Relative Something

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

Archive for March 2018

Feathered Friends

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The new chicks are growing into chickens already! They are sprouting feathers and flapping around in the brooder like the little adolescents they are. The downy, peeping hatchlings that arrived in the mail are gone but for the memories.

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If they keep up at this pace, and the weather continues to pretend it’s still winter, these guys are going to have a shocking move to the coop and the great outdoors. The landscape is under a two-and-a-half inch blanket of white stuff this morning. Based on the forecast I read for the coming week, with more snow and cold temperatures due, it’s as if spring has forgotten to sprung!

Yesterday, the three adult hens were busy aerating the forest floor.

Looks like they are going to have to put that project on hold for a while now.

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Written by johnwhays

March 31, 2018 at 8:59 am

Her Story

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This is what she said: “If we were in the tropics, I would swear the sound we heard came from a tiger.”

When I got home from work yesterday, Cyndie described a morning adventure she and Delilah had. Due to a morning breakfast date with her dad in St. Paul, Cyndie rousted Delilah a little earlier than usual for a morning walk.

When they stepped out the front door into the pre-dawn light, the “tiger” unleashed a roar that stopped them in their tracks.

Cyndie said Delilah looked back at her as if for instruction, or possibly to check if maybe they could go back inside. They stood there, frozen and then the cat snarled again. Amid the sound of breaking sticks, Cyndie noted there were also unhappy sounds from an unwilling critter victim.

Delilah took a step forward, as Cyndie described it, as if her instinct was leading her to chase, but then quickly thought better and looked back again for direction. The sounds of the fracas started and stopped a few times while they stood there, but Cyndie could not make out any sign of where in the woods the action was occurring.

Deciding it felt prudent to put more space between themselves and the wild cat, Cyndie directed Delilah to turn around and head for the driveway, instead of down the trail in the woods.

“Raawwwoooooowwwrrr…”

It’s a good thing our chickens aren’t out roaming around when it’s dark. At the same time, I sure hope this predator continues to find enough meals in the hours when our hens are safely roosting in their coop, so it won’t need to do any supplementary hunting during the day.

Oh my.

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Written by johnwhays

March 30, 2018 at 6:00 am

Flowing Water

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Our drainage swales are finally flowing!

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The largest ditch along our southern border was a babbling brook yesterday.

Eventually, the ditch narrows and meanders away from our property, wandering its way through our neighbor’s cow pasture.

The snow is leaving, and it will travel to rivers that travel to the Mississippi that flows to the Gulf of Mexico.

B’ bye.

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Written by johnwhays

March 29, 2018 at 6:00 am

Slow Fade

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Lately, my return trips from the day-job have been providing a mystery surprise ending. Each day, I get to discover how much change there has been in the snow-melt, or whether there are signs of water flowing in the drainage ditches. The big white blanket has been making a slow retreat from our hills and valleys this year.

The good result of that slow fade is a distinct lack of flooding problems. The less desirable result is the prolonged chill radiating off the snow base, not to mention the bothersome, sometimes hazardous footing on our trails.

Even though there is a lot of ground finally exposed, there is still a lot of snow cover remaining.

It’ll take a couple of days of real sunshine to finish off this lingering snowpack. It’s possible that today and tomorrow could do the trick, if the skies clear as predicted, but I won’t be surprised if that doesn’t pan out.

Of course, then we have new snow forecast for the weekend, so it’s not like there’s any expectation of being completely done with the white stuff yet. We’ve learned not to claim that possibility until some time in June.

At least the new snows of spring are much quicker to fade away when the sun comes out after a storm.

It’s almost time to rearrange the storage areas to put the shovels to the rear and bring up the rakes and lawn mowers.

Aaahhh, spring. So close, we can feel it.

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Written by johnwhays

March 28, 2018 at 6:00 am

Leaning Over

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The heavy rock that took five people to lift into place on the boulders at the center of our labyrinth has survived the worst that winter tossed its way. It didn’t fall out and roll to the ground. However, it did lean over to a significant degree.

I think it might be a metaphor for how Cyndie and I feel after the number of challenges we have faced in the last few months, starting with the unexpected death of our lead horse, Legacy.

