Relative Something

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

Archive for September 2017

Sad Face

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We are still waiting for significant signs of improvement in Delilah, but whatever is causing her sharp pain –even though she is simply lying on the floor or in her crate overnight– it appears to be more intense than the drugs she is on.

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Since Cyndie is trained to administer Tellington TTouch, she is offering Delilah more than just the pain killers prescribed by the vet, but our poor dog still finds ways to move that triggers involuntary vocal response of acute discomfort.

That is so too familiar to me and my degenerating discs. We have inquired with the vet about a local dog chiropractor and I’ve been wondering if Delilah would tolerate accupuncture. It helped to ease my discomfort.

There have been a couple of encouraging glimpses of Delilah’s old self appearing, but thus far they are too few and far between to allow us much release from the ongoing stress of knowing an animal in our care is suffering.

I’m looking at this as a way to help me slow down my perception of the ever-faster passing of days. With October looming large and the standing order to keep Delilah completely inactive for two weeks, I’m hoping the days will drag for a while.

It’s not my preferred way to slow down the days, but already it feels like our sad dog has been hurting for far too long. The next two weeks are going to take forever if we can’t let her have her usual luxuriously long walks.

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Written by johnwhays

September 30, 2017 at 8:12 am

Pained Puppy

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Our doggie girl is a hurtin’ unit right now. Unfortunately, we don’t know what happened to cause her all this pain, but she is wincing with a shrill whine with disturbing frequency. Like dogs do, in between the bouts of sharp pain, she acts like all is well and good, but we know better.

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Cyndie took Delilah to the vet last week and their guess-timate of a diagnosis was possible arthritis or bulging disc in her back. They prescribed an anti-inflammatory pain reliever. A few days later, when Delilah woke in extreme pain and was trembling, Cyndie made another trip to the vet.

That visit included a blood test to rule out Lyme disease and ended up with a prescription for muscle relaxants. They still think the problem is in her back. Oh, and they also issued a strict order of total restriction of activity for two weeks. How are we supposed to accomplish that?

Yesterday, Cyndie called me at work and asked me to stop at the vet on my way home to pick up a new pain med. Delilah did not have a good day.

Today, we are hoping for any sign of improvement, because nothing so far seems to be bringing her relief. At this point, the total activity restriction seems like it will cause her more angst than the pain. Poor girl doesn’t understand why she isn’t patrolling the perimeter three times a day anymore.

I think she’s worried some unauthorized intruders might trespass on her turf if she is not on the job doing her regular rounds.

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Written by johnwhays

September 29, 2017 at 6:00 am

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Think

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Words on Images

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Written by johnwhays

September 28, 2017 at 6:00 am

Powerful Stuff

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For the last week and a half I have been doing my best to catch the PBS broadcasts of the 10-part documentary film by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, “The Vietnam War.” It is a dizzying experience. Even though the presentation is spread over two weeks, it compresses so much history and so many perspectives into each segment that the incomprehensible reality it depicts leaves me dumbstruck in a foggy haze of then and now.

As often happens for me, the review of significant historical events that happened during my lifetime, especially about those of which I successfully accomplished an embarrassing level of blissful ignorance while they were occurring, has a way of disrupting my self perceptions. I get a real sense that I would have been a very different person in my ensuing years if I had given certain events more of my attention.

At the same time, part of me has a sense that I already am that different person I seem to be imagining. I don’t know how it works. Did I mention it is dizzying?

I was certainly old enough to perceive the war in Vietnam as pointless and unwinnable, and thus developed a negative opinion of the political and military decisions being made that prolonged our participation.

This comprehensive documentary is educating me about details of the Vietnamese struggles for independence, the US fears of communism, and the corruption on both sides of the conflict. I value highly the opportunity to hear the perspectives of participants from the other side, which this film presents.

There is one additional aspect that is contributing to an overwhelming feeling this film is giving me. There are an uncomfortable number of moments when the depictions of the drama that played out fifty years ago (plus and minus) resonates uncannily with stories in the news today.

One example being the collusion by Nixon with a foreign government to influence his being elected. Sound familiar?

How could we ever let someone get away with that again?

I wish I knew.

