Wordless Wednesday ~ August 25, 2021

Sunset
Sunset, Oregon coastline

Live, love, bark!🐾

Monday Musings ~ August 23, 2021

Smiles

Here’s wishing you nothing but excellent walks and sniffs this week.

Live, love, bark!🐾

Nature Friday ~ August 20, 2021

Nature FridayWelcome to this week’s edition of Nature Friday where we join our pals, Rosy, Sunny, Arty and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard. Remember to click on the link to see what others have shared.

Summer continues to march ahead toward autumn and some days we find ourselves at the corner of ‘yay’ and ‘nay.’ Yay because there’s so much beauty out there and nay because it’s exhausting keeping up with closed highways, air quality warnings from smoke, while keeping up with the war against weeds, hot temperatures and bugs. Doggone grasshoppers are constantly startling all of us.

For the past hundred years or more, most people lived in densely-populated cities with roads usually laid out in logical, organized grids often named after trees, landscapes or a combination thereof (in Denver they are often alphabetized making it easier to navigate). As folks began to move to outlying suburbs, it became common for those bedroom communities to name streets after trees, plants, or landmarks. As often happens with urban development, developers are typically responsible for naming streets in the neighborhoods they build. Street names are based on certain desirable traits developers want associated with the neighborhood. Their suggestion is submitted to the city for review with different municipal departments (police, fire, etc.) reviewing the name. Street names are supposed to be easily identifiable and unique in the case of an emergency. Did you know there is even a word for the name given to a street: odonym. Odonyms aren’t only functional; they are interesting markers that identify the culture or geography of an area reflecting local landmarks, communities, and regional traditions.

Highlands Ranch (a southern Denver suburb) is well known for streets having the same base name, with the addition of “Street, Avenue, Place, Circle, Drive,” etc. tacked on at the end confuse people to differentiate it. It’s maddening if you’re not familiar with the area and are trying to say…deliver pizza. Hmm, was it 100 Ashwood Street, Lane or Place? More than one GPS app has driven people to the brink before getting them eventually to their destination.

I’d never seen that same phenomena in Denver…that is until recently when I was out walking along a different street in the former Elitch Gardens neighborhood to see if there were any notable flowers along a different route. While I know the area fairly well, I was completely blown away when I reached the corner of 36th and hell in Northwest Denver.  Notice the sign names. Gah!! Say it ain’t so.

Signs

Do you think spiders ever get confused trying to get back home after a long day working in the web?

Nature

Sigh. Well enough of the soapbox rant on street naming conventions. Let’s check out what we saw along that street.

Flowers

Nothing says summer like a border of Echinacea. They soothe the soul with their happy presence and provide pollinators with a nice smorgasbord of nourishment.

Speaking of nourishment, back at my garden I’m counting down the seconds until these babies are fully ripened. I’ve never planted Roma tomatoes before as I watch them set flowers ever so slowly, then begin the long morph toward juicy ripeness. That delicious scent of fresh, garden tomatoes automatically tantilizes the taste buds into blissful salivation.

Tomatoes

Tomato

We hope your own garden is providing interesting sights and smells while inspiring you to get out to check out the landscape in your area. Just make sure you know street, avenue, or place you’re on. Have a great weekend enjoying Nature.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Wordless Wednesday ~ August 18, 2021

Flowers

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Monday Musings ~ August 16, 2021

Here’s hoping there isn’t too much on your to-do list. Happy Monday.

Smiles

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ August 13, 2021

Cross your fingers and throw some salt over your shoulder — it’s Friday the 13th! We won’t be doing any battles with a machete-wielding maniac in a hockey mask today but instead let’s throw caution to the wind on this most superstitious of days and join our pals Rosy, Sunny, Arty and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard on their weekly blog hop by sharing some pawsome photos from Nature’s banquet table.

Despite the Friday the 13th cultural superstition in Western culture of Friday the 13th, no black cats or broken mirrors can dominate this week’s beauty even if believers can’t quite explain why we have this fear. Oddly enough I learned there is actually a term used to describe the irrational dread of today’s date as “paraskevidekatriaphobia” (Say that fast 10 times!) which is a specialized form of “triskaidekaphobia,” the fear of the number 13.

