Relative Something

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

Archive for October 2016

October Flowers

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It’s All Hallow’s Eve and we have still got some flowers blooming. Who’da thunk it?

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Today is the 25th anniversary of a blizzard that hit the Twin Cities in 1991. One of my memories of that event is of our next-door neighbor trying to navigate his car through the mess of deep snow and ice on the road and his not being able to get into his uncleared driveway. There was still a MN Twins flag attached to his car, a remnant of the 2nd World Series championship the team had just accomplished days before.

It seemed so surreal to me. Baseball. Halloween. Blizzard. It was rather odd.

It was actually morning of the next day and I was standing in our driveway, almost finished with shoveling the 2-feet of snow we had received. We mutually agreed he should park his car in our driveway until he got his cleared.

That storm now serves as a benchmark for me to always be aware that winter could arrive all at once, in one big storm that changes from a warm fall afternoon to snow that lasts a season, all in a matter of a few days. And it could happen in October.

Which is similar to the benchmark I now use for spring snowstorms. The first year we lived here, in May of 2013, we received 18 inches of snow. Who’da thunk it?

It could happen.

But it doesn’t look like we will have any worries of snow in October this year. More likely, we’ll have November flowers.

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Written by johnwhays

October 31, 2016 at 6:00 am

Shaping Terrain

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dscn5371eDespite the sprinkling rain that pestered most of the day yesterday, I decided to try moving some dirt and turf from the drainage ditch along our southern property line to the adjacent sloped path.

When the new fence was installed and the drainage ditch improved, there wasn’t much width remaining beside a little bend in the fence. It was an impediment to being able to use the tractor to mow that section of path around the outside of the hay-field fence.

Originally, I envisioned using the loader on the tractor to dig out the sediment that has been accumulating in the ditch, but it hasn’t been dry enough to do that for months.

Since I was already working along that fence line this weekend, I decided to see what I could accomplish using a shovel to dig it out by hand. It was a little messy, and a bit tedious, but it was probably a better method for then using the material removed to improve the path.

Using blocks of dirt and turf that I could barely lift with the shovel, I built up the low side until it was wide enough to fit at least the lawn tractor, for now. Might be dicey fitting the diesel around that bend.

The strip around the fence only received infrequent attention and would grow tall and thick, so I had been mowing navigable portions with the brush cutter. Now that I will be able to drive the lawn tractor around, it will be convenient enough that I can keep it cut short all the time.

Well, as short at the rest of the lawn, which all grows so fast that short is a relative term.

With that little narrow bend of path fixed, there was only one other barrier remaining to allow driving the full circumference of our horse-fenced fields. Back in the corner by the woods there is an old ravine that was created by years of water runoff. Previous owners had dumped a lot of old broken up concrete in it to slow the erosion.

We have created a better defined intentional swale a short distance above that directing the bulk of energized flow into the main drainage ditch. It crossed my mind to fill in the ravine, but some water still wants to follow the ease of that natural route and I’d rather not fight it.dscn5373e

Simple solution: a bridge. For now, nothing fancy. I used a few left over fence posts and then broke down and actually purchased additional lumber to make it wide enough to drive across.

I placed them across the washout yesterday in the rain, leaving the task of cutting a notch in the dirt on each side to level them for today.

Then I will be driving to the airport to pick up George and Anneliese. I’ve come to the end of my solo weekend on the ranch. They are going to return the favor of airport transport after midnight tonight when Cyndie arrives home from Guatemala, so I can get some sleep before the start of my work week.

I’m looking forward to having everyone home again.

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Written by johnwhays

October 30, 2016 at 9:15 am

Straightening Posts

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dscn5368eWith my trusty companion, Delilah, tagging along, I lugged tools across the pasture to finally deal with a corner post that had been bugging me for months because of its ever-increasing lean.

Starting with chains and a come-along, I quickly discovered that the angle I was dealing with was compound.

I would need to pull from both directions. There was a problem with that, though. There wasn’t anything to pull against in the second direction.

