm…[thinking out loud]…this gives me a great idea about how to distract get rid of His Fur-ness through food.

Norman: I beg your pardon…contrary to popular belief I probably notice more around the neighborhood than you do, truth be told. As I recall, you were the one who totally missed seeing a bunny on two of our most recent walks, little sister.

Elsa: Wait…there was a bunny I missed? Egad!

Norman: Umm, can we just get started with this week’s offerings? If memory serves me correctly, I think you wanted to share all things pink this week.

Elsa: Yeah, yeah, hold on to your fur, Bucko. Sheesh, can’t believe I missed an opportunity to drag Mom see a bunny. Ok, let’s get this show on the road. I don’t need to spend more time with you than is absolutely necessary. I’m still cheesed I have to share my award winning column with you.

Norman: Wait…there’s cheese involved? No one told me about all these snacks for co-hosting with you.

Elsa: Oh for love of all that’s holy. Let’s move on, okay?

Norman: Right-o. I’m rather fond of this pretty pink lily. Just look at this beauty against that beautiful sky.

Flowers

Elsa: Yeah, yeah, pretty in pink lily. But check out this tricolor European Birch from the neighbor’s house. I mean pink freakin’ leaves…on a tree!

Tree

Norman: Well done, Ninja. It is one of the more unusual trees in the neighborhood.

Elsa: Of course it is, fool. Do I know how to pick out unusual offerings or what? They don’t call me award winning for nothing.

Norman: As I recall, no one has said you were award winning. It’s just something you came up with so you could develop a ‘brand’ as I recall.

Elsa: You say po-ta-to, I say po-tah-to.

Norman: Moving along…nothing says summer quite like these old-fashioned roses. And with their delicate scent, they are the perfect rose to share for our hostess, Miss Rosy.

Flowers

Elsa: I’m sure she thinks you’re just trying to put the ‘Rico Suave’ moves on her and is not the slightest bit impressed.

Norman: Be that as it may, I’m quite chuffed by seeing them on our walks.

Elsa: You would. You’re so easily entertained. Look at these two kinds of Echinacea I found. One is the traditional variety being sullied by those nasty Japanese Beetles that are beginning to overrun gardens throughout the Mile High City. The other one is a double. Isn’t it something?

Flowers

Flowers

Norman: Well…Bob’s your uncle on both those choices, sister!

Elsa: Wha…oh good grief. Stop speaking the Queen’s English you fool and just stick to being my intern…which means shouldn’t you be rustling up some tasty treats about now?

Norman: I thought I made it perfectly clear, I am not your fetch boy. Staying on point however, I did find a couple of pink blooms that our readers might enjoy. First is a pale pink Hollyhock, and the second is the gloriously shocking Poppy Mallow. I know for a fact that mum loves those cerise blooms.

Flowers

Flowers
Poppy mallow after a quick shower

Elsa: Ok, I’ll give you that those are distinctive but then so was the ‘doorman’ that scared the bejesus out of Mom when we came home from our morning walk. I’m not sure who jumped the highest, you, me or Mom. I do know she screamed like a little pig though.

Critters

Norman:  Blimey…that was the most unwelcome and disgusting early morning pest. I didn’t even try to eat it.

Elsa: Yeah, not my kind of protein either. I was kind of surprised that Mom didn’t drop the leashes and go running away like a crazy person. But it managed to freak us all out, didn’t it?

Norman: {shudder} I can’t…just can’t, say any more about that hideous creature.

Elsa: Well, come to think of it, I think we’ve actually heard enough from you anyway. Well, that’s it for another week. The heat dome is settling on top of us for the next few days. I have noticed that you tend to hang out near the AC vent or spread out in front of a fan in Mom’s studio. Actually dude…I don’t blame you one bit but just hope you’ll move over a tad so I can catch some of the breeze as well. Those triple digits are gonna suck.

Norman

Elsa: This is Elsa the Ninja reporting from the Ranch. Please join us again next time for another look around the urban landscape and see what Nature dishes up. Maybe next time I won’t have my style cramped by a certain brother.

Norman: I heard that. Please have a safe weekend and drink lots of water. And, if you are able to get out there to see if Nature has any less extreme offerings, have a lovely weekend. For the record, I’ll just be ‘faffing around’ myself.

