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

Archive for the ‘Images Captured’ Category

Light Series

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As in, a series of images of our horse, Light, on a very cold morning. Our four horses moved from eating all the pellets in their feed pans to chomping hay before the pans were even empty, a significantly uncharacteristic behavior. Before Light started in on the hay, she hesitatingly drifted down toward the waterer which seemed logical, except she didn’t drink.

She stood and looked through the opening between the two paddocks and then continued her slow stroll forward toward her goal.

I was thinking about capturing a shot of Swings munching hay from a hanging net bag in front of the soft color of the pre-dawn sky and ended up watching Light in the distance. I could tell she wanted to lay down so I just kept pressing the photo button as it played out, staying with the task until she climbed the rise to rejoin the others in fueling their body furnaces with hay.

I assume she had an itch under her blanket but she sure was methodically slow about relieving that urge, if that’s what it was. The temperature was pretty cold (-4°F), but not as extreme as a few days ago. Maybe that is just the speed she moves when she is cold.

Both Cyndie and I commented on how cold it felt out there this morning. It struck me that the icy bite of the chill this morning felt almost more harsh than when it was -20 the other day. What that tells me is that the difference between the two extremes is less dramatic than people’s perception of the big numbers implies.

The horses are really going to enjoy, and fully absorb, the bright sunshine out there today.

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Written by johnwhays

January 9, 2022 at 11:14 am

Delicate Impressions

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There is a new covering of snow that has created a fresh surface for our forest creatures to make their marks upon. I’ve gotten no better over the years at differentiating the identity of the range of little footprints made by squirrels, rabbits, chipmunks, moles, and mice, but I know all of them are out there running around.

It starts with one or two crossing our trails while snow is still falling and by 24 hours later, it looks like everyone is out and about. Yesterday, we found evidence of a feathered friend, or friends, dancing around on the white carpet.

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I love seeing the gentle wisps of wing feathers adding context to visible footwork scribbled in the snow.

While I had my camera out to capture all this art, I spotted a different sort of impression. I love the combination of the shadow of sunlight and the indented snow impression on either side of this dried plant that wind had pressed down.

No pictures were taken during our last walk of the night because it was too dark, but there were plenty of beautiful views we enjoyed as I pulled the trash bin down our driveway to the road.

I wore a headlamp but never turned it on. With the small crescent moon reflecting light onto the white snow-covered ground, there was just enough light that I could navigate my way.

The sky was crystal clear, which explains the space-like below-zero temperatures we are experiencing again. We put blankets back on the horses earlier in the night after giving them a break for a few days. The stars were so bright we almost didn’t need the reflections off the slice of the moon that was visible.

I noticed the horses were standing at the bottom of the slope from the barn, near the gate to the hayfield, as we passed by. As Delilah and I neared the top of the last rise in the driveway before it drops down to the road, my peripheral vision picked up motion to my right.

Turning my head to figure out what it was brought an unexpected startle of the four horses jogging along the fence beside us. We all stopped as I turned my whole body to acknowledge them and exchange greetings. Delilah seemed unimpressed with having company on our trek.

As I resumed pulling the trash bin along the driveway, the four blanketed horses decided to run off in a beautiful semi-moonlit arc off the rise and back down toward the outer perimeter of the paddock fence line.

The delicate impressions of walking the trash to the road always make the chore well worth the effort, even in hazardous wind-chill conditions.

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Written by johnwhays

January 7, 2022 at 7:00 am

Insanity

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Words on Images

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Written by johnwhays

January 5, 2022 at 7:00 am

Chilly Sunrise

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When the air temperature is below zero (F) and there is a fog of ice crystals in the air of our valley, the rising rays create sun dogs of reflection 180° apart. Those conditions were met yesterday while I was feeding the horses.

When Delilah and I walked to the end of the driveway to put outgoing mail in the mailbox, our vantage changed so the sun was behind the pine trees on our neighbor’s land. I walked across the road to get the telephone pole out of frame, but I didn’t notice the wires were still in the shot. Oh, well.

Still looks pretty cool.

In fact, it was downright COLD! Poor Delilah was hopping along on three legs every so often to give a paw a break. Eventually, she resorted to simply running and pulling me along behind her to get back to the house, and her breakfast, as quickly as possible.

If ever there was a way to feel like a load, trudging along behind a dog that urgently wants to run faster than you can is pretty high on the list. Being a little numb and wearing the equivalence of a spacesuit with lead-weight boots does wonders to enhance the impression.

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Written by johnwhays

December 30, 2021 at 7:00 am

Chronological Order

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We did not experience deadly tornadoes last night, just a pleasant blast of big snow that has thrust us fully into what winter is usually like around these parts. Here is my photo exposé chronicling the views.

I did a little “pre-plowing” last night to break the project up into two episodes of medium depths instead of one massive task.

Just like the meteorologists were boasting, it was coming down at 1-to-2 inches per hour, but I would say the flakes were pretty small.

The pre-dawn light was enticing and the muffled sound in the woods was accented with sweet songbird melodies.

There was a hint of a labyrinth pathway under the fresh blanket of new snow.

The horses appear to have dealt with the storm well. We treated them to some sweet apple-flavored biskets after their morning feed to celebrate the novelty of their new deep-snow landscape.

There is a lot of plowing to be done between the barn and the hay shed. I didn’t spend any time last night pre-plowing that area. The driveway has about 5 new inches on it, not accounting for the areas where drifts will be much deeper.

The depths vary greatly depending on where we check but 11-inches was a pretty common reading I found up by the house.

There is a lot of snow to be pulled off the eaves of the roof. I would like to do that as soon as possible to take advantage of the bright sunshine we expect today but there is a lot of plowing that I’ll work on first.

It will be a gorgeous winter day to be outside, which is a good thing because I expect my snow clearing work will take me all day long to accomplish.

I will be thanking the universe the whole time that I am not cleaning up debris from tornado destruction instead.

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Written by johnwhays

December 11, 2021 at 10:48 am

Rediscovery

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Words on Images

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Written by johnwhays

December 6, 2021 at 7:00 am

Filled Frames

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Just some close inspection comparisons of a few surfaces around the house…

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Written by johnwhays

December 3, 2021 at 7:00 am

More Sky

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We seem to have fallen into a pattern where the sky is our focus for photography of late. Cyndie shared this wonderful sunset view yesterday:

As I enter the final month of commuting to the day-job, this brings to mind the sunset of my career in electronics manufacturing, which next leads to the sunrise of my expanding days on the ranch. This is where I thought I would be shortly after we moved so far away from my place of employment nine years ago.

Back then, I thought I might find work closer to home so I wouldn’t have to drive to the far side of the cities for work. I never planned to keep going back to the old job all these years.

We didn’t really plan on living in the midst of a global pandemic, either, but now that’s what we’ve got.

Leaves me a little timid about guessing what the next few years will bring. For now, caring for our rescued horses and coming up with a different way to keep chickens are two highly likely areas of focus.

And beyond that, a lot of soaking up our glorious views of the always fascinating sky.

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Written by johnwhays

November 29, 2021 at 7:00 am

Thanksgiving 2021

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Written by johnwhays

November 25, 2021 at 7:00 am

Realized

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Words on Images

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Written by johnwhays

November 19, 2021 at 7:00 am