While Delilah and I surveyed the situation, the neighbors suddenly showed great interest in our presence.

dscn5365eThe cows came running up to the fence around their pasture and stared at us expectantly. I think maybe that leaning post was bugging them, too.

dscn5369eSince I couldn’t pull in that second direction, I decided to push. I got the tractor.

It worked pretty slick, although it required a lot of climbing on and off to check the progress. Delilah wasn’t offering any assistance at that point, and I couldn’t see if it was straight from the tractor seat.

Once I had it where I wanted it, there was a long process of trying to pack the soil around the posts to a point that would hold them in place after I released the supporting pressure. In fact, just to be sure, I left the come-along and chains in place overnight, even though I had put the tractor back in the garage.

A little insurance while the soil dries out and settles for the long haul, which I hope lasts for a very long time. Of course, that part about dry soil won’t last long at all. It is supposed to rain again this afternoon and tonight.

I wonder if I packed the soil firmly enough.

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Written by johnwhays

October 29, 2016 at 6:00 am

Revisiting Drops

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From the Relative Something archives, last night I randomly popped in on March of 2010, from which I have selected a poem for reposting today. With no particular reason in mind, I (re)-present: Dew Drops.

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early today
when it’s hard to decide
whether to stay in bed
or get up instead
and go outside
there is a part of me
that already knows
plan as I might
all the time just goes
somewhere far
away from here
and that one chance I had
up and disappears
like a wispy wet cloud
of dew drops and tears

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.It is possible that my unconscious mind is contemplating the fact that I have a weekend brimming with potential ahead of me, and a simmering trepidation that I might let it slip away without accomplishing much in the way of rewarding results. Or maybe it’s just that I am too tired to think through writing something fresh and new.

I drove George and Anneliese to the airport very early in the morning yesterday, at the expense of a long night’s sleep. Now I’m on my own for the weekend, which could mean I won’t have any distractions and will get a lot done, or it could lead to a loss of motivation that spawns an excessive amount of sloth-ness breaking out.

I feel as though I wouldn’t have any difficulty in framing a few prolonged bouts of sleeping as a much-needed and highly valuable thing to do.

Even as all the time goes and chances to do things up and disappear.

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Written by johnwhays

October 28, 2016 at 6:00 am

Who

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who

Words on Images

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Written by johnwhays

October 27, 2016 at 6:00 am

Rain’s Back

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At least we had a week where it didn’t rain on us. Yesterday afternoon, the ground was just starting to show signs of drying out a bit. That’s over now. img_ip1763e

The horses were grazing in a tight cluster under the gloomy sky. I’m pretty sure they had a sense of what was coming our way. The precipitation made a slow approach, prolonging the wait for the inevitable.

I had just the plan for a rainy night. I had volunteered to prepare dinner for George and Anneliese, and I was serving up my specialty. I brought home a pizza.

That meant we could warm up the kitchen by using the oven. But, shhhh… don’t tell Cyndie. I had her favorite pizza delivered to my workplace, half-baked. She wouldn’t want to know she was missing her beloved deep-dish and more episodes of our current tv series addiction, 2007’s “Life” with Damian Lewis, Sarah Shahi, and Adam Arkin.

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We’ll keep that secret just between us.

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Written by johnwhays

October 26, 2016 at 6:00 am

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Sun Basking

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This time of year around these parts, when there is warm sun painting the afternoon, you best soak it up to the fullest extent possible. After tending to the horses when I got home from work yesterday, Delilah and I were making our way back to the house and were overcome by an irresistible urge to pause and bask in the glorious warm autumn sunshine.

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After I took a few portraits of her, Delilah said she wanted to take some pictures of me. I gave her the phone and struck a pose.

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She said she needed to fix something. My nose was runny.

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If I used Facebook, I’d have to update my profile picture with that one.

img_ip1760e.It was pretty funny watching her hold the phone in her teeth as she reached up with her paw to touch the button for the photos.

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Written by johnwhays

October 25, 2016 at 6:00 am