Just as we began to think we were coming to terms with one thing, another challenge would blow in on us. It all pretty much tipped us over to a similar degree. It occurred to us, more than once, that one way to avoid falling to earth would be by simply choosing to jump down of our own volition.

It’s funny. In a way, it took a leap of faith in the first place to get where we are today. Now we have wondered about taking a leap right back out of here, to be done with the struggles confounding our original vision.

The thing is, as crucial a part of our dream as Legacy was, I don’t want his dying to linger as the insurmountable disturbance that extinguished the flame of possibility for good. It doesn’t do proper justice to him or his name. Losing Legacy can be a powerful lesson for us to grasp and embrace.

Really, anything we might accomplish going forward, will be in honor of him and all he contributed here.

This past weekend, for the first time since he died, we witnessed the three chestnuts execute a completely unexpected “Emergency Response Drill.” It was a big deal to us. Legacy, as herd leader, used to initiate these surprise escape drills at feeding time as a way to see he could get the herd moving in a moments notice, even if it meant leaving their food.

They all run away with a full-speed urgency that implies all lives are at stake. At about ten paces away, they pull up short, turn around to assess the situation, and then walk back and finish eating.

It’s invigorating to watch, especially when you just so happen to be standing in the vicinity with a manure scoop, at risk of being inadvertently trampled by their frantic departure.

Neither Cyndie nor I spotted who initiated the drill, but simply knowing the herd is resuming their group behaviors was comforting. I don’t know if this will culminate in a clear establishment of a new leader, but I’m pleased to see they are working on some kind of arrangement.

Cyndie reported that the mares initiated another drill yesterday, while Hunter just happened to be rolling on the wet, muddy ground, which forced him to abort his plan and get back to his feet, pronto.

Yes, they are definitely working on something. Poor guy is outnumbered now, so I won’t be surprised if either Cayenne (who has always behaved like a big sister with him) or Dezirea end up filling the role as primary head of their household.

We’ve all been pushed over a little bit since the start of the year, but we haven’t hit the ground.

Knowing the horses are working things out, and having a brood of new chicks to fawn over, helps provide inspiration for us to visualize righting ourselves and doing Legacy proud.

I think we are making strides toward steadying ourselves to lean into whatever might unfold next.

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Written by johnwhays

March 27, 2018 at 6:00 am

Sparkling Transition

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Nature is putting on a nice show for our morning walks lately. The nightly re-freeze of flowing melt-water greets us in the morning with all sorts of brilliant formations that I like capturing for full-frame close up image abstracts.

Here are four from this weekend:

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Written by johnwhays

March 26, 2018 at 6:00 am

Thereof

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I’m trying to think what it is
that’s eating at me
I’m sentimental
this much I know
but I think there’s more to it
than that
it’s a feeling
or something that is creating
a feeling
deep in the farthest reaches
of what constitutes
me
or it could be a lack
I know there is something missing
something I’ll never get back
just like every other time before
what is it about this instance
that makes it any different
I was lost when I got here
why should it feel any different now
other than the added loss of foundation
in all I hold dear
daily being victimized by a bumbling buffoon
who somehow hoodwinked enough people
to make off with a prize
thoroughly and completely
undeserved
as if just to make some point
at the expense of all that’s good and right
and now an invisible sooty stink
sticks to everything
while the best and brightest
stumble around trying to make sense
of a system that is collapsing beneath them
like sand castles against unrelenting gusts of wind
I no longer remember
where I set the things
that mattered to me most
and the grains are flowing fast
through that graceful narrow space
of my delicate hour-glass
yet my work seems hardly done
pushing so many stones
up all of these grassy knolls
with all the water rising
and glaciers sadly waning
none of the genies
will ever go back in their bottles
and maybe that is what’s eating at me
but I have my doubts
my mind is a fragile thing to trust
busy both directing and reacting to
the chemistry experiments
simmering and sublimating
within my flesh and bones
while the invisible forces
of heart-fields and magnetic solar waves
simultaneously push and pull at us all
blindly gliding through
their ephemeral energized confines
we’re all distracted by shiny things and squirrels
dashing for the proverbial carrots
dangling in our minds eyes
sentimental racing rats
too often forgetting to focus
on the ultimate binary truth
concisely boiled down to
love
or
the absence
thereof

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Written by johnwhays

March 25, 2018 at 9:18 am