Monthly Archives: July 2017

Monday Musings ~ July 24, 2017

It’s a brand new week filled with promise and all sorts of possibilities. Mine will be hectic and full in anticipation of company arriving soon with preparations being made for their visits. Hope yours is grand, and the AC works its magic during the dog days of summer.

Live, love, bark! ❤︎

Larks and Lavender ~ Colorado Style

It’s full-blown summer here now and while it would be fabulous to travel to Provence, in the south of France, the next best option presented itself over the last weekend in the Mile High and bonus points were scored for not having to deal with TSA. While still relatively new as a commercial enterprise, Colorado’s lavender production has been increasing. Our arid climate lends itself to production of the herb with a climate that is similar to the Provence region with scads of sun, low water and few natural pests. The Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield Farms located in south suburban Littleton hosted a wonderful festival showcasing the garden’s 800+ plants with demonstrations and products, tours of the farm, and including music and kid activities. Beautifully landscaped mounds greeting visitors under gorgeous blue skies along with loads of vendors to share all manner of lavender products including soap, essential oil, dried bunches, potpourri. I wandered around sniffing to my heart’s content. Indeed everyone there seemed mellow and calm, no doubt due in part to the terrific effects of this special herb. We all know how wonderful lavender smells but did you know about all these positive properties?

  • Reduces anxiety and emotional stress
  • Heals burns and wounds
  • Improves sleep
  • Restores skin complexion and reduces acne
  • Slows aging with powerful antioxidants
  • Improves eczema and psoriasis
  • Alleviates headaches

Although I arrived a bit too late to attend any of the formal morning classes, I talked with a number of the vendors who were all extremely informative and happy to share samples of this fabulous smelling herb. I never saw a cranky person or child there and the hot temps \ would have been reason enough to be fussy. Lavender is such a great mood elevator and mellows out everyone.

Look at those beautiful mounds!

This vender was charming and cheerful while being ever so patient answering my questions on growing techniques. I have a number of lavender plants in my garden but learned several tips that may provide even more success with this fabulous herb.

Lavender bundles. No extra charge for bees.

There were other beautiful flowers at the festival

English lavender does better with our winter climate

Loads of happy ‘chill’ people at the festival.

More than just lavender at the Chatfield Farms

Fun garden art made from old spoons

Tons of lavender skin care products

Pretty Echinacea

More Echinacea plants

Even the Clydesdale was mellow

 

 

 

 

Lavender Association Booth with distillation equipment

All in all, it was a great day in the sun and I was able to gain some valuable info about maintaining and improving my own lavender garden. Even when leaving the parking lot that was filled with hundreds of cars, I was relaxed and calm no doubt due to all the sniffing of lavender plants and infused products. How do you enjoy lavender?

Live, love, bark! ❤︎

Word(y) Wednesday ~ July 19, 2017

It may be Word(y) Wednesday, but it’s also washday, which means we’re off to visit patients today and tomorrow. The next couple of weeks are filled with all sorts of commitments and out of town visitors swinging by the Ranch, so posts may be somewhat sparse. Never fear, we’ll do our best to keep up on reading all of your posts and hopefully, we’ll be able to add a smile or two along the way. Stay cool sport’s fans. It’s 🔥 🔥 🔥 hot, hot, hot this week in the 303; how is it in your neck of the woods?

Live, love, bark! ❤︎

Tribute Tuesday

While we’ve had a rash of special pets cross over the Rainbow Bridge over the past several months, it hasn’t been limited to Blogville. A number of fellow pet therapy dogs have left as well. I haven’t shared stories about those losses since we try to soldier on as best we can despite the hole that’s left behind. When Sam and I joined pet therapy over 4 years ago, there were over 50 dogs in the program. Today that number is just over 30.

