Wordy Wednesday

Yesterday began a 5-day public celebration of the life of Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, who passed away August 16th. Lining the street to the Charles H. Wright Museum of African-American History where her body lies in repose for public viewing will be over 100 pink Cadillacs. This photo taken on a 2002 trip to the Caribbean seemed appropriate, especially since I don’t have a full length mink coat, one of the stylin’ trademark pieces of clothing she wore when performing. Her body has been laid out in a solid bronze, gold-plated casket much like the ones used for James Brown and Michael Jackson. Embroidered in gold thread in the lining of the casket are the words “Aretha Franklin, The Queen of Soul.” According to the funeral home handling the services, Miss Franklin is wearing 5-inch Christian Louboutin patent leather pumps that match a tea-length ruby-red dress made of lace — with a full tulle skirt and chiffon overlay with her ankles crossed. The bright red ensemble reflected her status as an honorary member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. Clearly the Queen of Soul is going out in style…much like she lived her life. Rest in peace, sister.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

 

Did You Know?

Do you know where the term “dog says of summer” originated? Sam and Elsa here. When mom said we could do a post about the Dog Days of Summer, it set our tails-a-waggin’. Something about dogs?…oh heck yes! Put us in, coach.

Follow the belt of Orion to find Sam and Elsa’s Star Sirius. Credit: Starry Night Software

Typically those hot, sultry days in summer are referred to as “dog days” or “dog days of summer.” Visible from anywhere on Earth, Sirius is part of the constellation Canis Major otherwise known as the Greater Dog. Dog? Hmm, why they didn’t just call it Sam and Elsa’s star is still a mystery to us. Perhaps it’s due in part to the ancient history we learned. Right now you see ‘our star’ as it ascends in the east before dawn on late summer mornings. The simple answer is because the hottest/most humid days of summer are associated with Sirius (aka the “Dog Star”) because it was the brightest star in the constellation Canis Major.

Now for some astronomic history…first from the Egyptians. The period following the heliacal rise (that period of less than a year when it had not been visible) of Sirius when the constellation becomes visible just above the eastern horizon before sunrise generally arrives around July 19th and ends around the last week of August. This timeframe roughly corresponded with the annual flooding of the Nile River.

Not to be outdone on all things Sirius, ancient Romans believed it radiated extra heat toward the Earth. During the summer when Sirius rises and sets with the Sun, they were convinced the added, additional heat to the Sun’s heat caused hotter summer temperatures.

For the ancient Romans, the dog days of summer period was from about July 24 to around August 24. Over time, the constellations have drifted somewhat and today, The Old Farmer’s Almanac lists the dog days of summer to be from July 3 until August 11.

Although “dog days” are usually the hottest of the summer, they really don’t have anything to do with either dogs or the star Sirius. Actually it is Earth’s tilt that explains why these days tend to be the hottest during summer.

The Earth’s tilt this time of year causes the sun’s light to hit the Northern Hemisphere at a more direct angle and, accordingly for a longer period of time throughout the day. This means longer, hotter days during the summer. While Sirius is the brightest proper star in the night sky, it still is 8.7 light-years (8.23×1013 km) away and effectively has no effect on Earth’s weather or temperature.

Yet the effects of summer heat and rainfall patterns are real and variations occur by latitude and location according to many factors. Although London is farther north, Calgary has a milder climate from the presence of the sea and the warm Gulf Stream current. One medical institution has reported a connection between Finland’s dog days and an increased risk of infection in deep surgery wounds, though that research is unverified.

So there you have it as to some of the why’s and the what for’s about the dog days of summer. All that  abbreviated history aside, us Knuckleheads tend to be lazy during these pizza-oven hot days (mid 90’s for the past few days). We enjoy early morning walks, and laze about working on our napping form as demonstrated by Sunday’s ‘howliday,’ National Dog Day.  Mostly we are  over these dog days and are excitedly awaiting for Indian Summer to arrive. How have your dog days been?

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Monday Moanings

Looks like we missed National Dog Day. The fur-kids want a do-over. I reminded them that it’s National Dog Day every day of the year around the Ranch. I’m not sure Sam’s buying it but Elsa believes anything so long as there are treats and a nice nap. Here’s hoping you don’t miss anything ‘impawtant’ this week!

Live, love, bark! 🐾

 

Floral Friday ~ August 24, 2018

Despite having posted scads of flowers earlier in the week from the outing to the Denver Botanical Gardens, I still wanted to participate in this week’s edition of Flower Friday hosted by Rosy and the boys. I just can’t get enough photos of colorful blooms. In all the years I’ve gardened, there has been one plant in particular that I have never had any success with and it really cheesed me off. Rudbeckia, otherwise known as Black-Eyed Susan, has eluded any gardening success. Imagine how delighted I was when I saw this bloom this morning. I nearly squealed out loud. 