Enough of the superstitious hocus-pocus, let’s see what  Mother Nature dished out with us on our daily jaunts this week. While we haven’t had any rain for the past 10+ days, an early morning supplemental watering showed water droplets on a blooming lily. Water drops on blooms or foliage always draws my eye and captivate my attention. That old saying “Water is Life” is more true than ever in our arid climate.

Flowers

On a recent rare morning where the sky was actually blue rather than smoky grey, we found some Origanum Libanoticum flowers (commonly known as Lebanese oregano or hopflower oregano) near the merry-go-round carousel in the old Elitch Gardens neighborhood.  I can’t remember the last time I saw blue skies like this. The smoke continues to foul the air in the Mile High City most of the time and we continue to pray for all those affected by the wildfires in the West.Merry-go-roundDon’t you just love those cascading bracts?

Flowers

Phlox continue to bloom their sweet little heads off and fill the air with something other than a smoke infused scent. I had to stop and get close to smelling these when normally I could smell them nearly half a block away.

Flowers

We pass by a border flower bed filled with Rudbeckia every morning that just compels me to stop and stare. Such a beautiful shock of color.

Flowers

Last but not least, my feeble attempt at imitating Georgia O’Keeffe with this gorgeous Rose of Sharon bush that just started blooming. The centers are incredibly vivid while the blooms themselves are a creamy shade of pale pink

Flowers

Well that’s all for this week. May your Friday the 13th be a safe one but you are able to get outdoors to revel in the beauty Mother Nature shares with us all when we take the time to look. Stay safe, avoid walking under ladders but make sure to enjoy the weekend.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Monday Musings ~ August 9, 2021

Let’s hope all your ‘pee-vites’ receive a proper RSVP this week. Happy Monday.

Monday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ August 6, 2021

Whoa…is it really August already? Egad, this year seems to be flying by after last year’s slow roll. Hard to believe there are only 47 days until the official arrival of autumn. And rumor has it that the pumpkin spice season is set to arrive in the near future, maybe even as soon as three weeks. With temperatures back up in the 90’s, I’m not sure I’m ready for that kind of social phenomena where things begin quickly evolving to the later seasons of the year when pumpkin spice everything shows up now and Christmas decorations not all that far behind. Last year I think Costco had decorated trees up before September 15. Ugh.

Nature FridayAs usual, we’re joining those adorable fur-kids, Rosy, Sunny, Arty and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard. And don’t forget to check out what others have shared by clicking on the highlighted link. Today Norman is going to share this week’s nature finds.

Norman: Thanks, mum! Yes indeed mates, flowering shrubs are  taking center stage in the Mile High. On one morning walk this week, we passed by a border of beautiful hydrangeas. I wanted to stop and read the canine bulletin board, but mum quickly ushered me along, well out of ‘reading’ range. I can’t believe she won’t let me leave my two paws worth of life observations at those bushes. Trust me, it’s not for lack of trying either to leave messages for other neighborhood chaps (she gets a real upper body workout when I put on the brakes). I mean, how can a well informed doggo stay in the know when they can’t read/leave messages? Mums can be so rude sometimes! It’s not like I’m some kind of paw dragging barbarian. Sheesh.

Flowers

If bees can leave messages, why can’t I?

Another showy bush around our manor is the beautiful Rose of Sharon or common hibiscus. It can grow to a height of 9- to 12-feet (2.5 to 3.5 m.), is native to eastern Asia but well adapted to growing in most USDA plant hardiness zones. It often reaches a spread of 10 feet (3 m.) and makes for a lovely privacy border. It’s easy to grow and attracts birds, butterflies and other pollinators. Rose of Sharon bush prefers moist, well-draining soil, although it will tolerate most conditions except those that are soggy or extremely dry. They come in a variety of shades including white, pink, purple and red. This particular beauty lives at the Sloan’s Lake park. The lake area recently closed due to blue algae being found at the lake. Mum won’t let us anywhere near the water but this beauty is near the playground and restroom area. It’s not nearly as fun staying on the path around the lake as when we can roam close enough to the marshy reeds where we can check out all the cool critter scents.

