Goodbye 2019

Today is the last day of 2019 and the last day of this decade. Where did the time go? We here at the ‘Ranch’ will spend a quiet evening of reflection and hope whatever you do, you do it safely. No wheels falling off, okay?

Reindeer

From all of us Knuckleheads, have a safe and Happy New Year. Make 2020 be your best year ever. Remember tomorrow begins with a blank page of a 365 page book. Write a best-seller.

New Year

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Monday Musings ~ December 30, 2019

Happy last Monday of 2019. Wow, it seems like this year flew by, doesn’t it? We hope you had a joy-filled Christmas/Hanukkah shared with friends and family. Now the clean up begins as we prepare for the next holiday. Is it too much to ask for this?Meme

Wishing you a safe and Happy New Year along with loads of luck getting all those holiday decorations put away.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Monday Musings ~ December 23, 2019

Happy Monday peeps and pets. The big day is almost here…are you ready? Today is Monday and we always like to start the week out with a smile.

You may recall that last week Sam worked at hospital and West Pines bringing relief and smiles to staff and patients alike. We’ll share some details of a couple of those visits soon.

As we were leaving West Pines, for some odd reason, Sam was mesmerized by the fish tank in the lobby. In the past he’s never paid any attention to it, we’ve walked past it a jillion times. Yet, this time he just couldn’t stop watching one of the large angelfish and seemed to be captivated by this swimming creature following his every turn, from one side of the tank to the other.

Fish

Sam seemed to be wondering if Santa visits those fish. The funny thing is that fish followed him as much as Sam followed the fish. Maybe he needed some pet therapy too?

Here’s hoping the smiles are plentiful this week and you are filled with the love, joy and peace of the season. We will be taking a few days off from posting and wish you all  Happy “Howlidays!”

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ December 20, 2019

Can you believe it, Christmas is just 4 days away?! Yikes…are YOU ready? It’s been a busy time of year so naturally we’re running behind. But we’re never behind when it comes to Nature Friday where we join our hosts, Rosy and her brothers from LLB in our Backyard and take a look at nature around Blogville  in beautiful ways. This time of year limits inspiring nature unless you’re into snow patterns so let’s look around the house where some beautiful plants are taking center stage this time of year.

There are a number of indoor plants associated with the holiday season. Let’s take a gander at favorite one we have-genius Schlumbergera, otherwise  known as Christmas Cactus. Right on schedule the vibrant fuschia hued Christmas cactus started blooming. But by right on schedule, I mean before Thanksgiving. It’s one of two “Christmas cactuses” (cacti?) that bloom around the Ranch. Provided I can keep Elsa from thinking she can take small nibbles off the flowers. This one and a nearby hibiscus seem to be too enticing for her to resist.

Christmas cactus

Seeing color like this brightens my mood when the supply of sunshine dwindles throughout winter days when our landscape is at its brownest. When the first hot pink buds begin to arrive, it always makes me smile as I look forward to the show about to erupt. This guy has been around for nearly two decades and never fails to dazzle though it’s beginning to wane the closer we get to Christmas day.

The other one is a shy fellow that was gifted to me by my son when he moved  to Hawaii. It makes appearances (which always chagrins my son since it never bloomed for him after he brought it home), but only on a somewhat limited basis. While returning some art supplies to the studio where it lives, I noticed this one of two, gorgeous blooms.

Christmas cactus

This year’s show isn’t going to have nearly as many flowers as in past years for heaven only knows why. But that beautiful coral color is worth even a minimal display. This guy gets coddled and yet never performs like the pink show-off above. Like I said, a very shy guy.

While its common name is ‘cactus,’ in the Northern Hemisphere, they are called Christmas cactus, Thanksgiving cactus, crab cactus and holiday cactus. It is a tropical plant that hails from Brazil requiring higher water and humidity requirements than its Southwest cactus buddies. Keeping these beauties in shape for their annual bloom-fest is simple though. Water deeply whenever the top inch or so of soil is dry. Repot if the soil is hard and compact, or allow the water to slowly penetrate tight soil. They should only be fertilized when the plant is actively growing or when blooming. Soil should be a well-draining potting soil mix.

Christmas cactus likes bright, indirect light for best blooming conditions while avoiding cold, drafty locations or one close to a heat source. They’re pretty easy to maintain and pinching back stem ends following blooming makes for a bushier plant.

Do you have this seasonal beauty in your home? What Christmas plants are your favorites? Kudos to you if you’re totally ready for Santa’s visit next week.