Here’s hoping your Friday has this much success and the weekend is filled with loads of beauty and sunshine. 

Live, love, bark! 🐾

 

Changes

The weather isn’t the only thing changing around the Ranch. Our new e-shop is open. The intent was to post the news with a flourish of trumpets and angels singing.

The ‘shop’ Sam’s K9 Kreations is open. Sort of. That sound accompanying it isn’t so much trumpets, think more like a couple of out-of-tune kazoos. And the angels…I’m sure I heard the heavens snickering. *Sigh*

Earlier this week I created a simple “Pay Button” (courtesy of those nice folks at WordPress) and began beta testing to make sure it worked. It did in fact, but it became crystal clear that the blog needed to be upgraded to allow for customization which wasn’t possible to sell CBD oil along with other items. It looked and felt much like a kid’s cardboard lemonade stand. On the third weekend. So, I bit the bullet, upgraded the blog and with that upgrade began a crash course on customization in e-commerce. That sound you are hearing now is much like the sound of a plane dive-bombing into the ocean.

If you are familiar with the WooCommerce platform (or any other e-commerce tool), I bow down before you. The installation of plugins, reinstallation of photos and descriptions (plus other elements not seen but necessary to keep the wheels on) made conversion from the simple pay button page to WooCommerce one heck of a mind-sucking exercise. In my case it’s like a blind pilot is behind the steering wheel of that plane headed for the ocean.

After birthing this elephant sized cluster, it appears to be up and operational but there are issues with appearance that are affecting the blog (who knew there was so much behind the scenes online). As I become more proficient on the deets of e-commerce (please Gawd, let. me. become. proficient), you will likely see some changes to our blog header and the theme (which, lucky me…does not lend itself to supporting an e-storefront). There’ll be tinkering and consulting with professionals today, tomorrow and for many days in the future regarding the inner workings and appearance elements, so I apologize in advance if it messes up your internal brain-compass juju like it has mine. Changing the appearance affects me much like changes in the dogs’ routine. In other words, we kind of hobble around until we catch our stride.

Long story short, you can now purchase the Black Dog Botanicals CBD oil I’ve been touting lately (which comes in two strengths-300 mg and 600 mg. Other products (the handmade greeting cards like the ones posted on Instagram), pet accessories and organic treats will begin showing up as we move forward. In the meantime, pray for me. I’m simultaneously terrified and excited about this new endeavor. But understand I’m clearly no Jeff Bezos and this here shop ain’t no Amazon. If I haven’t scared you off yet, visit the “Sam’s K9 Kreations” page to the right of our “Home” page. Here’s hoping the news the angels begin singing a bit soon.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Wandering Wednesday

Yesterday was a gorgeous day in the 303 with mild temps and even a shower later in the day-something we haven’t seen in a couple of months. Mother Nature has been quite schizoid this summer so it was wonderful being able to take advantage of this pause in blistering temperatures. It was the perfect day to visit the Denver Botanical Gardens with a dear friend. My dear friend, Cheryl and I were awed by nature’s kaleidoscope of color and texture. Here are a few highlights from our meanderings. It was a great day shared with a great friend that reminded me how truly blessed I am by this friendship and the gorgeous venue in the heart of the city.

Water lilies in full bloom
Water lily bloom hidden in the Japanese garden
A striking bloom among the dahlias
These thistle-like blooms felt like balsa wood in the perennial garden-so unusual…so fascinating
Statuary near the herb and Biblical garden
Orange stunner
A four-legged visitor in the Japanese Garden who probably didn’t buy a ticket
The fabulous Monet Garden

Wishing you a fabulous day of wandering. Happy mid-week.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

The 411 on CBD

CBD is getting a whole lot of press these days and for good reason. From pain management to managing anxiety responses and a whole lot in between, CBD oil is making quite the name for itself with numerous opportunities for medical benefit. CBD is a natural way of regulating the body’s endocannabinoid system. So what is this CBD oil all about, you ask?

Cannabis sativa is a species of plant with well over 60 active agents called cannabinoids, the most well-known of which are THC and CBDTHC is the psychoactive ingredient found in marijuana, while CBD is non-psychoactiveCBD, derived from industrial hemp must contain less than 0.3% THC. Cannabinoid receptors are normally found throughout the body in both human and canine nervous systems, glands and organs and all mammals reply on the endocannabinoid system to regulate the immune response. Use of CBD is a natural way in regulating this system.

According to PetCareRx, 20% of all dogs will suffer from some developmental or degenerative joint pain during their lives. Whether it’s caused by genetics or age, joint pain will definitely reduce the their quality of life. Starting out as mild discomfort, it can progress to chronic pain. CBD can target receptors throughout the body and reduce any inflammation or nerve-related pain.