Recently one of my absolute favorite dogs left us unexpectedly, leaving her owner, Bonnie and the rest of us who knew her, simply devastated. “Fergie” was one of those dogs you just couldn’t get enough of whenever you saw her. With a regal face, expressive features, she was a pawsome ambassador for our program. I was instantly drawn to her at the first get-together for both handlers and dogs. In the midst of dogs everywhere and uprights chit-chatting away, Fergie quietly sat next to Bonnie taking it all in. She was a beautiful soul with a calm presence who represented her breed so nicely especially in the midst of frenetic motion and noise. 

Fergie was a wonderful therapy dog and will be sorely missed. Throughout her two years of service to our program, she and Bonnie provided much comfort and joy during their 64 visits. Sam and I were lucky to spend some time with Bonnie and Fergie at the annual fund-raising calendar sale with Fergie performing impressive tricks for people in the hospital lobby. And Sam adored her as much as I did.

Bonnie described Fergie this way:
“Fergie loved riding in the car wearing her goggles, and hanging her head out the window.  It also gave Fergie joy when she would get her toenails painted.  And I believe she liked wearing one of her many outfits.  She was an attention hog.  She knew only a few tricks but she was always willing to perform.Treats were a big must have for her.  Fergie loved chasing anything that ran.  She didn’t care to catch it, but she loved the run.  If she saw something running (squirrel, deer, rabbit, cat, anything) she would be on the chase.  But, if it stopped, she would stop, until it started running again and then it was off she goes!  When she would get tired or the poor creature would out smart her, she would come bounding back to me with her head held high, a smile on her face and a prance in her step just as pleased as she could be.”
Here are some photos Bonnie shared with me that show the great spirit Fergie exhibited with her good nature and sense of style.

Sam and I will miss our sweet fur-iend and hope our admiration for Fergie helps her mom deal with this untimely loss. Our program just won’t be the same without the two of them. No doubt there will be tons of nail polish colors and goggles just waiting for Fergie at the Rainbow Bridge. While she may be gone, she will not be fur-gotten. Rest in peace, sweet girl. 
Live, love, bark! ❤︎

Monday Moanings

Thief, thief…I’ve been robbed…again!

No, the hoodlum neighborhood gang of squirrels didn’t break in the kitchen window. Remember how I waxed on about the Ninja a few days ago on her terrific socialization progress was going? Fast forward a few days and now I can safely say I have a juvenile delinquent.

So the story goes like this: We were running low on dog food. No problem, I can swing by the pet food store and pick up a bag. Nothing unusual there, right? While running around I thought, I’ll swing by the grocery store too since, well, we were out of EVERYTHING. Again no problem on its surface. Let me set the scene. It was one of the many days the weather was in the mid-90’s and traffic was the pits. I finally got home, a total hot mess and sweating like stuffed pig. After carrying in several grocery bags and the dog food in the house, I thought I’d take 5 to hydrate with some iced lemonade. The dogs greeted me like they always do, I sat down and began sipping the beverage and life returned to normal. Or did it? All of a sudden I realize I’m missing a dog. Cue the spooky music.

So I go into the kitchen and see the Ninja with her head deep in that shopping bag and notice the box of croissants is semi-open with one minor detail. Only two of the buttery delectables out of a dozen remained. I took the box out and put it on the floor to re-create the crime scene since I couldn’t open the cellphone fast enough to catch the actual proof. But I did capture where she was licking up errant crumbs from the floor.

WTH, Elsa?! Those weren’t quite the actual words I said out loud (think creatively) for which this face stared back at me.

 

As if it was no big deal. Well, I guess a girl’s gotta have her pastries, I know I sure enjoy them at breakfast. I chuckled and just chocked it up to yet one more thing on the ever-growing list of things this dog has eaten and didn’t think much else about it.

The next day I was preparing dinner, I pulled this out of the oven piping hot and turned around to grab the pizza slicer and looked back to see that thieving little brat on her two hind legs standing with her front paws on the stove (something she has NEVER done since her hips are a tad wonky and always assumed it’s uncomfortable to jump up) taking a bite out of the edge. 