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Written by johnwhays

September 27, 2017 at 6:00 am

Triple Fenced

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The heat and humidity have broken and it finally feels a little more like September now. We were expecting the transition to involve a lot more rain than showed up yesterday. The line of precipitation slowly moving west is doing so at an angle that is sliding from the southwest to the northeast and for some reason, most of the rain moved around, rather than over our region.

Ironically, now I am wishing we would actually receive a heavy dose of rain, because last Friday we put a lot of energy into shoring up the silt fence at the property line adjacent to our neighbor’s corn field. In fact, we turned it into a bit of a terrace with three-tiered layers of silt fence.

The first two are short sections to slow the flow before it reaches our long fence. Between the top two sections there is the skeleton frame for a berm, in the form of piled dead pine trees. The soil runoff will accumulate around the branches and hold them in place. Eventually, weeds and grasses will grow through the branches and that forms a nice natural barrier that will hold soil in place but allow water to flow.

We have added support to the fabric fence by using old hay bales that we can’t feed to the horses because they have gotten moldy.

If I am able, I hope to trek out there in the middle of heavy rain to observe the action as it happens. At the very least, I now know that we need to check it after every big rainfall and remove excess soil if it accumulates.

I don’t know why I originally assumed the soil fence wouldn’t need regular maintenance, but after the soil conservation consultant pointed it out so very matter-of-factly, digging out accumulation makes total sense to me now.

If our enhancements work to mitigate the mud overflow messing up that area, we will be one step closer to being able to enjoy a good cloudburst when it happens. There still remains a problem in the paddocks, where a terrace or silt fence is not an option.

We plan to do some digging to create a couple of better defined routes directing runoff straight to the drainage swale beyond the wood fence, hoping to reduce the amount of flow traveling to one spot with energy that washes away our precious lime screenings and creates a deep canyon of a rill.

It’s fine if a little flow goes that way, but it is currently a problem because most all of the flow is combining to rush sideways along the fence, instead of straight under it out of the paddock.

The trick in the paddocks is, our solution needs to be horse-proof. Their heavy hooves have a way of disrupting all of the simple spade-width channels I’ve created in the past, causing runoff to flow every which way, and ultimately not where we really want it to go.

The next version we have in mind will be scaled up. Maybe I should triple-size it.

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Written by johnwhays

September 26, 2017 at 6:00 am

Done Trenching

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We had a variety of options available to work on yesterday, but chose to stay with the project to bring electricity to the chicken coop. It seemed as though the chickens were wondering when we were going to show up. When I stepped out of the house, they were all up near the front door.

I turned back to warn Cyndie, because she was bringing Delilah out with her. Despite a recent occasion when I was distracted while holding the leash and Delilah jerked violently in an attempted chase after the chickens, Cyndie reports a series of well-behaved, closely supervised, successful passes between dog and chickens.

Delilah is acutely aware of the chicken’s presence as Cyndie leads her past for a walk.

Despite the third consecutive day of abnormal heat for September, we braved the blazing sun to complete the trench to the barn. That was not an easy feat, because the last stretch crossed an area where we had laid down a lot of gravel for the driving path extending beyond the back of the barn.

To put it mildly, it was rather unforgiving. That’s great news …for a road. Not so great for trench digging.

Once inside the barn, we routed the cable to the circuit breaker box on the far side. That was about the extent of energy we had left to offer. Final connections will wait.

The hard part is complete.

We are done trenching, thank you very much.

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Written by johnwhays

September 25, 2017 at 6:00 am

Adding Electricity

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Despite the sweltering heat and humidity bathing our first day of autumn, freezing temperatures are not too far off, so work has begun to add electricity to the chicken coop. With an outlet available, we will have the option to provide a waterer that won’t freeze and maybe a light or heat lamp, depending on the situation.

On my third attempt to drill through the floor and miss a stud or screw, we were able to pull wire up for an outlet box. Then we trenched.

 

The chickens seemed to take great interest in our progress. Maybe they sense this is for them?

We are over halfway to the barn circuit breaker box this morning, so I’m optimistic I can get it done by winter.

Maybe I have some skills in procrastination. Time will tell.

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Written by johnwhays

September 24, 2017 at 9:02 am