Flowers

There are still flowers blooming around our neighborhood and mum was raving about these Zinnias being so pretty. She spent a few days earlier this week deadheading and removing most of the lupine in the garden saying she wanted to plant some zinnias in their place next year. They’ll provide color all season long which is lacking in our garden right now.

Flowers

We hope you’ve been enjoying some of Nature’s gifts and are able to get out over the weekend to spend some time checking it out. It can be good to leave a message for us neighborhood pooches when your mum says it’s ok. After all, we enjoy gossip just like you uprights do. Have a pawsome weekend doing whatever you do. Okay?

Norman

Live, love, bark! 🐾

In Purrsuit of Flavours ~ August 2021

Purrsuit of Flavours

 

Welcome to August’s In Purrsuit of Flavours. This month’s theme is tea, probably something near and dear to a British heart, right Norman?

Woof woof, mum!

As a general rule, I don’t normally drink tea but as someone who loves Indian food, I do very much enjoy a nice Chai tea with my meal or even with dessert. Chai also makes for a lovely substitute for coffee. Hot or iced, it can be a lovely change of pace beverage to begin one’s day.

So what is this beverage known as chai tea? Chai is the Hindi word for “tea,” which was derived from “cha,” the Chinese word for “tea”. Chai is a mix of spices steeped into a tea-like beverage. Recipes for chai vary across continents and cultures but traditional ingredients usually include black tea mixed with strong spices such as cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, ginger and black peppercorns. The spiced tea mixture is typically brewed strong with milk and sweetened with sugar or honey. That milky, sweet tea treat ordered in coffee and tea shops today has very little in common with the origins of Indian chai. Premade chai tea beverages are available everywhere and may be costly but you can make a DIY easy to make dry chai mix as an alternative.

DIY Instant Chai Latte Mix (Courtesy of Southern In Law Blog)

[Makes one large jar of mix, equal to around 25-30 servings]
2 cups (250g) dry milk powder
1 1/4 cup (250g) coconut sugar *
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg**
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • Add ingredients to blender or food processor (making sure it’s important so your milk powder doesn’t become moist and lumpy).
  • Blend all the ingredients until everything is fine and incorporated.
  • Store mix in an airtight jar or container.

* NOTE: 

Brown or white sugar can be substituted for the coconut sugar which is made from the nectar of coconut palm tree flowers whereas brown sugar comes from either cane sugar or sugar beets, just like white sugar.

How to Use the Mix:

  • To make a Chai Tea Latte: Brew black tea in a teapot or separate cup. Add 1-2 heaped tablespoons of mix to the bottom of your cup and pour the tea on top. Alternatively, add your dry mix to a saucepan, mix with a small amount of hot water to dissolve and add in milk and a tea bag, heating over a medium-low heat until heated through and your tea has steeped.
  • To make a Dirty Chai: Add 1-2 tbsp of mix to the bottom of your mug and pour over hot brewed coffee, stirring to combine. Your can also make an iced coffee version, blending the mix in a blender with your iced coffee ingredients or dissolving the mix in a small amount of boiling water before adding your iced coffee ingredients.

Additional Notes

  • Like all the recipes shared here, these ingredients are a guide. Play around with the proportions, adding more/less spices, milk powder, and sugar to suit your own taste buds.
  • Skim/nonfat or full fat milk powder can be used, according to your choice.
  • If you don’t have coconut sugar, you can use regular white or brown sugar. Stevia or other sweeteners can also be substituted for the sugar.
  • Paleo and Vegan Option: you can use coconut milk powder instead of milk powder here.

**The next time I whip up a batch, I will likely eliminate the nutmeg so avoid having tiny floating bits on the surface.

Recipes
Bon Appétit!

Norman

Live, love, bark!  🐾

Monday Musings ~ August 2, 2021

The Ranch hands reminded me that we might want to pay some attention to our feline friends every now and then so this one jumped out and made me chortle (though it could easily apply to pooches just as easily). We hope today is full of smiles…or at a minimum, some good liquid ‘stuff.’

Monday

Have a great Monday!

Live, love, bark! 🐾