I hollered at her and she scurried out of the kitchen and then quick as a wink, Sam reaches up to try the same thing! Are you freaking kidding me? “Dude, you are supposed to be teaching her how to be a dog, not some waif-like pickpocket character from Oliver Twist!” *Ugh*

 

While Standard Poodles originated in Germany, I think my little urchin appears to be identifying more with the commonly thought of origination country, France for which I don’t blame her. But 10 croissants in a lightning quick moment? Dang girl! Maybe she is a distant relative of our favorite French fur-iend, Phenny and channelling her heritage?

Bottom line…I think we need to schedule a refresher training session for Sam and as far as Elsa goes, I don’t even know where to begin. Looks like someone needs a summer job to stay outa juvenile detention and maybe a DNA test to put pedigree to rest.

Live, love, bark! ❤︎

Gardeners and Dogs


Gardeners and Dogs…deceptive title because this isn’t about the ever romantic pottage garden harvesting all manner of herbs and salad ingredients, while the dogs snoopervised the non-stop back-breaking weeding. Nope. And we’re not talking about the joys of wrecking a manicure from digging in the dirt to harvest any $150.00 a piece tomato (as I recall that was about the amount I calculated the last garden I planted veggies at the Ranch, accounting for tools, water, compost, time, etc. and presuming the squirrels didn’t get it first). Even though I do love to garden, wrecked manicure notwithstanding, instead what I’m talking about is even if you live in a high-rise condo with no yard, you’re a gardener if you have dogs that go outside. Only those peeps living on Antarctica are probably not gardeners and well…they’ve got other problems. 

 

How is it possible that we are all gardeners? Well, remember that post talking about nasty grass awns? Those horticultural nightmares have dried out and are just waiting to be widely dispersed. This morning’s walk showed me just what joys to expect [insert breathless anticipation here]. Don’t get me wrong. I love grasses…those exquisite textures gracefully swaying in the garden.  

Otherwise known as ornamental grasses. 


What I’m talking about here as the latest assault by Mother Nature on gardening dog owners is this clumping, upright grass that’s a bear to eradicate from the landscape. Often called pearl millet, I have always called it “Velcro grass.” The leaves are hairless except at the base. But it’s those bristly seed heads that cause major problems. Growing up to 3 ft. tall, these things stick to socks, furry legs, noses, wherever they can attach their dastardly evil heads. Not everyone may have this botanical scourge (lucky you). But you probably have stuff we can’t even begin to nightmare about in the Wild West. I just discovered a website that identifies weeds that grow where ever you live in the US, with apologies to our Canadian friends for not showing what might harass them (See: http://www.preen.com/weeds). This site identifies 3 separate categories: broadleaf, grassy and woody weeds. Yeah, I know, it’s sponsored by a chemical herbicide company, and around the Ranch we go organic but the information it provides can be invaluable for identification purposes. Besides, it’s much more ladylike to call it what it really is known by than spewing like a drunken sailor the kind of vocabulary I normally use when I’ve had to pick out, one by one, those millions of pearled seed heads from my socks or from the dogs’ legs, ears, snouts or chests. Trust me when I say they are no picnic in the park to remove, thus the PG-rated name for our purposes. Even though I now know what they’re really called, they’ll still probably be referred to as Velcro grass or one of the more colorful HBO names I normally blurt out.  And just so that you can benefit from my past ineffective removal experience, even washing socks wasn’t a very simple way to remove those damn things. 

With Elsa shoving any and every thing into her mouth (eyeglasses, socks, grass of all stripes, just to name a few items) I have to go organic to protect her from noshing on anything sprayed with chemicals (my go-to herbicide is non-toxic table vinegar) and then watch her like a hawk when we’re outside the safety zone of the yard.

So have I convinced any of you condo/apartment residents that you really are gardeners? Do you have similar herbaceous squatters? Got any tips for removing them from socks?

Live, love, bark! ❤︎