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Wish I Was There Wednesday ~ July 6, 2022

Altes Haus circa 1368, Bacharach, Germany

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Happy July 4th ~ 2022

July 4th

Two hundred and forty-six years ago, a scrappy bunch of folks in the New World  stomped their feet and declared independence from their British rulers and they’ve managed to remain scrappy ever since. Sadly, not all of that ‘scrapiness’ has been attractive or positive. These days we tend to delude ourselves that we managed that ‘more perfect union’ that was originally sought. Still all us Ranch hands continue to pray that we can actually achieve it for everyone.

As the U.S. celebrates its country’s independence with the culmination of a long weekend, the Ranch hands and I wish our U.S. based readers a safe and happy Fourth of July. To everyone, we hope you have a great Monday and even better week. With temps hovering in the pizza oven range all week long, we hope you manage to stay cool with a minimum of cowering in the bathroom today.

July 4th

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ July 1, 2022

July 4Welcome to the first Friday of July…my goodness…how is it possible 2022 is halfway over? One minute we were taking down holiday decorations and now we’re hoping to safely get through another holiday-July 4th. {Head shaking} Hi, it’s Elsa, your intrepid award-winning correspondent ready to share a fresh batch of nature scenes from our recent walkabouts. As always we’re joining our pals, Rosy, Sunny and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard for their weekly Nature Friday blog hop. Be sure to click on the link to see other posts including scenes of nature from around Blogville.

Rainbow

You may have heard there was a bit of a ‘celestial happening’ recently with mom’s favorite team winning the most prestigious sports award, the Stanley Cup. It’s been a week of celebration culminating with a ‘few’ people gathering for a parade and rally yesterday. The local paper estimated some 500,000 people attended and while there was LOTS and I do mean LOTS of alcohol, everyone was well behaved and enjoyed the team’s first Cup win in 21 years. The skies were moody, but not even thunder, lightning, or a little rain shower, could not dampen spirits of the Colorado Avalanche faithful.

Hockey
Stanley Cup rally, Civic Center Park

Anyway, let’s get to checking out some nature scenes of another type from around the Ranch, shall we? Mom found some rather unusual blooms on our daily walks. Take this Mediterranean Sea Holly (Eryngium bourgatii) plant. It likes sunny and dry well-drained soil. The flowers feel like balsa wood and it’s drought and rabbit resistant. Sure hope she doesn’t plant any in my yard since I’m all about wanting to attract bunnies. Besides, anything to keep the stupid squirrels away is fine with me. Isn’t that blue color unusual?

Flowers

We also discovered some unusual Calla lilies. A striking hot pink one and a black one. I was ready to keep on walking but Mom had to examine them for several minutes. “Come on, Mom…” Ugh, parents!

Flowers

Flowers

One of mom’s friends has this Clematis next to her front door and she took this pic because it was so gorgeous. I can tell you her Clematis is not at all this pretty-I keep telling her to stop being so stingy with the H2O but she mumbles something about when I start paying the water bill, so I put my paws in my ears. Funny how that gets her to pipe down. But what a welcoming sight for her friend’s visitors.

Flowers

Here’s another lily we pass by every day. Norman and I are mostly unphased by it but probably because we’re too busy hoping to see ‘Fred,’ the Akita who lives there. Fred always likes it when we walk by because it allows me to bark like as maniac at him. I like to think it’s little our joint effort to get mom to cough up treats in her pockets to calm us down. She’s so gullible but it seems to work every time.

Flowers

We usually don’t see red lilies like that so it’s nice to see such bright color. This lily marks the halfway mark on our walk, which seems to appease Norman. I could go a lot farther than that lummox but whatever cranks your handle, right? Mom says after a hot week and Norman’s visits to the hospital he deserves a relaxed, easy going walk. I’ll get even with him, I’ve already hidden all his favorite toys in the studio and plan to block the doorway so he won’t try to come in and play with them. I’m like that, yeah I am. {snicker}

The sunflowers are starting to bloom now and they’re fun to see all the different kinds and colors. Sunflowers are a natural squirrel attractor so naturally, I’m all over them. Doggone varmints-they can’t just be content with stealing my strawberries, they have to harvest the sunflower seeds as well. Let me tell you, I’m keeping my eyes open for them. Nobody steals my strawberries without me having something to say about it even if the sunflowers looks like a bullseye.

Flowers

I guess I’d be a poor correspondent if I didn’t mention the July 4th holiday weekend.  We’re not fans of fireworks so we’ll just be holed up away from the noisemakers. Please be considerate of us pets who are afraid of fireworks, as well as some peeps who are equally traumatized.