CBD is also an effective treatment for anxiety. Triggers like a trip to the vet, a thunderstorm, separation anxiety or phobias can be reduced when CBD is administered in advance. For the estimated 5% of dogs who suffer from epilepsy like Elsa, CBD in combination with vet prescribed anti-seizure medication, has allowed a reduction in her Phenobarbital dosage by 25%. CBD is known to have properties that block symptoms from taking over the brain and can potentially reduce the frequency and severity of seizures. Colorado State University is currently conducting a study that suggests 89% of dogs who received CBD had a reduction in frequency of seizures. Dr. Stephanie McGrath, overseeing clinical trials on the use of CBD treatment for epilepsy and osteoarthritis, presented her findings last month at the annual convention of the American Veterinary Medication Association. “This pilot study is important and it does seem like there is a positive effect from the use of CBD for dogs with epilepsy,” said Dr. McGrath. To learn more about the clinical trial, visit the hospital’s website.

Although much confusion exists, CBD oil derived from hemp is legal for purchase in all 50 states. Initial studies show CBD is safe for dogs and most veterinary professionals recommend starting with small doses as our vet recommended. We had to tinker with Elsa’s dosage and finally settled on 15 drops of 300 mg spread out throughout the day in conjunction with the vet’s recommendation. Since switching to Blackdog Botanicals, she has had only 2 seizures, both of which were extremely minor. Elsa’s vet is very pleased with her progress on CBD oil.

“CBD has been shown to decrease the production and release of inflammatory cytokines that can cause allergies, hypersensitivities and autoimmunity. It can also suppress something called Th17 dominance, which is a major cause of autoimmune diseases. CBD also inhibits the production of inflammatory macrophages and decreases chronic inflammation. CBD is also a powerful antioxidant that’s shown to be more powerful than vitamins C and E.” [Source: Dogs Naturally Magazine]

According to Wikipedia: “Research suggests that CBD may exert some of its pharmacological action through its inhibition of fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH), which may then increase the levels of endocannabinoids, such as anandamide, produced by the body. Speculation suggested some of the metabolites of CBD have pharmacological effects that contribute to the biological activity of CBD.”

As more and more vet professionals become aware of the benefits CBD provides pets, it stands to reason that more and more people are getting into the business of CBD oil,  which is quite lucrative. It’s imperative that owners be aware of the strength and efficacy of the product as not all products are created equal. In other words, make sure to do your homework and discuss CBD usage with your vet

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Monday Moanings ~ August 20, 2018

Yikes, we overslept this morning while it was a lovely 52F degrees outside. It felt so good to be snuggled up in a nice warm bed-even the pups were sound asleep. After our first walk of the day, this inspiration is guiding me to face the new week. Hope you had a good weekend and are now ready for a refill or three. Happy Monday, happy first day to a new school year.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

🌻 Floral Friday 🌻 August 17, 2018

Mom woke us up at oh-dark-thirty today and said we had to prepare today’s blog hop entry hosted by Rosy. Gulp…we’re dogs, ma…not botanists. Sam’s only claim to ‘gardening’ is watering plants and I know that isn’t quite what they need so it looks like I’m in charge. Elsa here. While I know how to snoopervise, I know essentially nothing about flowers. Mom seems to be in the midst of one of her fitful sleep periods and is feeling more than slightly overwhelmed and over-stimulated with stuff. She can’t seem to find the necessary focus to do background work on posts and spends hours writing only to shriek “It’s all rubbish!” and tosses ideas in the trash bin. Apparently retirement is hard work that she hasn’t quite managed to successfully master.  Mom’s…whaddu do with them?

What I found about “Solidago,” otherwise knowns as Goldenrod, was fascinating (no wonder mom likes to garden). Contrary to popular belief, Goldenrod does not cause allergies, it’s pollen is sticky, not windblown, and is moved from plant to plant by bees. Apparently wasps seem to enjoy drinking from it too because there was one noshing away when this image was taken a couple days ago. A late summer bloomer, Goldenrod is deer resistant, attracts butterflies and is bee friendly while being rabbit resistant. It’s easy to grow, makes a nice addition in bouquets and is low maintenance. It grows in all types of soil and naturalizes easily. Mom told me she didn’t plant this flower and thought it probably came from the neighbor’s garden, via a squirrel. Dang, I’m pretty bummed I missed seeing that gardening squirrel.

On a totally different note, uprights all over the world are mourning the loss of the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin. If this remarkable iconic artist and first woman inducted in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame touched you as much as she did everyone who heard her, please enjoy this video from Stephen Colbert’s tribute to her last night. This performance was taken from her 2015 Kennedy Center performance honoring Carole King and hosted by  President and Mrs. Obama. When mom saw it, she got goose bumps and tears, and not just because Mr. Obama isn’t the president these days.

Boy, that woman had a set of pipes on her and a style not to be denied. Mom wonders if we ‘respected’ her enough during her amazing 76 year long life. Rest in Peace, dear Queen.

Live, love, bark! 🐾