Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Frosty Landscape

with 2 comments

Not just frost, but rime ice from a day of freezing fog! When I left work yesterday afternoon, I needed sunglasses due to the bright sunshine.

As I approached the border where Minnesota ends and Wisconsin begins, the color palette changed significantly. I had to lose the shades.

It looked like the fog I had driven through on the way to work in the early morning darkness must have lingered for most of the day. The last twenty minutes of my commute home was a glorious spectacle of varying degrees of frosty views against a dark gray sky.

It was fabulous. It reminded me again of how clueless I was as a kid when I vehemently trash-talked white-flocked fake Christmas trees because they made absolutely no sense to me. Why would anyone paint a tree white!?

Apparently, I hadn’t yet seen the real thing in the wild for myself. I totally get it now.

I tried capturing a few shots at home before the daylight entirely vanished, even though our property wasn’t quite as spectacular as the landscape I saw along the ridges between River Falls and our place.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

There was just a hint of sunset color showing through a thin spot in the cloud cover as the big orange orb was reaching the tree line.

How pastel.

And all of it, beautiful.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

December 11, 2018 at 7:00 am

Cookies Galore

leave a comment »

She’s done it again! Cyndie moves like magic in the kitchen when her weekend of Christmas cookie baking arrives. She made a noble dent in the project all by herself on Saturday to start, then, with the help of friends and family yesterday, achieved a record number of total recipes baked when the flour dust finally settled.

It was a sight to behold, but don’t take my word for it. See for yourselves. (Thank you to Melissa Williams for sharing pictures she took of the extravaganza!)

For the first time ever, Cyndie baked meringue cookies from her gramma’s recipe. They come with a memory of being told, as grandchildren, that they needed to be very calm and quiet while meringue cookies are baking in the oven or the cookies would be wrecked.

After her first try success, Cyndie is inclined to think the strict constraints placed on them back then could very likely have been a ruse by her grandmother, taking advantage of an easy opportunity to command good behavior.

More power to her, I say.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

December 10, 2018 at 7:00 am

Early Light

with 2 comments

While the intense winter storm that moved out of Texas is pummeling the Carolinas and Virginia this morning, our region is bathed in calm. The air was so quiet this morning, I felt compelled to open the gate in the paddock by delicately palming the chains to avoid the usual clatter of metal on metal, while I was whispering greetings of love to the horses.

It was a perfectly brisk winter morning, but not biting cold. The chickens put in extra energy to balance on one foot, picking up the other and tucking it in their feathers to protect from the frozen tundra. The horses had frost on their whiskers, but otherwise look completely acclimated to the season of long nights.

They are contentedly munching on morning rations in that image, while the first rays of sunshine begin to paint their sides with a promise of warmth to come.

Hello, sun!

Our day will be filled with holiday projects, Cyndie in the kitchen, baking so many varieties of Christmas cookies it makes me dizzy with visions of sugar. I will be in the shop, putting sandpaper to wood, between making appearances in the house to be sociable with our kids and other family and friends who have expressed intention of showing up to be present for the great holiday bake-athon.

Every cookie I can convince them to take home with them will be one less for me to avoid.

The fire is radiating in the fireplace and the colored lights are on the tree.

Bring on the day!

.

Written by johnwhays

December 9, 2018 at 10:41 am

Lone Straggler

leave a comment »

Apparently, a pattern is developing with one of our Buff Orpingtons, that she lags behind the group when it comes time to return to the coop for the night. Cyndie describes a funny scene that happened the other night when she was feeding and cleaning up after the horses.

The chickens tend to congregate under the overhang at times, but we don’t want them in the barn, so it becomes an added hassle to navigate the door while going in and out during chores when they are present. Cyndie had shooshed them out, but one Buff stayed after the others wandered off toward the coop.

After the sun had disappeared below the horizon, that Buff showed signs of wanting to return to the coop, but acted rather timid about trekking through the snow to get there. She would get only so far and turn and run back to the preferred confines with the horses under the overhang… several times.

