Relative Something

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

Other Tracks

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Now that snow covers the land again we have returned to the winter phase of visibility for wild animal travel around our property. Cyndie contributed today’s image of tracks in the snow:

It’s always interesting to see the travels of a solitary wanderer making its way across our fields or down one of our trails. Apparently, these visitors have smelly feet, based on the intensity of interest Delilah shows to each indentation that we allow her to reach. She will bury her nose in every single footprint.

I wonder if she gathers any new information from each additional whiff.

While searching my old photo files for a different project last night, I was surprised to happen upon a strikingly similar image to the one above.

Two years ago, this same scene caught my eye.

Do you think maybe it was the same animal?

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Written by johnwhays

December 4, 2019 at 7:00 am

Several Impressions

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A morning walk last Friday with Delilah on a trace coating of overnight snow and Cyndie’s tire tracks provided plenty of enticing opportunities to frame a variety of interesting views. Here are three of my favorite images selected from a much wider range of impressions I collected on that excursion…

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Written by johnwhays

December 3, 2019 at 7:00 am

Playing Plumber

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Picking up where things left off Saturday night, I started Sunday with a trip to Hudson to pick up the new kitchen faucet fixtures I bought online the night before. Around twelve hours after discovering the problem of dripping water beneath the sink, I was driving home with the solution in my possession. What a luxury to have such easy access to the specific items we seek.

For all the times I grump about the problems related to over-consumerism in society, I do benefit from the conveniences offered.

However, despite all the benefits of readily available goods, the faucet still didn’t install itself. This morning my body is a little stiff and sore from playing plumber for the hours spent figuring out how to dismantle the old leaky parts and then reversing the process to install the new set.

Much to my great satisfaction, the details of this plumbing project were all within my ability to deduce and execute, despite having little experience with plumbing.

Twice, I was able to get a little extra practice by doing things over after discovering I had made errors. The whole time I was working on this project, I thought the line with the drippy shutoff valve was the cold water supply, so when I did the initial flow test, I discovered I’d connected the lines wrong.

Easy to fix, so with only that single trip to the hardware store, I completed the sink project in time for lunch.

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That left me the afternoon to suffer clearing some of the most un-fun snow ever that was the result of Saturday’s rain and the following flakes that relentlessly continued to blow across our land off and on since.

Both shovel and plow were only half a match for the underlayer of frozen crunch that sometimes popped free with ease, but more often stayed welded to the ground below. Trying to clean it all up was a relatively thankless task, which made it easy to retreat from the battle after a minimum effort and seek a few moments of chill in the easy chair before Sunday was completely over.

I thoroughly enjoyed washing my hands at the kitchen sink when I got in.

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Written by johnwhays

December 2, 2019 at 7:00 am

Just Yucky

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Overall, yesterday rates a solid “Yuck” on the scale of pleasurable days. Most notable of our multiple grievances was the weather. My least favorite condition during our snow season is rain, and that is what we received in the middle of the day. After that, the temperature drops enough to turn the precipitation to snowflakes, but then also locks the wetness on the ground into ice.

It’s a hassle to plow and shovel and a hazard to walk and drive on. Seriously yucky.

I had hoped to avoid the great outdoors for the afternoon and enjoy college football on tv, but the Minnesota team I root for was soundly defeated by rival Wisconsin. Far from any joy to be had there, but plenty of yuck.

How could the night end any worse?

How about sprawled out upside down under the kitchen sink trying to dismantle old fittings in search of the once intermittent small leak under the faucet that picked yesterday evening to reveal itself as not very intermittent any more.

Two things I discovered: It was not clear at all which point on the fixture was leaking and the rarely-used shutoff valve on the cold water line didn’t seal all that well. Drip. Drip. Drip.

We decided to solve the first problem by simply replacing the whole works with a new faucet. That means this morning we have no water in the kitchen and I need to venture out in the winter storm to pick up the replacement. That’s a little yucky, but with a potential solution making it worth the risk.

Today offers one other bright spot for us. It is the last day of the deer hunting season! We can stop making Delilah wear the extra blaze orange harness that she glumly tolerates.

Tomorrow is going to be even better. Sunshine is forecast to replace the stormy sky. I’m hoping we’ll have water in the kitchen sink again, too.

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Written by johnwhays

December 1, 2019 at 9:59 am

Double Duty

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This is becoming an all too frequent unwelcome occurrence. We had another tree succumb to high winds. This time it wasn’t in the woods, but right along the driveway during last Wednesday’s storm. When the look of winter arrived with a blast of 8 inches of heavy, wet blowing snow, it forced us into the double duty of cutting up the big pine across the driveway before I could plow.

Wind gusts were reaching 40 mph which turned out to be too much for the roots to hold that big beast.

Cyndie asked if we should use it for this year’s Christmas tree. I probably did a poor job of hiding my exasperation when I said she could if she was able to lift it.

Once we were in the middle of cutting it up and she discovered how big it really was, she understood my reluctance.

After I cut the trunk about halfway up, she pondered taking just the top portion. Again, I said that would be fine if she could lift it, knowing full well it was still too much tree.

Fortunately, the very top had split into two competing leaders, which made it an unappealing option when we reached a size that would be barely manageable.

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I offered her the alternative option of saving boughs for making a wreath or other decorative holiday arrangements. That met with her approval. No sense having all that wonderful pine scent going to waste.

Of course, this being a healthy live tree when it was pushed over, there was plenty of fresh, sticky sap to make a wonderful mess of her gloves and everything else around, including her hair by the time she was done moving things around.

An hour and a half later, I was able to start the plowing process, which was no picnic due to the stickiness of the snow. It kept sticking to the plow blade and hindered the winch’s ability to lift the blade. This being the first snowplowing of the season, I needed to establish an extra width by pushing the edges well past the end of the pavement to allow space for subsequent snow events.

I was moderately successful. We may have an opportunity to test this by tomorrow as we are due to get another comparable blast of wind and snow tonight.

Something tells me this is going to feel like a very long winter. Hopefully, I won’t be facing the double duty of lumberjack and plow driver all at the same time again.

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Written by johnwhays

November 30, 2019 at 10:26 am

Guest Guess

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My Thanksgiving was spent with my sister, Judy’s family, the Priebe’s, and along with the fabulous food and excellent jigsaw puzzle fun, I came home with gifts! I received Judy’s famous home-crafted dishcloths and scrubbies, leftover roasted vegetables (thanks, Tricia!) and wild rice, and last but not least, a guest submission for my image guessing game.

Thank you to Scott for providing an image that completely stumped me. We were overdue for another round of the image brain-teaser.

It’s simple to play. All you need to do is guess what is depicted in the image below.

Do you trust your first impression, or ponder the possibilities? Can you hold off long enough to wait for the answer to come to you, or will you look for the solution right away?

You are in charge, but it is strongly recommended you come up with some kind of guess before clicking on the image to find out what this could possibly be. Guess your best, and enjoy the mental exercise! What do you see?

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Written by johnwhays

November 29, 2019 at 7:00 am

Endlessly Thankful

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Written by johnwhays

November 28, 2019 at 7:00 am