Until next time when I share moments of nature with brother Norman, stay safe and as cool as possible in this dog-awful heat but make sure you get out and experience some of nature’s beauty early in the day. Only 82 days until autumn arrives. {wink, wink}

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Monday Musings ~ June 27, 2022

Since we will be visiting patients and staff this week beginning tomorrow, I thought today’s smile seemed especially appropriate. Have a terrific Monday. Here’s hoping your meds have 4 legs and a wiggly tail.

Smile

I couldn’t let today go by without congratulating the Colorado Avalanche on their Stanley Cup win last night. Well done, boys. Special congrats to Cale Makar (#8) on winning the Conn Smythe MVP trophy to go with his other hardware: the 2022 Norris trophy (best defenseman in the league) as well as winning the Calder Memorial trophy in his rookie year (2019-2020). Pretty impressive for a 23 year old.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ June 24, 2022

Welcome to this week’s edition of Nature Friday. Award-winning international correspondent, Elsa here joining our fur-pals, Rosy, Sunny and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard with their weekly Nature Friday blog hop. Don’t forget to click on their link to see other posts about nature from around Blogville.

Norman: Ahem…when did you become an award-winning international correspondent? May I remind you that you were born in Northern Colorado?

Elsa: Geography is subjective, brother…besides I needed to beef up my ‘brand’ by creating a compelling presence for these Friday posts.

Norman: Does Mum know what you’re doing?

Elsa: You better not rat me out, hairball or I’ll make your life miserable.

Norman: Trust me, I won’t be the one to tell Mum her blog has been taken over by a fraud someone who’s ‘creating a brand.’

Elsa:  Whatever. Didn’t anyone ever tell you it’s better to ask for forgiveness than permission? Besides, you’re ruining my byline with all this chatter. Let’s get on to showing off this week’s images my pawsome reporting skills.

Norman: Go right ahead but don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Elsa: Thank goodness, maybe now that dolt will let me get on with doing my job. Sheesh…so this week…let’s take a look at some images mom took recently when she went up to the foothills in Morrison, Colorado to meet with family and friends. They met up at a place called The Fort.

What is The Fort, you ask? It’s a full scale adobe replica of the 19th century fur trading fort, Bent’s Fort. Created by Sam’l P. Arnold and his wife, “Bay” (Elizabeth), local amateur historians who wanted to create an authentic adobe home for their children to grow up in the country outside Denver. Purchasing the Morrison property in 1961, they began building the adobe structure consisting of 80,000 adobe blocks for the main building. When construction costs exceeded the budget, Sam’l and Bay had their builders redesign the lower level into a business location while the upper level served as the family’s living quarters. The furniture, gates, doors and chairs were hand carved by Taos artists in the same style as they were in 1833; their restaurant opened for business in February 1963. Today’s menu is inspired by the same recipes that pioneers ate along the Santa Fe Trail of the 1800’s. While the food is terrific,  the scenery is what we’re going to showcase today.

Foothills

As you prepare to enter The Fort, one of the first things you’ll notice are the surrounding rolling hills and scenic vistas. Then you’re greeted  by quite a sight. Yikes, is that a SNAKE? Mom, what are you doing hanging out with snakes?

The Fort

Mom: Well, Miss award-winning, international correspondent, isn’t that part of your job of due diligence/research for this story?

Elsa: Heh, heh…ummm, I’m going with that’s some fancy kind of kinky artwork on the surrounding red rocks. We’ll leave it at that. Moving right along…

Door handles
Doorway to The Fort’s restaurant

Let’s continue, shall we? The courtyard boasts signage about The Fort’s history.

Sign

After reading the sign, you are blown away by the adobe construction and full sized teepee inside in the courtyard.

Courtyard

Teepee

The bear carving is a replica of the adopted Canadian black bear cub the Arnold’s daughter played with as a child. ‘Sissy the Bear’ lived with the family for 19 years.

The Fort

The Fort is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Fort

An outdoor patio has a few water features that add to the ambience of the area.Water feature

As you prepare to order a meal, you can look out toward Denver and imagine what Native Americans and pioneers alike encountered with the landscape while enjoying a lovely evening.

The Fort

Well, that’s it for this week. Join us again next time when we look at all the remarkable sights Nature is kind enough to provide us. We hope you are able to enjoy Nature the weekend. Stay cool if at all possible, and drink lots of water, okay. This is Elsa, award-winning international correspondent signing out  but before I go, don’t forget it’s “Take Your Dog to Work” today. I hope this means I’ll get lots of treats in the studio. You did bring home a buffalo bone or two, right mom? Have a great weekend, everyone.

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