Live love, bark! 🐾

Working Wednesday ~ December 18, 2019

Hi there, it’s me, the Ninja. While most of Blogville is participating in Wordless Wednesday, today is a working day around the Ranch, at least for one of us. Today is the last working day this year for my knuckleheaded brother to spread smiles at West Pines. But first, I have to get him out of bed. Looks like yesterday’s hospital visits took a little out of him. As soon as he came home, he took a long nap.

Sam

Meanwhile for me, there are stuffies to attack play with and squirrels to bark at while he’s working and far too busy to miss him while he visits his friends at West Pines. I just hope he doesn’t try to use that stethoscope on me.

Dogtor Sam
Dogtor Sam

Happy mid-week. Maybe I can help huMom out later after she comes home with some of her Christmas preparations. I have offered to help her out in the kitchen, by licking keeping the floors clean while she’s making treats but she keeps shooing me out. Not worries for me though, I can block sit in the doorway and obstruct her path almost as easily as I can under her feet. Then again I can always use a paw to help tie bows on presents she’s wrapping. I’m a equal opportunity, multi-dimensional helper.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Monday Musings with a Birthday ~ December 16, 2019

Meme

Training works on both kids and dogs. Today is my ‘baby’s’ birthday. This woman is an amazing mom to both two and four-legged kids, has a killer sense of humor with a solid gold heart. Clever and creative, she’s grown up into a remarkable woman who loves Irish Wolfhounds and is…ahem…as I affectionately call her, Leprechaun-sized (aka vertically challenged), with her dog towering over her, as a mom. I don’t think I did too badly. Happy birthday, sweetheart. I hope your day is as bright and special as you are.

Wolfhound
Reoán, the Irish Wolfhound welcoming her mama home

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ December 13, 2019

Happy Friday the 13th. We’re not that much into the superstition surrounding the second occurence of this so-called unlucky day of the year. Why? Because today is Nature Friday around Blogville which means we’re joining our friends, Rosy and her brothers from LLB in our Backyard while we check out various nuggets of beauty that Mother Nature showcases…provided we actually look for it.

It’s been a crazy busy week as we’re preparing for Santa Paws’ arrival in just eleven days. E-l-e-v-e-n!! Awk…I’m hustling as fast as I can but it seems as if I’m just on a treadmill and not marking too many things off the “to-do” list which is no good excuse for not consciously looking around to see what nature dishes out. As the week progressed, I bemoaned the fact the greyness of December hadn’t really offered much in terms of something notable until I took the pups out first thing this morning.

December ushers in winter and its Full Moon is called the Cold Moon. It can also be referred to as Long Nights Moon, or the Moon before Yule. Technically, the full moon reached peak fullness at 12:12 A.M. EST on December 12th however, in western time zones, the noon rose on Wednesday, December 11. No worries though, it still illuminated our early morning sky and as I waited for the Knuckleheads to do their morning constitution (or in the Ninja’s case, racing zoomies after emptying her bladder), I looked up toward the Western sky.

My neighborhood of older homes has tall, mature trees lining its streets. Across the street I noticed the moon was framed among leafless branches. All I had on me to capture it was my cell phone so it’s not a great image, but it still cast an interesting image with the branches surrounding the moon like a wreath.

Moon

What makes this month’s full moon special? Because of its high trajectory across the sky, it will sit above the horizon for a longer period of time.

Also notable this month are shooting stars from the Geminid Meteor Shower, which is the most active meteor shower of the year. I haven’t seen it yet but hope to check it out tonight when it should be at its most prolific. Snow is in our forecast so there may not be a chance but the shower may be visible for a few more nights.

We hope you have a terrific Friday and an even better weekend. The Ninja plans to spend as much time as possible squirrel hunting while I’m running around like a crazy person getting ready for the big holiday. Whatever you do, make sure to take a look at nature.

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Monday Memes ~ December 9, 2019

Memes

We hope you had a pawsome weekend. This meme pretty much describes everyday life when you own a dog made even more applicable at this hectic time of year. Here’s to a week of neglecting one’s appearance in favor of spending time with Knuckleheads.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nearly Wordless Wednesday ~ December 4, 2019

Hey guys, it’s me, Sam getting ready to make rounds at the hospital over the next couple of days. I’m also going to train a new member today. Woof, woof! I’m tail-wagging happy to greet a new pet therapist into the program. Fresh new dog hair blood is always a great thing and I don’t mind sharing the nurses with this new buddy, a Huskie, Lab, Shepherd mix. Wish us luck.

Make it a great day.

Dogtor Sam
“Dogtor” Sam

Live, love, bark! 🐾