Happy ‘Howleween’ ~ 2019

We survived Snowmageddon and its evil companion, Jack Frost this week and are looking forward to thawing out and getting back to our regular long walks. We await any souls brave enough to participate in the ritual of trick or treating but personally think they might want to think twice about it since it’ll still be pretty cold tonight. Then there’s this outdoor decoration we came upon along one of our walk-abouts before the snowstorm. I can’t decide if I want to get to know these neighbors or steer clear of them. The dogs absolutely refused to get anywhere near this outdoor decoration even though it was completely quiet (thankfully). Cool or creepy?

Halloween

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Monday Musings ~ October 28, 2019

Halloween
Which one is the dangerous one?

There are some scary things lurking around the neighborhood this Halloween week. But probably the scariest part of Halloween might be this.

Snow

The forecast calls for [more] snow today, tomorrow and perhaps even through Wednesday. And bitter cold temps. The Knuckleheads enjoyed an early morning romp but were very willing to come back inside. What do you think the odds are that demon dogs or witches will be out trick-or-treating Thursday?

Have a safe week.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ October 25, 2019

Whew…we made it to Friday and you know what that means…it’s time to celebrate the beauty Mother Nature provides. As usual, we’re joining our furiends, Rosy and her brothers from LLB in our Backyard on this last Friday of the month. My planned post went bye-bye with the arrival of our second snowstorm yesterday. It seems like autumn is engaged in a 15-round battle with winter.

After the first snow of the season a couple of weeks ago, I wasn’t sure if autumn would recover. But she proved she had what it takes to provide some Mile High beauty even if it was somewhat muted. Snow doesn’t always impact the changing colors here but the bitter cold definitely did. And yet it was as if Autumn rolled over, stretched and said “up yours, Winter” and proceeded to produce some beautifully colored leaves just for spite.

Autumn

While Colorado is more well known for its golden aspen leaves this time of year, a few other trees offer color more commonly associated with the East Coast. Elms, Lindens, Silver Maples, and Ash trees were hit hard by the freeze but a few other trees colored up nicely including the ornamental pears.

Autumn

Autumn

Even with the latest snowstorm, red and white showed up and provided quite a show.

Autumn

Autumn

The landscape had melted by mid-afternoon having received a nice quenching drink after several days of drying winds. Today and tomorrow will be back to lovely autumn temperatures with another storm expected to arrive Sunday. And right on cue, Mother Nature is set to disappoint timid would-be trick or treaters with cold temps and more snow next week. In any event, we’re not letting it hold us back. The Ninja and Knucklehead have made it their personal life’s mission to turn me into a human kite on our walks. Cool, crisp weather seems to be their fuel for sprinting with abandon.

Have a great weekend and enjoy whatever Mother Nature offers you. She always offers some kind of gift and life is definitely richer when you accept it.

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

West Pines Wednesday ~ October 23, 2019

As October quickly advances toward Halloween, we’re enjoying the gorgeous autumn weather. Today we’re headed for West Pines (if you’re not familiar with WP, you can read more about West Pines in the link). Sam really enjoys visiting with the folks at this facility located just south of the hospital. From the staff to the residents, he is extra calm, patient and sweet to those whose hurts are invisible.

Sam

The outdoor grounds make for a nice place to contemplate what burdens some folks carry in their hearts and minds. So today, we raise a paw to those brave patients trying to improve their lot and to the people who help them on their journey.

We’re halfway through the week. It that Friday I hear beckoning us?

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Monday Musings ~ October 21, 2019

How was your weekend? Did it go by as quickly as ours? Welcome to a whole new week where we try to start it out with a smile. Sometimes it’s real important to know when you’re the dog and when you’re the hydrant. Here’s hoping you make it the ‘week of the dog.’

Smiles

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ October 18, 2019

Looks like our BFF has arrived (can I get a collective ‘Amen’ here) which means it’s time to welcome the weekend celebrate the beauty Mother Nature. As always, we’re joining our friends, Rosy and her brothers over at LLB in our Backyard. Since Halloween is just around the corner, let’s feature one of the iconic symbols for this time of year, the beautiful orange pumpkin. Did you know the word pumpkin originally was derived from the word pepon, the Greek word for “large melon,” or something round and large. The French adapted the word to “pompon,” and the British referred to it as “pumpion.” It’s not a stretch to see how American colonists came to simply call it “pumpkin.”

PumpkinThe term pumpkin itself has no agreed upon botanical or scientific meaning, used and is often interchangeably referred to as “squash” or “winter squash.” In North America and the UK, pumpkin generally refers to only certain round orange varieties of winter squash, predominantly derived from Cucurbita pepo (Australian English notes it as winter squash of any appearance). As a warm-weather crop, seeds are generally planted in July and are generally quite hardy. The plants produce both a male and female flower and must be fertilized, usually by bees.