Cyndie finally made the trip herself, and had to coax the hen to follow her the whole way.

Silly bird.

Last night, I went down to shut the chicken door for the evening, and when I got there in the dim light of dusk, it was all quiet, but for occasional sleepy cooing from inside. I spent an extra minute or two clearing the track for the door so it would slide all the way, and that was enough time to give me the feeling all was settled in there for the night.

It was a pleasantly quiet time and the fading gradient of orange glow transitioning to blue-black of night on the horizon was gorgeous. I was just about to head back to the house when my conscience urged me to truly confirm all were present and accounted for before leaving.

Thank goodness for that.

I opened the big door to peek in and counted eight bundles of feathers. Luckily, in the low light remaining, I could tell it was a Buff that was missing. Not thinking of Cyndie’s recent tale, I feared the worst. I had already lingered long enough to know she wasn’t anywhere near the coop. 

Where would I look for her body, I wondered.

I stepped away from the coop, toward the barn, and what do I find?

That lone straggler timidly trying to decide if she wanted to walk all the way back to the coop all by herself. Silly bird.

I can’t help thinking how sad it would have been for her to finally make it all the way, only to find the door sealed for the night, if I had dashed back to the house without looking inside to count them first.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

December 8, 2018 at 9:40 am

Cyndie’s Shots

leave a comment »

Cyndie has always been incredibly generous about allowing me to post photos she has taken. Lest there ever be doubt, I add her name to the bottom right corner of images of hers that I use.

On my way home from work yesterday, I received a series of images texted from Cyndie that reflect scenes she had captured during the day.

“Why, yes, I’d love to use them!”

First off, this fascinating shot reveals that a couple of deer decided to lay down in the middle of a trail, for a long enough time that they melted the snow all the way down to the ground.

 

That’s a first. With all the excellent cover available, these two chose a large clearing for their naps. Must be feeling plenty safe on our property.

Notice what a difference a few days makes with regard to the snow sticking to the trees. Scroll down a couple of posts and compare this shot with the two I posted a couple of days ago.

There is still plenty of snow out in the fields. Cyndie framed up this gorgeous view of snow drifting around a culvert.

Delilah looks so stoic as an accent to the shadow and shapes below her. I love the perspective of different elevation this provides.

Finally, there is this beautiful sunset.

If you can make out the chicken coop in the distance, the low sun is shining through it such that it looks like a light is on in there.

It’s fair to say that Cyndie has probably contributed more pictures to this blog in the last year than I have.

For that, I am extremely grateful. Thank you, C!

.

.

Written by johnwhays

December 7, 2018 at 7:00 am

Revisiting Notes

leave a comment »

All sorts of gems are hidden in the archives of Relative Something posts, and last night I uncovered a jewel to repost today. As exciting as my day yesterday was, what with my landing an appointment with a Craigslist buyer to stop by and make another decluttering purchase, and our new favorite tractor tire repairman showing up to finish the other tire (Yay!), none of it blossomed into a bigger story for me.

The single sentence above easily wrapped up the significant events of the day.

Well, I found a “Words on Images” creation from early 2014 that should fill in nicely, aligning with the oncoming bout of cold and sunny winter-like weather on tap for the next few days here.

In honor of the cat mention included in my poem below, I’m throwing in this bonus picture that Cyndie recently took of Pequenita behaving like royalty on Cyndie’s pillow.

Enjoy!

.

Notes

.

Words on Images

.

.

Written by johnwhays

December 6, 2018 at 7:00 am

Two Trails

leave a comment »

Did I mention how beautiful the weekend sticky snowfall was? See for yourself.

Which trail would you choose?

Heading south?

Or heading north?

I love the extremity of contrast between scenes like these, compared to how these woods look in the summer.

We aren’t teasing when we brag about doing all four seasons of the year around these parts.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

December 5, 2018 at 7:00 am