Pumpkins are one of the oldest domesticated plants, having been cultivated as early as 7,500 to 5,000 BC. Pumpkin pie is often a staple in both Canadian and US Thanksgiving Day feasts though pumpkins used in pie fillings are different from varieties used to carve Jack-o-lanterns for Halloween. In 2017, over 1.5 billion pounds of pumpkins were produced in the US with the top pumpkin-producing states being Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and California.

PumpkinsSeveral of our neighbors plant pumpkins on that little strip of ground between the sidewalk and the street (affectionately known as the ‘hell strip’ in these parts) and are frequently noshed on by squirrel thugs who seem to treat them as a fast food drive-through. Those gigantic pumpkins (Cucurbita maxima) you sometimes see were developed from South American large squash varieties through efforts of botanical societies and pumpkin enthusiasts.

PumpkinsNutritionally speaking, pumpkins are versatile and most parts of the plant are edible. Canned pumpkin (not filling) is often recommended by vets as a dietary supplement for dogs and cats for digestive ailments such as constipation, diarrhea, or hairballs. It’s a mainstay around the Ranch for keeping canine tummies content. Elsa in particular, is a connoisseur of the orange fleshy pureé. The high fiber content aids with good digestion. Did you know raw pumpkin is often fed to poultry, as a supplement to their regular feed, during the winter to help maintain egg production, which usually drops off during cold months. Pumpkin seeds are a good source of protein, magnesium, copper and zinc for peeps and are a delicious and low calorie snack.

I don’t know about you, but with pumpkin pie season getting started, maybe it’s time to start thinking about stocking up on whipped cream.

Pumpkins

Here’s hoping the weekend weather allows you to get out and enjoy some classic aspects of autumn nature. Me personally…I think I’m going to follow this truck.

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Monday Musings ~ October 14, 2019

Monday…again?! Gosh, where the did weekend go? Let’s hope it wasn’t in a wormhole. Here’s a little smile to start out the week with a chuckle.

Humor

Today is Indigenous People’s Day (sometimes known as Columbus Day) and is a national holiday in the U.S. We like that name better considering Columbus never actually set foot on U.S. soil. The traveling Italian from Genoa first made landfall in the Western Hemisphere on this date in 1492 on one of the various islands of the Bahamas and then Cuba and Hispaniola, establishing a colony on what is known as Haiti. Today we salute the native people of the Americas.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ October 11, 2019

SnowHappy Friday, peeps. We made it even if Mother Nature wasn’t very hospitable getting here. As always, we are joining our fur-iends and Nature Friday hosts, Rosy and her brothers from LLB in Our Backyard. As I mentioned earlier this week, Mother Nature decided to have her evil twin from the Arctic drop a dime on the Mile High with some snow and record-setting cold temperatures. While snow in October is not uncommon (we normally receive a storm or two in October), to have such a cold front come through was out of Ma Nature’s usual MO.

The morning thermometer worked hard to reach 20 F degrees when the pups and I went out to make our early morning pitstop. Brrrrr…even the wooly mammoth pup also known as the Ninja, made a quick dash in the dog run, peed like a racehorse and ran back as quick as a bunny. She looked at me like I was some kind of monster but then when I asked her if she’d like breakfast, her expression changed. Dramatically. You’ve have thought she’d won the Lottery.

Changing leaf colors have been slow to develop in the city with the trees on my street are still mostly green. It should be interesting to see how (or if) the storm affects the color of leaves. Speaking of changing colors, do you know why and how this happens?

One word. Photosynthesis.

Photosynthesis

What is photosynthesis, you ask? It the way nature let’s trees operate. Growing during the summer, they begin their metamorphosis into winter through the transitional season of autumn (in the northern hemisphere). As daylights wanes, trees use the shorter days as the signal by which to begin to prepare for winter. Because there isn’t enough light or water for photosynthesis in winter, trees will rest, and live off the food stored during the summer. They begin to shut down their food-making abilities. Green chlorophyll in their cells will begin to disappear from their leaves and as that green fades, yellow and orange colors seem to magically appear. Although small amounts of those colors have been in the leaves all along, they cannot been seen in the summer, because they are covered up by the green chlorophyll.

AutumnThe bright reds and purples we see in leaves are made mostly in the fall. In some trees, like maples, glucose is trapped in the leaves after photosynthesis stops. Sunlight and the cool nights of autumn cause the leaves turn this glucose into a red color.

The brown color of trees like oaks is made from wastes left in the leaves. It is the combination of all these things that make the beautiful fall foliage colors we enjoy each year.

So there you have it. Any way you look at it, it’s beautiful. Here’s wishing you a great weekend. We’re planning on returning to pre-Arctic temps (the forecast is for mid- to upper 60’s this weekend) and enjoying a return to sanity. Otherwise known as autumn.

Live, love, bark! 🐾